Saturday, 22 October 2011

Tag Along

On the soundtrack today 

At This Moment, by Michael Buble. This is not a 'happy' song, but the melody and tune are so beautiful, and Mr Buble does a pretty wonderful job on this track.

Quote for today

Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer.                                                        ~ BARBARA KINGSOLVER

Featured Article, Website or Blog

The article in question has had me hot and bothered for a few days. It's all about what is expected from an author, before an agent takes you on. This is of course, after you have written your blockbuster, and after you have been checked out for suitability.  i.e. you look good and are suitable for promotion.
Don't forget, agents sell you first! I kid you not. And, if indeed you have written a good book, that is a bonus!
My thoughts, my opinions. Based on what I have learnt.
Not at all surprised that so many authors are now self publishing.
What I want to know, is what do Agents do to really earn their money?

Recipe for today

Spaghetti/linguine with smoked salmon.

This is a very quick, very easy take on this popular dish. With of course, my little additions! Recipe at the bottom of this blog.

The 4th book I'm going to write! (Oh yes I am!)

This is quite funny. Last week I gave the overview of the 3rd book I plan to write, based on a script I have already written. Today, I'm going to tell you about the 4th book. But... I seem to have overlooked the 2nd book, now sitting  quite comfortably at 56,321 words!
I can count, and I haven't forgotten, I promise you. It's just that I haven't written a short synopsis as yet!
All of you who have done this, will know how hard it is. It has to be done, so I will endeavour to have it finished by next week and incude it in next week's blog.

Anyway, here's an overview of book #3. Political Science. I happen to love this script. Once again, this is based on an original idea by yours truely!

BTW, All my work, treatments, synopses, film scripts and novels are registered with the WGA. It is quick and easy to do online, and  very reasonably priced. Everyone should protect their work in a similar way. I'm sure you all do!

POLITICAL SCIENCE is the story of Afro American biochemist SAM BOWLOCK, ex member of the covert American organization The Agency. SAM inadvertently opens a Pandora's Box when reseraching into Progeria, he stumbles on a formula that can destroy people of any age, provided they have African blood in them. The formula is so robust, it only has to be added to a water supply to take its terrible effect.

GEORGE ST-JOHN SMYTHE, SAM'S girlfriend's father, is more than a little interested in SAM'S discovery. He is one of the founder members of an extremely secretive right wing group of international multi millionaires, The Ministry. Their sole aim is to annihilate people who they consider non white, whom they blame for all the problems besetting the world. 

GEORGE has the formula stolen, has it put into targeted water supplies world wide, and sits back with the originator of The Ministry, Russian oligarch DENIL BORKOWSKI to watch their dreams of an untainted world come true. The world they don't want, is dying. But soon the world The Ministry had hoped would come out on top, is dying too. The virus, now called Internal Ageing Syndrome (IAS), because there are few external signs of ageing. Sufferers only show quick degenration of internal organs seen at Post Mortem. Everyone is dying because IAS has no genetic boundaries.

The Agency want SAM back, and The Ministry want SAM dead. The cat and mouse game begins, with the world at stake.

GEORGE'S dreams turn into the worst type of nightmares when his daughter and mother die from IAS. It is Armageddon time.

With the help of The Agency, in a secret underground laboratory, SAM works against the clock to find a counter active serum. Outside, the population of the world is decreasing at an alarming rate.

SAM develops an anti serum, and makes his precarious home run for Downing Street.

This is the WHY of intended World domination, not just a little story about somebody's greed. This is a story with a moral. Take heed, because it could happen!

Winston Churchill famously said 'In the course of my life, I have often had to eat my words, and I must confess that I have always found it a wholesome diet.' I don't think that I could survive on a diet of my own words, but I certainly could (and do) on my own cooking! So, let's cook!

