MRS PRESTON’s KITCHEN and ANZAC BISCUITS

MRS PRESTON’S KITCHEN (The Thornton Mysteries)

Morning Tea

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Miss Alexandra said to me, Mrs P … Miss Alexandra calls me Mrs P. Such a lovely young woman. I’ve seen her grow from a beautiful baby … wait, I’m getting off track. Edward, that’s my husband, Mr Preston, he tells me I waffle too much. Dear Edward, he only teases me. So, Miss Alexandra said why don’t you tell everyone about what you have for morning tea … especially this time, because of Anzac Day. Mr Benedict fought in the Great War. He was only a boy. So many boys killed. I think it upsets Miss Alexandra too much to talk about it.

I had to get my head on straight though to talk to you about it, too. I had to think when it all started. 1916 – that was the first Anzac Day. One year after all those poor boys and men died on Gallipoli Peninsula on the 25th April 1915. Anzac stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

Well, we had to commemorate the tragic loss of life. I remember that first Anzac Day. We held a Dawn Service here at Thornton Park, and in the afternoon, Mr Thornton opened the polo field up to the locals for a football match. Some people played tennis. Mr Preston told me later that services were held across Australia and our boys in Egypt had a sports day. To us Aussies, it’s the mateship that’s important.

Such a terrible time. The things I read in the newspaper about our poor boys. They landed at Gallipoli to knock Turkey out of the war but everything … now what’s that word …stalemated, that’s it. Eight months and over eight thousand soldiers killed.

I remember on other Anzac Days, the 25th April became the day we remember the sacrifice of all those who had died in war. Ooh I can’t think of it without crying. Miss Alexandra always gives me a kiss on the cheek when I get upset. Edward tells me to pull myself together … but it upsets him to remember, too. Those Anzac boys were courageous and have left a strong legacy.

By now, you’re probably wondering about morning tea. At Thornton Park, we have Anzac biscuits. Like the poor boys in the trenches ate. They weren’t called Anzac biscuits then. The boys called them the Soldiers Biscuits. Food took a long time to reach the boys and there wasn’t any refrigeration then. Not like I have here now. Mr Thornton bought me one of those new ice boxes. So, food had to last. Like hard tack, bully beef – tinned corned beef, rice and tea. That’s what fed the army.

I always make Anzac Biscuits. It’s so easy – rolled oats, plain flour, sugar, butter, golden syrup or treacle, coconut, bi-carbonate of soda, and boiling water. I like to make the original recipe. I’ll let you have a copy of it. I had it from a friend of a friend.

I hope you’ll enjoy a cuppa and an Anzac biscuit now with me. Mr Preston and Harry just served the family. I made some jam tarts to go with the biscuits.

I’ll see you next time. After I’ve finished my cuppa, I have to think what to prepare for lunch.

 

ANZAC BISCUITS

Ingredients

1 cup each of plain flour, rolled oats, coconut and sugar

4 ounces butter

1tablespoon treacle or golden syrup

2 tablespoons boiling water. (Add a little more if the mixture is dry)

1 teaspoon bi-carbonate soda

Method

1 Grease tray and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

2 Combine the dry ingredients.

3 Melt together butter and golden syrup. Combine water and bi-carbonate-soda – add to butter mixture

4 Mix butter and dry ingredients.

5 Drop teaspoons of mixture onto tray.

Bake 10-15 minutes or until golden.

Allow to cool on tray for a few minutes before transferring onto cooling racks.

Makes approximately 35 biscuits.

(This is from an original recipe by Mr Bob Lawson, an ANZAC present at the Gallipoli landing.)

MRS PRESTON’S KITCHEN

BREAKFAST

The Thornton Mysteries

When writing a book set in the 1920s, the first thing you realise is there is a lot of research to do. The Dragon Sleeps is a murder mystery, the first in The Thornton Mysteries.

The family home, Thornton Park, is a lavish mansion. There are servants and a definite upstairs downstairs scenario. Fashions, music and cars aside, I found the need to research food. What would the family eat in 1927? What did the servants eat?

Mrs Preston is the cook at Thornton Park. Not a chef, but she’s as meticulous and proud of her culinary achievements, as any chef in a restaurant would be. She manages the menus and the kitchen staff to perfection. She does discuss the family menus with Alexandra Thornton, who is mistress of the house.

