Brooklyn 99, which I started marathoning a couple of weeks ago and am now all caught up on. I was a little dubious about the first few episodes because Jake was such an asshole, but he kept getting his comeuppance for being an asshole, which was encouraging. And then he became much less of an asshole, and all the other characters are pretty damn awesome, and Andre Braugher and Marc Evan Jackson are husbands. I like it a lot.
Broadchurch S3. I finally got up the nerve to watch this. It's much better (by which I mostly mean less frustratingly implausible and contrived) than S2 and not as wrenching as S1, though still plenty grim.( Somewhat spoilery things under the cut )
It was interesting to see two performers I strongly associate with comedy--Lenny Henry and Charlie Higson (formerly of The Fast Show)--take on dramatic roles and do very well in them. I adore Charlie Higson in particular and now need to look up what else he's been in. And, in tribute to my facial-recognition ineptitude (I recognized both Henry and Higson by their voices) I will acknowledge that for the first two episodes, until I looked it up, I thought Trish was being played by Fiona Shaw. Julie Hesmondhalgh, who actually plays the role, is excellent.
Paddington 2, which is even funnier and lovelier than the first one, and which focused on the value and power of community in a way I found pleasing and timely. Hugh Grant nearly steals the show as a sharp parody of himself.
2) Stuff I've been reading:
Point of Sighs, by Melissa Scott. I had not known this was coming out, so it was a wonderful surprise. Like the previous Fairs Point, it integrated character development with plot really well, but in this one the plot involves tea and underwater monsters instead of dog racing, so it was much more my jam. My only quibbles were ( Spoilers )
A Closed and Common Orbit, by Becky Chambers. I liked A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet well enough, but this one, not a sequel but set in the same universe and featuring a few characters from the first book, is better. It's still got too much of its plot stuffed into the last 40 pages, but this time there's some build-up, and more importantly, the characters are sympathetic, well-intentioned, decent people who still have conflicts with each other. Small Angry Planet oversold everyone's pure nobility a bit for my taste; Common Orbit feels more real and more complex.
The teaser chapter to KJ Charles's Henchmen of Zenda, which will be released on May 15th. I can't wait!
3) Stuff I've been cooking:
Strawberry-rhubarb pie. I more or less followed this recipe, but with a cream-cheese pastry crust (mostly because I didn't have enough butter) and with a few other small adjustments, namely a little less sugar, omitting the butter in the filling, and using a few drops of orange extract in place of the orange juice. Also, my strawberries had been macerating in a bit of Cointreau and sugar overnight, because I didn't initially intend to turn them into pie. And the strawberries were halved or in thick slices instead of chopped. It turned out delicious, although more watery than I was expecting from a recipe that promises you it absolutely will not be watery.
I was going to post pictures but the DW posting interface is making it waaaaay too much of a hassle.
I have also cooked a pork and kimchi stew (several days ago, before it turned unpleasantly warm here), made a batch of pesto, and made a "kedgeree risotto" loosely based on Nigella Lawson's recipe. I can almost see kedgeree purists cringing, but the one time I made a kedgeree the proper way, I found it dry and dull and not at all enjoyable. The lovely creaminess of a risotto-style preparation is much closer to what I imagined kedgeree to be when I'd only enviously read about it. Anyway I considerably adulterated even Lawson's "inauthentic" version, using smoked salmon instead of smoked white fish, which is hard to find in the US, adding some shrimp (plus simmering their shells with the broth to add flavor), using spiced ghee and a good dollop of Penzey's curry powder, adding some peas, and even finishing with (gasp!) a little cream. Lawson calls for quail eggs, which are both hard to get and, to my mind, ridiculous, so I topped the rice with a plain hard-boiled egg. It was yummy and I regret nothing.
Oh, and because I got some more rhubarb very cheap from work. I have made a rhubarb syrup which, added to plain or sparkling water, will make a delicious cool drink in the style of a Persian sharbat. The recipe is from A Taste of Persia by Naomi Duguid, a fascinating cookbook that I got for just a couple of dollars as an ebook from the Evil Online Commercial Empire. (Take 1.5 lb of rhubarb, cut into half-inch slices. Put in a pan along with a scant 2 c sugar and 1 c water. Bring to a boil, then simmer strongly for 20 minutes. Strain out the rhubarb, add 3 tablespoons of lemon juice to the rhubarb juice and return the juice to the pan. Simmer another 15 minutes until thickened a bit. You should have about 2 cups syrup. I strained my syrup through cheesecloth because it was a little cloudy. At this point you can add a dash of rose water; I didn't, because I didn't have any, but I did add a little orange extract along with the lemon juice. Put the syrup in a jar and refrigerate up to 3 months. Dilute with 1 part syrup to 3 parts water to use. The strained-out rhubarb pulp is tasty and can be eaten by itself, as a topping for yogurt or ice cream, etc.)
I have been writing this post for about a thousand years and it's getting very long, so that's all for now.