Tag Archives: Olivia Waite

Awesome Guest Olivia Waite Talks Ice Cream Etc.

Friends, this post is fantastic. We’ve got Olivia Waite visiting! I wanted to preface it with what is (obviously the truth) in a positive message first. For me, I’m drinking right now. [Fill glass with ice. Add as much mango absolut as you like, then fill with limeade. You’re welcome.] Life is … is. But this post totally made me smile. And wish I was a) close enough and b) good enough friends to stop by and visit Olivia. And demand ice cream.

Most of the time, I’m not much of a cook, but that’s because one cannot live on ice cream. (Though one has considered trying.) And ice cream is the thing that will get me to spend significant time in the kitchen.

It began with vanilla, the most underrated of flavors. Then strawberry, a delight. Then I got fancier and tried a mint-chocolate-chip recipe. This resulted in a disastrous, drippy brown log studded with powdery pillow mints that was the least appealing dessert I have ever seen in my life. I actually brought it to the party anyway, just to hear others confirm its repellant qualities. By tweaking the recipe, driven by fury and disappointment, I managed to produce a tasty green ice cream with tiny chocolate flakes in it — and then my roommate of the time suggested adding rum.

Her suggestion was inspired. And it started me thinking about ice cream as something other than an innocent children’s dessert.

Further experiments followed with varying success. Pear-ginger sorbet for a vegan friend’s wedding: marvelous! Orange-avocado sorbet: finicky! One batch failed, another was delicious. The whole time I was trolling for recipes on the internet, learning the ways of a new canister-based freezer rather than my old-fashioned ice-and-rock-salt electric churn, and feeling like I’d hit a plateau in terms of my ice-cream-concocting skills.

A chance conversation with the lovely Limecello on Twitter led me to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. The flavors were daring and sophisticated — sweet corn and black raspberries! Cherry lambic sorbet! And she had a cookbook full of recipes! I immediately promised myself I’d order a copy from my local independent bookstore the next time I was in.

Then a lightbulb burned out. I went downstairs for a new one, opened a drawer, and as if by magic there lay a copy of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home. An inscription on the inside cover told me it was a bridal gift that I had put away in a flurry of wedding-related stress and promptly forgotten.

I ran back upstairs, gleefully reported to Lime what I’d found, and arranged to try a recipe and blog about my results. I chose the Toasted Brioche Ice Cream with Butter and Jam in honor of my most recent release, Hell and Hellion — released yesterday! — which features a scene where my incubus hero discovers the pleasures of toast with butter.

Readers, this recipe was brilliant. I was anxious at first, since there were so many unfamiliar steps and ingredients. Corn starch and corn syrup? Was I really supposed to bring the cream to a boil? And was butter ice cream really a good idea in the first place? Jeni’s instructions were precise and detailed and I decided to trust her — grinding bread crumbs and clarifying butter and whipping the cream cheese in with the salt. By the time I poured the base into the freezer I was starting to grow optimistic. When I finally added the bread crumbs and raspberry sauce and took a bite, I’m not going to lie: I teared up a little.

This ice cream is thick and creamy and comforting. The bread crumbs add a savory note without being at all gritty. The raspberry sauce is bright and adds just the right balance of tart and sweet. It is the dessert equivalent of a jam sandwich and one of the most wonderfully British things I have ever tasted.

And the best part: I have enough ingredients left over to try a second recipe! As soon as the canister refreezes…

Olivia Waite writes historical and paranormal romance for Ellora’s Cave. She can’t decide which ice cream she wants to make next: Chamomile Chardonnay or Goat Cheese with Red Cherries.

Ms. Waite is also giving away a copy of Hell and Hellion – isn’t that an awesome title? So, what do you think of ice cream? Ever try to make it on your own? Ever have the opportunity to have Jeni’s Ice Cream? I personally have tried, and not done that well, but I don’t have a copy of that cookbook. I have been to Jeni’s before though, and if I could I’d move into one of her shops. 

Random Guest: Olivia Waite

So, everyone, you’re in for a treat today! Less of my babble, and more from a guest author! I also really like this topic, because as you can see, I like flowers and gardening as well. (Yes, all those pictures of flowers on my header/background? I took them in or around my parent’s house.) Anyway. Olivia Waite is here to talk about, well, gardening, in a way, with a really sweet post.)

My family is full of women who are gardeners — my mother, my grandmother, my great-grandmother, my aunt. There seems to be a mysterious genetic switch that gets flipped at some point and sends us into a tizzy of weeding, planting, fertilizing, pruning, and trimming.

I’m nearing thirty, and that switch is still unflipped. Every houseplant I’ve tried to tend has died. My own small backyard is a wilderness in miniature. There are the usual dandelions, strange green grasses, some small blue flowers I find appealing in a Sound of Music kind of way, and a few menacing raspberry vines that should probably be taken care of now while they’re still young and weak. If we let them get too firm in the root, they could take over the whole backyard and make it really difficult for our miniature dachshund puppy to do his business. He’s having a hard enough time with the dandelions, most of which are taller than he is.

But I must admit it’s fun to watch him sniff the white dandelion clocks and sneeze when they tickle his nose. At eight months of age, he’s never seen spring before, and it’s clearly puzzling him why the garden that was a damp and frigid huddle of muck in the winter should suddenly smell so different and grow so full of stuff.

Part of the challenge with our backyard is that it’s difficult by nature: one half is at the base of a small hill and stays perennially damp and shady, while the other half has been dried out by the leavings of the former tenant’s two dozen cats (seriously — she was kicked out by the housing board and the whole place remodeled) and not even the dandelions will touch it. The week before I got married, my mother and bridesmaids cleared out every weed in the place and put in some lovely desert grasses that were less lovely when they drowned a week later while we were on our honeymoon. I don’t want to put in anything else just to watch it die — and so, the weeds live on, smug and victorious.

And yet — I dream of moss.

Someday, when the gardening gene kicks in, I will take out all the tall plants and transplant as many kinds of moss as I can find locally or purchase in specialty stores. I did a lot of research once I realized how poor our backyard was. Moss is fairly forgiving and needs only shade and water, things we have in abundance. What’s more, there’s something soothing about moss gardens, the softness and the gentleness of them. A moss garden sounds like an excellent place for writing.

Last fall, in the flush of enthusiasm, I actually cleared a small space and gave moss transplanting a try. The transplant not only survived but flourished — and I’ve noticed other patches growing on their own around the yard, at least three different species. My transplant is a small, brilliant patch of emerald to the right of the backdoor steps. Every time I see it my heart lifts a little.

There may be hope for me as a gardener yet.

Olivia Waite stole her first romance novel at the age of five from her mother’s bedside table. She kept reading them secretly all through college and graduate school, until finally she sat down and put together a book of her own. 

Now she writes some very scandalous historical novellas for Ellora’s Cave. Caffeine gives her superpowers–or at least makes her feel that way. She lives in the Seattle area, blogs frequently, and loves emails, postcards, skywritten messages, and communication of all kinds.

Olivia has very kindly offered to do a giveaway here today, and two lucky commenters will win a book! So tell me. What do you think of gardening? Do you have a green thumb or a black thumb? Did you grow up with anyone who loved to garden?

And of course, questions for Olivia about her books are always welcome!