Welcome to my Friday bonus feature called Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **Author Special**!! Today, in lieu of one of my own recipes, I’m going to introduce you to a new author who will share one of her favorite recipes. Not only will you and I occasionally learn how to make something new and delicious, but we’ll get a chance to check out some wonderful authors. Introducing author, JUDITH HUDSON, and her favorite recipe for JUDY’S FAMOUS FIG & GINGER JAM.
Hi, Everyone. Thanks for having me on your Killer Fixin’s blog this week, Karen. Before I get started, I want to tell the readers that I’m offering the 100-page prequel of the Fortune Bay series FREE until the end of August. No strings. Just free. You’ll find the links at the end of this blog, so read on!
THE GOOD NEIGHBOR
The Fortune Bay Series Book Two
By JUDITH HUDSON
What if the man of your dreams turns out to be your worst nightmare?
Frankie Alvarez has built a life for herself in Fortune Bay, has a good job at the high school and a bungalow on Fortune Bay. She hasn’t spoken to her father in three years, but he still sends a her check every month. And every month she rips it up.
Sean Murphy, her new neighbor in the cabin next door, is just the kind of successful young exec’ Frankie’s father wanted her to marry. Although she can’t help responding to his charms, she’s looking for someone completely different.
When Sean discovers Frankie’s estranged from her father, he can’t resist stepping in behind her back. After all, he’d give anything for someone to tell him what happened to the daughter he gave up fifteen years ago.
THE GOOD NEIGHBOR
The Fortune Bay Series Book Two
By JUDITH HUDSON
My readers said they wanted to know more about Stephanie, the matriarch of the Murphy family, so in The Good Neighbor, I decided to give Stephanie a romance of her own.
Max walked around the corner of the house into Stephanie’s back yard. The warm breeze off the lake smelled sweet as honey wine. “Steph?”
A disembodied voice floated to him on the wind. “Over here.”
He scanned the yard and noticed a tree the size and shape of an elephant, up against one of the out buildings, shivering, its big, lobed leaves quaking. He headed over and stepped under the trellis that held up the long, knotted branches. Sunlight penetrated the translucent leaves creating a cool and ethereal bower.
“The figs are in!” Stephanie’s triumphant voice emerged from inside the tree. A stepladder with two feet perched on a rung halfway up, leaned against the arbor. Long, firm legs rose from there, ending where Stephanie’s baggy green shorts disappeared into the dense leafy branches.
“Help me,” she said, her hand appearing beneath the canopy of leaves, cupping a succulent green fruit.
Max took the warm fig from her hand. He’d never seen fresh figs before. So soft you couldn’t pile them without them losing their shape, he placed it carefully into the cardboard flat at the foot of the ladder.
Splat! One fell at his feet, bursting like a water balloon.
“Sorry.” Stephanie’s voice was muffled by the layers of leaves between them. He bent over to look at the fallen fruit more closely. It had broken open on impact, revealing bright pink flesh inside that looked like a million tiny caterpillars.
“Are they supposed to look like that?”
“Well, that one is very ripe. Here, take these.”
He reached a hand up by her hip to take the next handful, fully aware he could have run his hand right up her leg and into those baggy shorts. Instead he placed the fruit on the flat, then gazed around, suddenly seeing hundreds of camouflaged green orbs, the same luminous colour as the leaves. A wasp buzzed past his ear and settled on the mashed fruit at his feet.
“Can I help?” He reached up and gingerly touched a fig sticking out from a branch. Having seen how soft they could be, he was afraid to squeeze it, but this one was as firm as a zucchini so he left it on the tree. “How do you tell if they’re ripe?”
“They hang pendulously,” Stephanie said. “And the colour changes, takes on a yellowish cast.”
Now he could see the difference. Some of the fruit stuck straight out from the branches, but others had developed a suggestive droop. Like a ripe breast. He reached out and held the weight of one in his hand and could tell without squeezing that it was ready. With the fruit in his palm, he pulled the fig towards him and it tore away leaving a shred of green skin attached to the branch. The fruit oozed a few white drops of a liquid into his hand.
This just gets more and more suggestive, he thought, a grin on his face as he bent over and set it gently with the others.
Stephanie took a step backwards down the ladder, the green shorts stretched over her round bottom coming down to eye level. Her hands were full of fruit and the ladder wobbled as she took another step. Max reached out to steady the ladder with one hand on either side as she continued to climb down, into the circle of his arms. When she turned around, she smiled.
