Love, Simon vs the Book (spoiler: the film wins)

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Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is one of those books that everybody seems to love. Some people adore it with a passion; others simply like it, but I haven’t seen anyone say “it’s crap, I don’t get why everbody loves this so much”, which is what does happen with most hyped books. I think that’s because even if you didn’t fully connect with the story, you can still see how sweet and warm it was and how it could mean a lot to other people. This book is kind of like a puppy, I guess.  It’s adorable and you just really don’t want to see anything bad happening to it. Is that a good analogy? We’ll just go with it.

I read the book in the summer of 2017 and I really liked it (you can read my full review here). I wasn’t completely blown away by it and there were some aspects that I didn’t think were great per se, but overall I thought Simon was absolutely lovely. It warmed my heart and gave me fuzzy feelings. Kind of like a puppy (see, the analogy is perfect).

So, when it was announced that this book was going to be made into a film, I was overjoyed. Film adaptations have a long running history of being not that great, but I actually had high hopes for Love, Simon (I guess Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda was too long a title). I got more and more excited when other bloggers came back super enthusiastic from early screenings and articles started to pop up about Love, Simobeing a lovely but also groundbreaking film. Last week, I got to see the film myself and I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest.

In fact, I liked the film more than I liked the book.

*gasp* I know! A bookworm who likes the film better than the book?! Hell must have frozen over! This is certainly a first for me (I think)! So, let me explain.

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Profiteroles (with a whipped cream filling)

Ages ago, my Mum asked me if I wanted to bake profiteroles with her some time. We’d both never baked them before and they seemed like a fun challenge. I also figured that, as a baker, it would be good to add choux pastry to my arsenal of baking skills. Of course, months then went by before we actually got around to doing it because that’s how it goes. But then, at Easter, we finally gave it a try and we were pretty succesful!

I always thought choux pastry was difficult to make because it involves cooking the pastry, but it really isn’t that hard. You have to pay attention to what you’re doing, sure, but as long as you’re doing that it’ll be fine. Our first batch didn’t turn out great, since I didn’t pipe the profiteroles properly (too flat), but the second batch (made from the same batch of pastry) turned out perfectly!

We went for the standard profiterole filling of whipped cream, although you could of course add other kinds of fillings as well, or dip them in chocolate at the end. “Profiteroles” is such a fancy name, by the way. In Dutch we call them soesjes (pronounced “sooshes”), which sounds way more fun to me! Too bad no one in the English speaking blogosphere will know what I’m talking about when I say “sooshes”. Oh, well. Profiteroles it is, then.

We had tons of fun baking these and I can’t wait to try some other recipes with choux pastry soon. Perhaps éclairs? We’ll see!

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What I Learned about the War from a Children’s Book: The Secret of the Blue Glass

In a dusty library, in the quietest corner of a house in a Tokyo suburb, live the Little People: Fern and Balbo, Robin and Iris. Just a few inches high, sleeping cigarette boxes and crafting shoes from old book jackets, they need only one thing from their Humans–a nightly glass of milk, served in a sparkling blue glass goblet, by a trusted young member of the Human family.

But when the Second World War come to Japan, both Humans and their beloved Little People face a world they could never before have imagined. It will take great love, bravery, and a rather loyal pigeon, to bring their unique families back together once more…

First published: 1959 (in Japanese); this translation/edition is from 2018 by Pushkin Press

**I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

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Reading Habits: How Many Books Do You Read At The Same Time?

One of the many things I love about being a part of the online reading community is how you get a peek into other people’s reading lives. Stripped down to its bare bones, reading is a pretty solitary hobby; you get yourself a book, you sit down (or lie down, or stand – whatever floats your boat) and you read that book. It’s just you and the characters, the story and the world of the book. It doesn’t feel lonely at all (this is something most readers will agree upon, I think), but it is something you do alone, most of the time.

And then you go online and talk about that book you’ve read with other people all over the world who also love to read. I love it! I’m very lucky to also have friends who love to read and love to talk about reading, but I’ve seen quite a lot of people within the community say how happy they are to finally be able to talk about books with other people who understand. I just think that’s wonderful.

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Easy Easter Recipe: Chocolate Egg Brownies

The other day I was just minding my own business when suddenly a brilliant idea struck me: Chocolate Easter egg brownies. That’s right.

I love brownies. They’re absolutely, mouthwateringly delicious on their own, but by adding just one or two ingredients you can spruce them up and make them even more special (take these Rolo and sea salt brownies, for example). Plus, they’re extremely easy to make – you can barely mess these up, I promise (I say barely, because a while back I managed to burn some chocolate when trying to melt it).

