Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Memories Taste of This ...by Sheila Claydon


Typing The End is the best and the worst part of finishing a book.  I've just done that, which means I'm about to say goodbye to Miss Locatelli. One more check when the manuscript comes back from the editor and then it will be out there. The thousands of words I've wrestled with for the past few months won't belong to me anymore, they'll belong to my readers.

The fact that all those words have finally been shaped into a story I'm happy with, is, of course, the best part. Seeing it published is pretty good too. So what is the worst part? It's saying goodbye to the characters I've lived with for so long, and it's saying goodbye, too, to the memories.

Miss Locatelli is set in London and Florence which are both places I know quite well. I worked in London for a number of years and lived a short rail journey away for even longer. In Florence my Italian friends took me to every corner of the city as well as the surrounding countryside when I visited them, so using both places as a background was easy. The difficult bit was the editing because Miss Locatelli is a romance not a travelogue. For me it was also a trip down memory lane.

My hero and heroine visited places I hadn't expected to see again and they let me choose what they were going to do each day as well. I was also allowed to decide what they ate, which was wonderful because I love Italian food. One of their best and happiest meals was roasted eggplant with tomatoes, so if you want to experience a little of their life, here is the recipe.

1 large eggplant cut into cubes
4 large plum tomatoes cored and quartered
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar
3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 450F/230C.  Toss eggplant and tomatoes with oil and vinegar, then spread out on overproof dish. Sprinkle with most of oregano plus black pepper and sea salt. Stirring occasionally, roast for between 30-40 minutes until eggplant is tender and golden brown. Transfer to serving dish. Sprinkle with feta and the rest of the oregano. Serve with stuffed zucchini and a large glass of chilled white wine.

Enjoy!

Now, meal eaten and the journey through my memories complete, I'm saying goodbye to Miss Locatelli and the whole cast of characters who were part of her story. So what is next? A new book of course, and this one will probably include a bit of time travel as well.

You can find more of Sheila Claydon's books at


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