I was slightly disappointed with this book. The last vegetarian book in this series had plenty of slow cooker meals, but in this book a lot of the rec...moreI was slightly disappointed with this book. The last vegetarian book in this series had plenty of slow cooker meals, but in this book a lot of the recipes were non-crockpot meals and I am not sure how that ties in with the fix-it and forget-it idea.
Right the first recipe is for mushroom manicotti, and, frankly, I do not see the “forget-it” in a meal that calls for cooked manicotti, preparing the stuffing, stuffing the pasta, bake it and then prepare a tomato sauce on the side to serve it with.
So far to me this series represented easy recipes where I could throw the ingredients into the slow cooker and forget about them until the cooker had worked its magic. This concept seems to have been given up now for the sake of “roasting, stir-frying and steaming – all the methods that so highlight vegetables’ star qualities”. Admittedly those recipes sound mouth watering and lovely: Tasty lentil tacos, Polenta with spicy bean sauce, Quinoa with broccoli and hoisin sauce, but they are not what I came for.
I saved some of the slow cooker recipes and am definitely planning on making them soon. The non-crockpot dishes are definitely worth a go as well, just that are not the fix-it and forget-it kind. If you don’t mind that, go for this book.(less)
This is a no-nonsense book with recipes suitable for a busy life with real life pictures. The recipes are all fairly easy and mostly for the slow cook...moreThis is a no-nonsense book with recipes suitable for a busy life with real life pictures. The recipes are all fairly easy and mostly for the slow cooker. With a few exceptions the instructions are limited to “mix all ingredients in the slow cooker and cook for 7-8 hours on low”. Can it be any easier? If you love beans and lentils especially, this is a book for you.(less)
When I started reading this I knew next to nothing about the Borgias. I only knew that they are said to have been an infamous family, poisoning people...moreWhen I started reading this I knew next to nothing about the Borgias. I only knew that they are said to have been an infamous family, poisoning people to the left and right, power greedy as nobody else before or after, you know what I mean. Other than that I was clueless.
G.J. Meyer set out to write a book to rehabilitate that family and he does an excellent job. He starts at a time when the first member of the Borgias, Alonso de Borja, who later became pope Calixtus III., begins his career. We then are taken on a mind spinning journey through the next 80 years or so, learning about the rise of this incredible family, their drawbacks, the ramifications of their actions as well as all the political goings on in Renaissance Italy. And there is a lot to tell.
Alliances were formed one day and withdrawn the next, warlords were usurping cities all over the place, condottieri sold their services to one baron this moment and to another one the next, foreign kings were meddling nonstop. The intermarriages between families and the various relationships were mind-boggling; this is not a book that you can read without concentrating on it. The author, however, has a writing style that just flows and he explains everything so well that it is a pleasure to follow otherwise confusing events.
After every chapter he inserts a background chapter where he explains one specific aspect of the time, for example a short history of Venice and how come it was the only city state reigned over by a council of men, what condottieri were, great discoveries of the time etc. Those chapters were breaks where one could learn about a subject in more detail before the eventful family story was taken up again.
While being pro-Borgia the author still does not sugarcoat what the Borgias did. He tells facts and does not gossip. He interprets events for which there is no evidence in the Borgias’ favour, but always mentions other points of view as well. However, his interpretations make sense.
I feel that I can hold up a conversation about the Borgias now and know what I am talking about. Next time someone mentions Lucrezia Borgia being the ultimate venefica of the last millennium, I will be able to defend her with ease. What more can you ask for?
If you even have a faint interest in history and the Renaissance and/or the Borgias, you have to read this book. (less)
I have already read a few later books in the series so I knew what to expect. It is a nice start to the series that clears up a few situations that w...more I have already read a few later books in the series so I knew what to expect. It is a nice start to the series that clears up a few situations that were not explained later on anymore. Cozy atmosphere and likeable main characters. If you don’t mind the usual overload of the “theme” (i.e. “There is a bludgeoned body in the basement? Nothing a gourmet latte couldn’t fix.”), this is a very pleasant mystery.(less)