Friday, January 8, 2016

Dish The Pie With Monique and Guest Nicole Fitton #Chicklit with a twist & Sticky Toffee Pudding

Dish The Pie With Monique and Nicole Fitton

I know! Two lush pie recipes in one week. Forget the New Year diet and let's eat pie, and talk books! Today I'm dishing pie with Nicole Fitton and talking about her book, All Tomorrow’s Parties. Welcome Nicole, so happy to have you here. I can't wait to hear about your book, but before we do, I have to ask you...

Do you like desserts? What is your favourite and would you share the recipe with us?

Nicole: I love desserts, probably a bit too much for my own good. My absolute favourite is Sticky Toffee Pudding. It sings of winter evenings by the fire, real comfort food. Perfect for this time of year, although I could eat it at any time of year to be honest! My recipe is so simple to make I can promise you that once you’ve made it you will want to make it again!

Monique: Ohhh...I just love this pudding all warm and sticky. Let’s have the recipe, then!

Sticky Toffee Pudding
Serves 4

75g/2 3/4 oz Sultanas 
150g/5 ½ oz stoned dates chopped
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp butter, plus extra for greasing
200g/7 oz soft light brown sugar
2 eggs
200g/7 oz self raising flour; sifted

Sticky Toffee Sauce:

2 tbsp butter
175ml/6 fl oz double cream
200g/7 oz soft brown sugar
Zested rind of 1 orange
Freshly whipped cream to serve ( optional)


1. To make the pudding put the sultanas, dates and bicarbonate of soda into a heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water and leave to soak.

2. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Grease a round cake tine, 20cm/8 inches in diameter.

3. Put the butter in a separate bowl, add the sugar and mix well. Beat in the eggs, then fold in the flour. Drain the soaked fruit, add to the bowl and mix. Spoon the mixture evenly into the prepared cake tin.

4. Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for approx. 35-40 minutes. The pudding is cooked when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

5. About 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time
Image from Ocado.Com
make the sauce. Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat. Stir in the cream & sugar, bring to the boil stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 mins.

6. Turn out the pudding onto a serving plate & pour over the sauce. Decorate with the orange zest and whipped cream if desired.

Remember the recipe is for 4, although you will definitely be tempted to eat more than 1 portion!!!! Enjoy.

Monique: Have you ever eaten pie for breakfast, Nicole? If so, what was it?

Nicole:  I must admit I have not. I shall make 2016 the year that I do. I’m thinking apple crumble as that’s vaguely breakfastie! Oh am I missing the point? OK well then it would have to be flapjacks, something with a bit of a bite!

Monique: LOL. That’s cheating! How important is humour to you?

Nicole: Humour is really important to me. Humour has stood me in good stead over the years and even in the darkest of days it helps to shine a bright light. Throughout my career whether in PR or nursing, humour has been there helping to smooth out the bumps. I try to get a bit of humour into most things I write. It’s part of who I am so I try to make it a part of my characters too.

Monique: I do love a book with humour. How often do you laugh?

Nicole: I laugh every day. Whether it’s the dog being cheeky (and believe me she is very cheeky) or laughing because I’m embarrassing the kids. I try to embarrass the kids at least once a day! They are teenagers now and think that mums can’t be cool, after all, we’re mums! How wrong they are right??

Monique: Absolutely! There’s nothing like the joy of embarrassing one’s kiddies. What’s your philosophy in life?

Nicole: My philosophy in life is to live each day to the max and see where it takes you. As clichéd as that may sound, it is something I wholeheartedly believe in. Each day truly is a gift and cannot be replicated. A few things have happened over the years which make me realise that life is precious and nothing can or should be taken for granted. We are all guilty of complaining about this or that but the reality is we have so much to be thankful for. I try to start each day thinking positively about the day ahead, it doesn’t always work but I try.

Monique: Stellar philosophy. Start each day with thanksgiving. I like it. What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever done?

Nicole: I’m not sure this qualifies as weird or exciting or both but I did once travel in a helicopter over the black forest in Germany with Bon Jovi, now that’s a whole different interview!

