Archive for the ‘Guest Posts’ Category

Gift Card Give Away: Blog Hoppers, Jump HERE for your chance to win an gift card at my blog.  And now, for Eating Medieval.
I’m very excited to bring you the first episode of Eating Medieval. Today’s collaboration is with Kathy Opie, writer and cook/baker extraordinaire.  Learn more about Kathy at the end of the blog.  She and I have collaborated–and we expect to continue doing so–on exploring the world of medieval cuisine, such as Shawn, Niall, and all the medieval cast of The Blue Bells Chronicles would have experienced.  I like research, and Kathy likes cooking, so I research and send the recipes to her, and she will be preparing them, and telling us about them!
Of course, with modern ovens, controlled temperatures, and timers, the results may not be exactly as they would have been in Niall’s time.  Then, for instance, baking time (so my sources tell me) might be given in recipes as, “Bake for long enough to say fifteen Hail Marys.”  Some people say Hail Marys much faster than others, so it would be interesting to know what kind of consistency cooks then had.
For each of these blogs featuring Kathy and medieval cuisine, I’ll give you the recipe, along with her take on preparing and eating it.  I found this recipe in Fabulous Feasts: Medieval Cookery and Ceremony by Madeleine Pelner Cosman.
Here’s Kathy’s take on…
Medieval Brie Tart
1 8 inch unbaked pastry pie shell or 12 individual unbaked pastry shells I inch in diameter
1 lb brie cheese with rind
6 egg yolks
¼ tsp ginger
1 tsp brown sugar
1/8 tsp saffron (this is very expensive $20 for .03 oz which is about ½ tsp)
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp white sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
The Baking, with Kathy’s Comments
Bake pastry shell blind to harden for 10 minutes at 425 degrees. Cool. Reset oven to 375
I used my favorite pie crust recipe :
1 ¼ c flour
3 Tbs sugar
¾ tsp salt
1 stick of butter cubed into pea sized pieces
1 ½ Tbs of very cold Crisco
2/3 c ice water
Mix ingredients until grainy with hands. I find if I dip my hands in ice water they blend the
dough better. Remember not to overwork the dough or it becomes tough.
Roll the dough into a ball. Flatten the ball with a floured rolling pin on a floured flat surface like a countertop or kitchen table.
P1000428.jpgOnce you have your dough rolled out in a circle about 10 inches in diameter use your spatula to lift half the dough off the counter and on top of itself. Place the the pie pan on the space where just lifted the dough.
Lift the folded dough into the pan.
Unfold the pie crust so the entire circle of dough covers the pan.
Crimp the edges.
Bake as directed.
Remove rind from chilled cheese and cut the rind into small pieces with a moistened knife.
Set aside the brie cheese and let it sit out at room temperature for at least one hour until it
is softened.
P1000429.jpgBeat softened brie cheese, yolks, brown sugar, saffron (these spindly purplish red rare spice threads harvested from the precious Spanish violet crocus stigmas need to be crushed into a powder. I find the base of a spoon or flat of a knife works best. This spice has an aromatic exotic earthy scent.)
Beat softened brie cheese, yolks, ginger, brown sugar, saffron, and salt until smooth. Pour into
pastry shell.
Strew cut rind evenly over the surface of the pie.
Combine cinnamon with white sugar and sprinkle around pastry edge.
Bake until set and golden brown, about 30 minutes at 375 degrees. If you make individual tarts,
bake for 12 minutes or less. Serve warm or cool.
Reactions From Kathy’s Family:
P1000431.jpgEven though I told my husband and sons that saffron was the rarest of spices and the spice of kings they said it tasted like cedar decking and refused to try anymore. I had to agree it is an acquired taste.
I served the brie with homemade raspberry jam, golden apples, carrots, and assorted crackers.
And, Dear Readers, I hope that some of you will want to try this at home…yes, you may try this at home!  If you do, please come back and let us know how it went, and what you thought of it.  If you’d like to try some recipes out and have the results and your thoughts on it posted here, please write me at and I’d love to host more people.
Also on the subject of writers and cooking, I’ll throw out advanced….very, very advanced notice here about the newest project of the Maple Grove Night Writers, my writing group.  The ten of us will be putting together a cookbook compiled of recipes our characters would typically eat or prepare.  Shawn will certainly include some of his favorite barbecue recipes–although it’s important to remember that Shawn doesn’t believe in measuring.  He simply has a knack for throwing in the right amount.  Amy, having been raised in a well-off family on the east coast will have some very different recipes that she’s used to.  Niall and Allene will contribute a few medieval meals, and Hugh, who’s been living out in the forest…well, his contribution will most likely involve one of the recipes in the book least likely to be tried by readers!
Apart from my characters, there will be Lyn Miller LaCoursier’s Lindy Lewis, who travels the country one step ahead of the insurance investigator with her million dollars in a shoebox; John A. Stanton’s Buck Davies, the down on his luck diver who pursues his dream of buying a used submarine to start a tourist business but instead finds himself pursued by the navies of the world; Judith Granahan’s Ginger who will have to pull herself from her gin bottle to read the recipes she makes; Ross Tarry’s action heroes; Janet Kramer’s Maggie, who is busy searching for the Sion Grail in France; and many other characters among our twenty or so published books.
We are excited about this new adventure.  It will take several months at least, but look for the new book to be announced here and on my facebook page.  (If you haven’t, sign up to get updates.)
And now….
A Little About Kathy
Ever since I can remember, I was either grasping a pencil to scribble down an idea or a spoon to stir up something to eat.
A little something to chew on
Kathy Opie, Writer and Cook
Now that I am a “grown-up” I find the best of times are spent feeding and entertaining family and friends, gathered around the kitchen table, barbeque or picnic blanket sharing ideas, laughing at a story or even crying over some difficult news. Along the lines of “Food For Thought” I dreamed up “A Little Something to Chew on.” I hope to combine my love of writing, cooking, and discussing life with others in a blog-site where all three ideas can ebb and flow together in a beautiful and interesting art form. When you visit my site it’s like visiting your family kitchen where you’ll get delicious cooking ideas, some of my published pieces(and in the works) to mull over and read and ideas from video interviews, pictures, links and quotes that you can ponder leaving more enlightened and reflective than before.
Kathy is currently working on a book for caregivers.  Watch for further information at her site, A Little Something to Chew On, and at her Facebook Page.

