Whiskey and Wry by Rhys Ford and Vegan Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes (Very Un-PC name I know..But they’re DELICIOUS!!!)

Whiskey&WryLG This was a VERY anticipates sequel…I loved loved Sinner’s Gin and that cliffhanger at the end left me BREATHLESS with wanting Damien’s story. This book is the second in the Sinner Series and it’s the story of Miki’s (who we met in Sinner’s Gin) best friend and band mate Damien Mitchell. Damien’s has been recovering from an accident in a mental institution in Montana and NOTHING about what he’s being told adds up, not his name, his parents, what they tell him about his life before, none of it makes sense…So after an unlikely escape he heads out to San Francisco to find Miki.  While trying to find his friend, Damien runs in to some Irish hotness by the name of Sionn Murphy…These men were so sweet and delicious together I HAD to make something decandet and amazing for them. Irish Car Bomb Vegan Cupcakes is what I came up with, totally politically incorrect name but they are SO GOOD!!!! I promise!! In terms of alcoholic beverages all the booze for this post are actually IN THE CUPCAKES, since we will be using Guiness, Jameson and Bailey’s to make these bad boys!

So GOOD!

So GOOD!

Now on to the story…Damien has been in a mental insitituion where the staff keep telling him he has a different name, history, family and nothing, NOTHING adds up. In the middle of a fire he manages to escape, but before he’s in the clear he has a run in with someone who is obviously trying to off him.he remembers things though he KNOWS who he is and even though his life is completely out of control, and he’s not even sure his memories are real, he must try and find his friend Miki. Miki and music are the two things that no matter who he’s supposed be are real to him as his own skin and bones. he’s got scars and he knows something bad has happened, getting to Miki will help answer those questions.  He’s not sure how or why i, but he heads to San Francisco anyways. He is sure that once he is back with his friend everything will make sense again. Damien makes his way to California, he ends up playing in front of an Irish pub that somehow calls to him. He remembers being there before and he’s drawn to it and it’s owner, Sionn Murphy.  The Irishman is gorgeous and kind to him. So kind, and Damien has been on the road by himself for a long time. A little kindness, some human touch is something HE CRAVES. He’s not even sure he’s gay!! But something about Sionn keeps Damien coming back.

The thing is the dude that tried to kill him getting out of the hospital DOES not give up easy and is on his tail not long after he meets Sionn. Things progress fast, Sionn and Damien are getting much closer and feelings are running deep, but this killer is not only a butcher but he’s FULL ON CRAZAHAYZAY and it becomes personal REAL QUICK. He wants to off everyone in Damien’s life…Damien has a lot of people on his side, but those who want him dead are willing to do what they have to, to get him out of the way.

There’s a twist though, Sionn is in the Murphy family, the same Murphy family that Miki esentially married into recently and once he makes the connection with Damien and Miki he arranges a reunion for his guy with his best friend. This book is a melange of twists and turns. The killer and the man who has hired him seem to stop at nothing to get to Damien and those he loves. It was an intense ride with moments that were gruesome and scary.  Sionn was solid though, once he found Damien and their relationship started to blossom he stood by him until the very end, and Damien let him. This book in so many ways is a straightforward romance, but in the style of this author the mystery and the darkness were just a little disturbing  and a lot engrossing. San Francisco was again perfectly showcased, which I loved. I enjoyed this novel. It was a strong follow up to a very excellent start to this series.

I am looking forward for the next installment and hoping that there are a few more in store.

Whiskey and Wry is for sale at Dreamspinner.com

 

Now the CUPCAKES!! Be warned people these go FAST!

Whiskey and Wry Teaser Pic

For the Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes

1 cup of Guinness

1/2 cup plus two tablespoos of unsweetend almond milk

1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 cups of cake flour

2 tablespoons of cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

3/4 cups of organic cane sugar

1/4 of bittersweet cocoa powder

1/3 cup of canola oil

1/2 teaspoon of salt

Directions

Prehear oven at 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a bowl, adding the beer last and scoop into a lined cupcake tin. Bake for 12 minutes or until done.

 Irish Whiskey and Chocolate Ganache

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate

2 tablespoons of almond milk

2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (I used Jameson)

Directions

Put ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and heat one minute at a time until all ingredients are melted and mixed in. Let cool before using.

Baileys Frosting

3 to 4 cups confections sugar

1/2 cup or 4 ounces of vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance) at room temperatue

3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys

Directions

Whip the margarine in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes. You want to get it very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar and Bailey’s, a few tablespoons at a time. When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, drizzle in the Baileys (or milk) and whip it until combined. If this has made the frosting too thin (it shouldn’t, but just in case) beat in another spoonful or two of powdered sugar.

Special equipment: 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer and a piping bag (though a plastic bag with the corner snipped off will also work)

To fill the cupcakes (Used the Smitten Kitchen recipe for directions) Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped (the fridge will speed this along but you must stir it every 10 minutes). Meanwhile, using your 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes. You want to go most of the way down the cupcake but not cut through the bottom — aim for 2/3 of the way. A slim spoon or grapefruit knife will help you get the center out. Those are your “tasters”. Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.

These cupcakes go best with an awesome cup of coffee or by themselves, while reading Damien and Sionn’s book of course! They are DECANDENT and DELISH!!

