31 December 2006

Buchbesprechung: Thorsten Becker - Fritz

Beendet am 8. Januar 2007

You can find more information at LibraryThing

30 December 2006

Buchbesprechung: Wolf Haas - Das Wetter vor 15 Jahren

Beendet am 30.12.2006

Formal origineller und inhaltlich ansprechender Roman. Erzählt wird die Geschichte des 30-jährigen Bergbauingenieurs Vittorio Kowalski, dessen Spezialwissen über das Wetter in einem kleinen österreichischen Dorf in den letzten 15 Jahren ihn erst zu "Wetten , dass...?" und dann wieder in eben dieses Dorf und zu seiner Jugendliebe bringt.

Zu lesen bekommen wir aber nicht diesen Roman, sondern ein Interview, das dessen Autor Wolf Haas mit eine "Literaturbeilage" führt. Wir erfahren darin über die Entstehungsgeschichte des Romans, die 'tatsächlichen' Begebenheiten um Vittorio, sein soziales Umfeld, die Motivation des Autors, die Reaktion der Kritik. So umschrieben erschließt sich der Plot des Romans, aber auch verwendete Stilmittel wie Variationen im Erzähltempo oder Verwendung von Metaphern, graduell dem Leser.

Sehr vergnüglicher Lesegenuss (hier bietet mir die Rechtschreibprüfung jetzt "Käsegenuss" als Alternative an). Allerdings ist es auch ein klein wenig frech, statt eine gelungene Passage zu schreiben, lediglich eine fiktive Kritikerin eine virtuelle Passage als gelungen bezeichnen zu lassen.

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26 December 2006

Theatre Review: Much Ado About Nothing

Seen on 26 December 2006 at the Novello Theatre in London

Performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company

  • TAMSIN GREIG - Beatrice
  • JOSEPH MILLSON - Benedick
  • ADAM RAYNER - Claudio
  • ...

I was never sure about this play. The fast paced beginning, the engaging and interesting characters, the witty dialogue between Benedick and Beatrice - and then the disappointing, lame ending. Almost as if Shakespeare suddenly realised that he had only a few days left before the opening night and still needed to wrap everything up. And make sure to re-use the expensive tomb prop he bought for Romeo and Juliet. I had seen the play a couple of times before - and never found any reason to change this assessment

This time was different...

To be continued

25 December 2006

Book Review: Neil Gaiman - Anansi boys : a novel

I think I have mentioned it in my review for Neil Gaiman's "Fragile Things": His novels never really excited me. Nice, funny, well crafted - but not at all engaging. In fact, I found this one disappointing enough to put it back on the pile after just 4 chapters.

If you want to read Neil Gaiman I would much rather recommend "Fragile Things" or the "Sandman" comics

You can find more information at LibraryThing

24 December 2006

Potato Salad - Holiday Version

When we were young, Christmas Eve was the big day (it's a German thing). The tree went up the night before, all the Christmas decoration, Mary, Josef and Baby Jesus were on display in the living room - which was off limits until late afternoon when it was time for presents.
As this was quite a bit of work to squeeze into one day, dinner on Christmas Eve was always quick and simple: Potato Salad and Sausages. Became something of a tradition.

So in order to honour the tradition, an extremly rich, festive version of Potato Salad.

You will need

  • Mayonnaise
    I prefer to use home made mayonnaise, and for this occasion it can be a little richer than usual. So take
    • 2 raw egg yolks
    • 2 hard boiled egg yolks (leave these out if it gets too rich for you)
    • 1 teaspoon mustard
    • juice of half a lemon
    • salt, white pepper
    • 250ml good neutral oil. Do not use olive oil, it is usually too strong for mayonnaise and it does not emulsify as easily as other oils do. (if I want the olive oil taste for Mediterranean dishes I use 2/3 neutral oil and 1/3 olive oil) On this occasion I used 225ml plain grape seed oil and 25ml cold pressed grape seed oil
    Put the 4 (really, four) yolks into a bowl, add the mustard, lemon juice, salt, pepper and start whisking. (I use a standard whisk and just give it a good work-out. I think I had a higher success rate that way. If you want to use an electric mixer, fine.) Start dripping in the oil and keep whisking. Keep dripping in the oil until you get an emulsion; after that, you can be a little (but really just a little) more generous with the dahses of oil you add. Keep whisking and adding oil until you used all 250ml.
  • Yoghurt
    We always have a little argument about the use of yoghurt in mayonnaise. I think it is not necessary, my girlfriend thinks you ought to use 250ml. So we compromise and use 250ml.
  • herbs - lots of
    Today I used flat leave parsley, chives, dill, tarragon, some small baby gherkins (diced), 1 teaspoon of capers, the whites of the two hard boiled eggs. Whatever you like - the only thing: you really need plenty.
  • salad potatoes - as much as you want to eat. The sauce is enough for about 1.5 kg
  1. chop all the herbs &c.
  2. boil the potatoes for about 11 min.
  3. while the potatoes are boiling, prepare the mayonnaise
  4. mix the mayonnaise, yoghurt and herbs
  5. drain and peel the potatoes, leave to cool for a bit and slice
  6. mix everything together and leave to stand for about 45min or longer

