Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop

Carol Ryan invited me to participate in the Tasty Summer Reads blog hop.

Here’s the blog hop general blurb:

Jessica Knauss wrote this: Welcome to the Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop! Each participant invites a number of others to answer five questions about a recent or forthcoming release, and a recipe that fits with it. Links to the participants I have invited may be found in a while, just above the extract and recipe. Their contributions should be in place soon after this, so check out their blogs over the next few days.

 About The Nurse and The Earl:

It is 1865. Patricia Goodman, a young widow and graduate of the Nightingale School of Nursing, travels to Folkestone Manor in Hawkinge, in the County of Kent. She is to be interviewed for a position by what she expects is a “stuffy, old earl.”

Instead, she meets the handsome Sir Reginald Pleydell, who has been confined to a wheelchair due to severe wounds he suffered in the Crimean War.

Can she heal him? Can she help him overcome his disdain for life? The answers lie in the pages of this torrid, hot, steamy, explicit, sizzling romance of the Victorian Era.


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

I don’t snack much. My eight non-fiction books (1 as author, 4 as co-author, 3 as uncredited help) were written on vodka and Vicodin.

2) Are you an outliner or someone who writes by the seat of his or her pants? And are they real pants or jammies?

I’m an outliner. My books, even my fiction, are highly structured. I need to keep track of everything. Out of structure flows creativity.

My “pants” are short sweats, jockey shorts, or my firm, perky, naked butt.

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

For new recipes, I follow the recipe carefully. Later, there’s no need to consult the recipe, as the dish has become an “old friend.” Variations are easy, too. It’s easy to substitute ingredients and scale the recipe for any number of eaters.

4) What is next for you after this book?

Next title is “Blazing Sandals: The True Adventures of Jesus.”

5) Last question. On a level of one being slightly naughty and ten being “whoo hoo steamy,” how would you rate your book?

Ten. No point being a woos about it. The words and action are, of course, there to build character and the plot.

It depends on the story, too. In my short story “The Lost Cymbal,” the only explicit expression is “nice tits.” In my current project, “The Nurse and the Earl,” the book is entirely about sex, food, and historical accuracy. Major sex acts are covered in detail. If I left sex out of a chapter, I made a mistake.

NB: Former girlfriends have read drafts and approve.

It’s not always action. Language counts.

Meg: “Did you swallow the sausage?”

Patricia: “Did I swallow…? Oh, Meg! Of course I did. There was no better meal in southern England.”

Meg: “And so it is with me, my young dear. And so it will be tonight. Jack makes the kind of clotted cream you can’t get atop a scone.”

Patricia “I must tell you, I have never met a woman who bantered so. You are a delight!”

Meg: “You should spend more time in the country, dearie.”

Then again, maybe it’s the action:

Jack (in the barn): “Ah, someone new. Well, we shall make the most of it.”

With that, he used Meg’s cord to bind her wrists. From behind her, he brought a rope with a hook, which passed over a pulley in the beam, and hooked it to her wrist binding. He gave the rope a gentle tug, causing Meg’s arms to rise over her head. With more tugs, she was forced to stand. When she was on tiptoes, Jack tied the rope.


The recipes are based on The Book of Household Management; Comprising Information for the Mistress, Housekeeper, Cook, Kitchen-maid, Butler, Footman, Coachman, Valet, Upper and Under House-maids, Lady’s-maid, Maid-of-all-work, Laundry-maid, Nurse and Nurse-maid, Monthly, Wet, and Sick Nurses, etc. Etc.

Also, Sanitary, Medical, & Legal Memoranda;

With a History of the Origin, Properties, and Uses of All Things Connected with Home Life and Comfort.

— By Mrs. Isabella Beeton, Published Originally By S. O. Beeton in 24 Monthly Parts 1859-1861.

Recipe 1:

“So what is this new thing from Julia?”

“I’m makin’ it for dinner. Something from France called boeuf à la Bourguignonne, or Burgundy beef. Julia tells me to say it ‘biff boor-gin-yon.’ Can’t say why they’d name it after someone named Biff, though.”

Julia spoke: “Oh, Mrs. Bates, that’s the French word for beef. It’s really just beef cooked in Burgundy wine, with onions and mushrooms. Well, we must also add lardons if the beef is too tough.”

“I must say, Julia, it sounds wonderful. Is it difficult to make?”

“No, Mrs. Goodman. Just like Lancashire hotpot. It goes in a crockery pot and we just set it in a firehole to cook. We needed to fetch a bottle of wine from the cellar. Another day, I’m hoping that Mrs. Bates will let me make coq au vin. It’s similar.”

Meg: “Young lady, I won’t show my ignorance of French. I’ll be assuming that the dish has nothing to do with Van’s cock or Van’s cocoa.”

“No, ma’am. Just chicken in wine. There is a boy in the village named Van.”

“Best tend to the cooking and baking, child. You’re a little young to be thinking about a boy.”

Recipe 2:

“Well, it’s a lovely note [from my four sons in India], to be sure, and otherwise all is well. And look at this: a package of garam masala!”

“What’s that?

“Why, it’s a blend of about ten spices from the Punjab. I can tell you exactly what’s in it: black peppercorns, white peppercorns, black cumin seeds, white cumin seeds, black cardamom, brown cardamom, green cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, star anise, malabar leaves, mace blades, and coriander seeds.”

“Meg, you amaze me. Where did you learn that?”

“Years of cookin’, dearie, and bein’ married to a man who’s been in the eastern campaigns. So, dinner will be chicken tikka masala. I’ll have Jack kill a chicken.”

Oh, yes. I know the dish. My mother’s cook is Irish and cannot or will not make it.

Now that’s a shame. She must be quite a silly girl. The Irish rely too much on the potato. Well, you hang on until dinner, dearie, and you’ll be pleased.

“I look forward to it.”

“Take my word, Miz Patricia, someday chicken tikka masala will be a British national dish, along with the Sunday joint, of course. Would you like a preview of how to make it?”

“Why yes, of course. I hope someday to have a husband and do some cooking of my own. At the least, I must understand what our cook will do.”

“Well, roasted chicken chunks are called ‘tikka’ and masala is a spicy sauce. It comes out as chicken in a creamy and very orange-coloured sauce. My sons tell me that the chicken should first be grilled in a clay oven called a tandoor—also called a bhatti—but this is modern England, and I’m quite content with cooking the dish in a firehole in my stove.

“Just the same, if there’s grilling to be done, I’ll roast the chicken chunks over the fire while making the sauce.

“Now that sauce is nothing more than the garam masala, which we have here, mixed with lemon juice, yogurt, and maybe some heavy cream. Of course, chopped tomatoes make it orange. Fresh tomatoes won’t be available for a month or two, but I have some preserved from last year.

“When you see that the sauce is right, put it in a clay pot and mix in the grilled chicken. Then chuck the pot into the firehole.  When it’s hot and steamy (like my Jack), you’re done.”


Here are some authors who’ve participated up to this point. You’ll find a wide range of interests and skill levels.

Christy English
Donna Russo Morin
Nancy Goodman
Lauren Gilbert
Lucinda Brant
Prue Batten
Anna Belfrage
Ginger Myrick
Jo Ann Butler
Kim Rendfeld
Cora Lee
Jessica Knauss
Susan Spann
Richard Abbott
Patricia Bracewell


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