Month: February 2019

S3E4: A Russian Fairy Tale

S3E4: A Russian Fairy Tale

Technical Problems Update

Hey book friends!  We have heard that the recent quality of our episodes is not up to par.  It seems a setting got changed on our microphone without us noticing. Our bad!  So listen hard, even though it sounds like Kyrie is in the other room. With our ambitious winter recording schedule, there will be two more episodes like this.  However now that we know, we are fixing in all our upcoming recordings. So sorry and thanks for your understanding and patience.

On To the Show

Welcome back to episode 4 where we continue our mythical magical journey into mythology, fairy tales and folklore! This week, Cori’s picked The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden. But before we dive into the book, let’s talk about what we’re drinking and eating!

What We’re Drinking and Snacking On

This week we’re drinking Kyrie’s new favourite: Harney and Sons Victorian London Fog, which is a delicious Earl Grey with lavender and hints of vanilla. It’s pretty black, so black even that Cori needed to add cream to her tea as well! To go along with the tea, Kyrie did some research on Russian sweet treats and came up with an Apple Shalotka recipe from the trusted Smitten Kitchen food blog. This cake is mostly made up of apples, sugar, and eggs. It’s gooey on the inside and has a meringue like crust on the outside. Not overly sweet, it’s the perfect little Russian cake to go along with our book!

What We’re Reading and Talking About

Alright, enough about the deliciousness we’re torturing you with, and onto the book itself! The  Bear and the Nightingale follows Vasilisa, a young girl with her family on the edge of the 14th century Russian wilderness where she enjoys curling up around a fire with her family and listening to her nurse’s fairy tales about little creatures. One fairytale, in particular, is of interest to Vasilisa, and that’s the tale about Frost,the blue-eyed winter demon who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. As the story progresses, Vasilisa’s mom dies, and when her dad comes back with a very religious new wife who is not the biggest fan of  her new stepdaughter, Vasilisa. As the new priest in town and her evil stepmother force the villagers to shun the little creature, things start to go bad–crops are failing, people are getting sick, and misfortune is taking over her entire village. Listen along to hear our opinions on the book and learn more about this fairy tale.

What We Are Reading Next

We are moving onto our next genre:  foodie fiction! Cori picked this genre because she loves books that involve food and/or restaurants as a character.  The real question is…. What does Kyrie think? Tune in next time to find out. We will discuss Kyrie’s pick next time, which is The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman.

S3E3: Odin, Thor, Loki, oh my!

S3E3: Odin, Thor, Loki, oh my!

This week on Books and Tea, we explore the genre of folklore, mythology, and fairytales. As a new type of genre for Kyrie, she was eager to find something that may spark her interest. Meanwhile, Cori has been a lover of this genre for most of her life, and this month’s genre is her pick.

What we are drinking and eating

This week, we are sipping on some delicious Moxietea’s Viking Moxie blend. Cori is so good at figuring out just the perfect tea to match the genre that we’re reading. The name says it all. It’s supposed to help with anxiety and boost energy. This was a Sipsby selection from a while back.  As usual, head over to Sips By to fill out a profile and try it out yourself AND get $5 off your first box!  You will get 4 different teas customized to your preferences with over 40 cups o’ tea to enjoy.

With flavours of cinnamon, maybe some allspice, this week’s tea goes perfectly with the little sweet treat Cori made! Cori has prepared some delicious almond cookies made with almond paste. Scroll to the bottom for the recipe. The cookies are perfectly sweet and Kyrie enjoys them especially by dipping them into the tea. It softens them a bit and makes them ooey gooey.

What We Are Reading

Kyrie picked Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman for this genre. A lover of Neil’s YA books, Kyrie figured all of his books would be good. What Kyrie did not realize is that this would essentially be a bunch of short stories about the old Gods. Kyrie found it somewhat entertaining to get through once she figured out the key players and characters and their relations. One of the things Kyrie doesn’t like about short stories is that there isn’t time for good character development, which means you don’t really get to know the people in the stories. This was like that for the first few stories but then it all came together and was easy to navigate.

What We Are Reading Next

Next episode continues the exploration of the theme of folklore, mythology, and fairytales with Cori’s pick.  The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden is also set in a land  and time far, far away: old world Russia. It is a trilogy, so it could set you up with some reading for a while!

Almond Ricciarelli Cookies
(From Holiday Cookies cookbook by Elisabet der Nederlanden)

½ cup powdered sugar
12 ounces almond paste
1 ¼ cups sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
½ teaspoon almond extract
¾ cups almond flour


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper
  • Sift powdered sugar into shallow bowl and set aside
  • Using large holes on a grater, coarsely grate the almond paste
  • Transfer to food processor, add sugar and process for about one minute until the paste is smooth and the sugar is evenly distributed.
  • Add the salt, egg whites, and almond extract.  Process until well-blended.
  • Scrape mixture into bowl and fold in almond flour until thoroughly combined.
  • Scoop dough into ball the size of an unshelled walnut (about 1 ½ tablespoon)
  • Roll in powdered sugar to coat evenly and place on baking sheet
  • Lightly flatten each ball with palm of your hand
  • Bake cookies for about 15 minutes until they start to have a little golden color
  • Switch baking sheets racks about halfway through
  • Let them cool on the sheets for about 5 minutes then move to wire racks
  • Cool completely before serving.