Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Now Bring Us Some Christmas Pudding Ice Cream - Courtesy of Author Maya Blake

Welcome, Maya! I'm so happy you're here to share a delicious Christmas Pudding Ice Cream...can't wait to try it!
Now, here's Maya:
The best part of Christmas for me (aside from the reading bit and the presents bit) has got to be the eating bit!!! At my house we tend to stick to a traditional Christmas dinner – turkey, roast parsnips, roast potatoes, sage and onion stuffing, cranberry sauce, sausage wrapped in bacon, Brussel sprouts – well, you get the idea.
But the inner kid in me always looks forward to the dessert. Nothing finishes off a great Christmas dinner than mulled wine, warm mince pies doused in cream or my family’s favourite – Christmas Pudding. Notice I said “my family’s favourite”. Because Christmas Pudding isn’t a favourite of mine – something to do with raisins and sultana mixed together. At least it wasn’t until I came across a recipe last year - Christmas Pudding Ice Cream.
I decided to try making it for New Year's and it was absolutely gorgeous! It's definitely making an appearance on Christmas Day this year.
Here’s the recipe –
For the boozy fruit bit
85grams raisins
85grams sultanas
85grams pack dried cherries
100grams fresh frozen cranberries
6 tablespoon brandy (oh yeah!)
2 tablespoon dark muscovado sugar
For the yummy ice cream bit
2 cinnamon sticks, snapped in half
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon caraway seeds
4 cloves
600ml pot double cream
1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped out
3 large egg yolks
100grams golden caster sugar
oil , for greasing the bowl
6 ginger nut biscuits, broken into chunks
zest ½ lemon and ½ an orange
For the cranberry syrup topping
85grams caster sugar
2 tablespoon brandy
100grams fresh or frozen cranberries
Step 1 - Mix all of the boozy fruit ingredients together in a bowl, then microwave on High for 3 mins. Stir, then leave to cool completely, ideally overnight.
Step 2 - For the ice cream, put the spices in a saucepan and gently heat for 3 mins or so, stirring once or twice, until fragrant. Tip in the cream and vanilla seeds, and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, whisk the yolks and sugar together. Whisk the hot cream into the egg mix, then tip the mix into a clean pan and gently heat for 5-10 mins until it coats the back of a wooden spoon. Pour everything into a bowl or plastic container and leave to cool completely. If possible, chill it overnight as this will infuse the ice cream with a stronger Christmassy spice flavour.
Step 3 - Pass the mix through a sieve into another container, then freeze for 5 hrs, stirring in the frozen edges with a fork every hour until you have a smooth, thick mix. Oil a 1.4 or 1.2-litre pudding basin and line with cling film.
Step 4 - Drain the boozy fruit in a sieve, mix the fruit with the ginger nuts and zests, then quickly stir into the ice cream. Tip into the basin, cover the surface with cling film, then freeze for at least 6 hrs.
Step 5 - For the topping, put everything into a small pan, gently heat until the sugar dissolves, then simmer for 2 mins. Cool completely. To turn the pudding out, let it sit at room temperature for about 15 mins, then turn onto a plate. Ease the cling film away. Spoon the cranberries and syrup over to serve.
Enjoy and have a happy and joyous Christmas!

Maya xx

Thanks, Maya...that sounds delicious! Now, here's a little about Maya and her debut romance with The Wild Rose Press, Hostage to Love:

Hi, I’m Maya Blake, I’m a thirty-something romance writer whose life-long dream of writing finally came to true last year when my debut novel was published by The Wild Rose Press. I’m the fourth of five siblings and I live in Kent, England with my husband and two (sometimes, lol) adorable kids.

And now, an exciting excerpt from Hostage to Love.

About the Book
Crushed by betrayal, Belle Winkworth-Jones flees the shambles of her short-lived marriage, only to be kidnapped by a vicious rebel soldier determined to keep her for himself. Nick Andreakos mounts a ruthless rescue to save the wife who walked away from him, even though he's resentful Belle could dismiss their marriage so easily.
On Althea, their private Greek island where Belle recuperates, passion ignites, taking hold with relentless force. But in the shadows, danger lurks. The rebel soldier is determined to recapture Belle.
Can Belle and Nick set aside their differences in time to fight this threat and save their love, or will it be too late…?

