Monthly Author Post – Anne Barwell – Fiction and Food

While trying to figure out a topic in the staffroom at work for this month’s post, the conversation found its way onto food, as it quite often does there. We’re all about the food at work—I suspect it’s a librarian thing.

Food often finds its way into my stories too. Not only that but I often end up making what’s mentioned in the story, or the story mentions what I’m cooking or baking. One feeds into the other, pun intended.

One of my work colleagues floated the idea of putting recipes in the back of a book, which I don’t think will work because of source material, but I’m debating sharing some of my favourite recipes in future blog posts. Especially as—coincidently—they’re a favourite of some of my characters. Funny how that happens….

This scene from Cat’s Quill features some sultana scones:

Cathal raised an eyebrow. “So you make a habit of talking to cats and hedgehogs and not sharing your scones with them, hmm?” Blackthorn meowed. Cathal handed Tomas the tea towel and sat down against the tree next to him, holding out his hand for Blackthorn to sniff. The hedgehog turned to look at him as well, staring for a moment before rolling into a ball.

Those scones turn up in every book in that series. When I wrote the first book I used to make sultana scones. Looking back I’m not sure whether the book inspired the scone making, or the scones I was making found their way onto the page. I made a lot of batches of scones during the months Cat’s Quill was my WIP. I haven’t had the same urge with subsequent books but I suspect that’s because scones take a bit more time than my usual baking fare, but I must admit I’m thinking about resurrecting the recipe.


He offered a lamington to Rusty and then helped himself to one. “It’s over.”

“These… what did you call them? Lamingtons? They’re delicious,” Rusty said after he’d eaten his first bite of the chocolate syrup and coconut-covered sponge. “Thank you.”

“They’re a Kiwi tradition,” Nate said, grateful to Rusty for his transparent change of subject.

In Sunset at Pencarrow Nate and Rusty are treated to lamingtons. My co-author Lou Sylvre baked some raspberry flavoured ones as part of our blog tour—you can read more about her Kiwi baking experience here. Lamingtons are a big thing here in New Zealand, and are popular as fund raisers too. I spent a few fun evenings dipping slices of sponge in chocolate syrup and coconut at the local kindy when my children were small. So since Nate and Rusty’s afternoon tea, I’m finding myself more tempted by lamingtons on sale at the local supermarket, and there’s a packet of them in my freezer. Lamingtons are one thing I don’t make as they’re fiddly, and I’m a bit short of time these days.

blueberry muffins

I’d hoped to catch you at some point so I could thank you for your work in person.” Mavis handed him a small basket. “I’ve made some muffins and thought you and Joel might enjoy some.”

“Thank you, that’s very kind of you.” Marcus was surprised by her generosity.

Mavis smiled. “It’s the neighborly thing to do. I’ve kept an eye on Joel for some time now as he does work so very hard.” She lowered her voice. “It’s lovely seeing the two of you together and knowing he’s got someone like you looking out for him when he gets caught up in things and works too hard. Sometimes you have to help people who don’t help themselves, you know?”

In this sneak preview of Prelude to Love a familiar form of baking makes its way into the story. I tend to make a lot of muffins as they’re quick, easy, and freeze well. Although it doesn’t mention it in the scene, these were definitely the fruit muffins I was baking at the time.

sultana loaf

I haven’t got as far as sneaking this sultana loaf into a story yet, as it’s a new recipe, but given time I’m sure it will turn up somewhere. After all, I usually have something baking or cooking while I’m writing on my weekends. Although I’ve shared baking stories in this blog post, other meals have found their way onto the page of my stories.

3 Responses

  1. Love Bytes Monthly Post – Fiction and Food | Drops of Ink

    […] My monthly blog post at Love Bytes is all about food, and fiction. Or should that be fiction, and food? Check out the post here. […]

  2. 16forward
    16forward at |

    hmmmm and a cup of chai latte to go with…


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