guest recipe

Bready or Not Guest: Megan E. O’Keefe with Baklava

Posted by on Dec 18, 2015 in Blog, Bready or Not, guest recipe, quick bread | 1 comment

I’m happy to welcome author Megan E. O’Keefe! Her debut novel Steal the Sky is out from Angry Robot on January 5th. It features airships and con men and a gorgeous cover. She’s here today to share a delicious-looking recipe for baklava.

Steal the Sky

When I was first considering what to bake for Bready or Not I knew that, due to the time of year, I wanted to do a holiday bake. Something the people of the Scorched Continent would make for a winter celebration. My first thoughts were fruitcake-esque, as dried fruit is pretty much the only way people on the Scorched eat fruit, but that didn’t quite work.

You see, the Scorched Continent, as its name implies, is an arid climate. It’d be okay for growing wheat, if it weren’t for the fact the whole continent suffers a really nasty monsoon season once a year. Great for replenishing aquifers, not so great for growing wheat.

Which isn’t to say they don’t get wheat. They do – they just have to import it from their mother empire. So by the time mid-winter rolls around, wheat is looking pretty scarce. Which means no cake, unless you’re stupidly rich. There are some people on the Scorched who could afford such a luxury, but I wanted to capture a snack that the everyday populace might stand a chance of getting their hands on.

Enter: baklava.

The Scorched is also home to a species of wild, oversized bee which builds massive hives. This means that honey and beeswax are both plentiful, and cheap. Another common foodstuff on the continent is a wide variety of nuts, as they preserve well and are full of protein. And what better way to make use of scarce wheat than to roll it into a very, very thin sheets?

I’d never made baklava before, but I figured hey, if I’m assuming my characters can do it, so can I! Of course my characters can also move magical gas around and take one hell of a beating, but that’s beside the point.

1 cup caster sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla

1 package phyllo dough (16oz) defrosted
1 cup butter
1 lbs chopped nuts
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

The real secret to baklava is that, to keep it crispy, you either have to combine cold baklava with hot syrup, or cold syrup with hot baklava. Hint: it’s much easier to do it the second way. So, before you even preheat that oven, combine 1 cup caster sugar, 1 cup water, and boil until all the sugar is melted.

Is the sugar melted? Coolio. Throw in 1/2 cup honey and a tsp vanilla. Well, don’t actually throw it, because boiling sugar water splash back is enough to peel skin. Pour it gently. If you’re having trouble getting all of the honey out of your 1/2 cup scoop, and if your scoop is metal, just scoop up some of the hot sugar water and swish it around until the scoop is clean. Don’t do this with plastic. If I have to tell you why, you probably shouldn’t be reading this. Mix until everything is combined, lower your heat and simmer it for 20-25 minutes until it’s begun to slightly thicken, then set aside to cool.

Get yourself a wee tiny saucepan, and chunk about a cup of butter into it, then set it on the very lowest setting to melt.

 [My wee tiny saucepan]

[My wee tiny saucepan]

While you’re simmering and melting, best prepare your nuts. You can use any kind of nuts you’d like for baklava, though the traditional varieties are walnuts, pistachio, and pecans. I used all walnuts. I’m a vegetarian and, because of that, fish are friends, not food, so I have to get those omega-3’s somehow. You can buy your nuts pre-chopped, or you can use chopping them as an excuse to eat some like I do. Either way, mix up 1 pound chopped nuts with 1 1/2 tsps cinnamon and set aside.

[That’s a lotta’ nuts]

[That’s a lotta’ nuts]

 [A finer chop than this is easier to work with, but I never learn.]

[A finer chop than this is easier to work with, but I never learn.]

Have you preheated your oven to 325F yet? Probably not, since I haven’t told you to. Do that now, and while you’re at it get to buttering a 9×13” pan – use some of that butter you’ve got melted.

Now it’s time for the part everyone hates: the phyllo. Depending upon who made your phyllo (and I’m going to guess it wasn’t you, because only a masochist would make that stuff themselves) you’ll either have one large roll or two smaller ones. If you have a large one, unroll it and chop it in half to fit your pan.

