ISBN-13: 9781780193403
Publisher: Anness Publishing Ltd
Publication Date: 7 January 2015
Format: Paperback, 256 pgs
Source: Purchased

Speaking of kitchen gadgets, the majority of us would usually think that it's always the women who buy them, right? Well, I did most of the decisions when it comes to buying our kitchen gadgets (the Hubs just need to pay the costs, ha!), so can you imagine how surprised I was when he carried a box from the office one day (last year, or is it the previous year?) and informed me that he bought a bread machine (his colleague bought it for him actually. He claimed it was cheaper back in his home town.) 

Well, I love breads and pastries but making them is entirely a different matter. My husband said as long as we follow the instructions and the manual given, it shouldn't be a problem. I told him then that maybe he can give it a go first. So we bought all the ingredients and I watched him putting things together like a chef supervising her student (if only!). Anyway, it looks easy since we only need to put all the ingredients in and let the machine do its job. I remember the sweet aroma of the bread that filled the house then and I was mesmerised. Alas, our interest lasted for a few months (since we made the same bread most of the time and the recipes in the manual is limited) and we are back to buying breads. 

The other day when I was browsing at a book store, I came across this cookbook about bread machine recipes. I bought the book and told my husband it's about time we should 'resurrect' the bread machine. As I flipped through that cookbook, I was not only captured by the pictures but also the introductions of the various types of ingredients and step-by-step methods serve to be useful and informative especially for novice like me. What's more, they also included topics such as "Getting down to basics", "How to use your bread machine", "Baking, cooling and storing", "Glazes and Toppings", "Getting the best from your machine", "Troubleshooting" (Oh yes!), etc. And oh, it also has a complete nutritional analysis of every recipe too! 

While I haven't tried making any breads from this cookbook (first I need to get that bread machine from our storeroom), I thought I'd highlight this book to you and make a list of some of the categories they have in here: 

• Basic breads
• Specialty grains
• Flatbreads and pizzas
• Sourdoughs and starter dough breads
• Savoury breads
• Vegetable breads
• Rolls, buns and pastries
• Sweet breads and yeast cakes
• Teabreads and cakes 

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Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. For more information, see the welcome post

ISBN-13: 9780594638278
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Publication Date: 2 July 2013
Format: Paperback, 448 pgs
Source: Library

Set in war-torn Yugoslavia, military intelligence officer Captain Gregor Reinhardt is called upon to investigate a case involving a death of a beautiful young woman and a German officer. They have been brutally murdered and Major Freilinger, Captain Reinhardt's superior, thinks he's the best person to assist the Sarajevo police, Inspector Andro Padelin. After all, Reinhardt has nearly twenty years as a detective in the Berlin Kriminalpolizei. Homicide and organised crime is nothing new to him. Then again, Reinhardt is also haunted by his wartime actions and the mistakes he's made off the battlefield. 

Back to the case, the Croat wants to find the killer of Marija Vukić, the dead woman who used to be a filmmaker and a journalist. Lieutenant Hendel, the other dead intelligence officer, is the reason why Major Freilinger is adamant to get one of his own men to look into this case. What are the chances that the two deaths are connected and why? As Reinhardt goes around asking questions, he found out that not many people he enquired is interested in Hendel's death but more interested in Marija and her social life with many senior officers. It seems she had the likes of them and her behaviours might have sparked some anger from officers who are younger and junior. But is jealousy and hatred really the reasons? And why Reinhardt has the impression that the Croatian and even Padelin have something to hide? Even Major Freilinger has seemed to warn him not to inquire much further with the senior officers, or the Waffen SS without an evidence. Something's real fishy but what? 

The Man from Berlin is the first of a series introducing Captain Gregor Reinhardt. Set amidst the chaos of WWII, the book is filled with history, military politics and of course, the mystery. Reinhardt is an interesting character; and despite the war scars he's carrying he remains his composure and carry out his duties diligently. It must be these traits that also leads his life into danger and jeopardy, as he wades his way through the political and military minefields. It is also inevitable that personal agendas are involved, given his rank and his past moments during the war. While I wasn't very much interested in ranks and war political, I find these didn't really bother me as I raced through the story due to Reinhardt's determination and efficiency in carrying out his job. I rooted for him and hoped he would crack the case. And what did I think of this book? I thought it was an amazing first novel featuring Captain Gregor Reinhardt. If you are into history, politics and mystery, then this book is for you. 

