The House of Lost Souls by F.G. Cottam

In October, my thoughts don’t turn to pumpkin spice láttes, autumn leaves falling gently to the ground, or the evocative scent of woodsmoke. No, when the fall brings that nippy chill to the air, this girl thinks haunted houses, ghosts, spirits (the non-alcoholic kind), and of course, Halloween!

2017-10-16 09.16.13_resized

Being the season of the witch and all things creepy and supernatural, The House of Lost Souls is the perfect book to curl up with and frighten yourself. The first book by author F.G. Cottam that I ever read, it’s a quick read that brings vividly to life the literal and figurative spirits haunting Paul Seaton in modern-day London.

2017-10-16 09.17.33_resized

Paul spent 10 years of his life trying to forget the horrors he experienced at the Fischer House, where he ventured in search of information about the elusive Pandora Gibson-Hoare, a 1920s photographer who is the topic of his girlfriend’s university thesis. In his research, he learns of Pandora’s involvement with the occult, Aleister Crowley – because what occult book DOESN’T feature Crowley – and Pandora’s ill-fated attempts to stop the evil at the Fischer House in the years before WWII. He is sucked back into the drama by Nick Mason, whose younger sister went to the Fisher House as part of her own university studies and who also experiences terrifying events that nearly drive her to suicide.

2017-10-16 09.16.49_resized

Not your typical haunted house tale, the story focuses on the demons and ghosts that haunt us as individuals, and the choices we make as a result.  There is some musing on the ephemeral nature of evil and how it translates to concrete action in the material world. In other words, “we are spirits, in the material world,” with apologies to Sting. But we are all haunted in some way, I think, just as Paul is. He’s an Everyman character in that he’s not particularly heroic or brave. He’s driven as much by guilt from the past as he is curiosity about the exact nature of evil and the Fischer House, and an obsession for the long-dead Pandora.

2017-10-16 09.19.23_resized

In his early days of research as a journalist, when he is on the trail of Pandora’s final days, he bribes a fellow reporter Mike for information on her death with a lunch at Arthur’s Cafe, known for its delicious mixed grill dishes.

2017-10-16 09.22.22_resized

In the beige decor and stifling heat of the cafe, Mike worked through the mixed grill Arthur had ordered on his behalf while Seaton neglected a plate piled high with meat lasagne. He sipped from his glass of Coke.

2017-10-16 09.20.18_resized

Not having ever had a mixed grill, I learned it is typically a dish that includes two or three grilled meats such as chops, steak, and sausage, grilled onions, grilled tomatoes, and possibly grilled mushrooms and a fried egg. I chose instead to make a mixed grill that included grilled steak, a grilled pork chop, a grilled sausage, and grilled tomatoes and onions, because to me, there is nothing as delicious as a huge pile of grilled onions atop a nice slab of meat.

2017-10-16 09.15.31_resized

Vegetarians, turn away now. This is the method that worked for me.

INGREDIENTS
1 sausage link of your choice
1 5 oz. tenderloin steak
1 5 oz. pork chop
1 large Beefsteak tomato
1 large white or yellow onion
2 tablespoons butter

METHOD
Heat the butter and melt it in a stovetop grill with ridge marks. This is preferable for stovetop cooking, as your food gets those nice cooking ridge marks. Add your sausage. Yes, it’s very phallic. Don’t write in.

2017-10-16 09.14.21_resized

Add your steak.

2017-10-16 09.14.43_resized

Add your chop. Sprinkle salt on the chop and the steak, and dab a bit of butter on all three meats.

2017-10-16 09.15.03_resized

Cook on medium heat for approximately 20 minutes, turning every 5-7 minutes to ensure even cooking and those aforementioned grill marks. How well cooked you want your meat is completely up to you, so you may want to adjust heat or length of time, or take one piece off the grill while cooking others.

2017-10-16 09.19.23_resized

Remove the meat to a plate to rest and let the juices run back in, and slice your onion into thick rings. Add to the smoking hot grill. Being so thick, they will take a bit of time to cook, so be patient.

2017-10-16 09.20.42_resized

Slice the tomato into thick rounds, roughly the same size as the onions. Lay them on the grill, and cook for about 10-15 minutes, turning twice to get even grill marks.

2017-10-16 09.22.53_resized

Assemble your plate of British goodness and apply directly to your face. And yes, that is indeed a little pug in the top photo. It’s my new fur baby Roxie, whom I adore and love to pieces. October, in addition to being the Season of the Witch, is also Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, so I adopted her. She’s awesome!

2017-10-16 09.24.13_resized

Another photo of my Roxanna Banana, also known as Roxy, and one of me, very happy to have her with me, as you can see her loafing in the background.

2017-10-12 20.10.37_resized.jpg

2017-10-15 16.14.50_resized

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “The House of Lost Souls by F.G. Cottam

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, both about Roxy and the blog. This is another really good book. And the mixed grill is so simple. I think you could really use any grilled meat of your choice, as long as the grilled onion and grilled tomato were thrown in for good measure.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Well hi there stranger! Nice to hear back from you. I understand you’ve been on Hiatus but I’ve missed your blog and your comments on mine. Thank you for your kind words about my sweet little Roxy. She has definitely added some new life to my house.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s