As I said, served with Bockwurst (or any other sausage you like). These days I have a beer with that.

20 December 2006

Buchbesprechung: Hans Magnus Enzensberger - Josefine und ich

Dünn. Nicht nur was die Anzahl der Seiten angeht.

You can find more information at LibraryThing

18 December 2006

Potato Salad

Improvised - after seeing something similar on TV. Slight Asian (Thai to be specific) influence.

  • 1 kg potatoes
  • 1 bunch spring onions
  • 1 bunch coriander
  • 2 chillies (red and green
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 (generous) dash of Thai fish sauce
  • 100 ml chicken stock
  • pepper
  1. boil the potatoes
  2. in the meantime finely chop the chillies and mix with the lime juice, chicken stock, sugar, fish sauce and pepper
  3. chop the spring onions and coriander
  4. drain, peel and slice the potatoes
  5. mix everything while the potatoes are still warm
  6. leave for about 45 minutes

16 December 2006

Book Review: Neil Gaiman - Fragile Things

What a pleasant surprise. Of course I have read Neil Gaiman before - Good Omens, most of the Sandman, Neverwhere, American Gods, 1602, &c. - and always liked what I read. Interesting read for a rainy afternoon. But this volume of short stories is better than anything of these; this man is a genius with short stories

Some of them are just pure, hilarious fun; others are scary - and I mean real scary, and one or two just seemed to reach inside my head and do something with my imagination.

He has totally silly poems in this collection - that still triggered me to get out some volumes of serious poetry. He has detective stories intermingled with the horrors of the deep; there is a vision of hell more unsettling than any I ever encountered. The best treatment of the 'Matrix' concept - one, that unlike the movie does actually make sense (well, in a way); variations of traditional fairy tales - Bluebeard, Goldilocks, Aladdin.

Highly recommended.

You can find more information at LibraryThing

Film Review: Pirates Of The Carribean - Dead Man's Chest

What a waste of time. Some funny lines, some funny characters - but both a lame reminder of the sparkle of the first movie. Poor, over-complicated but ultimately uninteresting plot, boring action and a lame excuse for a part three tucked on.

09 December 2006

Buchbesprechung: Silke Urbanski, Michael Siefener - Totentanz. Ein Krimi aus dem Mittelalter

Beendet am 8.12.2006

Silke und Michael sind liebe Freunde, ich habe Silkes vorherige Bücher gelesen (Der Safrantod, Geseke Cletzen - insb. Geseke ist empfehlenswert für alle, die sich für hamburgische Geschichte interessieren) - aus unerfindlichen Gründen aber immer noch nichts von Michael. Also mein erster Siefener.
Die Handlung spielt im spätmittelalterlichen Lübeck - und Lübeck liegt mir sehr am Herzen, ich habe dort 5 Jahre gewohnt.

Spannender Krimi. Der Kaufmannssohn Jordan Wulfledder sagt sich von seinem Vater los und tritt in die Werkstatt Bernt Notkes, des Malers des Lübecker Totentanzes, ein. Doch schon bald nachdem es seine Tätigkeit aufgenommen hat, geschehen mehrere Morde - und der Mörder hat den Totentanz zum Vorbild. Gemeinsam mit der Marzipanbäckerin Lucia Gudalbert macht er sich auf die Suche nach dem Mörder

Die Handlung ist eingebettet in den historischen Kontext: Aufweichen der Zunftprivelegien, beginnende Individualisierung des Künstler, spätmittelalterliche Volksfrömmigkeit, erste Risse in der Ständeordnung, Rivalitäten im Rat der Stadt - das ist der Hintergrund, vor dem sich die Handlung entfaltet.

