I’m deep into my second round of edits, but I wanted to end the month of all things Irish with a simple, tasty treat. ‘Tis verra simple, and since we’re breaking records here with our heatwave this early in the year, I instantly thought of this quick recipe. It’s so delicious!
Grab a container of your favorite vanilla ice cream and a bottle of Guinness. Pull out a tall glass and place ice cream inside. Open bottle of Guinness–take a sip, and pour over the ice cream.
There’s your Guinness Float! However, if you’re a purist, then drink the Guinness and serve your ice cream with root beer.
I’m thrilled to share with you a new release, The Gentle Knight, by my friend and wonderful author, Ashley York. This is the second book in The Norman Conquest Series. If you may recall, she is part of our Medieval Monday Authors. In truth, she is the one who founded this group.
When she is not writing, talking about writing, or thinking about writing, she enjoys going to sessions for live Celtic Music. She lives in southern New England with her husband and 3 very spoiled animals.
A medieval soldier returns home to find his lover died in childbirth just as his own mother had. Believing he is cursed, Peter of Normandy turns from love. When he must give escort to an Irish princess more noble than many knights, he struggles with his decision to live a solitary life. Can he take the chance that his love won’t be a death sentence and possibly make them stronger?
Padraig MacNaughton’s death bed decree rips his daughter, Brighit, from the shelter of her protective clan in Ireland. Forced to take vows at a Priory in England, she finds herself in the hands of lecherous mercenaries with their own agendas. Dare she trust the Norman knight to see her safely to her new life as a nun? Even when she finds in him the fulfillment of all she’s ever wanted?
Or will honor and duty eclipse their one chance for happiness?
The barrenness of the countryside would take Brighit some time to get used to. Perhaps it was only this area, but it seemed nothing like her home which was so lush and green. She missed her family. A tightness began to build in her throat but Brighit refused to acknowledge it. A splashing sound came to her from just beyond the tree stand.
She glanced back the way she’d come. The need to return immediately or confront Ivan’s wrath had her clenching her teeth. That splash sounded very much like the lake Lachlann had mentioned. A chance to clean her face and hands in a refreshing body of water rather than with a soaked cloth? The heat in that confined carriage was making her wilt. She sniffed and confirmed her stench was overwhelming. Before even thinking it through, she headed in the direction of the sound.
Brighit paused on the barely discernible path. Sure she heard rustling, she glanced behind at the open field she’d come from. It was empty. Nothing behind her that could make such a sound. Was it a deer perhaps? Taking a few steps farther, the small rise gave way to the breathtaking sight of a small lake. The top glistened like glass without a ripple to disturb its surface.
The slight breeze carried the pungent aroma of honeysuckle and lavender. The plants would be a wonderful thing to find and put in with her few belongings. Each night she would be surrounded by the smell of flowers. Without another thought she headed through the bushes to her right, careful to not make a sound in case the deer were still nearby. Movement along the banks drew her attention and she froze.
A man stood there dripping wet and naked. He pushed his hair away from his face. A handsome face with a strong jaw and a thick brow. She followed the movement of his hands, sloshing the water off his chiseled body. Blond hair spanned his broad chest and across his rippled torso, leading down his muscular legs, glistening in the fading light. His tarse was visible even from this distance. She looked long and hard. Her breathing became labored. Magnificent.
He turned in her direction. She ducked. She held her breath and shivered in the bush, willing her heart to stop pounding so loudly. When she ventured another peek, he was gone. Disappointment welled up inside her gut. She’d wanted nothing more than to sit and watch him, imagine how it would feel to run her hands down his expansive chest and firm body as he had done, to appreciate the rippled strength there. She blew out the breath she’d been holding and licked her dry lips. That certainly wasn’t going to happen, not in this lifetime—as a nun. A small bush of purple flowers brushed her hand and she snatched it. Lavender. The sun was dropping below the hills in the west and she needed to get back. Enough of these wasted desires.
