Kill the lights!!

I’ve only set one of my novels in a real not imagined place; the novel is Flipside and it’s the story of a man’s struggle with PTSD as he begins a new relationship; the story is told by the new woman in his life, Jaz, the sister of his friend and business partner. They’ve known of each other for years, but it was love at first sight when they met properly – she had moved to Oldham to start a new teaching job, he was working with her brother in a garage they own. They actually know nothing about each other… until their first night together –

“Kill the lights! Kill the lights!” he hissed and jumped across me and grabbing the neck of the lamp, yanked it from its socket and hurled it across the room so it smashed against the far wall.

He bounded from the bed and went to the window and, standing back against the wall, peeped out and I was afraid that he might break the glass to fire from it.

By the light from the street lamp I could see he was terrified; he was saying something, the words stuttering out.

I leapt out of bed and tried to embrace him but his body was rigid, his skin icy and yet he was pouring with sweat.

“David! Wake up! It’s a dream, darling, you’re dreaming!”

He looked down at me, but it wasn’t me he was seeing. He jumped, as if at a tremendous noise, and crouched down, his arms wrapped protectively over his head.

“Down! Down! Get down!” and his body shook with imagined blasts or explosions.

It was like watching a movie without sound and it was utterly terrifying.

Slowly he stood, staring through me at something on the floor behind me. There was a look of such horror on his face and he was gulping and swallowing as if about to be sick. My heart was racing and beating wildly and I didn’t know how to help him.

His gaze moved and he focused on me, although it wasn’t me he was seeing. His lips moved silently and he looked into my face, into someone’s face, and then he said my name.

He stood back against the wall, arms spread, yelling now, forcing the words out but making no sense, a jumble of names and muddled denials.

“No! Don’t take her! Don’t hurt her! No! No!” almost screaming, yelling my name.

“Wake up, David, wake up! It’s a dream, wake up!”

He groaned in agony, his teeth chattering, sweat and tears sheeting his face, panting and gasping for air. I didn’t know what to do, it was so frightening.

His arms came down and his head bowed and I was able to hug him to my warm body. He was sobbing, stumbling over words so what he said was meaningless. He held me so tightly I could hardly breathe.

“They’ve got her, they’ve got Jaz!” and then his speech degenerated into incomprehensibility.

“I’m here, it’s me, Jaz, I’m here,” I spoke calmly as I would to a distressed child but he didn’t understand, just wept.

I took his hand and led him back to bed; it was the most scary thing I’d ever experienced.

This is the first page… if you want to find out what happens next, here is a link to ‘Flipside’

http://amzn.eu/474fmS7

Going to the bank…

Here is an excerpt from my novel ‘The Double Act’ – its subtitle is ‘Don’t think ‘The Double Act’ is a romance, this may be a love story… but the other side of love is dark love.’ In this episode, Genet who owns a hotel with her husband Lance has gone to the bank – she needs cash for a family party Lance has organised. She’s not particularly looking forward to it – it will cost them a lot of money they can’t afford, and also she doesn’t get on very well with Lance’s family… and to cap it all, he has invited their tenants from a house they own, a very strange couple, Dr and Mrs Herrick…

Genet checked the balance at the ATM outside the main branch of the Strand Penny Bank in the new piazza. They couldn’t afford it but she had to have money to buy what she couldn’t get at the cash and carry. Lance had told her his brother and sisters would share the cost; Genet said nothing, oh yes, that will be the day. And who will compensate us for closing the hotel?

 The guest list had started at sixty including children, but at the rate Gawain and Lance kept extending the invitation it was likely to be nearer a hundred.

The screen changed and Genet looked in disbelief at the green numbers on the display. They should have more money than that! She had mentally put their balance about five hundred pounds more than what was displayed. Whatever the balance, she needed cash so she keyed in another transaction.

She glanced round at the sound of someone’s step. A gangly youth with a hat pulled down his forehead and his track suit zipped to his nose stood behind her. She smiled and he wiggled his pierced eyebrows. She turned back to the dispenser and took her cash and card then stumbled as she was shoved roughly. She fell against another boy, shorter, slighter, stinking of weed and tobacco. He grabbed her bank card and pushed her violently to the ground and then someone was kneeling on her, forcing her down, and her hand still clutching the money was grabbed and her arm twisted back.

Her cries and screams were muffled by the smelly boy crushing her against the pavement, yelling abuse as he tried to open her hand… And then relief as her arm was released, but an excruciating pain shot up her wrist as one of them stamped on her clenched fist.

