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Lemon & Lime Ginger Lovely and Dorset Apple Cake from the Hive Beach Cafe, Dorset

The Comfort Food Cafe in Debbie Johnson’s new summer romance is entirely fictional – but we would love to go there! As well as the fab location and delicious food, Debbie wanted to create a place where people felt safe and valued and content. A place where everybody knows your name, just like they used to in Cheers!

And while Cherie’s cafe might be made up, the Hive Beach Cafe in Dorset is gorgeously real. It overlooks the beautiful beach at Burton Bradstock, one of the prettiest places on the Jurassic Coast, and has stunning views out across Lyme Bay.

Presentation1

Its location is idyllic, and so is its food. The cafe specialises in fresh fish and seafood, which is sourced locally using sustainable methods, and cooked simply and well. The cafe also has a reputation for friendly and welcoming service, and its creative team in the kitchen.

Now in their 25th year, they’ve produced two cookery books, and have also kindly agreed to share a few of their recipes here with us as well. These are taken from the Hive Beach Cafe Family Cookbook (£16.99, Bristlebird Books). If these tingle your tastebuds, you can find out more at http://www.hivebeachcafe.co.uk/, or follow them on Twitter @HiveBeachCafe.

Lemon and Lime Ginger Lovely

image

Serves 8-10

This is an impressive, refreshing dessert that is super-quick to make. The sharpness of the citrus fruit offsets perfectly the rich combination of double cream and condensed milk. Crushed ginger biscuits make a delicious spicy-sweet base. Don’t forget to get the kids involved in crushing them. Wrap them in a tea-towel and bash them with a rolling pin. They’ll have never had so much fun in the kitchen.

Ingredients

250g ginger biscuits, crushed

115g melted butter

300ml double cream

170g condensed milk

3 lemons, juiced

2 limes, juiced

Combine the ginger biscuits with the melted butter in a bowl and mix. Spoon half of the biscuit mixture into serving glasses and set aside.

Whisk the double cream until it has the consistency of custard. Pour in the condensed milk and whisk again, slowly adding the lemon and lime juice until the mixture if thick and creamy.

Spoon the mixture into the serving glasses and scatter the remaining ginger biscuits over the top. Chill in the fridge for an hour or so until you are ready to serve.

 

Dorset Apple Cake

cake

Serves 4

There is no definitive recipe for Dorset Apple Cake. It’s one of those dishes that provokes fierce arguments between villages throughout the county, as everyone seems to believe that their way is the only way. The constant in all, of course, is wonderful local apples, baked with butter and sugar to produce a deliciously sticky cake that goes perfectly with Dorset clotted cream. Cut yours into generous slices before serving and make a big pot of tea to sit alongside it on the table.

Ingredients

285g softened butter, plus extra for greasing

6 Bramley apples, peeled, cored and chopped into 1cm pieces

1 lemon, juiced

345g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

2 tsp cinnamon

4 large eggs

450g self-raising flour

Milk

2tbsp Demerara sugar

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F

Take a deep, 30cm cake tin and grease the inside with butter. Line with greaseproof paper and set aside.

Place the apple pieces in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice. Set aside.

Cream the butter, cinnamon and caster sugar together in a bowl with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at time, and whisk in a little of the flour after each egg to keep the mixture smooth. Pour in a little milk to thin it if the consistency becomes too thick.

Drain the apple pieces and stir them into the mixture.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin, gently level the top and sprinkle with the Demerara sugar.

Bake the cake in the oven for one hour or until it has risen and browned on the top (if the cake is getting too brown, you can cover it with a sheet of greaseproof paper after 45 minutes or so). The cake is cooked when you insert a skewer into the middle and it comes out clean.

Not got your copy of Debbie’s book yet? Order here: http://bit.ly/1SgJUhF

Photo credits: colin@vertiworks

Pan-fried Scallops with Truffle Mash & Crispy Pancetta from the Hive Beach Cafe, Dorset

The Comfort Food Cafe in Debbie Johnson’s new summer romance is entirely fictional – but we would love to go there! As well as the fab location and delicious food, Debbie wanted to create a place where people felt safe and valued and content. A place where everybody knows your name, just like they used to in Cheers!

And while Cherie’s cafe might be made up, the Hive Beach Cafe in Dorset is gorgeously real. It overlooks the beautiful beach at Burton Bradstock, one of the prettiest places on the Jurassic Coast, and has stunning views out across Lyme Bay.

