Thursday, May 25, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Tony Riches, Author of the Tudor Trilogy

In the first book of the Tudor Trilogy, set in England in 1422, we find Owen Tudor, the Welsh servant who married a queen and founded the Tudor dynasty, in Windsor castle watching a royal banquet.

A fanfare of trumpets is followed by a procession of liveried servants carrying silver platters piled high with choice meats, which they take to each guest in turn, waiting while they help themselves from each platter, picking out tasty morsels with their fingers, the sign of good manners.

As well as cuts of beef, veal, pork, mutton and venison from Windsor Great Park, the guests are served with rare salmon, fresh river trout, eels and crayfish. The centrepiece of the banquet is a whole roasted peacock, served dressed in its own iridescent blue feathers, plucked and replaced after the bird had been cooked, its beak and feet gilded in gold leaf.

Even the wine goblets used by the guests follow rules of protocol, with the queen and top table drinking from gold plate, the next most important using polished silver and the lesser nobles provided with pewter. Servants are ready with flagons of wine as soon as any goblets are empty, so before long the buzz of polite conversation has taken on a raucous undertone.

A bishop calls them to order and the queen makes a short speech, thanking everyone for attending. Then there is another fanfare of trumpets and four page boys enter, carrying a model castle over a foot high, made entirely from sugar and complete with a miniature Royal Standard flying from the top. It is placed before the queen and the guests applaud as the young king smashes many days of hard work to pieces.

Owen watches as the banqueting guests become even more rowdy. Several of the younger lords, already looking the worse for drink, argue loudly about the merits of hunting stags or boars. He has learned it is best for servants to remain invisible, particularly if they are Welshmen.

Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Tony!

You can find Tony here:

Tony Riches is a full time author of best-selling fiction and non-fiction books. He lives in Pembrokeshire, West Wales with his wife and enjoys sea and river kayaking in his spare time.

The Tudor Trilogy is based on actual events, from the earliest days of the Tudors to Henry Tudor becoming King of England after his surprising victory at the Battle of Bosworth.

Friday, May 19, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Deborah Lawrenson, Author of The Lantern

Food is a vital part of Eve and Dom’s sensuous life in the South of France. The naïve translator and the worldly older man connect on an instinctive level that seems - at first - set apart from the bleak realities of the lives they are both trying to escape. They fall in love and move into a crumbling Provencal hamlet, set apart on a hillside, where they lose themselves in the heat and light, in music and the imagination – and the fruits of the landscape.

That summer the house and its surroundings became ours, a time reduced in my memory to separate images and impressions: mirabelles, the tart orange plums like incandescent bulbs strung in forest green leaves, a zinc-topped table under a vine canopy; the budding grapes; the basket on the table, a large bowl; tomatoes ribbed and plump as harem cushions.
Simplicity seems extraordinarily close to hedonism when you find deep red “harem cushion” tomatoes the size of two fists in the markets of Provence. The tomato salads that Eve and Dom make with them is one of the most delicious and simple dishes known to man: sliced with onion and a handful of ripped basil, then dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. It takes minutes to assemble and then all you need is a baguette, newly baked with a light crust from your favourite boulangerie in the Rue des Marchands in the town of Apt, to mop up all the juices.

Eve picks the mirabelles and wild plums that grow on the trees at the hamlet, and makes tarts and English crumbles. In September the first walnuts fall, and she stores them to attempt Tarte aux Noix, or to add to chicory and blue cheese salads. The figs from the tree in the courtyard intrigue her.

    It was one of those days so intensely alive and aromatic you could hear as well as smell the fig tree in the courtyard. Wasps hummed in the leaves as the fruit ripened and split; globes of warm dark purple were dropping, ripping open as they landed with sodden gasps. 
    The pulse that pumped out the sweet, heady scent was quickening as I bent down to pick the fallen figs, then pulled them apart to find insects were already drunk on their scarlet hearts.                                
Eve prepares a bed of good fresh lettuce dressed with a tangy vinaigrette of Dijon mustard, honey, red wine vinegar and olive oil. Then she tops slices of bread with local goat cheese and fresh thyme from the garden and bakes in a hot oven with some slivers of jambon cru -Parma ham - and halved figs (perfect ones picked from the branches), each spread with a little clear honey. Everything cooks together for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese looks done. Delicious!

