I am very happy to welcome Eliza Knight today as she tours the internet with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. She brings the readers of Broken Teepee a special guest post. I hope you enjoy it. Then please follow along on the tour for reviews and giveaway opportunities.
Guest Post from Eliza Knight, Author of the Stolen Bride Series #StolenBrideSeriesVirtualTour
Thanks so much for hosting me today! I’m excited to share with you my Stolen Brides book series, and also a recipe.
The heroine in book one, THE HIGHLANDER’S REWARD, is a vegetarian, which everyone sort of looks on with horror. After all, in the medieval era, for the nobles, meat was a major part of their diet. Not so much for peasants, because they didn’t have as much time to hunt due to working from sun-up until sun-down, and also because of the hunting (poaching) laws in place.
Arbella, has not had an appetite for meat ever since she was a child when she saw a pig being slaughtered. Magnus, our hero, thinks her choice is odd, but he ultimately supports her, even going out of his way to inform his cook of her preferences and making sure she has what she needs to eat.
There is a scene in THE HIGHLANDER’S REWARD, where Arbella teaches the cook how to make a recipe she adores: Mushroom Pasties.
I myself am a mushroom fanatic! I found this recipe in, THE MEDIEVAL COOKBOOK by Maggie Black, and it’s delicious, though I modified it somewhat in the book to make them individual portions.
Pie crust dough (thawed)—not in a tin, but one you can lay flat (you could even use a croissant dough if you wanted to, or phyllo dough)
1 lb Mushrooms (I prefer baby bellas)
½ tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Black Pepper
¼ tsp Mustard Powder
2 tbsp Olive Oil
½ c. Shredded Cheddar
Roll the pastry dough out and cut into even squares, about 3 or 4 inch squares. Pre-heat the oven to 400˚. Now, if you are going for truly authentic and plan to cook it over a fire, you’re going to need to really pay attention to the pasties, and probably turn them often on a hot stone. Maggie’s recipe calls for parboiling the mushrooms, but I did not do that. In a bowl, I mixed the mushrooms, oil, cheese and spices. Center a scoop of your mixture on a pastry square, then fold over and press edges together with a fork. Beat your egg in a tiny dish, and using a brush, brush over the sealed edges of the crusts. Make a small cross-cut in the center/top of the pockets.
Bake the pockets in the oven on a non-stick pan for about 15-18 minutes or until the dough is golden. Serve immediately.
I’m going to share with you the excerpt where Arbella and Cook make the pasties—don’t let this excerpt fool you! THE HIGHLANDER’S REWARD is a steamy, historical romance.
“First, I will show you how to make mushroom pasties, they are my absolute favorite.” Her mouth watered just thinking about it.
“Excellent. We shall need a pie crust, oil, mushrooms, mustard powder, pepper, an egg and some cheese.” She looked thoughtfully around the kitchen. “Do you have any salt? A pinch always makes the pasties so much more delectable.”
Agnes winked at her. “I do have a bit of cooking salt just for ye, my lady.”
Together they made a pie crust, rolling the dough out and cutting out several squares. Next they chopped up the mushrooms, combining all of the ingredients, save the egg, in a bowl.
“Now we’ll place a portion of the mushroom mixture onto each square, fold over the dough and seal them with the whisked egg.”
“’Tis not unlike the apple pasties I make,” Agnes mused.
“Aye. You can do this same thing with any vegetable and I will love you for it.”
They finished making about a dozen pasties and placed them on stones around the hot hearth to bake.
“Shall we make one more and perhaps ye’ll come back again on the morrow for another lesson?” Agnes asked.
“I would be more than happy to, Agnes.” Arbella’s heart swelled with happiness. “Thank you for accepting me. For offering me friendship.”
Agnes patted her hand. “You are a blessing to us all, my lady. I didna think I’d see the day when our laird would marry, and when we learned it would be to…someone else, we were all afeared for our futures. That he brought home a woman as special as ye made us all verra happy.” She winked. “Even if ye are English.”
Tears choked Arbella. Rather than give into the maelstrom of emotions threatening to release, she said, “Next we shall make blaunche porre. ’Tis leeks and onions in a savory, sweet sauce of cinnamon, cloves and sugar.”
“Och, a lady after my heart…”
By the time they finished preparing the blaunche porre, the mushroom pasties were also done baking. Cook placed a pasty and a healthy scoop of leeks and onions on two trenchers. She sat down on a stool at the high table and patted the seat beside her.
“I’d be honored if ye’d dine with me, my lady.”
Arbella grinned widely, her stomach rumbling. “I thought ye’d never ask.” She hurried to sit and took a healthy bite of the pasty. Juicy mushrooms and crusty pie crust exploded in her mouth in a myriad of succulent flavors. “Mmm…”
“With his lairdship occupied with his visitors, the nooning willna go on as planned, instead we are to serve an early dinner,” Agnes said between bites of leeks.
Arbella hadn’t realized how late it was. “What visitors?”
“Wallace and his men, my lady. I thought ye…”
Arbella waved her hand in dismissal at the way Agnes face crumpled into a worry lines.
“Do not fret, Agnes. I was resting and came here by way of the front entrance instead of going through the great hall.” Under normal circumstances she might have been offended that Magnus did not include her in his dining with guests, but Wallace was no ordinary guest, and she was too afraid to face the man after what she’d been through at Stirling Bridge.