As suddenly as it had arrived, the weight on her head and shoulders disappeared and she rolled over, clutching her hand in agony.

Herrick was wrestling with one of her attackers while the other was pounding him with his fists. Several people stood watching, open-mouthed, but no-one interfered.

“Get the police!” Genet screamed, staggering to her feet. “Call the police!” she yelled again, staggering towards the melee. She snatched up an umbrella rolling across the pavement, and swung it down on the boy’s head. He reeled away as the man’s fist connected, his mouth spouting blood.

Herrick stood panting and swaying, his face marked from the tussle as the two attackers tumbled over each other.

A policeman was running up, talking animatedly into his radio and pulling his stick from his belt, flicked it open. People in the crowd found the courage to surge forward and surround the participants and Genet sank to the ground, trembling, and in agony.

There was the blessed sound of siren and moments later a policeman was crouching beside her.

“You OK, Gen?” It was Heath, a friend from her schooldays; he’d had long hair then, now it was short and spiky. He asked about her rescuer, a neighbour she said through quivering lips.

There was a blur of events, voices, radios cackling, sirens… then she was sitting in an ambulance.

“You’re being very brave!” The paramedic was an older woman, stout in her green uniform, but kind and reassuring. “I don’t think anything’s broken except some little bones might be fractured. Nothing serious!”

Nothing serious? She only had a hotel to run and a party to organise for goodness knows how many people! She was shivering with shock, despite the blanket wrapped round her. Herrick sat opposite, flexing his hands and touching a tooth as if it might be loose.

Genet subsided into a dreamlike state as the ambulance raced through the streets, siren blaring. She was unloaded from the vehicle like a sack of potatoes onto a trolley, and wheeled into the hospital and into a cubicle with cheerful sunflowers on the curtain.  A triage nurse appeared and began to take her details. Time passed strangely and she was suddenly on the move again for an x-ray and then to have her hand bandaged, strapped and pinned into a sling.

It was bruised and sprained, she’d dislocated her wrist and there were fractures in several tiny bones. She was returned to the reception area and to her surprise, Herrick was waiting.

One of his hands was bandaged and his face was red and puffy; he looked severe and disapproving but he was merely anxious.

“I’ve tried to ring Lance; he’s not at the hotel and no-one knows where he is,” he said. “I’ll drive you home, my car’s outside.”

If you want to find out more about Genet and Dr Herrick, and what happened at the party, then here is a link to my book:

http://amzn.eu/gKmNEro

She had to run, had to get away…

Here is an extract from my novel ‘Loving Judah’; Aislin has been kidnapped but manages to escape – she is high up on a moor, in the dark, in a storm, and Pal, the man who kidnapped her is in pursuit:

He groaned and she punched viciously at his face, and felt his moustache and teeth against her knuckles. She threw her fleece over him and tumbled him into the boot and slammed the lid down. It caught him across the ankle and he screamed and when she slammed it down again  trapping him inside as she had been.

Oh jesus jesus jesus

She was shaking violently with cold and shock.

She ran round to the driver’s side and thank  God he had left the keys in the ignition. She couldn’t start it, The engine kept dying, And all the while Pal shouted and kicked in the boot. The car choked into life and as she put it into gear, her wet foot slipped on the clutch and they stalled. She started again, the engine roaring as she revved it too hard then they jerked forward and as she set off she tried to find the headlights, found the wipers first and then the lights came up, full beam. She crashed into second, accelerating up the bumpy road. She had to turn round but couldn’t try the manoeuvre when she didn’t know where they were. There was a crash behind her and she could hear Pal’s voice cursing her clearly now, he had kicked his way through into the back from the boot.

Aislin stepped on the brake and tried to find the handle to get out. An arm snaked round her throat and she was throttled against the head rest. She thrashed her arm around trying to hit him but he grasped her wrist. She slammed her foot down and they shot forward into the darkness.. Pal was screaming at her to stop, she could say nothing because she was almost passing out, strangled by his forearm.

They glanced off a wall  and then were bouncing madly downhill as they left the road. She was nearly unconscious, stars flashing before her eyes as she struggled to escape Pal.

There was a huge crash as they hit something big and hard and Pal rose up behind her with the force of the impact and the windscreen shattered in front of her.

The car had stalled and she found the door  release and tumbled out.

