Showing posts with label Hannah Dennison. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hannah Dennison. Show all posts

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Welcome our guest Hannah Dennison + book #giveaway!

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British transplant Hannah Dennison is the author of The Vicky Hill Mysteries (Constable Crime) and The Honeychurch Hall Mysteries (Minotaur), both set in the wilds of the Devonshire countryside. Hannah originally moved to Los Angeles to pursue screenwriting. She has been an obituary reporter, antique dealer, private jet flight attendant and Hollywood story analyst. Hannah has served on numerous judging committees for Mystery Writers of America and is currently serving on the MWA board for 2016-2018. 



Now living in Portland, Oregon with her husband and two insane Vizsla dogs, Hannah’s heart remains in England. She is a passionate supporter of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, the Historic Houses Association, and the National Trust. She enjoys all country pursuits, movies, theater and seriously good chocolate. 





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Don't miss Hannah's giveaway below!


Lemon Drizzle Cake (Without The Drizzle)


It’s great to be back at Mystery Lover's Kitchen once again. 

I hope your readers will enjoy the recipe for my quintessentially English Lemon Drizzle Cake—although the moment my American husband spied it cooling in the kitchen he asked, “Where is the frosting?”  He has a good point. If you make this cake the traditional old-fashioned way, there is no frosting. But of course you can always sprinkle it with confectioners sugar (we call it “Icing Sugar” in the UK) or even whip up some sugar, butter and a tiny bit of milk to make a buttercream frosting if that’s what suits your fancy.

I picked Lemon Drizzle Cake in honor of Jane Wynne, who owns Dundridge Stables in Harberton, Devon. That’s the setting for Iris Stanford’s carriage house that is featured in The Honeychurch Hall Mysteries. Jane invited me to tea and baked the most delicious Lemon Drizzle Cake, and I’ve never forgotten it.


I have to say however, that the recipe here comes from Warren Williams, a fellow Brit whose fabulous technique ensures that the lemon syrup soaks into the cake itself, which is why this one really does not need any frosting. Yum!



Ingredients for the cake
6oz self-raising flour (it really is available in the USA if you look)
1 level tsp. of baking powder
6oz of softened butter
6oz of caster sugar (i.e. superfine, not powdered)
3 medium eggs
2 tbsp. of semi-skimmed milk
The finely grated rind of 3 lemons—must be finely grated

Ingredients for the Lemon syrup
The juice of 3 lemons, strained
4oz of caster sugar (i.e. superfine, not powdered)

Method
Sift the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl, add the remaining cake ingredients and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. I cheated and used my Cuisinart.

 Spoon the mixture into a greased and base-lined 2lb loaf tin. You really want to line it with parchment paper otherwise the cake can stick to the bottom and it will be hard to get out.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C or 350F for 1 hour or until cooked. You’ll know when it’s done when the cake seems to come away from the sides of the tin.

Keep the cake in the tin to cool whilst you make the syrup. Basically you’re just going to gently warm the lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan until the sugar has dissolved.

Next, use a skewer to pierce the top of the cake (still in the loaf tin) with deep holes. Pour the warm syrup over whilst the cake is still warm. Let it cool in the tin. This helps keep the syrup in the cake until it has all cooled down.

Turn out onto a wire tray.

When completely cool, slice and serve.

I had planned on garnishing my effort but the moment my back was turned … my husband cut a slice.

Enjoy!



Remember to line the pan with parchment paper.


GIVEAWAY

I am offering  a trade paperback of DEADLY DESIRES AT HONEYCHURCH HALL, 
the first Honeychurch Hall mystery, to one commenter. Leave your email so I can get in touch!  And tell me, do you enjoy history or mysteries set in historical places?


Learn more about Hannah on her website, and follow her on all her social media places!


Links:


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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Welcome author @HannahDennison with book #giveaway!!


Please welcome our guest, Hannah Dennison.

Hannah is the author of The Vicky Hill Mysteries (Little, Brown) and the Honeychurch Hall Mysteries (Minotaur), both set in the wilds of the Devonshire countryside. Hannah originally moved to Los Angeles to pursue screenwriting. She has been an obituary reporter, antique dealer, private jet flight attendant and Hollywood story analyst. Now living in Portland, Oregon, Hannah still continues to teach mystery writing workshops at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program in Los Angeles, California. Hannah has served on numerous judging committees for Mystery Writers of America and is serving on the MWA board for 2016-2018.

Although she spends most of her time in Oregon with her husband and two insane Vizsla dogs, Hannah’s heart remains in England. She is a passionate supporter of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, the Historic Houses Association, and the National Trust. She enjoys all country pursuits, movies, theater and seriously good chocolate.

