Morning! Today I am excited to be sharing a guest post from Caroline Roberts on her inspiration for the third book in the Pudding Pantry series. I love this series and I will be sharing my review of this book later on today!
Thank you so much for having me here on your Star Crossed Reviews blog and for being a part of the ‘Summer at Rachel’s Pudding Pantry’ blog tour.
You were interested in finding out more about my writing inspirations and the setting of the books. I live in a small village in rural Northumberland, and the beautiful countryside and fields all around are inspiration for the farm setting of the Rachel’s Pudding Pantry series. Just a few miles away is the town of Wooler (Kirkton in the book is loosely modelled on this) – gateway to the foothills of the Cheviots, where I often walk my spaniel, Jarvis. Here, you can climb a hill and take a seat on a rock to gaze across moorland and farmland, watch the sheep and cattle grazing happily, and take in the far vista to the coast and North Sea. This is the setting where I felt Rachel would be most at home.
Life is traditional here in Northumberland, and there’s a strong sense of community, which I hope shines through in the books. Family and friendship are so important too, and in this rural setting I could easily picture the locations of Primrose Farm, Granny Ruth’s cottage and Eve’s little house.
It was important to get the details of farming life right, and I have some lovely farming friends locally who welcomed me at their farms, letting me meet some of the animals. I particularly enjoyed my visit at lambing time, which helped inform the first scenes of the first book in the series, and subsequently the mischievous character of Petie the pet lamb, who’s now grown awfully big by book three! Only last week, we had a curious lamb trot along our back-garden wall, who then leapt in to have a nibble on our grass! A Petie tactic for sure. That made me smile.
The Pudding Pantry idea grew from hearing of a local lady, Susan Green of The Proof of the Pudding, who had diversified, creating a successful pudding-making business from her farm. I interviewed her at her farmhouse and she was so generous with her time, showing me where and how everything was made, explaining some of the pitfalls as well as the joys of running your own catering business. The pudding samples she sent me home with were divine – the sticky toffee pudding being my favourite. (Research can be hard but someone’s gotta do it!)
I had also seen an article in a local magazine about a barn conversion and I could just picture this beautiful yet rather unloved old stone barn, just ready to spring back to life. There’s a place I visit for coffee and cake with my daughter called The Parlour at Blagdon. We discovered it after I’d started writing the series, and when I walked in there I thought, ‘Wow, I’ve found my Pudding Pantry’, with its lovely old stone walls and character. I think we all need somewhere to escape with a really good cup of tea/coffee and a scrumptious sweet treat, whether it’s a real tea room or a fictional one.
I do love my food, so my mind goes into orbit around the cakes, bakes and puddings for the Pudding Pantry books. I can visualise them all. I have to confess that I’m okay at baking but not the best, so I look out for recipes that are straightforward and look and taste great. So, you’ll find that the recipes that appear in my books are generally easy to make. If I can make them successfully, then so can you!
Here’s a recipe from Rachel’s Pudding Pantry. A lovely summery no-bake cheesecake. Ideal served with a cup of tea, and perhaps curled up with my new book ‘Summer at Rachel’s Pudding Pantry’. Enjoy!
Rachel’s White Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecake
2 x 150g bars white chocolate
2 x 300g tubs full-fat soft cheese
284ml of double cream
50g caster sugar
200g punnet raspberries (plus a few blueberries to top – optional)
5 tbsp raspberry jam
100g digestive biscuits
Break the chocolate into a glass bowl, put over a pan of simmering water to melt (be careful that the base of bowl doesn’t sit in the water).
Crush the digestives either in a freezer bag with a rolling pin or food processor. Melt the butter gently in a saucepan and stir the biscuits through it. Use a spoon to press into the base of a deep (ideally non-stick) 8in flan dish. Pop in fridge to chill.
Whisk the cheese, cream and sugar together (electric beaters are great for this), then stir in the almost cool melted white chocolate until fully combined.
Stir 50g raspberries with 2 tbsp jam. Spoon half of the cheese mixture over the biscuit base, then spoon the jammy raspberries over the centre. Top with the rest of the cheese mixture and chill again, for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Warm the remaining jam with the raspberries you have left, keeping aside about 12 raspberries (and 12 blueberries if using). Whizz with a hand blender or in a food processor, then rub through a sieve to remove any seeds, add a drop or two of water if it seems very thick.
To serve, top the cake with the raspberries and blueberries you have reserved and drizzle the sauce over.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.Summer at Rachel’s Pudding Pantry by Caroline Roberts
Also by this author: The Cosy Teashop in the Castle, The Cosy Christmas Teashop, The Cosy Christmas Chocolate Shop, Rachel’s Pudding Pantry
Series: Pudding Pantry #3
Also in this series: Rachel’s Pudding Pantry, Christmas at Rachel’s Pudding Pantry
Published by One More Chapter on 23rd July 2020
Genres: Chicklit, Contemporary, Humour, Love & Romance
The Pudding Pantry opens its doors for summer.
And there are wedding bells on the horizon . . .
Escape with the gorgeous new novel in the Pudding Pantry series, available to pre-order now!
The sun is shining as Rachel and her gorgeous beau, Tom, prepare to tie the knot at Primrose Farm.
It takes a village to pull off the perfect country wedding and Rachel couldn’t be more grateful for her friends and family as they roll out the haybales and string up the bunting – all she needs to do is focus on her Happy Ever After.
But no wedding is without drama. A face from the past is looking to stir up trouble in the village and there’s a secret following Rachel all the way up the aisle . . .
With old friends, new promises and a little borrowed time, will Rachel get the wedding of her dreams?