She fell face first into heather and the smell of peat was clean and good. She scrambled to her knees and then the stink of petrol hit her. She had to run, had to get away, the car was going to catch on fire. It was raining in sheets but that wouldn’t stop the car blowing up, she had seen it in a dozen films.

Pal was still inside.

She called his name but there was no reply. Was he dead, smashed through the windscreen?

He was lying across the front seats, the windscreen was shattered but intact. Aislin called his name but there was no response. His legs were across the driver’s seat, his head in the passenger’s footwell. Not another dead boy, not another dead boy.

She stumbled round to the other side of the car and wrenched the door open. She grasped Pal under the arms, he was lying face down and she had to try to lift him as she pulled and tugged his inert body. He wasn’t tall but he was very heavy. There was a crackle and a huge flash and the sky lit up.

Oh god the car was on fire.

But it was lightning.

She heaved him again and he slid from the car and she had a strange image of something giving birth and the new-born slithering into the world.

She began to drag him across the heather, falling every second step as she tripped.

Then suddenly there was nothing beneath her feet and she was tumbling, rolling with Pal across her. They landed on stone and he groaned as he landed heavily.

“Are you alright?” she cried stupidly. “Pal, are you alright?”

“You bitch!” and he lunged up at her.

If you want to find out if Aislin escapes this predicament, or how she got into it, here is a link to my book:

http://amzn.eu/8qWi1rX

Birthdays

Because my birthday is so near the beginning of the year, somehow it seems like the actual beginning of the year! I reflect on the past year since my last lot of candles on the cake, and look forwards to the year ahead. I guess being January – named for Janus the god of gates and doorways, the two-faced god looking forwards and backwards, inwards and outwards, it is a time for doing that. It comes not that long after the solstice so already the earth is turning from winter towards summer.

Here’s something I wrote a couple of years ago about January:

The name of the first month of the year comes from the Roman god of doorways, Janus, who is traditionally depicted with two faces, looking back and looking forward. It maybe a cliché but the phrase, ‘when one door shuts another opens’, is so true, especially if we wait patiently for that door to spring wide and then step resolutely through! It is more than finding the silver lining inside the gloomy cloud, it is more active than that; firmly shut the door on what has happened (even if it seems as if the door slammed of its own accord) and then look in unexpected places for the next door to dance through. The Saxon name for January is Wulf-monath, wolf month… and doesn’t the name just conjure those long, grim wild creatures sloping off through the snowy forests in search of prey. It may be a lean time, but wolves are bright-eyed and strong, and fearless.

My daughter asked me what I wanted to achieve this year… Gosh! What a question… first answer, to finish my next Radwinter book, Saltpans, and then I have other writing projects to tackle, which I listed the other day, but here is a brief selection –

  • my character Gus has been wandering the water-meadows near his seaside home, and visiting the pub and attending quiz night with various people – it really is about time his story was finished
  • another of my characters, Theo, the half-Danish half-Swedish musician has also had more than enough of wandering around from job to job and crappy room to crappy room – and he has met a lady who is gradually falling in love with him! Their situation needs to be resolved!
  • I may not finish my autobiographical writing, but I need to get to grips with it – I have a title ‘And the River’ – maybe it will be finished in 2019!
  • I have another blog with two friends, The Moving Dragon Writes; we have published one anthology and hope to publish another this year. One of my fellow Dragons and I have also set ourselves the challenge of writing 73 blogs from a list we came across – we are about a quarter of the way through and very pleased(I hope not in a big-headed way) at what we have achieved. We hope that we will bring these seventy-three different blogs together and publish in three volumes… or maybe four, it depends how long the different ‘chapters’ are!
  • come November and it will be the National Novel Writing Month challenge which maybe I will undertake, for the sixth time. (I am going to leave 2017’s effort about a mysterious woman called Milla; I’ll come back to it when I’ve got my other unfinished stories complete!) For NaNoWriMo 2018 I may start the next Radwinter story, ‘Alone’.

So what else do I hope to achieve this year… travel, definitely! We don’t know Dorset very well, so maybe explore that lovely county, a return to the Tenby area where my family had a couple of very happy holidays, maybe visit Turkey – yes, I would love to go there! … and of course, a dream would be to return to Tasmania!

… and on a very mundane level… try and tidy the house and garden!!

Here are some links:

https://somersetwriters.wordpress.com

http://amzn.eu/9xZe2RA

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois+elsden

… oh and also get fitter and lose weight!!

The Mill

Here is something I wrote for my writing group… I have a feeling it’s going to develop into something longer!

