“Always a tea-drinker”? You’re in for a spooky night with Bram Stoker

As a dedicated lover of Gothic fiction (as I’m sure you’ve found out if you are a regular reader), my favourite time of year is when I get to read spooky short stories to my students. Stories such as Poe’s “The Black Cat” and Wells’s “The Red Room” should always be read aloud and as dramatically as possible in order to build up tension and … Continue reading “Always a tea-drinker”? You’re in for a spooky night with Bram Stoker

Time to go veggie? Max Barry’s “Jennifer Government”

Max Barry’s novel “Jennifer Government” (2003) is one of the best novels I have read recently. Similar in style to Huxley’s dystopian, satirical “Brave New World”, Barry’s comic exploration of modern society is full of brilliantly humorous moments and scarily possible (or probable?) predictions about the future. According to this account of the not-so-distant fate of the USA, the balance between the power of the … Continue reading Time to go veggie? Max Barry’s “Jennifer Government”

‘Neither East nor West’: Chicken Tikka in Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007)

As it often happens, it is not quite the best lines of poetry that are remembered in popular culture: rather, I sometimes think, the most awkward-sounding. Kipling’s phrases ‘East is East’ and ‘West is West’ (from ‘The Ballad of East and West’, 1899) have been heavily exploited over the years. Interestingly, the former phrase seems to have inspired a lot of restaurant owners across the … Continue reading ‘Neither East nor West’: Chicken Tikka in Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007)

A Tin of Biscuits: Petit Beurres in Elizabeth Bowen’s The Last September (1929)

England has been swept by a real heat wave in the last couple of weeks; today, it seems like autumn is finally settling in – the sky has taken grey tinges, the trees are putting up their best colours, and one feels the need of putting an extra layer of clothes on, and using the oven. Today’s recipe comes from France, but is somehow linked … Continue reading A Tin of Biscuits: Petit Beurres in Elizabeth Bowen’s The Last September (1929)

Yogurt’s Ancestor: Mezzorado, or Soured Milk in Natalia Ginzburg’s Family Sayings (1963)

As I (Nico) was hiking in the mountains of beautiful Slovenia this summer, I came across one interesting dish: soured milk, or kislo mleko as they call it on the sunny side of the Alps. Made with one main simple ingredient (milk), it is nevertheless complex to make as it can easily go wrong – on one occasion, a farmer had to regretfully deny us … Continue reading Yogurt’s Ancestor: Mezzorado, or Soured Milk in Natalia Ginzburg’s Family Sayings (1963)

Welcome, 2016! With the Blancmange from James Joyce’s ‘The Dead’ (1914)

Welcome back from the holiday, and a very happy new year from the Literary Kitchen! I do hope you are not too full still from the recent festivities to bear to look at the superb pudding I will be introducing you to today: blancmange. Actually, no. Feeling a little sick may be the best way to approach this dish, as for a good part of … Continue reading Welcome, 2016! With the Blancmange from James Joyce’s ‘The Dead’ (1914)

Alive and kicking: Sushi in Jun’ichirō Tanizaki’s The Makioka Sisters (1943-48)

Three months ago, I was travelling around Japan, the land of dreams to me (and a whole lot of other Westerners, it seems), and my enthusiastic foodie self found much to revel in: I don’t think I ate the same thing twice when I was there, as everything was so overwhelmingly tasty, and different, that I felt I had to try everything that came my … Continue reading Alive and kicking: Sushi in Jun’ichirō Tanizaki’s The Makioka Sisters (1943-48)

Perfecting Pfannkuchen with Lauren Owen (The Quick, 2014)

Recipe When Nico and I decided to make pfannkuchen, I felt more than a little trepidation. Lauren’s characters eat tasty baked potatoes, dripping with melted butter, or they tuck into hearty winter soups. Although I could have produced a recipe for either of these with ease, Nico felt that was a little boring. So we choose pfannkuchen instead. There are two types of this German sweet – … Continue reading Perfecting Pfannkuchen with Lauren Owen (The Quick, 2014)

Cooking “On the Road” with Jack Kerouac (1957)

The smell of a ‘billion tortillas frying and smoking in the night’ wafts through Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. Check out the video below for our thoughts on this fabulous novel and, of course, for this blogpost’s recipe. Tortillas Ingredients: 500g strong white bread flour 1 tsp dried active yeast 1 tbsp oil 1 tsp salt 350ml water Directions: 1. Mix the dry ingredients together in … Continue reading Cooking “On the Road” with Jack Kerouac (1957)