Monthly Archives: March 2012


I first read this book for a college course on the 20th century British novel, many years ago. I’ve read it at least 4 more times since then.

Where to even start?

Well, I’ll start with the obvious–I love this book. It gives me the chills. It intrigues, entrances, and enchants me.

The story is this: two academics–the serious, professionally floundering Roland and the detached and haughty Maud–make a discovery. The two Victorian poets that they study appear to have had a secret correspondence which scholars had never guessed at. As they start following the rabbit trail of one unfinished letter, more documents emerge and pieces of the story start falling into place. Gripped by this unfolding story, Roland and Maud start unearthing clues and traveling together, determined to follow this 19th century drama to its conclusion. They travel through England, to a crumbling old estate, to the coast, to France, and finally to a graveyard, driven by that wonderful motivator: plot!

The book is composed of straight-up narrative, old journals by a variety of authors, letters, and the work of these two Victorian poets, Randolph Ash and Christabel LaMotte. The myriad points of view make the story rich and compelling. One of the things that astounds me is how much of a voice these two poets have. It’s a testament to the amazing skills of A.S. Byatt that after reading the novel for the first time, I thought these two poets really existed. I thought Byatt was just reproducing large swaths of their work, but no–she made them up. And then wrote the most beautiful poetry in each of their distinct (and distinctly Victorian) styles.

This book is a romance embedded in a romance, a mystery, and an adventure. There is some sex, but nothing insane. It’s beautifully written, the characters are painfully imperfect and gloriously alive, passionate and creative. Seriously, this book will grip you in the gut and hang on to your heart until the very end. Nab it from your library or on you e-reader! And a cup of Irish breakfast tea (with a little milk and sugar) is the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon immersed in these pages.

Little Rollies

I saw this recipe on Amy’s site and thought that it would be the perfect appetizer to make for our Thusrday night Bible study. Amy calls them ‘Baked Salami Mozzarella Bites,’ and that’s a great name for them. However, when explaining what I was going to make to my husband, the name ‘Little Rollies’ popped out. And stuck.

They’re small enough that nobody will hesitate to try them (one bite is not a huge commitment), and so delicious that they disappeared by the end of the study. This is the first treat I’ve made that has been fully consumed by the group, which makes it the most popular Bible study food I’ve made to date. It beat out the apple tart. It beat out the queso. It beat out the pumpkin cranberry bread. It beat out the beer bread. Its trail to victory has left everthing else in the dust.

Let the Little Rollies sweep across the Bible studies of this nation.

These crunchy little pizza-flavored rolls with the salami and melted cheese, dipped in a little marinara, are so crazy good. And so crazy easy to make. Don’t be doubting–I’ll show you!


(Serves 10-12)

32 wonton wrappers
4 pieces string cheese
32 salami rounds
Cooking spray/olive oil
Marinara sauce, to serve

Preheat the oven to 450 F.

Quarter the pieces of string cheese lengthwise . . .

. . . then cut all the strips in half crosswise.

Spread out the first 8 wonton wrappers, with a corner facing you. Place a salami round in the lower section of each diamond shape, as close to the edge as possible.

Place one piece of string cheese (crosswise) across the bottom of the salami round.

Folding up the bottom corner, roll the wonton wrapper once so that it partially covers the piece of string cheese.

Fold in the sides like so . . .

[Sorry, that was possibly the worst photo ever posted on my blog. It’s a crime, that’s what. In my defense, I was really struggling to roll and photograph at the same time, and wasn’t even paying attention to my overly-bright flash settings. Yikes.]

. . . and continue to roll (like a burrito).

Seal the edges with a dab of water.

Repeat with all the wonton wrappers until they’re gone! Do this assembly-fashion and it won’t take long. Especially if you have a friend or little helper by your side (thanks Carrie, my dear “little helper”!).

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spritz it with olive oil or cooking spray. Place the little rollies on the baking tray, and lightly spritz the top with olive oil or cooking spray as well.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until they’re starting to look golden and toasted. Turn them over with tongs, crank up the heat to 500 F, and continue to bake for 5-10 minutes, until they’re crispy and brown.

You may have noticed there are not 32 little rollies here. That’s because I didn’t photograph them the night I made them for small group, but instead made a few more the following night for our personal consumption. They’re just that good.

Pad off the excess grease with a paper towel . . .

. . . and serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

Wanna see inside these addictive little bites? The rolled salami encasing the melty cheese . . .

It may be better to make a small batch, because I’d hate to think what would happen if it was just you alone, faced with 32 of these temptations.

Moderation . . . moderation . . . moderation . . .

(I’m hypnotizing myself into self-control)

Click here for printer-friendly version: Little Rollies