Desire made things happen. It was her grandfather’s favorite saying. As the seventh son, he had been a man of some notoriety among Irish nobility. He was given the Celtic Princess, Faighrah, to wed. When he sired his own seventh son, the other leaders turned to him for guidance, for wisdom, in return for unfailing loyalty. The belief always that the seventh son of the seventh son of the seventh son had a special anointing from God. No evil could befall him.
Brighit was no son and evil seemed a little too close. Ivan had told her he would not hesitate to make up a lie about who she was. Even saying she was his wife. Others would believe him because he was a man. Perhaps a little more protection from the same God who made her a female was not asking too much.
Please welcome my friend and talented author, Ashley York to Medieval Monday. She’s sharing her medieval romance, The Bruised Thistle, the first in The Order of the Scottish Thistle series. Take me home to Scotland, Ashley!
Iseabail MacNaughton, the orphaned daughter of a Scottish laird, is forced to flee her home and seek assistance against her lecherous uncle who has usurped her family’s land. When she meets Seumas, a strong and valiant mercenary, she cannot help wondering if he could be the one to stand with her again her uncle. But with a price on her head and enemies on all sides, her trust is not something she can afford to give lightly…
Seumas MacDonell is a man wounded in body and soul, driven by guilt. When he rescues Iseabail from one of his own men, he cannot deny the attraction he feels for her, despite the wound that left him unable to act on it. In the hope of finding redemption for his sins, he agrees to help Iseabail…but will his feeling for her prove to be the ultimate obstacle to his salvation?
“Methinks ye wish to place a curse on me with that look of yers… What is yer name?”
Though she jumped at the sound of his voice, she could not help watching as he poured water from a pitcher to a bowl sitting on the table beside the fire. Mesmerized by the motion and the play of firelight over his expansive chest, she did not notice right away when he stopped his movements. She met his eyes. Her heart beat faster and that strange heat centered in her belly again.
He quirked a brow. “I asked ye a question and I expect an answer…or do ye not know how to act with yer betters?”
Her better? Though she seethed inside, Iseabail bit her tongue before she gave herself away. If he but knew how much land her clan called their own…
Nay, Iseabail. Remember the part you play here.
Lowering her eyes, she quietly answered him. “Forgive me, m’lord. I forget myself.” Unsure what else the charade called for, she curtseyed slightly.
“Yer name?” He still didn’t move. His brows were raised in expectation yet again.
“My name is Iseabail.”
He nodded, apparently appeased. “And my name is Seumas.”
His face settled into a slight smile and he continued with his washing. His muscles flexed as he rubbed across his chest and down his arms, scrubbing the soap into lather then rinsing it clean until his skin glistened. When he finished, he reached for the cloth beside him but turned his face to her.
She exhaled slowly.
“Come here, Iseabail.”
His tone was coaxing, as if speaking to a newly harnessed foal. She took the few steps toward him. When he reached for her face, she tensed and her mouth went dry. He was no better than her uncle, after all, and disappointment washed over her. She glanced down, steeling herself for the imminent assault, before facing him. His hand stopped just short of her face. Their eyes met and she could tell he was insulted by his tight lips and furrowed brow.
He wiped her cheek with a wet finger. “Ye’re filthy,” he said with disgust. “Make use of my water and be quick about it.” Seumas walked away, rubbing his hands dry.
In my humble opinion, nothing tastes better than cheese on toast. This screams comfort food anytime of the day.
Yet, this is a quick and easy dinner meal–just add a side of salad and you’re all set.
An Irish Toast ~
“As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never face the wrong way.”
3 tablespoons Guinness draught
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon ground mustard (powdered)
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 egg, beaten
2 cups Kerrygold Cheese (your preference)
4 slices thick sourdough bread
Combine the Guinness, Worcestershire sauce, mustards, and cayenne pepper in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer for approximately 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the egg and cheese, a little at a time. Mixture will be thick.
Toast the bread slices, lightly. Spoon and spread mixture over bread. Sprinkle with paprika and place under the broiler until the cheese is bubbling.
Please welcome my friend and fellow Wild Rose Press author, Barbara Bettis to Medieval Monday. You are in for a treat with her medieval romance, The Heart of the Phoenix. She will pull you into another time with this beautiful story.
