Despite my flying thoughts, I couldn’t help smiling as my fingers sealed a crumble of fresh cheese and sweet olive oil and Genovese onions into a pastry crust. The cramped little kitchens were humming like a beehive, the apprentices were working like hired mules, and I imagined I could hear the murmur of guests upstairs: the whisper of expensive silks, the peal of laughter from a happy bride. The clink of fine glasses, the crunch as salted nuts and honeyed dates and morsels of Ligurian cheese disappeared into the mouths of cardinals and wedding guests and bridegroom alike. The oohs and aahs that went up as the roast peacock, my roast peacock, came swaying in at last on the backs of two serving men, proud and feathered and sweet-cooked and not at all looking like it had been whipped together in a quarter of the time it needed (at least if you didn’t look too close).
Kate Quinn, The Serpent and the Pearl (Chapter One – Carmelina)
Hungry after reading that? Can I convince you to step away from your copy of Outlander, just for a few moments? I’ve got a different author, a giveaway, and, of course, more food. I promise it’s worth your while.
National bestselling author Kate Quinn contacted me a couple of months ago, in search of food bloggers who were interested in cooking up a dish or two from her newest novel, The Serpent and the Pearl. A sensual story full of history, food, love and laughter, I was drooling at the the smells and tastes coming from Carmelina’s kitchen, and shocked, (but smiling), at the love life of an amourous 15th Century Pope.
Kate’s books come well recommended by many, including our favourite author here in Outlander Kitchen. Here’s what Diana Gabaldon said about another of her books, The Mistress of Rome:
“What a great book!…one of the best things I’ve read in months and months . . . So gripping your hands are glued to the book, and so vivid it burns itself into your mind’s eye and stays with you long after you turn the final page.”
Find my recipe for this delicious, aromatic tart, as well as links to all of the other dishes in our Serpent & Pearl Virtual Potluck, featuring seven different bloggers, as well as the author herself, here: IslandVittles.com.
Oh, and I’m giving away a copy of The Serpent and the Pearl there too…don’t forget to enter!