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Fine Dining (And Recipe) For Not The Soup Of The Day

170316-tomato-gin-soup
I am editing one portion of a novel as I am writing another. It is, so far, 1,000 hand-written pages – so not too much clashes between editing and original writing.
My central character, Alison Alexandra, has (I find) many meals in the course [pun intended] of the book. One of the dishes she is about to enjoy, in the editing, is the following.
I make note of the fact because, I am reasonably sure, other characters in other of my books have also enjoyed this. But I don’t have time – at the moment – to check.
It is safe to say that I remember this delightful soup, the restaurant (now gone) where I first had it, and many of the times thereafter when I did have it.
I guess I better make it myself.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tomato and Gin Soup

This recipe comes courtesy of ‘The Raglan Road Cookbook: Inside America’s Favorite Irish Pub’
Harry Weir

Harry Weir

“This is one of my favourite ‘empty larder’ recipes that requires 
little preparation and is quick to cook. Simple.”- Kevin Dundon

This recipe comes courtesy of The Raglan Road Cookbook: Inside America’s Favorite Irish Pub by Kevin Dundon and Neil Cubley. Click here to purchase your own copy.

6
Servings
238
Calories Per Serving

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 Pounds ripe plum tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Ounces gin
  • 3 Cups vegetable stock or water
  • 1 pinch light muscovado sugar, optional
  • 1 Cup cream
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon herb oil, to garnish

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 
a few minutes until golden. 
Add the tomatoes and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes or so until well heated through and just beginning to break down. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour the gin into the pan and allow to reduce by half, stirring occasionally. Stir in the vegetable stock or water and allow to reduce by half again. Blitz with a hand blender to a smooth purée. Season to taste and add the sugar if you think the soup needs it.

To serve, add the cream to the soup and allow to warm through. Season to taste and ladle into warmed serving 
bowls. Garnish each bowl with 
a drizzle of herb oil.

(recipe) http://www.thedailymeal.com/recipes/tomato-and-gin-soup-recipe

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Franz Kafka – the Race Horse

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I doubt that Kafka would ever turn over in his grave about anything – considering  the accuracy he had in observing the world. Also, he wrote some very – peculiar – stories which puts normal reality to shame.

But this – I think – would give him pause.

He has had a race horse named after him.

I don’t think there are any reports, or diary entries, or letters, about him going to the races. It seems his interest in sports was minimal, except for those that one does on their own. He liked swimming, and long walks, and rowing around and about on the river. But that seems to be it. Plus, he was never much of a gambler – except in life.

So, I think that at best, he would be bemused about Franz Kafka, the Race Horse.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Franz Kafka

  • Age3 (Foaled 28th February 2016)
  • TrainerJ H M Gosden
  • SexColt
  • SireDubawi
  • DamKailani
  • OwnerHH Sheikha Al Jalila Racing
Date Pos BHA Type Race Details SP
14/08/19 6/8 87 FLAT Kempton, 7f, Standard / Slow, C4 4/1
28/05/19 1/5 86 FLAT Brighton, 7f 211y, Good to Firm (Watered), C5 8/15
07/05/19 3/11 86 FLAT Wetherby, 7f, Good to Soft, C5 1/2
18/04/19 2/14 82 FLAT Newmarket, 7f, Good to Firm (Good in Places), C4 13/8
31/03/19 2/10 FLAT Doncaster, 7f 6y, Good to Firm (Good in places), C5 11/4
26/10/18 6/15 FLAT Newbury, 1m, Good to Soft (Soft in Places), C4 8/11
06/10/18 3/12 FLAT Newmarket, 1m, Good, C4 33/1

(http://www.sportinglife.com/racing/profiles/horse/901864)

 

R/Jane-the-Ghost Is Not The Ghost Of Christmas (Past, Present or Future)

original_little-ghost-acrylic-brooch

“That is a peculiar-looking ship.”

“It is,” agrees Alison Alexandra.

She agrees because it is a peculiar-looking ship. She is studying it through her military-grade binoculars as she stands near the edge of her cliff, leaning against a waist-high barrier she had constructed just for this purpose.

Three sturdy posts painted blue.

There is a wooden knob atop each post, painted red. Four broad boards, painted white, are securely nailed to the posts, with slight gaps between them. There is room for five people to stand side-by-side.

Alison Alexandra has never had more than one person at a time accompany her on this venture. A slight problem at the moment is that this is not one of those times. She is standing alone, binoculars to eyes, looking out to the ship in the harbour. The peculiar-looking ship.

