Sunday, August 6, 2017

Guest Susan Shea

Join us today at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen in welcoming Susan Shea, author of a lovely series set in France, who gives us a delicious dessert recipe.


A mid-summer field of blooming rapeseed in rural Burgundy

Thank you so much for having me today!

Love & Death in Burgundy, the first in my new mystery series, was loosely inspired by the experiences of two middle-aged California friends of mine who moved with two large dogs and a cat to rural Burgundy on not much more than a whim. Their romantic dreams hit some snags (leaking roof, leaking stone walls, the mystery of the carte de sejour, the downpours that inevitably drench the sheets just hung outdoors to dry) but they persevered, slowly working their way into the life of their crossroads village. While most of the novel is complete fiction, the pear tree under which Katherine and her friends sit in the opening scene is a more productive version of the one I have sat under many times during my visits. The summer day in Burgundy I write about mirrors my experience there, quiet except for a passing tractor and the sounds of birds. Burgundy is famous as the origin of boeuf bourguignon, coq au vin, escargot, and pain d’espices, among other gourmet recipes. Pears poached in wine are served in restaurants in the region, but my recipe is one I’ve been making at home in California for many years.

Summer pears poached in Burgundy wine

Love & Death in Burgundy begins with a scene under a fruiting pear tree in the heart of agricultural France, so this recipe seemed perfect. I have made it several times with different kinds of pears and wine. I prefer the dessert chilled, and that also means you can make it ahead of time.





1 bottle of red wine  
(I chose a pinot made in Burgundy, France, because my new book is set there)
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of water
the juice of 1 orange
the zest of that orange, but save 4 lengths of peel for decoration
a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg
4 firm pears, peeled but not cored



Make the poaching liquid by combining everything except the orange peel and the pears in a tall saucepan and bringing to a high simmer so the sugar dissolves.





When that has happened, reduce the heat, add the pears and poach, spooning liquid over the pears at least a few times. The cooking time required will depend on the type of pear and how much poaching liquid touches the pears. You don’t want them to get mushy! (To keep them looking pretty, test them for doneness near their bases.)

Gently remove the pears from the poaching liquid and either chill them or set them aside while you bring the heat up and reduce the poaching liquid to a syrup. Spoon the syrup over the peaches and decorate with a curl of orange peel. If you cool the syrup first, you can serve the pears with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or tart lemon sorbet. 

Susan will give a copy of Love & Death in Burgundy to one lucky person who comments today.

Biography: Susan C. Shea is the author of the Dani O’Rourke mysteries, set in San Francisco ("Fresh, fast-paced and great fun." - Library Journal) and a new series, set in France (“…a pleasant getaway from hard-core killers” - NYTBR). Before quitting her day job to write full time, she was a non-profit executive for more than two decades.

You can find her at www.susancshea.com and on Facebook







About the book: After three years of living in the small town of Reigny-sur-Canne, all Katherine Goff really wants is to be accepted by her neighbors into their little community. But as an American expat living in the proud region of Burgundy, that’s no easy task.
When the elderly Frenchman who lives in the village chateau is found dead at the bottom of a staircase, the town is turned into a hot bed of gossip and suspicion, and Katherine suddenly finds herself drawn deeper and deeper into the small town’s secrets. A motherless teenager, a malicious French widow, a brash music producer, and a would-be Agatha Christie are among those caught up in a storm that threatens to turn Katherine’s quiet life upside down. As more and more of the villagers' secrets are brought to light, Katherine must try to figure out who, if anyone, in the town she can trust, and which one of her neighbors just might be a killer.


"Shea launches a cozy series that richly details life in a small French village. The outlandish antics of the eccentric locals add to the humor. Suggest to fans of Rhys Bowen's early "Evan Evans" series for the humor, the characters, and the charming setting." -Library Journal

29 comments:

  1. Welcome, Susan! Would love to win and read the book; the recipe is wonderful! EMS591@aol.com

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  2. Lovely to have you here, Susan. What a perfect summer recipe!

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    1. Thanks so much for inviting me, Sheila. It's an honor.

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  3. In 2000, my husband and I along with our daughter and her husband of one year, visited this entire area of France. I took photos of these lush yellow fields of flowering rapeseed too, and enjoying the vineyard and all the fresh fruit and wonderful food. What made our month in France so extra special was that we had gone for the two day wedding of one of our wonderful exchange students that had stayed with our family in Massachusetts ten years earlier and that we had also taken with us, for over half our travels, another girl who had also been another much loved former exchange student. So my memories of France and all of the regions that we stayed in, including Burgundy, would be wonderful to read about in your new book. Thank you for my trip down Memory Lane today and the opportunity to possibly win your book. Thank you. PS. I make poached pears at least once a year and my sister and I love them so they are a special treat that we always share at dinner together at my house. Best wishes for everything wonderful to come your way with your release. Can't wait to read. Cynthia
    ceblain (AT) tmlponline (DOT) net

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    1. Your memories are wonderful - thanks for sharing. You make me want to go back and I was just there in December (researching the second book in the series).

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  4. Welcome Susan! I look forward to reading this series. Winning a copy of the 1st book would be a great way to start!

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  5. This series sounds delightful. Thanks for this lovely feature and giveaway. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  6. The recipe is ideal for summer. I would enjoy this book and the setting is special. Many thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. One lovely thing about this recipe is it's so easy to make! You can experiment with flavors for the syrup and, of course, all the alcohol is cooked off so it's mellow.

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  7. Sounds delicious, thank you donamaekutska7@gmail.com

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  8. I love the cover of your book -- it's gorgeous. Your recipe sounds delicious -- I love pears, but don't use them a lot in cooking, so I'm really glad to have this recipe. My husband loves burgundy wine, so I know it will be a hit with him! Thanks so much for visiting Mystery Lovers' Kitchen and for a chance to win a copy of your book ~ bobandcelia@sbcglobal.net

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    1. Thanks, Celia. I do too. It's all the work of the wonderful crew at St. Martin's. I hope you enjoy this simple recipe - remember, the trick is not to overcook the pears and to really cook down the liquid to a syrup.

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  9. Thanks for the recipe, it has given me some ideas for making more pear desserts. Sounds like a great new series, thank you for the giveaway. doward1952(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  10. Moving to a foreign country would be quite an adventure! I must be a philistine--I've never poached any fruits for dessert. I think I need to taste it sometime before I would make it. Congratulations on your new series!
    patdupuy@yahoo.com

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    1. Definitely not a Philistine! The couple who inspired the story are real romantics, and this was the biggest adventure they ever had together.

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  11. I love pears but haven't tried a poached one, though I see have seen them on menus. Thanks for sharing the recipe.
    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

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  12. Lovely recipe! I have a dear friend who enjoys all wine related foods and activities, so I will make this for her. Thanks for the chance to win! aut1063(at)gmail(dot)com

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