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Food and fanfic roundup
SSar's Beast
One of my major achievements of the last few weeks (as designated by me) has been making vegetable-based soup and having it for lunch almost every work day. On my great days, I have had one kind of soup at home for breakfast and a different kind of soup for lunch. Types of soup include:

-Kumara [antipodean sweet potato] and coconut cream
-Yam [NOT so much a sweet potato; another word is oca] and tomato and chili and lime
-Lentil and smoked fish (the smoked fish makes it taste extraordinary, but it would be an acceptable vegetarian soup without that ingredient)
-Mushroom and barley
-Broccoli and blue cheese

If anyone is interested in any of those, I'll type them up. I've already typed up the lentil and smoked fish one on Facebook. Kumara and coconut cream soup is a pretty basic one - I don't think it has more than five ingredients, and water. Today I made soup with lentils, split peas, and a ham bone. It smelt amazing and tasted nourishing, but bland.

My main hobby lately has been reading fanfic, although I think I've been making some progress in pole dancing. With that in mind, I present a very diverse group of recommendations.

Burn the Topless Towers (2179 words) by faviconmiss_lanyon
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Vorkosigan Saga - Lois McMaster Bujold
Rating: Mature
Warning: Major Character Death
Relationships: Aral Vorkosigan/Aral Vorkosigan's First Wife, Aral Vorkosigan's First Wife/OMC
Characters: Aral Vorkosigan's First Wife, Piotr Pierre Vorkosigan, Alys Vorpatril, Ges Vorrutyer, Aral Vorkosigan

"She'd had the most beautiful imaginable face..."

A story from last Yuletide. You don't really need to be current in this series beyond Cordelia's Honor. This is an emotionally wrenching story and a moment of Yes, this is what MUST have happened, for me.

Eighty Percent of the People (10692 words) by faviconInterrobam
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: WALL-E (2008)
Rating: General Audiences
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: EVE/WALL-E
Characters: EVE (WALL-E), WALL-E, M-O (WALL-E), Mary (WALL-E), John (WALL-E), BURN-E (WALL-E)

Eve is in the unique position of simultaneously being at the top of the social pyramid and having no idea it exists. Wally, meanwhile, is both stiflingly aware of it and unable to stop himself from defying it.

Yes, Disney/Pixar and a high school AU: I winced too. Forget all that. In recreating the original robot characters as humans, the author has done a beautiful job of making their quirks even more human and poignant. Two misfits come together and it's sweet, but the details really impressed me.

Every Star in the Sky Knows Your Name (15093 words) by faviconJaune_Chat
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Sherlock (TV), Firefly
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, Simon Tam, River Tam, Malcolm Reynolds, Inara Serra, Zoe Washburne, Serenity Crew

Mal's latest pair of passengers slowly reveals they have more of a connection to the crew than anyone would have thought, when Simon discovers that Sherlock and his sister had been in the same government program over a decade and a half apart. Sherlock's friend John, his rescuer and keeper, tells the crew the story of living a life on the run, something that is both less and more familiar than anyone expects.

BBC!Sherlock and Firefly: actually, it works. There are parallels between River and Sherlock that are occasionally beautiful. There were a couple of rough edges on this fic: in particular, the narrative framing device of story-telling didn't quite work for me, and it bothers me that in casting Sherlock as a recovering mental-experiment victim, the author also deprived him of an ongoing purpose. I mean, Sherlock in BBC canon may be dysfunctional, but he has a career and routine. Making the mental dysfunction explicit seems to negate that. But I ramble. The story works.

I Prefer to Text (5117 words) by faviconimpulsereader
Chapters: 2/2
Fandom: Sherlock (TV), Sherlock Holmes & Related Fandoms
Rating: General Audiences
Warning: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Characters: Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, Mycroft Holmes

John has tried pretty much everything he can think of to stop people texting him that they’re Sherlock Holmes back from the grave and none of it has worked.

Sherlock again. This is the most excellent and plausible canon fix-it I have read, and the banter is great.

Several Architects (2912 words) by faviconRush_That_Speaks
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Momo - Ende
Rating: General Audiences
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Cassiopeia, Momo, Guido

In which questions are asked, answers are storied, and a tortoise is (of course) very sensible.

This does a beautiful job of picking up the best themes and tensions of canon as well as following canon's surface.

The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down (11223 words) by faviconMerlin Missy
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warning: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Characters: Roger, Jessica, OC - Character

CGI-animated toons are dropping like flies, and it's up to Roger and Jessica to find out why.

