Lou Sylvre’s Lamingtons (a yummy New Zealand treat)—The Sunset at Pencarrow blog tour

June 9, 2017

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Hi! I’m Lou Sylvre, and along with co-author Anne Barwell, I’m touring blogs to celebrate the release of our novella, Sunset at Pencarrow, the New Zealand story in Dreamspinner’s World of Love collection. It came out a couple days ago, so if you’re inspired to give it a read after you read the blurb and excerpt and get a look at the gorgeous Reese Dante cover, just follow the buy links below. We also have a Rafflecopter giveaway going on, and that link is coming up, too, as well as a link to the schedule and blogs for the whole tour.

Before I get to that, let me tell you about lamingtons. They are yummy. Well, except I’m not particularly fond of coconut, but the ones I made are the raspberry variety, and that flavor seems to work well with the coconut, so I liked them anyway. And truly, I’ve always wanted to visit New Zealand, but who knows if I’ll ever get there. So bringing a little Kiwi-style to my kitchen—like bringing a little New Zealand into my writer’s life—was a fun exercise.

Although also favored in Australia, even some Australian bloggers mention the New Zealand origins of lamingtons, and in Sunset at Pencarrow, our characters Nate Dunn (New Zealander) and Rusty Beaumont (American) get treated to some by an old friend of Nate’s. Rusty loved them (though the rest of the visit was less than pleasant), so I decided to make some and see what the fuss was all about. Our guys had the chocolate-covered variety, but I opted for the raspberry—only because the other New Zealand treat I made, Afghans, are chocolaty-umptious. (I’m going to blog about making those on Rhys Ford’s blog on the 15th.)

So lamingtons… yes. The recipe I used came from The Kiwi Cook website, and it was pretty straightforward. I only had to convert one measurement—the butter was in grams—and translate a couple words to Americanese.

“Foreign” baking terms translated:

* castor sugar = superfine sugar (not a common household item, but available at the supermarket
* corn flour = cornstarch (I’ll leave it to you to decide which term is more accurate.)
* jelly = gelatin (This one would have thrown me if it weren’t for two things: I’d been watching the Greatest British Baking Show, for one, and for the other… well, jelly in the US, the stuff you spread on toast like jam or preserves, doesn’t come in “packets,” unless you count those little jobbies you get at the diner.)

So, with the decoding done and the ingredients lined up, I set out to make the sponge that forms the basis of the lamington. The recipe says to put the eggs, sugar, and salt into a stand mixer bowl and let the machine whip them on high for fifteen minutes. Well, I don’t have a stand mixer. In my childhood, my mother, the daughter of a baker, would have had me counting hundreds of strokes, beating by hand. This time I used my hand mixer. Obviously I couldn’t measure the other ingredients while doing that, so I’d measured them ahead of time, and folded them in as instructed. The batter was lovely.

My Opa, his second wife, and a customer my mom called, "Just Some Lady" in his bakery. Frankfurt am Mein, c. 1930s.

My Opa, his second wife, and a customer my mom called, “Just Some Lady” in his bakery. Frankfurt am Mein, c. 1930s.

Now, being the granddaughter of a baker, I at one time (in my forties) decided I would really learn to bake a cake, and I got pretty good at it, so I at least had an idea of what things were supposed to look like. That said, I’d never in my life baked a cake using cornstarch rather than flour. The finished product was, basically, a little overbaked. I didn’t let that discourage me though and proceeded to coat them in the raspberry “jelly” mixture, and then the coconut studs, and finally fill the little hummers with whipped cream.

In the end, they looked pretty and even though they were raspberry instead of chocolate, I’ll second Rusty’s declaration: “These… what did you call them? Lamingtons? They’re delicious.”

Thanks, Dreamspinner, for hosting our blog tour, and thank you all for reading. Have you ever eaten foods particular to New Zealand culture? What’s your favorite Kiwi-style dish, or one you’ve heard of that you’d like to try? I’d love to hear about it comments, and that will get you an extra entry in the raffle, as well. Please join Anne and I on our other tour stops, too! To find the schedule and links to the blogs, just click right here.

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Kiwi Nathaniel Dunn is in a fighting mood, but how does a man fight Wellington’s famous fog? In the last year, Nate’s lost his longtime lover to boredom and his ten-year job to the economy. Now he’s found a golden opportunity for employment where he can even use his artistic talent, but to get the job, he has to get to Christchurch today. Heavy fog means no flight, and the ticket agent is ignoring him to fawn over a beautiful but annoying, overly polite American man.

Rusty Beaumont can deal with a canceled flight, but the pushy Kiwi at the ticket counter is making it difficult for him to stay cool. The guy rubs him all the wrong ways despite his sexy working-man look, which Rusty notices even though he’s not looking for a man to replace the fiancé who died two years ago. Yet when they’re forced to share a table at the crowded airport café, Nate reveals the kind heart behind his grumpy façade. An earthquake, sex in the bush, and visits from Nate’s belligerent ex turn a day of sightseeing into a slippery slope that just might land them in love.

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.
A brief excerpt

[Rusty] had to pay attention to his footing now. The trail was truly steep—muddy and slippery in places.

