Today I have a wonderful treat…literally! Cranberry-Walnut Zucchini Bread by Dawn Marie Hamilton author of Just Beyond the Garden Gate, a Highland Gardens Novel. Welcome!
Enjoying food with friends is an integral social activity in our culture. We buy cookbooks featuring mouth-watering photos and tantalizing recipes by the zillions. I have a shelf full of them, along with a few coffee table volumes that can make a foodie’s taste buds weep.
So it’s no surprise food is an important element in many romance novels, providing an insight into the characters and/or the setting. There are even foodie romance novels with recipes included.
My Scottish historical time travel, ‘Just Beyond the Garden Gate’, begins in the fictitious town of Anderson Creek in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. The heroine is staying at the Whispering Pines Inn, a bed and breakfast owned by an older Scottish couple. The B&B serves breakfast and dinner. In town, there is a French café and a vegetarian café.
One of the items that might be found on the B&B’s breakfast menu during the summer is Cranberry-Walnut Zucchini Bread and here is the recipe.
Note: using a food processor to grate the zucchini makes prep a snap.
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 2 cups zucchini, grated
- 1 and 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1 and 1/2 cups white flour
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- Combine oil and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in vanilla and zucchini.
- In another bowl, sift together the flours, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the zucchini mixture until moistened.
- Then fold in walnuts and cranberries.
- Spoon batter into two, oiled, 5 by 9 inch loaf pans and bake for sixty minutes in a 350 degree preheated oven. The outside should be golden.
At the inn, the cranberry-walnut zucchini bread is served with yogurt cheese, which is easy to make.
- Set a colander into a slightly larger bowl.
- Line the colander with a length of cheesecloth.
- Pour the yogurt onto the cloth and cover with same.
- Place a small plate over top, set in refrigerator and let the yogurt drain until it reaches a spreadable consistency. Usually 24 hours. Use as you would cream cheese.
‘Just Beyond the Garden Gate’, a Highland Gardens Novel
The Scottish Highlands—a place where faeries and brownies and other fae creatures dance through time. On occasion, so do mere mortals.
Passion ignites when a faerie-shove propels burned-out business consultant Laurie Bernard through the garden gate, back through time, and into the embrace of Patrick MacLachlan. The arrogant clan chief doesn’t know what to make of the lass in his arms, especially when he recognizes the brooch she wears as the one his stepmother wore when she and his father disappeared.
With the fae interfering at every opportunity, the couple must learn to trust one another while they battle an enemy clan, expose a traitor within their midst and discover the true fate of the missing parents. Can they learn the most important truth—love transcends time?
Journey from the lush gardens of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to the Scottish Highlands of 1509 with Just Beyond the Garden Gate.
Purchase Just Beyond the Garden Gate
After visiting two more garden centers, Laurie slid behind the wheel and sighed. The morning had been long and judging by the height of the sun, the afternoon was slipping by. She glanced sideways at Caitrina. “You are tireless, but I’m hungry. Could we stop for a bite to eat?”
“We probably should return to the cottage. We don’t want the plants to dry out in the car. We can stop at the vegetarian restaurant in the village for a sandwich and soup to go. Teddy makes fabulous tomato, roasted-garlic soup.”
Laurie’s stomach growled. “You’re making my mouth water. Let’s hurry.”
The Baked Potato was a storefront vegetarian café located next door to the Celtic Image shop on the main drag of Anderson Creek. Tantalizing aromas greeted them when they stepped into the crowded restaurant. Several customers waited in line at the counter in front of them.
One stood out among the others, not only due to his substantial height, but also for his mode of dress. His handsome six-foot-seven body was clothed in a cream fisherman’s sweater, a red plaid kilt, and around his waist hung a fur sporran with a badger head.
He strode to them and gave Caitrina a cursory glance before smiling at Laurie. “Hello. You must be our new resident. Iain says nice things about you.”
Laurie expected Caitrina to introduce them. When she glanced at her friend, she found her glaring at the guy.
“Douglas MacKinnon,” Caitrina snapped. “Rude as usual.”
His eyes turned cold. “Love, where were you last night? You were supposed to meet me.”
“You assume much. I never agreed to meet you.” Caitrina grabbed Laurie by the arm and pulled her past Douglas to the counter. He chuckled from behind her as she ordered sandwiches and soup from Teddy.
Douglas leaned close to Caitrina, and she stiffened.
“Ach, lass. Why do you fight it? You know we are meant to be together.” Although he whispered the words near Caitrina’s ear, Laurie overheard.
He stepped back and raised his chin. “Talk about rude, Caitrina. Wouldn’t it be polite for you to introduce me to your friend?”
Visibly bristling, she turned to Laurie. “This horny toad owns the Celtic shop next door. Douglas, meet Laurie.”
“Nice to meet you.” Laurie shook his hand.
“My pleasure. As I said before this minx interrupted, Iain speaks highly of you.”
Laurie couldn’t help but notice the yearning in his tawny eyes when he gazed at Caitrina and felt a twinge of longing. Would be nice to have someone look at her that way.
The image of the man in the woods popped into her mind for the umpteenth time. What would it be like to have him desire her the way Douglas obviously wanted Caitrina?
About Dawn Marie:
Dawn Marie Hamilton dares you to dream. She is a 2013 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist who pens Scottish-inspired fantasy and paranormal romance. Some of her tales are rife with mischief-making faeries, brownies, and other fae creatures. More tormented souls—shape shifters, vampires, and maybe a zombie or two—stalk across the pages of other stories. She is a member of The Golden Network, Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal, Celtic Hearts, and From the Heart chapters of RWA. When not writing, she’s cooking, gardening, or paddling the local creeks with her husband.
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