Showing posts with label sandwiches. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sandwiches. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "The Hiding Place" by C.J.Tudor, Served with a Recipe for Tuna Melt Sliders {and a Book Giveway!}

I was in the mood for a good thriller this week and so I'm excited to be a TLC Book Tour stop for The Hiding Place by C. J. Tudor, with plenty of thrills and chills. Accompanying my review is a tasty little snack, Tuna Melt Sliders, inspired by my reading and a chance for a Kahakai Kitchen reader to win a copy of the book.

Publisher's Blurb:

The thrilling second novel from the author of The Chalk Man, about a teacher with a hidden agenda who returns to settle scores at a school he once attended, only to uncover a darker secret than he could have imagined.

Joe never wanted to come back to Arnhill. After the way things ended with his old gang–the betrayal, the suicide, the murder–and after what happened when his sister went missing, the last thing he wanted to do was return to his hometown. But Joe doesn’t have a choice. Because judging by what was done to that poor Morton kid, what happened all those years ago to Joe’s sister is happening again. And only Joe knows who is really at fault.

Lying his way into a teaching job at his former high school is the easy part. Facing off with former friends who are none too happy to have him back in town–while avoiding the enemies he’s made in the years since–is tougher. But the hardest part of all will be returning to that abandoned mine where it all went wrong and his life changed forever, and finally confronting the shocking, horrifying truth about Arnhill, his sister, and himself. Because for Joe, the worst moment of his life wasn’t the day his sister went missing.

It was the day she came back.

With the same virtuosic command of character and pacing she displayed in The Chalk Man, C. J. Tudor has once again crafted an extraordinary novel that brilliantly blends harrowing psychological suspense, a devilishly puzzling mystery, and enough shocks and thrills to satisfy even the most seasoned reader.

Hardcover: 288 Pages
Publisher: Crown (February 5, 2019)

My Review:

I love a good psychological thriller and when you through in some elements of horror, it's even better, so The Hiding Place is right up my alley. It's dark, creepy, and has a definite Stephen King vibe (the tagline channels one of my favorite King novels, "The worst day of his life wasn't when his sister went was the day she came back") but it has its own flavor and originality, and at 288 pages, a much lesser page count so if you aren't a King fan, you should still give it a try. For the most part the tighter plot works well with the pacing, and building of suspense--although it moved a bit slowly at first and I would have liked a deeper exploration of the town of Arnhill and its residents and some of the "whys" of what happened there. Joe, an anti-hero especially in the beginning, is an interesting character, I started out disliking him but he grew on me. I think the mix of thriller with just enough horror was a good one and will be good for those who don't consider themselves horror fans. The book does get graphic at times, but I found it more spooky and chilling than outright scary. I did read it alone at night without any fear or mental trauma ;-) and it had me turning the pages to reach the end to see if my guesses were right (some were, some were not). 

Overall, I really enjoyed The Hiding Place and if you like thrills and atmospheric chills, you likely will too. (You can enter to win at copy of your own at the bottom of this post.) The Hiding Place is C. J. Tudor's second book.When her first, The Chalk Man, came out I heard good things and checked it out from the library, but never found the time to read it. Now, I am going to go back and try again.


Author Notes: C. J. TUDOR is the author of The Chalk Man, and lives in Nottingham, England, with her partner and three-year-old daughter. Over the years she has worked as a copywriter, television presenter, voice-over, and dog walker. She is now thrilled to be able to write full-time, and doesn’t miss chasing wet dogs through muddy fields all that much.

Connect with C.J. Tudor on Facebook or Twitter.


Food Inspiration:

There is not a lot of good food mentioned in this book and definitely the sometimes graphic scenes don't lend themselves to thinking about food. There was mostly cafeteria food and pub food and a lot of alcohol. Mentions included: bad curry, McDonald's, fish-and-chips, penny candy, Wham bars (there were several mentions of this nostalgic UK candy),  juice, coffee, tea, Red Bull, Coke, bourbon, margaritas, pizza, frozen dinners, steak-and-kidney pie, Diet coke, cheese and ham baps (a sandwich of sorts made on a round, sweet roll), pork pie, chips, chocolate ices, Guinness, whiskey, chicken sandwich, pasta, potato broth, toast, Diamond White (a brand of cider), frozen fish fingers, grapes, and crisps.

