Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Pleasure of Anticipation

A special welcome to our guest blogger today, Vicki Delany!

My characters cannot cook. In Gold Digger, the first book in the Klondike Gold Rush Series, Fiona MacGillivray says, “I once boiled an egg. Forgot about it and left the pot over the fire until all the water had evaporated. The egg exploded as I reached into the burnt pot to take it out. I never dared to try cooking again. I wouldn’t call the horrid food I managed to scrape together on the Chilkoot trail cooking. Angus had to intervene out of sheer desperation.”

Molly Smith, modern young policewoman, isn’t much better. She prefers take-out from Trafalgar Thai or popping into her mother’s house to see what’s in the oven.

I, on the other hand, can cook. And I’m not a bad cook, if I do say so myself. I’m also a good baker. Since moving to the country three years ago I am very much into eating locally and seasonally. Right now my freezer is filling up with berries, and my fridge is full of blueberry cake and blueberry scones and muffins. Pretty soon, I’ll be picking my own tomatoes and preparing tomato sauce and soup for the winter and stuffing myself with tomatoes and pasta.

And then that will be it for the year. I am not committed to a local diet nor do I stay out of the supermarket, but I don’t eat berries or tomatoes or a lot of other vegetables out of season (unless I have frozen them myself). Not only because of course they are so much better either picked from the garden or bought at the local farmer’s stall, but because I believe we have lost a great deal when we’ve given up the pleasure of anticipation. I have houseguests right now. Last night we had a barbeque followed by blueberry pudding cake. Tonight it will be pasta with cherry tomatoes. Neither blueberry cake nor the pasta dish will be served over the long Canadian winter. I, and my guests, will just have to wait until those foods are back in the field next year.

Vicki Delany’s Blueberry Pudding Cake

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp cornstarch

2 cups fresh blueberries

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 3/4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 large egg

1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 cup butter, melted 

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan. (I have a silicone baking pan which works just great and no need for buttering.)
 Stir together 1/3 cup sugar, water, lemon juice, cornstarch in small saucepan over low heat. Stir in blueberries. Simmer, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
 Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, 1/2 cup sugar in a medium bowl.
 Whisk together egg, milk, melted butter, vanilla in a large bowl, then add flour mixture, whisking until just combined.
 Spoon batter into baking pan, spreading evenly, then pour blueberry mixture evenly over batter.
 Bake about 25 to 30 minutes.

Enjoy while reading a good book.

Vicki Delany writes everything from standalone novels of suspense (Scare the Light Away, Burden of Memory) to a traditional village/police procedural series set in the mountains of British Columbia (In the Shadow of the Glacier), to a light-hearted historical series (Gold Fever) set in the raucous heyday of the Klondike Gold Rush. Winter of Secrets, the third in the Constable Molly Smith series published by Poisoned Pen Press, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Vicki was lucky enough to be able to take early retirement from her job as a systems analyst in the high-pressure financial world and now lives the simple writer’s life in bucolic rural Prince Edward County, Ontario, where she writes books, grows vegetables, and rarely wears a watch.

Negative Image, the fourth book in the Molly Smith series, will be released Nov. 1, 2010. Visit


  1. Yum! Picking and munching our way through the blueberry farm is one of the favorite summer activities for my family.

  2. Vicki, that picture of your Blueberry Pudding Cake has me drooling. Absolutely delicious!

    Thanks so much for visiting with us today.

    ~ Krista

  3. Vicki, great post... my wife is begging me to make this for her... Off to the farmer's market next weekend!!!

  4. Vicki your recipe and picture are wonderful not to mention another book for me to try :). Looks like i am off to the farmers market later in the week too.

  5. Gorgeous picture of the cake, Vicki! We're huge blueberry fans here.

    I've never thought about the pleasure of anticipation in that way before. But it's true that I look forward every year to fresh tomatoes and fruits that are in-season. That's definitely part of the fun!

  6. Thanks very much for allowing me to be your guest today. Happy eating to everyone!

  7. Thanks for the recipe, Vicki. Can't wait to try it out.

  8. I'm with you, Vicki--I only eat blueberries, peaches and tomatoes when I can get them locally. And there's ONE guy who is the only guy I ever buy eggplant from, because his are never bitter or tough. I look forward to those eggplant dishes all year. :)

    Thanks for your as-always lovely post!

    Marian Allen

  9. Chiming in late today, but ... Welcome Vicki! We have been enjoying blueberries this year like crazy and your blueberry pudding cake looks wonderful. I'll have to try it. Great cover for Negative Image!


  10. Vicky-

    Thanks for stopping by the kitchen. You've inspired me -- what a delicious cake! I'm going to have use more blueberries in my baking!

  11. Vicki, have you ever tried the cake with other fruits? If yes, how does it compare? I'm thinking juicy peaches.

  12. To answer Donis, no I've never tried any other fruits with it. I guess almost any berry would work wouldn't it? You do need something quite juicy so peaches might do the trick. Not apples or pears I'd guess. Hum, I have a nice recipe for blackberry upside down cake. Must post that some day.

  13. Strangely enough, I have a daughter who doesn't like fruit pies (is she crazy??) so I have a repetoire of berry desserts.

  14. Oh, yum! We don't have the luxury of our own blueberry garden, but we do have a lovely farmers market with great deals on blueberries...I believe I will be making this recipe very soon.