FRIDAY FEAST with Christina Brooke

29 Replies

What a fantastic Friday Feast we have this week! Drape yourself over a lusciously velvet chaise-longue and get ready to indulge because you are about to be delighted (in the politest possible way) by best-selling regency-set historical romance author and two-time RITA finalist, Christina Brooke.

Christina is a bit of a star in the Australian romance writing firmament, being the first Australian to win a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award. Besides best-sellerdom and RITA finals (the Romance Writers of America’s equivalent of an Academy Award nomination), Christina has also been nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award, Bookseller’s Best and our own Romantic Book of the Year Award.

In other words, Feasters, she’s a bloody good author!

Her latest release, A Duchess to Remember, is out now. Check it out.

 

A DUCHESS TO REMEMBER

 

For a lady of breeding and wealth, the Ministry of Marriage can always ensure a suitable match. But sometimes, the heart wants what it wants—in spite of the risks…

A PRACTICAL ENGAGEMENT

Lady Cecily Westruther is nothing if not practical. By agreeing to marry an older duke who already has an heir and a mistress, she can assume a wifely role—without the wifely duties. Only one thing stands in her way—a  letter that could destroy her betrothal. Desperate to retrieve that letter, Cecily must match wits with the most dangerously seductive man she’s ever known…

A PASSIONATE MARRIAGE

Disguised as a footman, Cecily gains entry to her adversary’s house—only to be unmasked by London’s most powerful man. Rand, Duke of Ashburn, is accustomed to getting any woman he wants—and he wants Cecily. He will stop at nothing, including seduction, to make her his. But Rand holds a secret more shocking and destructive than that letter could ever be…

“A delightful confection of secrets and seduction…will have readers craving more!”—Tracy Anne Warren on Heiress in Love

 

Oh, you want that, don’t you? I can see your itchy mouse clicking finger from here. Well here is all the linky goodness you need to indulge.  For Australian readers, try Booktopia and Bookworld.com.au, both of which also have the ebooks. You can also buy the paperback and Kindle versions at Amazon.  For more links, visit the A Duchess to Remember page on Christina’s website.

Now, crook that little pinkie, arrange that napkin, and settle down for a spot of high tea with Christina Brooke!

 

Living the high life

Hi everyone and thank you, Cathryn, for having me here today for Friday Feast! I love these segments, so I jumped at the chance when Cathryn asked me to write one.

I love writing about food. I often have to cut paragraphs of deathless prose on dining from my Regency-set historicals 

The French said the only good thing about English cuisine is breakfast, but I can’t agree with that. My absolute favorite meal of any must be the English cream tea or, if you want to go the whole hog, the high tea.

Cream teas are what many in Australia call the Devonshire tea: scones with jam and cream accompanied by a pot of tea. The last time I was in England I ate so many cream teas that I didn’t want to look at another scone for quite a while afterward! And of course, here in Australia you don’t get that amazing clotted cream that’s almost as hard as a pat of butter like you do over in England. Certainly not brilliant for the waistline but pure heaven when you’re eating it.

Particularly if you’re eating it in the garden of a stately home or in the Pump Room in Bath.

And of course there’s the cream tea’s fancier, more refined cousin, the high tea. This is usually served on a three-tiered plate, with ribbon sandwiches made of cucumber and cream cheese, smoked salmon and baby capers, ham and Dijon mustard and so forth making up the lowest tier.

Then you have the hot savory tier, which will be tiny quiches, savory tarts, little crostini, pinwheel pancake treats or other tidbits. And on the final level, there are sweets. Bite-sized lemon curd tarts, heart-shaped cakes dusted with icing sugar, pastel macaroons, meringues studded with lavender, and of course the scone, light as air and topped with strawberry conserve and cream.

There is a magical place in Brisbane called “Room with Roses” where I like to go with my mother and enjoy an excellent high tea. Some serve champagne with a high tea but I say you cannot go past a good strong cuppa.

So, given that I’m a historical writer, today I thought I’d bring you a recipe for macaroons from Margaretta Ackworth’s Georgian Cookery Book, edited by Alice and Frank Prochasca:

TO MAKE MACKROONS Take the whites of eight eggs and beate them very well with a white rod. Take a pound loafe sugar very firmly beaten a pound and half of blanched almonds very well beaten with a little rose water. Mix them altogether, put to them a little rose water, so lay it on White Wafers, a spoonful in a Place. Make them up long Ways, Scrape hard sugar on them and bake them.

Enjoy!

So what was the best afternoon or morning tea—high tea or otherwise you’ve ever had? One lucky commenter receives a tasty morsel: A DUCHESS TO REMEMBER, signed by yours truly 🙂 

 

Ahh, macaroons. Such sweetly civilized morsels and a perfect accompaniment to a good cuppa. And now we have whole shops dedicated to them. In fact, I discovered one just last weekend in Hardware Lane in Melbourne, complete with line-up of slavering customers out the door.

