A selection of posts I have enjoyed over the last few days and also today some news from author Annie Chiappetta..
Hey readers, I’m sharing a little bit of creativity today. Take a listen and have your Audible credits ready because the audio book of my short story collection A String of Stories from the Heart to the Future, is almost done, thanks to the awesome narration team Lillian Yves and Vincent Lee Graysen.
The sample is from the lead story, A Temporary Perspective. Enjoy!
Now time for another lovely recipe from Sowmya’s Spicy Corner.. Rava Dosa.. Semolina Crepe.. looks delicious.
Rava dosa – a thin, crispy and delectable crepe made from rava/sooji and rice flour. This is an instant dosa and can be made within few minutes. Rava aka sooji or semolina has a distinct taste and gives a crunchy bite to this dosa. This instant rava dosa is made by mixing the rava/sooji, rice flour and maida/all purpose flour with water and yoghurt to make a thin dosa batter. This thin batter is then poured over a hot tawa/griddle, drizzled with oil to get a thin, crispy golden brown crepe. The addition of sautéed onions, ginger, herbs and other seasoning gives an extra crunch and flavour to this dosa. Serve this rava dosa with piping hot sambar or chutney.
Delighted to accept the invitation to join author and poet Marjorie Mallonon her eclectic blog for an interview. We talked about my nomadic life, blogging, book marketing and maintaining my mojo in this current crazy world we inhabit.. I hope you will head over to join us..
Welcome to Kyrosmagica! It is wonderful to have you over for a chit chat, Sally.
Lovely to be here Marjorie and thank you for the invitation.
MJ: I’m delighted to be reading Life is Like A Bowl of Cherries, Sally, the title is so beguiling, particularly as I do love fruit, and cherries are a favourite!
MJ: Sally, I’d love to hear more about your nomadic life. I believe you have lived in many countries. Which of these places has a special place in your heart and why?
My father was in the Royal Navy and was posted overseas several times. On occasion we were able to travel with him as a family, including my first trip at age 18 months to Ceylon (Sri Lanka). The first year was documented in photographs and I don’t really remember as I was too young, but certainly by the time I was three I was aware of my surroundings and the people in my life. We lived in a house on the edge of the jungle and we had a cook and an amah or nanny for me. My two sisters were 13 and 14 by this time and when they came back from school I was handed over to them. Anything they did I did too, and I was swimming every day in my rubber ring which I loved and still do today, but without the rubber ring!! On one memorable occasion, I followed my eldest sister up a steep ladder during a diving competition. She completed her dive and surfaced expecting applause to find a stunned silence and groans from the crowd. I had crawled to the end of the diving board, stood up and jumped off. Apparently I surfaced and told my sister ‘again’.
I am a diverse author who blogs M.J Mallon My interests include writing, poetry, photography, and alternative therapies. My favourite genres to write are: Fantasy YA, Paranormal, Ghost and Horror Stories and I love writing various forms of poetry and micro poetry – haiku and Tanka and flash fiction.
I am proud to be included in the best selling horror anthology Nightmareland which received best seller status with best-selling author Dan Alatorre at the helm.
Welcome to the round up of posts on Smorgasbord that you might have missed this week.
If I have not already wished you Happy New Year, then please accept my wishes for a fantastic 2021.. in the hopes that it will be better behaved than 2020.. I posted a little tribute to the heroes of the year, and to our pets who have been there with us all the way. There were a few funnies and music of course to mark the occasion..
I was delighted to be the guest of the lovely D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies on Friday for one of her Q&A’s… as always Debby asks great questions… If you missed I hope you will head over to read.. thanks Sally.
Q & A with D.G. Kaye – Featuring Sally Cronin #Booklaunch – Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries
Welcome to the last – but not least, edition of my Q & A for 2020. I’ve been saving this spot for quite some time now for one of our most starred bloggers and author of our community – Sally Cronin. Yes, Sally has worked diligently to get her #NewRelease out – Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries, before this year ended, and this spot was awaiting her visit. So without further ado, I’m beyond thrilled to be featuring one of my dearest friends and author who knows how to touch hearts with her words – Sally Cronin. Today we’re going to learn a little more about Sally in some Q & A, and get a glimpse into her new release, which I will be featuring my review for this Sunday on my Sunday Book Review, so stay tuned!
About Sally Cronin
I have been a storyteller most of my life (my mother called them fibs!). Poetry, song lyrics and short stories were left behind when work and life intruded, but that all changed in 1996. My first book Size Matters was a health and weight loss book based on my own experiences of losing 70kilo. I have written another thirteen books since then on health and also fiction, including five collections of short stories. My latest book is a collection of verse and speculative short stories titled Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries: Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet
I am an indie author and proud to be one. My greatest pleasure comes from those readers who enjoy my take on health, characters and twisted endings… and of course come back for more.
