Monday, February 16

Website Update

Quick note to say I've updated the website with links to Trapped and Wolf Spider in the appropriate sections.

I've been reading through the rest of the Feb issue of 3CP, and I was thrilled to see that Kiriko Moth is the featured artist. I love her work, and have prints of Clockwork Wings and Rebuilding above my bed. She also sent me three postcards with the order, which was great!

(If you're interested, I also have a pushmepullyou print that's no longer available on their site, a couple of Vettriano box prints and a picture of a man at a bar for whom I've completely forgotten the artist. And tons of post cards, photos, drawings and posters from a wide variety of sources!)

Saturday, February 14

I really ought to be updating the website, but this is easier. Link to WolfSpider

Friday, February 13

Foody Friday: Wine Chocolate

I keep forgetting it's Friday. It feels like a Saturday. I'm having a party on Sunday, and I keep having to remind myself that (a) I shouldn't start the prep yet and (b) I need food for myself tomorrow night. Despite the fact that everything's banging on about it being Friday the thirteenth, it keeps passing me by.

Anyway, it is, so here's a recipe. I made this last week, and it's knee-weakeningly good. You couldn't drink much, since not only is it very alcoholic but also very rich, but everyone you know will love you for making it. Brilliant on these cold evenings.

Wine Chocolate

Wine Chocolate


1 pint sherry OR 1 1/2 pint Red Port
4 1/2 oz Cocoa
6 oz Sugar
1/2 oz Flour
Pinch of Salt


Large Pan


Sieve the powedery ingredients into the sherry and mix until they've dissolved.

Simmer, but don't bring to the boil unless you want to waste all that lovely fortified wine.

Share and drink!

To make a single portion, take a small wine glass (175ml), a teaspoon of cocoa, a teaspoon and a half of sugar, a pinch of flour and a pinch of a pinch of salt.

Nott, John; The Cook's and Confectioner's Dictionary, Or, The Accomplish'd Housewife's Companion; Bible and Crown; 1723; Googlebooks scan from Original at Harvard University, digitized Jul 9, 2007

There may not be a post next week; I'm on a train from 9:00 til 16:30, and I don't know what my net connection will be like. On the other hand, you get a post about the Writing Holiday when I get back!

Wednesday, February 11

WolfSpider - Accepted!

Three Crows Press accepted Wolf Spider! ^_____________^ It was getting so close to Valentine's Day that I was beginning to assume they weren't bothering to send out rejections, but poking their livejournal this morning suggested I'd hear today or tomorrow. $0.01 a word! Awesome eZine! Can't get the victory rhumba out of my head!

On the back of that, I've sent Pluvial to All Hallows. It seems more in their stride than Ruin, and I've got slightly stronger credits than before!

Friday, February 6

Foody Friday: Chocolate

First up, received a response from GlimmerTrain, and no luck. Considering the competition, I'm not really surprised, but it was worth a shot.

Unexpected day off work (they didn't need me), that I accepted because I don't get another til the 14th. So, the first chcolate post is nice and early, instead of at eleven o'clock in front of the TV desperately ekeing out the last ounces of power in my laptop battery.

Last week, I went on a work trip to one of the Leeds University Libraries. Alas, I don't remember which, but it was stunning. I'm very jealous; York's Uni library lacks marble columns, a minstrel's gallery, and beautiful woodwork. We went to have a look at various historical cookbooks, which was great. It's easy to forget that celeb chefs aren't just a recent thing.

Even better for me, really. I took notes of a few names, and I've been seeing how many of these long-out-of-copyright books have made it online. Google books offers up The Compleat English Cook by Robert May, The House-keeper's Pocket Book by Sarah Harrison, The Cooks and Confectioners Dictionary by John Nott and The Art of Cookery Made Easy by Hannah Glasse; I also have bookmarked Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, of course. I can now claim to have seen early (often first) editions of all of these apart from Sarah Harrison's.

So, on to chocolate! First, a bit of general info; rather than the history, I thought I'd tell you a bit about some of the best chocolate companies still around today.

Those wonderful people who supply it

Started life in York in 1725 as Mary Tuke's Grocery Shop, making Genuine Rock Cocoa. The Cocoa aspect was bought up by Henry Isaac Rowntree in 1862. He was a Quaker, as many chocolate producers are. Now owned by Nestle, their most famous chocolate product these days is probably the Kit-Kat.