Presentation1

Its location is idyllic, and so is its food. The cafe specialises in fresh fish and seafood, which is sourced locally using sustainable methods, and cooked simply and well. The cafe also has a reputation for friendly and welcoming service, and its creative team in the kitchen.

Now in their 25th year, they’ve produced two cookery books, and have also kindly agreed to share a few of their recipes here with us as well. These are taken from the Hive Beach Cafe Family Cookbook (£16.99, Bristlebird Books). If these tingle your tastebuds, you can find out more at http://www.hivebeachcafe.co.uk/, or follow them on Twitter @HiveBeachCafe.

Pan-fried Scallops with Truffle Mash & Crispy Pancetta

truffle mash

Serves 4

Wholesome and hearty, with more than a hint of luxury provided by the dash of truffle oil in the mashed potato, this dish makes a fulsome family feast. The saltiness of the pancetta is the perfect contrast to the delicacy of the scallops. Enjoy.

Ingredients

4 large potatoes, peeled

8 slices pancetta

1 clove garlic, crushed

200g butter

Truffle oil

Double cream

Olive oil

16 scallops

½ lemon, juiced

Handful wild rocket

Boil the potatoes until soft then drain. Leave for a couple of minutes then mash until light and fluffy. Set aside in a warm place.

Preheat a hot grill.

Lay the pancetta slices out on a tray and grill until crisp. Set aside in a warm place.

Combine the garlic with 150g butter and set aside.

Preheat two heavy-bottomed frying pans – one of which needs to be very hot. Put the mashed potato into the cooler pan with a knob of butter, a drizzle of truffle oil and a splash of double cream. Keep stirring the mash until it’s piping-hot, then turn the heat right down and season to taste.

Oil and season the scallops, then place them into the other hot frying pan. Arrange them in a clockwise direction, remembering your starting point. After around 90 seconds, turn the scallops over in the same order.

Add the garlic butter and the lemon juice to the scallops pan. Remove the pan from the heat as soon as the butter has melted.

Place the truffle mash in a large serving bowl, arrange the scallops on top and finish with wild rocket and the pancetta slices. Drizzle over the pan juices and serve immediately.

Not got your copy of Debbie’s book yet? Order here: http://bit.ly/1SgJUhF

Photo credits: colin@vertiworks

Down Dorset Way by Debbie Johnson & Visit Dorset

I must admit that when I booked our first holiday in Dorset, I actually secretly wanted to go to Cornwall, one of my favourite places on earth.

But with three kids and two dogs in the car, and the prospect of a lengthy drive from Liverpool, it seemed like a good compromise – a similar vibe, but with less time swearing on the motorway.

We headed off to our cottages near the village of Maiden Newton half expecting it to be a poor man’s Poldark country.

We couldn’t have been more wrong. Instead, we found a rich and varied county full of rolling hills, stunning countryside and of course a world-renowned coastline. We found pretty villages and wonderful pubs and gorgeous food. We found welcoming people, friendly faces, and heaven on earth for both the children and the dogs.

This is the land of Thomas Hardy and Tess of the d’Urbervilles; it’s Far from the Madding Crowd and it’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman and it’s Broadchurch. It’s absolutely bloody gorgeous, and I deny anybody looking down at Durdle Door in the morning not to fall in love with it.

We stay at Lancombe Country Cottages, a dog-friendly, family-friendly haven set between coast and country. Like Cherie’s properties at the Rockery, they’re wonderfully located – but unlike the Rockery, they are beautifully decorated inside as well!

Just a short drive away from there, you can find the resorts of Weymouth and Poole; Lyme Regis and West Bay, the Jurassic Coast and areas of outstanding natural beauty. Like Laura and her family, we never want to leave – but real life isn’t fiction, so we always have to!

It’s been wonderful creating a whole Dorset world for my characters to inhabit, and I hope you have enjoyed sharing their stories.

Sadly, the Comfort Food Cafe is entirely fictional – but the kind of beautiful view from its clifftop location are not. If you’re tempted to go and see for yourself, my friends at Visit Dorset have provided us with their list of the area’s Top Ten Views to Fall in Love With – and seeing is believing! 

