Right, time to get this poor neglected blog back into the
limelight (ish). A while ago I published
a little ebook of aphrodisiacs and here is a quiz, just for fun, based on that
volume! Don’t worry if you haven’t read it, you can do that later! Here goes ...
1.Which nut did the
writer Colette spurn because she thought that“they add weight to the breasts"?
~ Brazil nuts
2. What do Hindus traditionally leave
on the doorstep to indicates that a marriage is about to take place?
~ A handful of rice ~ A banana ~ A jar of honey ~ A coconut
3. And which food do
the Amish traditionally associate with weddings?
~ Carrots ~ Sauerkraut ~ Celery ~ Candy
4. What did Casanova
say could “restore an old love and ... ripen a young one.”?
~ Something else starting
5. Who wrote a rather naughty Poem called
~ Philip Larkin ~ Oscar Wilde ~ D.H. Lawrence ~ Allen Ginsberg
derives its name from a Sanskrit word, srngaveram, meaning …
10. What fruit was known by the
Aztecs as the testicle tree, in their own language of course – ahuacacuauhitl.
~ Granadilla ~ Papaya ~ Avocado ~ Soursop
11. Which herb in Italy is known
as "bacia-nicola” which means "kiss me Nicholas?
~ Oregano ~ Marjoram ~ Sage ~ Basil
12. Which food did the Talmud say that people, “even women”, should eat
on the Sabbath, because it “promotes love
and arouses desire”?
~ Roast Chicken ~ Gefilte Fish ~ Garlic ~ Locusts Answers at end of the post. Bone up on aphrodisiacs in time
for Valentine’s Day and find some good ideas for that special dinner with ...
~ The most 17 most convincing (at
least to me) aphrodisiac foods
~ Some background on each one
~ 46 recipes plus other delicious ideas
of what to do with them
~ A little bit about their nutritional
~ A brief mention of other, seemingly
~ One or two possibly suggestive food
~ Some rude comments and, of course,
~ Double entendres. Going cheap at the moment here ...
“The hardest thing about being a writer is
convincing your wife that lying on the sofa is work.”
My real man has been away and this was an ideal opportunity
to (no, not that) finish the next book in a series I am writing on useful key
recipes without the distraction of programmes about the war, power tools and
other manly noises.
Said real man calls all my writing endeavours “sitting on
the settee” even when I rather sportingly sit on a hard wooden chair at the
table. He is proud of my having had a
real book really published and of my other writings but he doesn’t understand how
physically hard work it is. I do – it
So I wanted to tell you about a very handy little programme
I downloaded which has helped immensely plus a cunning plan I have put into
Firstly the useful programme. I have been experiencing all sorts of eye
problems recently from itching, blurring and soreness to sudden pains like a
needle stabbing my eye. Of course this
worried me so I looked up “eyestrain caused by computer work” and discovered,
ta da …
Their argument is that a computer screen is designed to replicate
working in bright sunshine and that this is not natural for us for so many
hours a day so it adjusts the brightness automatically making it warmer at
I downloaded f.lux, which is free incidentally, about a week
ago and oh golly gosh my eyes feel
better - get it here.
So now to my cunning plan.
I have not only realised, but been told over and over again, that I
should get some exercise and I agree that sitting about all day, even if I am
waggling my fingers a lot, is probably not enough activity. On the other hand it is pouring with rain, I
don’t drive and where we live has nothing much to look at. Also, of course, I am busy thinking and
writing. So I have made a promise to
myself and so far so good. Every time I
have to stand up, whatever the reason – I will walk up and down stairs five
times and then do the exercises I am going to tell you about.
These exercises were recommended to me a while back by a
great physiotherapist when I had not one but two frozen shoulders.
I am going to try to explain these two exercises which work well
for me but I recommend that you look into them further before having a go. Certainly
don’t rely on what I say because I am a cheffy food writer type thing and not a
doctor but I do really recommend further investigation.
I think this is called a neck retraction and what I do is,
standing tall and straight and looking forward I drawn my head back and bring
my chin down slightly. When I do this I can feel the top of my spine
stretching. I do this ten times for a
count of 10 each time just after I’ve just gone up and down the stairs as
mentioned above. My physio told me this
would also help counteract a windows hump.
I don’t know what this is called. Whilst standing with my arms hanging loosely
at my sides I roll my shoulders kind of backwards and downwards whilst squeezing
my shoulder blades together. Then for good measure I pull my chin back as
above. I do this ten times for a count of 10 too.
I do apologise for using the word “exercise” so much, I realise
it can be upsetting but I'm trying to help.
