The Orchard Girls written by Nikola Scott, publisher Review, is available NOW in ebook and audiobook format. The paperback is due out in the autumn.
London, 2004. Frankie didn’t always have it easy. Growing up motherless, she was raised by her grandmother, who loved her – and betrayed her. For years, the rift between them seemed irreparable. But when their paths suddenly cross again, Frankie is shocked to realise that her grandmother is slowly losing control of her memory. There is a darkness in her past that won’t stay buried – secrets going back to wartime that may have a devastating effect on Frankie’s own life.
Somerset, 1940. When seventeen-year-old Violet’s life is ripped apart by the London Blitz, she runs away to join the Women’s Land Army, wanting nothing more than to leave her grief behind. But as well as the terror of enemy air raids, the land girls at Winterbourne Orchards face a powerful enemy closer to home. One terrible night, their courage will be put to the test – and the truth of what happened must be kept hidden, forever . . .
Purchase Link – https://bit.ly/OrchardGirls
I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Nikola Scott’s latest historical novel: The Orchard Girls. Firstly, I’d like to apologise to the author, publisher and blogtour organiser for publishing my post a day late, life just simply happened. I have the pleasure of posting a guest post from the author, Nikola Scott, which includes a delicious sounding Apple Cake, a perfect recipe for the land girls and their harvest of apples. Definitely one I will try.
Land Girls, apple orchards, and a delicious ‘drunken’ apple cake
My mum recently cleaned out her attic. She’s always attacking various areas of her house (she’s lived there for almost fifty years!) and I love being there when she does, because she inevitably unearths some kind of ‘rubbish’ which turns out to be a priceless gem. A clutch of old letters in a hatbox; doubles of my grandmother’s old photographs (she was a professional photographer and sold all sorts of beautiful black-and-white shots to newspapers and magazines); an old bag with a tarnished mirror still lodged in an inside pocket. The kind of thing, in other words, that might well look like rubbish, but is pretty thrilling to a historical fiction writer.
Recently, I was asking her about a cake we used to make all the time. My new novel, The Orchard Girls, is set among a group of Land Girls working on an apple orchard in 1940 Somerset, and I wanted to share one of our favourite apple cake recipes in honour of its publication.
With many family recipes you’re usually handed a butter-spotted piece of paper stuck on the kitchen noticeboard, containing a heavily annotated list of ingredients with rather cryptic measurements. But wouldn’t you know it, my mother disappeared for a bit and came back with a whole stack of old notebooks and cookbooks, including – wait for it – an ancient collection of recipes, hand-written by my great-grandmother in 1901! It made my day.
So here it is for you, our Drunken Apple Cake, a deceptively simple and unashamedly delicious afternoon tea cake. There is nothing boozy about it, by the way. The original recipe was in German, where ‘drunken’ and ‘drowned’ are close linguistic cousins. In this case it simply means that the apple pieces are submerged – ‘drowned’ – in the dough.
Drunken Apple Cake
160 g butter
135 g sugar
¼ ts salt
335 g flour
1 tbs baking powder
80 ml milk
1 ts vanilla essence
5 apples (more, if you’d like it heavy on the apple front)
Extra butter for dotting
Extra sugar for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees and butter & flour a 23 cm springform.
Peel, core and cut the apples into eighths.
Cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs one by one, mixing well after each addition. Sieve flour and baking powder together, mix milk and vanilla essence. Alternate adding the flour mix and the milk mix, beginning and ending with flour, until you have a wet, sticky dough that drops off the spoon with a little reluctance.
Smooth the dough into the springform and arrange the apple slices in a circle on top, prodding them a little to make them ‘sink’ with the tops still sticking out. Dot small bits of butter liberally across the tops and sprinkle with sugar. This last bit is technically optional but in my book absolutely essential because it gives a lovely crunch and goes really well with the apples. You could go crazy and add a little cinnamon here if you like.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, testing the cake parts with a cake tester towards the end and covering with a loose piece of foil if the surface gets too brown before the time is up.
Author Bio –
Nikola Scott started out in book publishing and worked as a crime fiction editor in America and England for many years. Turning her back on blood-spattered paperback covers and dead bodies found in woods, she sat down at her kitchen table one day to start her first novel — and hasn’t stopped writing since. Obsessed with history and family stories (‘How exactly did you feel when your parents gave the house to your brother?’) she is well-known – and feared – for digging up dark secrets at dinner parties and turning them into novels.
Her first two books, My Mother’s Shadow and Summer of Secrets, have both been international bestsellers and were translated widely around the world. Nikola lives in Frankfurt with her husband and two boys (and a kitchen table).
Once a month, Nikola sends out a popular newsletter about writing, reading, book news, freebies and loads of therapeutic baking. Join in here if you’d love to be a part of it all: bit.ly/NikolaScottNews
For more info on Nikola, visit her website at www.nikolascott.com
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