In My Kitchen September 2014

Celia from Fig Jam And Lime Cordial hosts a monthly collection of posts and this is my submission to what is in my kitchen. I hope you enjoy what I have to share.

I was sent a hamper with B-well extra virgin olive and canola oil, together with an apron and an olive oil baster. The oil has been used to bake a cake and the baster will be placed in the cupboard underneath Dave’s gas braai (BBQ) when it gets built in. They are running a competition until the end of October 2014 and if you would like to enter take a look here.

B well Oil In My Kitchen September 2014

B-well Oil

In my kitchen was a goody hamper sent to me compliments of Checkers SA. They are showcasing what is #NewAtCheckers and I have taken the coffee to work to use in the Eva Solo Coffee Maker I gave Dave for his birthday a few years ago.

Checkers Hamper In My Kitchen September 2014

Checkers Hamper

I was given these two water jugs as part of a birthday gift. One is filled with rose scented bath salts and as soon as I took the top off all I could smell was roses. I cannot wait for the opportunity to use these bath salts which should come very soon. The builders are at the house which only leaves weekends and all I need is good weather to enjoy a bath as we have solar heated water. The other water jug was filled with chocolates. I shall use them both for water to leave for guests in their rooms when we eventually have that luxury.

Glass Water Jugs In My Kitchen September 2014

Glass Water Jugs

I bought the August issue of Good Housekeeping as they had an advertorial featuring three Cape Town bloggers, one being my friend Tami.

Good Housekeeping In My Kitchen September 2014

Good Housekeeping

I had a collection of yuppiechef.com vouchers from taking part in Eat For The Earth, as well as participating on their forum. I got one for taking part in another survey from a different site, as well as two for my birthday. The lovely people at Yuppiechef helped me pool all the vouchers together and I bought a glass mixing bowl for the Kitchen Aid.

Kitchen Aid Glass Bowl In My Kitchen September 2014

Kitchen Aid Glass Bowl

When I went on the bread making course last year courtesy of Taste Magazine there was a 20% discount voucher in the goody bag for Le Creuset. I did not want to use it just on anything and so waited until I found something I like. I was given a gift voucher from a friend for my birthday for Le Creuset and used that, together with the discount voucher to get myself this mixing bowl with large pouring lip. It is perfect for when I make ice creams!

Le Creuset Batter Bowl In My Kitchen September 2014

Le Creuset Batter Bowl

Another gift I received for my birthday was this stunning Le Creuset stoneware dish. I have already used it for chopped liver.

Le Creuset Rectangular Dish In My Kitchen September 2014

Le Creuset Rectangular Dish

I had to bulk up an order from my essential oil supplier and so got myself some macadamia nut oil. It is perfect for using with stir fry’s and salad dressings and as it is organic and cold pressed totally safe for consumption. I have not opened it yet but will report back when I do.

Macadamia Nut Oil In My Kitchen September 2014

Macadamia Nut Oil

I finally got around to making the bread I bought in Wales and tested the woven basket at the same time. The result was fantastic and I shall be using my basket next time I bake bread out of the bread maker!

Malted Bread In My Kitchen September 2014

Malted Bread

I read and hear so much about sherry vinegar that I could not resist buying it when I saw it. I still prefer my balsamic vinegar but I am sure this will not go to waste.

Sherry Vinegar In My Kitchen September 2014

Sherry Vinegar

While shopping for a thank you gift I found these amazing straws. I have used one already in a photograph and I really like the feel of them.

Vintage Straws In My Kitchen September 2014

Vintage Straws

Another birthday gift was a fridge magnet that can fit in various things. I have attached this to the part of the fridge closest to me when I sit at the table for dinner, with the wine bottle opener that came from the same friends. We had them over for dinner on Friday night and it came in very handy use!

Wine Opener and Fridge Magnet In My Kitchen September 2014

Wine Opener and Fridge Magnet

Last but not least is a wooden spoon. It came with the Good Housekeeping magazine and together with spatulas, you can never have enough wooden spoons in my opinion.

Wooden Spoon In My Kitchen September 2014

Wooden Spoon

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Skeletons, Jane Fallon

Skeletons opening line: All Jen Masterson had ever wanted was an ordinary life.

