02 September, 2006

Pause in posts, a new e-zine, short story vote, and a seasonal recipe

Next blog post will be on or around Sunday 17 September.

In the meantime, here's a promising new e-zine on historical romance and historical fiction in general, The Romance of History. (Thanks to Susan Higginbotham for the link). The current issue has some pertinent observations on the Regency romance as represented by Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer and Barbara Cartland, and an article on James Clavell's classic novel Shogun.

Skint Writer's short story competition has closed and votes are invited for the Readers' Choice prize. Why not wander over, take a look and cast your vote? There are some good stories among the 22 entries.

And this is the season for plums and blackberries in the UK, so here is one of my favourite recipes for anyone else out there who likes to make use of this seasonal bounty. This is a very forgiving recipe, so if you don't like or can't get blackberries you can just use 2 lb of plums instead, or conversely it works well with 1 lb each of blackberries and plums if you have a wild blackberry hedge begging to be picked.

Plum and blackberry compote

1.5 lb (approx 750 g) ripe plums
8 oz (approx 250 g) blackberries
3 oz (approx 75 g) sugar
a piece of root ginger approx 1" (approx 2 cm) cube

Stone and halve the plums.
Wash the blackberries.
Peel the root ginger and cut into fine shreds. (Stem ginger can be used instead and doesn't need peeling. I suppose you could use 1 tsp of ground ginger instead, but I haven't tried this).
Put everything in a large saucepan, stir, cover, and bring slowly to the boil over a low heat. Simmer 15 minutes. Or put everything in an ovenproof dish, cover, and bake for about 30 minutes in a moderate oven (anything from 150-180 Centigrade; you'll have to work out the Gas Mark and Fahrenheit equivalent yourselves, but this is a very forgiving recipe and is unlikely to mind).
Serve with ice cream, whipped cream or yoghurt as preferred.
Can be made in large quantities and frozen.

7 comments:

nessili said...

Thanks for the link (I shall thank Susan too).

The author's introduction struck a chord--I too have found my carefully researched historical romance thrown in with what is "little more than erotica in long skirts and is neither historical nor romantic."

I'll definitely keep reading.

skint writer said...

thanks for the blackberry recipe - will definitely try it - we are surrounded by millions of juicy berries right now and plums are on offer in the co-op

Thanks for the link to the competition too :)

Bernita said...

Recipe makes me drool.
Seems much simpler than something I used to make that the children always called "Plum Guck."

Elizabeth Chadwick said...

Thanks for recipe Carla. We are currently inundated with plums, blackberries and apples. This looks a good one, so will give it a go. Greek yogurt is particularly nice with this sort of thing. If you like marzipan flavours, then a mush of stewed apples or plums is delicious in a pastry base with small chopped squares of marzipan scatttered on top. Cook in a hot oven (200) until the marzipan goes brown and slightly crispy on the top - divine!
Interesting link to the romance of history e-zine. I consider that what the author is talking about writing herself is the romantic historical as opposed to the historical romance. I'd definitely count the latter as the category Harlequin stuff which is of variable quality. Not all of it is written by authors people who have got out the dressing up box in their front rooms for the
afternoon, but it does focus mainly on the hero/heroine relationship. Some of it is hilarious crud, some of it not bad at all. The romantic historical has wider themes and scope but will probably have a romance in it somewhere. Anya Seton, Dorothy Dunnett are two proponents of the genre. It's also where I feel I belong.
Enjoy your break Carla!

Elizabeth Chadwick said...

Post script.
Have now tried out the recipe with our copious plums and blackberries - delicious! Thank you so much for the recipe Carla. I shall definitely be freezing a large batch. We ate our first attempt with Greek yogurt ice-cream!

Marie said...

Thanks for that link and recipe.

Carla said...

Nessili - her description struck a chord with me, too.

Skint - You're welcome.

Bernita - 'Plum Guck', indeed. Children have such a glamorous way with names.

Elizabeth - glad you enjoyed the recipe, and thanks for your variation on it. 'Romance' seems to mean different things to different people. Do publishers recognise the same sub-categories that you mention, I wonder? Dorothy Dunnett's novels appeal to me, the majority of the HMB-types that I've tried don't, and it would be useful to be able to recognise the difference in advance.

Marie - Hello, and thanks for stopping by. Hope you enjoyed the recipe and the link.