So, my lovely Feasters, you heard our fabulous guest, start commenting. There’s a wonderful prize up for grabs.

Best morning tea for me has to be Devonshire tea in Devon, enjoyed outside on a stunning summer’s morning. A good brew, gorgeously light scones, delicious jam and that amazing clotted cream Christina talked about. Nothing special yet somehow absolutely perfect.

Giveaway closes midnight, Tuesday 4th September AEST and it’s open internationally. Yippee!!!!

If you’d like to know more about Christina and her amazing, award-winning books, including the famous Ministry of Marriage series, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

This giveaway has now closed. Thanks to everyone who took part. You all gave Christina and me a lot of smiles. Congratulations to Julie who has won a copy of Christina’s gorgeous new release, A Duchess To Remember.

 

29 thoughts on “FRIDAY FEAST with Christina Brooke

  1. AvatarJennifer Tanner

    Hi Christina & Cathryn!

    I’ve enjoyed having tea on a few occasions in San Francisco, but I’m sure it’s not as authentic as it is in the UK or Australia. I’d love to have tea at one of the posh hotels in London or at the Peninsula Hotel in HK one day.

    Thanks for the recipe! Wonder why the egg whites must be beaten with a white rod.

    (I’ve read your latest book, which was fabulous, so I’ll skip the drawing.)

  2. AvatarCathryn Hein

    Ooh, imagine high tea at the Dorchester or Ritz in London, Jennifer. Wouldn’t that be an experience. I would think the Peninsula in Honk Kong would be just as indulgent. Ahh, another one for the bucket list…

    Yes, the white rod beating is curious indeed!

    Thanks for dropping by and for the endorsement of A Duchess to Remember. Ms Brooke is indeed a faaabulous writer!

  3. AvatarChristina Brooke

    Hi Jen! Thanks for visiting today!

    Oh, I doubt the Australian version is terribly authentic, either. I don’t think I’ve had high tea in the UK although many, many cream teas. Must put high tea at a posh hotel as #1 on the list when I go back to London, though. Hopefully my children will be old enough by then to behave themselves in rarefied surroundings!

    No, sorry to say I don’t know about the rod. I assume it’s the precursor to the whisk but more than that, I don’t know.

    So glad you enjoyed the book!

  4. AvatarJulie

    A couple years ago, inspired by the release of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, my friend wanted a themed tea party as her birthday present. So, a group of us rented out a tea room and dressed up as related characters (with the birthday girl as Alice, of course). I was the Cheshire Cat, with a couple of modern adjustments. :3 The venue was gorgeous, the food delicious, and everybody went all out with their costumes!

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      What a fantastic birthday party idea, Julie! I bet you had a fabulous time. Wondering how you managed to eat daintily while dressed as the Cheshire Cat though. That must have been a challenge.

      Thanks for calling in!

      1. AvatarJulie

        Well, I definitely had a pair of cat ears, haha. Also a white short-sleeved blouse; a black lacy and frilly petticoat skirt; black and white thigh-high stockings; and black flats. I accessorized with one black fingerless arm warmer, gray suspenders, and lots of jagged jewelry. Think goth Cheshire Cat!

  5. AvatarSuzi Love

    Christina and Cathryn,
    You’re talking about one of my favourite things – Devonshire tea! Swoon! Can never have enough of them, especially in Devon where the cream is sooo rich and thick and the scones freshly-baked and delicious.
    One of my favourite English teas was at Jane Austen House in Bath where they serve tea in delicate English china, the scones are hot from the oven, and from the window you can across all the Georgian buildings and to the garden square on the other corner. Queen’s Square, I think. Sigh!
    Everything is sooo typically late Georgian and Regency Era that I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. I’m longing to go back.
    Though I’m pretty sure all the other tea drinkers in the room thought I was a crazy tourist, another over-obsessed Jane Austen/ Regency fan who had to photograph everything on the tea table – china, scones, clotted cream and jam. Yum!
    Suzi Love

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      The cream is awesome there, isn’t it, Suzi. So thick and flavoursome!

      As for tea at Jane Austen House, I can just imagine you there. Loud perhaps? I bet everyone was staring but I’m sure you had a wonderful time.

    2. AvatarChristina Brooke

      Hi Suzi! Waving madly! Oh, I should think most people who go to Jane Austen’s house are rabid fans, wouldn’t you? I thought I’d died and gone to heaven in Bath, too. It’s so easy to imagine yourself back in that era, isn’t it? All this talk of hot scones is making me hungry…:)

  6. Avatarcccoburn

    Hi Christina, Great foodie topic! I love cream teas and since I’ll be moving to the UK soon, I’ll get to eat them to my heart’s content (and never fit in an airline seat again). My most memorable high tea was at the Palazzo Versace with a group of other authors attending the Romance Writers of Australia conference. It was fun to share it with like-minded people. I think part of the magic is the st=etting and you can’t beat The Ritz in London – gorgeous! My husband and I turned up there rencetly for high tea, only to be told there weren’t any vacancies until the following week 🙁 remember that if you’re travelling to London – and save your pennies folks, 53 quid each for tea and scones – but you can’t beat that setting! http://www.afternoontea.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=135&Itemid=16

    Christina, have you tried Gippsland double cream it’s really thick and comes in a tub. Yummy!http://www.gippslanddairy.com.au/products_creams_0.html

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      You’ll be in high tea heaven, CC!