Skeletons Skeletons, Jane Fallon

Skeletons

As you can read on the cover, the only thing worse than not knowing a secret is discovering one. Jen wanted an ordinary life, and that is what she got. Mom to two girls, wife to a husband with a loving family attached and a simple job. What she didn’t expect was that her ordinary life was not really what she wanted. It was only by stumbling on one secret that led to so many more secrets being discovered. These discoveries in turn led to Jen’s life changing. She learnt the true meaning of family and love by unravelling the secrets that were being kept.

The book is really well written and kept me riveted in its simplicity the entire time. Nothing is better than reading something that engages you and this is an author I shall look out for in my future picks.

First published by the Penguin Group in 2014

ISBN number 978-0-141-04726-3

Paperback – 438 pages

Disclaimer: I was sent the book to review by Penguin Books South Africa. I was not required to write a positive review. This disclaimer is in line with my blogging policy.

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Recipe For Pizza Dough

I am competing in the #MissionSamsung challenge where I get to use and review a Samsung Smart Oven for three weeks. The first challenge is Weekend Night Feasts and I had to prepare the ultimate gourmet pizza.

BloggersChallenge Recipe For Pizza Dough

#MissionSamsung

When I took delivery of the Samsung Smart Oven last week the first thing I noticed was the auto fermentation feature. I am an avid bread maker but sadly my cottage is not that conducive to baking bread. The cottage gets very little sunlight – something we will remedy in time. However, during winter my bread making is severely restricted to using my bread maker or waiting for a warm day. I literally jumped with joy at the bread proving function as I have only ever seen this on The Great British Bake Off.

Pizza Dough Recipe For Pizza Dough

Pizza Dough

There are five pre-programmed auto fermentation cook functions which means you do not need to set the time or the power level, however, they can be adjusted if need be. These five programmes are for pizza dough, cake dough, bread dough and home made yoghurt (small dishes or a large bowl). It has been so long since I last made yoghurt that I might just give it a try. For the pizza dough it was as simple as making the dough, placing it into a glass bowl, covering the bowl with cling film and then placing the bowl in the centre of the turntable onto the lower rack. You close the door, press the auto fermentation button, select which programme you want and press start. For pizza dough, the proving takes 40 minutes.

Cooked Pizza Base Recipe For Pizza Dough

Cooked Pizza Base

James had asked if he could come for supper and when I asked him what his favourite pizza topping was he told me it is bacon, avocado and feta. This is usually my go to pizza topping combination and I will order this no matter where we are in the world. For my gourmet pizza I chose caramelized red onions, brie, figs, rocket and Parma ham. I left my red onions on the stove to slowly cook down while I prepared the pizza dough. The brie had a bit of blue running through it which really complimented the figs. I chose to use soft, dried Turkish figs as fresh figs are not in season right now. Dave’s pizza was topped with gypsy ham, mushrooms and fresh red chillies and Carli had a traditional Hawaiian pizza. Pineapple is the one fruit I buy ready cut as I don’t like the wastage when trimming them myself. If Mark had been with us he would have asked for a carne pizza, with as many meat toppings as possible.

Neapolitan Pizza Recipe For Pizza Dough

Neapolitan Pizza

Pizza Dough

Adapted from Paul Hollywood's 100 Great Breads page 54

Ingredients:

    for the pizza dough
  • 500g bread flour
  • 10g fine salt
  • 15g yeast
  • 400mls tepid water, divided
  • olive oil for greasing
  • for the pizzas
  • pizza sauce
  • mozzarella cheese, grated
  • toppings of your choice

Method:

    for the pizza dough
  • Place the flour, salt and yeast into a stand mixer bowl
  • Add 300mls water and using the dough hook, mix for 3 minutes on a low speed
  • While still running on a low speed, slowly add the water
  • Mix for 8 minutes on a medium speed
  • Do not panic - the dough will come together!
  • Oil 2 glass bowls generously
  • Divide the dough between each bowl (455g per bowl)
  • Cover with lightly oiled cling film and leave to prove until doubled in size
  • Knock bag and place into the fridge until you are ready to use
  • for the pizzas
  • Preheat the oven to 200° Celsius - if you are using a pizza stone, place the stone in the oven
  • Divide the dough into 4 equal portions, leaving the dough you are not using in the fridge until needed
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll and stretch until the dough will fit your pizza pan / stone
  • Bake the pizza base for 5 minutes
  • Spread 2 tablespoons of the pizza sauce onto the base, quite thinly
  • Add a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese
  • Add your toppings
  • Bake for 20 minutes for a thin base, and 25 minutes for a thick base