SO MANY REFERENCES. This is very amusing modern magical-realism noir. Yes, that's a thing.

Sucker Punch (80922 words) by faviconriptey
Chapters: 16/16
Fandom: Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling
Rating: Mature
Warning: Graphic Depictions Of Violence
Relationships: Hermione Granger/Draco Malfoy, Harry Potter/Ginny Weasley
Characters: Hermione Granger, Draco Malfoy, Harry Potter, Ginny Weasley, Ron Weasley, Astoria Greengrass, Gregory Goyle

Sometimes you want to punch somebody. Other times, you're the one getting hit.

After an unfortunate bar fight, Hermione Granger accidentally invites Draco Malfoy to live on her couch indefinitely, but at least she's got his wand. She's struggling to hang onto her sanity and pleasant disposition, despite those nasty thoughts that keep popping into her head, but he's already given up on his. Meanwhile, the rest of the wizarding world is investigating his mysterious disappearance, he's inventing his own whole new reality from the comfort of Hermione's bed (not that she wants him there), the gravity's broken in the kitchen, Harry and Ginny won't stop trying to get her back together with Ron, Ron's sleeping with Lavender, Hermione wants to lay him out, Astoria Greengrass is mourning her not-so-dead fiancé, and everyone's so buried in lies that they might as well just forget about the whole concept of truth.

A very lucid story in which Hermione and Draco go mad together. I also loved the cameos from Harry and Ginny and how aggravatingly NORMAL and DOMESTIC they are (which is exactly the sense I got from the books' epilogue).

Half-Told (6247 words) by faviconmoemachina
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Innkeeper's Song
Rating: General Audiences
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Lal (Innkeeper's Song), Soukyan

A well-told story tunes the audience as a musician tunes an instrument: we begin skeptical and slack, and then we are slowly tightened and released until we are in perfect pitch.

This is a perfect touch on canon, and a very enjoyable story about storytelling for the unfamiliar.

Snapdragon (182195 words) by faviconPrettyKittyArtist
Chapters: 23/23
Fandom: Twilight Series - Stephenie Meyer
Rating: Explicit
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Edward Cullen/Bella Swan
Characters: Edward, Bella

Once upon a time, a girl fell in love with a boy. He gave her a ring and promised her forever. No one told her there'd be an expiration date on her glass slippers. What's a girl to do when she stands to lose everything? She fights. Hard.

This is an all-human AU which reads like a really addictive soap opera. Proof that Meyer's books are not really about vampires at all. Slight guilty pleasure, this one.

I've had some of those bookmarked for a while, some only a few days, but I hope they get some more love. I have been reading a few other Sherlock fics (some shamefully dark ones), and a smattering of others. While I realise that there are really good Avengers fics out there, the sheer glut is annoying me a lot. One gets posted to AO3 every fifteen minutes, or so it seems. And they are ALL Steve/Tony or Clint/Phil, neither of which are pairings I personally go for. I guess the part I find frustrating is that those pairings are canon as far as fandom goes, so when a writer posts something, they take those pairings as read instead of working to convince the reader. Since I need to be convinced, most stories with those assumptions don't work for me.

Finally, I wanted to plug a favourite light sci-fi novel again. Solitaire, by Kelley Eskridge, is about competence and about the world falling out from under you and finding your place in it anyway. It's about who you are when you're all alone in your head. It's about loyalty, and whether your past wrongs make you a bad person. Also, and this is something I didn't think about as central to it until years after reading it, the main character is a bisexual woman of colour with a badass lover, and the book really passes the Bechdel test - without you noticing, unless you're looking out for it. And the emotional arcs absolutely dragged me along with them.

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"And they are ALL Steve/Tony or Clint/Phil"
And then they get together and adopt Peter Parker as a child. ~-( (I've been reading a lot of Avengers fanfic lately. It's all my sister's fault. Her stuff is brilliant, with no slash in sight (at least for now, although she's going with Phil,Clint and Natasha have a really tight slightly obsessive friendship with each other). Recs below!)

