Marbled Halva and the A-Z Bookish Survey

My parents visited this week to bring a bookcase over for Arthur’s bedroom.  Which meant lots of funtastic book sorting FOR ME, wheeee!  And dusting, boo.

My parents have always had the store bought halva, which is the grey variety made with tahini and sugar.  It’s popular around Lent as it is free of animal products.  A special treat when I was young was ‘halva sandwich’, which is as you may guess, a piece of halva between slices of bread.

‘Naturally Sweet and Gluten Free’ by Ricki Heller contains a much better halva recipe so I made it for my parents.  By the way, have you ever eaten halva followed by a mouthful of soft drink (fizzy drink like Coke)?  Do it and tell me if the sensation in your mouth is completely weird.  I’ve only tried this with the grey store bought halva.  DO IT DO IT.

So in case you can’t tell, I am really in to this cookbook and marbled halva was one of the top three recipes I just had to try.  It’s very simple to make (food processor, woo!) though the really difficult part is two fold: 1) not eating the mixture from the bowl and 2) not going to the fridge to ‘trim the edges’ when you know you will be serving it to guests the next day.

My parents really liked it even though they never buy the chocolate swirl halva.  I want to make this as part of Christmas gifts for people but I have to be able to keep it cool, which might not be easy in an Australian Christmas!  Looks like some people will be getting ice bricks and miniature cooler bags for Christmas too:


Now truthfully, I’ve made this twice.  The halva above was made with the runny tahini.  It was runny because I didn’t realise that at the bottom of this big tub was a solid ball of tahini.  Whoops.  So I made it a second time using the Tahini Blob, to see how it would go.  The first batch with the runny tahini came together in a ball in the food processor, as the recipe states.  The second recipe, made with the big solid blob of tahini, did not come together in a ball.  It was still okay enough to pat in to a rectangle shape for chilling, but it would crumble more than the runny tahini version when I picked it up.  No difference in the super taste though!


And now for something fun, thanks to Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe who dobbed me in on her blog for the A-Z Bookish Survey (of course I don’t mind as this was fun thinking about and I got to take photos of books so it’s all super).  Oh, ‘dob’ is Australian slang isn’t it?  To dob on someone is to tattle.  You know how Cindy Brady was called a tattle tale?  In Australia she’d be called a dobber.  If you want to tell your parents that your big brother has made a face at you (heaven forbid) you’d say to him “I’m dobbing on you”.  Okay cool, now you’re all Aussies.

Survey time!

Author you’ve read the most books from: Enid Blyton, both as a child and to my children.  And I know this isn’t one author but as a kid I read all the Choose Your Own Adventure books and the Trixie Beldens.  Does that count?  Is this where I admit to having read all those Sweet Dreams books and trying to work out which cover was the most insipid?  Jeepers! That honour goes to Laurie’s Song:


Best Sequel Ever: The Harry Potters!

Currently Reading: Nothing apart from cookbooks, which I like to read cover to cover when I first get them. A new cookbook means I find some quiet time and lie on the couch.  Though I’ve just been sorting out all the bookcases today and found stuff I want to read.

Drink of Choice While Reading: Nothing, I don’t want to risk spilling something on my book.

E-reader or Physical Book? Physical.


Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School: I don’t know about high school but boy that Julian from ‘The Naughtiest Girl is a Monitor’ books sure made an impression when I was a youngster. I wonder if he’s the reason I always ended up attracted to the brainiacs?

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance: ‘American Gods’ by Neil Gaiman.  A long time ago it seemed everyone I knew was telling me to read Neil Gaiman and I was all yeahhh whateverrr your hero worshipness is FREAKING ME OUT.  So I never bothered.  Then one day I picked up American Gods cheap and really enjoyed it and other Neil titles since.  See, we’re on a first name basis now.

Hidden Gem Book: ‘The Potato’ by Larry Zuckerman.  Yay for potatoes!

Important Moment in your Reading Life: Reading ‘The Snow Queen’ when I was a child. It made me wonder how many people had slivers of glass in their eyes and hearts.  When I was older, I read ‘The Bell Jar’ and it really affected me.  Negatively, ha ha…

Just Finished: I recently finished ‘The Year of Magical Thinking’ by Joan Didion.  I found this so moving and was astounded at reviews saying Joan Didion writes in a cold, clinical way and doesn’t show emotion.  I was shocked that these reviewers couldn’t see and feel the emotion, particularly grief, flying off the pages and smacking the reader in the face.  I’ve read a little of Joan Didion’s work and love the way she writes.

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read: Romance novels, detective/CSI style books, goth horror type stuff, vampire stuff (I won’t watch those vampire tv shows either, I just got so sick of the whole Twilight vampire cashing in thing), books about war/war experience (too sad) or celebrities who consider themselves experts on parenting and publish a book after having their first child.

Longest Book You’ve Read:  Not sure, probably the Lord of the  Rings books one after the other 🙂

Major book hangover because of: probably Harry Potter. I loved the interviews with JK where she spoke about the feelings of loss she felt when she finally finished and I thought lady, I feel like that as the reader!