Cooks Notes:

Once you have baked the pizza bases for 5 minutes you can set them aside to use as needed, or freeze them to use later. Cool on a wire rack before placing them onto a board or into freezer proof packaging.

http://tandysinclair.com/pizza-dough/
 Recipe For Pizza Dough

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

Gourmet Pizza Recipe For Pizza Dough

Gourmet Pizza

Disclaimer: I was provided with the Samsung Smart Oven to use for this challenge. This post is in line with my blogging policy.

Pizza Dinner For Four Recipe For Pizza Dough

Pizza Dinner For Four

SABlogger Badge 06.jpgedit Recipe For Pizza Dough

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Recipe For Coiled Bread Rolls

This month for the Daring Bakers’ Challenge we were asked to make “Ensaimda” which is a Spanish Pastry that resembles a snail, hence my decision to call them Coiled Bread Rolls. It was mandatory that we used the recipe provided, but I deviated slightly. I am sure Google will not approve of a bunch of recipes suddenly appearing on the internet all in one go which are exactly the same. I could have used a sweet filling but this did not excite me too much. I wanted to take the base recipe, which is for an enriched dough, and add a savoury note to it using some nigella seeds I have had in my kitchen since June 2012! I found them while on a trip to Scotland and only when I was watching the third season of The Great British Bake Off did I get some inspiration to use them in rolls. At the same time as I made these coiled bread rolls I made a batch of chopped chicken livers. We had this for lunch over the weekend and the rolls added the perfect note to the chopped livers. They are rich and the nigella seeds impart a crunch of onion that is amazing. I took the left over rolls to work and had one with boiled eggs. I was so glad I had made the changes as the rolls worked out perfectly for my work lunch as well. The coiled bread rolls are easy to make and I hope you give them a try.

Coiled Bread Rolls Recipe For Coiled Bread Rolls

Coiled Bread Rolls

Coiled Bread Rolls

Ingredients:

  • 50g caster sugar - I used fructose
  • 1 egg
  • 30mls olive oil
  • 300g flour
  • 8g instant yeast
  • 120mls water
  • 3g fine salt
  • 10mls nigella seeds
  • 100g butter, divided
  • Canola oil for greasing

Method:

  • Place the sugar, egg and olive oil into a stand mixer bowl and whisk until combined
  • Add the flour, yeast and water
  • With a dough hook attachment, knead the mixture for 1 minute on a medium speed
  • Add the salt and nigella seeds
  • Knead for 5 minutes until soft and pliable
  • Remove the dough from the bowl, lightly grease it and place the dough back in the bowl
  • Cover and leave to rise for 2 hours
  • Knock back the dough and turn out onto a lightly oiled surface
  • Divide equally into 4 pieces and shape each piece into a ball
  • Shape each ball into a fat sausage
  • Roll each sausage into a rectangle as thin as possible
  • Spread 25g of the butter onto each rectangle in a thin layer (use your hands to make it easy to do)
  • Stretch each rectangle using your hands into a larger rectangle
  • Roll lengthwise as tightly as possible into a long sausage shape
  • Roll the sausage to lengthen it slightly
  • Coil each sausage loosely to resemble a snail shell
  • Place each coil onto a lined baking tray
  • Cover with lightly oiled cling film and leave to prove for an hour
  • Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius
  • Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown in colour
  • Cool on a wire rack
http://tandysinclair.com/coiled-bread-rolls/
 Recipe For Coiled Bread Rolls

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

Blog-checking lines: 
The August Daring Bakers’ Challenge took us for a spin! Swathi of Zesty South Indian Kitchen taught us to make rolled pastries inspired by Kurtoskalacs, a traditional Hungarian wedding pastry. These tasty yeasted delights gave us lots to celebrate!

