Archive for the ‘Site News’ Category

My blog is updated less frequently these days as I’ve been deep in research, editing, and re-writing, in addition to a heavier-than-normal teaching schedule, a major home repair, and a cross-country trip for my daughter’s college graduation.  But yes, Book Three of the Blue Bells Chronicles–The Water is Wide–is on its way.  In the course of editing, two new characters have been added, and that has required a lot of changes throughout the book.  I’m very happy with those changes, and hope the evil Simon Beaumont, and the farrier boy found in the ruins of an ancient Roman fort, Red, who doesn’t have a name, will be well worth the wait.  I’m having fun with them.

 

Today, please welcome back Kathy Opie, friend and author.  Kathy writes about caregiving.  Her blog also features cooking and recipes.  We team up on a somewhat (ir?)regular basis to present Eating Medieval, in which I send recipes from my sources, and Kathy tracks down authentic ingredients and prepares and writes about the results.  Today, we present Medlar Tart:

Medlar Tart

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“Now will he sit under a medlar tree,

And wish his mistress were that kind of fruit

As maids call medlars, when they laugh alone.

O Romeo, that she were,

O that she were An open-arse and thou a poperin pear! “

- Romeo and Juliet

There is a sexual reference to the medlar fruit that dates back to Medieval times, you can infer that from this quote and also from looking upon the medlar fruit itself.  It looks like a large brownish green blueberry.  I also wanted to make a medieval dish to share with my friend Laura who has a medieval blog.  Hers is about writing and time-travel. I like to cook and learn a little bit of history.

 

 

 

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I was pleasantly surprised to find this dish quite delicious. I texted Laura who was quite excited about the whole process:

 

“I hope it tastes exciting… but so far my kitchen smells Medieval and methinks tasty.”

 

Laura-”Are you using Medieval timing methods?”

 

“I don’t own a hearth but I am not using a timer going by sight and smell.”

 

Laura-”I read some time ago that they time them by saying Hail Mary’s.”

 

“Haha no.”

 

But upon eating this dish I had to report to Laura: “Tis delicious apply and nutty and even Paul tried it.”

 

The medlar fruit that I chopped and mixed with a little bit of sugar, butter, honey and cinnamon had a surprisingly delicious nutty, cross between an apple and pear taste but with a deeper richer flavor. It blended quite well with the pastry crust that I had baked it in.

I only had enough fruit for one small tart. I thank my friend Diane for providing me with this rare fruit that normally grows in British Columbia and England. I was able to chop up enough fruit for one small tart.

 

Ingredients for pastry

1/2  cup of flour

1/8 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of sugar

3 tablespoons of butter

1/8 cup of cold water

Mix together cut butter into the flour mixture and add ice cold water. Press into the bottom of a small greased baking dish

 

 

 

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6 ripe medlar  fruit peeled and chopped

 

 

1 tablespoon of butter

1/2 teaspoon of sugar

1-2 teaspoons of honey

sprinkle of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of water

 

 

mix fruit and above ingredients together, sprinkle over the top of the pastry and bake in the oven that has been preheated to 400F for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!

 

If you enjoy the Eating Medieval pieces, please check out these others:

 

Juselle Dates

Nutty (Spiced Chestnut Cream)

Brie Tart

 

 

I am very pleased to announce that today The Minstrel Boy, Book Two of The Blue Bells Chronicles, was released today on Kindle!

 

The Blue Bells Chronicles begins with Blue Bells of Scotland and now continues with The Minstrel Boy.

 

Shawn Kleiner has it all: money, fame, a skyrocketing career as an international musical phenomenon, his beautiful girlfriend Amy, and all the women he wants–until the night Amy has enough and leaves him  stranded in a Scottish castle tower.

 

He wakes up to find himself mistaken for Niall Campbell, medieval Highland warrior.  Soon after, he is sent shimmying down a wind-torn castle wall into a dangerous cross country trek with Niall’s tempting, but knife-wielding fiancee.  They are pursued by those who want Niall dead.

 

Thrown forward in time, Niall learns history’s horrifying account of his own death, and of the Scots’ slaughter at Bannockburn.  Undaunted, he navigates the roiled waters of Shawn’s life–pregnant girlfriend, amorous fans, enemies, and gambling debts–seeking a way to leap back across time to save his people, especially his beloved Allene.  His growing fondness for Shawn’s life brings him face to face with his own weakness and teaches him the true meaning of faith.

 

He wakes up to find himself mistaken for Niall Campbell, medieval Highland warrior.  Soon after, he is sent shimmying down a wind-torn castle wall into a dangerous cross country trek with Niall’s tempting, but knife-wielding fiancee.  They are pursued by English soldiers and a Scottish traitor who want Niall dead.

 

Thrown forward in time, Niall learns history’s horrifying account of his own death, and of the Scots’ slaughter at Bannockburn. Undaunted, he navigates the roiled waters of Shawn’s life– pregnant girlfriend, amorous fans, enemies, and gambling debts–seeking a way to leap back across time to save his people, especially his beloved Allene. His growing fondness for Shawn’s life brings him face to face with his own weakness and teaches him the true meaning of faith.

 

The story continues with The Minstrel Boy, as Amy resigns her post with the orchestra to stay behind in Scotland seeking answers in historical records.  What she finds is a man larger than life, a man who recovers miraculously from multiple injuries, walks through walls, and appears in two places at once.

 

What is the truth about Niall?  Did he die on the gallows built for him by the thieving MacDougalls?  Why did Shawn carve Iona on the rock in Hugh’s camp?  And why is the cop assigned to the mysterious events at Glenmirril still so interested in Amy long after the case has been closed?  Continue the mysteries and adventures in medieval and modern Scotland with The Minstrel Boy.

 

Available now on Kindle.  Coming soon in print!