Bacteria inspired names and GBBO – a podcast

A few months ago Sarah from Smart Bitches Trashy Books reviewed Please Release Me. She also contacted me and asked if I would do a podcast for her blog. It’s gone live today!

For those who aren’t followers for the affectionately named ‘Bitchery’, it’s a blog about romance novels written by a group of very smart women who read romance because it’s fun. They also read high brow literary fiction, but, you know, romance is where the heart is.

Anyway. Sarah and I talked about all kinds of things – like how romance is defined in the US vs UK markets, how jacket covers differ in the two countries, the diversity debate that is currently rocking the US romance publishing world (but hasn’t quite reached here yet) and the lack of scientists in romance novels until The Big Bang Theory came along. Because we both like cake, we also discussed gin and tonic cupcakes. It seemed rude not to.

I’m off to jump up and down in an excited manner for a few minutes now. If you listen to the podcast, please leave a comment and let me know what you thought! Especially  if you know any good recipes for cupcakes.



A whole new short story anthology – with cupcakes!

I’ve just got back from a week away (half-term with the kids) and found an email to tell me that the new Choc Lit anthology ‘Kisses and Cupcakes‘ will be out soon! Hooray!

Kisses and cupcakes short story anthology

Just like the first Choc Lit Love Match anthology, this book contains a collection of short stories from other Choc Lit writers (some of my favourite romance writers!) and each story contains a cupcake recipe that is in some way related to the story. At least one story involves gin and tonic cakes…

It’s available to pre-order on Kindle already. Hopefully, there’ll be a paperback too – because it would make a great Christmas present for my friends who like to bake.

My story in this anthology is called ‘Making Faces’ and I’m quietly pleased with it. The two main characters in the story appeared in the first book I ever wrote (we don’t talk about that book very much). They’re already a couple in that book, so it was really nice to meet them again and find out how they met.

Oh, and the cupcakes look like this:cupcakesWhy not buy it and indulge in a bit of light reading while you’re recovering after Christmas dinner?


Sri Lankan party food – #4 Sweet coconut pancakes

Carrying on with the recipes of the Transatlantic Pot Luck party, here’s my recipe for coconut treacle pancakes. I love, love, love  these pancakes.I dream of them sometimes. Once, when I was living in the House in Norham Gardens, my mum brought me some. My Ghanian housemate offered to cook me dinner for a whole week in exchange for one. That, my friends, is how delicious these pancakes are.

Oh, and if you’re curious to see what my writing (or Trish’s writing) is like, you can download the prequels to both our books for 99c (that’s about 79p in UK money) all this week (8th – 15th of March 2013). Or there’s Tea for Three, the FREE short story.

Pancakes with coconut treacle (or pancake with pol pani)

2013-03-08 17.54.12


Pancakes (I’m assuming you know how to make/buy these already)

Dessicated coconut (the fine variety)


Kitul  treacle – this is a fairly specific type of treacle. The closest thing I’ve found in taste is very dark muscovado sugar with a touch of molasses. This recipe works quite well with honey too – tastes different to the real thing ,but still delicious.

To make the pol pani, heat the kitul treacle and cinnamon gently, add the coconut, stir until the treacle is all absorbed by the coconut. Leave to cool. Put a dollop of the coconut (which should now be oozing treacle) in the middle of a pancake and roll it up. You’ll need a saucer under it as you eat it to catch the drips of treacle.

And, here’s a quote from Having a Ball (featuring coconut pancakes):

Stevie practically ran out of the cellar and up the few steps. As Tom bent over to retrieve the plate with the pancake, she saw him smile, a tiny, knowing smile. He knew she fancied him! And he’d expected it. The arrogant, supercilious…She turned round and stalked back to the kitchen, ignoring him as he followed her.

As they reached the kitchen the others looked up.

“Uncle Tom, your floozie came round,” said Alice, who was leaning against a kitchen counter.

“She’s not a floozie,” said Tom, pleasantly. “She’s a solicitor.”

“Oh yeah? Where does she solicit then? King’s Cross.”

Stevie grabbed her own tea and stormed off before she could hear his reply. She needed a moment to herself.

Having a Ball will be released on the 15th of March. Come join the launch party!

Sri Lankan party food – #1 Chick peas

Kicking off the Sri Lankan recipes I promised – here’s one of my favourite party foods. Post your own recipes and link to the Facebook party (or post recipes at the FB party itself) and you could win a copy of either Having a Ball or Kick Assitude.

Copyright Indi Samarajeeva

Fried Chickpeas ( or ‘kadala thel dala’)

Fried chickpeas are the Sri Lanka equivalent of popcorn. A handful of these in a twist of newspaper and you’re good to go. I sometimes make a chilli-free version in the summer, as something to nibble if we’re sitting out in the garden.


1 tin of chickpeas

Dessicated coconut, the coarser the better

Mustard seeds (about a teaspoon full)

Curry leaves – 10

Onions diced finely

Garlic, finely diced

Dried chili flakes to taste

Vegetable oil or ground nut oil – a good splash


Heat the oil gently in a pan and add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start to pop, the oil is hot enough. Add onion, curry leaves and garlic and fry until the onions are translucent. Then add dessicated coconut, chili flakes and chick peas. Give them a good stir so that all the chickpeas are coated with the mixture. Leave to cool a bit. Enjoy.

I’ve used store cupboard ingredients. The real thing uses rampe, which I can’t get hold of easily.