Sunday, May 18, 2014

Welcome Hannah Dennison with guest post & giveaway!

Please welcome our guest, 
Hannah Dennison. 
Hannah is the author of the popular Vicky Hill Mysteries
set in England. 
And now she has a new series! Yeah! 
The first in the series is Murder at Honeychurch Hall.
See her giveaway below!
Take it away, Hannah. 

Daryl, thank you for inviting me to contribute to Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen. I was particularly excited because I’ve been longing to share my “upper-class” curry that would be a sure-fire favorite among those above stairs at Honeychurch Hall.

Set in Agatha Christie’s beloved Devon, “Murder at Honeychurch Hall” focuses on former TV celebrity Kat Stanford who has retired from her TV show “Fakes & Treasures” to open her own antique shop with her newly-widowed mother, Iris. But Iris has her own ideas. Alarmed to discover that her mother has rashly bought a dilapidated carriage house on the grounds of a country estate several hundred miles from London, Kat sets off to make Iris see sense.

Although this is no Downton Abbey and times have changed, a line still exists between those upstairs, and those below. It would seem that every single resident at Honeychurch Hall harbors some kind of secret—especially Iris who, we learn, has been secretly writing steamy bodice rippers under the pseudonym of Krystalle Storm.

When the nanny goes missing and a body is discovered on the grounds, suspicion falls on the newcomers … and that is all I am tempted to tell you at this time.

However, what I can tell you is that the fictional Lady Lavinia Honeychurch would have shamelessly stolen the real-life Lady Daventry’s curry recipe (just as I have) were she to cook for the occasional weekend shooting party so enjoyed by her husband and his aristocratic friends.

Personally, I have never understood the reasoning behind shooting game as a sport but perhaps that’s because had I been born in a different era, I would be down in the kitchen scrubbing the vegetables.

So … without further ado … here we go. Expect hands-on time of no more than thirty to forty minutes. The key is to prep the ingredients ahead since, apart from browning the meat, each cooking step takes less than five minutes. Another tip—do use fresh ginger root. It makes all the difference.

Lady Daventry’s Curry (courtesy of Country Life Magazine) can also be re-heated the following day and/or frozen.

Lady Daventry’s Curry
Serves 4-6 (double quantities for entertaining)
Cooking time: Lamb 1 ½ hrs/Beef 2 ½ hrs
Note:  You will need a flameproof stovetop dish that can go into the oven.

Ginger and Garlic Paste:
1 in cube of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 whole bulb of garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons of water

The Meat:
6 tabs of olive oil
2 lbs of lamb shoulder or braising steak cubed
*If using lamb, remove the excess fat

Whole Spices:
2 bay leaves
8 Whole cloves
1 tsp black peppercorns
12 whole green cardamom pods
6in stick of cinnamon (again don’t be tempted to use ground cinnamon!)

Ground Spices
1 tsp of ground coriander seeds
2 tsp of ground cumin seeds
4 tsp of paprika
1 tsp of hot chili powder
1 tsp of salt

Other Ingredients
2 medium onions peeled and finely chopped
5 oz plain yoghurt (I use 2% Greek plain but any plain is fine)
Ground black pepper
½ tsp of Garam Masala

Blend the ginger and garlic in a food processor with the 3 tabs of water until pureed.
Heat oil in ovenproof flame top dish (I use a clay tagine) and fry the meat, setting it aside when lightly brown.
Add the whole spices to the hot oil and stir for just a few seconds.
Add the onions and fry for five minutes until they soften and turn light brown.
Add the paste and stir for a further 30 seconds.
Add the ground spices and salt for … another 30 seconds.
Add the browned meat and juices and combine thoroughly.
Gradually add the yoghurt one spoonful at a time. When it has all been added, cook for above five minutes more.

Add water: Lamb needs ½ pt, beef ¾ pt.
Stir again and bring to the boil
Cover the casserole and transfer it to the oven at 160 C or 325 F.
Lamb needs about 1 ½ hrs and beef 2 ½ hrs
Check half way through and add a little water if it looks as if it is drying out.

