So it's probably not surprising that the first holiday romance I ever wrote is centred around this season and Halloween itself. The idea came when I caught sight of an event started by Neil Gaiman called All Hallow's Read. When I originally started writing, my central character was a thirteen year old girl called Hallow. But 'she' quickly evolved into a thirty something warlock called Hal, set on performing a forbidden piece of magic on All Hallow's Eve, the night spirits of departed loved ones briefly come back to us.
|Paranormal Romance Short|
GOODREADS | Available at...
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Twelve months ago, Hal's world crashed and burned, taking the love of his life with it. He's waited all year for that one special night when the souls of the departed come home, hoping his candle will summon back one in particular to heal his broken heart. But the forbidden knowledge he's learned could call something far worse, and put more than his own soul at risk...
A Paranormal Romance short story
But as well as sharing my book, I thought I'd share a recipe from it with you. In Hallow's Eve, Hal has a magical housekeeper - a brownie called Hodge - who's a master at making spice elderberry cordial (something I finally got around to making myself this year!). Something to warm you up along with my story. ;)
Hodge's Spiced Elderberry Cordial
1.5 lbs elderberries (or however many you have!)
Remove the elderberries from the stalks using a fork. Place the elderberries in a saucepan with just enough water to cover them, then bring to a simmer and allow them to cook for 20 minutes. The berries will soften and the liquid will be dark red.
Strain out the berries with a sieve or use muslin cloth (crush with a fork or squeeze the cloth to extract as much juice as possible), keeping the juice (be careful as this stains!)
Measure the amount of juice.
Pour the juice back into the empty saucepan. For every 2 cups of juice, add 2 cups of demarara sugar, 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 cloves and the juice from ½ a lemon.
Bring the mixture to a boil and maintain for 15 minutes, stirring regularly to ensure all the sugar dissolves. Remove the cinnamon sticks and cloves. Let the mixture cool while you prepare the bottles.
If you’re planning/able to store the cordial in the fridge, simply clean your storage bottles with hot, soapy water and then rinse in boiling water. Once the bottles are cool, fill with cordial, stopper and store.
Serve diluted with hot water as a warming winter drink and a boost during illness. In folklore elderberries were used as a protection against influenza, and research has now established that elderberry extract is a clinically proven treatment against flu. You could also add the same spices used in mulled wine for a more Christmassy variation.