“In fact, it is not just peculiar-looking, it is actually peculiar.”

It is,” agrees Alison Alexandra, who does not lower her binoculars. “Though that is not the only peculiar thing at the moment.”

“It is not?”

“It is not,” says Alison Alexandra. “One other peculiar thing is that I am standing here by myself.”

“I see.”

“I don’t,” says Alison Alexandra.

“I’m out of your vision.” The voice does not falter. “I’m R/Jane-the-Ghost.”

“R/Jane-the-Ghost?” asks Alison Alexandra.

“Yes,” confirms R/Jane-the-Ghost.” Yes.”

“A for real ghost?” asks Alison Alexandra. “Not a figment produced by an undigested piece of potato?”

“I like that idea,” says R/Jane-the-Ghost. “Being a Dickensian ghost. I liked reading Dickens.”

“As do I,” says Alison Alexandra.

“But – no – no Dickensian ghost am I. I bring no warnings.”

“”No festive cheer?”

“Nary a candle.” Says R/Jane-the-Ghost. “No bony finger have I, pointing at anything.”

“You did – in your way – point out the peculiar ship.”

“In my way.”

“Point taken,” says Alison Alexandra.

There is a low chuckle, bordering on hearty, close beside her right ear. She does lower her binoculars at that, and moves her head to look. Her view is unobstructed all the way down her cliff. The water sparkles.

 

[Image] http:/cdn.notonthehighstreet.com/fs/06/90/c0b3-fff4-4518-b7d7-527c4703c9d8/original_little-ghost-acrylic-brooch.jpg

Hey, Hey, Hey – It’s World Elephant Day! Trumpet About That!!

world-elephant-day-2018

So, there is no question that the world needs more elephants. The more the merrier, say I.

On the loose and living the good life.

Tanking up on fresh food.

Swilling up at the water holes.

Getting  a mud bath on the muddy shores,.

Getting a dust bath in the dust fields.

And making a hellova lot more baby elephants.

And those elephants still alive (and – alas- they are getting easier to count) should be left alone by the vicious human beasts who slaughter them for fun and ivory.

An Elephant stampede would come in right handy.

Now, I’m partial to Elephants, having written a book of short stories where an elephant holds his own in conversations with God.

Yes, God gets a good talking to, though the Almighty does manage to give as good as He gets.

So, I’m all for WORLD Elephant Day.

In fact, I’d give them a whole Week.

Nay, a whole Month.

Alright, a whole Year!!

They’re BIG animals. They can handle it.

(Image)  https://www.wildlifealliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/World-Elephant-day-2018.jpg

 

Kafka Never Slept In This Prague Hotel

hotel-century-old-town

When I visited Prague to research my novel, Kafka In The Castle, I went to many of the places that were part of  Kafka’s life. One such place – the small house where he wrote a whole book of short stories – became a setting for a third of my novel.

However,the building where he was employed, The Workers’ Accident Insurance Institute for the Kingdom of Bohemia in Prague, I only saw at a distance across a Square. It was not a happy place for Kafka, though he was very successful at his employ, and rose to an administrative position of importance. It was not really much of a setting for my novel.

 

That building is now a fancy hotel, and Kafka’s office is a room for rent. It is even designated The Franz Kafka room, and contains mementos. It is where I plan to stay when next I visit. I hope there is not a long list of folk wishing to spend the night there, too. It even includes a restaurant named after his fiancée, Felice.

 

Following is some information about the hotel, and some photos of the room.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The hotel is situated in the heart of Prague, next to the Old Town Square, where the famous medieval astronomical clock is mounted on the southern wall of the Old Town City Hall. The Neo-Baroque building was built in the 19th century by Alfonse Wertmuller, a famous architect in Prague. It was formerly the office of the Workers’ Accident Insurance of Kingdom of Bohemia, where Franz Kafka worked as an insurance clerk from 1908 to 1922. His spirit can still be felt in the hotel, as his bronze bust welcomes guests in the lobby in front of the majestic stairs.
hotel-century-old-town
room
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In addition, this is one of the few diary entries I wrote, set in his office building,

 
Excerpt from Kafka In The Castle

16 February 1917

There was a commotion at the office today. It was late morning, and from far below, coming up the stairwell, I could hear a voice bellowing: “Doktor Kafka. Doktor Kafka.” It was a terrible voice, full of blood and darkness.

