In my Camelot Reborn series, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table are transplanted to present-day Washington State where they battle to save us from marauding fae. First and foremost, the stories abound with intense romance, but there is also plenty of action, monsters, and a medieval theme park. And food! In Enchanted Guardian, there is a medieval feast. Who doesn’t like smoking hot heroes and smoking hot cuisine?
Historical cooking is one of my hobbies, so I have a good collection of medieval and renaissance recipes. However, when I first started looking into the subject I had very little to go on besides the fact that Robin Hood hunted deer and King Henry ate a lot of chicken, at least in classic movies. As I did more research, I learned the medieval cook did indeed prepare venison and poultry—and whatever else they could catch. If it flew, swam, or ran there is probably a recipe for it. Peacocks roasted and re-dressed in their feathers seem to have been popular.
Depending on time, place, and budget, medieval feasts could get very fancy indeed. These extravaganzas were a show of power and wealth, so ingenuity and spectacle were important. There were many courses interspersed with entertainment, so the meal would start during the day and go on for hours. As for the food itself, while everything was largely seasonal, the flavors could be quite sophisticated. Crusaders who had experienced exotic cuisines in their far-flung travels wanted to enjoy the same treats at home, and increased trade with the East meant cardamom, cinnamon and other spices were available at a cost. The showpiece of the meal would be a “subtlety,” which was usually a dish made to look like something it was not—such as an elaborate gingerbread castle decorated in gold leaf.
Modern recreations of old feasts range in authenticity. Years ago, I went to one at Hatfield Castle that was definitely adapted to modern palates, and the one I describe in Enchanted Guardian is similarly updated.
However, if you want to see a medieval feast brought to life, I recommend the show Heston’s Medieval Feast on YouTube https://youtu.be/TEDnz4vCzAE, in which the chef recreates some of medieval cookery’s greatest hits, including four and twenty blackbirds (still alive) in a pie.
It’s a blast!
Camelot Reborn Series
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Harlequin Nocturne
Date of Publication: August 1 2016
Number of pages: 300
Word Count: 85000
Enchanted Guardian- A love of legendary proportion
In another time, in a place once known as Camelot, they had been lovers. Torn apart by betrayal and lies, Lancelot Du Lac and Nimueh, the Lady of the Lake, had each suffered greatly.
But the magic of the fae had reawakened a man once trapped in stone, and Lancelot was determined to find his long lost love. Only, Nim was desperate to hide her fae soul, as she was marked for death by their mutual enemy.
Though centuries apart had not diminished their passion, they would once again face a dangerous test to prove each was the other’s destiny.
Book Trailer https://youtu.be/btP6qzxOmpk
Lancelot caught her arm, pulling her up short. Nim scowled down at the long, strong fingers. Fine scars ran along his tanned knuckles, evidence of a life around blades. Heaviness filled her, a primitive reaction to the strong, aggressive male taking control of her in the most basic way. Once it might have grown into anger or lust, but now it confused her.
“Take your hand off me,” she said, letting her voice fill with frost.
“No.” He pulled her closer, turning her to face him. “You will answer my questions.”
Nim jerked her arm free. They were so close, she could feel his warm breath against her skin. “About what?”
His nostrils flared as if scenting her. Still, Nim studied his tense jaw and the blood flushing his high cheekbones. The heat of his emotions made her feel utterly hollow. His hand closed around her wrist again, almost crushing her bones.
“There are too many people here,” he growled.
“There are enough people here for safety. Perhaps I don’t want to answer you.”
His eyes held hers a moment, dark fire against the ice of her spirit. That seemed to decide him, for he pulled her close and took a better grip on her arm. “Come with me.”
He didn’t reply, but steered her toward the door, moving so fast she skittered on her heels. She took the opportunity to pull against him, but this time he held her fast. “Don’t.”
The threat was real. Her fighting skills were nothing compared to a knight’s. Lancelot could crush or even kill her with a single blow. Still, that didn’t make her helpless, and she would not let him forget that fact. Rising up on her toes, she put her mouth a mere whisper from his ear. “You forget what I can do. My magic is nothing less than what it was when I was the first among the fae noblewomen. I can defend myself against your brute strength.”
Just not against what he’d done to her heart. She closed her eyes a moment, feeling his breath against her cheek and remembering the past for a long moment before she denied herself that luxury. “Let me go,” she repeated.
In response, he pulled her to the side of the building, refusing to stop until he was deep into the shadows. The ground was little more than cracked concrete there, tufts of grass straggling between the stones. He pushed her against the siding, her back pressed to the rough wood. “Not until I’ve had my say.”
He had both of her arms now, prisoning Nim with the hard, muscled wall of his chest. Anyone walking by might glimpse two lovers in a private tête-à-tête, but Nim drew back as far as she could, something close to anger rising to strike. No one handled her this way, especially not him.
“Then talk,” she said through gritted teeth.
“Aren’t you even surprised to see me?” he demanded.
“Why should I be?” She needed to squash any personal connection between them. Even if she was whole and their people were not at war, he had betrayed her.
He put a hand against her cheek, his fingers rough. She jerked her chin away, burning where his touch had grazed her.
But he was relentless. “I’m told you were caught by Merlin’s spell along with the rest. I know what the fae have become.”
Soulless. As good as dead inside. Lancelot didn’t say the words, but she heard them all the same. “It’s true,” she replied. “It’s all true.”
His expression was stricken as if hearing it from her lips was poison. Good, she thought. Better to be honest. Better that he believe her to be the monster she was.
“Maybe that’s true for some. I don’t believe that about you. You still have too much fire.”
With that, he claimed her mouth in an angry kiss. Nim caught her breath, stifling a cry of true surprise. The Lancelot she’d known had been gentle and eager to please. Nothing like this. And yet the clean taste of him was everything she remembered.
His mouth slanted, breaking past the barrier of her lips to plunder her mouth. The hunger in him was bruising, going far beyond the physical to pull at something deep in her belly. Desire, perhaps, or heartbreak. She wasn’t sure any longer, but she couldn’t stop herself from nipping at his lip, yearning to feel what she had lost. A sigh caught in her throat before she swallowed it down. Surely she was operating on reflex, the memory of kisses. Not desire she might feel now. The warmth and weight of him spoke to something older than true emotion. Even a reptile could feel comfort in the sun. Even she…
Still, that little encouragement was all the permission he needed to slide his hand up her hip to her waist and she could feel the pressure of his fingers. Lancelot was as strong as any fae male, strong enough certainly to overpower her. That had thrilled her once, a guilty admission she’d never dared to make. She’d been so wise, so scholarly, so magical, but an earthy male had found the liquid center of heat buried under all that logic and light. They had always sparked like that, flint against steel.
But then his hand found her breast and every muscle in her stiffened. This was too much. Memory was one thing, but she wasn’t the same now and she refused to have a physical encounter that was nothing more than a ghost of what it should be.
Nim pushed him away. “I don’t want this.”
Something in her look finally made him stop, but his eyes glittered with arousal. “Are you certain about that?”
About the Author:
Sharon Ashwood is a novelist, desk jockey and enthusiast for the weird and spooky. She has an English literature degree but works as a finance geek. Interests include growing her to-be-read pile and playing with the toy graveyard on her desk. As a vegetarian, she freely admits the whole vampire/werewolf lifestyle would never work out, so she writes her adventures instead.
Sharon is the winner of the RITA® Award for Paranormal Romance. She lives in the Pacific Northwest and is owned by the Demon Lord of Kitty Badness.
Facebook Fanpage: https://www.facebook.com/authorsharonashwood