As I do with all my guests I have asked Ms. Knight to share a tidbit of interesting research she found while writing the book...
Chocolate - Regency Style
Hot chocolate arrived in England in the seventeenth century, via Europe. Mrs Whites Chocolate House was founded in 1693, as a club for gentlemen. (It later moved to St James Street and dropped most of the name. You’ll know it as Whites.)
In 1808, chocolate is the preferred morning beverage of my heroine, Ella Melville. The chocolate she enjoyed came as a paste, to be made into a drink with milk, cream, sugar, and flavourings. It would be twenty years before a Dutch chemist would work out a process to separate the cacao butter from the solids, producing Dutch cocoa, which could be powdered. In another 20, Joseph Fry would add some of the melted cacao butter back in and make the world’s first chocolate bar.
But that was far in the future. In Ella’s day, as for thousands of years, chocolate was a drink made from a paste made by crushing fermented, dried and roasted cacao beans. The Mesoamericans, to whom it was a sacred and powerful drink, mixed it with water and flavoured it with chili peppers. The Spanish soon learned to add sugar or honey, to remove the bitterness.
Here’s how Miller, Ella’s maid, would have prepared her chocolate.
Put a pot of water on the heat and over it place a heat-proof mixing bowl. The bowl should not touch the water. Add a dollop of chocolate paste (you can use bittersweet chocolate, around 1.5 ounces) and a small splash of water. Melt the chocolate paste gently, stirring now and then.
Take one cup of milk and one cup of cream, and place in a pan over medium heat. Bring it to just under a boil. When it is steaming and hot to the touch, add one quarter of a cup of sugar and stir to dissolve.
Stir the milk into the melted chocolate a little at a time, and continue stirring until everything has mixed well. Add flavouring, such as vanilla or nutmeg (or chili, if you’re very brave).
About A RAGING MADNESS
Ella survived an abusive and philandering husband, in-laws who hate her, and public scorn. But she’s not sure she will survive love. It is too late to guard her heart from the man forced to pretend he has married such a disreputable widow, but at least she will not burden him with feelings he can never return.
Alex understands his supposed wife never wishes to remarry. And if she had chosen to wed, it would not have been to him. He should have wooed her when he was whole, when he could have had her love, not her pity. But it is too late now. She looks at him and sees a broken man. Perhaps she will learn to bear him.
In their masquerade of a marriage, Ella and Alex soon discover they are more well-matched than they expected. But then the couple’s blossoming trust is ripped apart by a malicious enemy. Two lost souls must together face the demons of their past to save their lives and give their love a future.
Read an excerpt...
Constance was nearly right.
Even though Ella had managed to dribble at least part of what she secreted in her cheeks onto the pillow without Constance noticing, she was still mazed. Another dose would take her under, but Kerridge resented being forced to a task so beneath her dignity as a dresser, and would do no more than make sure the liquid arrived in Ella’s mouth. She would not insist on waiting until Ella swallowed, would not pinch her nose and hold her jaw shut.
Being too meek would be suspicious. Ella turned her head away from the spoon, her teeth clenched shut, but yelped at Kerridge’s sharp pinch and the dresser immediately forced the spoon into Ella’s mouth.
Glaring sullenly, she stopped struggling, and the dresser withdrew the spoon, stretching her thin lips into a smug smile.
“There, Lady Melville. This would go more easily for you if you would just do as you are told,” she said.
Buy A RAGING MADNESS
About Jude Knight
She writes historical novels, novellas, and short stories, mostly set in the early 19th Century. She writes strong determined heroines, heroes who can appreciate a clever capable woman, villains you’ll love to loathe, and all with a leavening of humour.
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