Sleep of the Just (8415 words) by faviconThimblerig
Chapters: 8/8
Fandom: The Avengers (2012), Thor (2011), Marvel Avengers Movies Universe
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Phil Coulson & Darcy Lewis, Clint Barton & Phil Coulson & Natasha Romanov, Canon Relationship(s)
Characters: Phil Coulson, Darcy Lewis, Clint Barton, Nick Fury, Natasha Romanov, Thor, Pepper Potts, Steve Rogers, Maria Hill, Tony Stark, Justin Hammer

or, Everybody Knows Coulson Is Secretly A Ninja

Flying Monkeys (1158 words) by faviconThimblerig
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Avengers (2012), Marvel Avengers Movies Universe
Rating: Not Rated
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Clint Barton, Maria Hill, Nick Fury, background Phil Coulson

The inevitable, horrifying debrief.

"Is this some kind of hobby for you? Planning our imminent destruction?"

Paperwork Ninja (770 words) by faviconThimblerig
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Avengers (2012), Marvel Avengers Movies Universe, Thor (2011)
Rating: General Audiences
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Darcy Lewis, Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, Clint Barton, Bruce Banner

"Uh, I think you'll find," says Tony Stark over Darcy's shoulder, "that not even JARVIS can fill out an X22-AR5 correctly. That form is eldritch."

Also, thanks for your recs. :-)

Thank you! I'll enjoy looking through those.
I hope I didn't come on too strong; I don't HATE Steve/Tony and Phil/Clint, but when the story is "here is another nuance of a very established relationship" it doesn't grab me. I will read them.

Ooh, the recipe for the mushroom and barley soup?

Certainly. Ah, actually, that one I've only made once, so I might make it again to test it properly before writing up a recipe I can stand by.

The rough, vague version involves braising some thickly-cut mushrooms and onions in red wine and butter, adding vegetable stock (I used one 375ml packet of Campbells) once the onions have gone translucent, chopping up half a head of kale, adding the kale and two cups of dry pearl[ed] barley, and simmering for about an hour and a half.

I quite like the textures of barley and kale, and mushrooms that have absorbed liquid, so that soup is more about textures than strong flavours. It might be on the bland side. Also, I realise not everyone casually opens a wine bottle to slosh it into their food; there might be a good version using balsamic vinegar, OR red wine vinegar and honey, OR balsamic vinegar and honey, depending on your taste. Watch this space. ^!^

I'd like the recipe for the yam soup. I love yams and the soup you describe with them in it intrigues me.

Thanks! I am quite surprised at the way this soup works, since it's a mix of ingredients across the globe.

1 onion
1 tsp cooking oil (I like grape seed; anything without a strong flavour. Used for sautéing rather than frying so the smoke point isn't too important)
500gms of yams or oca (I am not fussy about colour, but the bright red yams seem to be most available right now)
1 can (400gms-ish) of chopped tomatoes
1 pinch of dry kaffir lime leaves, OR about 1 Tbsp if you're using kaffir lime leaves from a jar
1 Tbsp rock salt
1 tsp paprika
Depending on the spiciness of your paprika, which varies a lot, you may want to include 1/2 tsp cayenne powder for a little kick. I have some very hot paprika in my spice drawer right now.

Chop the onion finely. Heat the oil in a deep saucepan then add the onion and sauté it.

While the onion is sautéing, chop the yams roughly. Add them when the onion pieces are mostly translucent with a few fried and blackened edges. Add all other ingredients, and about a cup of water.

Simmer very gently, covered, for about 40 minutes. Stir occasionally. At the end of cooking (when the yam chunks are very soft), you can blend it into a smooth consistency with a stick mixer or other blender, or leave as is.

I found this soup had a nice warmth to it - it's a kind of weird mix of Mexican and Thai.

I do not understand how the name yam makes the rounds and in various parts of the world refers to foods that are not yams. Anyway, this comment is sponsored by Oca is super easy to grow in a pot...totally worth trying even if you don't have green fingers.

I've heard it's pretty easy to grow! I pretty much have black gardening fingers, but maybe in a few years? I'd also be keen on growing Jerusalem artichokes if so, because I love the taste and the creamy texture, and they seem to multiply pretty much on their own.

Yam there, yam over there, and a completely different yam here...

Oh. Hi! Thanks so much for the rec. I'm really glad you enjoyed my story! I'll be sure to check out some of your others!

You're welcome! *bemused* How did you get here?

I'm afraid our fandoms may not intersect much, so I'll understand if I haven't written anything you can get into.

lol. I just did a post about how LJ is just the newest, fastest way to continue the great literary tradition of having a pen pal, and I was citing actual conversations I'd had. I was looking for a particular post - which I didn't end up finding, grumble grumble - so searched for myself.

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