Spaghetti/linguini with smoked salmon (for 2)

8 ozs (225gs) spaghetti/linguini
4 ozs smoked salmon
1 medium onion (grated)
1 cloved garlic finely chopped
1/4 cup double cream/créme fraîche
1 desertspoon tomatoe paste/puree
1 oz butter
Hand full of fresh dill, chopped
Lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to the instructions, and according to how al dente you'd like it to be.
Gently fry the grated onion in the butter until it is translucent. Don't let it brown! This will totally change the flavour.
Add the garlic, then the tomatoe paste or puree. Cook this gently for a minute or so, Then add the cream or créme fraîche, stir to incorporate onions and puree, add the chopped dill and a squeeze of lemon.
At the very last minute, add the smoked salmon. Season to taste, but remember the smoked salmon is quite salty.
I always tuck a few extra pieces of smoked salmon in amongst the pasta before pouring over the sauce.
Serve at once. 
This is because the smoked salmon will cook in the hot sauce and hot pasta. It will still taste nice, but the smoked salmon will 'swell' and look/taste more like regular salmon!

I like the addition of the tomatoe paste to this dish. Gives it a sharp taste that I find missing in the dish that is made the conventional way. I also prefer liguini in this dish to spaghetti, but that's just a personal thing! You can also add more or less of anything you fancy to this receipe. You are cooking for you, so get the food to suit your taste buds!

This is a very quick and easy recipe, and very cheap if you buy packets of smoked salmon trimmings. They are readily available here in London in all the supermarkets. Don't know about in the USA. I'm sure they must sell them there as well!

Thank you for reading all this. See you next time.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Looking Forward - The Way to Go!

On the soundtrack today

Something old and something new, but boy does it work!
The incredible Mr. Tony Bennet and the cooky, amazing Lady Gaga sing The Lady is a Tramp.

Quote for today

 A word is not the same with one writer as it is with another. One tears it from his guts, the other pulls it out from his overcoat pocket ~ CHARLES PEGUY

Featured Article, Website or Blog
I love what the lady does and why she does it. Claire is a lady with a big heart.

Recipe for today (at the bottom of this blog)

Easy Salmon Fish Cakes with lemon mash and quick dill cucumber pickle.

The 3rd book I'm going to write!
This is NOT wishful thinking! I can do this!

I have already written the full length screen play for this, so will be able to convert the script to book form, relatively easily. Have already done such a 'conversion' already, so more or less know what it involves.
Here is a brief synopsis. This is based on an original idea of mine.

The Counting House
The Counting House is an 'I know who dunit' because there is no doubt in audience's mind as to who the murderer is. It's the people in the story who haven't a clue, or at least that's how it appears.We have a psychopathic billionaire, with a passion for the Incan civilization, who has to kill, everytime one of his companies makes an acquisition.

Money, power, everything he could possibly want are his, but without these almost ritualistic killings, his cup does not run over. The killings are his gift to himself. In ancient Incan days, ritual sacrifices were made of perfect people. Our killer seeks 'perfect people' from newspapers.He is pursued by a policeman who only has a gut instinct that he has the killer in his sights. But nobody believes him and so he is the butt of everyone's jokes. What follows is a game of cat and mouse. But who's the cat, and who's the mouse?

The story is set in the world of high finance, plush cars and private jets. This is the world of big business and big take-overs, giving our serial killer all he wants, and then some. All of this is seen through the prism of Incan and Moche sacrificial rites, and ends with a paranormal twist!

That was food for thought, now here's food for your tummy!
Was stuck the other day. Had 2 salmon fillets and 3 people for an unplanned meal!
So, here's what I used and did for the Salmon Fish Cakes
Amounts, as usual when I'm cooking, are approximate!

2 salmon fillets (poached in milk with a bay leaf)
1 large potatoe, boiled and mashed
Half each red and yellow bell peppers, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 tablespoons each, chopped dill and parsley (fresh)
Zest of 1 lemon and juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon toasted ground rice (or use a beaten egg)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 egg, beaten
Oil and butter.