The book I have just uploaded to Amazon (see my previous post about how to do this) is the third in a series I am writing, each book giving one key recipe with numerous ways to
use it and lots of other useful information.
The idea is that readers will be inspired by the information I give them to go on to create their own
This one is about soup and
gives 50 recipes for soup plus others for stocks, garnishes and accoutrements
and looks like this - look inside here.
One other thing …
If you’d like a free copy of
my “219 Cooking Tips & Techniques you
might find useful” (it’s a big sexy 77p on Amazon but you might as well
have it for nothing!) pop over to Sudden Lunch! and click the link in the
sidebar. There is an option to sign up
for my Sudden Lunch! posts to be delivered straight to your inbox, it’s not
compulsory but you might like them!
For the past few weeks, often bravely battling on despite
the wintery weather, I have been playing with sorbets and granitas. It’s hell
writing cookbooks! Now, at last, I have tried all my ideas, taken pics, written
about the recipes, eaten the results and finally published a little ebook which
looks like this!
It is really as an addendum to my ice cream book because
there were some ideas and recipes I wanted to include but they didn't fit.
There is, however, even more to this story. After writing my
ice cream book which I originally titled “Lush Ice Cream without a Machine” but
have now slightly re-named as “100+ Luscious Ice Creams without a Machine”, it
occurred to me that I know several other useful, super-flexible base recipes. I
have therefore devised a cunning plan.
I have decided to publish a few more eBooks each one
dedicated to one of these key recipes under the series title “Suzy Bowler’s Key
For some reason this caused me all sorts of problems and I
spent the whole day “sitting on the settee” (as my darling calls it even though
I was on a hard wooden chair) trying to upload it to Amazon. I still don’t know
what the problem was. Sometimes the photos were in the wrong place when I
previewed the book, sometimes it just wouldn't upload. I did exactly the same
as I usually do and as this is my 5th self-published ebook (read about the whole set here) I
have uploaded, so far), I am befuddled.
Anyway it worked in the end and I have no idea why it did,
either! I think it was probably a glitch on Amazon rather than something I was
doing wrong – I’m never wrong!
So as I am never wrong here, briefly, is how I (usually
successfully) prepare, convert and upload my ebooks.
To prepare a book for Amazon Kindle
~ Have the finished
document in Word.
~ Add any photos in
their correct place using the insert photo method (not copy and paste or
anything else!). Pictures should ideally be in the proportions 9:1I. I usually
make mine 900 pixels wide but sometimes less than 1100 pixels high, that just
means it doesn’t fill the page.
~ Modify the
“Normal” Style to Times New Roman, font size 12, single line space. Within
Normal set the Paragraph style to 6 points after a paragraph and 6 points
indent, if you like, for a new paragraph.
Save these modifications.
~ Highlight the
whole document (press cntrl A) and set it all to Normal.
~ You will now have
to go through the document re-setting such things as centring, bold and
italic. Don’t have any unusual fonts or
anything larger than 14.
~ If in some places,
such as lists of ingredients in my case, you don’t want a break after a line or
paragraph press Shift/Enter instead of just Enter.
To convert a book for Amazon Kindle
~ Save the prepared
document as Web Page, Filtered to Desktop.
You will then see this …
~ Say YES.
~ Right click on the
document on your desktop (as it is now in HTML it will be have the same icon as
your browser), go down to Send To and select compressed zip file.
~ If your document
included photos open the zip file that has appeared on the desktop using
~ There should also have
appeared a separate folder on the desktop containing your photos. Drag and drop
this into the zip file you have just opened with Windows Explorer.
Speaking of self-published books, if you’d like a copy of my
“219 Cooking Tips & Techniques you might find useful” pop over to Sudden Lunch and click the link in the sidebar.
There is an option to sign up for my Sudden Lunch! posts to be delivered
straight to your inbox, it’s not compulsory but you might like them!
This post is a little different as I have been invited to
take part in a Blog Chain – a first for me and quite exciting. The basic idea is that the initiator decides
on a topic, writes about it and then nominates another blogger or bloggers to
do the same. I am the last of this
current chain, scroll to end of this post for earlier links.
Wendy Percival who writes contemporary mysteries inspired by
genealogy and family secrets nominated me, bless her. Read about her newly
published book “Blood-Tied” (which I shall be searching out as soon as I return
to Cornwall) here and visit her blog about writing here where you can read her link in the chain.
These are the four questions which are the subject of this
1) What am I working
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre or type?
3) Why do I write what I do?
4) How does my writing process work?
They look quite simple but I’m not so
sure, here goes.
What am I working on?
