All posts by surreyedit

Dept. of Speculation book review

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill

Any review of the Dept. of Speculation is going to fall spectacularly short of successfully conveying what the book is about, simply because the pleasure of the story lies in the poetry of Jenny Offill’s words. A couple get married and have a baby in Brooklyn, New York. They manage the inanities of everyday life but relationships become complicated. We read it through the thoughts of the narrator / heroine, who always “thinks of saying” and whose forces are internalised.

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Renoir Exhibition at The Lightbox, Woking

The Lightbox, Woking

An exhibition of Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s work has opened at The Lightbox in Woking in Surrey.

The exhibition features paintings, sculpture, etchings, sketches and letters by Renoir, which  illustrate the rise of his popularity.  Renoir almost exploded into the art scene in 1874 when his work first came to the attention of British art collectors and two of his paintings were shown at an exhibition in London; in the same year six of his works featured in the first Impressionist exhibition in Paris.  Since then, Renoir has become one of the most internationally acclaimed artists whose art is coveted by collectors in the UK and all over the world.

The Lightbox is the first regional gallery to bring
together a cohesive representation of the work of Renoir held in British collections.  ‘Renoir in Britain’ includes loans from The National Gallery, The Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate, Ashmolean Museum, The British Museum and The Courtauld Gallery.

It’s a fantastic exhibition, I highly recommend a visit!

‘Renoir in Britain’ is at The Lightbox in Woking until 20th April 2014.  Free entry (donations welcome)

Opening times: Tuesday to Saturday: 10.30am – 5.00pm Sunday: 11.00am – 5.00pm.
The Lightbox,
 Chobham Road,
Surrey. GU21 4AA

Me at Renoir

The Lightbox is also hosting a lecture on Thursday 27th March at 1pm by Christopher Riopelle, Curator of post-1800 paintings at the National Gallery on ‘Renoir’s Life and Legacy’ (£6 adults, £5 concessions.  Advance booking required 01483 737837.)

World Book Day

Favourite books

Happy World Book Day! To celebrate, I’ve chosen five of my favourite books. I think each one represents a different point in an evolving literary canon and highlights the way that literature has the power to change us as people.

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

Everyone must read this book.  It is significant as it marks the start of the rise of the novel in the eighteenth century and sets out various literary conventions value in novels today. A brilliant story.

The American by Henry James

Beautiful and eloquent. If you love learning new words read it with a notebook to make your own mini dictionary!

The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad

My favourite Conrad book: if you enjoy modern espionage, you’ll want to read this one.

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis

By far the funniest book I’ve ever read.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Just read it.

Perfect Pancakes recipe

Pancake Day!

Pancakes with toffee apple sauce – perfect for
Pancake Day!

Serves 4 (2 large pancakes each)

For the pancakes:
125g plain flour, sifted
300 ml semi-skimmed milk
1 free range egg
Pinch of salt
A bit of butter for the saucepan
A bit of caster sugar (½ tsp per pancake)

For the caramel sauce:
2 apples, thickly sliced
30g butter
25g caster sugar
2 tbsp water
¼ tsp cinnamon

First of all make the caramel sauce:

Place the butter, water and sugar into a saucepan on a gentle heat and keep stirring. Add the slices of apples. Sprinkle the cinnamon evenly. Gently stir so as not to disturb the apple slices (you want these to remain firm on the outside but soft in the middle.) When the sauce bubbles and looks like caramel take it off the heat while you make the pancakes.

For the pancakes:

Hand whisk the egg yolks and egg white thoroughly before adding the sifted flour, salt and milk. Whisk carefully (so as not to curdle the eggs) until it’s like a smooth batter.

In a frying pan, heat a bit of butter and make sure it’s distributed round the pan. Add enough of the batter to cover the base of the pan.

When it’s beginning to turn gold in colour, sprinkle half a tsp of sugar over the pancake.  Then try flipping it to cook the other side!

Put your pancakes onto a warm plate before you start doing the next one. When you’ve finished cooking your stack of pancakes, take the caramel and apple mixture and gently heat it again to loosen the caramel in the pan.

Pour some of the apple and caramel mix into each pancake and fold over and drizzle a little extra caramel.  You can serve with sliced banana and a small glass of Calvados, if you like.  Enjoy!

The Surrey Edit

 The Surrey Edit Pancake Day