Today’s guest has hit on the perfect recipe for the cold, wet weather we’re having in Melbourne. When it rains like this I just want to fire up the oven and start baking. So welcome to Nicole Hurley-Moore, an Australian writer of historical romance and the only person I know brave enough to work her way through Larousse Gastronomique! Now there’s a challenge. Here’s Nicole.
Hi and thanks for having me today on Cooking the Books!!
My latest novel, Dancing on Air is a sweet Victorian era romance with a little spice. In a way, it reminds me of my great, great Aunt Ethel’s gingerbread cake recipe. Not only is it sweet with a touch of spice but it almost fits into the right time period.
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup butter
¾ cup Golden Syrup
2 cups of plain flour
1 tablespoon of ground ginger
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of baking soda (bi-carb)
1 cup of hot water
2 beaten eggs
Mix sugar, butter and golden syrup together.
Then add flour and spices.
Mix the baking soda and water together and then add it to the mixture.
Finally add the two eggs and mix well.
Bake in a 180 degree oven for about 30-50 minutes.
Cinderella meets Swan Lake in a cross-class, Victorian novel about a ballerina, an aristocrat, and the space in between them.
Lisette yearns for freedom, security and love, but none are offered on the run-down stage of The Imperial Theatre. Instead she has hard work, a tyrannical aunt, and the hope of one day becoming a prima ballerina. Dancing on the stage she catches the attention of two powerful men: Lord Gainswith and Lord De Vale.
Lord Evander Gainswith never expected to fall in love, let alone with a woman so wholly unacceptable to his family and his peers. The sinister Lord De Vale covets Lisette’s youth and strength, and is willing to pay well for it. Lisette may dance roles in fairy tales and fantasies, but the real world is about to intrude, bringing with it the harsh realities of life for a young girl with dreams of rising above the demimonde.
Lisette was weightless as she leapt into a grand jeté across the stage. She was free and in that moment her heart soared past the walls of The Imperial Theatre. She landed lightly and began the fouetté en tournant, whipping her leg from fourth position to behind her knee; she created impetus to spin on pointe. After the eight revolutions, she planted her feet and lifted her hand in the air, stopping in front of her aunt. There was a slight wobble in her legs and she tried not to wince. Fixing a smile on her face she prayed that her aunt had not noticed. Lisette had wanted perfection but had fallen short. A trickle of sweat slid its way down the middle of her back, her heart beat rapidly and she tried to catch her breath as her aunt stepped forward.
Marie Devoré regarded her niece for a second. Her eyes bore into Lisette’s before she raised her hand and slapped her across the face.
Lisette’s head jerked to the side as the burning sting radiated over her cheek.
‘What was that? A farce…? A comedy perhaps?’
‘No, Aunt Marie, I am sorry that I wobbled,’ she said as she looked at the well-worn wooden floor and resisted the urge to cradle her cheek.
‘When you finish, the movement must be sleek, clean and set in stone, without any trace of a tremble.’
‘Go, out of my sight. Prepare the costumes for tonight’s performance,’ Marie said with a wave of her thin hand. ‘You will practice again tomorrow. Without the wobble.’
Lisette bowed her head before running off into the wings of the stage. She ran as fast as she could past the burgundy velvet curtains, beneath the scenery fly and the rigging, down the narrow flight of stairs that ran beneath the stage, until she was in the cool and narrow corridor, which led deeper into the bowels of the theatre.
Her cheek burned but it was the sting of failure that hurt all the more.
Thanks for being my guest today, Nicole. You can find Nicole and her books here: