What a marvelous day to celebrate the birth of a magnificent half fae named Tadhg. I can all but guarantee you’re going to fall in love with this roguish fellow if you’re a fan of flirtatious banter and intrigue. And he certainly seems to love a party.

As our second holiday in the 2023 Fantasy Romance Holiday Calendar, we are delighted to welcome Jenny Hickman and her twisty-turny tale of fae love and ever-building romance, A Cursed Kiss. (Be sure you check out the giveaway too!)

This delightful spread is inspired by several of the dishes served throughout the book. They all show up at various points, though I will acknowledge that my fairy wine will not be nearly so potent as what you might otherwise obtain from the fair folk. But as we are trying to keep this legal and fun (and my sources for authentic fairy wine are limited), we’ll just have to make due with what I’ve got.

Tasty Shortbread That May Or May Not Be Poisoned (If I Say It’s Poisoned, I Can Eat It All)

If I hadn’t already decided I loved Tadhg, I would have when we got to his great love of shortbread. Growing up this was one of my favorite recipes right up there next to oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. And frankly, reading this book made me crave shortbread so much I made some as soon as I got to a stopping point.

You really can’t go wrong. It’s so simple and sweet. Even though I personally don’t eat a lot of desserts any more, I have a hard time resisting whenever I make these or my momma does.

I do think that they always disappear way too fast. So maybe a certain half fae is whisking them away when my back is turned (yes, actually I’m sure of that). And I won’t begrudge him that. Especially not on his birthday.

So if you are in the mood for some delicious shortbread, here is a quick and easy recipe you can use.

A couple things I have learned. First, pricking or scoring the shortbread isn’t just for the aesthetic. It helps keep it from bubbling or cracking. Second, sift the flour before mixing to avoid lumps. Third, don’t overmix. Some in my family have also insisted that you should chill it first, but truth be told, I’ve been in such a hurry that I don’t usually. And I probably should do that, but I’m really just in a hurry to get the shortbread.

  • 1 ½ cups of butter at room temperature
  • 3 cups sifted all purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup of sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix the cornstarch and salt. Then beat in the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. If you’re using a hand mixer or a standing mixer, probably about 5 minutes on medium.

Gradually work in the sifted flour until just mixed.

Place the dough on the counter and roll to desired thickness. (My momma uses a rolling pin, but some people use parchment paper and press down with their hands.)

After reaching desired thickness, slice into approximately 1 x 3 inch bars.

Prick a series of holes in the tops.

Bake approximately 60 minutes or until golden brown.

Place in basket and wait for fae.

Savory Lamb or Beef Stew (Delicious Whether Eaten Outdoors or In Close Quarters Or at a Party)

Whether after a long day of traveling or in the middle of festivities, stew is a staple. In A Cursed Kiss, there is quite a fun scene involving lamb stew when they stop off for the night. And I knew I just had to work up a recipe like that.

This is based off Guinness lamb stew, and it is very adaptable.

If you do not have access to affordable lamb or would just prefer to use beef, follow the same instructions.

If cooking with lamb and aren’t familiar with it, it can sometimes be a bit fattier than a beef chuck roast so you may have to skim it off if you feel like it’s getting a little too greasy.

What I do love about this recipe is that you can also make it stretch if necessary (like say visitors drop in to visit you).  

  • 3 lb chuck roast or 3 lbs lamb
  • Flour for browning the meat
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Oil for searing the meat
  • Six cups of beef stock or chicken stock
  • 1 onion
  • 6 potatoes
  • 3 parsnips
  • 2 turnips
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • Guinness or a comparable stout
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • a few cloves of garlic (a whole head if you’re like me)

Optional: if you don’t want to shred the meat, you can cube it before browning.

Peel and chop all the vegetables.

Dredge the meat in flour and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then brown on all sides.

After browning, remove the meat and set aside. Add a little more oil if needed. Add garlic, onions, and celery. Sauté until tender.

Add the stock, the stout, the vegetables, herbs, and the tomato paste. Return the meat to the pot.

Bring to a boil.

Either transfer to crock pot (3 hours if on high, 8 hours if on low). Or keep on the stove with the lid on and simmer until all vegetables are tender and the liquid cooks down.

If you did not shred the meat, do that before serving. If you notice an oil slick developing on the surface of the stew, skim it off before serving.


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