Hello Jenny – lovely to have a fellow foodie on the blog! Food features heavily in my own writing – cupcakes In Mistletoe Mansion, my summer novel Game of Scones speaks for itself and in the latter’s standalone sequel, My Big Fat Christmas Wedding, Pippa specializes in baking scones and pasties… yum! Clearly you love writing about food as well, going by the titles of some of your books, like the Cherry Pie Island series, The Little Christmas Kitchen and The Parisian Christmas Bake off… Do you bake much in real life? I see from your website that you come from a family of “star bakers”!
Hey Sam, thanks for having me! I was excited to see your cover reveal for My Big Fat Christmas Wedding – it looks amazing!
Thanks so much! As a fellow Carina author, I’m sure you’ll agree their covers are fab-u-lous! So… back to food – how important is it in your personal and writing life?
I do love writing about food and I have an incredibly sweet tooth so can never resist a stop for a cup of tea and a cake. When I have the time I bake at home, and I’m looking forward to baking more with my son when he gets a bit older – I have really fond memories of standing on a stool by the kitchen counter when my mum was baking and being able to lick the spoon. My favourite recipes are a very easy all-in-one chocolate cake from a tatty old cookbook that everyone in the family has photocopies of because it’s such a winner, and my grandmother’s lemon cake which is insanely good and a close guarded secret recipe.
I really enjoy describing the texture and appearance of sweet foods and I think this comes from being brought up by a mother who was an ace baker – suet puddings, pies, cakes, all gooey and melt-in-the-mouth and… I could go on!
I can relate to that! My mum was a midday supervisor at a primary school, when I was younger, and used to bring home the recipes to bake. I can remember frequently tucking into seconds of carrot cake, suet puddings, rice puddings… Mmmm! I believe your mum is Russian and has inspired your interest in all things culinary, so would you say your palate is very cosmopolitan or are you a bigger fan of the British staples?
Ooh I like everything! Probably more than the cultural influence was the insistence that we should at least try what was on the plate in front of us, even if we didn’t finish it, and I think that lead to a pretty rounded palate. The Russian heritage has had most influence on seasonal celebrations – Easter especially – and instead of a wedding cake we had Malakoff Torte, made by my mum, which is probably one of my most favourite foods in the world!
What is your signature dish, if you’re throwing a dinner party?
In the winter I tend to make Coq au Vin or some other kind of hearty stew! In summer it’s lots of salads, tabbouleh and an amazing moroccan chicken dish of Nigel Slater’s which is v easy and unbelievably tasty.
I know cherries are your favourite fruit… which is your favourite:
Vegetable – probably carrots or broccoli, but I’m more of a salad person – I have it with everything – and I love avocado.
Sandwich filling – this is very tricky. I like a lot of different sandwiches. But I’m going to go with cheese and pickle. Simple but very effective.
Dessert – if it’s a restaurant then always the chocolate option. If not then Malakoff Torte (as above) or my mum’s meringues.
Writing snack – plain chocolate digestives.
Can we expect any more foodie books from you in the future?
My latest book, Four Weddings and a White Christmas, has just come out and food plays a really important part in the story. Harry, the hero, is a chef and pours all his passion and energy into his restaurant and his food, leaving very little left for anyone else… Enter Hannah to change all that!
Sounds like a wonderful read, Jenny!
Thanks so much for joining me and now I must head straight for the kitchen – all this food-talk has made me decidedly peckish!
You can find out more about Jenny here