Some call him a ruthless mercenary; she calls him the knight of her heart.
Lady Evelynn’s childhood hero is home—bitter, hard, tempting as sin. And haunted by secrets. A now-grown Evie offers friendship, but Sir Stephen’s cruel rejection crushes her, and she resolves to forget him. Yet when an unexpected war throws them together, she finds love isn’t so easy to dismiss. If only the king hadn’t betrothed her to another.
Can be cruel
Sir Stephen lives a double life while he seeks the treacherous outlaws who murdered his friends. Driven by revenge, he thinks his heart is closed to love. His childhood shadow, Lady Evie, unexpectedly challenges that belief. He rebuffs her, but he can’t forget her, although he knows she’s to wed the king’s favorite.
When his drive for vengeance leads to Evie’s kidnapping, Stephen must choose between retribution and the love he’s denied too long. Surely King John will see reason. Convict the murderers; convince the king. Simple. Until a startling revelation threatens everything.
At first, Evie thought it was the thud of her headache. Then the pounding came again, louder. She groaned and turned over. Opening her eyes told nothing; the blackness in the cabin was impenetrable.
“Marie?” Her voice rasped in a dry throat. Blasted tears.
No one answered. The girl must still be on deck. Evie might as well have left Marie behind, for all the assistance the maid provided. With a groan, she swung her feet over the side of the bunk and felt her way along the wall toward the sound of another insistent knock.
“A moment,” she called. “I’m coming.” Who had the nerve to wake her in what must be the middle of the night? Hah. Need she even wonder? Her toe collided with something, and she yelped as she landed on her knees on the wood plank floor. Just what she needed. A broken foot.
The door burst open, bringing with it a dim light. “What’s wrong?” Stephen’s deep voice filled the room. “Where’s the damned lantern?”
“If I knew, I would have lighted it.” Blasted man. Did he think she enjoyed stumbling around in the dark? He acted as if she did so just to plague him.
Holding a shielded ship’s lantern high, he stepped toward the desk. “Here it is. Where’s that lightskirt who’s supposed to be your companion?”
“Leave Marie alone. I wanted privacy and gave her permission go above.” Never mind that Evie had just complained about the same thing. He had no right to do so.
“What do you want?” she asked. “Is something wrong?”
“A little late to ask that, isn’t it?” He bent to coax the cabin lantern to flame.
“Oh, for the love of heaven. Stop plaguing me. Why are you here?”
“I thought you’d like to know the identity of our fellow passenger.”
“At this hour? Could you not have waited until morning?” Sweet Mary, preserve her patience. He was the most maddening man alive.
Light flared in the cabin’s shuttered lantern, throwing a shadow across his face, reminding Evie of another reason he should not be here. Her body instantly throbbed to life.
She pressed her palms against her stomach and inhaled. Calm. She needed calm. He was not the most beautiful man she’d ever beheld. He did not possess the power to heat her blood to boiling.
He did not care that she thought of him night and day.
That much was true, for certain.
“I have news that will make the rest of your trip joyful.”
His words centered her whirling mind, and Evie eyed him warily. What news could possible make her happy right now?
She ventured a guess. “You are leaving? Your second in command, the delightful Sir Macsen, will accompany me the rest of the way home?”
Evie could tell Stephen was angry now by the way he glowered and roared in that whispery sort of way no one else could hear, but left her with no doubt of his displeasure.
“Your betrothed.” He bent and scooped her off the floor.
“What? What about him?”
“That’s the identity of the illustrious lord who’s sharing passage with us.”
“You’re drunk. And put me down. I’m perfectly capable of getting up on my own.”
“Be quiet. You have blood on your leg.”
“Of course I do. I tripped and fell trying to answer your pounding when you could easily have opened—” His words finally penetrated her throbbing head. “I’m bleeding?”
Oh, blast. The contents of her—empty—stomach churned. She attended the villagers’ hurts, bound the cuts and scrapes of servants and their children. The sight of their blood bothered her not a whit. But her own? Black spots danced at the corners of her vision, becoming larger and larger until she heard Stephen’s voice.
“Evie, Evie. What the hell?”