The Mill

It was ridiculous to be lost… she knew how it had happened, the last footpath arrow was pointing down a strangely overgrown track – no doubt some hilarious prankster thought it would be funny to send strangers off into the wilderness… It wasn’t exactly wilderness, it was the outer reaches of the Wolfston Estate; Clare had been to the inaugural exhibition in the new little gallery at Wolfston Hall, and since it was such a pleasant autumn day she had decided to go for a walk, and had chosen the yellow three mile route, well-sign posted.

But now she was following what was little more than a track through the woods. In actual fact she wasn’t really lost, she didn’t know exactly where she was but sooner or later she would come to a road and be able to make her way back… a bit more than three miles… She came to a fence, climbed over, and she was on a path, quite muddy but definitely a path and in fact what might have been an unpaved road. She sensed she should turn left and head back uphill but when she looked to the right she saw, almost hidden by mature trees, a red brick building. It had a low roof and was old, possibly very old.

How intriguing! An old farm maybe? Clare wandered down and followed a side path which took her nearer. It was ancient, she was right, the red brick had a soft bloom, and the roof sat low like a comfortable old hat worn at a slouch.

“Hello there!”

She nearly jumped out of her skin. A man was standing between two trees and she had been so focussed on the old building she hadn’t even noticed him. He looked like a woodlander, khaki cargo pants and a brown woollen jumper, brown hair and a tanned face.

She gave a guilty laugh. “I hope I’m not trespassing, I just saw this old place and it looks so lovely I had to have a closer look.”

“Not trespassing at all… it’s a watermill…” he said and then seeing her brightening look asked if she would like to look round. Yes please she certainly would! There was something intriguing about mills… especially watermills. “My wife and I are restoring it… or at least that was the plan… but…”

He called out and a woman emerged from behind a huge hydrangea.

“A visitor, Jenny!” he said enthusiastically, which did seem slightly strange… perhaps they were hoping to open it to the public, perhaps they wanted people to know about it. The woman greeted Clare in a pleasant enough way.

“I’, don’t feel obliged to be interested just because Darius is so keen…” she said which again was slightly strange.

Clare responded that she was fascinated by watermills but she’d only stay a moment… and followed them inside through a wide doorway with a circular window above it. She would have stopped to look properly but now the couple had invited her in when no doubt they were busy with their restoration…

They’d come into a big open room, with an old work bench in the middle; perhaps walls had been taken down, perhaps  it had always been like this… seventeenth century, corn mill changed to a timber mill,  the man Darius was saying as his wife Jenny talked over him about what a big job it was, more than she had expected, she was concentrating on their living quarters upstairs,  maybe AirBnB, maybe selling up – it all came out in a rush and Darius wandered away, as if used to being talked over.

“I’m sorry,” Jenny stopped abruptly. “We’re under a lot of pressure…”

“No I’m sorry, sorry to have intruded, thank you – ” and Clare turned to go even though now she was inside she was eager to see this old place. She could hear echoey drips of water and there were strange lights playing on the ceiling from water which must be on the other side of a balustrade.

“We are hoping to have it as an AirBnB,” Jenny repeated, followed her out of the wide door.  “Can I give you my card, for when we’re up and running… we’ve got a website but it’s not functioning yet…”

Clare took the card, a photo of the old place, dappled with sunshine, its warm bricks glowing beneath the lichen-gilded roof. She turned it over, Darius and Jenny-Lee Mapp, Wolfston Mill, Easthope.

“I was at school with a girl called Jenny-Lee,” Clare remarked. “In Castair… donkeys years ago…”

“I was there too!” Jenny-Lee exclaimed “I was Jenny-Lee Harper! What did you say your name was?”

Should she lie, pretend to be someone else…

 “Clare! Oh my gosh, Clare! I wouldn’t have recognised you but now I can see it’s you! Oh my gosh!”

And Jenny-Lee flung her arms round Clare and hugged her… which in all her bitter and angry memories, which Clare, never in a million of them, would have expected. Jenny-Lee grabbed her arm and pulled her back into the old mill calling out to her husband.

“Darling, the most marvellous thing, this is my chum Clare from school – we were spotty school girls way back in Victorian times – or so it seems!”

Darius smiled but there now seemed little warmth in his brown face.

“Come and have a cup of tea and we can catch up! Clare Cherry! Who would have thought Clare Cherry would come sauntering back into my life!”