1) Gold Hill, Shaftesbury – this steep cobbled street is famous for its picturesque appearance; the view looking down from the top of the street has been described as “one of the most romantic sights in England” and was made famous in the 1970s Hovis advert.

Gold_Hill,_Shaftsbury,_Dorset,_England

2) Hengistbury Head – this headland south-east of Christchurch was an important trading port even from the Iron Age but is now a Nature Reserve; stand on top of the plateau and you will see views of Christchurch Harbour, Mudeford, Isle of Wight and Bournemouth beach

hengistbury-head

3) Hambledon Hill – standing on top of this prehistoric hillfort situated near Blandford Forum gives glorious views across the Blackmore Vale. Nearby Fontmell Down offers similarly spectacular views.

Hambledon Hill, Dorset, UK, in late afternoon sunlight. Image shot 1997. Exact date unknown.

4) Ballard Down – One of Dorset’s most attractive hills, Ballard Down offers fantastic views of the Dorset heaths, Poole Harbour and Old Harry Rocks.


5) Chesil Beach view near Abbotsbury – the coastal road from from Bridport to Abbotsbury (the B3157) offers wonderful views along the Jurassic Coast and just before you arrive in the picturesque village of Abbotsbury, Chesil Beach stretches before you with views to Portland.

 

6) Golden Cap –this is the highest point along the south coast of England and on a clear day, you can see to Dartmoor in Devon.

GOLDEN CAP

7) Hardy’s Monument, Portesham – erected in 1844, a monument to Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy who captained Nelson’s ship HMS Victory at the battle of Trafalgar and was born in Dorset; views across both heathland and the coast.

DSCF2755-Hardy-Monument

8) Swyre Head – the highest spot in the Purbeck hills near Swanage; the hill commands extensive views from the Isle of Wight to Portland.

9) Pilsdon Pen – Pilsdon Pen is an Iron Age Hillfort on the highest hill in Dorset and is only 30 metres short of a mountain! The hill offers sweeping views across the hedged landscape of the Marshwood Vale and is a perfect spot for a picnic.

You can find out more at www.visit-dorset.com, or connect with them via twitter @dorsettourism, https://www.facebook.com/VisitDorset/, or https://www.instagram.com/visitdorsetofficial/

Not got your copy of Debbie’s book yet? Order here: http://bit.ly/1SgJUhF

Fish & Saffron Stew from the Hive Beach Cafe, Dorset

The Comfort Food Cafe in Debbie Johnson’s new summer romance is entirely fictional – but we would love to go there! As well as the fab location and delicious food, Debbie wanted to create a place where people felt safe and valued and content. A place where everybody knows your name, just like they used to in Cheers!

And while Cherie’s cafe might be made up, the Hive Beach Cafe in Dorset is gorgeously real. It overlooks the beautiful beach at Burton Bradstock, one of the prettiest places on the Jurassic Coast, and has stunning views out across Lyme Bay.

Presentation1

Its location is idyllic, and so is its food. The cafe specialises in fresh fish and seafood, which is sourced locally using sustainable methods, and cooked simply and well. The cafe also has a reputation for friendly and welcoming service, and its creative team in the kitchen.

Now in their 25th year, they’ve produced two cookery books, and have also kindly agreed to share a few of their recipes here with us as well. These are taken from the Hive Beach Cafe Family Cookbook (£16.99, Bristlebird Books). If these tingle your tastebuds, you can find out more at http://www.hivebeachcafe.co.uk/, or follow them on Twitter @HiveBeachCafe.

Fish & Saffron Stew

fish stew smaller

Serves 4

Though it will undoubtedly be the delicious chunks of monkfish and seabass, and all the juicy king prawns that’ll take the plaudits in this dish, the real credit here goes to the icky bits – the fishbones and shells – that intensify over time create the wonderful flavours in the stock base. Not that your kids need to see them, of course. You’ll strain them out long before any child has chance to turn up their nose and say ‘yuck’. And they certainly won’t argue with this deep, dense, warming stew when you place it – still sumptuously steaming – into the middle of the dinner table.

Ingredients

1 small monkfish

1 small seabass

500g king prawns

Handful mussels

1 bulb garlic, outer layers removed

1 carrot, roughly chopped

2 leeks, roughly chopped

1 fennel head

1 onion, roughly chopped

3–4 ripe tomatoes, quartered

Pinch saffron

1 sprig thyme

1 bay leaf

1 tsp fennel seeds

Handful coriander leaves, chopped

Fillet the monkfish and seabass, or alternatively, ask your fishmonger to do it for you. Make sure you reserve the fishbones.

Dice the monkfish and seabass meat into chunks, and set aside. Then peel the prawns – reserving the shells.

Wash the mussels in cold water and discard any that do not close when tapped.

To make a stock, place the fishbones and prawn shells in a large saucepan and gently heat it to release the flavours. Next, throw in the garlic, carrot, leeks, fennel, onion and mussels; then add the tomatoes, saffron, thyme, bay leaf and fennel seeds. Cook until softened and then cover with water.

Bring the stock up to a gentle simmer (without letting it boil) and cook for around 30 minutes. Once all the flavours have had time to intensify, strain the stock and return to the heat. Reduce by half.

Just before serving, add the diced monkfish and seabass to the stock and let it cook for a couple of minutes. Divide between 4 bowls and finish each with a sprinkle of coriander.

You can order Debbie’s Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe here: http://bit.ly/1SgJUhF.

Photo credits: colin@vertiworks

I’m Keeping You Blog Tour: Excerpt

Enjoy a sneaky snippet from Jane Lark‘s I’m Keeping You, the follow up to her bestselling New Adult novel, I Found You

Get your copy here: http://amzn.to/1pKaunM

I'mKeepingYou

She turned around and pressed her face into my neck. Her lips touched my skin when she said, “I’d like that.”

“I thought you might.” It was one of our old haunts. We had memories there.

I pressed her back against the window and kissed her properly. Her arms lifted up on to my shoulders and rested there as her tongue wove about mine slowly. My hands slid to grip her butt and I pulled her hips against mine.

Many things had gone wrong in our marriage in the last few months, but the one thing we’d recently managed to fix was the sex. We’d been to a party a week ago, for Halloween, and gone outside in the dark. But then she’d told me about this threat from Mr. Rees.

I broke away from her. “Come on, let’s go to the park.”

I got the first proper smile I’d had out of her all day. Those smiles were way too rare.

We walked through Brooklyn holding hands. Then headed into the park and looked up at the massive bridge, with Manhattan Bridge as its shadow. I let go of her hand and slung my arm around her shoulders.

The Brooklyn Bridge was a giant. It dwarfed us. I’d forgotten how dominating the New York skyline was. It put you in your place, made you realize how much of a nothing you were in the world. That’s how I’d always felt in New York.

We walked along the path by the river.

This park was so familiar and yet we’d been different people when we’d been here last. She’d poured out her sordid past to me here, the night I’d found out about Saint. But that had been in the dark. We’d generally come here in the dark after I’d picked her up from work, when all the lights were reflected on the water, swaying with the rock of the waves. It was a different place in the daylight and there were more people here, tourists as well as locals.

When we were far enough away from the main tourist area, I stopped and held the railing, looking down at the water as it washed up against the bank.

Rach gripped the rail too.

I looked at her.

Her gaze stretched to the far bank. “When will we go and see Declan?”

“Monday, so we can have tomorrow to do normal stuff before we face him.”

She turned around and looked at me. “What will you say?”

“I have no idea. It depends on what he says… and what he’s like.”

“An asshole.” A smile parted her lips as she quoted back what I’d called him for the year he was my boss.

I chucked her under the chin. “That I can guarantee. He’s always that. Shall we walk up to Manhattan Bridge?” Where I’d found her, alone, destitute, and desperate. “Then I thought we could go and eat at Joe’s, where you used to work.”

She leaned forward and kissed my cheek. “Thanks, I’d like that.”

It was nearly a year since I’d found her in a tee and jeans, she’d had nothing else on but her sneakers, on a freezing night in New York.

A subway train passed as we reached the DUMBO end of the Manhattan Bridge’s path. It rattled along on the rails, making a racket. I’d used to deaden the sound with the music in my earphones when I’d jogged along here. We didn’t walk out very far on to the bridge, but we walked along the path until we saw where she’d been the night I met her. She caught hold my fingers and turned away from it. “Can we walk back past where you used to live? Some of those days were my happiest.”

Her words cut, but she hadn’t meant them to cut—it’s just—I wished she was happy now. She should be happy now. I needed to make her happy again.

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