Now that you have phyllo that fits your pan, cover it with a layer of saran wrap or wax paper and then cover that with a SLIGHTLY damp paper towel. This helps keep the phyllo from drying out while you work – but do not get water directly on the dough. Then you’ll have mush. You do not want mush.

To create the base of your baklava: layer two sheets of phyllo (pick them up together, it’s easier than going one by one) in the bottom of your pan. Use a pastry brush to coat with melted butter. Add another two layers of dough – then butter – and another two layers – then butter. Repeat until you have a total of eight layers of pastry with butter in between every two layers. Good? Good. That wasn’t too painful, right?

[Magical pastry brush. Adds +2 to butter application]

[Magical pastry brush. Adds +2 to butter application]

Now sprinkle some of your nut mixture on that, about 3 tablespoons. Cover with two more layers of phyllo, then brush with butter. Repeat the phyllo-butter-nuts routine until you have 8 sheets of phyllo left. Use those last 8 sheets to make the top, putting butter between every two layers just like you did to make the base.

[Should look something like this]

[Should look something like this]

Brush the top with more butter, then cut your unbaked baklava into triangles with a very sharp knife while it’s still in the pan. Trust me, it’s way easier than trying to do it once it comes out of the oven.

Pop the baklava in the oven and your honey sauce in the fridge. Bake the baklava about 50 minutes, or until golden brown on top.



Remove the baklava from the oven, and immediately spoon the honey sauce over the top. Let it cool, then pop it out of the pan to serve up in cupcake wrappers or something equally sticky proof. This stuff is good, but man is it sticky.

Toast your success, and vow to buy baklava from the store next time.

[Flakey goodness.]

[Flakey goodness.]

Find out more about Megan at her website. Order Steal the Sky at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or any other bookstore.

Read More

Bready or Not Guest: Bishop O’Connell with Beef & Guinness Vegetable Soup

Posted by on Nov 23, 2015 in beef, Blog, Bready or Not, guest recipe, healthier, main dish | Comments Off on Bready or Not Guest: Bishop O’Connell with Beef & Guinness Vegetable Soup

Three PromisesToday I am happy to welcome Bishop O’Connell as my Bready or Not guest. He’s delivering a perfect winter recipe: Beef & Guinness Vegetable Soup! He’s also about to deliver his third book published through Harper Voyager Impulse. Three Promises comes out on December 8th! That gives you plenty of time to read the first two books in the American Faerie Tale series so you’re ready for the next.

Promises bind, but some promises break…

From the author of The Stolen and The Forgotten comes a collection of stories between the stories, a glimpse of the American Faerie Tale series characters in a whole new light.
For more than fifty years, Elaine has lived the life of an outcast elf, stripped of her rank and title in the fae court. Surrounded by her beloved collection of stolen artwork, we may just learn the secret behind her exile, and the one promise too important to break…

It’s the day we’ve all been waiting for – Caitlin and Edward are getting married! But few weddings ever go without a hitch. Old promises were broken, and new vows will be made…
In The Stolen, Brendan vowed to help Caitlin rescue her young daughter from the Dusk Court, even if it meant sacrificing himself. Alone and in torment, he has come to accept his fate. Until an unexpected visitor finds her way into his life…

Plus, an exclusive bonus story about the mysterious Legion of Solomon.

Preorder the ebook now for 99-cents; available December 8th:
Barnes & Noble
Google Play



Beef & Guinness Vegetable Soup

This could very easily make a stew, but I prefer it as a soup. It’s hearty and great to freeze and reheat when you want something tasty on a cold day. You can use a 6 quart soup pot, but it will fill right to the top, so be careful, 8 quart is ideal.


1 lbs stew beef – cut into small pieces
2 medium sweet white onions – diced
1 lbs new potatoes – cut into quarters (even small ones should be cut in half)
1 lbs baby carrots – cut into small pieces
6 celery stocks (no leaves) – diced
1 lbs bag of frozen peas
1 lbs bag of frozen sweet corn
1 large can (16oz) fire roasted diced tomatoes
16oz beef stock
16oz vegetable stock
White Pepper
Optional: dill, celery salt, garlic salt, chives.
3 pints of Guinness – at room temperature

Bishop - GuinnessIt’s best to use the Guinness that doesn’t have a widget in it (see image). If you can only get the bottles or cans that do have the widget (nitrogen injection device) then open the bottles/cans and let them sit for a while before starting.