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On an average day, the family is served breakfast in the morning room. This usually entails dishes such as Kedgeree served with softly scrambled eggs. This is a British recipe, as much of Australian food was at that time. Kedgeree originated in India, during the British Colonial days. At a time before refrigeration, it allowed cooks to use leftovers from the night before to make into appetising breakfast dishes.  Essentially the ingredients are boiled rice, chopped hard-boiled egg, cold minced fish, fried in one pan and flavoured with herbs.

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Sausages are also a much-loved breakfast fare, along with English muffins and toast, served with marmalade and strawberry jam. All served with tea or coffee.

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For the servants of Thornton Park, Mrs Preston always cooks a whole grain oatmeal or porridge, whether it be summer or winter. The servants need a hearty breakfast to sustain them for the long hours ahead.

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Now, there’s morning tea to think of. What will Mrs Preston serve?

 

 

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You can purchase The Dragon Sleeps from the following:

Amazon    http://myBook.to/DragonSleeps

Book Depository

Barnes and Noble

Waterstones

Booktopia.

Wordery

Better World Books

Chapters Indigo

You can follow Ellen on the following

 

The year is almost over…

This year has been an exciting one for me with the release of The Dragon Sleeps in November. It’s the first book in The Thornton Mysteries. A cosy mystery series with a tender love story.

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Book 2 is with my publisher, with book 3 soon to follow. I’ve finished it except for a last read through.

In January, I’m starting book 4. The research is done. I’m looking forward to writing it.

Book 1 is set at Thornton Park, the family home in Victoria.

Book 2 is principally set in Daylesford, a small town in the Macedon Ranges of Victoria. Dayleford is a beautiful place, and today is known for its spas and for its natural mineral springs.

Book 3 is set at Thornton Park and the Barossa Valley in South Australia. The Barossa is prime wine country.

Book 4 will take us to Norfolk Island, a beautiful island in the South Pacific not far from Australia. I went there last year to do some research. I’m going back in 2020.

I hope you’ll come on this journey with me.

This year also saw the release of Broken, a story that is free on my website.

After the tragic death of her parents, Rachael Watson ran away, leaving her sister to manage the family lavender farm and shop. Three years later, crushed by her unrelenting grief, workplace bullying, and guilt and shame for letting her sister down, Rachael decides to return home.

There, Rachael meets Ebony, a black mare who has been mistreated and beaten. Rachael realises she is not the only one who has been broken.

The Treasure is also free on my website. It’s a novelette – short than a novella but longer than a short story. YA/NA Fantasy.

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Lastly, I’d like to wish you a Merry Christmas – or Happy Holidays if you don’t celebrate Christmas – and a Happy, Healthy New Year.

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The Dragon Sleep – Book of the Day

BOOK OF THE DAY

My publisher Crimson Cloak Publishing is holding a
‘Book of the Day’ promotion.


For Friday 29th November it is my book,
The Dragon Sleeps by Ellen Read

A Dragon statue. An ancient sword. A body in the orchard.

What secret has remained hidden at Thornton Park for the last eighty years?

It’s 1927 in Victoria, Australia. A time after the Great War when women have more options opened to them.

At a weekend house party at Thornton Park, Alexandra Thornton decides to break the news to her father that she wants to be an antiques dealer, like her father, grandfather and great-grandfather before her.

Guests include Zhang Huo, the Chinese antiques dealer who, with his son, has brought a Ming dragon statue from China for Thomas Thornton, Alexandra’s father.

Benedict Archer, manager of Thornton Antiques in Melbourne, is also invited.

When Edith Blackburn, her friend since childhood, points out to Alexandra that Benedict is attracted to her, Alexandra can’t believe it.

Then a body found in the orchard, and before the weekend is over, a priceless artefact is stolen.

Alexandra is determined to discover how these things are connected to the Ming dragon and the antiques her great-grandfather brought with him from Hong Kong so many years ago.

What treasure is worth killing to possess?

The link to purchase is below:
http://myBook.to/DragonSleeps

 

The Dragon Sleeps is released and available on Amazon

I’m very happy to announce that

The Dragon Sleeps

is released and available on Amazon

http://mybook.to/DragonSleeps

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A Dragon statue. An ancient sword. A body in the orchard. 

What secret has remained hidden at Thornton Park for the last eighty years? 

It’s 1927 in Victoria, Australia. A time after the Great War when women have more options opened to them. 

