Friday, 17 October 2014

Will You Join Me for Afternoon Tea?

Today's post is radically different than my usual fiction-related posts. Good friend Holly Sinclair (you probably know her as Southpaw), has published a series of cookbooks. I jumped at the opportunity to take part in her Foodie Blog Tour when she announced it, and being British, chose her Afternoon Tea cookbook.

So, why not join me for afternoon tea? Perhaps I'll tempt you into trying some of Holly's delicious afternoon tea recipes? Also, one commenter on this post will win a free digital copy of this cookbook. To enter, just leave a comment. If you want to leave a comment but don’t want to enter, add “I hate food” to your comment. The winner will be announced October 31st on Holly's blog.

Before I share with you what I cooked, I'd like to say a little about using an eBook cookbook. I was really surprised at how much easier it was in comparison to a traditional cookbook. While I did have to do a fair amount of page swiping, I didn't have to weigh the pages down to keep them open like a traditional cookbook, and I didn't have to worry about getting any ingredients on the pages. A quick wipe with a cloth, and my Kindle was sparkling clean.

The Menu

Roast Beef Tea Sandwiches
Bacon Cheddar Eggs
Cornbread with Honey Butter
English Breakfast Tea

Roast Beef Tea Sandwiches

1/3 cup crumbled blue or Gorgonzola cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 lb sliced deli roast beef, finely chopped
1/8 cup minced sliced red onion
Butter or margarine, softened
6 slices white bread
Salt and pepper to taste 
Red leaf lettuce

Combine cheese, mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Stir in roast beef and red onion.
Lightly butter one side of each slice of bread. Spread beef mixture on top of
butter-side half of bread. Season with salt and pepper, top with lettuce, then
the remaining bread slice butter-side down. Trim off crusts, then cut into
triangles or fingers.

Bacon Cheddar Eggs

4 large hard-boiled eggs
1/8 cup sour cream
2 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
2 tablespoons finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar 
1 slice bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled for garnish 

Peel eggs, then slice in half lengthwise. Remove egg yolks and place in a bowl.
Set whites aside. Combine yolks with remaining ingredients, except garnish.
Spoon into egg whites. Sprinkle with additional bacon. 

Cornbread with Honey Butter

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup cornmeal 
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups milk

2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8 inch square baking pan. Combine flour, sugar,
cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Whisk milk, eggs, oil, and
butter. Stir into the flour mixture until just blended. Pour into baking pan,
and bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out
clean. Cool on wire rack. For honey butter, stir honey into softened margarine
or butter at a ratio of 1:2. 


Afternoon Tea was packed full of delightfully sumptuous recipes for a perfect afternoon tea with friends or family. The cookbook comes with a menu suggestion for each month of the year, which you can follow or mix and match as I did. In addition, there are chapters on the notion of afternoon tea itself and how to prepare the perfect cup of tea. All-in-all, a little gem of a cookbook.

The roast beef tea sandwiches, bacon cheddar eggs, and cornbread with honey were easy to prepare and tasted like heaven!

Holly Sinclair on Tea

I asked Holly to share a tea memory. This is what she had to say:

My first memory of tea has nothing to do with drinking it. It's about making it. Something about making sun tea in the summer as a kid brought me joy. It's so simple too. Big glass jar, fresh water, a bunch of tea bags, and the hot summer sun. Maybe it was checking on it throughout the day, watching the gradually color change and guessing when it would be ready. The funny thing is I don't remember drinking it, not when I was little. Now I do, and there is something a little special about the flavor of sun tea.

Afternoon Tea 

Afternoon Tea is a wonderful way to catch up with your family or enjoy an intimate gathering of close friends. This book offers a different take on teatime with seasonal thematic flavors for each month highlighting a different tea. Recipes included are for tea sandwiches, light appetizers, scones, tea breads, cakes, and pastries.

Cost: $10.00 print | $2.00 ebook
If you buy the print version of the book from Amazon, you get the digital version free.

Where to get it:

About the Author

Holly Sinclair, who goes by Southpaw on the Interwebs, finds cooking cathartic. The recipes she's created and collected grew into cookbooks. Holly's trying her hand at fiction and food seems to creep into most of her books.

