Heartburn, Bread Pudding and October Books.

Nora Ephron's Heartburn. Bread Pudding.

Nora Ephron‘s Heartburn made me laugh and made me cook. I built my October Cooking the Books column around her recipe for bread pudding. Read more by clicking here. Trust me, this one is worth it.Nora Ephron's Heartburn. Bread Pudding.

I get a particular satisfaction out of reading books in the appropriate season and it is all the sweeter when I can match reading material to the month at hand. Am I alone?

The Hunt For Red October. Tom Clancy

I compiled a list of October books, strictly those which have October in the title. You can read that by clicking here.

I would write more for you but I’ve used up all my time on France (that sounds better if you sing it to the tune of This Charming Man); 9,000 words –I’ve made it to Midday on Saturday. I can’t stop now, I’m committed to it.



A Review and a Recipe.

IMG_8572Refuge resonates with a ring of truth. Dina Nayeri reveals her own story, her own experience as an expatriate, her own insight into the life of Iranian refugees seeking shelter in Europe, and all under the wispy veil of two words, inserted in a tiny font, between the title and her name: ‘a novel.’

To read my review, and discover a really easy-peasy but very yummy recipe, CLICK HERE.

Cooking the Books while Elizabeth is Missing.

Tete a tete narcissus, table-top daffodils.

Elizabeth is Missing.That’s a great title, isn’t it? What a hook? You can’t help wondering who Elizabeth is and what’s happened to her.

Emma Healey‘s beautifully crafted book broke my heart a little bit, as all good books should.

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey.

Maud is 82 and confused. Sometimes she can’t quite recall what the machine for heating bread, you know, making it brown, is called. Sometimes she’s not certain who that young woman in the kitchen is. And why are there six cups of cold tea lined up on the hall table?

There is one thing of which Maud is absolutely certain; Elizabeth is missing. Elizabeth is not at home and her nasty son is acting suspiciously. The problem is that nobody will listen to Maud anymore. They won’t believe her and it’s very difficult to solve a mystery when the clues, a powder compact and a hair comb, don’t make sense and, furthermore, she can’t quite remember who it is she’s searching for. She has to rummage in her pockets to find the note she wrote to remind herself. Who was it that’s missing? Oh yes, that’s right, Elizabeth.

Oh Lord, this was heart-wrenching. To be honest, I wasn’t too concerned about Elizabeth. I guessed that she was either dead or grand. It was Maud’s loss that squeezed my guts – her loss of memory, loss of dignity and loss of identity.

If I were to cook a dish to represent this book, it could only be tea and toast as that’s about all Maud is up to.

Elizabeth is Missing is an intriguing and satisfying but, ultimately, terrifying read.

Notice how dark this photo is? It was snowing outside the window, just inches from the cup, when I took it. Perfect weather for tea and toast. My job has a lot of perks.

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

Speaking of which, I have exciting news for you. Well, it’s exciting for me but you’re welcome to come along for the ride.

As you know, I have been reviewing books for Bookwitty for a while now. I love it SO much. It is, without a shadow of a doubt, my dream job. I can’t believe my luck. Now, it gets even better because they have trusted me with a regular slot, combining my two favourite things in the world: books and food. You might almost call it a column although I’m wary of recalling my Carrie Bradshaw aspirations.

Every month I will write about a book and include a recipe that bears some relationship to that book. It might be a dish that was cooked in the book or it might be a representation of my own devising. I’m SO excited about this as I have already LOVED writing this type of blog post.

Remember A God In Ruins and a Far Breton.? People should eat more Far Breton. It’s great for readers due to the absence of crumbs! I also loved doing The Improbability Of Love On First Dates. That was an ideal book and an ideal recipe for Valentine’s Day if any of you are thinking that far ahead.

My Prue Leith review with a recipe for Mozzarella in Carozza  was the spark for the whole column idea. In December, I cooked some honey-soaked Greek cookies . For diet-conscious January I suggest puffy chouquettes as featured in Muriel Barbery’s Gourmet Rhapsody. These light-as-air morsels could hardly be considered a sin.

Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barbery

Plans are afoot to have something naughty prepared in time for Valentine’s Day. Here’s a sneak (and, again, snow-lit) preview. I started re-reading this book last night. I’ve noted on the first page that I read it for the first time, as a barely legal 19-year-old in 1991. It still has the power to make my heart race. I must be still alive then.

Dangerous Liaisons by Choderlos de Laclos

I feel that my brain has been packed away in wadding for the past two decades while I have been raising children. Slowly but surely now, it is coming out of hibernation. This, this blog, the book reviews and the interaction with you, feels to me like a small miracle and I am very grateful.

Tete a tete narcissus, table-top daffodils.

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Heatwave, Father Ted, Father Dougall, The end Of The Ice Age, bookwitty,

A hot, golden hush has fallen.

Just the slurp of a raspberry smoothie and sporadic sploosh in the pool.


I bet you didn’t know that July 19th marks the anniversary of the end of the ice age. Don’t believe me?

I slipped out of bed at the misty crack of dawn to write an article for Bookwitty. I was challenged to find ten convincing reasons to grow your own food. It turned out that the eleventh was the clincher. Read it here.

Right now I should be tackling a mounting pile of laundry, picking peas, digging spuds, walking the dog, covering schoolbooks or making a birthday cake. Instead I am compiling a list of convincing reasons to sink into a long, iced coffee.

Carrie Bradshaw, part 2.

first professional publication, bookwitty, comfort zone,

Hah, I got you there…you thought you were in for another photo of Yours Truly posing provocatively in a blue paper jumpsuit. Sorry, no.

In fact, I am here at my desk, on this gloriously sunny June morning, to say Thank You.

