Thursday, 25 June 2009

Ireland (The Virtual Tour)

Finally a book that you can read just for pleasure... like eating a chocolate bar - it lasts till the last bite! But on the other hand it's easily forgettable - admit it, time passes and then you realise that once again you are craving for something sweet...

'Sushi for Beginners' is easy to read, entertaining and has an uplifting ending. I'd classify it as a book for women though. (Well, one can also wonder - do men read? Remembering my dad‘s joke "What if I buy you a book for your birthday? Oh, no, I already have one book!" - probably they don’t… at least not as much as women do.) I don’t think I know a man who’d be willing to analyze feelings or emotions and to soak up all the details of an everyday life of young women, who try to find their happiness (i.e. the other half), to be good mothers to their children or strive to become fashion divas.

Although some people (women?) who’ve read her books say that Marian Keyes creates novels that ‘…are an unusual blend of comedy and darkness‘ (cover subjects like depression, addiction and illness) I‘d still put them as an easy reading for your summer holidays. I guess it‘s just because you know that everything‘s going to be fine in the end.

- (For those who'd be interested to find out more about depression I'd recommend 'Prozac' by Elizabeth Wurtzel and 'The Bell Jar' by SylviaPlath)


Hard-nosed, bitch-goddess London fashion editor Lisa Edwards was certain her "fabulous" promotion would mean more A-list parties, society page photos, and jet-setting jaunts to the fall collections.

Instead, she's being deported, Prada wardrobe and all, to supremely un-chic Dublin to launch Colleen magazine. Her assistant editor, over-organized world-class worrier Ashling Kennedy, however, is thrilled with her new job . . .until she discovers it comes with a very high price tag: Lisa Edwards. And then there's Ashling's oldest, dearest chum, Clodagh "Princess" Kelly, who seems to have achieved true happily-ever-after suburban fairy tale bliss -- but lately has this irresistible urge to kiss a frog. The chances of three such diverse, equally unsatisfied women bonding would be remote anywhere except in staid Dublin town, "the magazine version of Siberia." And once they do, they're going to start shaking things up -- in print and out of it -- especially when Colleen's rumpled, moody, wickedly attractive head honcho Jack Devine is tossed into the mix.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Almond Flavoured Pretzel

Whenever I crave for something sweet and there’s nothing that could save me immediately (a bar of chocolate, some sweets or biscuits) I decide to make a cake. Yes, the process might be long and tiring, but you benefit at least twice – 1. you get to lick the bowl and 2. later on you can enjoy hot homemade dainty!

I’ve got a huge book for such occasions: imagine a thick colourful catalogue of cakes and tarts… Of course I would always go for the ones that look most spectacular, but usually my choice is limited to what ingredients can be found at home. So here’s a list of what I needed and actually found:

375g flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
125g butter
185g sugar
3 eggs
vanilla flavour
125ml milk
125 raspeberry jam
125g coconut shavings
almond flavour

At first you need to take just 125g of sugar and mix it well with the egg yolks; later on add the melted butter. Mix flour, baking powder and salt; then start adding it to the previous mix. Keep pouring milk, so that the mix wouldn’t be too hard. Add some vanilla flavour. Your dough should be solid and a bit gummy (trust me it will be hard to get it out of the bowl - but more is left on the walls!).

A round baking tin should be covered in butter and sprinkled with flour. Then lay your dough. On top of it place the raspberry jam.

Now you can prepare the almond flavoured top for your cake: whisk the egg whites with the remaining sugar (you should have 60g left) and almond flavour. Once the whites are hard add the coconut shavings. Stir them in carefully. Put the whites on top of the jam.

The cake should be baked for about 40-50 minutes, the oven should be preheated to 180 degrees.

I’m sure you’ll like it!

Sunday, 14 June 2009


It’s nearly the middle of June, but looking out of the window I simply don’t believe it… The calendar must be wrong! It’s cold and miserable and it’s raining cats and dogs…

I woke up to the sound of drops attacking our roof – quite a cosy symphony, while you’re still tucked up in bed, but not as pleasant, when finishing your breakfast, you realise you’re going to be stuck at home.

In the afternoon I decided to be brave and to go outside just too make some photos – the colours look somehow brighter in the rain. I must admit I didn’t want to stay out long: one lap around the garden was more than enough!

Why do English people say it’s raining cats and dogs? Hmm… there must be some explanation… In this weather, we Lithuanians also tend to mention dogs, but we would say that a good owner wouldn’t even leave his dog outside. Mine is certainly indoors, spending her SUNday on a warm carpet.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Week Pumpkins

I finally found time to take my pumpkin plants outside (earlier it was either too cold or I was too busy with other jobs, that needed to be done as soon as possible). They looked so miserable... long and thin stems streching out helplessly... My poor pumpkins have been in tiny containers for too long!