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Beating The Budget

Quite recently I have had a few friends discuss budgets and budgeting with me. I am not a financial advisor but given my level of financial security I am often asked to help people manage their way out of debt. Of course, the simplest approach to life would to not get into debt in the first place, but this is not always possible. As a blogger, my hobby is quite expensive. We do eat what I make which is a bonus, but the recipes sometimes call for ingredients that are unusual. Dave races single seaters. His hobby is also expensive. These hobbies can only take place if we have the disposable income to spend on them. I hope some of my methods for financial security and beating the budget help.

  1. The concept of pay me first is something I have adhered to for as long as I have earned an income. The school of thought is that you pay yourself 10% of your income. This money is set aside in an account for rainy days, holidays, or a long term savings plan. Do not pay yourself first if you are in debt. Pay off your debt before you save – the interest rates you are charged for money owed will always be higher than that for money saved.
  2. As early as possible invest in a long term fund. I have a retirement annuity fund but unit trusts or something similar will be as good. This is money for your retirement, and it is never too soon to start saving.
  3. Get onto the property ladder as soon as possible. Your capital investment will never decrease over the long term. Keep in mind that the home you live in is not an asset. But your bond repayments will end up costing you less than rental payments on the same property. To make sure your capital investment is secure, keep up the maintenance on your property. It used to be that you could double your money in 5 years, but this depends on the economy. Start of small and aim to grow with your needs.
  4. Having a bond for a house, or a hire purchase for a car is OK! The best advice I was ever given was to not buy anything I could not afford. For example, if you work out how much it would cost you to buy a bed on HP you would see that just saving up the money for less than the time it would take you to pay off the HP will get you the bed, interest free.
  5. If you are in debt then work out how to pay it off as quickly as possible. Any disposable income should go towards this. If you owe more than one institution money pay off a small amount on each debt every month. See who charges you the most interest and pay that amount off as soon as you can. Do not be tempted to consolidate your debt with a short term, high interest loan and if in doubt, consult a financial consultant at your bank.
  6. In South Africa it is vital to have some sort of medical plan. I would recommend a hospital plan over a medical aid any day, but the ultimate choice should be something that suits you, and your budget.
  7. Over and above this, you need insurance for your home and car. I know very few people who can self insure and a car accident could end up crippling you financially!
  8. Now, create a spreadsheet. Input all your fixed expenses in one column, and your income into another. Take your income less your expenses and this is your disposable income. This is what you have to spend each month, and not a penny more! This way, you will not need to access the budget facility on your credit card, or buy on credit. Daily essentials should be paid for with money you have, and not with money you can borrow.
  9. When money was tight, I used to take my disposable income and divide it by 4. Each week I would spend only that amount on our groceries. If there was anything left over, I did not carry it over to the next week. Rather, I spent that on getting a massage, something that was a luxury for me at that time, no matter how much I needed one.
  10. My top tip: be in control of your money and do not let money control you!

What is your top tip to beat the budget, and what if any questions do you have that I did not cover here?

Disclaimer: I am not a financial advisor and this advice is given from my own personal perspective and I will not be held liable for any issues that arise from you following this advice. This you do so at your own risk.

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Recipe For Cinnamon Sugar

Who can remember the line from the nursery rhyme little girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice? Being nice is something that takes practice and effort for some people but for me I find that being nice just makes my day better. I greet strangers when walking the dogs, I say thank you to cashiers when I pay for something and I try and let people know when they have done something that makes my heart smile! Sadly, I cannot say that everyone I know has this same attitude. Being nice means replying to invitations when they are sent; arriving for dates you have made; sending ‘bread and butter’ thank you messages. Or taking the time out to ask a friend how she is. It means listening to people when they need to talk, or just being there for someone ‘in case’.

I have a group of friends who are sugar and spice and everything nice. One friend kept another company at a dinner party I hosted. A couple opened their home to us so we had a bed for the night when we could not drive home after having one glass (or maybe one bottle) too many to drink. I have a friends who mean the world to me and I hope that each time I am with them their hearts smile!

Cinnamon sugar is the spice that is everything nice – warming and sweet and great for pancakes. I used to make pancakes a lot when the boys were little, with the most impressive part of the baking being when I flipped the pancakes over. Each person has their favourite topping and both Dave and I love cinnamon sugar with a squeeze of lemon. I always have a flavoured sugar in a jar and here is a recipe that is easy to make and even easier to store. Use it in place of regular sugar for your baking and you will taste the lovely spice note of the cinnamon. Here I have used it to flavour the crumble.

