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Christmas Blog Party: Victoria & Rosemary Gemmell

I first met Vikki via the awesome power of social media. She had read a short story I'd written for Mslexia magazine, found me on Facebook and wrote me a lovely message to say how much she'd enjoyed it. When you're starting out in writing and don't really have that much faith in your abilities then it's these messages which keep you going. We became FB friends after this and I delighted in hearing of her success in YA fiction. I'm not sure if she knows this either but she was the one who shared the link about the Accent Press writing comp that got me signed so she may very well be the reason I ever got published in the first place! Vikki's mum, Rosemary is also a writer of contemporary romance and historical fiction inspired by her native Scotland. A real pleasure to welcome them here today as a mother and daughter writing duo...

Family Christmas Trifle

Victoria’s Memories:

When asked to write a Christmas recipe themed blog post I realised I would need to enlist the help of my Mum, as I have yet to master her cooking skills.

My Mum’s brilliant trifle is still one my favourite parts of her Christmas Dinner (and the leftovers on Boxing Day always somehow taste better!). My older brother still to this day grumbles about how I was allowed to scoop off the topping of custard and cream, leaving behind the less appealing jelly and fruit, when I was much younger. I think it was my Gran who first indulged this, maybe because she secretly wanted to do the same! (I now eat the whole thing, though still try to sneak a slightly larger helping of the topping).

When I was growing up I often attempted to help my Mum make things in the kitchen, or insisted on conjuring up something myself… I think my Mum would agree that ‘conjuring’ is an accurate description of some of the weird baking treats I produced, as I hate to follow recipes (and I wasn’t enough of a natural baker/cook for it all to work out okay in the end). I like to think some of my more recent creative experiments have been more of a success, but I will still leave Christmas dinner in the capable hands of my Mum!

Rosemary’s Memories:

It was my mother-in-law who first introduced me to the idea of having trifle as dessert for our family Christmas dinner. I still remember her large square-shaped glass bowl containing the luscious layers of jelly and fruit, custard and cream and as soon as I took over hosting our festive meal, I began making my own version of trifle.

Sine my two children were very young, I omitted the sherry and this is the version I’ve stuck with ever since. However, we loved the story my mother-in-law told about her strictly teetotal minister who hailed from the east coast of Scotland. When invited to dinner on one occasion, he had second helpings of her famous trifle before complimenting its taste with great appreciation. “Oh, that’ll likely be the liberal amount of sherry,” his hostess replied. His face must have been a picture!

Even though my children are grown up with homes of their own, our traditional festive dessert is still my old favourite recipe for raspberry trifle. Christmas wouldn’t be the same without it.

Simple Trifle

  1. Dissolve one tablet of raspberry jelly in a pint jug of warm water.

  2. While it cools, lay thin slices of raspberry jam roll in the base of a large glass bowl.

  3. Cover the sponge with a thin layer of the cooled jelly liquid and leave until almost setting before pouring in the remainder of the jelly.

  4. Add fresh raspberries into the jelly and sponge, or a drained tin of raspberries or fruit cocktail (in natural juice, not syrup) and place in the fridge until set.

  5. Once completely set, remove from fridge and add a pint of thick homemade custard or a carton of fresh, ready-made chilled custard over the jelly mixture and return to fridge.

  6. Whip a carton of double or whipping cream until fairly firm then carefully spread it with a wide palette knife over the top of the custard to complete the trifle layers. Decorate as you wish!

I must admit Christmas is not the same without a trifle. Thank you so much for this recipe and I love the anecdote about the teetotal minister!! Christmas is the perfect time to sneak a bit of alcohol in whenever you can!

About the Authors:

Victoria Gemmell lives in Renfrewshire and has been writing for many years. Her debut Young Adult mystery, Follow Me, is currently out in paperback and is available to buy on Amazon:

Follow Me centres around 17-year-old Kat Sullivan who is drawn into the mysterious and alluring world of the Barn, a hangout modeled on Andy Warhol's Factory, as she investigates the unexplained death of her twin sister Abby.

You can find out more about Victoria and her writing at her author website:

Rosemary Gemmell’s latest novel, Return to Kilcraig, is a sweet romantic suspense set in the west of Scotland. You can find all her books on her Amazon Author Page:

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