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Book Reviews

August 11, 2016

A great read!

On the run in Beverly Hills is a fast-paced novel about three BFFs who have reached the third act in their lives on the other side of sixty. Francesca, Fifi, is intent on surviving her loveless marriage with an obnoxious and abusive husband. Olivia, O, is a statuesque brunette who has younger boyfriends and drives a dented Prius. Lily is a curvy herbalist. And all three are in danger of becoming homeless!

Deville brings her prickly sense of humor to this pleasant ride, raucous at times, but thoroughly enjoyable. Plot line is pretty straightforward with a couple of surprise sexual encounters that are misplaced. Olivia lives up to her allure of a sexual goddess; Fifi oozing with sexiness hasn’t had sex in fifteen years and Lily has remained faithful to her loser husband. And all three are having a bad day. A very bad day for Fifi’s husband has just had a heart attack, raising the possibility of freedom at last; Olivia has just received devastating news about her health and Lily loses her freedom and reputation as a celebrity herbalist.

A few quibbles need to be addressed here. The writing flows rather well however the novel as a whole could use better editing. For example: transitions could be smoother, resulting in a longer book which would make printing costs inch up; by listing menu items in detail I assume the author wants to emphasize a certain aspect of diet but quite irrelevant the way it is presented now; and seeing a turtle in a stream when the BFFs are hiking at night are a few issues that need to be addressed in order to establish the strengths of this book. I was pleasantly surprised by a quote from Philip Roth.

A thoroughly enjoyable book and has all the makings of a good chick flick.

I was provided with a complimentary copy so that I could give an honest review.


Fresh Pressed Grape Juice for the pantry by Spiceaholic

August 30, 2015
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My next door neighbor has this fabulous vine creeping up a trellis. Just bare twigs in Spring after the snow melt. Concord grapes, she says. Bountiful.

Ok, I say. For jellies and stuff? I ask. She nods.

And the question arose: What to do with all the eventual bounty? How much jelly could she eat? Could I eat to help her? Not much. As I’m always on low sugar, low sodium and low carbs plus low caffeine, low…how boring!

I thought the best way to reduce the amount rapidly was to boil down the whole lot and make juice!

That was it for me. I had no more wisdom about grapes to impart. Well, this August this small vine produced buckets of fruit. She kept me posted about the progress of the vine. Not much support from me as I was trying to downsize my pantry!

Late August on a Sunday I wanted to keep quiet and relaxed she sent me an email about a bucket of Concord grapes on my porch. I knew immediately that relaxed Sunday was gone.

So here is the result: From a bucket of Concord grapes on stems to jars of grapes  and a few bottles of grape juice.

The protocol: 1550 g fresh, organic grapes, stemmed                       1 C sugar

2 C water

Yield is about 1.5 litres of juice.

Simmer in a large pot for 15 min. Meanwhile, boil canning jars for 3 min, including the lids. Using a large metal mesh sieve, strain the hot juice to remove pulp, skin and seeds. Pour into hot canning jars, secure with the sterilized lids and tighten. Cool on counter. The jars are ready to store in a cool, dark place when the lids pop shut.

You can add more sugar and water but you can dilute it too before serving with a dash of honey.

Pounded Ginger, Crushed Garlic

July 17, 2011

The aroma of coriander, cumin and cloves makes me drool. So I wrote a cook book: Pounded Ginger, Crushed Garlic: Fixes for the Spiceaholic available at All recipes fine tuned in my own kitchen with my family of guinea pigs who are not afraid of trying the unknown. It has to be spicy, that’s all.

Start with Chicken in Spicy Coconut Sauce, Garlicky Green Crunch, Tomato Rice, Cool Cuke in Yogurt and end with Raspberry Parfait with Chocolate-Almond Sauce.

Instructions are simple and easy to follow and this book is a great addition for the spice lover.