Pancake Day!

PancakeNicola here, blogging about food (which I seem to do quite often!) Tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday, otherwise known as Pancake Day, Mardi Gras and various other names around the world. Like many festivals that have become popular celebrations, Shrove Tuesday originated in the Church calendar and is still observed as a religious festival by many people.

The name Shrove Tuesday comes originally from the word “shrive” meaning to absolve, as it falls just before the beginning of Lent. The name Mardi Gras, “Fat Tuesday” is more descriptive, however, as it gives a clue to the theme of eating up all the rich food you might then forsake during the 40 days of Lent, when people would be expected to fast and pray. Meat, eggs and various milk products were forbidden.

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Ask A Wench About Chocolate!

Stencil.default (1)Nicola here, with this month's Ask A Wench. It’s US National Choose your Chocolate Day (but that doesn’t mean that the rest of us can’t join in, right?) So here on the Wenches, we decided to chat about our relationship with chocolate. Is it a love story or a break up story? How long have we known chocolate for and how has our relationship with chocolate developed? 

Christina: I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know what chocolate was – it’s my main vice, the one thing I don’t think I could give up! As a child, I Guldnougat remember eating something called ‘Guldnougat’, which was basically a chocolate bar that was a mixture of milk chocolate and hazelnut paste (this is usually called Gianduja in the UK). It was incredibly messy to eat as it tended to melt when clutched in a small warm hand, but I adored it. Swedish chocolate on the whole is delicious, especially anything made by the most famous brand Marabou. Personally, I prefer the types without anything added other than nuts, but they have just about every flavour under the sun.

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Travels in Italy–Part Two

Swiss guardsPat here, still rambling about our Italy trip. (The Vatican's masked Swiss guards to the left just because) In my last segment, I was so eager to get to hill country that I forgot to mention Rome at all. We’ve visited Rome several times over the years. It’s still a very busy city, much of it walkable if you’re staying in the forum area, which we were. The beauty of this visit was that the number of tourists was waaaay down. The lines at the forum and the Vatican were, at best, maybe fifteen minutes long. The guides—just now getting back to work after our long Covid vacation—were ecstatic about how much more they could show us without crowds.

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Regency Diet

 Pat here:

Regency dinnerSince I totally blew my blog date while buried under revisions, edits, and the start of a new book, I’m pulling out an oldie for you to consider how to approach not dieting for the holidays.

In hunting for a food that small boys might relish at a village fair, I went on a google expedition. The internet boasts a plethora of material that I would have given my right hand to own back when I first started writing. Now, instead of procrastinating— researching—by getting lost in my library, I hunt through Wikipedia, jump to Google Books, dig deep into newspaper archives, or just generally wallow in the wealth of Regency blogs and websites available with the click of a mouse.

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What the Wenches are Reading in April!

Christina here to tell you what the Wenches have been reading this month – an eclectic mix as always! With all of us being in isolation, we’ve had plenty of time to dive into our TBR piles and we hope you have too. Have a look and see if anything appeals to you!

The Forgotten SisterI’ll start off with my own April favourites: First and foremost I had the pleasure of reading an advance copy of Wench Nicola’s upcoming release, The Forgotten Sister – published tomorrow! – a Tudor mystery and time slip (dual time) novel. I can safely say that this is one of the best books I have read in a long time! It has everything you want from a time slip story and it was utterly, utterly brilliant!!! Nicola has managed to intertwine the story of Amy Robsart (wife of Robert Dudley in Tudor times) so cleverly with the characters in the present. Robert is part of Queen Elizabeth I’s court and Amy doesn’t seem to figure much in his plans. She needs a way out of their loveless marriage and thinks she’s hit on the perfect solution – but has she? The present day heroine Lizzie has her own problems to contend with and when her life begins to echo the happenings of the past, she has to uncover a centuries old secret in order to move forward. I couldn’t put this down and the characters will stay in my mind for a long time.

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