Put the soup pot over a medium high heat and add a couple teaspoons of olive oil and cook down the onions. When they start to turn translucent, add the stew beef, stirring regularly. By the time to beef has browned on the outside, the onions should be starting to caramelize. Add the Guinness and let it reduce to 1/3. Yes, 1/3, this will take a while (30 mins or so).

While this is happening two things will happen. First, you’ll see a thick froth develop and it will get large, especially if your pints had the widget. Don’t panic, this is normal and you can reduce it by stirring. The second thing that will happen is you’ll notice a very strong barley smell from the pot. Again, don’t worry, it will taste much better when it’s done than it smells at this stage.

When the Guinness has reduced add all the remaining ingredients, but add the stock last. Elsewise you’ll get a LOT of splashing. Once everything is in there, stir and bring to a slow boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2-3 hours, and enjoy the wonderful smell that will fill your kitchen. Add salt and pepper to taste, but keep in mind potatoes absorb salt and there are a lot of them so don’t worry if it seems like you’re adding a lot of salt. You can also, obviously, hold off and season when served to individual tastes. When finished, it freezes for 6-8 months without any concern, probably longer than that but I’ve never gotten it to last longer than that.

Goes great a cold hard cider and some fresh, crusty bread (buttered of course). You can go “full Irish” and have a Magners Cider (Bulmers in Ireland) and some soda bread. I’m actually not a big fan of soda bread (don’t tell!) but the cider compliments the flavor of the soup nicely.

Bishop - the-stolen_small

Bishop - the-forgotten_cover_small

Bishop - picBishop O’Connell is the author of the American Faerie Tale series, a consultant, writer, blogger, and lover of kilts and beer, as well as a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. Born in Naples Italy while his father was stationed in Sardinia, Bishop grew up in San Diego, CA where he fell in love with the ocean and fish tacos. While wandering the country for work and school (absolutely not because he was in hiding from mind controlling bunnies), he experienced autumn in New England. Soon after, he settled in Manchester, NH, where he writes, collects swords, revels in his immortality as a critically acclaimed “visionary” of the urban fantasy genre, and is regularly chastised for making up things for his bio. He can also be found online at A Quiet Pint, where he muses philosophical on life, the universe, and everything, as well as various aspects of writing and the road to getting published.

Read More

Bready or Not Guest: Author Pat Esden with Popovers

Posted by on Nov 13, 2015 in Blog, Bready or Not, guest recipe, quick bread | Comments Off on Bready or Not Guest: Author Pat Esden with Popovers

I’m happy to welcome Pat Esden to Bready or Not! Her novel A Hold On Me comes out in February from Kensington. I have never tried popovers (shocking, I know!) and her recipe for them looks fantastic.

Pat Esden - A hold on me copyMy novel A HOLD ON ME is a new adult paranormal tale of love and revenge. The main character, Annie, grew up dealing antiques and traveling with her father. When he’s diagnosed with dementia, she’s forced to return to her estranged family’s estate in Maine.

One of the few people on the estate she sees as a potential ally is Laura, an employee whose main job is to produce a seemingly endless supply of comfort foods. Laura lived on the estate as a child. She went away in her teens and returned a few years later with a young son in her arms. What happened to her in those years is a mystery. But, now—almost twenty years later–Annie shouldn’t mistake where Laura’s allegiance lies. This cook may be known for her strawberry jam and popovers, but she also knows her way around the darker side of the kitchen’s garden.



4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup white flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butterPat Esden - POPOVER

Position oven rack in lower part of oven. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Heavily grease popover pan cups with butter (I use 4 ceramic custard cups for this recipe or a traditional six cup cast iron popover pan) Just BEFORE filling cups with batter, preheat them in oven until sizzling hot.

Whisk eggs and milk together
Add flour, salt, and melted butter

Whisk lightly (batter will be lumpy). Let batter sit for 5 minutes, then whisk lightly again. Repeat letting batter sit and whisking lightly until white flour lumps disappear. This process of whisking lightly and letting the flour be absorbed into the batter slowly is the key to extra-tall popovers.