Cheers and Happy Reading!

 

Laura

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A Little Bit Country by S.J. Frost with Vegan “Pulled Pork” Sandwiches, Sweet and Cool Creamy Coleslaw and wheat BEER!!!…Wait What?

18192843 WELL…I’ve only been waiting for this book for TWO YEARS, yes TWO YEARS!! This one is SPECIAL my friends.  The backtsory here is that two two of my lovely Goodreads ladies and I ganged up two summers ago and posted a photo for the M/M Romance Group Hot Summer Days event. The wonderful S.J. Frost picked it up, we wanted a country singer and rocker, rivals to lovers story and OHHHHH BOY did we get one! The Little Bit Country Short was DELICIOUS (it also featured a cameo of yours truly and my girls Mel and Tina as awesome fangirls :)) and I was over the moon to hear S.J. was thinking of making Ash and Jackson’s story into a full length novel…Fast forward to two years later and here we are my friends! Ash and Jackson are back, and they are as yummiliscious as EVAH!

Now you might ask yourself…Self? How is Laura going to come up with a dish and bevahRAGE that are down-country like, but with a rocker edge to it?…Well I made me some Vegan “Pulled Pork Sandwiches” and Sweet and  Creamy Coleslaw (also vegan!) that ROCKS THE HOUSE. I DID have to break one rule for these guys though…I just could not come up with a wine I wanted to drink more than the beer I’d be eyeing at the store while buying the stuff for the sandwiches and the coleslaw. Sooooo, for this post I chose a California beer (to give Ash some love) from Sierra Navada Brewery in Chico, California. My choice is SN’s hefeweizen (wheat beer) the Kellerweiss. It’s a delicious summer beer with a nice fresh taste, it’s not hoppy and is really fantastic with food which is high on the spice. And for $8.49 for a six pack…Gyddyup!

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But back to the book…So Jackson Abrams is the hottest thing in Country music, his nemesis Ash Ivers is just as big in the rock music world…They’ve been having a war of words in the media for three years. THREE YEARS, and even though they’ve never met he is sure that whenever he is face to face with the infuriating (and also insanely hot) frontman for the band From Ashes…SPARKS.WILL.FLY. He’s not sure what kind of sparks they will be, but something BIG is going to happen. So when Ash and Jackson end up playing at the same benefit concert for HIV/AIDS Research he finally gets to meet  Ash and as predicted…BOOM!!! Sparks fly every which way and pretty soon Ash is at Jackson’s ranch in complete twitterpatted bliss…Only tiny baby little problem is that Jackson isn’t really OUT, such as you would say OUT of the Closet, because he’s afraid his fans would not go for the Gay Cowboy thing (CRAZY PEOPLE!!!). But as it turns out once they begin their romance he is pushed out of the closet anyways, and in that moment, dealing with all that fallout Ash and Jackson cement what they have and they both realize anything is possible now that they’ve found each other.

This book reminded me a lot of another one of S.J.’s couples, Evan and Jesse, it was very fast romance, but they are so dear and INTO each other (HOT SEX alert!!) that you give them a pass. I enjoyed this book a lot, and I am HOPING that there is more from the cast in this book…Jeremy and the Country Music Executive perhaps?

I totally recommend this one. It is good to the last drop and VERY SMEXY. Sweet, funny, adoorable and please people a rocker AND a cowboy. It’s miracle my kindle didn’t burst into flames while I was reading!

A Little Bit Country will be released on August 16th by  MLR Press

Now here are the recipes. It is fast and delish vegan food for those of us who still my delicious tangy BBQ.

Sweet and Cool Creamy Coleslaw

1/4 cup Raw Cashews
2 tbsp White Onion
5 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 cup Water
1 tsp Agave Nectar
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1/8 tsp Salt
14 oz Coleslaw Salad Mix
Soak cashews in water for an hour then put all the ingredients (except the coleslaw mix) in a blender (I use a Vitamix) and blend to smooth. Mix slaw and dressing and let sit for 45 minutes. I also ass a pinch of mustard seed to the salad with gives it a nice zing.
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Pulled Pork Sandwiches (Makes four sandwiches)
1 package seitan strips sliced thin (I use West Soy Seitan)
For the dry rub:

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp ground mustard

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp of ancho chili powder

pinch garlic powder

pinch onion powder

1 tsp salt

For the wet sauce:

3 Tbsp organic ketchup

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp canola or other neutral oil

1/2 tsp tamarind paste ( I used tamaring chutney)

1/4 c. water

2 tsp maple syrup

Directions:

Stir in dry rub into the seitan strips and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Once seitan has marinated with dry rub, in a large skilled put a 1/2 tablespoon of oil and sautee, onions and garlic until fragrant. Once the onions have browned add the seitan and stir for a couple of minutes. Add the wet sauce to the mix and simmer for  a few minutes.

Divide evenly amongst your bread or rolls and serve topped with coleslaw and sweet pickles. I also served it with my favorite  vegetarian baked beans (from a can, cuz I ain’t a machine!!). This is a delicious comfort food type of meal, served with a super cold beer, together with a little bit of Ash and Jackson to read it’s the perfect way to spend a summer evening!

Cheers and Happy Reading!

Laura