It’s Been a While

I could say I haven’t had the time to blog recently and in part that would be true. The day job, doggie incidents and my partner’s incessant requests for help with his landscaping project in the back garden have kept me occupied. However, I have also been working on the sequel to my first novel Flip Flops, Fiestas and Flamenco  which is now 2670 in the bestselling Kindle humour book list and has received all of 4 5* reviews on Amazon. Check out this excerpt from the follow-up- High Heels, Hope and Haciendas and let me know what you think!

Lou was furious her sapphire blue eyes flashing as she turned on Abby her voice trembling with barely contained rage.

“You better have a bloody good explanation, Abby Sinclair. What the fuck is that lunatic bird doing on the driveway”

Abby chewed on her lip

“Sorry I should have warned you it kinda slipped my mind what with….” she indicated Paisley who for once, cottoning on there might be a row, had made a hasty exit to the Ladies

“look at the state of me I thought it was going to kill me”

“Oh she’s not that bad once you get used to her” Abby paused at the look on Lou’s face which indicated there was no way anytime soon she was getting used to Loco Lucy

“Look there was an attempted break-in while you were gone and Sylvia had rescued some animals from a nearby farm. The owner had died and….Geese are supposed to be great guards you know ”

Lou held up her hands

“Apparently so, Abby please tell me we haven’t got a farmyard full at home”

Lou knowing Abby was invariably soft-hearted when it came to their friend Sylvia’s rescue animals was expecting to find out they had a herd of cows, some sheep and god forbid more donkeys. Their current equine was a master of escape and had caused chaos on multiple occasions that summer.

Abby definitely had that shifty look she thought as she sat down taking a sip of her friend’s abandoned drink

“God, all I wanted was a bath and a nap. Three days I’ve had…” she pointed to the toilet door which Paisley had entered before glaring at Abby

“All I wanted was some bloody peace!”

Abby had the grace to look guilty, wincing as she imagined three days stuck in a car with her son’s unique and unexpectedly pregnant girlfriend.

Sunday Lunch Spanish Style!

Tapas-1-300x201 (1)It was pictures like this and of course, spending time in Spain that inspired me to write my debut novel Flip-Flops, Fiestas, and Flamenco. Who wouldn’t want to be sitting at a small table overlooking the crystal blue Mediterranean while enjoying a light lunch? Maybe a slice of Tortilla, some crispy deep fried  calamari, fresh bread and olives. Feeling the warmth of the sun caressing your skin and your worries drift away on the gentle breeze. The sound of the waves lapping against the golden sand, the odd seabird and the heavenly scents of the sea mingled with lemon, freshly baked bread, fresh tomatoes, and deep fried seafood. The only thing missing is a large jug of Sangria.

It’s raining here in Newcastle at the moment, the sky is a  dark shade of grey. A pile of ironing is beckoning and I’m on my own so it looks like a microwave mac & cheese for lunch. but at least I can escape for a little while as I’m writing the second book in the Series, High-Heels, Hope and Haciendas which will be realised at the end of this year.

Ah, Memories!

Celebrating my love of Gin

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I consider myself a bit of a Gin connoisseur and am a regular visitor to Dacantus in Newcastle upon Tyne, where not only are there 100s of different Gins, but you also get a delicious tapas served with each one you order. No other spirit has the distinct flavour that Gin has, My perfect moment in time, would entail sitting on a tropical beach, a good book and a refreshing G & T by my side. I am writing the sequel to Flip-Flops at the moment and as with the first book Abby invents strange and wonderful concoctions. This time, though, she develops some rather tasty Gin cocktails (obviously I will need to test them all!)

If any of you have any Gin Cocktail recipes you would like to feature in the upcoming sequel High-Heels, Hope and Haciendas please comment below. If I use any you will receive a mention and a free copy of the book when it is released later this year.

Excerpt from Flip-Flops

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Abby turned back to her boiling fruit. “Have a nice time,” she mumbled, pulling a face. She honestly couldn’t fathom what Lou saw in that man. Mind you, Lou hadn’t, and still didn’t like Mark, so maybe it was she whose taste in men was shit. Maybe she was completely wrong about the swarthy creep, in which case, from now on she vowed to make more of an effort.

Abby preferred to make jam in the mornings as it was a sweaty job. She was trying out a couple of new recipes as well as making a batch of peach and amaretto jam, which was one of the best sellers at the Wednesday market on her recently acquired stall.

She hoped the raspberry daiquiri mixture she was experimenting with was going to prove just as popular, along with carrot cake, and pear and ginger flavour she still had to do. Rows of sterilised jars stood to attention like a glass army on the worktops, along with piles of pretty labels Eduardo had printed for her on his computer. She banished cats and dogs for safety and pilfering reasons. She was happy in her work, humming, mixing, and pouring.

Outside, a loud crash almost caused Abby to scald herself. Quickly turning off the heat, boiling fruit abandoned, she ran outside to see that Santos had somehow opened the gate and now had his head stuck in a tin bucket containing the remainder of the pears.

Thrashing about, he’d destroyed two plant pots – maybe more when she had a chance for a closer inspection – and was standing forlornly not knowing what to do. Abby was having a hard job keeping a straight face as speaking softly she approached him, and with a bit of maneuvering, removed the bucket from his head. She escorted the braying donkey back to the field where the chickens and goats were all peering through the fence at the mayhem. She could have sworn they were laughing.

Abby’s Recipes-Bacon Jam

20140809-Tomato-Bacon-Jam-Jennifer-OlveraT-thumb-1500xauto-408989Those of you familiar with my book  Flip-Flops, Fiestas and Flamenco will know there is a collection of recipes at the end. Food is an important aspect of the story and Abby’s culinary concoctions feature throughout the novel with varying degrees of success. This was something I really enjoyed writing about as I love cooking and like Abby am quite experimental in the kitchen. Here is the recipe for her Bacon Jam. Delicious served on bruschetta on its own or with cheese, try it on your homemade burgers or with roasted potatoes.

 Bacon jam

450g smoked bacon, cut into 2cm pieces

1 medium red onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

45g dark brown sugar

1 tsp dried red chili flakes or 1 fresh chili finely chopped

125ml strong black coffee

65ml cider vinegar

85g maple syrup

Method

Fry the bacon until it begins to crisp (don’t burn) then leave to drain on kitchen paper. Meanwhile, fry onion and garlic until soft, add rest of ingredients and 100ml of water. Simmer for one hour stirring occasionally. (I do this as I come inside to top up my glass of sangria.) Add more water if necessary. After leaving to cool for around 20 minutes, pulse in a food processor until the jam reaches the consistency you require. Pour into sterilised jars, refrigerate for up to one week.