Fill pre-heated popover cups ½ way with batter.
Bake for 45 minutes without opening oven.
Eat right away. Popovers shrink quickly. A hole poked in the top of the popover to vent the steam will slow the shrinking, but not for long.



A HOLD ON ME (Dark Heart Book #1) by Pat Esden

Kensington Books
Release date: February 23

She never wanted to return.
He wants nothing more than for her to leave.
But the fire between them is as strong as the past that haunts them.

Annie Freemont grew up on the road, immersed in the romance of rare things, cultivating an eye for artifacts and a spirit for bargaining. It’s a freewheeling life she loves and plans to continue—until her dad is diagnosed with dementia. His illness forces them to return to Moonhill, their ancestral home on the coast of Maine—and to the family they left behind fifteen years ago, after Annie’s mother died in a suspicious accident.

Once at Moonhill, Annie is shocked when her aunt separates her from her father. The next time Annie sees him, he’s a bizarre, violent shadow of his former self. Confused, she turns to an unlikely ally for support—Chase, the dangerously seductive young groundskeeper. With his dark good looks and powerful presence, Chase has an air of mystery that Annie is irresistibly drawn to. But she also senses that behind his penetrating eyes are secrets she can’t even begin to imagine. Secrets that hold the key to the past, to Annie’s own longings—and to all of their futures. Now, to unlock them, she’ll have to face her greatest fears and embrace her legacy…

Add A HOLD ON ME on Goodreads







PAT ESDEN would love to say she spent her childhood in intellectual pursuits. The truth is she was fonder of exploring abandoned houses and old cemeteries. When not out on her own adventures, she can be found in her northern Vermont home writing stories about brave, smart women and the men who capture their hearts. An antique-dealing florist by trade, she’s also a member of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and the League of Vermont Writers. Her short stories have appeared in a number of publications, including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, the Mythopoeic Society’s Mythic Circle literary magazine, and George H. Scither’s anthology Cat Tales.







Read More

Bready or Not Guest: Sylvia Spruck Wrigley with Lemon Fairy Cakes

Posted by on Nov 12, 2015 in Blog, Bready or Not, guest recipe, lemon, muffin | Comments Off on Bready or Not Guest: Sylvia Spruck Wrigley with Lemon Fairy Cakes

DomnallI’m happy to welcome author Sylvia Spruck Wrigley as a guest of Bready or Not! Her novella Domnall and the Borrowed Child was published by just this Tuesday, and it’s all about FAIRIES. A unique approach to fairies, too–you get to learn about changelings, from their perspective! Quite appropriately, Sylvia is here to share a very British recipe for Lemon Fairy Cakes.

About Domnall and the Borrowed Child:

The best and bravest faeries fell in the war against the Sluagh, and now the Council is packed with idiots and cowards. Domnall is old, aching, and as cranky as they come, but as much as he’d like to retire, he’s the best scout the Sithein court has left.

When a fae child falls deathly ill, Domnall knows he’s the only one who can get her the medicine she needs: Mother’s milk. The old scout will face cunning humans, hungry wolves, and uncooperative sheep, to say nothing of his fellow fae!

Excerpt at
Audio Excerpt | MacMillan, with buy links everywhere



These days in Britain you are more likely to see a cupcake than a fairy cake. Cupcakes are modern, decadent, bold. Fairy cakes are old-fashioned, relics of children’s parties from years gone by. They are smaller than cupcakes and, to my eye, a little more refined. A fairy cake is easy to recognise because it is never, ever topped with thick swodges of buttercream but instead gets a quick white glaze made with icing sugar (powdered) and water. Very special cakes get “royal icing” made with egg whites.


Although any type of cake can be made into a cupcake, a fairy cake is based on Victoria sponge. These dainty cakes (just the right size for a fairy) are still seen as more appropriate for children, as they are smaller and with less sugar, whereas cupcakes are popular at weddings and hen nights.