      53 quid? That’s a fair whack for afternoon tea but sometimes you just have to save up and do stuff. As you say, the setting would be awesome.

      I’ve tried Gippsland double cream and you’re right, it’s very luscious. Not quite the same as clotted cream but delicious all the same. And baaaaad for you.

      Sigh. Why are all the baaaad things so good?

    2. AvatarChristina Brooke

      Hi CC! Great to see you here. OMG, the Ritz would be amazing, wouldn’t it? And truly, I’d pay that much just for the experience. Good point that you have to book ahead. I’m so envious that you’re moving to the land of the cream tea:)

      Thanks for the tip on the double cream. Pity I’m now on a diet:(

  7. AvatarJoan Kilby

    Spare the white rod and spoil the Mackroons! When we first moved to Australia we went on a Devonshire tea binge, eating them everywhere we went, as we don’t have them in Canada. Loved the big fluffy scones and the cream. I think the best was at Rickett’s Sanctuary in the Dandenongs.

    Christina, your book sounds really intriguing. The cover is gorgeous!

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      He he. The white rod thing is very curious, Joan. What would happen if you used a black one, or a purple one…

      Isn’t the cover of A Duchess To Remember beautiful? All those stunning white dress folds. I love covers like that. You just know there’s a sumptuous read inside.

    2. AvatarChristina Brooke

      Joan, I can’t believe Canada hasn’t continued that wonderful English tradition! So glad you could indulge when you moved here. Thanks for the compliment on my book. I was lucky with the cover, wasn’t I? Thanks for dropping in, Joan. Lovely to see you!

  8. Avatarannacampbell

    Hey, how cool! Two of my fave peeps in one spot and they’re talking about high tea – kinda like a threefer. Waving madly at Cathryn! Christina, I LOVED A Duchess to Remember. Such wonderfully witty dialogue and the sexual tension between Cecily and Ashburn is hawt! Can’t wait to read what you’ve got coming up next. Write faster!

    1. AvatarChristina Brooke

      Oh, thanks so much for the kind words about Duchess, Anna! Lovely to see you here, too. It’s a lovely blog, isn’t it? Cathryn does a wonderful job with these Friday Feasts!

  9. AvatarCheryl Leigh

    Great post, Christina and Cathryn. I love Devonshire teas. We often visit the Southern Highlands and I never miss the opportunity to have a Devonshire tea there. The Victoria Room in Darlinghurst, Sydney, does a lovely High Tea in a decadent and beautiful Victorian setting.

    I have Duchess to Remember sitting on my desk ready to read next after Fiona Lowe’s book. I loved the other books in your series and am looking forward to reading this one.

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      Hi Cheryl and thanks for calling into Friday Feast. I googled the Victoria Room and it looks sensational! A beautiful setting indeed. I may have to add this to my Sydney to-do list.

    2. AvatarChristina Brooke

      Cheryl, lovely to see you here! Must try The Victoria Room! Clearly, I need to devote an entire blog site to “My Life on the High Teas”. Wouldn’t that be fun to research?

      Thank you for purchasing my Duchess:) I hope you enjoy it!

  10. Avatarannegracienne Gracie

    Great blog, Christina. I love afternoon teas. My favorites were the ones we used to have when I was a kid and Mum and Dad had visitors. My job was to get out all the tea cups and plates and wash and dry them — very carefully, as they were Royal Doulton and other fancy brands — and place each cup with its matching saucer and plate. I had my favorites.

    And then there was the food — scones, still warm from the oven, with jam and cream, sponge cakes oozing with cream, lamingtons that I’d helped to make, rich, dark fruit cake, tiny sandwiches, little tarts, biscuits and macaroons, sausage rolls and cold buttered pikelets.

    I have a heap of those cup sets still, and keep meaning to have a formal (ish) afternoon tea one day for my friends, like Mum’s used to be, but somehow, I never get around to it.

  11. AvatarChristina Brooke

    Sounds lovely, Anne! I love beautiful china and like you, I keep telling myself I need to put on a high tea for my friends but I never get around to it. Always more books to write, aren’t there? But things like that do bring back memories, don’t they? My grandparents and her sisters always laid it all on for afternoon tea. You’d roll out of one of those sessions as they’d want you to try everything and go back for seconds as well!

  12. AvatarCathryn Hein

    Thanks, everyone, for joining the Friday Feast fun. Congratulations to Julie, who is our lucky winner of a signed copy of A Duchess To Remember.

    Hope to see you again soon!

Comments are closed.