Monday, October 13, 2014

Culinary Cravings with M S Spencer - Whirlwind Romance

What do pirates, princes, Puritans, and propaganda have in common? Lacey Delahaye, forager and jelly maker, finds out in this romantic suspense set in the western Caribbean.
In the aftermath of a hurricane, Lacey Delahaye finds herself marooned on the Gulf coast of Florida with a mysterious man. They are immediately drawn to each other, but before Armand can confess his identity, they are kidnapped and taken far from civilization to a tiny, remarkable island in the western Caribbean. With the help of her son Crispin, a small, but proud young boy named Inigo, and a cadre of extraordinary characters, Lacey and Armand must confront pirates, power-mad ideologues, and palace intrigue if they are to restore the once idyllic tropical paradise to its former serenity and find lasting happiness.
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The heroine of Whirlwind Romance, Lacey Delahaye, makes jellies from wild fruit she finds in the hammocks and coastal areas of Florida. Here is one of her recipes.
Sumac Jelly
The Florida sumac with edible berries is called shining sumac. Collect the dark red berries in the fall. Keep dry to preserve the malic acid on their skin that gives them their flavor. (Note: You can't mistake Poison Sumac for edible sumac because the poisonous plant has white berries.)
2 cups berries
2 quarts water
Stem but do not wash berries. Soak in hot (not boiling) water for one-half hour, stirring occasionally. Strain through several layers of cheesecloth to remove the hairs.
 3 cups juice
4 ½ cups sugar
1 box powdered pectin
 Bring juice and sugar to a full rolling boil, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved. Add pectin and, stirring constantly, bring to a rolling boil. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat, skim off any foam, and ladle into hot, sterilized jelly jars to within ¼ inch of the top. Wipe rims and place the two-piece canning lids on the jars but do not tighten completely. Turn the jars over and leave upside down for five minutes on a padded rack. Turn upright and tighten the lids completely.
Alternative method: Process filled, tightly closed jars in boiling water for 15 minutes.
Makes about 4 pints.


  1. Thanks for having me! Sumac is one of the few wild fruits easily available--so I hope some of you try the recipe...and read the book for more! M. S.

  2. I'm not sure what Sumac fruit looks like. I've never seen it before. Sounds like a treat though! All the best!

    1. They are berries--panicles of small berries. As long as they're red and not white you can make jelly out of them. In the MIddle East, sumac berries are dried and crushed and used as a spice--very citrusy and lovely on kebabs etc. Thanks for reading!

  3. Thanks for sharing the recipe:D I wonder if you could make a murder mystery by mixing the white and red berries:D


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