The original fairy cakes (cakes just the right size for a fairy) are first referenced in the 1700s and were baked in ramekins or individual pottery cups. Although many people now make fairy cakes in muffin tins, you should take care to only fill the cups halfway so that they don’t turn out too large and get mistaken for a poorly frosted cupcake!

Now you’d think it’d be easy to make a British recipe in a British kitchen. Further, you’d think it would be easy to convert. Unfortunately, there are some issues which I feel compelled to share with you. I should reassure you first, however, that this is a very simple recipe, commonly the first treat that children in England learn to bake. So don’t take my notes all too seriously – just follow the recipe and I’m sure you’ll be fine.


So first: Conversion
I modified the recipe slightly to convert it to American measurements. The recipe works with imperial, metric and US measures but don’t mix and match between them. The butter/sugar/flour amounts are slightly higher in the US version but no one complained (well, not about the cake, anyway).

Second: Temperature
I’ve simply said to bake these at 180°C/350°F, just like the majority of cakes baked around the world. However, that’s not the way recipes work in the UK.

British recipes give instructions to deal with every kind of oven, like so:
Pre-heat your oven to 200°C or 180°C if it is a fan-assisted oven or gas mark 6 if you haven’t upgraded your oven since 1962.

So if you bake using an exciting oven or even (god help you) an Aga, then I’m afraid you are on your own, but I suspect you are probably used to it.

Third: Yield
The recipe makes twelve fairy cakes but that’s assuming a British bun tin. You can make these with muffin tins just fine, just be sure not to overfill your cases. Standard cupcake cases should only be filled up to the halfway mark. If you make these cupcake sized, you’ll only get nine.

Fourth: Decoration

My first batch, the control group made with British imperial measures, I thought it would be nice to add fairy wings. I thinly sliced some lemons and candied them in the oven at low heat, then cut them in half and stuck them on with the lemon glaze.


Every single person ripped the wings off and discreetly abandoned them somewhere. Apparently, that was not an appropriate decoration for a fairy cake. Who knew?

Fifth: The Appropriate Number of Sprinkles

“Hundreds and thousands,” my boyfriend said. “That’s what you put on fairy cakes.”

“Like, sprinkles?”

“Not just any sprinkles. Round ones. All colours.”

“Round rainbow sprinkles. Got it.”

“No, don’t buy sprinkles. Buy hundreds and thousands.”


This didn’t seem like a requirement of fairy cakes, but I’m not British and I’m aware that sometimes I can miss nuances. So I purchased sprinkles which actually said hundreds and thousands on the label and did the decorating again.

This time, my fairy cakes were accepted with bright smiles. “Much nicer,” said my son with his mouth full of cake. “Needs more hundreds and thousands.”

“What have you done? This is more like tens and hundreds,” muttered my boyfriend.

I asked my friend to adjudicate. “They look lovely.” And the hundreds and thousands? “Well, okay, yes, it’s a bit sparing.”

I gave the very last fairy cake to the security guard who patrols the marina flats. I barely know him but it’s a long cold shift in November and I wasn’t speaking to anyone in the family by then.

“Lovely,” he said, “thank you so much.” He took a bite. “A wee bit mean on the hundreds and thousands, though.”

So learn from my mistakes. Don’t bake things for the British.


Lemon Fairy Cakes

Yield: 12 fairy cakes


  • 4 oz / 100g / ½ cup butter
  • 4 oz / 100g / ½ cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 oz / 100g self-raising flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder OR ¾ cup all-purpose flour and two teaspoons baking powder
  • zest of half a lemon


  • 2 cups (250g) of powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Rainbow sprinkles to taste

Pre-heat your fan-assisted oven to180°C/350°F and line your muffin tin with fairy-cake or cupcake cases.

Cream the butter and the sugar at high speed for three minutes or more. Keep the speed on high and add the two eggs one at a time. Once well mixed in, add the flour, the baking powder and the lemon zest. Fold the dry ingredients into the batter until blended.

Drop a large spoonful of batter into each cake case – if using cupcake-sized cases, only fill to halfway.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes, until the cakes have risen and are golden-brown.

While the cakes are baking, mix the powdered sugar with the lemon juice so that you have a thick but still spreadable glaze.