I liked the description of the school cafeteria going from burgers and fried onions when Joe was there to chicken and rice, vegetable pasta and salad, and that he said that he "blamed Jamie Oliver" for the changes. I finally decided to combine a cafeteria tuna sandwich with the melted cheese bap (a regional British or Scottish bread roll or bun or sandwich made from a soft bun--see this recipe for a sausage bap) and make tuna melts for my book-inspired dish. For the bap roll itself, a small hamburger bun would possibly be the most accurate size-wise, but the sweet and soft part made me think of the local favorite--King's Hawaiian rolls.

I will confess that I never really saw any appeal in tuna melts growing up, much preferring my tuna sandwich cold. Then, several years ago, a friend of mine made them open-faced for work meetings at his house and his were really tasty. I hadn't had one in years and decided to make my version slider-style, with the King's Hawaiian rolls. 

Tuna Melt Sliders
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes 8 Sliders)

1 can good tuna (I use an Italian oil-packed), drained
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 small stalk celery, finely chopped
1 Tbsp dill pickle relish
1 Tbsp capers, drained
1 tsp English or stone-ground mustard
sea salt and black pepper to taste
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp (i used roasted) garlic powder
8  slider buns/rolls of choice (I used King's Hawaiian Rolls)
8 small slices cheddar cheese (cut to fit roll)

Preheat oven or toaster oven broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.

Combine tuna, mayo, celery, relish, capers, and mustard together in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and black pepper and evenly mixed.

Melt butter in microwave and stir in garlic powder.

Separate rolls into 8 bottoms and tops place on baking sheet, brushing the cut side of each with the garlic butter. Place a small scoop of tuna on each roll bottom and top tuna mixture with a slice of cheese. 

Place the baking sheet under the broiler and broil until the cheese is melted, the bun tops are toasted and the tuna is warmed. 

Combine the tops and bottoms of the rolls and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Notes/Results: OK, these were pretty darn good--the combination of the tuna with the tangy relish, salty and briny capers, sharp cheddar, garlic butter, and sweet rolls worked well together. The little sandwiches went together really quickly and easily. I just made four and ate them with fruit for a quick dinner. I plan to make the other four with my remaining ingredients tonight. Although they are not the prettiest of sandwiches, they are tasty and I will make them again.

Linking this open-faced sandwich up at this week's Souper Sundays, here at Kahakai Kitchen, where anyone can share a soup, salad, or sandwich creation. 

I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.


The publisher has generously allowed me to give a copy of The Hiding Place to one lucky U.S. reader! 

To enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway below, leave a comment please (Because I like to read them!) ;-) telling me what your favorite cafeteria food was growing up and/or why you want to win a copy of The Hiding Place.

There are a couple of other optional ways to get more entries to win: Tweet about this giveaway or follow me on Twitter (@DebinHawaii), and/or author C.J. Tudor (@cjtudor),  on Twitter
(Note: You can still get the extra entries even if you already follow me or C.J. Tudor on Twitter.)

Deadline for entry is Friday, March 1st. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good Luck!!

Note: A review copy of "The Hiding Place" was provided to me by the author and the publisher via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.  

You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.


Sunday, February 17, 2019

Tomato & Garlic (aka Pizza Margherita) Soup with Pizza Toasts for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays + Three More Pizza-Inspired Recipes

I decided to go a bit out of the box for this month's Monthly Dish/Ingredient Challenge at I Heart Cooking Clubs. Featuring pizza or pizza-flavored recipes. I decided to take Mark Bittman's Tomato and Garlic Soup from Kitchen Matrix and make it into a fun and tasty Pizza Margherita Soup.

Since Pizza Margherita is basically tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, garlic and olive oil, Mark Bittman's recipe just needed a few additions and something pizza-like to dunk into it. I made Pizza Toasts with ciabatta bread, garlic butter, Parmesan, mozzarella, black olives, and chopped basil. 