Cinnamon Sugar Recipe For Cinnamon Sugar

Cinnamon Sugar

Cinnamon Sugar

Ingredients:

  • 120g sugar - I used fructose
  • 5mls ground cinnamon

Method:

  • Place the ingredients into a bowl and blend together until completely combined
http://tandysinclair.com/cinnamon-sugar/
 Recipe For Cinnamon Sugar

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Recipe For Pickled Quails Eggs

It is amazing how life can give you blessings when you least expect them. When my parents were here for their annual visit we went to The Restaurant At Waterkloof Wines as they had really enjoyed their previous visit. This was the 14th of June and the restaurant was closing for their annual break after lunch service on the 15th. I had mentioned to Greg how much I loved Jerusalem Artichokes and after our meal a bag of them arrived at our table. Greg said that he would not be using them before they closed, and that the fresh produce would go to waste so he was gifting me the Jerusalem artichokes. I was so grateful, and my gratitude was extended to a crate of produce that came home with me. One of the wonderful items were 2 trays of quails eggs. I wanted to use them all up in a way that could be enjoyed for some time and so I decided to make Pickled Quails Eggs. Before we could do this we had to test how long it took to make an egg that was hard on the outside, soft on the inside and easy to peel. Once that had been perfected I tried a batch using a Jamie Oliver recipe. Once that batch was devoured, I made my own pickling liquid, using flavours I like. These pickled quails eggs take a little bit of effort but the taste is so worth it. I sat in front of the TV and peeled the lot – this being the most time consuming aspect of the process.

Pickled Quails Eggs Recipe For Pickled Quails Eggs

Pickled Quails Eggs

Pickled Quails Eggs

Ingredients:

  • 180mls white balsamic vinegar 
  • 90mls white wine 
  • 1.25mls celery seeds 
  • 1.25mls aniseed 
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 2.5mls fennel seeds
  • 5mls pink peppercorns
  • 2.5mls coriander seeds 
  • 5mls salt  
  • 1 large shallot, cut in half and thinly sliced 
  • 18 quail eggs

Method:

  • Place the vinegar, wine, celery seeds, aniseed, cloves, bay leaves, fennel seeds, peppercorns, coriander seeds, salt and shallot into a sauce pan
  • Bring to the boil on a medium heat
  • Reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 3 minutes
  • Set aside to cool
  • Bring a medium sized sauce pan filled 3/4 of the way with water to the boil
  • Add a splash of cheap vinegar to the water
  • Place 6 of the eggs into the water very carefully
  • Boil for 2 and a half minutes
  • Place into a bowl of ice water
  • Repeat until all of the eggs have been boiled
  • Once cooled, peel and place into a sterilized glass jar
  • Pour over the cooled pickling liquid
  • Put the lid on the jar and place into the fridge for 24 hours
http://tandysinclair.com/pickled-quails-eggs/
 Recipe For Pickled Quails Eggs

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

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Confessions Of A Hungry Woman

Confessions Of A Hungry Woman is a collection of Sam Woulidge’s columns from various Taste Magazines dating from 2006 to 2011. As a collector of these magazines it was great to dive back in to some of my favourite (and I thinks Sam’s) favourite story’s. I bought my book to show my love for Sam, her writing and her friendship. Just before we went to Napoli last year, I paged through the book, hoping her article on where to buy the best pizza would feature. Pizza – Pure & Simple can be found on page 82 and 83 and the best pizza can be found L’antica Pizzeria da Michele. That is, if you can find the pizzeria!

© Confessions of a Hungry Woman Confessions Of A Hungry Woman

Confessions of a Hungry Woman

Sam is a self confessed ‘non cook’, preferring to spend her time eating. If she has guests over, she would rather entertain than slave in the kitchen. And so, the recipes in the book are not Sam’s. Sam showcases recipes she can make as given to her by various people. These include Alida Ryder, Jacques Erasmus who owns Hemelhuijs, where I first met Sam and Peter and Mariana Esterhuizen amongst others. Maraiana is the chef at Mariana’s in Stanford and her husband Peter runs the front of house. Her honest cooking and his wit make for a dining experience like no other.