Don't miss Hannah's book(s) giveaway below!!

Take it away, Hannah!

How to make a traditional English Cottage Pie!

When I was a child in the early sixties, my mother’s variation on our weekly menu rarely changed. On Sunday we had a roast (beef, lamb or pork); Monday was either Cottage or Shepherd’s Pie (depending on what joint**was leftover on Sunday); Tuesday was bangers and mash; Wednesday was a stew of some kind; Thursday was the dreaded fried liver and onions; Friday was fish and chips and Saturday was soup and cold cuts or eggs.
**Joint is British slang for a particular cut of meat—usually “topside”—and not to be confused with cigarettes of the recreational kind.

At that time, pasta was only just making an appearance in England but my father was leery of “foreign goop” as he called it, so pasta did not feature in our household until I was a teenager.

As the Dennison’s weekly menu illustrates, it was not particularly varied and definitely the kind of culinary fare that gave British cooking the bad reputation that it wholly deserved back in the last century.

But I really did enjoy eating Monday’s Cottage Pie. As you can probably gather, it was a popular way of eking out a Sunday roast by using the leftover meat and the gravy.
It honestly makes a huge difference if you can make this dish from scratch— which is what I did especially for Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen (fanfare of trumpets please!). And yes, I agree, who has time to do that these days!

If you are making it from scratch you’ll need some kind of meat-grinding contraption. Pictured is the one my mother gave me­ decades ago. See how shiny it is? I am embarrassed to admit that up until now, I’ve only used it three times.

A quick note: This is not a Bolognese sauce with mash on top so be brave. Don’t use tinned tomatoes. Ever. But by all means add lashings of tomato ketchup as a condiment on the side.

So here we go:

Cottage Pie (Serves 4) 
Oven temperature: 375F

Ingredients
2lbs Russet potatoes or any that mash well
4oz butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
1tsp of dried thyme
½ glass of red wine (optional)
1 ½lbs of cooked beef tenderloin (if making from scratch) OR 1 ½lbs ground beef
1½ cups of beef stock/gravy
1tsp of cornstarch (optional—I don’t put this in if I’m using the gravy from the roast)
2tsp of Worcestershire sauce
Sour cream (optional)
Salt & Pepper

Method from scratch:
Grind up the leftover beef.
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the freshly ground beef, chopped onion, celery and crushed garlic. Cook until slightly brown.




Method using ground beef:
Gently fry the ground beef in it’s own fat in a large skillet until brown.

Remove meat with a slotted spoon and set aside. If there are more than a couple of tablespoons of fat left, drain off the rest and discard.

In the remaining fat, gently fry the chopped onion, celery and crushed garlic until soft. I don’t add oil when frying ground beef because the end result can be very fatty.

Both methods:
You’ve now got your browned beef, onion, celery, and crushed garlic in the skillet.

Pour in one cup of leftover gravy, half a glass of red wine (optional), 2tsp Worcestershire sauce and dried thyme, salt and pepper.

Simmer for ½ an hour, adding a touch of water if you think it’s too dry but don’t make it too runny or the mashed potato will sink. If you think it’s too watery, add a touch of cornstarch.

Meanwhile, peel and cut the potatoes into chunks. Boil them until you can stick them through with a knife. Drain the water and mash them up with butter and sour cream until they are fluffy.


Put the meat sauce in a deep pie dish. I use a soufflé dish.

Pop the mashed potato on top of the sauce. Dab it with butter and run a fork across to help the potato crisp up.


Stick in the oven for 40 minutes until brown and crisp on top and you can just see the sauce beneath sizzling.

Serve with English garden peas or green beans

A final note, Cottage Pie freezes well.

ENJOY!


And now for that giveaway! I am giving away 1 hardback copy of KILLER BALL AT HONEYCHURCH HALL plus 1 paperback copy of MURDER AT HONEYCHURCH HALL to 2 winners. Leave a comment telling me whether you've ever eaten anything British in nature and remember to leave your email (cryptic or else-wise) so I can contact you if you win.  Cheers!

Connect with Hannah:
Twitter: @HannahDennison


A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall, May 3, 2016

When antique dealer Kat Stanford discovers the partially mummified body of a young woman in an abandoned
wing at Honeychurch Hall, suspicion falls on those who had been living there half a century ago. In those days the Bushman Traveling Fair and Boxing Emporium camped on the estate grounds, so Kat is not surprised to learn that her mother Iris knew the victim.
Meanwhile, the unexpected appearance of retired sailor and local lothario Bryan Laney sets female hearts aflutter. Despite the passing years, time has not dampened his ardor for Iris but the feeling is not reciprocated. With stories of hidden treasure and secret chambers, misguided loyalties and spiteful deception, past and present collide. As Kat becomes embroiled once more in her mother’s tumultuous bygone days, she comes to realize that life is never black and white, and that sometimes, lies become necessary to protect the ones you love.