Clare was so startled she somehow lurched into a work bench sending some sort of iron tool clatter in to the floor… As she picked it up her head was spinning – how can she think I’m Clare Cherry? Clare Cherry was Jenny’s best friend – how can she not see that I’m not that Clare?!

Darius took the tool, maybe some sort of plane maybe…

“So you’re Clare Cherry, are you?” he said in a strange, almost menacing way but before either of them could say more, Jenny-Lee was back.

“I’ve found a picture of us, look!”

And there they were in their school uniform – they were sitting on the grass under the apple trees, so they must have been in the fifth year as only the upper school were allowed to sit there.

“Look Clare – there you are, and me, and there’s Angela, and Sandra, there’s Joan and Pauline and Heather – and look there’s the Button!” and Jenny-Lee burst out laughing and Clare felt her heart clench and she wanted to snatch the plane from the man’s hand and smash it into her face…

“The Button?” he asked, but he was looking at Clare.

“Oh forget her! Tea! And cake! And maybe a glass of something! Oh Clare, I’m so pleased to see you!!”

© Lois Elsden 2018

If you want to read my other stories, here is a link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_3_6?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois+elsden&sprefix=lois+e%2Caps%2C143&crid=2LNC50CHUUHOY

Who the hell are you?!

I was really thrilled the other day when a friend told me how much she had enjoyed my novel, ‘Farholm’; it was the first one I published as an e-book on Amazon, six years in 2012. It was a story I’d written quite a few years before, which shows now when you read it because of the lack of technology!

Here is an excerpt from the first chapter. The main character s going to Farholm Island for two weeks – not a holiday but a mission, a mission which is revealed as the story progresses. She has recently broken her ankle so is hobbling along from the ferry to her accommodation, a holiday cottage, with two island lads carrying her bags.

They were near the castle when they stopped at a pink cottage. One of the boys knocked on the door, the other sat on a post supporting a low chain link fence. The door opened, a hand came out giving the boy the key; Vicky, the pirate’s sister no doubt. Deke had no chance to rest because the boys set off, following a narrow recently tarmacked road between a hedge and the old stone walls of the castle.

And then the boys were waiting for her, watching her as she laboriously limped towards them.

“Open the door for me,” she commanded.

They trooped in without a word and deposited her bags in the middle of the large living room. Exhausted now, Deke followed but before she could find a couple of quid they had gone, the door shutting quietly behind them.

She hobbled to the nearest chair and collapsed into it, shutting her eyes and drifting, letting her heart rate return to normal. There was a hissing sound; perhaps Vicky had put the immersion heater on. The good sized room was sparely but sufficiently furnished with a settee and a couple of cottage chairs and above the fireplace a picture of Venice. Behind the settee by the window on the other side of the room, was a table and chairs and an open door opposite led into the kitchen. It sounded as if the shower was running now as the immersion hissed and hummed; she’d shower later but too weary to investigate now Deke hooked her backpack over. With trembling hands she opened it and pulled out the bottle of scotch.

She sat for a while staring at it. The hissing sound stopped, as the thermostat switched itself off, at least there would be plenty of hot water.

Deke unscrewed the whisky and took a good pull straight from the bottle. Cheers to anaesthesia, and she raised the bottle again.

One of the doors opened and a naked man stepped into the room. Whisky flooded down Deke’s chin. It was only the look of utter astonishment on his face that stopped her hurling the bottle at him and tried to escape.

“Who the hell are you?” he exclaimed angrily making no attempt to cover himself.

“Who the hell are you and what the hell are you doing here?” Deke was outraged.

“What am I doing here? What are you doing here, cheeky – ?”

“How dare you!” Deke interrupted him, struggling to her feet, with a single crutch. “Go and get dressed and get out!”

The man seemed only then aware of his natural state but was still unconcerned.

“Right I’ll get dressed and when I get back I want you gone!”

He marched across the room and into one of the other rooms, slamming the door behind him. It was only his swift angry stride which identified him, he was the guy on the boat, the one who had stripped off his vomit soaked jeans. What an exhibitionist! He had obviously been in the shower, that must have been the running water she’d heard.

She slumped back into the chair and took another gulp of whisky.

The man reappeared, in combat trousers and a black t-shirt. She was beginning to realise what had happened, beginning to see the funny side though she doubted he would. He was staying on the island too, and somehow had got the address of his accommodation wrong.

“Look, you’ve made a mistake,” Deke was so tired now, she didn’t need this. “I’ve rented this cottage for two weeks.”