Began life as Berry and Bayldon's Sweets in York in 1767. Bought up by Joseph Terry the apothecary in 1828. Their most famous product is the Chocolate Orange, which actually started out as a Chocolate Apple! Now owned by Kraft Foods.

Founded in 1890 in Halifax (just down the road from York...). Main emphasis was on toffee, and they started producing the famous Quality Street selection tins in 1936. Also owned by Nestle now.

Founded in 1911 in Sheffield (also in Yorkshire - are you seeing a theme yet?), Thorntons are best known for their boxes of chocolates. They appear to still be in charge of themselves, which is great!

Moving out of Yorkshire now, Cadbury's was founded in Birmingham in 1824. It's now Cadbury's Schweppes, and also owns Green&Black's, who make some of them best organic, fairtrade chocolate available. Cadbury's are most famous for their Dairy Milk bar.

All the way down in Slough, Forrest Mars, son of the Chicago chocolate magnate, broke away in 1932. Truly, he has the name of a Steampunk hero. Obviously, they're most famour for the Mars Bar. Weirdly, they also own a lot of pet food companies.

So, Cocoa took off in the 1700s, eating chocolate in the 1800s, and the North of England was the place to make it.

Rock Cocoa is a mix of cocoa powder and granulated sugar. It would be sold in lumps and grated to make hot chocolate. Most recipes prior to the mid 1800s use Chocolate to refer to Rock Cocoa. It often included cinnamon, hazlenut, vanilla and other flavourings, so the expensive variations you see in coffee shops today are nothing new!

To Make Hot Chocolate

These are two of John Nott's recipes (we'll be using another of his, Wine Chocolate, next week) for delicious hot chocolate. Naturally, it's all in Imperial.

Hot Chocolate with Water

2 Pints of Water (4 Cups)
1/4 lb Cocoa
1/4 lb Sugar
1/4 lb Brandy
1/8 oz Flour
Pinch of Salt

Large Pan

Assuming you haven't actually got hold of Rock Cocoa, which you need to grate, first sieve your powdery ingredients together

Boil The water in a large pan

Add the powdery ingredients and stir until they dissolve

Boil for 10-12 minutes

Add the brandy, leave to cool to drinking temperature


Hot Chocolate with Milk

2 Pints of Milk (4 Cups)
4 oz Cocoa
4 oz Sugar
1/8 oz Flour
Pinch of Salt

Large Pan


Same as above, basically. Try to avoid scorching the milk!

Nott, John; The Cooks and Confectioners Dictionary, Or, The Accomplish'd Housewifes Companion; Bible and Crown; 1723; Googlebooks scan from Original from Harvard University, digitized Jul 9, 2007

Monday, February 2

Foody (Monday) Friday: Early Grey Tea Creams

Belated Food Friday, I'm afraid. Even worse, I've not actually tried this one myself, since I've been lactose intolerant for a couple of weeks (it comes and goes). Still, it sounds delivious.

Earl Grey Cream Teas

Yolks of 9 eggs
7 tspns Earl Grey
80g Caster Sugar
260ml (one cup) Full Fat Milk
260ml (one cup) Double Cream
Hot water

6 Shallow Tea Cups
Glass Bowl
Large pan
Deep roasting tin

Preheat oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2. Put in the roasting tin, with the cups inside it, to warm up.

Whisk together the egg yolks and half the sugar.

Put the milk, cream, tea and the other half of the sugar in the pan. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring occasionally. Don't leave it too long, or the tea will be too strong.

When boiling, strain into the sugary eggs.

Whisk some more!

Strain again into the jug, and skim to remove any foamy bubbles.

Pour into the cups. Since we're not doing the milk foam (well, not unless you have some N20 cartridges and a whipped cream dispenser to hand), just fill until they're all even.

Fill the roasting tin with hot water to halfway up the sides of the cups.

Cook for 30 minutes so that the cream is just set, slightly wobbly.

Remove the cups from the water, allow to cool, and refridgerate over night.

The original recipe is from the Great British Menu. If my laptop wasn't running out of battery, I'd give you the book publication details too.

Next week (well, this week): chocolate!