Sunday, May 24, 2015

Welcome guest author Hannah Dennison+ book #giveaway!

Carolyn Hart says of Hannah's work: "The mistress of hilarious British Mysteries. Fabulous fun."

British born, Hannah originally moved to Los Angeles to pursue screenwriting. She has been an obituary reporter, antique dealer, private jet flight attendant and Hollywood story analyst. Now living in Portland, Oregon, Hannah continues to teach mystery writing at UCLA Extension and still works for a west coast advertising agency. Hannah writes the Honeychurch Hall Mysteries (Minotaur) and the Vicky Hill Mysteries (Constable Crime) both set in the wilds of the English countryside.

Hannah is offering a lovely giveaway - see below!

Take it away, Hannah!

***

Since afternoon tea features quite a lot in my Honeychurch Hall series, I thought it would be a good idea to bake a British classic—the Victoria Sponge.

As the name suggests, this simple cake was named after Queen Victoria (1819-1901) who adopted the new craze for tea parties. However it was Anna, the Duchess of Bedford, one of Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting, who is credited as the creator of “teatime.” Because the noon meal had become skimpier, the Duchess suffered from a “sinking feeling” at about four o’clock in the afternoon. At first the Duchess had her servants sneak her a pot of tea and a few breadstuffs into her dressing room, but soon she was inviting friends to join her. The practice of inviting friends to come for tea in the afternoon was quickly picked up by other social hostesses.

So here we go!

Hannah's niece Isla in the background!!

Victoria Sponge

Ingredients
4 oz butter
4 oz castor sugar/superfine sugar, not the granulated kind otherwise it will be gritty
2 eggs
Vanilla extract (if you want it)
4 oz flour
1 tsp baking powder (to make it rise unless you can get hold of self-raising flour)
A pinch salt
A tablespoonful of milk

Filling
Strawberry jam is most common but you can add freshly whipped cream

Topping
Icing sugar/powdered sugar

Preparation:
Take the butter and eggs out of the fridge so they will be at room temperature.
Turn oven on to 180 C or 350 F.
Lightly grease two circular 7” pans with either butter paper (i.e. the wrapping from a stick of butter) – or if you don’t have that, a dollop of butter on a piece of Scott towel will do just as well OR, if you are feeling particularly creative, line the pans with parchment/greaseproof paper. This makes it easy to turn the sponge out after cooking.

Method:
Beat the eggs separately in a basin and set aside.
Cube the butter and then mix with the sugar until creamy.
Beat in the eggs (but don’t let them curdle).


Sieve the flour and baking powder together and then fold into the ingredients … do not beat or stir because you’re essentially folding in “air.”
Add the milk and vanilla extract and stir gently. The mixture should have a “dropping” consistency.


Pour into the pre-greased pans and smooth level with a palette knife.
Pop the pans into the middle of the oven (not on the top shelf) for about 18 – 20 minutes.
Note: Do not open the oven door before the 18/20 minutes are up because this will make your sponge sink in the middle.
To test when a cake is done, thrust a skewer into it – if it comes out all sticky, it is not cooked! Put it back into the oven for a further five minutes.
When the cakes are done turn them out onto a wire tray to cool.


Layer on jam and cream and sprinkle with icing/confectioner’s sugar.


Tips:
Always use good quality butter.
Always beat the butter to a cream unless the recipe states to the contrary.
The cake must be placed into the oven as soon as possible after the eggs have been added. If it’s allowed to remain too long, the cake will become heavy.

A little known fact:
In Isabella Beeton's 1874 cookbook, Mrs. Beeton's Cookery and Household Management a recipe is included for Victoria Sandwiches. The original method called for the mixture to be made in a rectangular roasting tin and halved horizontally, filled with jam and sliced into finger-shaped pieces.


For the Giveaway:

I'm offering a lovely raffle bag with English goodies - e.g. two books (one Vicky Hill and one Honeychurch Hall) - English candy etc. Leave a comment here {hint - see the word COMMENTS below -click it} and tell me what your favorite English treat is. Remember to leave your email or a cryptic version of it so I can figure out how to contact you!  Good luck!



You can reach Hannah online: