A few weeks ago, I finally got around to reading the final book in Stieg Larsson's Millenium trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. I was inspired to do so by the totally amazing trailer for the American movie version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I have seen the first two Swedish movies of the trilogy and thought they were really great and Noomi Rapace, the actress who plays Lisbeth Salander, spot on. That said, I personally believe any movie can be made better with the addition of Daniel Craig, n'est-ce pa? Anyway, the Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest was much like the other two Salander books and picked up where the middle book left off. This book had a lot more political intrigue than the last two - which was both a good and bad thing. Good because it was interesting and suspenseful without being overly violent, bad because it frankly included way too much about Swedish history and politics which got pretty boring in some parts. But all in all, while the series had its faults, Larrson created a truly unique and compelling character in Lisbeth Salander, and I am sorry that there will be no more books about her. A mini review and these birds nests after the jump. If you have not read the series and intend to, probably best to just skip this post.
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest starts with Lisbeth Salander in the hospital in critical condition after the horrific events in the second novel with Lisbeth's father, the Russian mobster Zalachenko, and brother, the weird pain free Niedermann, trying to kill her. This last book is about Salander and Blomkvist's fight to clear Salander' s name. As the novel starts, the police still think she killed two Millennium reporters in Stockholm and then went on a crazy violent spree, killing/injuring some tough Swedish bikers and trying to kill her father. In the effort to vindicate Salander, Kalle Blomkvist discovers a dark complicated web of intrigue, with the a secret agency within the Swedish Secret Service (e.g. CIA. KGB). Blomkvist's attempt to reveal the story of the Secret Service and how they conspired to harm Salander her whole life before the people still running the secret agency kill him or Salander is the subject of the novel. In this book, we get a bit more about the editor of Millennium as well, Erika Berger. She had a side story surrounding her move from Millennium to become editor in chief of a mainstream paper and then becomes the victim of a violent stalker. This is really just a side story, but I was happy to get more from Berger than we got in the previous books. Not much more to say about the book - it is the same tense, page-turning stuff of the other Millennium books. It was a satisfying end to the series and it is a tragedy that we will read no more books by Stieg Larrson.
Bird's Nest Pastry's (printable recipe)
These are sort of like Hornet's Nests, right? These pastry's were very simple and made with a Middle Eastern pastry dough - Kadaifi. This pastry seems a lot like shredded filo. I basically just made baklava (with a lot less butter probably) with this shredded filo instead of regular filo. These nests though could be home to a lot of different preparations, both sweet and savory.
Half a package of Kadaifi dough, defrosted
1 stick of butter
2 cups of nuts of your choice, chopped (I used walnuts and almonds)
1 and 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
juice of half of lemon
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
To make nests, preheat oven to 350. Spray cooking spray or grease some muffin tins of desired size (I did both mini and full size. Think mini are better in light of the sweetness of the syrup. In a bowl, pull apart the kadaifi. Pour the stick of melted butter over pastry and toss to coat. Make little nests of the kadaifi in the muffin tins, using thumb to make an indent in the center. Bake until golden brown, about 10 - 15 minutes.
Chop the nuts and toast in a fry pan for a few minutes. To make syrup, combine water, sugar, honey, lemon and cinnamon in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring often, and cook for about 10 to 20 minutes until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
Put a tablespoon (for full size, smaller for mini) of nuts in center of the nests, and pour syrup over. These should be eaten same day they were made.