“I am happier eating my nooning with you than with Wallace’s men. Although, I do wish Magnus could taste your work here. Agnes, you truly are a marvelous cook.”
Agnes blushed, pasty crumbs stuck to her lips. “Thank ye, my lady.”
Arbella smiled. “I do believe I will enjoy coming here to cook with you. When I was in England, Glenda said ’twas unseemly for a maiden to cook in the kitchens, so I was not allowed to participate, but I did sneak in to watch.”
“Who is Glenda?”
“She was my nursemaid and then as I grew older she was simply my maid, my companion.”
“What of your mother?”
The empty void where a mother’s love should have been reopened in her chest. “My mother died when I was very young.”
“I’m sorry, lass.”
“Don’t be sorry for me. I was very fortunate to have grown up with a loving father and… Glenda.” Arbella frowned. “Most of what she told me has turned out to be false, but in any case, she was the only mother figure I ever knew.”
Agnes laughed. “What did she teach ye?”
“Well for starters, she told me that all elder Scottish women were witches with warts aplenty on their noses.”
Agnes’ mouth dropped open and she sucked in a healthy breath, choking on a crumb remnant. Arbella patted her loudly on the back.
When her coughs had subsided and she’d wiped the tears from her eyes, Agnes said, “I am glad to have proven her wrong, my lady.”
“As am I.” Using the wooden spoon that Agnes had provided her with to eat her leeks, Arbella scraped the last drops of leek sauce that she could from the trencher.
At the sound of Magnus’ deep, inviting voice, Arbella looked up sharply, embarrassed to have been seen scraping drops of nothing. She might as well have picked up her trencher and licked it.
“Can I have a bite?” he asked, walking forward and spying her empty trencher.
Heat infused her cheeks and she bit her lip. “I’m afraid I’ve devoured it all.”
Magnus chuckled. “Agnes is a wonderful cook.”
“My laird, ’twas all—”
“Aye, she is.” Arbella placed her hand over Agnes’. “Thank you for allowing me into your domain, Agnes.”
The older woman’s eyes widened and she nodded her head. Arbella didn’t want to take the credit. Hadn’t Agnes told her to keep it their little secret anyway?
“I shall see you tomorrow, my lady?”
“I am hopeful. Until then,” she grabbed the remaining pasties, “I will take these with me.” She handed one to Magnus. “Come, let us give the kitchen back to Cook.”
Magnus ate half the pasty in one bite, exclaiming through his full lips at the taste.
“Delicious, aren’t they?”
When they were out in the brisk afternoon air, both munching on mushroom pasties, Magnus asked, “Why did ye not let Agnes give ye credit for making the food?”
She looked at him, her eyes wide with surprise. “How did you know?”
Magnus smiled and put his heavy arm around her shoulders. She easily sank against him. “Agnes has never made either of those dishes before.”
“Mayhap she got the recipe from a cousin.”
Magnus laughed. “And mayhap she’s opened her heart to her mistress.”
Arbella smiled. “Aye, I think you are right.”
“I am happy that she has. That ye’ve found a place here.”
“In the kitchen?”
Magnus grabbed another pasty from her. “After tasting these, I might just ask ye to do that.”
Arbella playfully swatted him, but inside her heart swelled. “I’ve always wanted to actually cook.”
“Do ye mean to say ye haven’t?” He looked at her incredulously.
She shook her head. “Nay. My father would not allow it, since Glenda—”
“Oh, that wretched woman! If I get my hands on her…” He didn’t finish his sentence though, laughing instead.
“I know, she had some terrible ideas, but she did care for me.” Arbella tried not to laugh but she couldn’t help it. The things that Glenda had told her had been so unequivocally wrong.
“How did ye learn to cook then?” Magnus led them into the garden. He bent and picked up an orange flower that looked to have a hundred petals. He tucked the flower behind her ear. “’Tis an everlasting flower.” He paused his gaze turning serious, intense. “Just like I hope we are.”
“Everlasting?” Her voice came out in a hoarse whisper. It was what she wanted, but with it brought so much unknown. And she feared the unknown.
ABOUT THE BOOKS
There are seven books in The Stolen Bride Series—tales of adventure, love and triumph in the brutal Braveheart era of Scotland.
Prequel: The Highlander’s Temptation
Book One: The Highlander’s Reward
Book Two: The Highlander’s Conquest
Book Three: The Highlander’s Lady
Book Four: The Highlander’s Warrior Bride
Book Five: The Highlander’s Triumph
Book Six: The Highlander’s Sin
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eliza Knight is the multi-published, award-winning, Amazon best-selling author of sizzling historical romance and erotic romance. While not reading, writing or researching for her latest book, she chases after her three children. In her spare time (if there is such a thing…) she likes daydreaming, wine-tasting, traveling, hiking, staring at the stars, watching movies, shopping and visiting with family and friends. She lives atop a small mountain, and enjoys cold winter nights when she can curl up in front of a roaring fire with her own knight in shining armor. Visit Eliza at www.elizaknight.com or her historical blog History Undressed: www.historyundressed.com
Website: www.elizaknight.com (sign up for my occasional newsletter!)