Brush the cakes with the lemon glaze while still warm so that the lemon syrup will melt into the cake. Then remove them from the muffin tin. After the cakes have cooled, brush the tops again with the glaze and sprinkle generously with rainbow sprinkles.



Sylvia Spruck Wrigley was born in Germany and spent her childhood in Los Angeles. She emigrated to Scotland in 1990, guiding German tourists around the Trossachs while she searched for the supernatural. She now splits her time between South Wales and Andalucia where she writes about plane crashes and faeries, which have more in common than most people might imagine. Her short stories have been translated into over a dozen languages.

Author website

Read More

Bready or Not Guest Sherrida Pope with Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies

Posted by on Oct 22, 2015 in Blog, Bready or Not, chocolate, cookies, guest recipe | Comments Off on Bready or Not Guest Sherrida Pope with Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies

I’m happy to welcome author Sherrida Pope (who I know better as Nancy Fulda) to Bready or Not today! She has two darling new children’s books out, one for Halloween and one for Thanksgiving. Owls and cats, you can’t go wrong with that. Other things that can’t go wrong: anything combined with Nutella. Sherrida has a recipe for Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies that look absolutely delicious!


An Owl Goes Trick-or-Treating


CatThe Cat who Ruined Thanksgiving



I still remember the first time I tasted Nutella. It was during December in the 1980’s, surrounded by holiday trappings and a box of intriguing food items my sister had brought back from Germany. What was this strange substance, this… spreadable chocolate?

It was love at first bite. But you couldn’t find Nutella in California stores back then, or at least, we couldn’t, and so my newfound affinity had to wait on the back shelf until my own trip to Germany nearly a decade later. Happily, globalization has since rectified many of the gaps on my store shelves, and I’m pleased to report that I can now find Nutella in nearly every major supermarket in my area.

I hope you can, too, because the only thing better than Nutella is Nutella combined with something superbly delectable. Think about it: Nutella is yummy. Peanut butter is yummy. Both together is… well, around my house it’s a recipe for an empty plate and a lot of cookie crumbs.

Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies
½ cup margarine or butter
½ cup peanut butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
½ tsp baking powder


Beat margarine and peanut butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add ½ cup of the flour, sugar, egg, and baking powder. Beat until thoroughly combined. Add remaining flour.

Form dough into 1-inch balls. (If dough is too sticky to shape easily, then add extra flour or refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.) If desired, use a spoon to create a small depression in the center of each cookie.

Bake at 375° for 7-9 minutes. Spread Nutella across the top of warm cookies.


Sherrida Pope, who also publishes as Nancy Fulda, lives and writes in the scenic area near Utah Lake. She has three children, a pet hedgehog, and a transient appreciation for classical music. Find her engaging chapter books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online retailers.

An Owl Goes Trick-or-Treating

The Cat who Ruined Thanksgiving

Read More

Bready or Not Guest Post: T. Frohock with Spinach with Raisins and Pine Nuts

Posted by on Jun 22, 2015 in Blog, Bready or Not, guest recipe, healthier, side dish | Comments Off on Bready or Not Guest Post: T. Frohock with Spinach with Raisins and Pine Nuts

Frohock-IMSToday I welcome T. Frohock, a fellow Harper Voyager Impulse author and a generally awesome person. Her first novella in the Los Nefilim series is In Midnight’s Silence and it is fantastic–I happily blurbed it! Think pre-World War II Spain with angels, demons, and dark machinations. The novella is out tomorrow and it’s only 99-cents.

To get you ready for a good read, here is a healthy, genuine recipe that is something her characters might enjoy.


Okay, bready people, it’s time to shake off those carbs and go for the green!

I have a new series coming out called Los Nefilim, which is set in Spain in the early thirties. While doing research for the novellas, I had to schedule events around mealtimes, because in Spain, lunch (usually held between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m.) is the biggest meal of the day. It is a lengthy affair with many courses whereas dinner is a lighter meal usually consisting of the kind of foods that Americans tend to associate with lunch.

