Still open, despite all those irreligious (of books rather than God) politicians who cut communal things up into so many small pieces most odd months and all even ones.

Yesterday I got an overdue notice and an attached sheet detailing the new schedule of fines. They went up last year but this year's rise is even more dramatic. I may have to get a lobotomy and become a person who puts the library receipts on the fridge door and marks due dates on the calendar (which is hidden under the back seat of the car - the Trout Hotel 2010 calendar never quite made it to the walls of our palace) and returns library books on time.

Anyway, far from deterring me from getting books out, I thought that as the philistines will probably want to ban libraries altogether in the not too distant future, I should use it as much as possible right now.

It turns out that our local library has only two New Zealand poetry books and neither is by my heroine Tusiata Avia. It does have Nabokov's Lolita though, which I have never read and decided that now is the time. I also got out Clarissa Dickson Wright's Rifling Through My Drawers, an memoir of her last year, published no doubt because her memoir Spilling the Beans was so popular and so damn good. This more recent book is nowhere near as good. Interesting material, but overly padded out, to get the book to publishable size quickly I suspect. Something I do like about this Fat Lady is that she is fat and appears to care not a damn and still manages to be very good at what she does and loved by the media. For a chick, very unusual. I would make her a poster girl beside Tusiata Avia if I was in the enviable position of commissioning a set of posters of wonderful people.

Actually, that would be fun. Who would you choose if you were commissioning posters? [I know, assuming anyone is out there]

Two more books: The Clothes on their Backs by Linda Grant and Confessions of an Eco Sinner: Travels to find where my stuff comes from by Fred Pearce.

Now in the morning I shall rescue Room on the Broom plus five errant books of mine from under the bed and take. them. back. One of the kind assistants at the library did a comparative maths exercise with me on what the new fines will be on them from next week.

My sewing machine is back today, fixed far more quickly than I wanted because now it is back, I can actually do some project finishing which does inevitably lead to the idea that I should finish the odd sewing project.

I tried a recipe from Allyson Gofton's book Slow, copied from Mum's copy last week. According to the lists in the weekend papers, the entire country is engaged in a frenzy of buying slow cooker recipe books. Surely preferable to actually cooking anything. It was called 'Puttanesca chickpea braise' and I'm rather underwhelmed by it. Basically chickpeas plus classic mediterranean foods (anchovies, olives, capers, tomatoes, oregano, basil, more tomatoes only this time the expensive sun dried ones) shoved in a slow cooker for the day. The chickpeas weren't as perfectly tender as we (the adults) like them and I didn't think the flavours were suited to the cooking time and method. Plus there were no vegetables and if I'm to get up and chop so vigorously, so early, on a winter's morning, then I don't expect to have to chop and cook all over again at the other end of the day just to prevent us all from getting scurvy.

We have loads left over as, like most slow cooker recipes, it made enough for a banquet. I'm thinking of roasting some pumpkin and parsnips (parsnips courtesy of my Dad's frost hardened garden) with herbs tomorrow and then cooking the leftovers (together with some kale) a bit longer to soften the chickpeas some more. I might top each plate with parmesan. Or turbot.


Gillybean said…
Ahh library fines. Me too. I frequent three libraries and I have to remember to keep the Tasman district books separate from the Nelson books. I happily fork out for the ever present late fines because I fill out suggestion forms for books to buy almost every time I'm there. I rope my friends into making the same suggestions as well. We got some great Koanga, knitting and worm farming books by this method.
miriam said…
It must be the time of year when public libraries rejig their budgets because ours has just doubled the cost of holds which is my favourite means of making sure a book is there, when I am.
Had to laugh about the chickpea fandango. Why is it that when you make a meal that nobody likes there is always twice as much of it to get rid of? and if it is a runaway success there are no delicious leftovers. Tomato can inhibit the softening of chickpeas (like salt in the cooking water) and they may never soften...
I grew Baby Bear Pumpkins a few years ago and they had delicious seeds but the pumpkin itself wasn't great eating. Our season is not often long enough to really ripen pumpkins properly so that could have been the problem but they are a little pumpkin and should have been ok.
Still loving the bread book. Winter is a good time for cooking.
Hi Gilly! I bet it is beautiful up your way at the moment.

Miriam thanks for the tip about tomato inhibiting the chickpeas from cooking. I recall Alison Holst says always cook the chickpeas (or other legumes) before using them in a slow cooker dish and now I see she is right. I don't think I will bother with rehashing another meal out of it then. Expensive chook food though!

We have marginal weather for ripening pumpkins also. Hence I thought I would try the small size this time.

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