Cooking The Books – Helen Lacey

Chef with cookbookThis week we feature the very best kind of cooking. Food that not only tastes good but carries with it history, memory and identity.

I’m thrilled to welcome Helen Lacey to ‘Cooking The Books’. Helen writes wonderful stories for Harlequin Special Edition. With to-die-for heroes, feisty heroines and conflicts that will have you turning pages long into the night, Helen knows a thing or two about how to mix love and emotion. And isn’t that the most dreamily romantic cover you’ve ever seen?

Helen has a giveaway for one lucky commenter and the details are at the end of the post. But first, here’s Helen.

I love to cook and especially love cooking for other people. When I’m starting a new book and working out what my characters are like, one of the things I decide is whether or not they know their way around a kitchen.Helen

In His-And-Hers Family, the heroine, Fiona Walsh is a competent cook and likes to make cakes and brownies. Since this is a twist on a reunion story – because Fiona is reunited with the daughter she gave away fifteen years earlier – it was fun for them to have some mother/daughter moments in the kitchen. Enter the hero – her daughter’s adoptive uncle and now guardian – and I discovered they were often coming together as a family over food.

AustCoverHisAndHersI also like playing around with recipes and cooking meals that lend themselves to my Welsh heritage. My mother is a great cook, as was my grandmother and as a child I can remember watching my mother bake pies every Sunday. The way she makes pastry still amazes me – no recipe, no measuring cups ….. just a dash of this and little more of that. She also makes Bake stones or Welsh Cakes as they are sometimes called (picau ar y mae) in the Welsh language. This name came from the fact they were traditionally cooked on a bakestone or griddle on an open fire or cooker. Welsh cakes are made from flour, sultanas, raisins, and/or currants, and may also include such spices as cinnamon and nutmeg. They are roughly circular, a couple of inches (4–6 cm) in diameter and about half an inch (1–1.5 cm) thick. And they taste awesome.

Welsh Bake stones recipe

1 cup of currants (I prefer to use these and my mother insists they are better than sultanas)

2 cups self-raising flour

230 grams butter

1 cup caster sugar

1 egg whisked and add a little milk

Method

1. Mix together the sugar and sifted flour

2. Add butter to the flour/sugar mix and gently rub together (keep hands cool)

3. Gradually add the egg/milk, mixing by hand until you have a dough that is firm enough to roll out (You might not need the whole egg mixture and use a light touch when doing this))

4. Roll out to about 12mm (or 1/2 inch) thick before cutting out (my mother always uses a fluted cutter)

5. Cook on a warm bakestone (Or you can use a thick non stick frying pan) until golden brown on the outside and cooked through in the middle

6. Then dust with a little sugar

7. Lastly . . . eat! I defy you to stop at just one.

His-And-Hers Family2If you have a recipe that’s a ‘tradition’ in your family I’d love to hear about it. I have a copy of His-And-Hers Family to give away to one commenter.

Lou – Helen, thanks for that wonderful recipe and sneak peek into His-And-Hers-Family. I reckon these would be dead easy to make just about anywhere (including my much loved camping trips).

Comments will be open until 9.00 am Tuesday 12th AEDST. 

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