At the end, the sauce should be nice and thick.
Finally, stir in the garam masala and serve.
*You might want to remove the cardamom pods before serving – I don’t mind them, but some people do.

Leave a comment today, and you could win some fun swag and a spot of tea from Hannah!  Remember to include your email address so she can contact the winner.

You can reach Hannah on her website,  Facebook, and twitter @HannahDennison.


  1. Lamb is my husband's most favorite food . Think he'll be cooking while I read about this old house!! Does look yummy---so am I talking about the lamb or the house ??? Ronnalord( at)msn(dot)com

    1. Hi Ronna - the beef is also good too but lamb makes a change. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Oh forgot--is this in a cookbook somewhere?? Ronnalord(at)msn(dot)com

    1. I found it in a copy of Country Life Magazine. It's full of old houses too!

  3. This book sounds like so much fun, can't wait to read it. (I would be down in the kitchen scrubbing the vegetables, too.) And now when I am reading an English mystery and someone says, "Oh, let's just have a curry for dinner." I'll know what they mean!

    1. I confess that I'd never made a curry myself until I found this recipe ... it was usually an 11.30 pm take-out when the pubs shut kind of curry. (When I was young and frivolous.

  4. I like lamb once in a while but it's very expensive here.

    1. I agree ... so when I'm not feeling flush I'll try the beef :)

  5. Sounds delicious, and I'm glad to see such a wonderful array of spices. Yes, lamb is expensive here too--because it comes from New Zealand, which is ridiculous! Oh, and the book sounds like fun too!

    1. Hi Shelia - thanks for stopping by ... when I first saw the recipe I was surprised by the number of spices - especially using cinnamon sticks. My sister tried it with ginger powder and it really tasted odd.

  6. Looks god, although I am a vegetarian :) Thank you for the chance.

  7. This looks absolutely delicious and I'm going to give it a try real soon. I saw your novel on B&N and added it to my list of reads, because it's just the type of cozy that I love and I look forward to reading. Love the tagine from Emile Henry, they are so beautiful.

    1. Hi Karen - yes, I love Emile Henry too. I got it as a wedding present years ago. I don't own a slow cooker but find this works just as well. Maybe the shape of the lid? Thanks for adding Honeychurch to your to-read pile!

  8. This looks so good, will definitely be making it. I am looking forward to reading your new book.
    Mary from Pittsburgh PA

    1. Would love to know if you enjoy the curry ... and the book! Thanks for stopping by.

  9. Thanks for visiting us today! This looks fantastic--I can almost smell it. I adore curry so I must try this.

    1. ... a word of warning ... keep your oven vent on or the windows open. I woke up the next morning to l'air du curry.

  10. I'm not much of a cook, but the book sounds fantastic!

    1. I only learned to cook when I got married (actually, my first marriage didn't last ...maybe it was because I couldn't even boil an egg) I have never been one to experiment or fling in this and that - I have to follow a recipe - MLK is such a great resource for me!

  11. The book sounds great, and so does the recipe!

  12. I forgot to include my email. It is

  13. I'll have to try that recipe, but with beef instead of lamb. And when the hubby is gone because he never likes to try anything new.

    1. I like to make chocolate cake when my husband has gone out of town because I can eat all of it and he won't know.

  14. This recipe sounds so good. I don't know.if my husband would try it. Might have to make it for a few friends. Thanks for the give away!

    1. Whenever I test a recipe on my husband I always have a back-up plan ... it usually involves a packet. He's quite brave though and if he doesn't like a new dish he'll just say "I don't think this should go in The Book" meaning my personal book of favorite recipes.

  15. This recipe looks delectable. Thanks for this wonderful giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. Morning traveler - thank you for stopping by today!

  16. What a lovely feature which interests me greatly, both the intriguing book and the delightful recipe. many thanks. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  17. Looks delicious! Great photography!