May Bookworm

May Bookworm
For those of us who were distraught about The Mortal Instruments series wrapping up, and next year can’t arrive too soon so we can dig into The Dark Artifices, Cassandra Clare, along with a who’s who of popular YA authors, offers us a short story e-book series based in the Shadow Hunters universe.
There are going to be ten stories in all, one released each month January – November of this year.
So far I’ve read the first four. I could jabber on and on but fans of the original series only need to have one word: Simon! For those who haven’t read The Mortal Instruments this is a stand alone series so you don’t have to.

And here’s a fun thing, the covers are a surprise until the day they are published. They fit together to form a mosaic of Simon drawing his bow!

“Simon Lewis never thought he’d become a Shadowhunter…and now he has the chance. After living as a Mundane and a Vampire, Simon never thought he would become a Shadowhunter, but today he begins his training at Shadowhunter Academy.”
“Simon learns the worst crime a Shadowhunter can commit: desertion of their comrades. 
In the early nineteenth century, Tobias Herondale abandoned his fellow Shadowhunters in the heat of battle and left them to die. His life was forfeit, but Tobias never returned, and the Clave claimed his wife’s life in exchange for Tobias’s. Simon and his fellow students are shocked to learn of this brutality, especially when it is revealed the woman was pregnant. But what if the child survived…could there be a lost Herondale line out in the world today?”
“Jack the Ripper stalks through London, and only the Shadowhunters can stop him. 
Simon learns the truth behind the Jack the Ripper murders—“Jack” was stopped by Will Herondale and his institute of Victorian Shadowhunters.”
“Simon learns about James Herondale’s time at Shadowhunter Academy.
It’s hard to be a Shadowhunter when you’ve got demonic powers. Simon learns about the school-time struggles of half-warlock James Herondale in this prelude to The Last Hours.”

No Bake Cheesecake with Berry Compote

fruit compote

Compote is different from jam in that it’s looser in consistency and aside from any natural pectin in the fruit there’s no added stabilizers.
The cheesecake to go with the compote is my variation of Nigella’s Cherry Cheesecake recipe.

Berry Compote
1/2 cup Fresh Strawberries
1/2 cup Fresh Blueberries
1/4 cup Fresh Raspberries
1/2 cup Frozen Dark Cherries
1/2 cup Sugar
The Zest of 1 Lemon
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste or 1 Vanilla Bean (halved and the seeds scraped out)

Roughly chop the strawberries. You want the pieces to be big enough so they won’t disappear when cooked.
Combine all the ingredients in a heavy bottomed sauce pan.
Bring the mix to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 20-30 minutes or until thickened and reduced by half.
Be attentive to your compote so it won’t burn.
About halfway through the cooking time smash up the berries with a fork.
Cover and refrigerate overnight before using.

If you’d like to make this and fresh berries are not in season just use a package of frozen mixed berries.

No Bake Cheesecake
1 3/4 cups (that’s about two sleeves) crumbled Graham Crackers
8 tablespoons Melted Butter
14 oz (2 packets) Cream Cheese (Room Temp)
1/2 cup Confectioners’ Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste
The Zest of 1 Lemon
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 1/4 cup Heavy Cream

Place the graham crackers into the bowl of your food processor and pulse until they are fine crumbs.
Add the butter through the feed tube and process until the mixture clumps together and resemble wet sand.
Add a touch more butter if the mixture seems too dry.
Press the crust mixture into a 8-9 inch springform pan, pressing a bit up the sides to form a small lip.
Place the pan into the freezer while you get on with the cheesecake mixture.

Whip the cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla bean, and lemon zest and juice until smooth.
Whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
Fold the cream into the cream cheese mixture, combine well.
Spoon the filling on to the graham cracker crust and smooth the top.
Refrigerate overnight.
Use a warm knife to cut the slices and serve with the berry compote.

This was so light and smooth and EASY to make I’m not sure if I’ll ever bother with a traditional cheesecake again!

Print this recipe? Berry Compote

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Chocolate Zuchini Cake

A quick cake to keep handy for all that zucchini you’re planting.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

1 cup (120g) grated Zucchini
1/2 cup (118ml) Buttermilk
1/2 cup (118ml) Canola or Vegetable Oil
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 large Eggs
1 1/4 cup (156g) Flour
3/4 cup (143g) Sugar
1/4 cup (27g) Cocoa Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 cup (120g) chopped Pecans
1/2 cup (60g) Chocolate Chunks

Pre-heat oven to 350F/176C
Spray a 9×4 inch loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a bowl, whisk together the zucchini, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and eggs.
In another bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Fold in 3/4 cup of the pecans and the chocolate chunks.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and decorate the top with the remaining pecans.
Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Cool the cake in the pan for about 30 minutes then turn it out and cool it completely on a wire rack.

Print this recipe? Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Original Version

Sausage Bolognese

Cheaters Bolognese

I often call this Cheaters Bolognese, because of it’s shameless use of jared marinara. No apologies! The short-cut from the grocery makes this a speedy weekday favorite that tastes like it was simmered for hours.

Sausage Bolognese

1 lb. (500g) Sweet Italian Sausage
1 lb. (500g) Ground Beef
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 cup (200g) finely chopped Onion
2 cloves grated Garlic
1/4 cup (10g) Assorted Fresh Herbs (parsley, thyme, rosemary, basil…etc.)
or
2 tablespoons Dried Italian Herb Mix
2 16.oz jars of your favorite Marinara Sauce.

Add the olive oil, onion and garlic to a large soup pot with a lid. Saute over medium high heat until the onion is soft.
Add the sausage and ground beef and brown. Break the meat into small crumbles and drain off the grease.
Stir in the herbs.
Add the marinara sauce and stir well to combine with the meat.
Bring the sauce to a boil then reduce the heat and cover with the lid.
Simmer for 30 minutes.

Now that you have your lovely sauce you can use it in your lasagna recipe or tossed with linguine, also, you can freeze it for up to 1 month.

Print this recipe? Sausage Bolognese

Kirra Jamison

I’m a fan of The Design Files Melbourne Mornings series. Recently they’ve featured artist Kirra Jamison.

She’s inspired me to think about new projects. Maybe break out of my comfort zone and explore more color, bolder shapes, experiment.

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How amazing is her studio space? *swoons*

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Surrender star2