Hello and welcome to Romance Recipes where I am happy to introduce you to a new author and a new recipe! Two of my favorite things! Today I am bringing you author, M.S. Spencer, and her recipe for Passionfruit Jelly along with an introduction to her latest release, Whirlwind Romance. Please join me in welcoming M.S. Spencer and savor her recipe for Passionfruit Jelly as you read about her new book!
Thank you for having me at your wonderful blog today, Jennifer. My latest release, Whirlwind Romance, features a heroine who makes jellies and jams from wild fruits she gathers in Florida.
Up until my thirties, I traveled a great deal, living in many countries with amenities that many would consider below standard. So it wasn’t until I married and settled down in an old farmhouse with an acre of land that I could indulge my fantasy growing my own food. We planted apple, plum, peach, fig, hazelnut, and cherry trees; gooseberries, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries; all kinds of vegetables, including an ill-fated attempt to grow artichokes; and finally, lots and lots of herbs. I built a formal herb garden and planted thyme, lovage, rosemary, chives, tarragon, sage, and lemon balm. The one thing I couldn’t get to grow was mint. Yes, the gardeners among you will scoff, but it took me years to get a plot to flourish. When it did, I had to do something or it would take over the entire acre.
So I called upon my sister-in-law, to whom Whirlwind Romance is dedicated. She directed me to an old recipe for mint jelly. Once the mint invasion was under control and I’d mastered the technique, I spent whole summers working up recipes for herb jellies. It was great fun. Despite the fact that I’m not really fond of jelly, they made excellent Christmas gifts.
As I started Whirlwind Romance, I thought about what my heroine, Lacey Delahaye, would do for a living. She lives alone in Florida, her one son grown. What could she do? I thought of the innumerable ecosystems in Florida, from pine uplands, to coastal plains, to palm hammocks—all of which are host to many wild fruits, most of which can be made into jelly. Ah hah! She’d be a jelly maker.
For fun, I added the recipes to each chapter. I hope you enjoy them as much as you do Lacey and Armand’s love story.
For your cooking pleasure, here is one of her recipes:
Passionfruit is a woody vine with strange, yet beautiful flowers. It grows in humid tropical lowlands. Ripening in the fall, the round fruit about the size of a plum is either golden or dark purple. I have a rampant scarlet passionfruit vine in one corner of the yard.
5 lbs passionfruit for 2 cups juice
2 oz. water
Halve the fruits and scoop out filling. In a blender, quick pulse for a couple of seconds. Strain the juice. Repeat procedure 2-3 times, thinning with water if necessary, until juice is clear.
2 cups juice
1 ¾ cups water
7 ½ cups sugar
6 oz. (2 packets) liquid pectin
Combine juice, water and sugar in a large pot. Bring to a full, rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Add liquid pectin. Remove from the heat, skim off any foam and pour into hot, sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch space between the jelly and rim of the jar. Upend jars and leave 5 minutes, then turn right side up and tighten lids.
Makes 4 pints.
The Story of Whirlwind Romance:
In the aftermath of a hurricane, Lacey Delahaye finds herself marooned on an island on the Gulf coast of Florida with a mysterious man. They are immediately drawn to each other, but before Armand can confess his identity, they are kidnapped and taken to a tiny island in the western Caribbean. With the help of her son Crispin and a cadre of loyal followers, she and Armand must face down pirates, power-mad ideologues, and palace intrigue, if they are to restore the once idyllic tropical island to its former glory.
Wild Rose Press, 8/17/2016, Champagne Rose imprint
Contemporary romance/Action Adventure; M/F; 2 flames
Ebook 89,905 words; Print: 358 p.
Excerpt (PG): Tommy’s Tree House
She climbed quietly, hand over hand. As she reached the last board, a soft, but menacing voice purred, “Well, my sweet, you’ve found me.”
Okay, here’s where we find out if he’s a bad guy. “Give me a hand up, will you?” Other than a slight intake of breath, he complied without a word.
Lacey’s head rose up over the floor to find a cubicle lit by a small pencil torch and cluttered with toy guns, candy bar wrappers, and crushed Dr Pepper cans. And Armand. Who took up most of the rest of the space. He still held her hand, but he had stopped pulling her. “Where did you plan to sit, on my lap?”
At least he’s toned down the threat level. “Or you could come down. I don’t think Tommy Forster allows uninvited guests in his palace.”
His jaw dropped. “Palace?” After a brief interval, he said, “Oh. I see. I can’t.”
“I…I…think I reinjured the ankle. I can’t put any weight on it.”
Lacey toyed with the idea of leaving him there for little Tommy, but his mother would have been appalled. “All right, just a minute.” She climbed down and went back to her house, grabbed a coil of rope from the shed and sprinted back up the street.
“At your service.”
“I’m bringing up a rope. I want you to tie it to something, then you can shimmy down without using your feet.”
“Um, what about when I get to the ground?”
How much did he say he weighed? Twelve stone? Lacey calculated swiftly. Must be over a hundred sixty pounds. “I’ll try to ease you down.” She threw the coil into the darkness and backed down the tree.
A few minutes later the rope tumbled down and Armand emerged. “For the record, this was my worst sporting event in public school.” He held on for dear life and inched down the rope. Five minutes later he’d descended a foot.
“Come on, Armand—hurry it up.”
“I’m doing my best.” By dint of a lot of swearing and some wild swinging, Armand made it into Lacey’s waiting arms. He sat on the ground, legs splayed out in front, panting. “Now what?”
Lacey hadn’t really thought that far. If he’s a fugitive, I can’t trust him. And I have no way of contacting the police. Maybe this wasn’t such a great idea. “Er, I guess we’d better get you back home. Then you can tell me what this is all about.” He didn’t argue, but when he tried to stand, he fell over. She considered the situation. “What we need is some kind of transport. Like…like…what was that thing the Indians used?” Lacey cast about for the word.
“That’s it—aren’t you clever. A sort of triangular thingy to carry a wounded man. Made of logs and deerskins.” She stopped, not—as one might assume— due to the lack of readily available logs and skins, but to savor the picture in her mind. An injured warrior, lying spread-eagled before her—bare-chested, sexy, bravely enduring the pain. Wow.
Armand didn’t seem to notice her heightened color and pointed at the carport across the street. “Could we use that little red wagon?”
She followed his gaze. Story of my life—instead of Geronimo I get Ralphie. “That’ll do. Wait here.”
“Yes, I think I shall.” Armand kept a straight face. Lacey brought the little wagon to him, and he lay down in it, arms and legs hanging over the sides.
“You’ll have to lift up your extremities if this is going to work.” And so, with Armand looking like an upside down turtle and Lacey with tears of laughter streaming down her face, they staggered along the road to her house.
About the Author:
M. S. Spencer has published ten romantic suspense and murder mystery novels. She has two fabulous grown children and an incredible granddaughter and divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.
Her calendar of events can be found here:
Romance Books 4 Us:
Thank you for joining us for another Romance Recipes! I hope you’ll stop by next week to meet another author, try a new recipe and pick up a new book!