This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
The Secret Shopper's Revenge by Kate Harrison is about three women. Emily, Sandie and Grazia. They come together as secret shoppers, as 'Charlie's Shopping Angels', and end up forming a tight friendship.
Emily is a new mum, and describes herself as a country bumpkin who has moved to London. She should be sharing the parental responsibility with her husband, only he's gone off to Switzerland. Then we have Sandie, store manager from Garnetts, incredibly loyal and good at her job. Then she gets stitched up by an ambitious colleague. And finally Grazia, a recent widow. Her husband was a successful artist but Grazia's bank balance is extremely low. Secret shopping is a way for her to keep up with the latest cars, to peruse the shops and make purchases, without affecting her bank balance any further.
Their secret shopping becomes successful until one day they're asked to secretly film the Bells & Whistles store in Heartsease Common. The three women's lives are hutling towards a conclusion, yet, each has to go through a personal journey, each has to find answers and strength within themselves. And when Emily is chatting to Grazia one day, she is concerned. Grazia looks pale. When Emily learns this is because she hasn't eaten all day she marches her off for cake. The WI's finest ginger cake no less. Because 'in Emily's world' (and mine!), 'cake appears to be the answer to all problems.'
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This is my favourite ginger cake recipe that I have used for years. Great for emergencies when cake is required.
Scales, liquid measurer (i.e. a jug with millimetres marked on), small saucepan, mixing spoon and bowl, 2lb loaf tin and liner.
- 100g/4 oz butter
- 175g/6oz black treacle
- 50g/2oz golden syrup
- 150ml/1/4 pint milk (I use full fat but use whatever you have)
- 225g/8oz plain flour
- 3 tsp ground ginger (I use heaped teaspoons – but that’s my preference)
- 2 tsp mixed spice (again, heaped!)
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- pinch of salt
- 50g/2oz soft brown sugar
- 2 large eggs (if you only have small eggs then use three)
1. The first thing you want to do is weigh the butter, treacle and syrup. The easiest way to do this is by weighing directly into a small saucepan.
2. Measure out the milk in a jug.
3. Once the butter has melted and you’ve stirred to combine with the syrup and treacle pour into the jug which contains the milk.
4. Allow to cool.
5. While the liquid is cooling mix together all of the dry ingredients. Flour, spices, salt, bicarbonate of soda and sugar. Get your hands in and make sure the sugar has left no lumps.
6. Pre-heat the oven. About 130 fan or 150 regular oven.
7. Once the liquid has cooled pour over the dry ingredients and mix. I actually use a hand whisk here to make sure all the lumps disappear. But that’s not compulsory, you can do it with a spoon.
8. Crack in the eggs and mix so well combined.
9. Place a liner into a tin and pour mixture in.
10. Place into pre-heated oven and cook for one hour.
11. After one hour open the oven. If you press the loaf and it stays indented place back in the oven for five minutes or so. If it springs back remove from oven and leave to cool in the tin.
That’s it. You’re done.
This cake will last ages as long as well wrapped or in an airtight container.