An Excerpt:
Belle jerked awake as a loud blast ripped through the cave, her eyes unprepared for the blinding, strobe flashes of light that lit up the dark cavern a second later. Squinting, she saw the flashes continue intermittently for several seconds, then stop. She lurched from her position propped up against the wall and wondered for a moment if she was still dreaming.
The screams from a few feet away told her she wasn’t.
She’d stayed awake long after the rebel leader retired behind his curtain, unable to sleep for fear he might vent his anger on Father Tom. 
She’d also contemplated what she would do after nature ran its course. She’d bought them three days, four at the most. What would happen after that? Could she willingly to let the loathsome man touch her for the sake of keeping one or all of them alive? And what guarantee did she have that he wouldn’t harm Father Tom?
The idea that perhaps they could overpower two of the soldiers, steal their weapons and make a run for it, she immediately discarded as foolish, and dangerous. She’d slumped, dejected, against the wall of the cave. That’s when she must’ve fallen asleep.
Dizzy and momentarily blinded by the flashes, she jumped as Edda screamed again. What was happening? Had the rebel leader decided they weren’t worth keeping and blasted the cave, burying them alive? Curiously though, the walls of the cave remained intact. She blinked a few times to dispel the blindness. Nothing happened.
A staccato burst of muffled gunfire sounded close by. But the gunfire was inside the cave, not outside. Which meant the rebels were still inside. Something brushed against her and she bit back a scream.
‘It’s all right lass, it’s me,’ Father Tom whispered close to her. ‘I told yer we’d be rescued today.’
Rescued! Why hadn’t she thought of that? Her spirits soared. Then plummeted.
Who would rescue them? Only Liz knew where she was, and she knew her friend wouldn’t give up her whereabouts lightly. Besides, she wasn’t due to make her weekly phone call to her best friend until Monday, so she wouldn’t guess Belle might be in trouble until after she failed to make the call. As for Father Tom, having lived and run the mission in Nawaka for the last seventeen years, he wouldn’t be missed back in his native Scotland. The same went for Edda and Hendrik, who’d been travelling around Africa for the past two years. As for the Nawakan government, it had enough on its plate with its fight to prevent the gold and diamond mines from being looted to mount rescue operations of kidnapped foreigners.
So rescue was not an option.
The only other conclusion she could reach was that another rebel faction had caught wind of Captain Mwana’s bounty and intended to claim them. It wasn’t unheard of for one rebel group to seize another’s hostages if they could profit from it. Sometimes rebels within the same group rose up against each other. Was that what was happening here? Had Mwana’s subordinates staged a coup against him?
If so, they had to take advantage of the gunfight.
‘Father, I don’t think we’re being rescued, but I still think we should make a run for it. This may be our only chance.’ God, she prayed she was right.
He gave a nervous chuckle. ‘I’m with you, lass, but unfortunately, these old eyes cannot see a thing at the moment. I think I’m blind.’
She stopped herself from telling him she suffered the same ailment, although she could just about make out shadowy images in her periphery. ‘It’s all right Father. Just hold onto my hand and I’ll guide you. Keep your head down. Hendrik, Edda, are you okay?’
‘Yes,’ Hendrik responded.
She took a deep breath and edged forward, her hand clamped around Father Tom’s. They’d travelled only a few feet when a bullet slapped the cave wall beside her. Small rocks struck her cheek and she cried out. Fear strangling her, she crouched down, eyes shut, beside Father Tom.
‘We have to keep moving,’ Hendrik urged from behind her.
She opened her eyes and thankfully, most of her vision had been restored. But what little she saw stilled her heart. Since whoever was attacking the rebels was doing so from outside the cave whilst the guerrillas defended themselves from inside, there’d be no way to escape without being caught in the crossfire.
Another bullet whizzed past her and struck a lantern on the far side of the cave, igniting it. A huge plume of acrid smoke bellowed up towards the craggy ceiling of the cave.
Their situation had just worsened a hundred-fold.
She knew they only had a matter of minutes to live. Because if the bullets didn’t get them, the smoke and fire would. There was enough bedding, ammunition and lamps to set the place ablaze in seconds.
Just then the gunfire ceased.
‘Come on,’ she whispered desperately to Father Tom. She grabbed his arm and pulled him towards the entrance of the cave, trying not to let the sight of the bloodied bodies disturb her. She focused on the discarded guns instead. If they could arm themselves, they’d increase their chances considerably.
But as she reached for the nearest rifle, she heard the crunch of feet approaching.
Another burst of gunfire. Then silence.
Through the smoky light she saw a figure, tall and male, enter the cave, followed by two more. In silence, the men advanced towards them. Belle’s throat closed up, fear completely seizing her. She turned to Father Tom. Her hand gripped his and she tried to shield him with her body.
Someone crouched behind her. She squeezed her eyes shut.
This is it. This is it.
‘Hello, Tinkerbelle,’ a deep voice purred in her ear. 

To Learn More or Buy Hostage to Love, check out:

Thanks, Maya. That sounds like an exciting read...definitely another for my TBR list. I'm over at Rae Summers' blog discussing my favorite Christmas food...I'll give you a hint - Santa and I have a lot in common when it comes to food! Rae's blog is at http://raesummers.wordpress.com. Hope you'll stop by and leave a comment to enter the "End of Tour" blog contest...I'll be giving away a pdf of my new release, Angel in My Arms, at the conclusion of the tour.


  1. Hi Victoria, I'm very pleased to be here today! While I'll wait for everyone to turn up, I'll go and have a little wander through your lovely blog site :)

  2. Like you, Maya, I'm not a big fan of Christmas pudding. But yours I'll do! Especially as I'm in the southern hemisphere so ice cream goes down very well on a hot and summery Christmas day. (Jealous yet?). You get to sit and watch the Queen's speech on TV and I get to sit by the pool with a good book!

  3. Oooh, you're making me green with jealousy, Romy!!! BUT on the up side, I did get a day off work today due to too much snow and got to build a big, fat snow man with the kids which was tons of fun :)

  4. I wish I'd had the day off today...no snow here...lots of rain, though :(

  5. Maya, after reading the excerpt, HOSTAGE TO LOVE sounds like a great read and I am putting this book on my TBR list. I love the Christmas season and looking forward to all the parties and fellowship.

  6. Another snow day today, Victoria, so having another day of fun with kids. Hope the rain stops for you soon :)

  7. Thanks so much, Rebecca and I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpt :)