I'm not sure I can write about Shirley without getting a bit emosh. I first met her back in 2002. We were both field researchers who had been paired together in a project run by Southampton University. It meant we cultivated a friendship sat in my rusty Micra usually in traffic on the North Circular/M25/both usually chatting about anything and everything, and warding off rogue car window washers. We both loved reading, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and have been firm friends ever since. Quite coincidentally, we both fell into writing at separate times in our lives but again, it turned out to be something that connected us. Shirley introduced me to short story writing, Twitter and has also acted as editor and my main source of counsel when things have gone... well, tits up, writing wise. By some sheer twist of fate, our novels were published this year within a month of each other. I am honoured to have her on my blog and urge everyone to go out and read her fantastic writing. Skyjacked is a brilliant sci-fi story: a unique blend of adventure steeped in the human experience....
When Kristen invited me across to share memories of food and/or recipes, I drew a blank – at first. Having grown up with a mother who veered towards the Wendy Craig (Ria Parkinson in Butterflies) school of cooking, my skills were sadly lacking.
It became a long-standing joke between me and my husband that the kitchen was ‘a mysterious room in the house from which food magically appeared’ because luckily for me, he was a skilled cook. And I think some of his enthusiasm eventually rubbed off.
After a few initial attempts at creating something edible out of that room, I developed quite a fondness for baking! And although my enthusiasm far outweighs my ability, it’s something I’ve learnt to do with far more competence than I’d have thought possible.
So, with a mind on all of the calories usually consumed over the Christmas period, I thought I’d share my healthiest baking recipe. An added bonus is that it’s really quick!
Vegan Christmas Cookies
85g cranberries or dried, chopped dates
1 pinch of salt
1-2 tsps cinnamon
6 tbsps almond milk
1-2 tbsps maple syrup
Mix all of the dried ingredients. Gradually add the milk and maple syrup.
Divide into 12 cookies
Bake on 170º fan oven for 15 mins
Thanks so much for having me across, Kristen. And Happy Christmas and baking to all!
Always good to have an extra cookie recipe to hand and these sound awesome. Thanks Shirley!! xx
Shirley Golden spent ten years working in factories, where making up stories in her head saved her from terminal boredom. She returned to education in her late twenties, gained a degree in psychology, and worked in research for a few years before deciding to dedicate herself to writing fiction full time.
Many of her stories have found homes in the pages or websites of various magazines and anthologies; some have found their way on to competition long and short lists. She won the Exeter Writers Short Story Competition in 2013. She loves flash-fiction and is one of the editors for the FlashFlood Journal, created by Calum Kerr, to celebrate National Flash-Fiction Day.
She is door person and arbitrator to two wannabe tigers, and can sometimes be found on Twitter when she should be writing.
The year is 2154, and Corvus Ranger, space pilot and captain of the Soliton, embarks on a penal run to Jupiter's prison moon, Europa. It should be another routine drop, but a motley band of escaped convicts have other ideas. When Soliton is hijacked, Corvus is forced to set a new destination, one which is far from Earth and his son. Unable to fight (or smooth talk) his way to freedom, Corvus finds himself tied to the plans of the escapees, including their leader Isidore and a gifted young boy who seems to possess strange abilities. Desperate to return to Earth and the son he left behind, Corvus is thrown into the ultimate adventure, a star-strewn odyssey where the greatest enemy in the universe may very well be himself.