Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Renaissance Fair is coming to town! Shepherd's pie #recipe + book #giveaway from @DarylWoodGerber

From Daryl:

Giveaway below!

That's right. The Renaissance Fair is coming to Crystal Cove in the 6th Cookbook Nook Mystery, PRESSING THE ISSUE. The book comes out February 20. You can pre-order the e-book now; the paper will be available starting February 20. Keep your eyes peeled. 

I had so much fun researching this story. I visited the Renaissance Fair in Los Angeles, which is huge! Acres and acres of fun. (*The fair in my story is on a much smaller scale, with vendors lining the Pier, which marks the most southern end of town.) I dressed for the occasion, and I talked fair speak to any who would listen. What's fair speak? That's using medieval terms to express something.

For example: E’en means evening. Good morrow means good day. Verily means truthfully, and so on. There are lots of websites devoted to teaching a future fair-goer how to speak. 

I took in the bird of prey show. I watched dancers frolic to lively music. I shopped. And I ate.  How I love a good roasted leg of turkey! 

To celebrate the upcoming release of the book, for the next few weeks, I'm giving away previous books in the series so  you can get up to speed on where Jenna is at this point in her life. She's running the Cookbook Nook. She's learning how to cook more than just 5-ingredient recipes. And she's falling madly in love with Rhett. Oh, and she's also solving a mystery or two.  A woman's work is never done.

Shepherd’s Pie
Shepherd’s pie was originally called “cottage pie” because the poorer people of Britain, who lived in cottages, started using potatoes in their everyday diet. Nowadays, a dish made with beef is referred to as cottage pie, while a dish made with lamb is shepherd’s pie. I have fun scoring the mashed potato topping. I hope you do, too.

(Serves 69)

1 to 1 1/2 pounds potatoes (about 12 large brown potatoes), peeled and quartered.
2 teaspoons salt, divided
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, divided (more, if necessary)
2 medium onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 cup diced carrots
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
2 teaspoons ground black pepper, divided
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup broth (more, if necessary; beef or chicken will do)
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 cup peas
2 tablespoons cream or milk (more, if desired)
Cheese, if desired

First, peel and quarter the potatoes. Then place the potatoes in a medium-sized stockpot and cover them with cold water. Add a teaspoon of salt. Bring the potatoes to a boil and reduce to simmer. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes; a fork should be able to easily pierce them. When done, drain the water, but leave the potatoes in the pot.

Next, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the chopped onions and carrots and cook until tender, about 610 minutes.

Add the ground lamb to the pan with the onions. Break into small pieces with the side of a spoon. Cook the meat until no longer pink. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the Worcestershire sauce, broth, and rosemary. Bring the broth to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes, adding more broth, if necessary, to keep the meat from drying out. Add the peas, stir, and then remove meat mixture from heat.

Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter to the potatoes that you have reserved in the stockpot, plus add 2 tablespoons cream or milk. Mash with a fork or potato masher, and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. (Add more butter, cream, or milk if necessary so potatoes are moist.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the meat mixture in an 8 x 8 pan. Top with the mashed potatoes. Score the surface of the mashed potatoes with a fork so there are peaks that will get well browned. Be creative.

Place casserole in oven and cook until browned and bubbling, about 2030 minutes. If necessary, broil for the last few minutes to help the surface of the mashed potatoes brown.

If desired, sprinkle grated cheddar cheese or Parmesan cheese over the top of the mashed potatoes before baking.

*For a 13 x 9 pan, double the recipe.

The annual Renaissance Fair serves up a helping of crafty courtiers, damsels in distress, and medieval murder . . .

As the annual Renaissance Fair comes to Crystal Cove, Jenna Hart’s Cookbook Nook is packed with tasty treats and all things medieval, while her pal Bailey is ready to swoon over her upcoming nuptials at a local vineyard. But when the two friends discover the body of the vineyard’s owner bludgeoned by a wine press, all their merriment fades, along with their hopes for a vintage year.

Which churlish varlet did the deed? Was it the victim’s errant brother, who stood to inherit the vineyards? Or the owner’s crestfallen ex-girlfriend? Mayhap it was the newly arrived lusty wench, or her jealous husband. Fie on them all! Verily, Jenna can’t rest until justice is served, and she vows to track down the killer. But can she sniff out the truth before the villainous culprit strikes again? 

Pressing the Issue will come out Feb 20 in e-book and print on demand. You can order the e-book now and the POD on the day of release. Plus you'll find it in LIBRARIES!  PREORDER NOW 


To celebrate the upcoming release of PRESSING THE ISSUE, I'm giving away to one commenter a choice of any of my currently published Cookbook Nook Mysteries. Tell me have you ever attended a festival? Would you like to?

Savor the mystery!
Friend Daryl and Avery on Facebook
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Plus check out my website.

A DEADLY ÉCLAIR, the 1st in the French Bistro Mysteries.
Can Mimi clear her name before the killer turns up the heat?
Click here to order.

GRILLING THE SUBJECT, the 5th Cookbook Nook Mystery!
The Wild West Extravaganza has come to Crystal Cove. Click here to order.

FOR CHEDDAR OR WORSE, the 7th Cheese Shop Mystery is out!
Finally there's going to be a cheese festival in Providence!
Click to order.

