Wednesday, July 14, 2021

An Italian Stew and A Book Review

 As I was linking a book review to my 2021 Reading Page I noticed that I had never written a review of the novel, All the Lines We Leave Behind, by Eliza Graham.  

All the Lines we leave behind

I got this book free on Amazon from the lending library and read it on my phone.  I had completely forgotten about it.  Not because the novel wasn't was good.  It had to be good because I was reading it during a very difficult period in my life and would not have been able to concentrate on a novel that did not allow me to turn off my mind and escape into another world.
This other world was the story of Maud who became Amber and finally found Maud again after a long stint in a psychiatric hospital.  Maud doesn't remember too much of her past, it is shoved way down deep inside.  But she gets glimpses every once in a while of a life that she lived under a different name, until after the Blitz in the Great War in a country that we now know as Yugoslavia, in 1943.

That was the day she met Robert....and her life as she once knew it was never the same again....

Maud/Amber is only 16 years old when she is approached by Robert who first becomes her mentor, then her lover and finally her husband as they work together as spies in Yugoslavia during WWII.  

I love historical fiction and have read a lot of novels that are set during World War 2 but this is the first that took place in Yugoslavia and I knew little about their involvement with the war prior to reading this novel.

The novel begins with Maud in the hospital and tells her story, in bits and pieces, as she remembers her life as Amber.  Maud/Amber doesn't recollect much of her past as she has buried deep the trauma that landed her in the hospital so many years ago but she does know that she is in the hospital after having killed Robert.....she just can't remember how, when or why....

There is, as always, some mention of food in the novel.  Institutional food, restaurant meals during the war with black market provisions, memories of meals shared with her family before she became Amber, and dinner parties hosted as Amber.  

But the meal, I'm sharing with you today, was inspired by when Maud first started down that rabbit hole when Robert took her to an Italian Restaurant where they ate stew as Robert conducted the interview that was going to change Maud's entire existence.

I can't imagine the stew provided to Maud at the restaurant using black market ingredients was as lovely as this stew.  I'm absolutely sure it was not so easy and quick to make.  This stew will be making lots of appearances in my household.

I will be sharing this recipe and review over at Foodies Read. Stop by and see what the others are reading and cooking up this month.

One Pot Meal, Stew, Pasta, Entrees, Quick, Easy
Stew, Entrees
Yield: 6 servings
Author: Wendy Klik
Italian Stew

Italian Stew

Using refrigerated cheese tortellini makes this dish a snap to serve up. Combined with the savory Italian Sausage and garden fresh vegetables this is a perfect one pot meal.
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 40 MinTotal time: 50 Min


  • 4 Italian Sausages, casings removed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 c. beef broth
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 8 oz. jarred pizza sauce
  • 1 carrot, scraped and sliced
  • 2 t. dried Italian Herbs
  • 1 (9 oz) pkg. refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced in half and cut into moons
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for serving


  1. Cook and crumble the Italian sausage until no longer pink.  Add the onions and garlic, cooking for a few minutes until softened and fragrant.  Add the broth, tomatoes, pizza sauce, carrot and herbs.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Stir in the tortellini and zucchini.  Cook for another 10 minutes.
  2. Serve with grated parmesan cheese


Adapted from a recipe found in Taste of Home

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  1. Book sounds interesting. I wonder if it's still free. Sending good thoughts your way and hope things are getting better. I do love the sounds of this stew and wonder, like you, how one could pull it off with black market ingredients.

    1. I think you would enjoy the book Debra. If it is not still free, let me know and I will see if I can loan it out to you.


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