To all of you who have looked or liked and especially to those who have commented and complimented. You gave me the boost I needed to take a wobbly baby step outside my comfort zone.

first professional publication, bookwitty, comfort zone,

I made an tentative approach to the people at Bookwitty and submitted this little story as, I hoped, a gateway piece. To my surprise and delight, they came back asking for some longer articles.

Bookwitty requested a Q&A format for a piece on Eat Your Books. Waaaaaah! What did that mean? Was I supposed to just contact Eat Your Books and ask to speak to the owner? Errrr, exactly, yes.

So, I did. I made believe I was some sort of proper journalist person. Okay I admit it, I landed on Carrie Bradshaw again. Sadly, still no ostrich feather dress.


Jane Kelly, the lovely co-founder of Eat Your Books, must surely have suspected that she was in the shaky hands of a rank amateur. She was gracious and kind and, more or less, wrote the whole thing for me. Click here to read my first professional article.

On the crest of a creative wave, I wrote two more articles.

This one about my sourdough bread baking adventure and this one about the SultanaBun Family Summer Holiday Book Club.

If you go directly to the Bookwitty Home Page, you will notice two of my articles right there on the front page!!! My profile and the first article were there yesterday. Heart-thumping stuff, I tell you!

I feel weirdly guilty about cheating my loyal blog readers because these would have been blog posts. Please, please, make the extra click through to Bookwitty, have a read and, if you like them, click the wit it button. As it stands, I have exactly zero readers on Bookwitty so I am relying on you! If I can make a go of this I might just be able to make a contribution to the household finances and feel a whole lot better about myself.


I’m completely flattened now so I’m going out to bask in the sunshine. The beaches are jammers and we have all stripped to our knickers. Every bed sheet in the country has been washed, our freckles are starting to blend into something approximating a tan and B&Q have sold out of barbecues. The weather has been so fine that pundits are already predicting a baby boom next March. The relationship that we Irish have with the weather is beyond ridiculous.

No links to like this week, other than my own. Now, how cool is that?

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Brand and Growth and Links I Liked.


Small Girl was right. The sun has come out. The sky is blue all over, all the way round, a perfect shimmering sky blue.

So that’s why they call it sky blue, eh? I had almost forgotten.

Brand and growth blogging course, set three goals, blogging 201, #bloggingbranding,

Down to business.

I have signed up for the wordpress Brand and Growth blogging course. Is anybody else having a go? It will be ten days of tasks to complete by the end of which I shall be transformed into a seriously influential blogger, a proper mover and a shaker.


Okay then, being realistic, I will hopefully get some guidance about what I’m supposed to be doing here. I am supposed to answer these questions:

Why do I blog? 

I ask myself this all the time and the only true answer is this; because it feels good. I’ve always been a writer of letters and this is my writing comfort zone. I’m sending a letter into the universe and hoping that a few like-minded souls will, at least, send up a smoke signal in reply. It makes me feel that, even if I am isolated here in my quiet house, there are people just like me, out there, beyond the wide blue fence.


If my blog exceeded my wildest dreams what would it look like?

A woman on the other side of the world sits in a coffee shop reading an obscure and unfashionable book. Her friend arrives, drops her bag and takes a seat.

‘What’s that you’re reading?’ asks the newcomer.
‘Oh, you’d love it,’ says the woman,’Sultanabun recommended it’. 
‘Really? Then I must read it’.

Something like that 🙂

I would also really like to find a way of making money from this blog so that I can keep doing it forever and never stop because I love it.


Set three concrete goals for your blog.

  1. Followers. I would be lying if I claimed not to care how many followers I have. Of course I do and I want more! So far, I have a total of 150 which is paltrey compared to others. I would claim that mine are high calibre followers; they read and comment and care. I’m going to set a goal of reaching 200 followers by September 1st. I have no clue how to make that happen but I guess that’s what this course is for.
  2. The first regular feature, which I began yesterday, will be a monthly garden update. I’ll let you know what’s growing, what’s blooming, what we are eating from the garden and what the slugs got first. I’m making a vow to be completely mostly honest with absolutely no very little selective cropping of pictures.
  3. The next regular feature, which I will begin today, will be a selection of my favourite links and tidbits from around the web. Let me know what you think.



Right. Let’s do that.

Drumroll please…..ta daah:

Links I Liked This Week.

Well, that was a bit underwhelming.

Get a free t-shirt from Bookwitty.com

I came across this site by chance. It is a book-selling, book-loving, book-talking site. They have a hub in Toronto and a new office in Dublin. If I have understood correctly, they are selling books worldwide through a network of independent bookshops. That seems like a great idea. I buy lots of books from Amazon but I do feel traitorous as I one-click a book.

Bookwitty also feature a wealth of bookish articles and conversations and they encourage users to contribute. I liked this article by Dr. Ken Beatty about fostering a love of reading in children.  I have linked some of my reviews to the relevant topics so, if you come across them, I would be grateful if you could give me a like. They call it a wit.

I signed up on wednesday night and received an email yesterday to tell me that I am one of the first 1000 followers which wins me a free t-shirt. If you get in there quickly you might get lucky.

Just to be clear, I am not affiliated to Bookwitty but I would like to contribute to the site.

Give up dieting. 

This is a great article. When I was in college I had an option to study nutrition. I regret having dismissed it in favour of food chemistry and I’m fascinated by the subject now.

While I remain a lazy, lardy lump, I have been making an effort to walk the dog more often and a little farther.

Watch James Cordon.

Am I the last person on the planet to watch the James Cordon youtube channel ? Just in case I’m not, link to it here.

I’m sorry to rush you, my friends, but I need to get out there with a trowel, or maybe just an iced coffee. Have a great weekend.

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