Thursday, 23 August 2012

Eat drink and be reading ...A visit from Lee Brazil

Now aren't I the lucky one? Lee's arrived, and he's brought the pastries and made the coffee. I haven't been totally idle though. I did get out the mugs and plates and even found some pastry forks. Now, I'll just sit and drink my coffee, and let Lee take over. 

Good morning everyone! I'm Lee Brazil, author of mm romance with Breathless Press, The Story Orgy and Silver Publishing. Most of my work is contemporary, but I have at times ventured into the realms of paranormal and historical fiction. *sips coffee* Help yourself to some coffee...and pastry, if you don't mind sweets in the am. What? No, its not apple pie, it's cherry cheese Danish. Oh, that. That delicious aroma is apple pie filling simmering on the stove top. *sips coffee again*  It is amazing, isn't it?
Want some to take home?
*sighs and inhales deeply* There isn't anything more rustic, more intrinsically homey than apple pie. I love the way a baking apple pie makes my house smell! While many think of apple pie as an "All American" dessert, apples grow across the world. In fact, they appear to have originated in Kazakhstan. There, apples trees can grow to sixty feet tall and even dominate forests. How then did the apple get to American soil?
Simple. The Silk Road and trade. Traveling merchants enjoyed the fruits, picked them, and as our own Johnny Appleseed legends tell, discarded the seeds along their journey. The result? Millions of varieties of apples in Europe and Asia. And, the settlers of course brought these hardy fruit bearing trees to the new world with them when America was first settled. Whoa! I guess you can take the teacher out of the classroom, but you can't make 'em shut up! Sorry for slipping into lecture mode, I just found this fascinating information on the Cornell University website...and because ...well...I love apple pie.
  The variety of scents and flavors within this one fruit group is amazing. Crisp, juicy, tart, sweet, soft...apples have long been a staple fruit of the pantry. Around here fall is apple picking season, and I like to gather both the tart Granny Smith apples and the sweet like Jonathons to make pie filling.
This isn't a family recipe, because my grandma made her pie the old fashioned way- one at a time. She stored newspaper wrapped apples in the basement of her house well into the winter months. I don't have the space or the desire to do when the apples are in season I just whip up a batch or two of freezer pie filling. I like this recipe which I found online a while back, but there are a lot of others out there.
Freezer Apple Pie Filling
  • 20 cups sliced apples
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 10 cups water
  1. In a large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice and set aside. Pour water into a large pot over medium heat. Combine other ingredients and add to water. Stir well and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. Add apples and return to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until apples are tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.
  3. Ladle into 5 freezer containers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Cool at room temperature no longer than 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Seal and freeze. Can be stored for up to 12 months.

Hope you give it a try!
Oh, and here's a glimpse of my contemporary take on the Nursery Rhyme, Simple, Simon, in which we meet a very talented baker who specializes in ...what else but pie?

It's Simple, Simon
By Lee Brazil
M/M contemporary romance
Breathless Press's Naughty Nursery Rhymes
Simon Carter has achieved unimaginable success and he owes it all to a man from his past whose scorn set fire to his ambition.

"It's Simple, Simon. You lack ambition."

Chase Garvin's jibe had sent Simon Carter on unexpected paths and brought him unimaginable success. No longer a penniless musician, the highly paid investment banker is going home for the first time in years. He plans to rest, relax, and spend a little time rubbing his ex-lover's nose in his success. A visit to the Renaissance Fair brings this not-quite-so-simple- Simon nose to nose with his past and somehow revenge doesn't seem quite so attractive.

Chase Garvin, Denver, Colorado's very own Pie Man, is still incredibly handsome. What's more, the more mature Chase is very appreciative of Simon's talents.

When the old attraction flares between them, Simon and the Pie Man get caught up in tasting the wares, and neither counts the pennies.

He sniffed the golden pies. Mmm. Chase had always been talented in the kitchen. The aroma was intoxicating. Delicious. As he ate, savoring the flaky crust and rich fillings, he contemplated the man who'd treated him to the pies. Chase was one hot baker. He'd always been sexy, but there was no way that hunk of beef could fit into his old Renaissance garb. Chase had put on muscle. His shoulders had broadened, his biceps bulged, and mmm.... The rest was hidden behind that voluminous apron, but Simon doubted that it had changed much.
Best of all, Chase still seemed to find him attractive. That was just icing on the cake. The sugar on the pie? He chuckled softly. Whatever it was, he liked it. Liked the idea that Chase might still be interested in him sexually. As he licked the sugary filling off his fingers, he contemplated abandoning his plan. After all, Chase hadn't meant to hurt him years ago, and he'd certainly seemed welcoming enough, even though to all appearances Simon hadn't changed over the years. Yeah, there really wasn't any reason to prove to Chase how successful and ambitious he really was. He should just come clean.
On the other hand, he felt like enough of an idiot for hiding his success in the first place. He bit into the next pie, feeling the juice trickle down his chin. He licked at it, chewing and swallowing, scrabbling absently for a napkin to wipe his chin. It would be horribly embarrassing to go back to that booth and offer to pay for the pies, to tell Chase why he hadn't wanted to pay in the first place.
"Here, I'll get that for you." Chase grabbed his napkin. To his surprise, Chase drooped down onto the grass next to him. Instead of dabbing his chin with the white paper napkin, the man leaned forward, his breath a warm buttery scented breeze as he hovered close for a moment before gently licking the juice off Simon's skin.

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