As their idyllic summer turns to winter, the lavender fields and vineyards now rows of stubble, the couple make traditional cold weather casserole dishes like Boeuf Bourguignon, beef slow-cooked in red wine, and the Moroccan-inspired Lamb Couscous, simmered for hours with almonds and apricots, aromatic cinnamon and nutmeg and hot chili and coriander. They don’t know it, but they need to keep up their strength for the shocking discoveries that are about to destroy their dream world…

Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Deborah!

You can find Deborah here:

Thursday, May 11, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Jodie Pierce, Author of Vampire of Brazil

So, I am both a traditionally and self-published Author. I write vampire romance and have dabbled in vampire erotica. Think I got a thing for vampires? I knew in high school that I wanted to write. I wrote for the school newspaper and yearbook. I constantly had one of those black and white composition books with me with a story I was working on. I was writing juvenile romance and was unhappy with it but didn’t know what to write about.

In waltzes my college freshman friend. He handed me a book, The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice (someone I’d never heard of but once or twice). After reading the book, I knew I had to go with the vampires I had come to love over the years. In 7th grade, at a sleepover, the girls’ mom came in with the movie Lost Boys and this started my fascination and research involving vampires.

I also loved the research aspect! If my book is set in a place I’ve never been, I thoroughly research the area, sights, people, clothes, food, etc. in order to give my readers a better idea of life wherever I’m writing about. Plus, if a person from that location reads the book, they aren’t going to find discrepancies.

I was a background investigator for a while so I think that’s where my love of research came from. My hubby and I met online and don’t think for a minute that I didn’t run a background check on him the day after we met because I really liked him. Luckily, nothing came back on him but he did have four kids and I always swore I’d never date anyone with kids but I’d already fallen in love with him so…too late…lol!

In high school, I lived in Brasil (it’s how they spell it in Brasil) for six months as an exchange student and at sixteen, I was very young and impressionable. At home, in high school, I was a no body but in Brasil, I was what I considered to be famous. Everyone wanted a picture with me, to talk to me (in Portuguese because at the time, very few Brazilians spoke English…hence the reason I translated the book into Portuguese as well). In setting my books in Brasil, I can give the reader a better description of the area, people, food, activities, etc. which I find, when reading, very helpful. A few of my books are set in Brasil, along with my latest, Vampire of Brazil.

Every morning, the bread cart would come around and everyone would run there and buy their fresh bread for the day. My favorite was the bread with requiljao which is like a cream cheese but better and a little runnier than regular cream cheese. Sweets like Brigadeiro (mini chocolate truffles with chocolate sprinkles-my favorite) and Bolo de Coco (coconut cake) were my favorite. Every day, on my way home, I would stop at the newspaper stand and pick up a Diamonde Negro candy bar and it had become my favorite. The national pop was Guarana but every once and a while we would stop at a café and have cafezinhas which was really, really strong coffee. It came in mini tea cups so I had no room for cream or sugar. Typical dishes with the family I stayed with were Feijoada (rice and black beans-eaten several times a day), Arroz e faijao (a different spin on rice and beans) and my favorite was Maionaise (potato salad with veggies and spices).

Whenever we went walking down the beach, we always stopped at the hot dog truck and the coconut vendor. The coconut vendor would cut off the top of the coconut with a machete and stick a straw in the coconut and we would drink the fresh, all natural coconut water (this was LONG before it was so popular in the states).

Now, I’m married to a man who went to culinary school so I don’t have to do much cooking (good thing…lol). Our deal is whomever cooks, the other cleans. This leaves me time for writing. I get to, in each time I include Brasil in my stories, get to re-live my wonderful time there which I still hope to return to one day.

I absolutely, place people I know characteristics into my characters in my stories. I also do the horrible and kill off the people I gave those vary characteristics to because they start to remind me of that person and the horrible past. I usually look up the meanings of names and give those traits to my characters. It’s kinda my little inside joke with myself!

My latest vampire book was Vampire of Brazil (which is printed in English and Portuguese - I translated it). My very last book was a memoir about being Bipolar called Inside My Head. For my Brasil book, I even went about finding pictures to represent important aspects of the story. I used a real Brazilian and Rio de Janeiro cemetery in the background for the cover making it more authentic.