I got from my desk and went to the door. There were other voices, trying to calm, saying: “He can’t be disturbed.” But the voice was louder, more horrible, close in the corridor.  “Doktor Kafka – for the love of God.”   My secretary wanted me to stay inside, hoped the man would just move along the corridor until the police were summoned.

But – I was curious; the man had my name, and his voice was … terrified.

I opened the door and stood in front of it.  “I’m Kafka,” I said. The man lunged at me, and went to his knees.  “Doktor Kafka?” he said.  “Yes, I’m Kafka.” He reached out, grabbing for my hand.  “Jesus, Jesus, for the love of Jesus – they say that you’ll help me.”

He was a heavy man, and looked as if he had the strength to pull off doors, yet the tears burst from his eyes.  “I can get no work. I fell from a bridge, and my back is twisted and in pain.” He slumped against the wall, looking at my eyes.  “I have a family, Doktor Kafka. A baby not a year old.”  “You were working on this bridge?” I asked.  “Yes.” His voice slid down his throat. “I was helping repair the surface.”  “Then you deserve your insurance. Why can’t you get it?”

He straightened up, and tried to stand. “I have to fill in papers; the doctor can see no wounds; the foreman said I drank; because my brother is a thief, I am not to be trusted.” I held out my hand, and he slowly stood. “I’m telling you the truth, Doktor Kafka.”

“If that is so,” I said, “you’ll get the money due you.”  “I’m so tired,” he said.

I gave instructions to those standing around – no other work was to be done until this man’s case was decided. I took him to my office, where he sat.

He sat – practically without a word – for five hours. I summoned a prominent doctor to look at him. The doctor prodded, and the man screamed. Officials from his village were telephoned. I helped him with the details on the forms. His truth was in his pain. He left our stony building with money in his hand, and his worth restored.

The people who assisted me had smiles on their faces.

A man had needed their help.

Kafka And His Friend, Max Brod, Share A Laugh In Heaven

kafka-brod

(Max Brod + Franz Kafka w/ hat)

I kinda do wonder if Franz is whispering into Brod’s ear (wherever they may have ended up) “I told you to burn them.”

To which Brod would accurately reply, “You knew I wouldn’t. If you wanted it done, you would have done it yourself.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Franz Kafka archive reclaimed by Israel national library | Books | The Guardian

Israel’s national library has unveiled a missing batch of Franz Kafka’s papers, ending more than a decade of legal wrangling between Israel and Germany over the author’s legacy.

(more) https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/aug/07/israel-national-library-unveils-reclaimed-franz-kafka-archive

 

Circles Are The Answer ~ Space & Universe & Beyond

1-milkyway-galaxy

“Circles are the answer.

“Just look at any circle and you’ll see what I mean. Of course, no one else is to know about the circles. They must be very stupid if they can’t see something so obvious.

“Yet, you get hints, don’t you – all the time out there. And in your own life – the way things happen so you never get anywhere. Never change.

“The earth, of course, and the sun – well, that’s something you can see. Either way you look at it, the one goes around the other in a big circle that takes in the whole sky. And the earth and the sun and the moon are round  – all circles in their own right. So you have circles which are going around in circles, if you get my meaning.

“And if you look further – reach out into the universe as far as you can go – they tell us that everything is going around everything else. Smaller circles and elongated circles which take in such large distances that numbers become forgotten.

“Now, this means that everything, eventually, comes back upon itself. The beginning is really the end. That’s what most people would think – and that’s where they make their mistake.

“You see, things don’t start by beginning – they start by ending. It’s the end which comes first in a circle, so, instead of going back to where it started, it comes back to its end.

“That explains it.”

[Image] https: //i2.wp.com/everwideningcircles.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/1-milkyway-galaxy.jpg?resize=1600%2C901&ssl=1

 

Chow Down: Fake Food To Go (With Your Fake News)

 

manufacturing-fake-food-a-620

Please, Ladies and Gentlemen, I think it’s time to – please, if you don’t mind – it really is time to begin our – thank you, that’s much better – time for our meeting to start.

As you can see by looking around, this gathering is exclusively for Department Heads, and there will be no minutes taken. These projections are for your ears only.

Not only would we not wish another company to get them, but there is a chance the general public may become concerned, little realising the economics of our endeavours. A brief history of colours, dyes and artificial essences will give us a place to start. Run the strawberry jam, please.