At a weekend house party at Thornton Park, Alexandra Thornton decides to break the news to her father that she wants to be an antiques dealer, like her father, grandfather and great-grandfather before her.

Guests include Zhang Huo, the Chinese antiques dealer who, with his son, has brought a Ming dragon statue from China for Thomas Thornton, Alexandra’s father. 

Benedict Archer, manager of Thornton Antiques in Melbourne, is also invited.

When Edith Blackburn, her friend since childhood, points out to Alexandra that Benedict is attracted to her, Alexandra can’t believe it. 

Then a body found in the orchard, and before the weekend is over, a priceless artefact is stolen. 

Alexandra is determined to discover how these things are connected to the Ming dragon and the antiques her great-grandfather brought with him from Hong Kong so many years ago. 

What treasure is worth killing to possess?

 

You can follow me on:

Instagram

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Pinterest

ellenread.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOOK OF THE DAY – this Friday 1 November

Crimson Cloak Publishing is holding a promotion for BOOK OF THE DAY this Friday 1 November. 

Reel Love by Elizabeth Hartey

 

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Sometimes you land a great job, meet your soul mate and live happily ever after – nothing else required.  This isn’t one of those times.

Annie Caslo is a successful young doctor, but when she begins rethinking the career choices she’s made, she makes a decision to find a way to stay focused and achieve her true ambitions – that is, until fate steps in and she is thunderstruck by Colt Ballard. He’s six foot three inches of heart-stopping hotness, an adept, roguish soccer star and one of her interns.  But he’s a player – on and off the field – and Annie has better things to do.  Still, the combustible chemistry between them is impossible to resist – Colt brings out feelings she never knew existed and Annie’s swept off her reluctant feet.

When she continues to second-guess her life choices, opportunitites and obstacles begin piling up higher than the greasy Mexican food stacks she hates to admit loving.  While in a state of emotional turmoil, she gets a celestial visit from a hunky, Hollywood heartthrob lookalike, who claims to be her guardian angel.  He takes her on a magical road trip to self-discovery with the help of several dearly departed film icons.

Drawn into the excitement of a life she’s always dreamed of, this new life threatens to shatter the life and love she already has – unless her quirky angel can help her find a way to have it all.

 

You can buy Reel Love by clicking the link below.

http://myBook.to/reellove

 

About Elizabeth Hartey:

Elizabeth lives and writes in Pennsylvania.

As a lover of the northeast USA, Elizabeth and her husband moved to the Poconos several years ago to open a Chiropractic Clinic. Four children and a menagerie of animals later, she has finally found time to fulfill her lifelong dream of writing novels. A dreamer at heart, romance is, of course, the genre she spends most of her time writing and reading into the wee hours of the morning. When she’s not juggling work responsibilities and writing, she enjoys swimming, knitting, hiking the beautiful hills and woods around her home, and spending time with her family.

 

https://www.elizabethhartey.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Reel-Love-1826632230886768

https://www.facebook.com/EHarteyauthor

Twitter: @drliz5

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100014957197382

https://drlizblog.wordpress.com

BOOK OF THE DAY – THE DARK WEB MURDERS

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BOOK OF THE DAY

Crimson Cloak Publishing is holding a promotion for BOOK OF THE DAY                          this Friday 20th September 2019. 

If you look a great crime, check out this fabulous book, The Dark Web Murders by Brian O’Hare. 

Go to the Amazon link to buy. 

http://mybook.to/DarkWeb

Blurb:

I am Nemein I am not a murderer. I am emotionally detached from my killings. I am, therefore,  an instrument of Nemesis, a punisher.  This is a theme running through a number of blogs on the Dark Web, written by a serial killer. He is highly intelligent and employs philosophical argument to justify a series of gruesome murders.  However, he describes the killings in lurid detail, and with such gloating relish, that he utterly negates his delusion of detachment and reveals himself to be a cold-blooded, narcissistic psychopath.

Sheehan and his team rush headlong down a series of blind alleys in the pursuit of the psychopath, who continues to murder his victims with impunity. He is fiendishly clever, utterly ruthless, and tests Sheehan’s famed intuition to the limit.  Indeed, Sheehan only learns the truth during a horrific climax when some members of his team experience a most harrowing ‘laceration of the soul’ that they will never be able to forget. It is unlikely that the reader will either.

