August 24th, 2015


Links I found interesting for 24-08-2015


Tomato and tuna pilaf

Another recipe from Delicious magazine.

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This is pretty straightforward and easy to do, so straightforward that I feel it barely counts as a recipe!

The two points I needed to watch were 1) making sure I had a casserole of the right sort of size, and 2) remembering that the beans actually need to be cooked before you add them at the end (but there's plenty of time to do that while the rice is in the oven). I added coriander as well as cayenne, and I think one could reasonably be more adventurous with the spices. Apart from that, it's quick and tasty.

Erimem: The Last Pharaoh, by Iain McLaughlin and Claire Bartlett

Two spinoff series of books about Doctor Who companions have started this year - one is a secret history of the Brigadier between The Web of Fear and The Invasion, the other is a "What Happened Next" set of stories about audio companion Erimem, a young woman who was rescued from the fate of being a forgotten Egyptian pharaoh by the Fifth Doctor and Peri and stayed with them from 2001 until 2008 when she was married off to the new ruler of Peladon. Here she is brought back to adventure by her creators, Iain McLaughlin and Claire Bartlett (with a foreword by Caroline Morris who played her on audio and has now given up acting for other behind the scenes media work). It's a decent enough story; Erimem appears in a 21st century university museum, with convenient amnesia of her adventures since leaving Egypt, and gets swept up into faculty politics with demonic forces and the Battle of Actium. I was entertained and I will get the next in the series.
body paint

Naamah's Kiss, by Jacqueline Carey

Having finished the second of Carey's Kushiel trilogies a few weeks ago, it's time to get started on the third. But we are a hundred years on now; everyone we knew from the previous six books has faded into history, and we have a new young female protagonist, drawing from the legacy of Kushiel's Justice as one of the old inhabitants of Alba (ie britain), following her destiny to Ch'in in the far East where she must liberate a princess who has been possessed by a dragon.

It's unusually episodic for a Carey novel - there are three distinct parts, the "British" bit, the "French" bit and the "Chinese" bit, with the journey from "France" to "China" somewhat handwaved away, and I almost felt once we reached the Ch'in empire that we'd spent 400 pages preparing for the main bit of plot. But perhaps we are working into Carey's world in a new century; we need to start off in old familiar territory, to get a sense of how it has changed, before exploring the newer side.

Moirin, of course, shags almost every attractive high-born man and woman in sight (and one coachman), and pays perhaps a bit more of an emotional price for it than some of Carey's previous protagonists even if the sex is a bit less kinky than in previous volumes. Much more than in previous volumes, Moirin and her friends and relatives must engage with non-human, non-physical entities - the great bear spirit in "Britain", the dark powers summoned by her student friends in "France", and the dragon in "China". I found it interesting that an element of the internal Ch'in struggle was the use of gunpowder for military purposes, with the very firm conclusion that it was inappropriate for this world, which must stay firmly medieval and magical in its technology.

Anyway, very engaging as usual, and a reasonable starting point for those who have not read the previous two trilogies, as it is much less closely linked to them than they are to each other. I have the next volume on the shelf, and must make sure to get the last as well.