On the publication of Summer Days at the Beach, Author Morton S Gray shares her lockdown recipes and tells us why food features in her novels.
For the last nine months, we have been a household of five after some complications with a house move, which I won’t go into here! Most of the meal preparation has fallen to me and I have found this a little stressful, especially during lockdown when five of us were homeworking and eating three meals a day too. How to keep meals fresh and interesting when the last thing you want to do is to cook again?
Inevitably, some of my staple meals find their way into my books. My husband’s favourite food is beans on cheese on toast, so I can rest assures that if all else fails that meal will be well received by him. (This meal featured in my novel The Truth Lies Buried).
I am always very conscious of the addition of food and drink in my novels. In my latest book, Sunny Days at the Beach, my heroine takes in an abandoned teenager and finds herself making not only packed lunches, but having to think more about meals than when she was a singleton.
Mandy, the heroine, prepares another of my staple meals – bacon, cheese and vegetables with pasta, affectionately known in this house as clean out the fridge pasta! Nick, the teenager in the book is obsessed by pizza and tries to order it at any restaurant they visit. Nick gets tuna and mayo sandwiches for his school packed lunch and discovers a liking for berry smoothies from the beach-side café.
Sunny Days at the Beach has a gin distiller as a hero. My unsuspecting husband was ‘treated’ to a visit to a gin distillery for his birthday, thinly disguised as my research trip! At the distillery, we learned all about the botanicals, or flavourings, added to the gin to give it a unique taste. I will admit to being fascinated by the possibilities for flavouring gin and some of this filters through into the book.
I’m always alarmed by how much tea and coffee my characters drink in a book, but then I drink a fair few cups a day myself!
Clean out the fridge pasta recipe
- Meat – you can use cooked bacon, ham, cooked chicken or even mushrooms.
- Vegetables – whatever you have to hand – I usually steam a combination of peas, sweetcorn and edme beans.
- Cooked pasta.
- Grated cheese.
- Mayonnaise (mixed with mustard if you like it).
- Salt and pepper to taste.
When your ingredients are cooked combine them all in a large saucepan with the cheese, salt and pepper and a generous helping of mayonnaise. Mix and serve. It really is that simple. Enjoy!
About the Author – Morton S Gray
Morton lives with her husband, two sons and Lily, the tiny white dog, in Worcestershire, U.K. She has been reading and writing fiction for as long as she can remember, penning her first attempt at a novel aged fourteen. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and The Society of Authors.
Her debut novel The Girl on the Beach was published after she won the Choc Lit Publishing Search for a Starcompetition in 2016. This story follows a woman with a troubled past as she tries to unravel the mystery surrounding her son’s new headteacher, Harry Dixon.
Morton’s second book for Choc Lit The Truth Lies Buried is another romantic suspense novel, The story of Jenny Simpson and Carver Rodgers as they uncover secrets from their past.
Christmas at Borteen Bay is Morton’s first Christmas novella. It is set in her fictional seaside town of Borteen and follows the story of Pippa Freeman, who runs the Rose Court Guest House with her mother, and local policeman Ethan Gibson, as they unravel a family secret as Christmas approaches.
Morton previously worked in the electricity industry in committee services, staff development and training. She has a Business Studies degree and is a fully qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist and Reiki Master. She also has diplomas in Tuina acupressure massage and energy field therapy. She enjoys crafts, history and loves tracing family trees. Having a hunger for learning new things is a bonus for the research behind her books.
You can catch up with Morton with the following links:-
Website and blog at www.mortonsgray.com
Facebook page – Morton S. Gray Author – https://www.facebook.com/mortonsgray/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/morton_s_gray/
About the Book – Sunny Days at the Beach
From party nights at the pub to sunny days at the beach …
Craft shop owner Mandy Vanes has always enjoyed a commitment-free singleton lifestyle — in fact, she’s well-known for her wild ways in her small seaside town on the coast.
But when local teenager, Nick Crossten, turns to her for help, Mandy has the opportunity to prove she can be a responsible adult. Although things get tricky when gin distillery owner Graham Frankley comes to town with some unexpected news.
Could this mean that Mandy the party girl is finally ready to grow up?