The Clergyman and the Merchant, a book out October 26, is our latest Summer Devon/Bonnie Dee gay historical romance
One of our heroes, Declan Shaw, the merchant of the title, appreciates good food which inspired me especially after experimenting with a dreadful shake (one that involved frozen bananas, protein powder and kale…skip the details.)
I read over Bonnie’s description of a meal prepared by Declan. I wanted to be like Declan and explore new worlds of food—perhaps ones that did not involve kale.
Declan Shaw is British, but he’s particularly interested in Italian food. I figured I’d try a typical Italian dish from the 1880s.
The first place to check is http://www.foodtimeline.org/food1.html to find something good from the Victorian era. No, nothing there.
I did more Googling—interestingly enough most of the historical articles I discovered were about the Italians contributions to American cuisine–their influence in the U.S. flourished from about the 1880s on.
But what about actual cooking in Italy in the 1800s? As most people know—and I soon learned—Italian cooking is all about the different regions. This site claimed that northern Italians didn’t even really eat pizza until the 1930s. http://www.foodbycountry.com/Germany-to-Japan/Italy.html
Whenever we write about a particular place, and I do some reading about it, I end up longing to head off for exploration. Maybe I should head to Italy and take a course? http://www.deliciousitaly.com/cooking-holidays/tuscany-cooking-courses-in-cortona
In the meantime, I gave up finding an authentically Italian recipe from the nineteenth century because, apparently, the French were the food writers then. I did find an elegant pesto made with a knife instead of a food processor so the flavors mingle but are slightly separated: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/001570.html
But by then I was hungry enough to make my own version: Basil, and parsley (because I didn’t have enough fresh basil), almonds (because pine nuts, the usual variety are rather expensive), lots of garlic, lots of parmesan cheese, olive oil and a touch of water…and a tiny squeeze of lemon. And all ground together in the food processor into a twenty-first century paste.
In honor of Declan’s nationality and Bishop’s Hartfeld, the fictitious village of the book, I’ve also made pop-overs, my local form of Yorkshire pudding. So allow me to present food of the sunny south and a hearty British staple.
1 part nuts to 2 parts parmesan or asiago cheese to 3 parts green stuff (usually basil with a touch of parsley) at least a clove of garlic, and as much olive oil as needed. Or, if you’re feeling like you want zing, some lemon juice too. And if you’re feeling virtuous, cut back the cheese and olive oil. If it’s too thick use a mix of olive oil and water.
Preheat oven at about 400. Heat up the muffin pan you’ll be using too. Butter them.
2 tablespoons butter, melted, plus butter for greasing your pans (that’s important)
½ teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups milk, at room temperature
Add 1 ½ cup flour.
The batter will be thin. Whip it until there aren’t any big lumps. Pour batter into preheated baking cups/muffin tin fill about halfway (12 regular muffin tins)
Bake for about 15-20 minutes at 425, without opening the oven. Then lower the temperature to 350 for a while more. Maybe ten minutes—it depends on the oven you’re using. Serve with homemade jam you bought at the church fete.
Links to our new book, The Clergyman and the Merchant
Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-merchant-and-the-clergyman-bonnie-dee/1122636662?ean=2940152340655
All Romance Ebooks https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-themerchantandtheclergyman-1896440-162.html
Link to our blog (which we often forget exists) http://www.duetpublishing.blogspot.com/
Link to each of our pages!
Summer Devon http://summerdevon.com
Bonnie Dee http://bonniedee.com
The Clergyman and the Merchant
An excerpt from The Clergyman and the Merchant that includes some food and other yummy things:
When James’s gaze locked on his once more, Declan told him in the gravest tone possible, “You are beautiful in every way, and I want to shower you with affection, not flay you with a tongue like a blade.” He slipped his hand around the back of James’s neck and pressed a searing kiss to his mouth.
His own lips tingled when he pulled away. “Now, I want you to crawl over to that sweet little nest you’ve made up for us, take off the rest of your clothing, and await your next order.”
James exhaled a soft groan of contentment before moving to obey. The sight of him on hands and knees was enough to make Declan even harder. He quickly removed the rest of his clothes and dumped the formalwear in a pile. Cool night air tickled his skin like fingertips as he strode over to James, now nude and kneeling, head bowed in subservience.
Declan used his tie to loosely bind James’s wrists together, and took the clean handkerchief from his jacket pocket to blindfold him. “Enhances your other senses,” he explained. “I want you to open yourself to all the sensations I will give you.”
He rummaged in his small parcel of provisions and found what he was looking for, a fig so sticky it clung to his fingers. He smeared the dried fruit across James’s parted lips. “Taste,” he ordered, and James licked his lips.
“Sweet,” James murmured. “Honeyed fig?”
“Indeed.” Declan smeared again, then leaned close to kiss the sweetness from his lover’s mouth. The stickiness made their lips cling together a little as he pulled away. With his clean hand, he smoothed James’s hair back from his high brow. It sifted like fine silk between his fingers.
Declan knelt before James and continued to feed him morsels like a favored pet. A little cheese, a bit of meat, wafer-thin slices of bread which were only slightly broken from being stuffed in his pocket. He told James to tip his head back and squeezed a wedge of orange so the tart juice poured into his open mouth. Again, Declan licked and kissed that open mouth, plunging his tongue inside and crushing their lips together with bruising force.
James’s trusting willingness was coal to the fire in Declan’s belly. He would love to thrust a lot more than food into James’s mouth, but first… He uncorked the bottle of cheap wine James had brought and again ordered his obedient partner to tilt his head. Declan allowed the wine to trickle into James’s mouth, but it also struck his lips and dribbled down his chin, throat, and chest. Declan stooped to lick every drop from James’s skin. The combination of fermented grapes and salty flesh was more delicious than any famous chef’s concoction could ever be. James whimpered and shifted as Declan tongue-bathed him all the way up to his mouth…