Die Personen, z.T. historisch verbürgt, andere erfunden, sind interessant gezeichnet; ihr Schicksal - beide Hauptpersonen sind sehr unmittelbar von den Verbrechen betroffen - packend. Die Handlung ist spannend, mit gut differenziertem Erzähltempo, die Auflösung überraschend aber folgerichtig. Ich habe das Buch sehr gerne gelesen

Ein paar stilistische Eigenarten haben mich ein wenig gestört. Viel Information wird in gedanklichen Reflektionen außerhalb der eigentlichen Handlung vermittelt. Das mag am Anfang nötig erscheinen - die Menschen im späten Mittelalter hatten andere Prioritäten; ich hätte mir aber gewünscht, diese mehr in Handlung und Dialog, nicht in nachgeschobenen Erklärungen zu finden. Meistens sind diese überflüssig, manchmal störend und einmal ärgerlich (Seite 142/143)

Fazit: Ein sehr gelungener Krimi, dessen historischer Kontext fundierter und interessanter ist, als gemeinhin im Genre des Historischen Romans üblich. Sehr kurzweilige Lektüre

You can find more information at LibraryThing

08 December 2006


  • 500g good quality minced beef
  • 1 slice of stale white bread
  • 1 egg
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tbl spoons Thai fish sauce
  • pepper, paprika
  • no salt
  1. soak the bread in lukewarm water
  2. finely dice the onion and garlic and sauté in a little butter over low heat for about 10 minutes (prepare potatoes and veggies while the onions are cooking
  3. squeeze the bread to remove excess water and mix all ingredients thoroughly
  4. form 8 meat patties, about 5cm in diameter and 1.5cm thick
  5. fry in a little (or no) fat over medium high heat for about 15 minutes, turning occasionally

05 December 2006

Book Review: William Shakespeare - Ein Sommernachtstraum (Übersetzt von Hans Rothe)

Nummer 2 der Shakespeareübersetzungen - Enthalten in 'William Shakespeare, Dramen II (1595-1599), Übertragen von Hans Rothe - mehr Nach- und Neudichtung denn Übersetzung, und auch schon wieder alt (die Ausgabe ist von 1963, basiert aber auf einer Übersetzung aus den späten 20ern)
Der komplette Vergleich kommt, sobald ich alle fünf Versionen gelesen habe. Warum? Wir suchen den geeignete Text für eine Produktion des Sommernachtstraums am Theater Wedel.

03 December 2006

Dibbekuche - Savoury Potato Cake

Pretty hard to translate - this is a regional dish from the Hunsrück area (which you might know if you have seen the Heimat TV series) and there is not even a standard German name for this dish. Dibbe is a dialect word for pot, Kuche (standard German: Kuchen) means cake - so potcake. Well, it is mainly potatoes.

  • 1.2 kg potatoes
  • 1 egg
  • 8 slices of smoked streaky bacon
  • salt, pepper, nutmeg
  1. pre-heat the oven to 225 degrees C
  2. finely grate the raw potatoes
  3. mix in the egg
  4. season with salt, pepper and nutmeg
  5. line a pie dish with the bacon slices and pour in the potatoes
  6. put in the oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes until you get a nice, brown, crunchy crust on the outside
  7. serve with green salad and a crisp dry white wine

Glühwein - Mulled Wine

This recipe is based on one I found at the Frater Aloisius says HELL-O blog. Translated into English and slightly modified.