Number of Bookcases You Own: Quite a few: a bookcase that holds all my educational stuff (photo shows half of it as I’m moving furniture around):


One small bookcase in DeeW’s room:


I have a book display rack, as I’m moving books and games around this surface is all messy like:


Then there are two large ones in Arthur’s room.  We started off with one, then my parents decided they didn’t need the matching one dad had made yeeeears ago (hence the colour, grey would not be up there (or down there) in my choice of bookcase colour).  So this week we got the matching case and I had to move books around the house to fill it:


Arthur’s shelves contain a lot of my books from when I was young.  Only a few of the Trixie Beldens are mine, I always borrowed them repeatedly from the library.  Years ago I found an almost complete set on eBay.  That was a fine day, let me tell you:


Then a big wall length lot of book cases we had built.  I’ve been going through these books in the last few days working out what to keep and what to move to Arthur’s bedroom.Please forgive the mess, I’m still sorting all these shelves:


Then there are the cookbooks in my kitchen dresser.  My sister has a few of my vegan cookbooks so I’m missing some:


Four mini bundt tins I found for a few bucks at Savers recently.  Did I need to buy them?  Of course not!


One Book You Have Read Multiple Times: Oh this one’s easy, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  Years go by and then I’ll read it and laugh all over again.  Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ is another I enjoy.

Preferred Place To Read: In bed or on the couch with complete quiet, so I either have to be home alone or the kids have to be asleep.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read: I don’t often remember the actual quotes but I remember how I felt and for this I don’t think I can go past Anne of Green Gables for so many things but this is the stand out: “Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive–it’s such an interesting world. It wouldn’t be half so interesting if we know all about everything, would it? There’d be no scope for imagination then, would there?But am I talking too much? People are always telling me I do. Would you rather I didn’t talk? If you say so I’ll stop. I can STOP when I make up my mind to it, although it’s difficult.”  I was often told to stop talking so much when I was little, and I do have the kind of name where I have to say “with an E”.  So I’m like “Anne with an E” and would have loved a kindred spirit bosom friend like her!


Reading Regret: I read the first few pages of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’.  ONLY because some friends were forcing me to see just how bad it was.  It was worse than I imagined and I feel robbed of those ten minutes I’ll never get back.

Series You Started And Need To Finish: Probably the rest of ‘The Eyre Affair’ by Jasper Fforde.

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books: The Hobbit, Stig of the Dump (Arthur loved both of these when I read them to him) and HHGTTG.


Unapologetic Fangirl For: Vegan cookbook authors!

Very Excited For This Release: MORE HARRY POTTER.  Please?

Worst Bookish Habit: borrowing stuff I never end up reading.

X Marks The Spot: (go to a bookcase and select the 24th book across) My cookbooks shelf is the closest to me right now so I’ve selected ‘Vegan on the Cheap’ by Robin Robertson.  From Arthur’s bookcases I randomly chose a starting point then ended up on ‘Thimble Summer’ by Elizabeth Enright.

Your latest book purchase: Some sewing and craft books for DeeW’s birthday present.  My latest cookbook purchases are Ricki Heller’s ‘Naturally Sweet and Gluten Free’ and ‘Vegan Food Gifts’ by Joni-Marie Newman.  I always order from Book Depository.

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late): Oh man… that would have to be *cough* ‘The Da Vinci Code’.  It was a case of “just one more chapter… just one chapter more…”

Thanks again to Johanna, it’s been fun reading other responses too.  It seems Harry Potter is a popular response!

6 thoughts on “Marbled Halva and the A-Z Bookish Survey

  1. I have never tried halva, but it looks yummy. I loved Trixie Belden and Anne of Green Gables too. And I had forgotten about those Sweet Dreams books!

    I think you have as many books as we do. 😉

    I know what you mean about the whole vampire storyline, but I confess I’m totally addicted to The Vampire Diaries TV series now – mainly because of Ian Somerhalder – how immature of me. 😉

  2. The halva is delicious and I am glad you did the book meme – it was so fun to read it and so much I loved too – the naughtiest girl books (and seeing all your enid blyton books – like the covers we had as kids, I recognised quite a few), trixie belden, neil gaiman, harry potter, lord of the rings. But I never got into hitchhikers guide – I think it took me ages to get into the book. And yes I read some of the sweet dreams books (tried to forget those). Love the Anne Shirley quote. Loved reading the year of magical thinking – was such a special book for me. Love your bookshelves too.

  3. I have a family that is addicted to halva, so I’m going to have to try making my own. That looks really good. I love Harry potter too. I read the entire series aloud to the whole family because nobody was allowed to take it away to read it – we were fighting over each copy as it came out. When I read the last page of the last book, I burst into tears because I knew I’d never read a story to my kids again…they were both in high school by that time, so I was lucky they let me read it to them at all! Ah, they grow up too fast! (Thanks! Now I’ve gone all nostalgic.) 🙂

    • Ohhh I think I understand! My son is nine and last night I started reading the Narnia series to him and thinking one day he’s going to ask me to stop the read-alouds, waaah! They grow up waaay too fast for sure!

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