Normal service will now resume…

Hello world!

A few of my current apple collection

Part of my current apple collection

I know that you haven’t heard from me for a while, but there was a trip away, a whole heap of orders to make, piles and piles of apples to process and a novel to edit. In fact there are still piles and piles of apples and a final read-through of the novel, but progress has been made. In addition, Mr Snail was ill for a week and so I had to do all my own washing up… good grief!

The first time we went to Norway, Mr Snail got the idea for a novel involving the snow hotel and kicksleds. Finally, over the summer, he finished writing it and it was ready for editing. One of the things that I hate about many self-published books is the poor English – confusing ‘too’, ‘to’ and ‘two’; grocers’ apostrophes; poor spelling – and, perhaps worse, plot inconsistencies and factual errors (bluebells flowering in July, for shame). So, although editing factual work rather than fiction is my profession, I have switched hats and am now in the throes of my final read-through of Kirkenes Blue. While I do this, Mr Snail has been working on the cover…

Draft cover

I have already suggested a slight edit to the text!

All being well, Kirkenes Blue will be available in both paper and electronic format towards the end of the month and I’ll have preserved enough apples to provide me with a year’s worth of breakfasts.

free food for rats

not instructions on feeding rodents!

Don’t be mislead by the title… this in not a post about encouraging vermin!

If you read my ‘about’ page, you will know that I am a scientific editor, but what it doesn’t mention is that I also occasionally edit other books. Sometimes it is a real struggle to stay awake through them, but sometimes I’m asked to work on a book that I really enjoy and am subsequently delighted to own.  free food for rats ** (published by Black Kite Press) is one such book. It is mainly a cookery book, but also includes anecdotes about family and travel, plus some lovely photographs of the food and a variety of illustrations and paper cuts all done by Anja, the author.

Anja has a German mother, a Welsh father and has lived in a variety of countries during her life… and all of this has influenced her cooking. In what other cookery book could you find recipes for Glamorgan Sausages, Waffeln mit Haferflocken (German waffles with oats), Rempeyeck Kacang (Indonesian crispy peanut wafers), Zhurou Chao Huanggua (Chinese pork with cucumber) and Bitterballen (a Dutch beer accompaniment)? And all written by a cook who has lived in all those countries?

One of the joys of the recipes is that they use ingredients that you are likely to have in your store cupboard (with the exception, in my case, of Marmite!)… so none of that getting excited about cooking something only to discover it contains some obscure ingredient that you will have to seek out specially. In addition, the recipes were tested out in Anja’s own kitchen (or her mum’s) and photographed there, so there have been no food stylists involved to make the dishes look any better than they really are – what you see is what you get.

I must confess that I have known Anja and her mum, Eveline, for many years and have enjoyed many a great meal in their respective kitchens… often over a glass of wine or a game of Mahjong, so I am a little biased. But, nevertheless, I love the book and will be cooking recipes from it for years to come.

NEWSFLASH: The book is now available to buy from two shops online: The department of small works and 80 20


** The name comes from a sign that appears in a picture in one of Graham Oakley’s Church Mice books… possibly The Church Mice Adrift

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