  • 1 bottle of reasonably good, dry red wine
  • 2 pc. star anise
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • lemon zest
  • juice of 1 orange
  • orange zest
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • Demerara sugar
  1. Put the wine in a pot, heat but do not bring to boil
  2. Add the spices, the orange juice and the zest and leave to steep for approx. 10 minutes, keeping the heat just under the boiling point
  3. Remove all spices &c.
  4. Add sugar to taste
  5. Serve in warmed cups or glasses

29 November 2006

Book Review: William Shakespeare - Ein Sommernachtstraum (Übersetzung: Erich Fried)

Ich lese gerade - wiedereinmal - verschiedene Sommernachtstraumübersetzungen. Verglichen werden:

  • Wieland
  • Eschenburg
  • Schlegel
  • Rothe
  • Fried

Der komplette Vergleich kommt, sobald ich alle fünf Versionen gelesen habe. Warum? Wir suchen den geeignete Text für eine Produktion des Sommernachtstraums am Theater Wedel.
You can find more information at LibraryThing

Theater Review: Spamalot

Seen on 28 November 2006 at the Palace theater in London

Monty Python and the Holy Grail is how old now? 31 years! I didn't even understand English when it was first released.
Yet nearly all the gags in the musical are straight out of the film, some of the music is too, and everything still is as fresh as it was.
They added a femal lead - the Lady of the Lake or some such watery tart - and it's quite interesting to see whatever happens to her part.
The music and dances have been modernised - but don't worry, you still get to hear "We're the Knights of the Round Table" and "Brave Sir Robbin".

The visual delights include the fight with the Black Knight (let's call it a draw), a wee white bunny and girls in underwear.

Really good fun

25 November 2006

Book Review: Jorge Luis Borges - Buch der Träume

Currently reading / Aktuelle Lektüre
Original: Libro de sueños
Übersetzung: Gisbert Haefs

'Anthologie' von literarischen Träumen - von Gilgamesch zu Borges. Einige wenige Kostbarkeiten, viel ist zu lang und ohne ausreichenden Kotext präsentiert. Werde wohl doch wieder die längeren Erzählungen und Essays zur Hand nehmen.
Auch dieses Buch war Teil der Materialsuche zu Shakespeares Sommernachtstraum

You can find more information at LibraryThing

Book-Review: Christoph Ransmayr - Der Fliegende Berg


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20 November 2006

Book Review: Peter Ackroyd - The Fall of Troy

Starting with a marriage in Greece and ending with a horse near Troy. That's not the only echo of the Iliad one might find in this novel.
Ackroyd tells the story German archaeologist Heinrich Obermann (based on the real Heinrich Schliemann), his obsession with Troy and Homer, his questionable pseudo-archaeological practises, the dark side of his personality.
The story follows the (second) marriage of Obermann to a young, intelligent Greek wife. She follows him to the site of the excavation in Turkey and becomes a competent partner in his enterprise. Only later does she find out about the secrets of Obermann's past.

All this is accompanied by echoes from the Homeric epic: We have the above mentioned marriage and the horse, we do have a race around the city of Troy, we have a burial ceremony at the shores of the Mediterranean, etc. - using again Ackroyds established formula of 'mythic geography'; the idea that it is the actual place that determines the activities and even the fates of the people living there (he even has two minor characters spelling this out explicitly - just in case the reader is new to the concept).
The events towards the end of the story, including Obermanns death, are not based on Schliemann life. However, they do allow Ackroyd to come to a proper closure of his various narrative threats.

One of the most interesting themes touched upon is how preconception can shape reality - when a storm destroys evidence to historical facts not compatible with Obermann's idea of Troy, only for this evidence to immediately after his death.

All this would make for an interesting read, if it were not for the fact that the whole novel does feel a bit like an "Peter Ackroyd Formula Novel" - we had all these concepts and ideas in various of his earlier novels. But it does make a nice and welcome departure from his usual London settings.

You can find more information at LibraryThing

19 November 2006

Book Review: Claude Levi-Strauss - Mythos und Bedeutung

Wieder gelesen - ich brauchte Anregungen bei einer Diskussion über eine mythologische Interpretation von Shakespeare's Sommernachtstraum. War aber nicht das was ich suchte.

