Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Surgeon. St. Paddy's, Mistborn, ebooks,

I finally got an appointment to see the orthopaedic surgeon on March 17th. St. Paddy's Day. My hip is not bothering me nearly so much, but still hurting enough to screw up my bowling in a big way. At least, that is my excuse for my terrible scores lately. Actually March 17 is quite a prominent date in our family. It was my anniversary with my first husband (53 years ago), and it is Matt's youngest's birthday as well as her husband's.

A major storm is being forecast for this area for Tuesday. It seems to have already started as it was snowing/sleeting on the way home from bowling. We have an appointment tomorrow afternoon but if the weather is bad, we will not be going.

I have just started Brandon Sanderson's latest Mistborn story, The Bands of Mourning. He certainly hops around from book to book. Also means we have to wait a long time for sequels. That argues in favour of not reading a series until it's finished. Who knows what's going to happen. Like the Wheel of Time author, Robert Jordan, dying before he had finished his very long series. He had also been writing some offshoot stories but I guess those tales will never be told now. Such a pity. One gets some authors who write one book and that is all they ever do and others who are incredibly prolific but don't necessarily get their ideas all written. The Stormlight series by Brandon is a case in point, it is taking forever between books and could well end up as one of those which doesn't get completed. Not only that, remembering what happened before is not the easiest thing for the reader either. If one owns the books I guess it is easy to re-read, but if I owned every book I read I would be a pauper. Even Kindle books are getting expensive especially from well known authors. I tend to think it is a rip off to charge so much for electronic books just because you have a "name". Many of my friends, including ones reading  this blog, tend to average between $2 and $5 for their books. All I can say is, thank heavens for libraries.

This looks an interesting recipe from the New York Times. Everyone seems to like meatballs and these have a good tasting sauce on them.

North African Meatballs

Time1 hour 15 minutes
Yield4 to 6 servings, about 36 meatballs

In France, meatballs are called boulettes, and by far the favorite versions are the spice-scented North African type. Most of the neighborhood Tunisian and Moroccan restaurants in Paris offer them, served as an appetizer or a side, or in a fragrant main-course tagine with couscous.

This recipe is an amalgam of several that I found on my bookshelf, among them one called boulettes
tangéroises in an old French cookbook. Since I like things a bit spicier, my boulettes are more like Tunisian ones, in which hot pepper is more assertive.


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 and 1/2 cups finely diced onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 inch piece cinnamon stick
Large pinch saffron, crumbled
Salt and pepper
3 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth or water
1 and 1/2 cups cubed day-old firm white bread
1 cup milk
1 pound ground beef or lamb
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
⅛ teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons finely chopped scallion
All-purpose flour, for dusting
Olive oil or vegetable oil
1 cup giant couscous, m’hamsa, or medium couscous
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup golden raisins, soaked in hot water to soften, then drained
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon


Make the sauce: Heat oil over medium-high heat in a wide, heavy bottomed saucepan. Add onion and cook without browning until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, tomato paste, cinnamon and saffron, and stir well to incorporate. Season generously with salt and pepper, and allow to sizzle for 1 minute more. Add broth and simmer gently for 5 minutes. May be made several hours in advance, up to a day.
Make the meatballs: Put bread cubes and milk in a small bowl. Leave bread to soak until softened, about 5 minutes, then squeeze dry.
In a mixing bowl, put squeezed-out bread, ground meat and egg. Add salt, pepper, garlic, nutmeg, ginger, turmeric, paprika, cayenne, cloves, coriander and cumin. Mix well with hands to distribute seasoning. Add 2 tablespoons each of parsley, cilantro and scallion, and knead for a minute. May be prepared several hours in advance, up to a day.
With hands, roll mixture into small round balls about the size of a quarter. Dust balls lightly with flour. Heat a few tablespoons of oil, or a quarter-inch depth, over medium-high heat and fry meatballs until barely browned, about 2 minutes per side. Drain and blot on paper towel. Simmer meatballs in saffron-tomato sauce, covered, over medium heat for about 20 minutes, until tender.
Meanwhile, make the couscous, if desired: Cook according to package directions, fluff gently and stir in butter and raisins. Season with salt and cinnamon, and toss well.
Garnish meatballs with remaining parsley, cilantro and scallion. Serve with couscous and roasted tomatoes if desired.

Have a great day


  1. Hi Jo - I'm glad the appointment has come up - that's good ... at least you can find out exactly what's happening. March 17th always a fun day ...

    Love the thought of the North African meatballs ... I always add cumin to my mince when I want something special ... cheers Hilary

    1. So am I Hilary. I will be glad to get it sorted.

      I don't often make meatballs, but I might have a go at these.

  2. I love my local library. I borrow books from there instead of buying every book I read. I've donated enough money to them to get a plaque on a wall with my name on it and I'll make another donation this year. I cannot believe the prices of some of the books out there today.

    1. Me too Denise. Ours are government funded I'm pleased to say, they are a great source of books, movies and anything else in that line. Not that I have ever used them, but they also have computers for patron's use and I often see school kids using them.

  3. Be safe with that approaching storm! I have found myself allowing myself to pay up to $2.99 for an eBook. I have a lot on my tablet that I haven't read so now I'm not getting any book until I clear some of them out.


    1. That approaching storm seems to have disappeared somewhere Betty. I am doing the same. I have so many books on my Kindle too that I doubt I will ever get through them all.

  4. Glad you finally got your appt.! So is it stormy there? We're supposed to get it tonight and tomorrow.

    1. Me to JoJo. Nope, it's been playing at snowing off and on since yesterday, but I do mean playing. We were supposed to get it last night I believe.

  5. I'm glad to hear they scheduled your surgery. I'm pretty sure that's what's causing the bad scores. That or the bug stress.

    Son #4 is hoping for one last snow, but I think it's all done here.

  6. So what's my excuse for bad bowling scores...? Glad you've got an appointment to figure everything out, though.

    And yes, ebook prices can be ridiculous, can't they? I've seen instances from major authors where the ebook is $14.99 and the mass market paperback is $7.99. What's the point of that?

    1. I don't know, you will have to think of one ABFTS. So am I.

      Yes, I found one of those this morning. I immediately checked the library and they had it so I am going to read it for free. Admittedly it was a book I wouldn't have minded owning, but at those kinds of prices, no way.

  7. The year is already flying past. I can't believe we're already talking about St Paddy's Day. Good to hear your surgery is organised.

    1. Amazing isn't it Pinky. How's the moving going? Well I hope.

      Not organized yet, just an appointment with the surgeon.

  8. I love Brandon Sanderson. I've read all his books and I think he did a great job finishing off the Wheel of Time series after Jordan died. Hope the doctor has an answer for you hip.

    1. Me too Susan although I confess I am finding this one a bit difficult. He certainly did well on the WOT series.

      I hope so too.

  9. Maybe having the appt on St. Patrick's Day is a good thing. Now let's hope you get the right answers. It is miserable out there and quite slick.

    1. You never know Birgit. Not sure how much snow we got but it sure became very white in a hurry.

  10. Glad you got your appointment. Very cool.