Pizza Margherita Soup
Adapted from Tomato and Garlic Soup from Mark Bittman''s Kitchen Matrix Cookbook
(Serves 4)

Sauté 1 chopped medium onion, 1 chopped carrot, and two tablespoons minced garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil for 5 minutes. Add one teaspoon each of dried basil and dried oregano, 1 large pinch of chili pepper flakes, one jar pizza sauce, and two cans chopped tomatoes (I used fire-roasted) and 3 cups vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until veggies are soft. Using a blender or immersion blender, puree soup until smooth.

Serve sup hot, in warmed bowls and topped with fresh mozzarella cubes or small balls, shaved Parmesan cheese, black pepper and torn basil leaves. Serve with bread, garlic bread, or pizza toasts. Enjoy!

For the pizza toasts: I divided a ciabatta roll into four pieces and spread it with olive oil heated and mixed with roasted garlic powder, and a pinch each of dried basil, oregano and chili pepper. I baked it in my toaster over at 400 degrees F. for about 5 minutes, then pulled it out and topped with shaved Parmesan, black olives, mozzarella slices and chopped basil and baked it again for about 5 minutes, then turned on the broiler and toasted it for about 1 minutes. Serve hot.

Notes/Results: Thick, rich, flavorful and fun with a definite pizza flavor. I really liked dipping the cheesy toasts into the tomato soup and scooping up the melting mozzarella balls. Just cheesy pizza goodness. If you eat meat, adding sausage or pepperoni and/or any of your favorite pizza toppings would also be delicious. Quick to make and tasty, I would happily make it again.

Here are three of my favorite pizza-inspired recipes from our IHCC chefs:

I still make a version of Jacques Pépin's tasty and easy Smoked Salmon Pizza on Naan Bread.

Giada's Pizza Popcorn is pretty addictive.

Finally, ages ago (back when I still ate meat) ;-) I made Ina Garten's Grilled California Pizzas. My favorite was the one where I topped it with avocado, bacon, and ranch among other things. Excuse the bad picture--early blogging days.

Linking up these pizza treats to I Heart Cooking Clubs where it is our Monthly Dish/Ingredient Challenge. This month it's "Pizza" My Heart--recipes from any of our IHCC chefs for pizza or pizza-flavored dishes. 


And for Souper Sunday...

About Souper Sundays:

Souper Sundays (going since 2008) now has a format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches at any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to it on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).

Have a happy, healthy week!

Friday, February 8, 2019

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "The Lost Girls of Paris" by Pam Jenoff, Served with French-Inspired Egg Salad

It's Friday and it's been a very long and busy week. To ease into the weekend, I have a fabulous book and a delicious sandwich pairing to share. Having loved her last book (The Orphan's Tale--see my review here), I am very excited to be today's TLC Book Tour stop for Pam Jenoff's latest novel, The Lost Girls of Paris. Accompanying my review is a simple French Inspired Egg Salad Sandwich.

Publisher's Blurb:

1946, Manhattan

One morning while passing through Grand Central Terminal on her way to work, Grace Healey finds an abandoned suitcase tucked beneath a bench. Unable to resist her own curiosity, Grace opens the suitcase, where she discovers a dozen photographs—each of a different woman. In a moment of impulse, Grace takes the photographs and quickly leaves the station.

Grace soon learns that the suitcase belonged to a woman named Eleanor Trigg, leader of a network of female secret agents who were deployed out of London during the war. Twelve of these women were sent to Occupied Europe as couriers and radio operators to aid the resistance, but they never returned home, their fates a mystery. Setting out to learn the truth behind the women in the photographs, Grace finds herself drawn to a young mother turned agent named Marie, whose daring mission overseas reveals a remarkable story of friendship, valor and betrayal.

Vividly rendered and inspired by true events, New York Times bestselling author Pam Jenoff shines a light on the incredible heroics of the brave women of the war and weaves a mesmerizing tale of courage, sisterhood and the great strength of women to survive in the hardest of circumstances.

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Park Row; Original edition (January 29, 2019)

My Review:

Well if you read my reviews, you know that historical fiction, especially WWII fiction is one of my favorite genres and Pam Jenoff is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. As in The Orphan's Tale, she crafted compelling female characters, placed them in interesting circumstances and weaves three characters' stories together in a engaging way that made me care about each of them. Grace, a young widow working for a public attorney in New York tells her story in 1946, after the war has ended. Eleanor takes us back to 1943 England, when she is tagged by her boss to start a women's division of the SOE (Special Operation Executive), a network of agents sent to infiltrate France and Occupied Europe to conduct espionage, reconnaissance, and sabotage against the Germans. Marie, a single mother, is one of the young women recruited as an agent for the SOE in 1943. Grace gains possession of an envelope belonging to Eleanor with twelve photos of young women (including Marie), the lost girls in the title, all missing and presumed killed by the Germans. 