You can find more information at LibraryThing

Ox Tail Stew with Spätzle

Ox Tail Stew

  • 1 ox tail, chopped into segments
  • 1 bunch of carrots
  • 2 celery hearts
  • 3 red onions
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 4 tblsp of Ghee
  • 500 ml beef stock
  • 500 - 1000 ml dark beer (e.g. Guinness)
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves
  • 150 ml single cream
  • 2 tblpsp of corn flour
  1. pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees C
  2. clean and roughly chop the vegetables
  3. heat 2 tblsp of Ghee in an oven prove braising pot
  4. gently cook the vegetable for about 10 minutes
  5. turn up the heat and cook another 5 minutes until the vegetable start to get caramelized, set aside
  6. heat the remaining Ghee (in the same, now empty pan) and quickly brown the meat, season with salt and pepper
  7. add the vegetables, the beef stock, 500 ml of beer, the roughly chopped parsley, the bay leaves and the cloves 
  8. put in the oven and simmer for 3.5 hours, checking regularly and adding more beer should the stew get to dry
  9. when the meat is tender, remove from oven. Take out the meat and pick off the bone
  10. Strain sauce through a sieve (press as much of the soft vegies through the sieve as possible) and remove the fat (at least some of it - I use a special can for that)
  11. add the cream and bring the sauce to a boil and reduce slightly
  12. use corn flour dissolved in a little water to thicken
  13. season to taste  (I used blueberry jam, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper)
  • 250g plan flour
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 120ml water
  • butter
  1. put the flour and salt in a bowl
  2. put in eggs and water and beat until smooth, the dough should be slightly runny
  3. heat a pot of salted water
  4. press spätzle dough into the water and simmer for 2 minutes (I have a spätzle press for this but I've been told you can use a colander. Work in batches)
  5. remove with a slotted spoon and set aside
  6. 5 minutes before serving reheat spätzle in butter
Brussels Sprouts (we had some left from last time and had them for starters. This recipe actually works better than the last one) 
  1. clean the sprouts
  2. steam for 8 minutes
  3. season with salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil

18 November 2006

Book Review: Lyn Davies - A Is For Ox

Finished on 17 November 2006

A short history of the western alphabet, starting with its earliest roots, Sumerian cuneiform, Egyptian hieroglyphs etc. A detailed explanation is given of the conceptual change from Logograms and Syllabograms (signs for words or syllables) to a true alphabetical script where each sign signifies a sound (ideally) invented by the Phoenicians.

Davies then outlines the history of our alphabet and the changes inflicted upon it by its subsequent adopters and modifiers - Greeks, Etruscans, Romans, medieval scribes - until the early printers in Italy arrive at the form we know today (well, almost, give or take a few letters - j,v,w).

In a second part each letter's history is illustrated on a double page, showing and explaining the evolution it went through during the history outlined before.

All this in a beautifully set, printed and bound Folio Society book. A joy to read.

You can find more information at LibraryThing

12 November 2006

Pheasant, Brussels Sprouts, Truffled Mash


  • 1 pheasant (between 800g and 900g)
  • 4 thin slices of bacon
  • 3 tblsp olive oil
  • 1 dash Sherry
  • 200 ml chicken stock
  • 200 ml single cream
  • salt, pepper
  1. pre-heat oven to 220 degrees
  2. heat the oil in an oven save pan
  3. brown the bird from all sides for a total of 3 minutes (I did not add any salt or pepper at this stage)
  4. wrap the breast of the pheasant in bacon
  5. put in oven, breast side up
  6. roast for approx. 20 minutes
  7. discard the bacon, add the sherry and chicken stock to the pan
  8. put back in oven (again breast side up) and roast for another 20 to 30 minutes
  9. pour the stock into a small sauce pan, bring to the boil, add the cream and reduce for a couple of minutes
  10. season to taste with salt, pepper and sherry

Brussels Sprouts

  • 400g Brussel sprouts
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • butter
  • creme fraiche
  • lemon juice, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper
  1. remove the outer leqaves and stems of the sprouts
  2. heat enough salted water in a medium sized pot, add the lemon juice and bring to the boil
  3. boil the sprouts for 10 to 12 minutes - until just tender but still firm to the bite
  4. drain and coarsly chop the sprouts
  5. heat some butter (I use the same pot), add the sprouts and the creme fraiche
  6. cook for another 5 minutes
  7. season with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and (maybe) some additional lemon juice

Truffled Mash

Well, actually just mash with truffle oil - still yummy

Book Review: Günter Grass - Beim Häuten der Zwiebel

Beendet am 12. November 2006

Nicht faktische Autobiographie sondern 'Portait of the Artist as a Young Man' - Grass zitiert das Stufengebet und verweist auf Mulligan - nicht das Leben diesseits der Kunst sondern beides eng verwoben, früh schon lesend auf dem Dachboden, neben dem Koffer mit den Erinnerungen an frühverstorbene, talentierte Onkel: Dichter, Maler, Koch.

