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- Interview with Julie Maxwell
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Need some cheering up to get over the New Year lull? Hester Browne is here with her recipes for some fabulous cocktails to help you wind down after that hectic first week back at work!
Recipe for Swept Off Her Feet
If you’re in Scotland, you need warming up. And there’s nothing better on a chilly night than a good and strong Hot Toddy – also surprisingly effective at soothing wintery colds with its killer punch of Vitamin C and honey.
1. take a strong glass or mug, and add 1tsp of honey, 2 cloves, and stir in a good slug of whisky. (Heather honey and Scottish whisky, if you have it!)
2. top up with just-off-the-boil water, and add a couple of slices of freshly cut lemon.
3. add lemon juice to taste, if you prefer a less sweet version, or half a cinnamon stick for a spicier one
4. retire to the fireside, and drink
A hot toddy kit – bottle of Scotch, a jar of local honey, unwaxed lemons and the right spices – also makes a welcome New Year house party gift.
Never leave out the noble souls manning the drive home, or those who don’t drink – here’s a refreshingly Scottish mocktail for them too. (No Iron Bru required.)
1. Put some fresh mint into a tall glass, add a couple of generous squeezes of fresh lime juice and some crushed ice
2. muddle it around to release the mint and mix with the lime
3. top up with a good quality (non-alcoholic!) ginger beer like Fentiman’s or Fever Tree
SWEPT OFF HER FEET
When Evie Nicholson is asked to visit Kettlesheer Castle in Scotland to archive the family heirlooms, she jumps at the chance. Evie’s passion for antiques means that, for her, the castle is a treasure trove of mysteries just waiting to be uncovered.
But in each heirloom lies a story, and in the course of her investigations Evie stumbles upon some long-buried family secrets. Add handsome, gloomy heir Robert McAndrew and a traditional candlelit gala to the mix and Evie’s heart is sent reeling with an enthusiasm that may just extend beyond the Kettlesheer silver…
And for The Runaway Princess
Party cocktails are always best if they’re simple and easy to replenish, and – especially at this time of year – colourful. I love Sloe Gin Sparklers, and make these to welcome guests before holiday dinners. Sloe gin is so English, and always reminds me of Christmas, and the pinkness is delicately pretty. And of course nothing gets a party started more quickly than champagne. You can substitute the blackberries for pomegranate seeds if you prefer tiny jewels dancing around in the bubbles, or make them pinker with a splash of grenadine.
Sloe Gin Sparkler
25 ml sloe gin
75ml champagne (if celebrating wildly; prosecco or cava, if celebrating economically)
Drop a blackberry into the bottom of the flute and add the sloe gin. Top up carefully with champagne.
THE RUNAWAY PRINCESS
Amy Wilde is tired of the idiots her glamorous flatmate Jo tries to set her up with – she’d much rather be landscaping a garden with her dog Badger at her side than trying to find the man of her dreams. That is, until she meets Leo Wolfsburg. Handsome, polite, funny, intriguing – Leo is everything Amy could want in a man. Best of all, the attraction seems mutual.
But Leo’s lifestyle is a world away from her own. Private planes, charity balls, exclusive members’ clubs – Amy begins to realise that her simple existence has been turned upside down.
And just where is Leo’s home country of Nirona, anyway? Is this all too good to be true?