As a writer I know how important it is to have help in marketing books.. as important as my own promotion is, I believe it is important to support others. I offer a number of FREE promotional opportunities on my blog and linked to my social media. If you are an author who would like to be promoted to a new audience of dedicated readers, please contact me via my blog. All it will cost you is a few minutes of your time. Look forward to hearing from you.
As we near Christmas, the supermarkets are awash with traditional favourites. This year more than most, I have been looking for ways to make this holidays special. With just the two of us it would be easy to go with the flow… but I thought I would find something different to prepare by stepping outside of the Irish borders and into the wonderful world of Greek cookery.. I have featured Eat Dessert First (also some savoury dishes) before and this post caught my eye… and tickled my taste buds…
I hope you will head over to discover more about Greek Christmas treats and follow the step by step guide to making these delicious sounding Melomakarona.
Melomakarona – Greek sweet treats for Christmas! by Eat Dessert First
It’s Christmas, and it is time to fill our homes with scents of cinnamon, orange and cloves! This means that in Greece it’s time for melomakarona, traditional Christmas cookies with a characteristic oval shape and golden brown colour. They are baked in the oven, and right after soaked in a honey-cinnamon syrup (meli means honey) and sprinkled with walnuts.
This new Christmas article is dedicated to traditional Greek melomakarona, their local variations and some contemporary ideas for original versions. And as soon as we get an appetite, we will prepare some with extra virgin olive oil, bake them to fill the kitchen with warm aromas and drench them in a syrup made with excuisite pine-heather honey. We enjoy them only once a year (unfortunately!)… so they deserve only the best ingredients!
In Greece, on Christmas holidays we face a dilemma: which are best, melomakarona or kourabiedes? Baking kourabiedes is another traditional Christmas tradition, along with making melomakarona and vasilopita (a cake for New Year’s Day). Kourabiedes are round buttery cookies with almonds and lots of powdered sugar.
Something important we want to point out on the matter is that melomakarona are healthier than kourabiedes. This is one of the reasons we prefer them, As Despoina Martselou, Dietician-Nutritionist (BSc, MSc), describes, melomakarona may have almost the same calories as kourabiedes, but they have a higher nutritional value with less saturated fat, as they don’t contain any butter. In melomakarona, olive oil offers healthy fats and antioxidant vitamins. Honey has also a high nutritional value, and so do walnuts too as they are one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Spices are rich in essential oils and cinnamon combined with orange also offers some iron. The conclusion is that we should eat melomakarona in moderation, but with less guilt than eating kourabiedes. To compensate, we can go for a Christmas hike too!
Head over to discover more about these treats, the ingredients and a step by step guide to making them… also how to use the recipe to make a semifredo cake using melomakarona : Eat Dessert First – Melomakarona
About Eat Dessert First
We are a team of writers, sociocultural researchers, travellers, children’s educators and amateur bakers, based in Athens. What describes us best is that we eat dessert first! But not only… our name symbolises our wish for all the nice and sweet things in life to come first.
Our purpose is to approach aspects of the everyday life that are on our minds, by looking at them in a new perspective and studying them in their historic and cultural evolution… all that through our love for desserts. And of course to discover the history of our favorite sweets! Also, we take a sweet trip every now and then, to meet new places, customs, sights, activities, nature and -what else- little local treats! We don’t forget to exercise too, in order to eat our desserts without remorse…
Given our huge sweet tooth, we wish to learn new recipes, to experiment with new techniques and variations, and of course to share our creations. We also want to discover the roots of our favourite desserts, their influences and their variations around the world.
In a special section we focus on subjects of psychology, social awareness, education, creative activities and much more. But Rupert will tell you all about that along the way!
So, come along on this exciting, sweet adventure… Have a nice trip everyone!
Mary Smith with another wonderful episode of her time in Afghanistan in 1990.. a trip during the spring melt in the mountains with rivers in flood is no picnic..ingenuity and freezing dips are required. I hope you will head over to read the post in full.
When roads become rivers
I thought I’d provide some random snapshots from my second tour of the clinics in Afghanistan, in particular some of the problems we faced while travelling. We left on May 01, 1990 in two vehicles. I was in the Mobile Team vehicle along with Dr Epco, a doctor from Holland who was going to spend several months in the clinic in Lal, Jon and Jawad, the driver from Hussain’s clinic. In the other vehicle, Moosa from the field hospital in Jaghoray was returning after finding an organisation willing to sponsor the hospital.
We’d only reached the border town of Badani when we had to hire a replacement jeep and driver because without four wheel drive, the journey would be impossible. Delays waiting for a new driver – who came highly recommended because as a former highway robbery he could guarantee our safety – coupled with a series of punctures and a leaking water tank meant it took almost four days to reach the Mazar Bibi clinic. The hole in the water tank was temporarily but effectively fixed by melting a plastic water jug to use as a sealer. When darkness fell the first night we discovered the second driver had no lights on his vehicle. In the bazaar of Shahjoi, there was no room in any of the hotels – the driver went home, Moosa slept in one jeep, Jawad and I in the other and the rest of the group under a tree. Around 2 am I was awakened by a persistent tapping on the window – two armed mujahideen were demanding car park fees. Jawad paid them and we went back to sleep.