Vier Teile, Jugend in Danzig, Panzergrenadier im Krieg und als Kriegsgefangener, Nachkriegszeit und schliesslich suchender Künstler.

Viel zu komplex und dicht um hier von mir detailliert besprochen zu werden, das machen die Profis in den unten verlinkten Artikeln besser.

Related Links
  • Ist die schwarze Köchin da? - Hubert Spiegel in der FAZ
  • Even Now - Neal Ascherson: The Silence of Günter Grass on London Review of Books
  • Günter Grass (Audio) auf ZEIT online
    You can find more information at LibraryThing

10 November 2006

Book Review: William Shakespeare - The Tempest

No, not really a review - how could I? I just re-read it because I wanted to convice a friend to stage a production. Futile, though,

You can find more information at LibraryThing

06 November 2006

Green Chicken Curry

Green Chicken Curry

  • 2 tbls spoons of coconut cream
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tbl spoons of Thai Green Curry Paste
  • 300g chicken (breast or de-boned thighs)
  • 250 ml of coconut milk
  • 250 ml of chicken stock
  • 300g mushrooms
  • 1 Aubergine
  • 1 bunch of coriander leaves
  1. finely chop the ginger, chilli and garlic
  2. heat the coconut cream in a medium sized pot, add the ginger etc amd the Curry Paste
  3. put in the chicken and stir, cook for 2 minutes
  4. add the coconut milk and chicken stock
  5. add the roughly chopped mushrooms and aubergine
  6. bring to the boil and cook for 10 to 20 minutes (until the chicken is done)
  7. garnish with coriander leaves

05 November 2006

Book Review: Richard Powers - Plowing the Dark

Stopped reading on 5 November 06.

A click on the left wand button colored the air in a temperature gradient from rose to cobalt. Each shaded band stood for an Isobar.
The word he is looking for is Isotherm.
After more than 100 pages I am still stuck in the exposition. Which is full of factual errors (see above), cliché (the pizza-eating troglodyte) and half-understood buzzwords (wide-area token-ring). I am giving this one a break - pity, I liked 'Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance' and 'Time of Our Singing'.

You can find more information at LibraryThing

04 November 2006

Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese

  • 2 red onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 2 tbl spoons of olive oil
  • 400g minced beef
  • 200g tinned tomatoes
  • 125 ml beef stock
  • 1 clove, 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbl spoons balsamic vinegar
  • salt, pepper, nutemg, cayenne pepper
  1. Finely chop the onions, celery, garlic and bacon
  2. Heat the oil, put in the onions etc. and gently fry on low heat until soft (might take 10 minutes)
  3. Turn up the heat, put in the minced beef and fry until brown
  4. Put in the tomatoes, beef stock, clove and bay leave
  5. Gently simmer for 0.51 to 1 hours (however long you like - some people simmer it for half a day)
  6. Season with balsamic vinegar, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper
  7. Serve with pasta and freshly grated Parmesan cheese

03 November 2006

Breaded Pork Chops, Green Cabbage and Mashed Potatoes

Breaded Pork Chops

  • 2 pork chops, fatty part left on
  • flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 slice of stale white bread (fresh will do as well)
  • salt, pepper, smoked paprika
  • 2 tbl spoons ghee
  1. remove the bones from the chops, put them between cling film (or inidvidually into a plastic bag) and bash them slightly
  2. lightly dust the chops with the flour and cover with egg
  3. put the bread in a blender and shred to produce bread crumbs
  4. mix the crumbs with salt, pepper and paprika and put on a plate
  5. coat chops with crumbs
  6. put ghee into a medium pan and place on high heat
  7. fry chops for 5 minutes, turning occasionally, then turn to medium heat
  8. fry another 10 minutes, again turning occasionally

Green Cabbage
  • 1 Green Cabbage, medium sized
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbl spoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seed
  • 100 ml single cream
  • mustard
  • salt, pepper
  1. fill a medium sized pan with water, salt and bring to the boil
  2. put in the cabbage, set on high heat an boil for 8 minutes
  3. drain through a collander, squeezing out as much if the water as possible
  4. heat butter (using the same pan)
  5. put in drained cabbage, caraway seeds and cream
  6. set on low to medium heat and slowly cook for 20 minutes
  7. season to taste with mustard, salt and pepper

02 November 2006

Book Review: Paul Auster - Travels in the Scriptorium

Finished 2 November 2006

I don't remember, Mr. Blank.
Are you saying that you didn't read your husband's novel?
No, I read it. But it was such a long time ago, and I haven't looked at it since.