The stamp on the front cover implores me to eat with my heart and this is something I find easy to do! If you have not read any (or all for that matter) of Sam’s Confessions of a Hungry Woman columns then rush out and buy her book – you will fall in love with Sam’s words.

First published in South Africa by Struik Lifestyle in 2013

ISBN number 978-1-43230-008-1

Hard Cover – 221 pages

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Recipe For Master Stock

I made my very first master stock when Cindy and I went to cook with Alvin Quah. Even if I could have, it would not have occurred to me to take the master stock home. As I loved the flavours, I decided to make my own master stock to braise a pork belly, using a recipe from Gordon Ramsay’s cook book, Ultimate Cookery Course. The master stock was wonderful, and the pork amazing but I did not know you could keep the master stock, and so it was thrown out. It was only when I was reading Lorraine’s book about her path to happiness through baking and blogging that I saw I could have kept it! This made it the perfect excuse to make a huge batch of master stock. The recipe from the book makes 3 litres, and I have put 1 litre into the freezer to keep, and gave another litre away to Alex. I used the third litre to braise some pork cheeks in, and they were delicious. Sadly, that lot of master stock was not kept – a bit of a miscommunication happened in my house.

Master Stock Recipe For Master Stock

Master Stock

I have called my master stock Not Quite Kevin, a play on Lorraine’s Not Quite Nigella as her master stock is named Kevin.

Master Stock

Recipe adapted from Not Quite Nigella page 130-131

Ingredients:

    for the stock
  • 3 litres water
  • 280mls light soy sauce
  • 150mls dark soy sauce
  • 350g sugar - I used fructose
  • 60mls salt
  • 60mls Shaoxing rice wine
  • for the spice bag
  • 18g star anise
  • 16g cassia bark
  • 5cm fresh root ginger
  • 8g whole cloves

Method:

  • Place the water, soy sauces, sugar, salt and wine into a large saucepan and bring to the boil
  • Place the spice bag ingredients into a muslin cloth and tie with string
  • Add to the saucepan, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes

Cooks Notes:

I used a spice bomb for the spices and I have not kept them as I will change the flavour slightly when I next use the stock. You can use cinnamon bark if you cannot find cassia bark. Once you have used the stock, strain it and boil for 20 minutes. Top up and then freeze until you need it again, with the spice bag. Change the spice bag every 3 - 6 months, depending on how often you use the master stock. Make sure you use this at least once every 2 months.

http://tandysinclair.com/master-stock/
 Recipe For Master Stock

For conversions click here

Braised Pork Cheeks Recipe For Master Stock

Braised Pork Cheeks

Disclaimer: This recipe has been published with permission from Penguin Group Australia. The recipe book was bought and paid for by my sister. This disclaimer is in line with my blogging policy.

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The Headmaster’s Wife, Thomas Christopher Greene

The Headmaster’s Wife opening line: He arrives at the park by walking down Central Park West and then entering through the opening at West Seventy-seventh Street.

The Headmasters Wife The Headmasters Wife, Thomas Christopher Greene

The Headmaster’s Wife

I want to be kind and generous about this book as it was written when the author was experiencing something sad and tragic, but I cannot. It was written in two different moments in the author’s life, and this is clearly evident by the two halves of the book. The first is written as if we are listening to Arthur Winthrop live his life as an adult, a headmaster of a private school, having an affair with a teenage pupil. The second is the reality – the “pupil” is his wife and the breakdown in his mental state is due to the death of their child. Death of a child is a tragic and one wants to sympathise with Arthur, but his whole mental breakdown comes across in this novel as something sordid.

The book is neither well written or worth reading in my opinion. But then I must note that it is labelled as a dark novel, and this is a genre I have no time for given my past review. I persevered with the book and I will note with interest what Dave chooses to do when it is his turn to read it.

First published in the United States of America by Thomas Dunne Books in 2014

ISBN number 978-1-78239-171-5

Paperback – 273 pages

Disclaimer: I was sent the book to review by Penguin Books South Africa. I was not required to write a positive review. This disclaimer is in line with my blogging policy.

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