Each of the main characters was compelling, although having three characters in under 400 pages, it was hard to get as deeply entrenched in their lives as I wanted to, not to mention not being able to learn more about some of the supporting characters that interested me--especially the other female agents and Grace's boss, Frankie, with his work in assisting the displaced European Jews in New York. The story moved along well, building the tension and although the reader has the general idea of what will happen, there are a few twists and turns left to discover. Once I was into the story, I found it hard to put down and it had me googling the SOE to learn more about this division and particularly the courageous young female agents who gave so much. If you love historical fiction, World War II fiction, suspense, and books with strong female characters, you will enjoy The Lost Girls of Paris.


Author Notes: Pam Jenoff is the author of several novels, including the international bestseller The Kommandant’s Girl, which also earned her a Quill Award nomination. Pam lives with her husband and three children near Philadelphia where, in addition to writing, she teaches law school.

Connect with Pam on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.


Food Inspiration:

Although it being wartime and shortly after when food was rationed, there was still some food to be found in The Lost Girls of Paris. It was a mix of British, American, and French dishes including brandy, hot dogs, cinnamon scones, broiled chicken with a potato, baguette, gravy with bread, wine, a grilled cheese sandwich and a Pepsi, coffee, eggs and bacon, baked beans, cheese, bread and fruit, a ham and cheese sandwich, Earl Gray tea, a dry martini, "mystery" meat and potatoes, coffee and Sacher torte, and champagne.

As Grace's usual lunch that she took to work in New York City was egg salad sandwiches, a favorite of mine as well, I decided to make an egg salad sandwich as my book-inspired dish. I wanted to give my salad a bit of a French feel for the brave women that were lost in France so I made a few additions to my normal egg salad.

I won't write an actual recipe because I feel like egg salad is one of those things that you should make according to your own preferences but my mix for this French-inspired one was two hard-boiled eggs (whites chopped coarsely, yolks mashed), 1 Tbsp chopped cornichons, 1 tsp of Dijon mustard, good mayo (I used about 1/3 cup), a couple of chopped roasted red pepper slices from the pictured olive salad mix from the grocery store, sea salt and black pepper. I served it on a section of baguette, split, rubbed with olive oil and toasted and topped it with cut chives. 

Notes/Results: I normally like my egg salad on the plainer side--just mayo, a bit of mustard, salt and pepper, but I could happily eat this one again. The tangy, briny cornichons were a great contrast to the creamy eggs and the baguette was perfectly crisp. It made a great "Friday is Here!" dinner.

Linking this open-faced sandwich up at this week's Souper Sundays, here at Kahakai Kitchen, where anyone can share a soup, salad, or sandwich creation. 

I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.

Note: A review copy of "The Lost Girls of Paris" was provided to me by the author and the publisher via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.  

You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.


Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter" by Hazel Gaynor, Served with Clam Chowder & Cheese Toast with Soft-Boiled Egg

Happy November 1st! Can you believe it's November already?! I certainly can't--time is just flying by so it's important to take time and savor life's little pleasures like a good historical novel you can curl up with such as The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter by Hazel Gaynor. Accompanying my review of this lovely book about strong and courageous women are more simple pleasures--a bowl of clam chowder and an open-faced sandwich of bread topped with cheddar cheese and a soft-boiled egg inspired by my reading.

Publisher's Blurb:

From The New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Came Home comes a historical novel inspired by true events, and the extraordinary female lighthouse keepers of the past two hundred years.
“They call me a heroine, but I am not deserving of such accolades. I am just an ordinary young woman who did her duty.”
1838: Northumberland, England. Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands has been Grace Darling’s home for all of her twenty-two years. When she and her father rescue shipwreck survivors in a furious storm, Grace becomes celebrated throughout England, the subject of poems, ballads, and plays. But far more precious than her unsought fame is the friendship that develops between Grace and a visiting artist. Just as George Emmerson captures Grace with his brushes, she in turn captures his heart.
1938: Newport, Rhode Island. Nineteen-years-old and pregnant, Matilda Emmerson has been sent away from Ireland in disgrace. She is to stay with Harriet, a reclusive relative and assistant lighthouse keeper, until her baby is born. A discarded, half-finished portrait opens a window into Matilda’s family history. As a deadly hurricane approaches, two women, living a century apart, will be linked forever by their instinctive acts of courage and love.

Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 9, 2018)

My Review:

Hazel Gaynor is a favorite author of mine when it comes to historical fiction. I've read several of her books (see my reviews for A Memory of Violets and The Girl From the Savoy) and I have The Cottingley Secret sitting near the top of my TBR stack. I love how she writes about strong women and multiple perspectives and time frames and how her characters and words touch me and carry me to whatever setting and periods she is writing about. I have long been fascinated by lighthouses too, so I immediately jumped on the tour for this one and was not disappointed. 

In 1938 England Grace Darling has plans to stay with her parents at the lighthouse her father is the keeper for. She isn't looking for fame when she jumps into rescue the surviving passengers from a bad shipwreck near their island but female lighthouse keepers are rare in 1838 and she soon captures the attention and heart of England. I love that Grace Darling was a real person and that Gaynor talks about her research into Grace in the book's afterward. In her research she discovered Ida Lewis (called America's Grace Darling) who along with other American female lighthouse keepers, lead her to create the character of Harriet Flaherty, the relative who takes in pregnant Mathilda in 1938 Rhode Island. Although her 1938 characters are fictional, the hurricane that swept the area in 1938 was very real and plays a big role in the story. I found myself equally caught up in Grace and Mathilda's stories and characters and avidly going back and forth with Gaynor's narratives about each woman's life. Good historical novels inspire me to read more about the period and events and I found myself Googling Grace (check out this website about her, here) as well as the hurricane and Ida Lewis thanks to Gaynor's book.

Like Hazel Gaynor's other novels (and as in real life) there are both happier moments mixed in with sorrow and tragedy in The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter. I found the book hard to put down and Grace and Mathilda, along with Harriet and the other characters in their worlds, will stay with me. If you enjoy historical novels with courageous women and their relationships and lives, pour yourself a cup of tea or a hot toddy and curl up with this one. 


Author Notes: Hazel Gaynor is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of A Memory of Violets and The Girl Who Came Home, for which she received the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award. Her third novel, The Girl from the Savoy, was an Irish Times and Globe & Mail Canada bestseller, and was shortlisted for the BGE Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. In 2017, she has published The Cottingley Secret and Last Christmas in Paris. Hazel was selected by US Library Journal as one of ‘Ten Big Breakout Authors’ for 2015 and her work has been translated into several languages. Hazel lives in Ireland with her husband and two children.

Find out more about Hazel at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


Food Inspiration:

Although food was not a huge part of the book, there was a presence. Mentions included fresh baked bread--kneading and baking and often served with butter or cheese for meals, plaice (fish), eggs, a whiskey hot toddy, hot broth with brandy added, Humbugs (a British boiled hard candy), reviving tonics, a bowl of clam chowder, a big breakfast  of coffee, tea , toast with butter, jam and marmalade, grits, and eggs both soft-boiled and hard, dried peas, barley and wheat and a haunch of ham, lobster and crab pots, sweetened ice tea, clams and fresh lobster, fresh kippers, crab, fish, salt cod, tea and cake bacon rind, and apple pie.

For my book-inspired dish I decided to combine the oft-mentioned bread and cheese of 1838 Northumberland, England with the bowl of clam chowder and soft-boiled eggs from 1938 Newport, Rhode Island into a quick weeknight dinner for a very busy week. I relied on deli-bought clam chowder--adding a can of extra chopped clams, butter, cracked black pepper and fresh thyme to pump up the flavor. I then toasted a slice of hearty multi-grain seeded bread and melted grated cheddar cheese on top of it under the broiler, then smashed a soft boiled egg over the hot melted cheese and sprinkled salt, more cracked black pepper and a bit more of the thyme on it, Quick to put together, very simple and delicious and although not traditional (see my clam chowder notes below), I think it is a dinner that captures the mood of the book.