You can read some fantastic reviews on Goodreads.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44109461-the-dark-web-murders

 

ARCs available – THE DRAGON SLEEPS by Ellen Read

**NEW ARC AVAILABLE**

THE DRAGON SLEEPS by Ellen Read

If you’re interested in reading an ARC (Advanced Reader/Review Copy) of my story in exchange for an honest review, please contact me at ellenreadauthor@gmail.com and let me know what format you prefer: mobi, epub or pdf.

ARCs - sword-866016

A Dragon statue. An ancient sword. A body in the orchard.

What secret has remained hidden at Thornton Park for the last eighty years?

It’s 1927 in Victoria, Australia. A time after the Great War when women have more options opened to them.

At a weekend house party at Thornton Park, Alexandra Thornton decides to break the news to her father that she wants to be an antiques dealer, like her father, grandfather and great-grandfather before her.

Then a body is found in the orchard, and before the weekend is over, a priceless artefact is stolen.

Alexandra is determined to discover how these things are connected to the Ming dragon and the antiques her great-grandfather brought with him from Hong Kong so many years ago.

What treasure is worth killing to possess

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: HEART OF A WARRIOR

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Heart of a Warrior by Denna Holm

Heart of a Warrior is the fourth book by Denna Holm in her Immortal Warriors series.

Each book is definitely a standalone. I haven’t read the first three books and I followed this story without any difficulty.

The story, along with the engaging and well-drawn characters, drew me into its pages from the very first start.

In the beginning, we meet Elena Murphy as she prepares her ranch for an approaching storm, but not all of her chills are because of the thunder on the horizon. She thinks of Gabriel, the dark-haired, ancient vampire who often visits Earth from his home planet of Laizahlia. Elena can sense he’s close. Would he show himself to her? He watches over her and protects her, but from a distance.

Elena is expecting visitors – Cami Benton is sixteen and her brother Ryan, who is eight. They’re going to spend the weekend with her. She has a strong connection to the children, partly because their own home life is stressful, with their parents’ divorce. Only when their father Martin, who has driven them to Elena’s home, makes unwanted advances to Elena, does Gabriel appear, a tall, daunting figure, in his black leather of a Laizhalian Hunter.

Once Martin has run away, Gabriel helps Elena get her horses in before the storm hits. Once it hits, the storm brings more than thunder and lightning.

I don’t want to write any spoilers, so let me say from here on is a desperate and urgent journey across the universes, to strange planets with wonderful live forms, some more weird and dangerous than others. We also meet werewolves and shape-shifters.

Denna Holm has imagined these worlds and their inhabitants so fully that I slipped into them as if I were really there.

I also loved the romance and UST (unresolved sexual tension) between Elena and Gabriel.

I highly recommend this book to young adult (the older side of young adult as there are some detailed sexual scenes) and adult readers who love sci-fi, fantasy, vampires and a great love story. There’s plenty of action and excitement to please everyone.

I’ll certainly be going back to read the first three books.

A 5-star read.

REVIEW: A Secret Muse by Mandy Jackson-Beverly

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A Secret Muse by Mandy Jackson-Beverly

Blurb

UCLA art professor Coco Rhodes knows little about her family’s association with the ancient clandestine organization The Allegiance and wants to keep it that way. She dislikes secrets—they’re a painful reminder of her childhood experiences that were erased as a result of her parents’ tragic deaths when she was four years old.

After a brutal attempt on her life, and the arrival of a birthday letter from her dead mother, Coco demands explanations from her brother, Christopher, a high-powered D.C. lawyer and member of the Allegiance.

Christopher guides Coco to her birthplace, Italy, insisting she’ll find her answers there. Enter the enigmatic Gabriel, a powerful warlock with a vampire father, and the ethereal Prudence, keeper of the Allegiance.

When a close friend is murdered, Coco’s life takes a dark turn. With only a faded portrait torn from a lost sketchbook, and one of her mother’s unfinished paintings, Coco unravels clues from her past, in the hope of saving those she loves.

My Review

This book surprised and delighted me.

A Secret Muse is a vampire tale with a difference. It is so much more than I expected. The author’s love of art, old masterpieces, music, old buildings and Rome runs in a magical thread through the story, as Coco searches for her lost past. She searches for who she is. Her journey takes her to Italy, with its beautiful Tuscan countryside.

All the characters are amazingly written and are seamlessly woven into the fabric of this story of great love and beauty, and incredibly dark secrets and hatred.

I love history, art and music, so for me this book was amazing.

A real page turner! I highly recommend it.