Dreaming a Little Florida History
By Juli D. Revezzo

Living in Florida is an odd mix of modernity and past. The history of the state goes back 12,000 years when our first human population were hunter-gatherers, then again in 1513 when Ponce De León came and officially claimed the state for Spain. He was followed in the 1550s by Hernando de Soto and Tristán de Luna who settled Pensacola.

The state boasts quite a few military forts, but one in particular became the focal point of my novel The Artist’s Inheritance: Fort Pickens, on Santa Rosa Island in Pensacola Bay. The fort was built in the early 1800s, but during the Civil War, the fort fell under Union occupation and thus, began the stand off that some folks say rivaled Fort Sumter as the first battle of the Civil War.*

A lot of people, even residents here in my home state, don’t know about this first shot of the war business. I can’t tell you how many people are surprised when they ask me why I picked Pickens. They all connect it to Geronimo and though he was held there, the fort had a history before his arrest. So, I thought, herm…what else could that little fort be hiding?

This soldier (he goes by the name of Roland) then walked into my dreams one night, and said, “Hey, You know that fort you’re reading about? I have a story for you.”

Of course, I’m not sure he’s telling me the truth. Number one, he’s a ghost; number two, he’s cursed and, more importantly, certifiably crazy. ;)

But I’d wanted to connect the Civil War into one of my Florida-based stories for years, and just never found the right way to do it. That is, until Roland started talking about his military record and how he came up through time 150 years to help his descendants beat a curse they’ve been trying centuries to break.

I hope you enjoy his little story of Fort Pickens and the artist who inherited Roland’s familial curse.

The Artist’s Inheritance:

Settling into their new home in Gulf Breeze, Florida, Caitlin finds strange changes coming over her husband Trevor. He seems obsessed with a beautiful chair he’s carving.

When the nightmares deepen and ghosts begin lurking—she knows something’s not right, and not just her newfound precognitive abilities. It’s the damned chair, she’s sure. Could it be just what it seems: a mundane piece of furniture? If so, why is it attracting dark forces—the forces she suspects drove Trevor’s siblings to insanity and suicide?

Before the same happens to Trevor, Caitlin must convince him to sell his art. But armed with only a handful of allies, and little experience of the supernatural, she must proceed with caution against the hellish forces besieging her family. If she succeeds, she will break the ancestral curse. If she fails, she may lose forever the one thing she cares about most: her beloved Trevor.

If you’d like to try it out, The Artist’s Inheritance is currently available for Kindle at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and at Smashwords and in paperback at Createspace.

Buy links:

Thanks, Laura, for having me here today!

For more information on Juli and her books, see her website at:

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About Juli D. Revezzo

Juli D. Revezzo has long been in love with writing, a love built by devouring everything from the Arthurian legends, to the works of Michael Moorcock, and the classics and has a soft spot for classic the “Goths” of the 19th century. Her short fiction has been published in Dark Things II: Cat Crimes, The Scribing Ibis, Eternal Haunted Summer, Twisted Dreams Magazine and Luna Station Quarterly. She also has an article and book review or two out there. But her heart lies in the storytelling. She is a member of the Independent Author Network. The Artist’s Inheritance is her first novel.



If you’re interested in a giveaway of Juli’s book, or a chance to enter a drawing for a $10 amazon giftcard and participate in 400 0ther blogs’ giveaways, jump over to my sister blog and the giveaway going on there.