Lots of things, that’s why I’m so
I have written and published four
ebooks on Amazon Kindle, I enjoy doing them, the independence they give me from
all the palaver involved in traditional publishing and the small pittance that
I occasionally receive from Amazon.
I am currently in the Caribbean where I
used to live and where (very sadly for me) we are packing up our remaining
belongings and selling our boat as a final break with the place. This seems a good time to write about my
experiences as a chef here so I am starting on that as an ebook.
There has been talk of publishing a
sequel to my real grown up book “The Leftovers Handbook” which, despite what I
said above about the publishing process, I am very proud of. I am not sure if this second book, about
cooking from the store cupboard, will go ahead but I am collecting ideas and
recipes just in case.
I also have lists of ideas to pitch to
magazines, things to post in my blog and lots more ideas for ebooks.
How does my work differ from others of
its genre or type?
If it does differ then it may be
because of my diverse cooking experiences not only in England and the Caribbean
but also in The Canaries, France, Madeira, New Zealand (and maybe other places
too that have slipped my mind!) including working on a passage making yacht and
a day trip catamaran and living, cooking and eating in camper vans, caravans
and living on a boat for 16 years. Also I like to think, when writing, that I
am chatting to a friend so am not too formal.
Why do I write what I do?
Well one big reason is that I am so irritated with the way people eat,
the lack of basic food knowledge, and the waste of perfectly enjoyable good
food simply because people don’t know what to do with it. Also I feel I have learnt so much it would be
a good idea to pass it on! Oh - and I enjoy it, of course.
How does my writing process work?
I’m not sure it is organised enough to
be called a process. Once I have decided
on a subject I make a “collection” of everything I might want to include from
background info, quotes and anecdotes to, of course, recipes and foodie
ideas. If there is enough to make
something worth reading I then sort it under various headings and start
writing. Anything I am not sure of I type in red to go back to. Any information
from elsewhere I type in purple so as not to plagiarise anyone. I test recipes
that I am not totally sure of, take pics and go for it! Part of the “process” involves grabbing any
opportunity I can to write when my real man doesn’t have the telly on which
really distracts me!
Links in the chain:
I can’t find the start of the chain (!) but here are the
most recent ones:
Just a quickie because "unfortunately" I am in the Caribbean (my home for many years) where there is limited internet access but unlimited sun, rum and good friends. Ever since I started writing my father in law (who passed on
18 months ago … but see here for a picture of him in his magnificent youth!)
said that I shouldn't waste my time writing about food, I should write about
sex as that it what sells. I have very slightly taken his advice and written a short
ebook on aphrodisiacs …
I did a fair bit of research (or “sitting on the settee” as
my real man calls it) to come up with what seem to be the 17
most-likely-to-be-aphrodisiac foods and then given some background on each one,
some ideas of what to do with them plus a recipe or two and a little bit about their nutritional
benefits as they relate to the libido. Naturally I have also included a few rather suggestive food photos (sadly I couldn't muster one for all 17 foods), some rude comments and some double
I’ve just published this eBooklet on Amazon. As I say in the intro, Christmas catering can
be time consuming, tiring and a bit stressy, so I thought I’d offer some
suggestions to make it quicker, easier, more relaxed and perhaps more
impressive! This eBooklet contains a collection of quick ideas and recipesI
have used over the years to impress guests and customers without knackering
The booklet contains over 20 (it’s 24 actually but it seems
people always say over something!) recipes which can either be made well in advance or
are almost instant. They are …
~ Mulled Wine Syrup – really useful!
~ Moose Milk
~ Simple Cook from Frozen Cheese Straws
~ Lemon & Spice Marinated Shrimp
~ Smoked Trout Rillettes
~ The Quickest, Easiest, Smoothest and Richest Chicken Liver
Pâté I know
~ Roasted Garlic with a Creamy Goat Cheese Concoction
~ Fruity Red Cabbage
~ Carrot & Parsnip Purée ~ Roast Butternut Wedges
~ Luxurious Bread Sauce
~ Simple Homemade Stuffing Recipe
~ Chunky Homemade Cranberry Sauce
~ Rather Special Mulled Cranberry Sauce
~ Little Pots of Chocky Ganache
~ Caramel Cream
~ Stock with a bonus!
~ Turkey Soup – inevitably! ~ Brandy Butter
~ Christmas Pud Pudding
~ The Best Christmas Pudding Ice Cream
~ Sticky Stollen Thing
~ Christmas Tiffin
In addition are guidelines for the turkey, roast potatoes
etc. and lots of ideas and suggestions that don’t quite qualify as recipes but
are worth knowing.
The book is sub-divided into two sections; food for the “Big
Dinner” and “Boxing Day and Thereafter” (ie. what to do with the leftovers; my