They were in her yard, yet the bower screened them in a private world.
She met his eyes. “Let me put these down.”
He stepped back, sorry to see the moment pass, kicking himself for not taking the chance while he had her in his arms. As she bent over to the cardboard flat, her breasts swayed pendulously, brushing his arm. His eyes swelled. She wasn’t wearing a bra.
She stood up, stepped back into his space and met his gaze. Was that a smile on her full luscious lips? His arms reached out and there, in the green glow under the arbour, pulled her into an embrace. A forbidden, Garden of Eden embrace.
Their lips touched gently, exploring, and her hands came up to his shoulders. He deepened the kiss and her lips softened in response. His hands dropped to her waist, brushing the sides of her free-hanging breasts. Not grabbing, not even really touching, just feeling the weight.
And she laughed, rich and deep. She’s ripe too, he thought, his head reeling with the suggestion.
Then she stepped back and bent to pick up the flat of fruit and, as they emerged into the sunlight, the moment became like a scent left in the bower. But he would remember the feel of her, and the taste, and promised himself he’d taste it again.
“A drink?” she asked. “It must be that time.”
He followed her back to the house and when they were sitting in the screen porch, drinks in their hands, she said, “That was great, but—aren’t you married?”
“Sort of.” How could he explain the woman who called herself his wife? He was unable to put the cold years into words, too shy to admit that this was what he wanted.
She looked at him directly, obviously amused by his reply. “I can’t have an affair with a sort-of-married man.”
“I know,” he said.
They finished their drinks in companionable silence as the blue of evening fell around them.
Judy grew up in Toronto Canada and St. Louis MO, then moved to the Pacific Northwest where she now lives on beautiful Vancouver Island.
Her romantic women’s fiction series, Fortune Bay Books, is set in the Pacific Northwest. In each book, someone at a crossroads of their life moves into a ramshackle cabin on Majestic Lake where they work through their problems with the help of friends and family, and the occasional nudge from the friendly spirit of Aunt Augusta. If a romance grows in the process, and it always does, well, so much the better.
As an landscape artist and photographer, the setting of the story is very important to Judy. “I’ve painted in the area for many years and I think it helps me make the setting real for the reader, helps draw them into the story. My characters are often artists, like Maddie, the darkroom photographer in Summer of Fortune who is at Fortune Bay for the summer to work on her first professional show, and Stephanie, the widowed matriarch of the clan who is finding a new life as a painter.”
Look for all 4 books of the Fortune Bay series to come out in 2016. The introductory novella Lake of Dreams is already out in eBook form, and next up is Summer of Fortune, the first full length book in the series, available in eBook and trade paperback June 17, 2016.
Links to Judith’s Website, Books, & Social Media:
I hope you enjoy the recipe Judy is sharing with us today on Karen’s Killer Fixin’s. Happy eating!
P.S. We’re at 274 recipes and counting with this posting. Hope you find some recipes you like. If this is your first visit, please check out past blogs for more Killer Fixin’s. In the right hand column menu, you can even look up past recipes by type. i.e. Desserts, Breads, Beef, Chicken, Soups, Author Specials, etc.
JUDY’S FAMOUS FIG & GINGER JAM
[Makes 6 pints (or 12 half pints, as Judy does)]
Prepare jars by your usual method for jam. I use the jars-in-hot water-in-the-oven-and-rings-and-lids-boiling-on-the-stove method.
Put following ingredients into a large pot:
- 7cups ripe figs, washed, diced – about 15 – 18 lg. figs
- 8 1/2cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tbspground ginger
- 1 ripe cooking apple, peeled and diced small (for pectin)
- 4 tbsp crystallized stem ginger, chopped roughly
- 5 tbsp white or cider vinegar
- 3 lemons, juice only
- 1 cup water
Mix in a large pot over low heat until sugar has dissolved.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until fruit is soft.
Skim off foam as needed.
Pour into sterilized jars. Cover and seal by your favorite method.
Label and store in a cool dark place for 2-3 weeks to allow the amazingly rich flavors to develop.
[Adapted from a BBC Food Recipe by CJ Jackson]
**SPECIAL GIVEAWAY**: Judith is giving away the 100-page prequel to the Fortune Bay Series FREE on Amazon, nook, kobo and iTunes store to every reader who stops by Karen’s Killer Fixin’s blog. Thank you, Judith, for sharing your stories and recipe with us.
Don’t miss the chance to read these books!