I loved the food of Brasil. My personal favorite was pizza because they made it with white sauce (another thing they were ahead of from the states), chicken, corn, etc. and it was amazing!!!! The brigadeiro was my favorite dessert where things could get a little deceiving. I thought I was going to eat a piece of cake with the frosting in the middle. When I got it in my mouth, it had been bread with tuna salad in the middle. Imagine my surprise?!

Well, it’s time for my sign off. Thanks for having me and indulging me in the long post!!

Keep Reading!
Jodie Pierce

Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Jodie!

You can find Jodie here:

Thursday, May 4, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Patricia Obermeier Neuman and Rosalind Burgess, Authors of Lethal Property

Food is important to Kit. Not really the eating of it, but more the preparation, the cooking, and the reviews from her adoring diners. Her BFF, Val, is a regular recipient of Kit’s fantastic cuisine, but left to her own devices, she is just as happy with a bowl of Cheerios while watching TV in bed.

     “Got time for a breakfast taco, Val?” Kit asked.
     “With chorizo sausage?”

In Lethal Property a serial killer is on the loose in Downers Grove. It begins with Val, a Realtor, showing a house to a mysterious man who seems to have more than the purchase of real estate on his mind. Even more alarming is the fact that the string of murders that ensue seem to implicate Val and threaten her safety.

Not content with waiting for the police to solve the case, Val and Kit pursue their own list of suspects, which brings them to a local Greek restaurant. At first glance, this establishment does not even come close to Kit’s impossibly high epicurean standards, but she’s willing to give it a try.

     Since the restaurant smelled fishy and the plastic menus were covered in some sort of greasy substance that displayed a million fingerprints, I was amazed when Kit agreed to let Giorgos pick something for us to actually eat. I guess his good looks outweighed the poorly maintained restaurant.
     “It’s called papoutsakia,” he said.
     “Eggplant stuffed with ground beef, cheese, and . . . and . . . let me guess . . .” Kit snapped her fingers.
     “Béchamel sauce,” Giorgos supplied the last ingredient.

The murders continue at a gruesome pace, and Kit insists that Val move in with her and her husband, Larry. To further secure Val’s safety, Kit also invites her neighbor’s dog, Roscoe, a one hundred pound Rottweiler, to stay with them. Unfortunately, Val’s fear of Roscoe is almost on par with her fear of the killer.

     “These look heavenly.” I took a seat at the counter and eyed the plate of waffles before me.
     “Sorry, Val. Those are for Roscoe. But I can easily make another batch if you—”
     “Roscoe? Are you kidding me? And where is the hound of the Baskervilles, anyway?”
     “He likes to walk before breakfast, so Larry’s taking him around the block. And he doesn’t like syrup on his waffles.”
     “Larry or Roscoe?”
     “Roscoe, of course, and really, I can make some more if you—”
     “Kit, you realize he’s a dog, right?”
     “Exactly. It wouldn’t be natural to put syrup on waffles—”
     “Oh, for crying out loud. Just let me get some coffee—unless, of course, Roscoe doesn’t approve of coffee before walking.”

Like everything she does, Kit is an elegant cook. But she’s also highly practical.

     She took a sip of her own wine and then put on some rather chic black oven mitts. Next, she removed a large cast-iron dish from the oven and placed it on the counter.
     “Wow,” I said. One of the best arguments for staying at Kit’s was the fabulous food I was about to enjoy. “That’s some dish.”
     “I know. Le Creuset,” she announced. “On sale this week at Sur La Table. You should stock up, Val.”
     “Yeah, right, because my Cheerios would taste so much better. What I meant, dummy, was what’s inside it.”
     “Veal cannelloni.”
     “One of my favorites. When do we eat? I’m starving.”
     “Unfortunately, it’s not for you, Valley Girl. We’re taking it over to Wendell Fullerton’s.”
     “Huh?” I felt disappointed.

It doesn’t seem right to Kit’s BFF that Wendell Fullerton should be high on the suspect list and get the veal cannelloni. But many fabulous dishes, and more than a few margaritas later, the case is solved and Val can return home. To her Cheerios.

Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Patty and Roz!

You can find the authors here: