05 June 2011
Food In Fiction #1 - The Love Verb
I have noticed more and more the tie-in between food and fiction. As foodies, I am sure that you too love when food takes center stage in a novel. When the author kindly includes some recipes, well that is just an added bonus.
I have started taking note of some of the novels I have enjoyed where food has featured and bookmarked some of the recipes to try. So, I thought why not start a new series and share some of the books with you. I am calling this series 'Food in Fiction'. I do hope you enjoy it and feel inspired to read some of the titles I review. If any of you come across a 'Food in Fiction' book you enjoy, then please do join in and feel free to use the logo. We can have a bit of a foodies book group. Let me know if you review a book and I will link to your review in my next 'Food in Fiction' post.
I am starting my series with The Love Verb by Jane Green.
I first came across Jane with her book called Bookends, which was published in 2000. I really enjoyed it. Bookends is the story of three friends Cath, Lucy & Si and their life and loves as they run a book cafe called Bookends. I have been hooked since then and opened each new book with glee.
Jane's latest novel The Love Verb is a heart wrenching, but life-affirming story about a family and how they all pull together when they need each other most.
Callie is the steady one in the family. She is the one who holds everything and everyone together. She seems to have it all. She is a successful photographer with a handsome workaholic husband and two children she adores. She loves her life and wakes up every morning appreciating just how happy and lucky she is.
Her sister Steff is the wild child of the family, flitting through life from job to job and boyfriend to boyfriend, without a care or any responsibility. Her latest job bemuses her family. She has become a vegan chef, even though as far as her family know, she can't cook.
Then there are Callie's parents, Walter and Honor divorced for decades and barely speaking.
Callie is the common denominator for them all and when she has life changing news, they all have to come together to support her and put aside their own problems.
Steff feels helpless, so does the only thing she can to help her sister, she cooks. And so we travel through their story, recipe by recipe.
Jane wrote The Love Verb while she cared for her friend Heidi as she fought breast cancer. A battle I am sad to say she lost. This isn't Heidi's story, but Jane used her experiences with Heidi as the inspiration for this novel. Jane and her publisher Penguin Books teamed up with Breakthrough Breast Cancer to raise awareness of this sadly, very common disease.
A lover of food herself, Jane has included her own family recipes in The Love Verb and I tried out her Almost Flourless Orange Cake with Marmalade. I have been given kind permission to share the recipe with you.
Almost Flourless Orange Cake with Marmalade
by Jane Green
(recipe from The Love Verb)
1 cup caster sugar
¼ cup plain flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup ground almonds
½ cup marmalade
icing sugar for dusting
Optional: small carton of whipping cream, rind of 1 orange
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8" springform cake tin and line it with greaseproof paper.
Put the orange in a pan, cover with water and simmer for an hour (or nuke in a microwave for around 25 minutes) until soft. Cut the orange in half, remove pips and puree in a food processor.
Beat the eggs and sugar until pale and thick. Fold in the flour, baking powder, almonds and orange puree. Pour into the tin and bake for an hour.
Melt the marmalade in a small pan then pour through a fine sieve, pressing to get all the juice out. Spread the rind-free juice over the cake.
When cool sift icing sugar over the cake. Mix whipped cream with the orange rind and serve alongside.
I loved this cake. I would call it a dessert cake, if you know what I mean? It was moist and soft and a real treat when served with a dollop of orange scented cream. I was lucky enough to have some homemade Grapefruit Marmalade courtesy of my friend Trudi's husband and a very fine marmalade is was (thank you muchly Donald). I didn't bother sieving the marmalade as I wanted the bits of rind in the glaze and it worked very well. I just wish I had taken a photo of a slice of the cake so I could show you the lovely soft yellow crumb.
Jane has produced a recipe booklet for the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Charity which can be downloaded here. If you would like to make a donation, you may do so here.