Saturday, 12 November 2011

Life is Happening!

On the soundtrack today 

What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life? Who wouldn't want to be asked this question?
I'm a sentimental so and so, SO, I love romantic songs with beautiful lyrics. The lyrics of this song get me everytime, and sung by the very amazing Barbra Streisand, it is totally sublime.

Quote for today
 Patience and tenacity of purpose are worth more than twice their weight in cleverness                                   ~ THOMAS HUXLEY

Featured Article, Website or Blog
Karen Catalan is a feisty, ex New Yorker, now living in Amish country. Her Blog is very funny and takes a look at life around her, especially its quirkiness. She is a Twitter friend, and the type of person that I would like to have as a friend in real life because I like people with a sense of humour, and Karen has it in spades. And oh yes, she writes!
Recipe for today
Fish and chips
Fish fried properly, is a true British art form. So at the bottom of this Blog I'm going to give you my favourite recipe for fish in a crispy coating of batter, which is the way it should be. With chips of course!
My 2nd book! How conceited is that?
I ask that, because the 1st one, SMALL FREEDOMS, isn't even out there as yet! Currently doing a very thorough 5th edit of it.
Anyway, the 2nd novel is called ALWAYS, NOT FOREVER. I have written more than 56,000 words of it, so I'm getting there. A lot less work than you'd think, because I'm what is referred to as 'A Task Driven Author'. I didn't know that that was what I was doing when I started. It just made organized sense to write like that.
First (over a period of several days) I outline the entire story. This is referred to as a 'treatment' in the script writing game. Then I break everything up into chapters. Enlarge the chapter summaries, add, subtract, etc. etc. Then I start writing. NOT necessarily in any coherent order! If I'm out shopping, or on a tube and something comes to me, I'll jot it down and as soon as I get home, add it to the relevant chapter. I always carry bits of paper or a small note book with me for these jottings. If not, I'll just write on anything!
I'm a great note-taker. As I write this, there is a pile of at least 50 A4 sheets of paper beside my laptop, covered with my notes. On BOTH sides!
I have several large plastic containers filled with my notes! Can't throw them out because I keep telling myself that someday I might need to refer to them. Freudians would definitely say that I'm arrested at the anal stage!
Here then is a very brief outline. Of my 2nd novel, not Freud's anal stage!
ALWAYS, NOT FOREVER is a love story. Set in the world of showbusiness and high finance.
Regan Laine, grew up in an orphanage, and by the time she reaches her late 20's, is one of the richest women on the planet. Homes all over the world, private planes, and an island in the Caribbean. Everything she had ever wished for. But no love interest. A chance veiwing of a DVD of Josh Jackson, the world's most famous singer, makes her set her sights on him. She organizes her busy schedule, so that when she does meet him, there is nothing to stand in the way, should things work the way she wants them to. They do, and after a whirlwind romance, they marry on Bariba, her island in the sun.
But...things do not go smoothly. Josh's old habits from life on tour, die hard.
I have to tell you all, that I'm just loving writing this book. So totally different to Small Freedoms.
Guess I'm going to be a multi-genre author.
Is that a good thing or not?
Since my last post, I have bought myself a Kindle! So far, have only downloaded 1 book. PERIL by @Ruby_Barnes. Boy, can Ruby write! I haven't finished it as yet, and hate having to put down this really fast paced thriller every time I have to get back to my own writing. Will write a review just as soon as I've finished. Ruby, like Karen, is a Twitter friend.

OK, so let's get the cookery show on the road!
'Chips' are what we call French Fries. But I'm sure everybody knows that.
Receipe for Fish and Chips
4 pieces of your favourite fish
400 grams plain flour.
3 level teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
550 mls ice cold beer
200 grams potatoes per person  (more or less, up to you)
Oil for frying 
Heat oil in fryer or deep pan to 185° C.
Mix the baking powder and the flour with the salt. Whisk in the cold beer until you have a thick batter. Do this just before you cook the fish.
Dip the fish into the batter with your fingers, then slowly lower into the hot oil. Hold the end of the fish for a moment, until the batter 'sets' all round. If you just drop it in, it will go to the bottom of the fryer/pan and stick!
If you are using a fryer with a basket, this is the pits! It sticks to the basket, comes away from the fish and you end up with something that is inedible. The voice of experience speaks!
Once it's frying nicely, shake the basket (if used) a couple of times. This is further non-stick prevention! And don't overcrowd the pan/fryer what ever you do.
Depending on the size of the fish, cook for about 4-6 minuts, until it looks wonderfully golden.
Lift out, drain on kitchen paper and serve immediately with chips.
Real British chips are thickly cut, crisp and golden on the outside, and light and fluffy on the inside. To ensure this, you need the right potatoes. Floury old potatoes are best. In England, we use Maris Piper or King Edwards for the best chips. I don't know what is the best potato for the job in the USA, but I believe that there are many varieties that can be used.
There are many schools of thought about the best way to get the great chips.
I 'blanche' them (until they are cooked through but not browned) at about 120° C, lift the baket up, bring up the oil temperature to 160°C, then lower the basket. Chips will go golden very quickly. Drain on kichen paper and serve with the fish.
Do be careful you don't burn the fish or the chips. Easily done!
I have, on a few occasions, eaten chips fried in dripping. Frankly, I think it is the best. Taste-wise, that is, NOT health-wise.
I could talk about cooking forever, but won't! Have said enough for today. But, as Fran Lebowitz once said: 'Food is an important part of a balanced diet,' So I'll keep cooking, and eating!
Bye until next time.