|A recipe inspired by Madeleine McCready|
Bree's mother has not had it easy. Widowed at an early age, she has raised her daughter alone on a neglected housing estate and has struggled to move on from the love of her life, Richard McCready. She has "worn her grief like a cloak for so long". She is a loving mum, taking Sandy and Honey under her wing, happy that Bree has two amazing friends. Flat 8B on the Rockwell estate is a warm, happy place to be, a safe and loving home. The front door is always open. Madeleine tries her best to hide her feelings but even Bree can see that there's a "sadness beneath Madeleine's polished surface". This quote sums Mrs M up nicely.
I came across a song called "Madeleine" by The Backstreet Boys last night and it sent shivers up my spine. I had never heard it before and yet it could easily have been written especially for Madeleine McCready.
"Madeleine, what's up with those tears in your eyes? What happened when you shut down and all the amber lights turned to red?...Outside you see the dark woods but you don't know there's fields of gold ahead. Hold on, so let go...Rise up, Madeleine, the sun will come out again...Rise up and live again, cause only you can, Madeleine..."
Madeleine deserves some happiness and that is what she shall have. That is one of the nicest things about being a writer, being able to give someone a happy ending. Nice things are coming for Madeleine McCready. There are 'fields of gold ahead' but I guess you'll have to read the stories to see what they are :)
The song is so perfect that I used it for this Flipagram. Click on Madeleine's name to view it.
Madeleine loves to feed the children! It's her way of showing love. Her baking is a particular favourite with Sandy who has an insatiable appetite! From her Homemade Lemonade to her Spicy Apple Squares, flat 8B always smells homely and delicious.
My favourite Mrs M recipe is Chocolate Tiffin, which is mentioned in Chapter 2 of Bree McCready and the Half Heart Locket.
"Madeleine clapped her hands together like an excited child and Bree tugged on the chain until the locket popped out from under her collar. Madeleine swooned, her hand on her chest.
'Oh a half-heart locket - how romantic! Your father gave me one just like it.'
She dreamily touched her neck and stared off across the room at something only she could see.
'But I could never bring myself to wear it after he died.'
She snapped back to the present and blinked away the tears that started to form in her large blue eyes. 'Well, one broken heart was enough.'
Madeleine smiled sadly at her daughter, and ruffled Bree's hair affectionately.
'Tell you what,' she went on. 'As tomorrow is your last day before the school holidays, how would you both like to come home and help me decorate the tree?'
'That would be great, Mrs M!' laughed Sandy with wide-eyed enthusiasm.
Bree shot him a sideways glance. She was going to need a bit more encouragement.
'We can have homemade chocolate tiffin,' Madeleine sang. 'And warm milk. Come on, Bree, it'll get us feeling festive.'
'You're right,' Bree grinned. 'And I can't think of two other people I'd rather be with tonight.'"
Madeleine's Chocolate Tiffin is super rich and mega tasty and because it's easy to make that makes it a great last minute birthday gift idea or a treat for unexpected guests. Here is how you make it:
250g of Digestive biscuits (125g of plain and 125g of chocolate)
150g of raisins
50g of chopped hazelnuts (optional)
25g of brown sugar
3 heaped tablespoons of hot chocolate powder
2-3 drops of vanilla essence
4 tablespoons of golden syrup (60ml)
40g of mini marshmallows
250g of milk chocolate and decorations for the topping
Put the biscuits in a large plastic back that seals along the top. Make sure as much air is out of the bag as possible then SMASH the biscuits using a rolling pin. It's up to you how fine or crunchy the texture is. I prefer a few little lumps as it makes the texture more interesting.
|Whacking the biscuits is great if you're in a bad mood :)|
Put the crushed biscuits into a bowl with the raisins and nuts then melt the butter, sugar, chocolate powder, vanilla essence and syrup over a low heat until it looks like this:
Combine the sticky mixture with the dry biscuits and raisins and stir until everything is well coated. Leave for a few moments to cool before adding the mini marshmallows. If you add them too soon they will simply melt and you won't get the desired effect.
Grease a square baking tin with butter then line it with parchment paper. This will make it easier to remove the traybake at the end. Transfer the mixture into the tray and press down well. I like to use a potato masher for this as it squishes everything down and gives a nice level top.
Chill in the fridge while you melt the chocolate for the topping. I do this over a simmering pan of water but you can use the microwave if you prefer.
Once the entire traybake has set firmly it should be easy to lift out of the tray using the parchment paper. Cut into small squares. This recipe is so rich you only really require a tiny piece to satisfy your sweet craving.