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Archive for the ‘Knife of Narcissus’ Category

Knife of Narcissus 65 days to the release of The Knife of Narcissus 6!

I’m pretty excited about this part of the serial and where it takes our heroes in their long summer journey (and let’s not forget the heroines).

Stand by for information about giveaways and guest posts!

An excerpt

(could be spoilery if you haven’t read through part 5):
(more…)

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And once again there’s a guest post, review, and giveaway at Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews. This installment’s guest post is on dubious consent, non-con, and writing about slaves in the series.

KoN 5 GIveaway

 

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There’s still a day (and 6 hours) left to enter the giveaway raffle over at Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews!

SSR_KnifeofNarcissus4

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It’s release day for The Knife of Narcissus part 4! We’re past the halfway mark now in Lucius and Trio’s story. At least one big thing will change—but not what Lucius might have wanted….

Reviewers are still on board to follow the serial, I’m happy to say. Check out this brand new review from 3 Chicks After Dark and the review and giveaway from Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews plus a guest post: What does a Roman wear under his toga? The answer may surprise you. But probably not.

Boy Meets Boy Reviews weren’t as excited about this chapter in the serial. I think this is my cue to rub my hands together, cackle, and say, “Just wait and see what happens next…”

Later this evening—if the ingredients ever thaw out—I’ll post pics of Casserole à la Apicius.

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KoN4coverThe Knife of Narcissus part 4 releases on Monday, and will be available at all the usual places. I’ll be celebrating by making another ancient dish, my favourite Roman main course, Casserole à la Apicius. It goes well with the Apricot Stew side dish. I’m hoping it will also go well with Dogfish Head Brewery’s Ancient Ales. Here’s the recipe in 140:

The sauce: crush celery seed, oregano, mint, ginger, coriander, raisins, honey, vinegar, oil, wine. And…this one is going to take 280.

The rest: In a clay baking dish put down layers of bread, cooked chicken breasts, pine nuts, diced onion, sharp cheese, sauce. Cover & bake.

On Monday evening, I’ll post the expanded version of how the recipe turns out this time around, with pics.

Meanwhile, The Novel Approach has given Parts 1-2 an in-depth—and flattering—review:

“A wonderfully written historical gay romance, the first two books hitting the ground running as they introduce us to a world that’s both colorful and sensual in more ways than one….”

Please click on over and visit the site to see the whole review, and, of course, check out the other reviews to find other interesting books.

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ApothermumThe results of the Apothermum recipe. If you missed the tweet, here’s the recipe in 140:

boil spelt grains w/pine nuts & bleached almonds into a pudding; add raisins & sweet wine, sprinkle nuts over, dust w/white pepper

I used 3 TB spelt flour, a half cup each of pine nuts and almonds. I ground the nuts and mixed them and the flour with about 2 cups water, which turned out to be a little too much. Stirred over a low flame at a simmer for about a half hour, then mixed in a cup of raisins and 1/3 cup sweet cooking wine. Stirred and simmered a while longer, adding a little more flour, until it was an acceptable porridge. Spooned into bowl, garnished with raisins and a dusting of white pepper.

Serves 2 Romans, or 4 who only feel snacky.

My sweet tooth wants to drizzle honey over it. If a Roman couldn’t reasonably pour fermented fish sauce over a dish, honey was often the next choice, so I think that’s acceptable. (I paired it with a refreshing cup of posca—water and wine vinegar. I opted out of the option to add honey and coriander to taste and went with the simpler soldier’s version.)

This is far too simple a dish for Cook in Knife of Narcissus to serve. She’d send master Bassus into the kitchen to make it himself.

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I’m returning to the ancient Roman recipes today, and will be in the kitchen playing with some simple ones. Eventually I’ll try something elaborate, since, as Martial might sniffingly say,

Knowing how to cook is not enough to be a cook
One cannot have the tastes of a slave
But must possess the palate of a master

I’ll be out back convincing a thousand larks to give up their tongues in the name of fine cuisine.

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Rome cooking

To celebrate this week’s release of The Knife of Narcissus book 3 and to continue the musings on food from the Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews guest post, each day I’ll be testing a few ancient recipes then tweeting the recipe for anyone interested in trying the tastes of ancient Rome. Today I started with a basic salad dressing that’s purported to be good for the stomach and digestion. Mixing it with ample vinegar is recommended.

Be sure to click over to the review for a Book 3 giveaway.

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Mustering the troops

I’m getting ready for a week of Roman cookery.

spicy cheering squad

spicy cheering squad is less blurry in real life than in this photo

I inspected the spice pantry to see what I’d need to pick up tomorrow. At a cursory sniff, they all seem to have stored well since the last Roman banquet, even though it was a long while ago. I can substitute fresh oregano, mint, and a few other herbs from the garden if those disappoint.

(spoiler for Monday’s guest post on Roman food: I did not sniff the asafoetida, even though, as I recall, this brand isn’t nearly as strong as the batch I got from a tiny little herb shop the first time I cooked Roman style.)

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I was ridiculously charmed by this typo in the online transcription of a 1919 Loeb Classical Library edition of Martial’s epigrams at Archive.org:

“That Martial was capable of a very sincere and lusting friendship is shown by many of his epigrams.”

Indeed it is.

As the rest of the Loeb introduction mentions, we don’t know much about what the poet Marcus Valerius Martialis got up to between the collapse of Nero’s court and his acceptance into the favour of the Flavian imperial dynasty—well, other than what he complains about in his poems, such as his lousy walk-up living space. That allows for a lot of leeway for him to make a guest appearance in The Knife of Narcissus starting in Book 3, the new installment that releases on Monday.

Martial’s poems show up before he does, as graffiti in public spaces and copied into various unauthorised editions; then the poet himself arrives, selling the equivalent of holiday greeting cards and busking in the marketplace. As one of ancient Rome’s raunchiest poets, he’s a perfect fit for Lucius’s taste in literature, even though he doesn’t turn out to be the sort of person Lucius expected him to be.

Martial left behind an enormous output, and one of the most fun (and sometimes outright funny) parts of my research was finding poems to fit the various parts of the story; then translating them to use as-is or with tweaks to suit the scene (we’ll assume Martial wrote a few first drafts). And if I needed a new turn of phrase for an age-old act, Martial was a good place to look for creatively inspiring wording.

Pliny the Younger, one of Martial’s illustrious patrons, called him “a man of genius, of subtle and quick intelligence, and one who in his writings showed the greatest wit and pungency, and just as much fairness….But it’s likely his writings will not last. Maybe they will not—but he wrote them as if they would.”

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