Fried rice is one of the easiest dishes to prepare. All you just need is steamed rice and other ingredients such as eggs, vegetables and meat (optional if you are a vegetarian) and you have your dish. Plus, minimal time is required so it is a convenient dish for anyone who is in a hurry but still want home-cooked food.

Once your steamed rice is cooked, set it aside to cool. My mother would tell me that leftover rice is the best but I tend to finish what everything I have so that I can have fresh food every time. And while you are waiting for the rice to cool, you can prepare the side ingredients. First, make scrambled eggs (2 or 3 eggs would do) and shred them to pieces. Next, stir fry the mixed vegetables - peas, carrots and corns in a wok using little cooking oil (as these are frozen items make sure they are thawed first.) You can then pour in the steamed rice and stir fry with the mixed vegetables for a few minutes. Add in the shredded eggs and stir fry again, then add a dash of salt to taste. You are now ready to serve. Simple, isn't it? There are various recipes out there and basically what ingredients to put are up to you but what I have shared is the most commonly used. And yes, you can add in some pineapple cubes so it looks like pineapple rice. 

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Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. For more information, see the welcome post.

ISBN-13: 9780062276049
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: 24 February 2015
Format: Paperback, 400 pgs
Source: Purchased

Elizabeth Haynes' Into the Darkest Corner has left me a deep impression. Pumped with full intensity and a suspense that leaves you waiting at the edge of your seat, it is one of my top reads in 2013. When I heard she has a new series out I knew I have to read them. 

Under a Silent Moon, the first book of her Briarstone series follows DCI Louisa Smith's first investigation case. Truth be told, Lou isn't anxious to prove her efficiency a month after her promotion so she is hoping it'd be a straightforward case. She didn't get what she wished. The victim, Polly Leuchars, was brutally assaulted in her home, Yonder Cottage. She worked as a groom at Hermitage Farm and Yonder Cottage is part of her employer's estate. 

On the other end, the police also responded to a suicide case at the same time. Barbara Fletcher-Norman's car is found at the bottom of a local quarry near where Hermitage Farm is. At first glance, it seems too much of a coincidence but as Lou and her team gather the evidence they realised that the two cases might be linked. 

Author Elizabeth Haynes has once again written an intense suspense that had me hooked from the beginning till the end. As this book is more of a police procedural, readers are offered more than a glimpse of how the story unfolds as Ms. Haynes included case documents such as police dispatch logs, witness statements, intelligence reports etc to make it look more like an authentic murder investigation. Ms. Haynes knew all the works as she worked as a police Intelligence analyst for many years. 

I find her characters in this book engaging; and I enjoyed reading the exchanges between Lou and Jason Mercer, the analyst. The rest of the team consisted of some interesting characters too; like DI Andy Hamilton who seems to be a natural charmer with women and DS Sam Hollands for a strong female character aside from Lou. I know I'd be reading more of them in this series and I look forward to learning more of them. Suspense wise, I was actually glad I was correct to pinpoint the killer after reading a while but that didn't take away the fun of reading this mystery till the end, as I find the police procedural all so interesting and intriguing. Behind Closed Doors is the next book of this series and needless to say, I'm looking forward to reading it. 

Satay is considered one of the popular eateries in Singapore. Originated from Indonesia, satay is basically a dish of grilled marinated meat (chicken, beef or mutton) served with spicy peanut sauce. This dish is usually accompanied with cucumber cubes, ketupat (rice cakes) and some onion slices. Before I became vegetarian, my favourite used to be mutton satay. Mutton tends to have a stronger flavour but with the marinated spices, it covers up the 'mutton-y' smell or flavour (plus there's the peanut sauce, too.) 

Anyway, finding vegetarian satay is a challenge (well, some vegetarian food stalls do have them but not all) so I was thrilled to find packets of frozen vegetarian satay in a supermarket. And, it comes with a sauce dip too. While I don't have a griller, I found frying is another great alternative, too. (Just make sure the oil doesn't cover those sticks. And yes, they taste equally yummy!)

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. For more information, see the welcome post.