Southern Temptations by Luscious Lily

Sugar & Spice

This is my story! Luscious Lily.

Hi y’all and welcome to ‘Luscious Lily’s Southern Temptations.’ Pull up a chair, pour yourself a glass of sweet tea and I’ll share a few of my cooking secrets with you. Southern women are born knowing how to cook and to us there’s nothing better than feeding a house full of people we love. My recipe today is a special one for us ladies. I grew up listening to my Mama and her friends sitting together on our front porch indulging in some gentle gossip and cake baking one-upmanship. Everyone had her own specialty and they weren’t always generous when it came to recipe sharing. I’ve heard more than one lady accused of missing out an ingredient on purpose. It would always be strenuously denied…but everyone knew the truth.

If you can picture spring time in the South you’ll understand why I picked ‘Luscious Lily’s Lemon Squares’ to share with you today. The air is warm, the blossoms are heavy on the trees and the humidity isn’t yet wrecking havoc with your hair. A pitcher of iced fruit tea sits on the table along with your best crystal glasses. There are starched linen napkins, never paper, or one of the long line of Southern grandmothers (with a smile on their face and a spine of steel) will come back to haunt you. The napkins are essential to wipe the powdered sugar off your fingers because these lemon squares are dredged in it as soon as they come out of the oven and the darn stuff sure does get everywhere. These cakes are a manifestation of the true Southern woman with their buttery crumb base, a sharp lemon centre and all hidden under a covering of sweet sugar.

Always remember to toss in a little love when you’re cooking and you can’t go wrong! Y’all come on back soon for more of ‘Luscious Lily’s Southern Temptations.’


1 ½ cups (190g) all purpose (plain) flour

3/8 cup (45g) powdered (icing) sugar

½ teaspoon (2ml)  salt

¾ cup (170g) butter or margarine, softened

 Rub above ingredients together until it starts to stick together (butter can still be in small lumps). Press into a greased 9 inch x 13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees F (180C) for 15 minutes.

While that is in the oven cooking mix up the top layer.

 3 eggs

1 ½ cups (300g) sugar

½ teaspoon (2ml) baking powder

4 ½ Tablespoons (65g) all purpose (plain) flour

4 ½ Tablespoons (65ml) lemon juice

½ teaspoon (2ml) grated lemon rind

 Combine above ingredients and pour over baked layer. Return to the oven and bake at 350 F (180C) for 25 minutes. As soon as it comes out of the oven sprinkle with powdered sugar (icing sugar). Cut into squares to serve.

 Sugar & Spice by Angela Britnell that features the lovely Luscious Lily  is available as an eBook today and in paperback from 7th May 2014.  Check her out here…


Zana Bell’s 5 Minute Tribute to Jamie Oliver

Jamie OliverI don’t cook. I hate cooking. But I love watching Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals. His enthusiasm, his mixture of reverence for the ingredients and flippancy in throwing them together is spellbinding. And it occurred to me while watching one of his shows that writing a book isn’t so very different from cooking. Please join me in a tribute to the inimitable Jamie as I show you how to write Close to the Wind in just 5 Minutes.


Now what we want to do today is write a New Zealand historical cos you know, it’s a great country with an incredible history but not many people know much about it. We’re going to mix it up with adventure and romance, let those flavours sizzle altogether. Lovely!

First up – the ingredients. We’re going to start with a good dollop of Georgette Heyer cos she goes well with everything. So what we’ll do is grab the girl-as-boy like These Old Shades and mix in a generous handful of irrepressible spirit from The Grand Sophy. But we’re going to make it our story by setting the heroine’s story in the 1860s and raise her in a circus. Ah, yes, there she is – Georgiana is beginning to emerge. Can you see her?

Okay, now we gotta get things cooking. I love the sea and old ships so we’re going get this dashing sea captain, Harry, who I’ve got waiting over here – isn’t he gorgeous with those dark blue eyes – and we’re just going to fling in him and his beautiful old vessel – yeah, like just like that.  Stir but don’t mix too much. We don’t want to lose that lovely tension, do we?

Oh, and we need some dark tones so we’re just going to drizzle this unknown assassin all over. See how the colour changes? The threat is going to add this piquancy – this bite – to the whole thing. these old shades

Next mix in the zesty zaniness of Romancing the Stone just to mix things up a bit.

Right, now locations: these are what are going to make our story particularly different. We’re going to add a pinch of Maderia. I sailed there from Africa when I was a kid. It’s a gorgeous little island. Next comes a scoop of Cape Town, one of the most beautiful cities in the world and where I went to university. It’s always good to add personal experience and knowledge. Makes it more authentic. Know what I mean. Ah, sizzling nicely.

Okay, time to plonk the whole lot into stormy seas and turn up the temperature to give Harry and Georgiana a right good basting. See how those flavours come together; collide and separate, mix and combust. Now we’re really cooking.

And last but by no means least, here comes New Zealand –  the best kept for last. We’re talking massive mountains and unexplored vast plains. Gold-mining towns teeming with men and with a hint of the wild west about it all.  Everything’s coming together now so be ready, it’s a race against the clock. Fast-living, hard-living times. Right, we’re going to flambé the pan. Gotta be quick. Strike the match and – boof!

Booti-ful. And there it is! See how it’s come together? Now, all that’s left is to sit down and enjoy the story.

Zana xx

Close to the Wind is now available in paperback and on Kindle UK and Kindle US.