As you can see, Ladies and Gentlemen, the colours on the slide are excellent. The rich red hue of the strawberries is exactly the colour you’ll find in the jar. We spent years developing that dye. Also, the years that went into getting the artificial taste and smell to adhere to the colour is something that most people would not imagine.

 Of course, even with our best efforts, there has always been a problem with that cloying, rather heavy sensation on the tongue. That has been offset by the addition of more sugar. We had complaints when the product was first introduced, but it appears these have now disappeared with new generations who know nothing different. People just accept that strawberries, strawberry ice cream, and strawberry jam all have their own tastes. Next slide, please.

Oh, yes, well, we’ll pass over this slide quickly. I just put that in to show you we finally managed to get rid of the strawberries altogether. As you can see on the close-up, the red glob is really made from compressed fibres – as one of our chemists said, more straw than berry. Even the seeds are produced and added with a gum mixture. We have found that bone meal seems to last best of all.

Now, this next lot we are very proud of. Bronson, these should be of particular interest to you, since they deal with our fast food chain.

The buns are made of very porous fibre, almost like real dough. and the brown colouring gives them a nice toasted look. The meat patty is still half real – we can’t seem to budge the government on that. Still, being able to advertise 100% all beef helps – as long as the fat, bone, guts etc that go into it all comes from a cow, we’re home free. Notice the use of the black lines of dye, to make it appear the meat has just come off the grill.

An interesting experiment has been done with some of our ever-thick milk shakes. We wanted to see how long the latex used to keep it together would hold up under the combined attacks of various strawberry, chocolate, etc. dyes, the fats and gums of the milk mixture, and the acids from the artificial flavours. You’ll be pleased to know that some of them still were thick after four months of refrigeration.

It is easy to see how latex based paints can last for so many years. We are now experimenting with making our french fries out of pulped wood chips. Texture, flavour and colour have all been overcome, but there still seems to be some unfortunate reactions to the hot fat.

[Image} https://cbsnews1.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/2015/11/20/60e34786-c484-49a6-8043-848a0523156c/1eca0dcddb6e9e3cb2f8b8f9a6ce42d7/manufacturing-fake-food-a-620.jpg#

Kafka Has A Beer With His Father

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In Kafka In The Castle, I fill in the ‘missing’ diary entries from Kafka’s real diary. He either did not fill in these days himself, or he destroyed them. There are some estimates that Kafka destroyed 70% – 80% of everything he wrote. 

On this day, Kafka spent the afternoon with his father – an unusual event. And he even had a beer – he was not much of a drinker. But Kafka knew his estranged sister, Ottla, was coming to visit. Her parting of months before had been vicious.

***************************************

25 June 2017

We are rarely alone with each other, and the strain was palpable. I wanted to act as normally as possible, but since my usual conversation is what generally infuriates him, that seemed unwise. We read the newspapers, and I managed enough comments about the articles, and elicited his tiresome opinions about the war, and didn’t argue with him too much, that the afternoon – although slow – passed with little rancour. I even had a beer with him, and he showed his surprise. And, I even enjoyed it – but then, I had earned it.

In fact, it may have been the unaccustomed alcohol which lessened the shock of seeing Ottla enter the apartment with mother. Father stood from his chair, the newspapers falling at his feet. “Ottla has an hour before she must catch her train,” said Mother. “I have asked her in for some tea.” Father glared at her an excessively long minute without speaking, managing however to give me an occasional menacing glance. He then abruptly sat again, gathering his papers and holding them in front of his face. “Don’t give her too much,” came his voice from behind the pages. “Too much tea can make a long journey uncomfortable.” I knew that he had already read the pages he held, and I wondered what he was thinking.

About ten minutes passed, and then mother came back and asked if we would like any tea. “Yes,” my father answered, but instead of waiting for it to be brought to him, as is his usual practise, he followed mother into the dining room. And I followed him. Ottla didn’t look up, but he did manage to ask some questions about the farm, and she delivered some cautious replies. She stayed another twenty minutes, then I walked her to the station. It had been mother’s idea to come home, and Ottla had not strongly resisted. I know that she and father will never apologize to each other, but at least they now speak. Once we were out of sight of the house, she gripped my hand and held it until we reached the train. “How can I love that monster?” she asked from the train as it pulled away. “How can you not?” I replied. I hope the noise from the wheels drowned out my words.

 

26 June 1917

Fight and you die. Surrender and you die.

 

27 June 1917

Live and you die.

 

[Image] https:/ /s.inyourpocket.com/gallery/148184.jpg

 

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