When Beth offered her gracious invitation for a guest post, I contacted my friend in Barcelona. Josep suggested a couple of recipes for me: spinach with raisins and pine nuts, or panellets, I chose spinach, because I have a “vintage kitchen.” That means my oven is old. I’m also a lousy baker and sweet potatoes have never appealed to me in any form. However, since this is a bready blog, I’m including a link to panellets, which are cookies or cakes made with sweet potatoes, almonds, and pine nuts. You can find a recipe for them here.

The recipe I’m going to tell you about is spinach with raisins and pine nuts, mainly because we’ve got to balance out all this delicious sweet stuff with something that is good for us.

I searched around online and found this recipe on Leite’s Culinaria blog.

I had a great deal of success with it, so here goes:

1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup pine nuts
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 to 2 teaspoons for the nuts (optional)
1 small onion, chopped (optional), or 3 ounces serrano ham, minced (optional)
2 pounds spinach, tough stems removed and rinsed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

A short note here: 2 pounds of spinach looks like you’re walking out of the store with enough spinach to feed a small herd of goats. Not so. Like any other green, spinach cooks up small, so be sure you get the full 2 pounds.

Frohock-SpinachRecipe 003I measured everything out and covered the raisins in hot water in order to plump them. Give them about 30 minutes.

While the raisins are soaking, you want to remove the stems from the spinach. Removing the stems took me the longest, so if you’re planning on using this recipe on a weeknight, I’d recommend preparing the spinach over the weekend. Yes, you can probably use frozen, but fresh is the best.

Once the stems are removed, rinse the spinach.

Frohock-SpinachRecipe 0091. Roast the pine nuts in a small dry skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan frequently. This isn’t the time to check your Twitter feed. It only takes about 3 to 5 minutes, and once they start to brown, you can go from brown to burnt in seconds. Pour them into a plate or small bowl to cool.

Frohock-SpinachRecipe 0102. In a large sauté pan or skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. If you are using either onion or ham, add them to the oil, stirring often. The onion should be soft and translucent, and the ham lightly colored. Probably 5 to 10 minutes.

Frohock-SpinachRecipe 0123. Add the spinach (with a little of the water still clinging to the leaves). Turn and stir constantly with tongs, until the spinach is wilted and shimmering with oil, about 3 to 5 minutes.

4. Drain the raisins and add to the pan along with the pine nuts. Stir well and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and serve warm.

Frohock-SpinachRecipe 013The olive oil, raisins, and pine nuts take all the bitterness from the spinach and leave it with a rich flavor in addition to giving the dish a nice texture. It was positively delicious, and this from a person who hates eating vegetables. I served the spinach with raisins and pine nuts with roast pork and red potatoes, but the dish would really complement any meat.




T. Frohock
Web site

BIO: T. Frohock has turned a love of dark fantasy and horror into tales of deliciously creepy fiction. Her other publications include everything from novelettes to short stories. She is also the author of the novel, Miserere: An Autumn Tale. Her newest series, Los Nefilim, is coming from Harper Voyager Impulse and debuts in June 2015 with the novella, In Midnight’s Silence.

T. lives in North Carolina where she has long been accused of telling stories, which is a southern colloquialism for lying.

In Midnight’s Silence (Los Nefilim: Part I): 99 cents everywhere


Barnes and Noble



More about In Midnight’s Silence

The fate of mankind has nothing to do with mankind …

Born of an angel and a daimon, Diago Alvarez is a singular being in a country torn by a looming civil war and the spiritual struggle between the forces of angels and daimons. With allegiance to no one but his partner Miquel, he is content to simply live in Barcelona, caring only for the man he loves and the music he makes. Yet, neither side is satisfied to let him lead this domesticated life and, knowing they can’t get to him directly, they do the one thing he’s always feared.

They go after Miquel.

Now, in order to save his lover’s life, he is forced by an angel to perform a gruesome task: feed a child to the daimon Moloch in exchange for a coin that will limit the extent of the world’s next war. The mission is fraught with danger, the time he has to accomplish it is limited…and the child he is to sacrifice is the son Diago never knew existed.

A lyrical tale in a world of music and magic, T. Frohock’s IN MIDNIGHT’S SILENCE shows the lengths a man will go to save the people he loves, and the sides he’ll choose when the sidelines are no longer an option.


Read More