Although travelling could be wearisome the constantly changing landscape makes up for it – from flat, scrub covered desert to rugged mountains to white rockscapes wind-carved into fantastic shapes. Large tortoises, recently awakened from hibernation lumbered across the road – ponderous but determined. The weather was glorious making memories of last year’s battles in the snow fade.
Jessica Norrie has a wonderful quiz for the entire family for the holidays, Children’s books are timeless and those we enjoyed 50 years ago are still being read today. How many questions can you get right. Head over to print off the quiz.
Quizzing around the Christmas tree! #Children’s #Books – Jessica Norrie
This Christmas will be quieter than usual so here’s a quiz to print off and mull over. See how much you can do without Google! Please do post comments and scores, but not answers – they’ll be on the blog after Christmas. You may have to think back to your childhood, maybe even your parents’ and grandparents’ childhoods as I’ve realised many of my choices are old fashioned. If any 21st century children and grandchildren would like to contribute up to date and more diverse examples of well known books for a future quiz that would be great and you can email them to me via the blog.
There are a whopping 75 questions (I worked HARD on this, or you could just call it self-indulgence). Score 1 point for every correct fact you get – eg a point for authors and for picture books illustrators’ names. A point for the title or series, extra for the countries the books come from in Round 8 and any other answer to a specific question. I make the maximum score 150 but it could be more. Let me know what you get – and note, some books and authors may appear in more than one question.
Here’s an example, for two marks: TMG by PP would be Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce.
One of my pleasures at the weekend is to read the latest episode of Mary Smith’s adventures living and working in Afghanistan 30 years ago. This week Mary and her husband travel with colleagues from Afghanistan to Pakistan. An arduous journey across desert and potholes with some worrying moments along the way…
Afghanistan Adventures #60 final journey
Suddenly, it was time to leave. The last few days were hectic, full of frantic packing and emotional farewells.
So many people were joining us on the journey to Pakistan that we needed two vehicles. The night before departure the clinic was overflowing with people and, desperate to escape the noise and confusion, for a few minutes, I persuaded Hussain to take a last walk on the mountain with me. Now I was leaving, he was full of remorse for all the times he had acted badly.
‘Really, Mum, I never mean any of the bad things I say when I am angry. I know you are right when you try to teach me how to behave, and I don’t want to fight with you. It just happens. You will find a different Hussain when you come back next year, I promise.’ I didn’t hold out much hope the growing up process would take place within five months – five years, perhaps – but I accepted his promises in the spirit in which they were made. We returned to the clinic to find some floor space on which to sleep for the last few hours left of the night.
Jon, Engineer, Malim Ashraf
We left before light. I travelled with Jawad and Hussain in the clinic jeep as they accompanied us as far as the checkpoint on the far side of Angoori where, if all went according to plan, we would pick up a hired vehicle for the journey to Badani. As the sun rose, chasing the early morning mists from the mountains, the sky changed colour from pearly grey through pink to blue, and Jaghoray had never looked more beautiful. The politics of a small minority of people may cause us more trouble than in any other place we worked, but it was the place in Hazaristan I loved best. Well, I silently amended, maybe second best; after Waras.
One of my pleasures at the weekend is to read the latest episode of Mary Smith’s adventures living and working in Afghanistan 30 years ago.. In this episode, a heartbreaking experience followed by a wonderful reunion with old friends.
AfghanistanAdventures #59 Ghastly things and lovely things
Mazar Bibi Clinic under construction 1989
Mazar Bibi Clinic as it is today
Hussain had taken Rahimy, Sharif and Zahir, to see something more of the area and I was writing up my tour diary when Habib, one of the translators who had defected from Qolijou, arrived at Mazar Bibi with a jeep full of patients. I explained Hussain would not be back until late afternoon. He asked if I would examine the patients. I pointed out he had more medical training than I but he begged me to at least look at the most seriously sick of the patients, a seven year old boy.
The child was carried into my room, deathly white, gasping for breath, barely conscious. Handing me a stethoscope Habib explained, ‘First he complained of a sore throat then he started coughing and now he has breathing problems. His father brought him to us this morning but we are not sure what to do for him and hoped Hussain could help.’ The child was seriously ill. When I looked in his mouth, I could see a kind of grey membrane covering in this throat. Diphtheria?
I turned to Habib, ‘You must take him to Rosanna at Qolijou.’
He looked at me, miserably, ‘Can you not give him medicine? I can’t go to Qolijou because Moosa and the others will laugh at us and say we are useless doctors who cannot manage on our own.’
Welcome to Writing Through the Soul. Every writer writes through their soul and I understand. Here you can read about anything having to do with writing. I share my writing tips and prompts. Enjoy reading my poetry, short stories and what's on my mind in the Writing Through the Soul section. I have something for every reader and writer out there.
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