A Small Interview, based on cake..

So my dad has just had his first book published called Mrs. Darcy versus the Aliens, so I decided to interview him during his month-long blog tour. We debate the finer points of alien cooking, or cooking aliens, however you want to look at it…


Tell me a little bit about your book.


It’s a sequel to “Pride and Prejudice”. With aliens. That do? So where’s the cake? I was told there’d be cake…


How did you come up with the idea?


I was talking to a fellow writer a few years back about another book I’d read (“Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell”) and we decided it was basically a Regency novel with wizards. From there it was a very small step to thinking up a Regency novel with aliens. Now can I have some cake?


Did you have a particular snack or food that you ate when you were writing?


You’re checking up on me, aren’t you? No. Nothing at all. Definitely not. Not even cake. Although some cake would be very nice now…


What’s your favourite type of cake?


AT LAST! THE CAKE QUESTION! Actually I like all types of cake. What have you got?


What do you think Mrs Darcy’s would be?


To hell with Mrs Darcy, WHERE’S MY CAKE? I WANT CAKE!


There are aliens in your book. What do you think they would taste like?


Probably chicken. Most things taste like chicken. Maybe with a hint of squid. So there’s no cake. That’s what you’re trying to tell me, isn’t it?


I bet they’d be good battered and deep-fried with some sweet chilli dipping sauce.


Actually, most things are good battered and deep-fried with some sweet chilli dipping sauce. Especially cake. Which reminds me…


Boring details about the book: The web site is here. The Wickhampedia is here. And there are some trailers here. You can buy it from all good bookshops (especially WHSmith, where it’s on promotion) and all the usual online places, including the Jane Austen Centre Online Giftshop, where they have signed copies.



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How to Poach an Egg

Sorry I’ve been a bit MIA lately folks, had a small amount of work to do (just cooking a mere 8 mains, 3 puddings and a giant birthday cake for 60 people, all in a days work). So my brother came home last weekend furious because everytime he tried to poach eggs it went wrong and he would end up with a boiling pan of egg white or just an egg yolk left. Whilst there are many ways to achieve the perfect poached egg, from the cling film method to buying those dinky silcone egg poaching basket things, I still maintain the best and most satisfying way to poach eggs is with a ladle and a pan of hot water.

I can’t believe I still enjoy making poached eggs seeing as in my last exam at cookery school we had to cook a 3 course meal, plus bread and the examiners could walk up to you at anytime and say right I want poached eggs and hollandaise in 15 minutes and you would have to drop what you were doing and do it. That exam was the worse 5 hours of my life and those 15 minutes the most stressfull.

But anywho, poached eggs, firstly you need to know about the 4 grades of heating water,

1st Poaching which is the lowest, where the occasional small bubble breaks the surface.

2nd Simmering where lots small bubbles break the surface,

3rd Boiling where lots of large bubbles break the surface,

4th Rolling Boil where big bubbles come to surface at the edge of the pan and roll inwards towards the middle of the pan. This is the hottest, be warned.




An egg




1. First have a pan of boiling water on the stove, make sure it is quite a deep pan, you need quite a bit of space.

2. Next turn the heat down under the pan until the water is barely moving and is at a poach.

3. Next take the egg out of the fridge. Now for the perfect poached egg you need the freshest and coldest egg imaginable. Fresh out of the chicken would do but seeing as for most of us that isn’t possible then eggs which you bought that day would do. you can also try the fresh egg test:

Fresh Egg Test

Take a fresh egg and a not so fresh egg and place them both in a bowl of cold water. The fresher of the eggs should stand upright, whereas the not so fresh egg will lie on it’s side. Technically. Moving swiftly onwards…

4. Crack your fresh egg into a ladle. Using a slotted spoon stir your poaching water to create a vortex. Just when the vortex is disapating, carefully pour in your egg using the ladle.

5. Now, technically the vortex should gather the egg white around the yolk and make sure it all stays together. You can help it along using your slotted spoon if you think it isn’t working. Once that is done the egg kind of sits on the bottom of the pan and you have to leave it in there for 4 minutes to get a perfect runny yolk. Then just whip it out and it should be a perfect tear drop shape.



All you have to do is enjoy with a toasted english muffin, a couple of rashers of bacon and hollandaise dribbled over the top! Nom nom nom.



If you want to do loads at once you can actually part cook the eggs seperately for 3 minutes the same way as described above, then plunge them into cold water (to stop them cooking). Then once they’re all done you just put them all back into poaching water for another minute and ta dah! Poached eggs for 20 no trouble!

Anywho, I will tackle making hollandaise from scratch another day, for now, just use the bought stuff!

I’m now off to make some sticky toffee pudding cupcakes seeing as it is national cupcake week. I’m kinda over the whole cupcake thing though. Infact according to the Independent on Sunday scones are the new cupcake, which means I’m ahead of the times seeing as my very first post was on scones! Unbelievable, there’s a first for everything I suppose.

Ta ta for now!



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