Fry the diced onion and bell peppers in a little butter or oil until cooked. Cool. Gently mix cooled mashed potatoes and flaked salmon with pepper/onion mix, add dill, parsely, lemon zest and juice, and season to taste.
I now add the toasted ground rice to bind everything together, as an egg sometimes makes things too sloppy.

BTW, toasted ground rice is the 'secret ingrediant' in many of the things I cook. It binds burgers and kebabs beautifully, and thickens stews, curries and gravies wonderfully well. Since it's already cooked, it works in no time, and doesn't add any flavour of its own.

Shape mixture into the number of fishcakes you want (depends on size, I guess), dip into seasoned, beaten egg, coat with breadcrumbs, and shallow fry, turning once or twice, until they are beautiful and golden. Remember, everything is already cooked, so the frying only takes a few minutes.

Lemon Mash

Stir in some mayonaise (how much will depend on how much you like mayo) some lemon juice and the zest of a lemon into seasoned mashed potatoes.

Quick Cucumber Dill Pickle

Finely slice some cucumber (I use a mandoline) pour over some white wine vinegar, add sugar and salt to taste (should be on the sweet side), add some chopped dill, and there you have it!

Not at all complicated and tastes quite yummy! I had this earlier in the week.
I cooked up a pot of fabulous Beef Rendang yesterday. Got to say that it was totally scrumptious. Thank goodness I have enough for today as well! Served with Singapore noddles. Oh gosh, to die for!
Was intending to put the recipe here, but it's long drawn out, and at the moment I'm trying to concentrate on quickish recipes.
Am going to start photographing what I cook soon, and put the photos on here.
Thanks for reading all this. See you next Saturday!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Adding and Subtracting

On the soundtrack today

Michael Buble 'Hold On'

Quote for today

'If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough' ~ Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
                                                                                           Nobel Peace Prize Winner 2011
via @PadmaTenzin RT by @thezenblog on Twitter

 Featured Article, Website or Blog today
I loved his review of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi's book  Half of a Yellow Sun so much, I ordered the book straightaway!

Recipe for today 

Fig and Goat's cheese salad (at the bottom of this blog)


A lot got subtracted, but there was also a fair amount of adding, in order to make things clearer, to read better!
I removed a poem I had placed at the end of an overly long 1st chapter, where the main character, Georgie is murdered. (I also deleted the bulk of that chapter)
The poem is full of alliteration, which I LOVE, and if you read the first letter of each line, it will read GEORGIE IS DEAD.
I though it was quite clever when I wrote it, but I think it falls into the category of 'indulgence'.
My son's terminolgy after he read the first chapter before the edits! Lets hope he approves of the diligent pruning!
Anyway, here's the deleted poem!

Going, going, gone to that place of voiceless voices, and
Endless nights of soundless sounds, now that life’s
Overdraft is overdrawn and there are no
Raging reasons, no rebelling rebuttals, just a
Gargantuan gambit, garnering all those
Impious instincts in a once timeless time
Ending in endless eternity.
Is there to be
Somewhere for all her eternities on that
Downward spiralling spiral where
Everyone is welcome
As long as they are

I can't put that in my hat and eat it, but I can and did eat the Fig and Goat's Cheese salad TWICE this week!
Love it, love it, love it!

2 fresh, ripe figs per person.
Goat's cheese (or a good Feta will also do)
Salad leaves ( I like rocket. Arugala in the US)
Roasted red/yellow peppers (from a jar is fine)
Salad dressing of your choice.
Cut each fig into 4. Lay them onto a small mound of salad leaves, tuck a few pieces of the roasted peppers around the plate, put as much goat's cheese (or Feta) on there as well and sprinkle the amount of salad dressing that tickles your taste buds.
I prefer a more lemony tasting dressing.

Enjoy this easy to assemble dish. Great for a starter. Great at ANYTIME for me!