I planted them on the compost heap and prayed for the best....

The next moring I ran into the garden to see if they've survived. Well, what do you think? They still look a bit feeble, but to my mind they will make it! The bright yellow blossoms have opened up and I think (hope) they don't look too bad?

Saturday, 6 June 2009


Never been that close to a rainbow! It seemed that I could reach one of its ends, that started just across our driveway... It didn't last long - the rainbow moved further and further away, till the bright colours disappeared.

It was a very big rainbow - shame I couldn't get all of it into one photo! I need a panoramic camera... (Hmm... I'd really like to get a new one, just haven't decided what it will be.)

Scientific explanation of this wonder: a rainbow is an optical and meteorological phenomenon that causes a spectrum of light to appear in the sky when the Sun shines onto droplets of moisture in the Earth's atmosphere. They take the form of a multicoloured arc, with red on the outer part of the arch and violet on the inner section of the arch.
(Information found in Wikipedia)

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

For Garden Lovers

That’s aquilegia (also known as columbine, granny’s bonnet and jack-in-trousers). We’ve had it in our garden for several years, but I never tried to find out more about the plant. It starts flowering in the end of May and its pastel coloured petals immediately attract my attention – they seem so soft and delicate!

A few days ago I went through some old Country Living magazine’s* (hey, isn’t one allowed to look at that beautiful country life they depict and dream?) and found an article on aquilegias. I couldn’t believe my eyes – they can be blue and violet, red and light orange… Oh, and all of those petal shapes… What a variety!

It turned out that the plant comes from north America and that there are about 70 species. They can be tall and short, single and double, with long and short-spurred blooms and in almost every colour. This flower can easily cope with a bit of shade and isn’t very fussy about soil – that’s ideal for an amateur gardener like me. So I decided that I want more aquilegias and as you can imagine was very happy to find this phrase in the article: ‘…[they are] shamelessly fertile’.

All you need is to wait till the plant drops its seeds - tiny black one's, that ripen in small pods. The best time to sow them indoors is March. If you do so they will be ready for bedding out in autumn, but will flower only the next spring.

I don't think that my blog gets a lot of readers (probably just occasional few), but if you are reading this, if you are a keen gardener, if you have other species of aquilegia and if you would like to grow the one I have (oh, so many conditions...) I'm offering you to swap the tiny black seeds and to widen the scope of aquilegias in your garden! Well, if you are interested just leave a comment, so that I could contact you.
* Country Living, May 2007

Monday, 1 June 2009


I thought that it would be very hard to choose a Lithuanian book for my ‘Virtual Tour’ as so many authors deserve to be here! How can I write just about one book and then hope that it would represent my country and Lithuanian literature as the whole? But I knew everything would be fine when in a shop I picked up a book by Kristina Sabaliauskaite.

To tell the truth I didn’t know much about the author – we share the same name, she has a PhD in history of art, has lived in London and used to write for a Lithuanian newspaper – and I didn’t know how good the book would be. The back cover promised to reveal so many secrets that I decided not to wait and to find out if this girl is worth all the praises.

I was nicely surprised. I’d say she scores 10 out of 10. No doubt Kristina Sabaliauskaite can tell gripping stories and make you travel in time!

‘Silva Rerum’ – Latin phrase that stands for ‘forest of things’, but in the 16-18th century it used to be the title for a family chronicle, a book where Lithuanian and Polish noblemen would register important events: weddings, birth and death dates, also poems or quotes, and then pass it to the other generations. Kristina’s silva tells the story of Narwoysz family and lifts the veil that has been casted other the previous centuries. The narration is so vivid and complete that after reading the book you‘ll know what it was really like back then – you’ll know the taste, the smell, you’ll be able to imagine every single detail and to finally realise what unseen currents were governing peoples lives.

2009 is the year when we mark the millennium of Lithuania. It’s an important date that has evoked lots of discussions how we should celebrate it. ‘Silva Rerum’ is the book of the millennium as its author has put all of her talent and knowledge into producing an opus teaching us our own history – can there be a better way to celebrate such a date?

Other opinions about the book:

"...If they only knew about this book, Dan Brown and John Irwing would be terribly jealous. And Adam Mickiewicz would applaud. The book of the year - no, rather of the decade!" Emilija Visockaitė,

"... The characters and the atmosphere are drawn tastefully and with the art historian's emphasis on aesthetic details, the storyline is solidly built, the intrigue is maintained, and one can hardly stop oneself reading..." Giedrė Kazlauskaitė, "Verslo žinios", 2009 02 20

"...I would like "Silva Rerum" to become a film...", theatre director Gintaras Varnas, Kultūra,, 2009 02 14

For more information please have a look here: