Welcome to Cooking The Books! This week’s guest is fabulous Regency romance author, Sasha Cottman. With both a professional and a writing career, this woman knows a thing or two about managing time. So it’s no surprise that she extends that skill to speedy meal prep. I have to confess I watch people who cook like this much as David Attenborough might observe a rare species, with total fascination. Sasha’s latest release, An Unsuitable Match, is the second novel in the award-winning Dukes of Strathmore series.
I love food and if given a nice quiet Sunday afternoon I will happily spend it in the kitchen.
My problem stems from the fact that I have a full time career, a family and somewhere in the middle of all that I am also a published author.
Which brings me to my style of cooking.
I am the Usain Bolt of the kitchen… the faster the better. My current personal best is 6 minutes from start of cooking to serving.
You know those bags of pre-cut vegetables in the supermarket and the 90 second rice? I am the person who unashamedly buys them!
Today’s recipe is one of my cooked in under 15 minutes specialities.
- Four Skinless chicken thigh fillets, sliced and chopped into small squares.
- Three good handfuls of washed baby spinach leaves.
- Some extra virgin olive oil.
- Angel hair pasta (it cooks in 2 minutes and I always have some in my pantry).
- 1 small jar of pesto.
- Grated parmesan cheese. (You can buy it in packets in the fridge section of your supermarket).
- Put water on to boil for the pasta.
- Cut up the chicken and lightly cook it in a frying pan with a little of the oil.
- When chicken is cooked, turn down the heat and add the baby spinach leaves. Once the leaves are wilted, take the pan off the heat.
- Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for 2 mins. Drain pasta and serve into bowls.
- Put the chicken mix back on a medium heat on the stove top for 1 min and mix through 3-4 heaped teaspoons of the pesto sauce.
- After the chicken is warm again, serve over the top of the angel hair pasta.
- Top with a generous serve of the parmesan cheeseYou could add other vegetables to the mix if you so desired. I have added finely cut broccoli and even mushrooms. Remember the smaller the piece, the quicker it cooks.
I dream of the hours when you and I can finally be alone.
Softly sharing whispered words of love.
London, Mid-Summer , 1817
As the carriage slowly snaked its way up Park Lane, Clarice picked at a loose piece of thread on her gown. No matter how hard she pulled, it refused to come free.
She sighed, dreading that this was a sign of things to come. Tonight was going to be a trial, no matter what.
And I have no-one to blame but myself. You could have done it all in private, but no, you had to go and make a huge public scene. Well done, Clarice. Well done.
‘At this rate we shall have to get out and walk if we are to arrive at the dinner on time,’ Lord Langham grumbled.
Stirred from her thoughts, she looked across the carriage to her father. Everyone, it would appear, was headed to Strathmore House for the wedding celebrations of the Marquess and Marchioness of Brooke. It had taken them nearly an hour to get this far in the slow-crawling line of carriages.
‘We could turn the horses around and go home,’ she offered.
He shook his head. Reaching out, he took hold of her hand and gave it a gentle squeeze.
‘We have to do this, my dear. We must show the rest of society that you are not crushed by the unfortunate event of your failed betrothal to the groom,’ he replied.
She mustered a hopeful smile for him. Her father was right, of course. If she stayed away from the wedding celebrations it would only confirm what the rest of the ton no doubt thought of her. She was Lord Langham’s poor little broken bird. An object of pity.
‘Yes, of course, Papa,’ she replied.
The truth was, she didn’t particularly mind what the rest of London thought of her. In fact, she rather preferred they didn’t think of her at all. Being unremarkable was at times a blessing.
She shifted in her seat and forced herself to sit upright. As she straightened her back, the tight garments under her gown shifted and eased. She took in a shallow breath. The discomfort meant little. For her father’s sake she would endure far worse.
Tonight she would stoically bear all the whispers and sly looks that came her way. This evening was for her father. London’s elite would know Henry Langham was a man capable of forgiveness. But Clarice knew there was a limit to her father’s magnanimity.
She knew she could never confess her terrible crime against him. To have him know that she had stolen from him the thing he had held most dear. Earl Langham might forgive others for their sins against him, but Clarice knew there could be no forgiveness for what she had done.
An Unsuitable Match is available at the following places.
You can follow Sasha and find out more about her and her books on her website:
Follow her on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/sashacottman
Born in England, but raised in Australia, Sasha has a love for both countries. Having her heart in two places has created a love for travel, which at last count was to over 55 countries. A travel guide is always on her pile of new books to read.
Sasha lives in Melbourne with her husband, teenage daughter and a cat who thinks sitting on the keyboard is being helpful. Her family have managed to find all but one of her secret chocolate hiding places.
When not writing, she is busy working full time as a Chartered Accountant. On the weekends Sasha loves walking on the beach while devising new ways to torture her characters.
Letter from a Rake:
Finalist 2014 Romantic Book of the Year. (Ruby).
Winner 2013 Book Junkies Choice Award for Historical Romance.
Finalist in the ARRA Awards Best Historical Romance and Best New Author.