Immediately on thinking those words, slippery in places, he felt like it was about something besides the muddy ground of the Orongorongo forest. He associated the phrase with his own intentions, coming out here with a man who—okay, I’ll admit he pulls at me like sex on toast. If he wasn’t so sure he didn’t want anybody, he’d think he wanted Nate. And yes, he knew he was skirting the truth.

Is that a rock in my shoe? Hard to think about anything else, really, with that irritant. He needed to do something about it. “Nate, hold up. I have a—”

A rolling blast of thunder cut his words short. In his mind’s eye, he saw explosions all around him in a cornfield around a sleepy, dusty town in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. But he’d come a long way since leaving that year of his life behind, and he knew almost instantly that he wasn’t there; the sound he heard wasn’t war.

“Fuck! Earthquake,” Nate said.

That made perfect sense—especially as the ground suddenly lurched beneath Rusty’s feet, knocking him off-balance. He fell forward, and gravity carried him downslope against Nate, who went down under him. Instinctively, he tried to shield Nate’s head from hitting the hard ground, cradling it against his chest with his hands. The packs on their backs weren’t bulky, but were enough of a lump to keep them from rolling far. Instead they slid, and by the time they came to a stop, they’d nearly reached the river.

Rusty lay still, concentrating on steadying his breath, but when he realized his body lay spread over Nate’s like butter on bread, his heart took off racing all over again. Trying to rein in his senses—ignore the feel of the man, the scent of him, the rush of his own blood heating his veins—he pushed up onto his elbows.

“Are you all right?” he asked.

“Yeah. Dandy.”

For a limited time, get 30% off at Dreamspinner Press with code PENCARROW at checkout. Here are some buy links:

Dreamspinner Press
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And don’t forget to enter:

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14 Responses to “Lou Sylvre’s Lamingtons (a yummy New Zealand treat)—The Sunset at Pencarrow blog tour”

  1. Lee Welch says:

    As an m/m romance writer living in Wellington, New Zealand, it’s nice to see the Orongorongo Forest making an appearance! I MUST read this book!

  2. Lou Sylvre says:

    Hi Lee! What a pleasure to meet you. I’m going to assume you’re acquainted with my co-author Anne Barwell, but if not, I know she’d love to hear from you. Thank you! :)

  3. Anne Barwell says:

    Those lamingtons turned out great, Lou. I want lamingtons now…

    And Lee, great to meet another Wellington MM author. You’ll recognise a LOT of settings etc in this book as it’s set in the Hutt Valley and Wellington.

  4. Didi says:

    I’ve eaten Lamington before, though without knowing it’s a New Zealand delight. Thank you for this post and especially sharing that recipe; I might try on making Lamingtons myself. :)

  5. Shirley Ann Speakman says:

    I’ve heard of Lamington’s while watching the Aussie soaps here in the UK but I dislike coconut so I’ve never made them myself. They do look good though I’ll take mine minus the coconut please!

  6. Trix says:

    Even though I still hate coconut in candy, I’m starting to like it in baked goods now that you can get unsweetened chips and shreds. I’ve had pavlova a few times, and I once had a flat white made by a barista who worked in a Kiwi-owned coffeehouse (fantastic, of course). I keep meaning to bake some Anzac cookies sometime, too…

  7. H.B. says:

    I’ve never heard of lamingtons before. They do look and sound delicious though. I have quite a sweet tooth. I’ve never had any foods particular to New Zealand culture.

  8. Jen F says:

    Those lamingtons look so yummy! I love coconut. I’ve never had a lamington before, but we have a great recipe for Anzac biscuits.

    And your sifter is awesome.

  9. laura05 says:

    I never heard of Lamingtons but they look good although i’m not a fan of coconut ;)

  10. Lou Sylvre says:

    Shirley, here’s my very late reply. I don’t like coconut either… :) but I will say, that this is not the sugary shredded kind, so not as bad, and once the lamingtons sat overnight in the fridge, the raspberry completely overwhelmed the coconut, so that all you got from the coconut was the texture. I definitely did enjoy that. :)

  11. Lou Sylvre says:

    I’m surprised how many people share my general distaste for coconut. I have to admit maybe my taste buds are getting old, because I don’t dislike it as strongly as I did before. See my reply to Shirley about the coconut in the lamingtons, specifically. Sorry for responding so late, by the way.

  12. Lou Sylvre says:

    H.B. if you’ve got a sweet tooth, I also recommend those Afghan “biscuits” I posted about on Rhys’s blog. While the lamingtons have a light flavor, the afghans are sweet chocolate melt-in-your-mouth. :)

  13. Lou Sylvre says:

    Oh, a coconut lover among us! I’ll bet the Anzac biscuits are good, too! My sifter thanks you for the compliment. When I got it, I was quite the “earth mother” “live off the land” “make it from scratch” young and energetic type. I used it a lot. Now I use it mostly during the holidays. :) It’s been a real trooper over the years.

  14. Lou Sylvre says:

    You’re not alone on the coconut issue! Read on for more coconut dissing comments… :)

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