GIRL ON THE RUN, a stand-alone suspense.
When a fairytale fantasy night becomes a nightmare, Chessa Paxton must run for her life...but will the truth set her free?
Click to order

DAY OF SECRETS, a stand-alone suspense
A mother he thought was dead. A father he never knew.
An enemy that wants them dead.
Click here to order.


  1. I've attended many festivals - the Medieval Festival in town is held every summer, and it's definitely entertaining.

  2. I have long wanted to attend one but have not. I enjoy historical reenactsments, so I am sure I would enjoy a festival.
    browninggloria(at)hotmail (dot) com

  3. I have not ever attended one of these festivals, but they are very popular in our area. The shepherd's pie looks good as long as it is ground beef. I'm not a big fan of lamb. Verily...

    1. If you switch to beef, I'm sure it would be very tasty. ~ Daryl Verily...

  4. I've never been to a medieval festival but I certainly would like to. There are a few of them around the Ottawa area. Certainly I can find one to go to this summer!

    I love shepherd's pie. I would use sweet potatoes and ground chicken or turkey. I'm a Weight Watchers member. Using extra lean ground turkey is 0 points and sweet potatoes have fewer points than white and they make a very tasty topping.

    1. I'm a WW member too. And, your idea of replacing with ground turkey is great - of course it would have to be ground turkey breast. LOL

      Think everyone else understands about the 'point' talk? Ha!

  5. When I lived in Missouri, we used to go to the KC Ren Faire quite frequently. It runs for like 6 weeks (weekends only) in the fall and is so much fun. I like to add in a little red wine (for like half the broth) in my Cottage Pie. moodiesmum(at)yahoo(dot)com

    1. Raquel, adding a little red wine would give some zing. Nice addition. ~ Daryl

  6. We attended the Faire in Tuxedo, NY for years! It was great fun and we got to know several of the regulars there.
    Shepherds Pie is yummy stuff.
    libbydodd at cocmast dot net

    1. There's a town called Tuxedo? I love that! ~ Daryl

    2. Yes, indeed. It is where the Tuxedo originated! Some nob decided he was tired of his require dinner wear and told his tailor to make a jacket without tails.
      And, as they say, the rest is history.
      (I hope you see this. I'm never sure about comments added after the first day.)

  7. We we’re going go to o a fair I Never pA a few years ago but it rained that day.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

  8. I never have but it looks like fun.

  9. Oh, I forgot my email address.

  10. I've attended one of those festivals and it was definitely very interesting! Thanks for the chance to win one of your books!

  11. I would love to go to a Renaissance Faire. My husband has wanted to also but we aren't close to any & unfortunately we don't get to travel often.

    1. Angela, you are the winner of this giveaway by random selection. I'll contact you via email. Congrats! ~ Daryl

  12. Looks like good eating and reading.

  13. I have never attended a Renaissance Faire but would love to do so. It sounds like such fun. I have been a great fan cottage pie and shepherd's pie, it is the type of meal that is so cozy.
    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

  14. I haven't attended one since my 30s (that was a long time ago). It was a lot of fun. There isn't one near where I live currently.
    I'm going to have to find out if lamb is a meat my DIL can eat. This sounds like it would be tasty.
    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  15. I haven't attended one but would like too. Thanks for another great recipe & giveaway. doward1952(at)yahoo(dot)com

  16. I have not attended a Renaissance Fair but I have attended several Czech Festival which celebrate the Czech culture. dbahn(at)iw(dot)net

  17. 30 some tears ado we did one as part of the school program for the kids that lasted a full Saturday. There were several booths set up. Several schools in the area participated. The kids were issued pounds, shillings and pence. Trying to figure out what was what left us all in hysterics. Thanks for the chance to win one of your books! And for another fine recipe. Della at deepotter (at) peoplepc (dot) com

  18. I would love to attend a Renaissance festival!

  19. I have not attended a Renaissance Fair. jmhansen2017(at)gmail(dot)com

  20. Yes, I have been to a few Ren faires also did a family night at a Ren dinner ..that was amazing

  21. I have attended many Renaissance Festivals in our area. Always fun and I get my annual fried dill pickle there! I love going with my son and his family.....they all dress in costume.

  22. I did when I was a student teacher many years ago. It wa a lot of fun!

    faithdcreech at gmail dot com

  23. I love Shepherd's pie. It's a favorite my mom used to make. I've been to a Renaissance Festival, but it was so long ago I don't really remember it.

  24. We usually hit up the Ohio Renaissance Festival every year - we missed it this year because we were traveling, but I’m sure we’ll be back this fall!

  25. I've been to a Renaissance Faire or several--it's been a while. I've never eaten there, but this would be good to have there or anytime.

  26. I've attend a Renaissance festival with friends.

    jtcgc at yahoo dot com

  27. Thanks for sharing the recipe for Shepherd's pie. It looks scrumptious! Perfect meal for a cold winter night!
    I have been to festivals before,but never a renaissance festival.I've always wanted to attend one.One of my favorite festivals,I've been to is a Apple Butter festival .
    Myndirene (at)yahoo (dot) com

  28. To all, I was having the worst time with Blogger yesterday and couldn't respond. Sorry. But thanks to all for chiming in. The winner of this giveaway, by random selection, is Angela W. I'll be in touch. Hugs to all. ~ Daryl