THE PAST 10 DAYS HAVE BEEN STRESSFUL IN THE EXTREME, WE ARE SELLING OUR HOUSE AND SO I SPENT HOURS GETTING IT TO "HOUSE DOCTOR" STANDARD BEFORE HAVING 38 POTENTIAL BUYERS VIEW IT....NOW WE HAVE ACCEPTED AN OFFER. WHEW.
The Saffron Kitchen is Yasmin Crowther’s first novel, and to a certain extent it fits into the genre I mentioned on the blog back in May when I had just read 'Minaret'.
When Maryam’s schoolboy nephew Saeed arrives to live with them following the death of his mother in
Yet again I was struck by how women in some societies are so suppressed and how cultural norms tend towards such suppression. We have had a lot of discussion in the British media recently about so called “honour” killings, and in this book Maryam is subjected to unbelievably horrible treatment, ordered by her own father – who is a sophisticated, educated man of the world – and all in the name of honour, or rather, an imagined breach of honour. What Maryam experiences is so dreadful, so emotionally damaging, that it changes her whole personality; and despite her trying to bury the incident in her mind it festers like some tumour until years later it bursts forth.
I thought that the book dealt well with the emotional difficulties of going to live in a country that has a culture very different from what one is used to, and how no matter how successfully someone seems to have assimilated, they will still have a kernel of yearning for their childhood homeland, the homeland of the heart.
FREE AT LAST!! After 114 days of captivity Alan Johnston is free. Ranting has turned to Rejoicing for today. Frankly my rant seemed petty in the face of good news, so I binned it.
Speaking to the media this morning Alan Johnston compared his captivity with being buried alive, and I can imagine nothing worse than to be held captive by a group of volatile political extremists who threaten to kill you, it must be absolutely terrifying. The group holding him called themselves "The Army of Islam" and seemed to believe that by taking a hostage the British and Israeli Governments would accede to their demands. Johnston must have known that this would never happen - in fact it must never happen - because once goverments cave in and do deals with hostage takers, every one of their citizens becomes a potential hostage.
The big irony in Johnston's situation was that his captors had seized the one man who lived and worked in Gaza and who actually reported on the plight of the Palestinians to the wider world through his BBC broadcasts.
It is terrific for Alan, for his parents, family, friends and colleagues that he is free.
The next piece of great news would be to hear that little Madeline McCann has been found safe and well, but sad to say I think that is far more unlikely.
I love cumin, and I love meatballs, so when I found this recipe in a newspaper years ago I fell upon it with jdelight and have made it many, many times since.
This is a version of an ancient Iranian/Greek recipe from
SOUTZOUKAKIA (Lamb and cumin meatballs)
Cut the crusts off the slices of bread and put the slices in a bowl, pour in enough cold water so that the bread is just covered and leave to soak for 10 minutes.
Squeeze the bread dry and place it in a large mixing bowl together with the minced lamb, egg, peeled and crushed garlic, ground cumin and seasoning . Mix together with your hands until all is well blended and silky.
Put the flour into a shallow bowl.
Take a heaped teaspoonful of the lamb mixture, the size of a small walnut, and roll it into a small oval shape with your hands, set aside. Continue doing this until all the mixture is used up, then roll the meatballs in the flour until well coated, shake off excess flour.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the meatballs in batches, turning regularly, until they are lightly golden. Drain them on kitchen paper.
These can be eaten immediately or put in an oven-proof dish together with a good homemade tomato sauce and baked in the oven for 30 minutes then served with rice or noodles. They are also delicious stuffed into warm pitta bread together with a simple salad of tomato, lettuce and onion.