Monique: Oh, I would love to hear the details of that story. Thank you so much for joining me on Dish The Pie, Nicole. Would you tell us a bit about your book, please?
All Tomorrow’s Parties 
Nicole Fitton

Set in the music industry of 1980's London, All Tomorrows Parties is a journey through life and love. Laine Marshall isn’t a product of the 1980’s she is the epitome of it. 18 years of age and working for one of the hippest labels around Vestal records. She takes the day to day hedonism of working for Vestal in her stride and experiences every emotion under the sun except the one she craves the most - love. 

She has a DJ boyfriend Danny she ‘likes’ and a music editor lover Tony ‘she could love’, but no smack bang between the eyes kind of love. That is until a chance encounter in Italy sets her pulse racing and her heart in pieces. With her life turned upside down she tries to navigate towards love with tragic consequences. Someone is trying to derail her happiness but who and why? Can her heart be broken and rebuilt?  

Set against a backdrop of pop culture All Tomorrows Parties details what it’s like for a young girl entering the workplace for the first time. Into a world that for all its forward thinking is still struggling with the changing role of women and flavours of this are peppered throughout the book. 

It is a story about the inception, development and completion of love. Sometimes you have to play the cards you’ve been dealt and hope. Hope that there is more than making do, hope that with every set back you grow taller and stronger 18 year old LAINE MARSHALL exemplifies hope.

“Let’s find a café somewhere, grab some lunch and plan our day, agreed?” said Andy as they finally stood on the quayside. 

They made their way to Café Pietro just off St Mark’s Square. After a quick lunch and glass of wine, they all decided to go their separate ways and explore elements of the city that appealed. They agreed to meet back at the quayside to catch the vaporetti at 6pm.

Andy, Pete, Mary and Ella went straight to St Mark’s Basilica whilst John whispered to Laine he had a surprise to show her and they headed off towards the waterfront. “You’re being quite secretive John, what’s this about?”  asked Laine.

“Ah you’ll see”, he said, grabbing her hand and moving towards a small ferry. 

The boat took them to the small island of San Lozarro deli Armeni. The island was home to the order of Mekhitarist Monks, originally from Armenia. John explained that the island had been a place of love for the poet Byron. He knew from their conversations that Byron held a special place in Laine’s life. It was also fortuitous that San Lozarro deli Armeni was also home to some of the world’s rarest roses – a favourite for them both. Walking along the beach that first night, they had both been surprised by the other’s love of roses. It had sparked a debate on the origins of the rose and a discussion around why both the UK and the US had adopted it as their national flower. It had been the first of many coincidences.

As they approached the island they were struck by its beauty. The monastery tower framed picture perfect against the powder blue sky, the jade blue sea contrasting against the backdrop of the soft coral stonework of the island. The island itself seemed to be perfectly square with the monastery centrally placed.

Laine had heard of the island when she had read about Byron’s life and his love of Armenian culture but had never expected she would be able to visit it. “This is amazing John - how did you know about this place?” she said, taking hold of his hand. “One of the guys at the base mentioned it a while back, it’s not that well-known, but really worth the trip. When you mentioned you loved Byron, well, it all kinda fitted together”, he said, squeezing her hand just a little.

They walked hand in hand through the cloisters of San Lorrazo del Armeni. The air was heavy with hints of musk and tea rose. Their olfactory senses at first overwhelmed as the subtle changes in scent presented itself, ebbing and flowing like the tide. The roses in the gardens were nurtured like much loved children, now resplendent in a wild spectrum of colours. A monk knelt, a trug by his side. His secateurs delicately dead heading the myriad of rose bushes. He turned and nodded as they passed.