As clam chowder's go, likely the one that Harriet serves to Matilda on her first day would have been a clear clam chowder (try this version from the New York Times) rather than the creamy version Boston/New England-style or the tomato-based soup favored in New York, but needs must for a crazy weeknight and creamy is what they serve at my grocery store deli counter. I did thin it down slightly with the juice from the can of clams I added. There was no description of how the soft-boiled eggs were served in the book--other than with toast, but if you like a runny yolk (I boiled my eggs about 5 minutes), I can't think of a more tasty way to enjoy it than over a slice of cheese toast.

Notes/Results: This dinner made me very happy. With facilitating two more classes this week for the leaders of my company and a Halloween than began with reading to first graders with my work group and helping to host work costume and October birthday events, I am tuckered out. My dinner, like this book, is comfort food to curl up with and good for the soul. I plan to make my own Rhode Island clam chowder soon and the soft-boiled egg on cheese toast often.

I'm linking this soup and open-faced sandwich combo up at Souper Sundays here at Kahakai Kitchen where each week we share soup, salad and sandwich recipes from the Blogosphere. Here is the link to this week's post.

I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.

Note: A review copy of "The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter" was provided to me by the author and the publisher, Harper Collins via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.
You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.

Monday, October 29, 2018

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "One Day in December" by Josie Silver, Served Up with My Version of the Book's "DS Special" Sandwich (+ a Giveaway!)

I'm very excited to be today's stop on the TLC Book Tour for One Day in December, a new novel by Josie Silver. Accompanying my review for this sweet love story is a recipe for a DS special (an unusual sandwich inspired by the book) and there is also a chance to win a copy of your own at the bottom of this post. Just what you need to make a Monday better.

Publisher's Blurb:

Two people. Ten chances. One unforgettable love story.

Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic…and then her bus drives away.
Certain they’re fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn’t find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus. It would be.
What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered. One Day in December is a joyous, heartwarming and immensely moving love story to escape into and a reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness.

Paperback: 400 Pages
Publisher: Broadway Books (October 16, 2018)

My Review:

If you love a good rom-com, especially one set at least partially around the holidays, One Day in December is your book. It's sweet, romantic, touching and perfect for snuggling into with a hot cup of tea or cocoa. I have never been a big believer in love at first sight, but it's hard not to sympathize with Laurie when the stranger she locked eyes with through a bus window and feels an immediate attraction and connection to shows up a year later as Jack, the new boyfriend of her best friend and flatmate Sarah. Although they recognize each other, in order to project Sarah, they pretend they don't and then spend ten years in each other's orbit, fighting what at the least is a very strong attraction and at most, might possibly be true love. The story is told from both Laurie and Jack's points of view and I couldn't help feeling for them both and rooting for them--even if I didn't always love their actions. There is some humor, some wipe-your-eyes moments, and it reads like something you might find as a holiday date night movie (not a bad thing in the mix of horror and heavier topics I have been reading about) and it swept me up in the "will they or won't they" drama and with the various life turns the decade has in store for them. One Day in December is an engaging and quite enjoyable contemporary romance to add to your winter TBR pile and if it sounds like a book you'd enjoy, there's a giveaway to win a copy of your own at the bottom of the page.


Author Notes: Josie Silver is an unashamed romantic who met her husband when she stepped on his foot on his twenty-first birthday. She lives with him, her two young sons, and their cats in a little town in England called Wolverhampton.

Connect with Josie on her Website, Twitter, and Instagram.


Food Inspiration:

There is a good amount of food in One Day in December that included fish-and-chips, beer, cold kebabs and cheap wine, pudding, a breakfast sandwich of biscuit, bacon, beetroot and mushroom, salad, ice cream, cereal, Benedictine (liqueur), saveloy (a highly-seasoned British sausage), coffee, eclairs and cream horns, vintage champagne, pizza, turkey, frozen berries for smoothies, a mention of pineapple on pizza, ham on custard and banana on pizza, Ben & Jerry's Karamel Sutra ice cream, gin, hamburgers, Pink Lady cocktails, lemonade, Penicillin (a cocktail with whiskey, ginger and honey), baked beans, chocolate mousse, coq au vin, grapes, chciken vindaloo, wheat juice and kale, cashews, bolongnese sauce, stew, rum punch, canapes, quinoa and quails egg, salmon mousse, champagne cocktails, cake, pudding, poached eggs on English muffin, roast lamb, Darjeeling and shortbread, a Victoria sponge, duck liver pate, chicken, salmon, a "chocolate-three-ways" dessert, Tuna Nicoise, cod baked with lemon and parsley, green beans, "lurid blue and green" cocktails, crisps, sangria, Bailey's and banana cake.

