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A Moveable Feast by Katy Holder, published by Hardie Grant Books
A Moveable Feast by Katy Holder, published by Hardie Grant Books

Update Your Picnic Menu With This Recipe Book

A Moveable Feast by Katy Holder, published by Hardie Grant Books
A Moveable Feast by Katy Holder, published by Hardie Grant Books

Why settle for potato salad and sandwiches at your next picnic when you can up the ante with elaborate entrees like pistachio meringues and prawn cakes? In A Moveable Feast, food stylist Katy Holder cooks up unconventional dishes that will make it to your picnic site in one piece and that are perfect for outside feasts.

You can get the whole book of recipes on Amazon now, and check out a few of Holder's creations with her descriptions below.

CHICKEN AND PORK PICNIC PIE

"This is a rich savory pie, the kind we used to take on picnics in England. It’s made up of layers of poached chicken, sausage meat and a bacon-and-sweet-corn stuffing, all encased in a delicious shortcrust pastry. For added flavor, I use sausage meat from sausages, rather than plain sausage meat."

ITALIAN DELI-STUFFED LOAF

"Instead of making six separate sandwiches, make one large filled loaf and then slice it to serve — every slice is packed full of flavorsome ingredients. To save time you could buy the chargrilled vegetables from a deli or supermarket, although I usually prefer to make my own. You could also use an oblong loaf if you can’t find a round one."

PISTACHIO MERINGUES WITH CARAMEL FILLING

"I love meringues; they’re a favorite from Sunday afternoon tea when I was a child. Instead of the traditional cream filling, I’ve filled these ones with caramel. Look for caramel in a tin in the baking section of supermarkets, or you can easily make your own caramel using condensed milk."

PRAWN CAKES WITH CUCUMBER DIPPING SAUCE

"These prawn cakes are delicious eaten hot or cold. If going on a picnic, chill them before leaving and keep them chilled until it’s time to eat. For a barbecue, take them raw and cook them on-site, serving them hot. You could also try wrapping them in lettuce leaves to serve."

SMOKY CORN AND AVOCADO MEXICAN BITES

"Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. This one came to me when I had to quickly pull something together for a group of friends who came round at late notice. Round tortilla chips make a better platform for the topping, but this recipe will work with triangular ones as well, although you’d probably use less filling on each."

Excerpted with permission from A Moveable Feast by Katy Holder, published by Hardie Grant Books April 2017, RRP $24.99 hardcover.

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Arend Kuester, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
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Qatar National Library's Panorama-Style Bookshelves Offer Guests Stunning Views
Arend Kuester, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Arend Kuester, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The newly opened Qatar National Library in the capital city of Doha contains more than 1 million books, some of which date back to the 15th century. Co.Design reports that the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) designed the building so that the texts under its roof are the star attraction.

When guests walk into the library, they're given an eyeful of its collections. The shelves are arranged stadium-style, making it easy to appreciate the sheer number of volumes in the institution's inventory from any spot in the room. Not only is the design photogenic, it's also practical: The shelves, which were built from the same white marble as the floors, are integrated into the building's infrastructure, providing artificial lighting, ventilation, and a book-return system to visitors. The multi-leveled arrangement also gives guests more space to read, browse, and socialize.

"With Qatar National Library, we wanted to express the vitality of the book by creating a design that brings study, research, collaboration, and interaction within the collection itself," OMA writes on its website. "The library is conceived as a single room which houses both people and books."

While most books are on full display, OMA chose a different route for the institution's Heritage Library, which contains many rare, centuries-old texts on Arab-Islamic history. This collection is housed in a sunken space 20 feet below ground level, with beige stone features that stand out from the white marble used elsewhere. Guests need to use a separate entrance to access it, but they can look down at the collection from the ground floor above.

If Qatar is too far of a trip, there are plenty of libraries in the U.S. that are worth a visit. Check out these panoramas of the most stunning examples.

Qatar library.

Qatar library.

Qatar library.

[h/t Co.Design]

All images: Arend Kuester, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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Reading Aloud to Your Kids Can Promote Good Behavior and Sharpen Their Attention
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Some benefits of reading aloud to children are easy to see. It allows parents to introduce kids to books that they're not quite ready to read on their own, thus improving their literacy skills. But a new study published in the journal Pediatrics shows that the simple act of reading to your kids can also influence their behavior in surprising ways.

As The New York Times reports, researchers looked at young children from 675 low-income families. Of that group, 225 families were enrolled in a parent-education program called the Video Interaction Project, or VIP, with the remaining families serving as the control.

Participants in VIP visited a pediatric clinic where they were videotaped playing and reading with their children, ranging in age from infants to toddlers, for about five minutes. Following the sessions, videos were played back for parents so they could see how their kids responded to the positive interactions.

They found that 3-year-olds taking part in the study had a much lower chance of being aggressive or hyperactive than children in the control group of the same age. The researchers wondered if these same effects would still be visible after the program ended, so they revisited the children 18 months later when the kids were approaching grade-school age. Sure enough, the study subjects showed fewer behavioral problems and better focus than their peers who didn't receive the same intervention.

Reading to kids isn't just a way to get them excited about books at a young age—it's also a positive form of social interaction, which is crucial at the early stages of social and emotional development. The study authors write, "Such programs [as VIP] can result in clinically important differences on long-term educational outcomes, given the central role of behavior for child learning."

Being read to is something that can benefit all kids, but for low-income parents working long hours and unable to afford childcare, finding the time for it is often a struggle. According to the 2011-2012 National Survey of Children’s Health, only 34 percent of children under 5 in families below the poverty line were read to every day, compared with 60 percent of children from wealthier families. One way to narrow this divide is by teaching new parents about the benefits of reading to their children, possibly when they visit the pediatrician during the crucial first months of their child's life.

[h/t The New York Times]

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