This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
I'm sure Claire Sandy writes books just for me. Her first, What Would Mary Berry Do?, had a fabulous picture of a huge squashy cake on the front cover. And the story inside was brilliant. With her second novel, A Very Big House in the Country, could she top that?
Well, yes, quite frankly. Claire is fast becoming one of my favourite writers. Her characters are real and relatable and her plot and subplots are also real and relatable – all set against a wonderful backdrop of a stunning house in the Devon countryside. Her main character, in this case Evie Herrera, is strong and funny. There is no man coming to save the heroine in this novel.
And, to top it all off, there are so many foodie mentions. I love it. We always know what they're eating. I honestly felt like I was on holiday with them all. (I wish I was.)
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Evie and Shen are unlikely best friends. Shen is a Yummy Mummy. An Uber Mummy. And Evie is most definitely not. But the friendship works. (It is just a pity their husbands don't feel the same way about each other.) They decide to rent a beautiful house together in Devon for their summer holiday along with a third family they know. Unfortunately, the third family aren't able to come, so the replacement family – found by Shen – are a little weird.
Along with the six adults there are a handful of teens, a smattering of young ones, a nanny and a baby. And that's all I'm going to tell you about the plot. Just read and enjoy.
In the novel, Evie makes a plum crumble using the fruit off the tree in the garden. (I'd really like to go on holiday with Evie.)This crumble recipe is large – enough for 12 hungry people.
One very large baking dish.
For the filling:
Plums, enough to fill the crumble dish half way.
Sugar, to taste.
For the crumble:
450g self-raising flour
Brown sugar for sprinkling
- Pre-heat oven to 160 fan.
- Wash the fruit, remove the bits of stalk and scatter into the crumble dish. Sprinkle with enough sugar to taste. (This will depend on the sharpness of the fruit.)
- In a bowl mix together the flour and sugar. Add the butter and use your fingers to rub in so it resembles fine breadcrumbs. (An electric mixer makes this easier.)
- Pour over the fruit and place in the oven for 30-40 minutes.
- Serve hot or cold with cream, ice-cream or custard.