These roses had seen lovers come and go. The memory of their scent imprinted, able to trigger emotions of either love or sorrow. Petals fell as the breeze drifted through and scattered them onto the cobbled path. A carpet of resplendent blooms in multiple colours lay ahead of them. They walked slowly along the path; petals appeared to drop from the sky as if heralding their arrival. Instinctively, Laine took off her sandals. A mix of smooth velvety gloss and heat from the cobbles tickled the soles of her feet. John smiled. The more time he spent with Laine the more he realised how similar they were –both cherished simple beauty where they found it. 
You can grab your copy of All Tomorrow's Parties from Amazon.

Nicole Fitton is a freelance writer who lives in Devon with her children, husband,10 old hens, 1 very old rabbit, an even older cat and a very young springy springer. Her first novel – All Tomorrow’s Parties released in July 2015 is a contemporary romance set in the heady world of the 1980’s music industry. Chicklit with a twist is how it has often been described and has received many a rave review. Her career to date has spanned 3 decades working in PR and marketing within Europe and the USA. She currently works within healthcare management in the UK. When not ‘doing the day job’ and apart from writing she enjoys field trialing her spaniel (who is very trialing!), playing golf (badly) and drinking copious amounts of coffee. She likes all things shiny and really really likes fast cars.

She is a member of the group Authors Helping Authors. Her second novel is due for release in 2016.

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  1. The recipe sounds delicious! And- the 1980' era. :)

    1. Ah mine too Maureen. All shoulder pads and big hair....those were the days!

  2. Wow! These pies look fantastic! Forget the New Year diet. I'll start next week instead! Nice interview ladies.

    1. Me too mine starts again next week Darcy. Thanks for dropping by :)

  3. The pudding sounds scrumptious, but the recipe does NOT sound easy. Especially since I've never heard of some of the ingredients and the measurements are in the metric system. LOL. Enjoyed the interview. I love your philosophy. It might seem cliche, but if you really practice it, then it's not at all. Your book sounds awesome!

    1. So sorry Alicia, the measurements are UK/European. I've found this site link which converts them here - Not sure which ingredients you've not heard of but self raising is self rising in the US. Should have put a translation in - LOL!! Thanks for the lovely comments about the book.

  4. Both the recipe and the book sound yummy! Great interview. Now about that Bon Jovi story...

    1. Ha, yes! I also meant to mention that. Nicole, you must 'dish' ;) Get it?

    2. I will I will... I used to work for the record company in the International Department. It was a great job, got to see lots of places around the world. I have to say they were some of the nicest people I worked with :)

  5. I'm going to have to write these down!.... on second thought maybe not LOL!

    Sounds yummy...


    1. ha ha yes you must write them down Pam, better still make them and then write a review of them:). Thanks so much for stopping by.

  6. Wishing you much success with your book, Nicole. I'd love to read it, and will add it to my TBR pile. I have a nostalgic connection to that magical era in London.

    What a scrumptious recipe, too, toffee being one of my greatest weaknesses!

    1. Thanks Gemma. I'd love to know what you think (of the book and the pud). Toffee I believe is a weakness of many! Thanks for stopping by.

  7. I, too, love humor. As a teacher, my favorite classes were those where we could laugh daily. Your excerpt is very compelling!

    1. I remember all of my teachers who made me laugh fondly. They made my school days fun. It must have helped you through some of those more challenging moments - teaching is such a demanding job. Glad you like the excerpt. Thanks for stopping by Susan :)

  8. Hi Nicole - always nice to meet another UK author. I enjoyed the excerpt - and I'm certainly going to try the recipe, thanks, it looks delicious!

    1. Thanks Hywela, we certainly have weather in the UK for comfort food! Glad you enjoyed the excerpt and lovely to meet you 😊

  9. Alicia shouldn't feel bad. I had to look up Sultanas. LOL Nicole, the book sounds great. Love the 1980s. But sorry raisins & dates are not for me. Weird, I know.

  10. Should have listed the sultanas as 'big raisins' funny how the words differ. Glad you like the except, if Moniques happy to host me later in the year I'll do a pie without raisins and dates... I'm thinking something with chocolate...

  11. Thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog Monique I've had a ball 😊😊 I'm off to make Maureen Bonatch's peanut butter pie now yummy.


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I greatly appreciate it! :) :)