Friday, June 14, 2013

"I think the key to a really juicy story is bringing two disparate worlds crashing together. I was excited about taking an adventure with a pirate queen and seeing where that would lead, but I wanted to write about food at the same time and I thought, Why not? " ~Eli Brown

A gripping adventure, a seaborne romance, and a twist on the tale of Scheherazade—with the best food ever served aboard a pirate’s ship

The year is 1819, and the renowned chef Owen Wedgwood has been kidnapped by the ruthless pirate Mad Hannah Mabbot. He will be spared, she tells him, as long as he puts exquisite food in front of her every Sunday without fail.

To appease the red-haired captain, Wedgwood gets cracking with the meager supplies on board. His first triumph at sea is actual bread, made from a sourdough starter that he leavens in a tin under his shirt throughout a roaring battle, as men are cutlassed all around him. Soon he’s making tea-smoked eel and brewing pineapple-banana cider.

But Mabbot—who exerts a curious draw on the chef—is under siege. Hunted by a deadly privateer and plagued by a saboteur hidden on her ship, she pushes her crew past exhaustion in her search for the notorious Brass Fox. As Wedgwood begins to sense a method to Mabbot’s madness, he must rely on the bizarre crewmembers he once feared: Mr. Apples, the fearsome giant who loves to knit; Feng and Bai, martial arts masters sworn to defend their captain; and Joshua, the deaf cabin boy who becomes the son Wedgwood never had. 

Cinnamon and Gunpowder is a swashbuckling epicure’s adventure simmered over a surprisingly touching love story—with a dash of the strangest, most delightful cookbook never written. Eli Brown has crafted a uniquely entertaining novel full of adventure: the Scheherazade story turned on its head, at sea, with food.

Read an excerpt HERE. 

From the Kitchen of Owen Wedgwood

Vanilla Rose Amaretti
Prep time 15 minutes. Total time 1 hour.

These simple delicacies are close to what Wedgwood prepared for Mabbot in chapter 20 of Cinnamon and Gunpowder--proof that one doesn’t need rubber spatulas or fancy appliances to make something special. Of course, poor Wedgwood was obliged to make his own rose extract from the flower scraps in a stolen potpourri. We’re lucky enough to find rose extract available in specialty groceries or online. In a pinch, food-grade essential rose oil will work as well--simply replace the rose extract with one drop of rose essential oil; a little goes a long way.

Vanilla Rose Amaretti are gluten-free, vegan and free of refined sugar--the perfect treat for any party.

1½ cup shredded coconut, packed
¾ cup almond flour, packed
½ cup maple syrup
3 tbsp coconut butter
1 tbsp almond butter
1½ tsp vanilla extract
1½ tsp rose extract
¼ tsp sea salt

Pre-heat oven to 350° F.
In a medium mixing bowl combine ingredients with a fork until well mixed.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Using your hands, squeeze dough into plum-sized dollops and distribute evenly on the tray. You may need to rinse your hands with warm water if they become too sticky.
Bake at 350° for 10 minutes.

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