Cooking Up Trouble by Elizabeth Coldwell
Writers are always being told they should write what they know. The idea is that setting a story in a place that’s very familiar to them, or giving a character a profession they might have worked in, will give the story more authenticity, and cut down on their research. Well, my story in the Secret Library collection, Traded Innocence, deals with the relationship between the two stars of a Saturday morning TV show, and while I’ve never been a presenter, I’ve appeared on quite a few programmes in my time, which has given me a glimpse into the not-so-glamorous world behind the scenes. And though the heroine, Morgan Jones, may be many things I’m not – Welsh, with long, dark hair and voluptuous curves – she loves to bake, as do I. There’s something very soothing about mixing, measuring and beating, and it gives me the opportunity to think about plot points while I’m whipping up a batch of scones.
Morgan’s co-star on Cook’s Treats, the show at the heart of the book, the very gorgeous celebrity chef Scott Harley, is opinionated enough to believe baking is indulgent and promotes an unhealthy lifestyle, but when he meets Morgan – and experiences an overwhelming attraction to her – he’s forced to rethink his opinions. But when the heat starts rising, can they both stay in the kitchen?
When the story opens, Morgan is cooking cranberry and nut brownies, which is one of my favourite recipes, so I thought I’d share it with you. Enjoy!
Cranberry And Nut Brownies
1½ oz cocoa powder
8oz caster sugar
2oz self-raising flour
Handful chopped nuts – walnuts, pecans, whatever are your favourites
Handful dried cranberries
Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then stir in the cocoa and set the mixture aside.
Beat the eggs and sugar together in a bowl until light, then add the cocoa mixture to it.
Sift the flour into the mixture and gently fold in with a metal spoon.
Stir in the nuts and cranberries. Pour the batter into a greased and lined 8-inch pan.
Bake at Gas Mark 4/180°C/350°F for 25-35 minutes. Leave in the tin to cool and firm up.
Cooking Up Trouble features in Traded Innocence, alongside Toni Sands’ title story and KD Grace’s Migrations.