But really, there could be no better dish to represent this book than Sarah and Laurie's "DS special"--the sandwich they created, named after their flat on Delancey Street:

"Sarah's sandwiches are the stuff of Delancey Street myth and legend. She's taught me her holy breakfast trinity of bacon, beetroot and mushrooms, and it took us the best part of two years to settle on our signature dish, the DS special, named after our flat. 

She rolls her eyes, laughing, 'You can make it yourself, you know.' 

'Not the way you do it.' 

She preens a little opening the fridge. 'That's true.'

I watch her layer chicken and blue cheese with lettuce, mayo and cranberry, an exact science that I've yet to master. I  know it sounds hideous, but trust me, it's not." It may not be your average student food, but ever since we hit on the winning combo back in our uni days we make sure to always have the ingredients in the fridge. It's pretty much our staple diet. That, ice cream and cheap wine.

'It's the cranberry that does it,' I say after my first bite.

'It's a quantity thing,' she says. 'Too much cranberry and it's basically a jam sandwich. Too much cheese and you're licking a teenager's dirty sock.'"

The only challenge I had to making it is that I don't eat meat or chicken, but I thought the combo was interesting and it fits the book as over the ten years of ups and downs of their lives, we find Laurie and Sarah making and eating the sandwich several times. No one else seems to like appreciate the combo of ingredients like they do and the book is just as much about their friendship as it is a romance. 

After thinking long and hard about something to replace the chicken with and nothing sounding good, I decided to make a version of it using vegan chicken.Now I know I may have lost some of you already on the chicken and blue cheese layered with lettuce, mayo, and cranberry, so faux chicken may just put you over the edge... but, it truly had to be tried. A stop at Whole Foods had me grabbing a pack of Tofurky Slow Roasted Chick'n, canned cranberry jelly, a container of blue cheese crumbles and a head of romaine with a seeded multi-grain bread rounding out the ingredients. At that point, there really isn't a recipe beyond the above description so I kept the "quantity thing" of the cranberry and blue cheese in mind and just went for it.

Notes: Better than expected may not seem like high praise but this sandwich was actually good. I knew the cranberry and blue cheese would work for me as I love salads with blue cheese and berries and combined with a thin layer of mayo, crisp lettuce and hearty bread, it was delicious. The one discordant note for me was the soy chick'n. I am not a huge fan of soy 'meats' to begin with and there is just something off-putting about the smell and look of it. Still, if I am going to put it on a sandwich, it will be one like this sandwich where the robust flavors of the other ingredients work to mask what I don't like about the faux chick'n. I actually ate the entire sandwich, along with chips or crisps as they are called in the book's U.K. setting. I think if you eat chicken and like blue cheese and cranberry, you might really like this one. If you try it, let me know. I'll be experimenting with my leftovers. ;-)

I'm linking this unique sandwich up at Souper Sundays here at Kahakai Kitchen where each week we share soup, salad and sandwich recipes from the Blogosphere. Here is the link to this week's post.

I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.

The publisher is generously providing a copy of "One Day in December" to give away (U.S. addresses only, sorry) here at Kahakai Kitchen.

To enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway below, leave a comment (Because I like to read them!) ;-) telling me about your favorite sandwich or an unusual combination of ingredients you like AND/OR why you'd like to win a copy of "One Day in December."

There are a couple of other optional ways to get more entries to win: 1) Tweet about this giveaway or 2) follow me on Twitter (@DebinHawaii)
and/or author Josie Silver (@JosieSilver_).(Note: You can still get extra entries even if you already follow these accounts.)

Deadline for entry is midnight (EST) on Monday, November 5th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good Luck!

Note: A review copy of "One Day in December" was provided to me by the author and the publisher via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.