Today sees the release of my romantic suspense collection, A Year of Light and Shadows. Hooray! And it’s an excuse to show my lovely cover again here (I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of it :) )
On the release of Palace of Deception (Book One in the Year of Light and Shadows collection) I posted the recipe for cooking the perfect steak, as this is my hero Leon’s favourite meal. Since A Year of Light and Shadows combines both Mediterranean- and Scottish-set stories, I thought it would be really nice to make something that’s a fusion of the south of France and Scottish cuisine to celebrate.
I hit on the perfect recipe, and it’s a recipe for something I absolutely love – Petticoat Tails. Petticoat Tails are a type of shortbread, and shortbread is a typical Scottish biscuit. The French influence comes because it’s said Mary Queen of Scots was very fond of “petites gatelles,” or “little cakes,” and the name Petticoat Tails is supposed to come from this.
I think that’s a lovely story, and the shortbread is so delicious I can never just eat one.
Here is the recipe:
115gsm (half a cup) butter (taken out of fridge and warmed at room temperature for a couple of hours)
55gsm (3 cups) caster sugar / superfine sugar
130gsm (1 1/3 cups) plain flour / all-purpose flour
40gsm (1/4 cup) rice flour (ground rice or very fine semolina will also do)
Large pinch salt
- Heat the oven to 150 C / 330 F / gas mark 2
- Beat together the butter, sugar and salt until they are light and fluffy
- Sift together the plain flour and rice flour and mix in with the beaten ingredients to form a dough. (Add more butter if it’s too crumbly.)
- Pat the dough or lightly roll it into a circle shape, approximately 1cm thick (3/4 inch). Crimp the edges, score the top diagonally into eight pizza type slices, and prick all over with a fork.
- Place on a baking tray that’s been lined with greaseproof paper.
- Chill in the fridge for 15 mins
- Bake for around an hour until cooked through but not brown.
- Sprinkle with sugar and place on a wire rack to cool.
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There – simple yet delicious! I think this is my favourite biscuit ever – and we have a LOT of different types of biscuit here in the UK :) And a cup of tea and a piece of shortbread is the perfect accompaniment to a book!
Here is the blurb to A Year of Light and Shadows:
Book One: Palace of Deception
From the heat of the Mediterranean….
When the Princess of Montverrier goes missing, Lizzie Smith takes on the acting job of her life. Alone and surrounded by intrigue in the Royal Palace, she relies on her quiet bodyguard, Léon. But who is he really protecting? Lizzie…or the Princess?
Book Two: The Scottish Diamond
To the heart of Scotland…
Home in Scotland, Lizzie begins rehearsals for Macbeth and finds danger stalking her through the streets of Edinburgh. She turns to her former bodyguard, Léon, for help…and discovers a secret he’d do anything not to reveal.
Epilogue: A Question by Torchlight (A Short Story)
A story of mystery and romance…
The approach of Hogmanay in Edinburgh means a new year and new resolutions. Lizzie and Léon have put their year of danger behind them. But something is still troubling Léon, and Lizzie fears the worst…
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Have you ever made shortbread? And did you use this recipe? And do you think the legend about Mary Queen of Scots’ favourite biscuits is true?
If you have any comments at all, I’d love to hear from you!