Friday, 26 July 2013

Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop!

Welcome to the Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop!

Wow, this blog hop is full of some tasty recipes to drool over while reading about some great books too.  Delicious apple pie tartlets, hazelnut chocolate cookies, partridge stew, and Portuguese sweet bread to name but a few.  Those recipes look so tasty I think I'm gaining weight just reading them! 

Here’s how the hop works. Each author invites from one to five other authors to answer five questions about their current summer release or 'work-in-progress' and gives a tasty recipe that ties into it.  
I have tagged the The Rebel Puritan herself  JoAnn Butler.  Her recipe is straight from the good ole pioneer days and I have no doubt that Herodias Long, the heroine in her books would have loved the partridge stew! 

Just click on the names on the list to see what everyone else has cooking. 
Okay then, let’s get to it!

My most recent release is THE UNCANNY LIFE OF POLLY.

Polly writes chick lit and her debut novel is a worldwide bestseller. However, something strange starts to happen when she gets back from an international book tour. Polly finds that instead of art imitating life, her life starts to imitate art - or rather, her novel. 
She arrives home to find her husband in the arms of the maid. Wasn't that in Chapter Three of her book, Happily Ever After? 
Her best friend is having an affair with her husband, too, and is pregnant! Isn't that in Chapter Four? 
Then she meets a bronzed Greek and embarks on a passionate love affair. Wasn't that in Chapter Seven? 
Will anyone believe her life is mirroring her novel? Can she prevent the ultimate tragedy or must the book play out, precisely as she wrote it, to the bitter end? 

Her agent recommends that Polly go and live Happily Ever After on the proceeds of her book, and keep away from drama!

Now for some tasty questions:

1) When writing, are you a snacker? If so, sweet, or salty?

Not really.  In fact, I forget to eat when I'm writing.  I get so absorbed in the story that I even forget to feed my husband - oops!  

I do, however, keep water by my side and I do like Rooibos tea or some other herbal tea, particularly camomile.
Snacks are prohibited in our house because we need to lose the 'spare-tyres' around our waists, but if I was a snacker it'd be salty.  I do love salty foods, and if you can add a little chilli in there, that would be perfection! 

2) Are you an outliner, or someone who writes by the seat of their pants?

I outline in my head.  I hate writing things down and taking notes. I do that mostly when I have a new idea and I won't get to it for a few months.  
So, I outline in my head, then I immerse myself in the story.  I imagine the lives of the characters, what they look like and do.  Then, I get typing.  From then on, I write by the seat of my pants.  I like it when the characters' personalities take over and they sort of tell me what they want me to write.  I know that sounds as if I need my head shrunk, but it's true!

3)When cooking, do you follow a recipe, or do you wing it?

I like to follow recipes but I don't fret if I am missing an ingredient.  However, hubby insists that he can taste that something is missing! lol   

He loves to cook too and he follows his mother's recipes to the letter.  I love those meal times - you can't beat Indian food. 

4) What is next for you after this book?

Right now I'm working on a sequel to Relative Deceit (out August 30th) set 21 years on from that book.  It's an interesting time because women had just been allowed into the Police in 1923 and I love having strong heroines in my books. 
I'm also scribbling away (typing, I should say) at book 3 in my Pride and Prejudice series and finally, I am working on a new series that I started at Christmas.  This is taking a lot of research and time.  Although there are women in that book, it's protagonists/antagonists are male, and that has been a challenge for me.  A good one though.  

5) Last question… on a level of one being slightly naughty and ten being woo hoo steamy, how would you rate your book?

Hmm.... The Uncanny Life of Polly is more a comedy than a romance, although having said that, there is a hilarious sex scene in it.  But because of that comic element, (you'll have to read it to find out) I would say about a 4.  You can't get steamy while laughing! ;-)

And now for the really tasty part - a recipe to share! 

Polly is from New Zealand and the nickname for a New Zealander is a Kiwi.  So, I thought considering it's summer in the book and she's a Kiwi, how about a recipe with Kiwi-fruit?
I'm a vegan, so I made this without dairy, but you can change that if you want!
I've also added imperial measurements for our American friends :-)

First we have to make the pastry base...  (small)

Vegan sweet shortcrust pastry

125g/4½oz plain flour
55g/2oz icing sugar
55g/2oz soya margarine

Sift the flour and icing sugar into a large bowl and add the soya margarine.
Use your fingertips to rub the fat into the flour until you have a mixture that resembles coarse breadcrumbs with no large lumps of margarine remaining. 
Bring the mixture together to form a dough, adding extra flour if the mixture is too wet, or some water if too dry, a teaspoon at a time.

Wrap the dough in cling-film and chill for 10-15 minutes before using.

Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Fruit Dip

225g/8 ounces non-dairy cream cheese, room temperature
110g/Half a cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix the brown sugar and vanilla extract into the cream cheese.  

Spread the topping into the tart base and then arrange slices of Kiwi-fruit on the top.  Pop into the fridge to cool and enjoy!  (This is also good as individual tartlets) 

As stated above, there are a number of interesting recipes on this blog hop – and some equally good books! Take the time to enjoy.

Christy English
Diana Russo Morin
Nancy Goodman
Lauren Gilbert
Lucinda Brant
Prue Batten
Anna Belfrage
Ginger Myrick
Jo Ann Butler
Karen Aminadra 

And I tag Hunter S. Jones