Although I know chocolate is a pretty big part of Easter in most countries, I’m also quite sure every country does their chocolate Easter eggs a little bit differently, although I might be wrong. In the Netherlands, we’ve got small chocolate eggs in dark, milk and white chocolate. They come as solid pieces of chocolates, but there are also a ton of varieties of filled chocolate eggs.

For these brownies I bought a bag of eggs that came in four different flavours: milk pecan caramel sea salt, milk hazelnut almond praline, dark almond coconut, and white pistache praline. Sounds delicious, right? Little bursts of flavour within an already delicious brownie. You could choose whatever your like for your own chocolate egg brownies, although I would recommend choosing filled eggs instead of solid ones. Hope you enjoy!

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Coconut Macaroons

I’m back! You might not have actually noticed that I was gone, but up until last week I hadn’t posted anything in over a month. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, since one of my New Year’s resolutions was to take a bit of a chill pill and be more relaxed about my blogging (and reading, and Instagram, and my entire life, basically).

HOWEVER. I didn’t not blog because I didn’t want to, but because I had the flu for two weeks. I’ve never been sick for two whole weeks (I know – I’m lucky) and it sucked. I was bored out of my mind but didn’t have a shred of energy to do anything. I couldn’t even read for most of that time. It was that bad.

But I’m not here to moan! I’m here to celebrate that I’m back and I’m feeling good. And what better way to celebrate than with something yummy? Granted, I did bake these coconut macaroons for a different reason (my bestie’s housewarming), but that doesn’t matter. All that matters is that these macaroons were delicious.

And they’re super easy to make as well! You only really need three ingredients, although I added a pinch of salt as well, because that makes everything better (trust me on this). I was planning on adding a chocolate drizzle, but I didn’t feel like messing about with chocolate after I was done with the baking part, so I left them as they were, which was absolutely fine. They’re delicious just the way they are!

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A Study in Grief: My Thoughts on Ready to Fall by Marcella Pixley

Following the death of his mother, Max Friedman comes to believe that he is sharing his brain with a tumour. As he becomes focused on controlling the malignant tenant, he starts to lose touch with his friends and family, and with reality itself – so Max’s father sends him off to the artsy Baldwin School to regain his footing.

Soon, Max has joined a group of theatre misfits in a steam-punk production of Hamlet. He befriends Fish, a girl with pink hair and a troubled past, and The Monk, a boy who refuses to let go of the things he loves. Max starts to feel happy, and the ghosts of his past seem to be gone for ever.

But the tumour is always lurking in the wings – until one night it knocks him down, and Max is forced to face the truth.

Published by Pushkin Press in 2018

**I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

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Rolo Chocolate Chip Cookies

Every once in a while I get the urge to bake cookies and it won’t go away until I’ve actually baked said cookies. So, that’s what I did this weekend! I came across the idea of chocolate chip cookies with a hidden Rolo (= caramel) surprise inside of them and that sounded so awfully delicious that I couldn’t get the idea out of my mind.

I used my own recipe for chocolate chip cookies and simply added the Rolos in the middle. It’s a very easy recipe, although it does take some time; if you want to make them come out as delicious as possible, the dough should be chilled for at least 5 hours. I usually make the cookie dough in the evening and bake the cookies the next morning.

These were a tremendous success! One of my colleagues called it “the best cookie I’ve ever tasted” and they were gone before I knew it. I might have to bake them again soon…

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Why Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor Is an Extraordinary Novel

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

First published: 2017

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Apple and Pear Pie

One of my very first posts on this blog was a recipe for a Dutch apple pieit’s a classic, and I still make it pretty often! It was my father’s birthday yesterday and I thought about baking that apple pie again, but I wasn’t satisfied with the idea. I wanted something a little bit different. So, I decided to add pears to the mix!

Pears go great with lots of flavours (like berries, the proof’s in the pudding this pear and berry crumble), so I figured I couldn’t really go wrong by adding them. I also added some ginger (love the pear and ginger combination) as well as some pecans, for that extra crunch. The pie turned out absolutely lovely!

I haven’t been posting a lot lately, because I’ve not been feeling great. I’m feeling tired constantly and haven’t had the energy for much besides the necessary. After doing a blood test, I found out I have a vitamin D deficiency, which explains a lot! Measures are being taken, so hopefully I’ll be back to having some more energy soon, but for now I’ll be taking it easy. I’m not sure what that means for my blogging schedule, but I’ve decided not to worry about it. We’ll see what happens!

For now, here’s the recipe for this delicious pie!

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