Mr. Blank sits alone in a room. He does not remember his name, where he is and why he is there. Objects around him are labelled - so maybe he does not even remember the names of everyday things.
He is visited and attended to by various people from his past - and it becomes clear that these have been lifted from the pages of Auster's previous works.

By re-visiting these old characters Auster parades all the old favourites of post-modernism: self-reference, semiotics, the role of author, reader and subject, the tale within a tale, circular structures, etc.

Reading this reminded me why all that was exciting and stimulating when I first encountered it - highly enjoyable

You can find more information at LibraryThing

30 October 2006

Book Review: P.K.Dick - The Man in the High Castle

Finished 30. October 2006
By Philip K. Dick. Set in an alternate History U.S., in a world where Germany and Japan had won WWII.
As with most of the other PKD novels I have read Dick explores this setting from the perspective of minor everyday charaters - a shop keeper, a craftsman, his divorced wife - who get entangled with representatives of the victorios powers - a high ranking Japanese official, a German spy, another German spy. Through their interaction Dick explores a whole host of topics:

  • The cultural assimilation process between conqueror and conquered
  • Alternative approaches to decision making
  • The possibilty of and possible interaction between different worlds

The cultural assimilation process between conqueror and conquered
The Japanese adore American history. High ranking Japanese collect historical artifcats - movie posters from before the war, antique firearms, Mickey Mouse watches. And around this a whole economy develops, including mass produced counterfeits, expensive specialist shops, collectors and fashions.

Alternative approaches to decision making
Both Japanese and conquered Americans are known to use the old Chinese I Ching when presented with crucial choices in their life. The application differs, from highly conscious reflections on the oracles given to thoughtless drifting and retroactive interpretation.
For some of the protagonist this starts to change to a more idependent visionary perception - triggered by artifacts created as a sub-conscious break-out of he by now superficial trade in historical artifacts.

The possibilty of and possible interaction between different worlds
In this alternative world a book is published, describing a history where Japan and Germany lost the war. Yet this book within the book does not necessarily depict our world. Yet, from the few glimpses we get of this third version of hisory, there seems to be at least one common denominators in all three world: The two vicorious powers enter a cold-war phase that inevitably leads to an attempt of gaining world dominance.

There is also some hint of PKD's more ususal SF settings: Rocket ships take only 45 minutes from Berlin to San Francisco, the Mars is being colonized, Venus explored. Yet these just help to highlight the difference, they never take center stage.

To quote the hype on the backcover of the Penguin Classics edition
'Dick's finest book, and one of the very best science fiction novels ever published'
Eric Brown
Couldn't agree more
You can find more information at LibraryThing

28 October 2006

Theater Review: Eugene O'Neill - A Moon for the Misbegotten

Seen on 28 October 2006 at the Old Vic theater in London Drama by Eugene O'Neill. Set in rural Connecticut in 1923.

Quoted from the Old Vic Website: Josie (Best), a towering woman with a quick tongue and a ruined reputation lives in a dilapidated Connecticut farmhouse with her conniving father, Phil Hogan (Meaney). Together they're a formidable force as they scrape together a livelihood. But Josie's softer side is exposed through her love of Jim Tyrone (Spacey), Hogan's landlord and drinking buddy - a third-rate actor whose dreams of stardom were washed away by alcohol.

Cast Eve Best Billy Carter Colm Meaney Eugene O'Hare Kevin Spacey

Director Howard Davies

Absolutely brilliant acting, intense, engaging. A flawless production.

But why does anyone want to put this on stage? The central conflict - self-loathing caused by alcoholism, cheap sex and oedipal family affairs followed by redemption through re-birth - seems incredibly dated. I found myself looking at it as if it was a historical exhibit: That's how Irish immigrants lived in the US in the nineteen-twenties.

The only excuse: You have an ensemble of world class actors that you want to show off - evidently the case here.

You can find more information at the Olc Vic theater web-site