His voice echoed so far away. If she didn’t know better, she’d vow he sounded alarmed. Perhaps she’d close her eyes for a moment. As the ringing in her ears crescendoed, she recalled his words. Betrothed.
“Did you ever eat Colcannon, made from lovely pickled cream? With the greens and scallions mingled like a picture in a dream.
Did you ever make a hole on top to hold the melting flake, ofthe creamy, flavoured butter that your mother used to make?”
This is from a tradional Irish song called, “The Skillet Pot.” Love Colcannon, especially on a chilly evening. Currently, our weather is unusually warm, but that won’t stop me from making one of my favorite dishes on St. Patrick’s Day.
Do you have a favorite dish on this day? Month? Do share!
1 lb cabbage, stalk removed and shredded
1 lb potatoes, peeled and chopped
6 green onions, chopped
¼ cup heavy cream or whole milk
1 (4oz) stick butter, softened (I use Irish Kerrygold butter for this dish)
Salt and pepper
Heat two pans of salted water and boil the cabbage in one and the potatoes in another until they are both tender. Place green onions and cream (or milk) in a pan and simmer on low for approximately 5 minutes.
Drain and mash cabbage and potatoes separately. Add the hot milk mixture to the potatoes and half the butter, beating well. Beat in the cabbage and season with salt and pepper. (I’ve been known to heat a little more cream or milk, too. It’s your choice on the texture for your dish) Heat thoroughly again in a pan or oven dish and top with slices of the remaining butter.
I’m thrilled to have the fabulous, Cathy MacRae here on Medieval Monday. I’m featuring her latest release, The Highlander’s Tempestuous Bride–a beautiful Scottish medieval romance.
What happens when the sixteen-year-old daughter of the laird, destined to dutifully marry to benefit the clan, falls in love with the wrong lad? In Medieval times, punishments ranged from forced marriage to the man chosen by the laird, to imprisonment, life in a nunnery, or even death.
Gilda does not set out to defy her parents, but when she falls in love with the son of the laird of a neighboring clan that has been at war with hers for years, things are bound to go wrong.
Returning home after a ten-year absence, Ryan Macraig falls for a fiery, red-haired lass from the wrong side of the firth. He can’t ignore his need to see her again, even knowing she must be a hated Macrory.
Gilda Macrory trespasses Macraig land, but haunting memories of the young man she once met there draw her to the forbidden place. Learning he is Laird Macraig’s son threatens her dreams, for her father would never agree to a marriage between his daughter and their enemy’s son.
With pirates raiding the coast, bad blood between the Macraig and Macrory clans could cost Ryan and Gilda their love—and their lives.
“Are ye sure . . .” A quick stride took him back to her side.
Gilda jerked the knot at her waist and the skirt fell free, but not before Ryan got a glimpse of slender ankles. She settled an arch look on him and it was all he could do to keep from laughing at the regal air she portrayed.
“I am fine. I am also certain I will not meet ye here again?” Though couched as a question, her tone indicated she’d rather see anyone other than him the next time she ventured out to pick berries.
Ryan shrugged. “I think the berries are about finished for the year. Mayhap the Macraig cook will send a lad out to pick the rest. We like sweets like jams and pastries at Ard Castle, too, ye know.”
“Goodness knows the men at Ard Castle need sweetening,” Gilda shot back, her cheeks pinking as she clearly regretted her quick retort.
“A kiss from a pretty lass would help sweeten this Macraig’s disposition.” Ryan marveled at the swirling colors changing Gilda’s eyes from silver to stormy gray.
Though a well-trained young warrior, Ryan was not quick enough to dodge the palm of Gilda’s hand as it made stinging contact with his cheek. He rubbed his jaw ruefully. He should have remembered though the lass had fascinating gray eyes, she also possessed fiery red hair and a temper to match.
He opened his mouth to apologize, but Gilda had already spun , her back ramrod straight as she marched away, the handle of her basket gripped tight in one hand. The other hand clenched and opened, possibly to relieve the answering sting he felt on his cheek, perhaps echoing a desire to encircle his neck.
Ryan grinned. He would have regretted the apology, anyway.