I’ve made a mistake? Your mistake – I’ve rented this place.”

“No mistake, I assure you. Wellihole Cottage, six hundred quid, my accommodation.”

“You’ve got the dates wrong then – I’m here until October 13th.”

“I assure you -”

“Just quit assuring me of anything. There’s been a cock up, you’ve made it,” he was quite threatening now.

Deke took another swig of scotch, then held the bottle out.

“Want one, John? Have a drink and then you can get lost. I’m here and I’m not shifting,” she was damned if she was going to be intimidated. “No? Well piss off then.”

He went back into the bedroom and returned with boots, socks and a jacket. He stared at her stone-faced as he pulled them on and tied the laces.

“Right, come on,” he said forcefully but less aggressively. “We’ll go down to the pub and get this sorted.”

“No thanks, I’ve got this,” and she held up the whisky.

“I’m not asking you to go for a bloody drink!” his anger fired again “The landlord holds the key – that’s where I got it – he’ll tell you you’ve made a mistake – with any luck he’ll have a room for you.”

He stood and picked up her bag.

“I’m not shifting, and you can put that bloody bag down!” Deke wanted to cry. Bugger, bugger, bugger. Why did her grief have to ambush her like this? Any tears and this guy would think he’d won. “Look put the bag down. I got the key from the woman in a cottage down the lane, Vicky, she cleans here – she’ll tell you.”

The man stared at her and then with a tightening of his mouth he dropped the bag.

http://amzn.eu/eGTewbO

Cheese shortbread – sort of

In the very first Radwinter novel, entitled… Radwinter, Thomas, the main character is chatting with his brother’s fiancée, Ruthie about the range of shortbread she has produced –

I asked her about the millionaire’s strawberry shortbread, she’d tried it again with cherries and some almonds in the biscuit and flaked almonds on top… the olives and wine arrived, Ruthie tasted it and said it was lovely, and so it was…

I have such a sweet tooth I told her I’d liked the strawberry shortbread.

“Perhaps you could do a range, the strawberry one, and the cherry, and then… well the caramel made me think of banoffee… so could you do a banana one?” then I felt stupid because she went glazed.

She pulled out a note-book and began to scribble furiously. “Don’t mind me, I just have to write it down while it’s in my head! Brilliant idea, Thomas, any other thoughts?”

“Well not everyone’s got a sweet tooth… how about a cheese one?” the thought just leapt into my head and out of my mouth and I blushed at how stupid it sounded.

She stared at me as if I was mad. She grabbed her wine and took a swig then went back to her notebook.

“Genius, you are a taste genius,” she said scribbling madly.

Later Thomas writes to her:

I asked about the shortbread and suddenly I found I’d written a whole paragraph about it. I’d become a bit fixated on the idea of a savoury millionaire’s shortbread; the shortbread part was ok, cheese, nuts, mustard, seeds, that was fine… but what about the caramel?

You couldn’t have a savoury caramel, unless you put peanut butter in it which is popular… I’d had some really nice peanut butter ice-cream at a food fair Rebecca and I went to. But supposing you just took the idea of having a sweet layer… maybe quince jelly, maybe a sort of syrupy chutney? Maybe a pomegranate sort of jelly stuff? But then what could you do with the top… it has to be chocolate… but chocolate and cheese? Chocolate and peanut butter and cheese? It doesn’t sound right even if you use chilli chocolate… so I was stumped on the chocolate, but I’d give it some more thought.

I’ve never taken up on Thomas’s idea of either savoury shortbread, or a savoury millionaire’s shortbread… but I did come across this recipe:

Cheese shortbread – sort of

 

  • 8 oz strong cheddar.
  • 4 oz cold butter,  cubed
  • 7 oz plain flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp paprika or cayenne
  1. rub the dry ingredients together and then add the egg and pull together very lightly into a soft dough OR/
  2. put everything into a food processor and blend in bursts until it’s like breadcrumbs – don’t over work – then pull together into a soft dough
  3. roll into small balls – you should get about 30-40; flatten them slightly as you put them onto a lined baking tray
  4. bake for 10 minutes, at 400˚F, 220˚C, gas mark 8, until golden brown – they will puff up a little
  5. cool thoroughly on a wire rack.

This doesn’t sound like the shortbread Thomas had in mind, but they do sound tasty!

Here is a link to Radwinter in paperback or for Kindle, and you can find out what other ideas Thomas has:

http://amzn.eu/0R6bnUv