Author Barbara Monajem started writing when she was eight years old. She has wandered from children’s fantasy to paranormal and historical romance, with mystery thrown in whenever she can make it fit. Today she joins us with a recipe for Matrimony Cake and to tell us about her historical romance novellas. Learn more about Barbara and her books at her website. – AP
Sometimes, I wish I wrote a mystery series about food. It would supply me with blog topics, because who doesn’t like recipes? And I love cooking, although I rarely write my experiments down.
But no – I write historical and paranormal romance and mystery, and although my characters (even the vampires) enjoy good food, it’s not the focus of the story. I’ll have to try to remember to put something recipe-worthy in each story. Occasionally, it happens purely by serendipity. For example, last year’s Christmas novella mentions a wassail-like drink called lamb’s wool. It’s made with apples and tastes fabulous. A vampire novella I’m writing that takes place in kinky Bayou Gavotte, Louisiana, has a food fight club where they provide banana cream pies. The heroine of the historical I’m working on right now tries to get her mind off sexy dreams about the hero by thinking about asparagus pudding.
Um, no. I bet no one’s going to try making that (well, except maybe me, because I love trying old-fashioned recipes).
Anyway, here’s a recipe that has nothing to do with any of my books. I got this recipe from my mother, who I assume got it from her mother. I have NO idea why it's called Matrimony Cake. It's not like any wedding cake I've ever had. In fact, it's a variety of what is normally called date squares or date bars. Is it named for the institution of marriage? It has oats -- because hopefully all the wild oats have been sown and from now on there will only be domestic ones. It has dates -- lots and lots of dates, of which a happy marriage should have many. Sugar -- well, yeah. Cinnamon and salt for spice. Okay, so I’m getting carried away, but if anyone knows the real reason for its name, please tell me!
1/2 cup butter
1.5 cups rolled oats
1 cup flour (I use whole wheat pastry or white whole wheat)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon soda
Mix together to a crumbly texture and spread half the mixture on the bottom of the pan. My recipe doesn't specify the pan size. I seem to remember my mother using a rectangular pan, but I used an 8"x8" pan and it worked fine.
1 pound dates, pitted and chopped. (I suggest using those very sweet lovely dark Mediterranean dates. The lighter-brown California dates just aren't as good, in my opinion.)
1 cup water
Salt. (The recipe doesn't specify; I used 1/2 teaspoon)
Cinnamon. (Again, the recipe doesn't specify. I used 1 teaspoon.)
Cook filling until soft and spread over the bottom crust. Then spread the rest of the crumble on top.
Bake for 1/2 hour at 350 degrees. Cut into squares. They're great hot with ice cream or cold just by themselves.
My May Day Mischief novellas don’t have much in the way of food, but they do have magic!
The Magic of His Touch (May Day Mischief, Book One)
Tired of being paraded before every eligible bachelor, Peony Whistleby decides it's time to find her true love—through the ancient custom of rolling naked in the dew on May Day morning. But the magic goes awry when she is caught in the act—and by an entirely unsuitable man. And yet, the way his eyes linger upon her flesh ignites a sensual craving that can only be satisfied by his touch…
Bewitched by His Kiss (May Day Mischief, Book Two)
Lucasta Barnes knows the folly believing in magic can lead to, and won't accept that her illicit tryst with a notorious rake was the result of anything more than pure lust—or that it has bonded them together forever. Yet she can't deny that she yearns for just one more night in his arms…
David, Earl of Elderwood, is known as an enchanter of women, but ever since a passionate encounter with Lucasta three years ago, he desires only her. How can he convince his thoroughly practical paramour that love is the greatest magic of all?