Monday, June 15, 2009

Roald Dahl - Oxford Biographies

Oxford University Press has a Dictionary of National Biographies which probably is also available in print, but can be accessed on-line at a premium. It contains biographies of some sixty thousand people in British history, from 400 BC to today. For promotion they have a podcast every fortnight Oxford Biographies that delivers spoken biographies in seven to fifteen minutes. (feed)

By now a wide variety of free audio biographies have accumulated and if they not appear all in the feed, you can find them in thematic sections on the website.

The most recent of the biographies was a very interesting one about Roald Dahl. I loved reading Roald Dahl all my life, but knew next to nothing about his life. The biography serves that purpose and makes connections between the facts of his life and his work. Dahl emerges with an expected contrary nature, but with a few unexpected opinions and remarks.

More Oxford Biographies:
Biography Podcasts,
Oxford Biographies podcast review.

Bubbe teaches Eggplant

The latest video on the vodcast Feed Me Bubbe shows how to make an eggplant lasagna (episode #30). I am not sure if I am going to make the lasagna, but I am definitely going to experiment with what I learnt from Bubbe about eggplant. I like cooking with eggplant a lot, but have struggled with getting it right.

First off, Bubbe tells what aubergine to choose: not too big - those contain a lot of seeds. The seeds, if not bitter, they are a less pleasant look in your dish, so it helps to have fewer. Then, she gives the most interesting idea to get rid of the bitterness of the vegetable. She peels it - I would never do that, unless for a sour eggplant soup - and then puts the pieces in a colander (new English word to learn!) under a dish with a weight on it. Thus she presses some of the juice out. It is the juice, she claims that is bitter.

I must check that, but there is another advantage she acquires by her handling of the pieces. She treats them with salt and rinses them afterward and claims that thanks to this procedure, the pieces will soak up less oil when fried. That is also very important. Eggplant is a sponge that has few calories by itself, but can take in so much oil when frying, you have to keep adding and wind up with a fatty, saturated dish.

Show #30 is not (yet) available for embedding, so this is another video from the makers of Feed Me Bubbe.

More Feed Me Bubbe:
Jewish Food and Culture.