Join Holly on the rest of her Blog Tour, each stop features a different cookbook and a chance for a free ebook!

You can join in the fun by signing up for the End of Tour Foodie Blog Hop!
Talk about a fond food memory, describe your disasters in the kitchen, post your favorite recipe or pictures of food, or do anything food related. Sign up here. 

Thank you, Holly. It was an absolute pleasure. That's it for this week. Happy cooking, my friends.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Visit Nine Twisted Earths With Untethered Realms #SpecFic

It's launch day for Untethered Realms' first anthology, Twisted Earths: Elements of Untethered Realms Book 1. This is an amazing collection of speculative fiction stories, and the first of four element-themed anthologies my writers group will be releasing.

Nine twisted stories from nine twisted worlds.

Contributing authors:

Angela Brown
River Fairchild
Gwen Gardner
M. Gerrick
Graeme Ing
M. Pax
Christine Rains
Cherie Reich
Catherine Stine

Twisted Earths is a collection of tales from Untethered Realms, a group of speculative fiction authors. The stories are as varied and rich as the types of soil on this and other planets—sandy loam, clay, knotted with roots and vines, dreaded paths through unexplored planets, and in enchanted forests, lit by candlelight and two moons. 

M. Pax, author of the series, The Backworlds and The Rifters spins a tale called Patchworker 2.0. Specialists with digital interfaces are the only ones who can distinguish between biological energy and mechanical pulses, and “patch” AIs, which hold the world together. Patchworker Evalyn Shore meets up with an AI with deadly intent.

Cherie Reich, known for her epic fantasy series The Fate Challenges and The Foxwick Chronicles, presents Lady Death. Umbria, a beautiful and powerful swordsmith, is given an impossible task by her brother Leon when he asks, “You are the assassin. Are you scared to destroy Death when you are up to your elbows in it?”

Angela Brown is the author of the paranormal Shadow Jumpers and NEO Chronicles series. In her story, In The Know, Jacob, a loyal family man is struggling to stay out of debt when he’s hired to report on big plans for a future Detroit. He’s given a mysterious manila envelope with instructions to “open it alone” or pay the price. With switchback twists you won’t see coming, a debt of a much steeper cost is what he just might end up paying for his involvement.

Catherine Stine, author of the futuristic thrillers, Fireseed One and Ruby’s Fire, offers The Day of The Flying Dogs, a sinister tale of brilliant, troubled NYC high-school student, Theo. He experiences a day at Coney Island that includes drugs, delusions, a lonely capybara, Nathan’s hotdogs and a mind-bending lesson in our very twisted universe.

Christine Rains, known best for her paranormal series The Thirteenth Floor, gives us The Ole Saint, a story at once sweet, horrific and heartrending. Ezra longs to fit in and have boys stop calling him witch and freak, yet his unique supernatural skill sets him apart, and the last gift from The Ole Saint cinches the deal.

Graeme Ing, known for his young adult fantasy, Ocean of Dust presents The Malachite Mine, a gripping, scream-inducing ride. Whatever was Mary thinking when she accepted her husband’s gift of a most terrifying twenty-first birthday celebration in an abandoned Russian mine?

River Fairchild, author of her Jewels of Chandra series, presents A Grand Purpose. Rosaya and her cousin, Drianna are soon to be married off, but Rosaya is unhappy with her assigned match. She’s much more intoxicated by the older Firrandor, a wizard she hardly knows. When Rosaya is accused of killing an oracle boy, all bets are off, not only for her love, but her freedom.

Gwen Gardner, who pens the cozy paranormal mystery series, Indigo Eady, adds to her collection with Ghostly Guardian. Indigo and her rib-tickling ghost-busters must travel to a dangerous pirate-laden past in order to unearth a curmudgeonly eighteenth century spirit that is plaguing the Blind Badger Pub.

Misha Gerrick, whose War of Six Crowns series is forthcoming, gives us a story called Red Earth and White Light. Emily, a young ghost bride has long haunted a house. She longs to cross over into the afterlife, but she’s trapped in memories of lilies and betrayal.