As the eve of Christmas has passed, my story is done. The candle flame has guttered and Adrian walks once more.
On this long night he and all within the weathered granite walls will be tested, just as they were tested long before….
I hope you will join me as a new tale unfolds now. Purchase Christmas At Draycott Abbey at Amazon.com
I’ll be waiting for you at the abbey…..
Ian Sinclair stood in the darkness, watching rain hammer at the French doors and the ancient granite bridge. Tonight the abbey was quiet, deserted and dark. No Viscount Draycott and family in residence. No glittering social nights or charity events.
Just shadows. Only silence and a sense of history so strong it was almost physical. This was how Ian preferred the old abbey.
Lightning tore at the sky, outlining the great oak and the home wood beyond.
Wind lashed at the old casement windows as the storm’s fury grew. Odd weather for December, Ian thought. There had already been flooding reported near Winchelsea and Rye. But no snow.
Suddenly the dog near his chair sat up. Dark ears pricked back as the big animal stared out into the night. Then the dog shot upright, racing forward to press against the glass doors.
“What is it, Churchill? What do you hear?”
Ian stood up slowly and rubbed his leg. Was it more terrorists?
More people from one of a thousand missions he had carried out for the government over the past ten years?
The tall man by the fire closed his eyes. He was twenty-nine, damn it. He was getting too old to run down assassins and jump off roofs. The last mission in Paris had proved that.
The big brown dog turned and then sat down, body rigid. He was well trained, experienced from long years working with Ian. And that single movement meant only one thing.
Ian’s face was grim as he slid his Beretta into his holster and went to calm the dog at the door.
No one was expected here at the abbey. No visitors or deliveries of any sort.
As he smoothed his dog’s lean, angular head, Ian sensed the keen intelligence and the need to hunt.
Ian understood that need too. Sometimes, when the madness came in the late hours and the dark memories piled up, he too needed to hunt. Only the feel of the cold night air and the pounding of his blood would help him forget…
So they would hunt tonight.
“Go. Find them,” Ian ordered, throwing open the door. “I’ll be right behind you.”
The dog bounded out in one powerful leap.
Ian stood for long moments, studying the distant woods. Was there a light, up near the Witch’s Pool?
He pulled on his old tweed coat, feeling a sharp stab of warning.
Wind swirled through the room and the firelight jumped dizzily behind him.
His eyes hardened as another light brushed the darkness on the high ridge beyond the moat.
He prayed that the hunting would be good this night….
Draycott Abbey Chocolate Pots de Crème Recipe
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
3 good quality Earl Grey tea bags
5 egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
6 ounces semi-sweet dark chocolate, finely chopped
(You didn’t think it would be low-fat and low cal, did you? Not if Marston has a hand in it!)
Preheat oven to 325°
Heat cream and milk in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until liquid is just below a boil. Add teabags and dunk several times to moisten them well. Remove from heat and let sit for 2 minutes, then pour over the grated chocolate. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Gently remove the tea bags, squeezing firmly before discarding the tea bags. Blend the chocolate thoroughly with the infused cream mixture. ( The chocolate should be nearly dissolved by now anyway.) Meanwhile whisk egg yolks in a large bowl until well blended. Add cream into the yolks in a steady stream, whisking constantly.
Strain blended liquids and then pour into ramekins. Place ramekins into a heavy porcelain lasagna pan and set pan into oven. Then fill pan, using hot water, halfway up to top of ramekins. Be careful not to pour water into your little pots! Cover with foil.
Bake for 35 min and check progress by tapping the ramekins. The dish is done when the edges are firm but the centers still wiggle. Be careful not to overcook!
Remove from oven and take off the foil. Cool on counter for an hour. Then refrigerate overnight, well covered.
(If you can wait) serve well chilled with whipped cream, orange zest, grated chocolate or slivered almonds. All of these flavors blend beautifully with the subtle tea flavor.
Marston is thrilled to be of assistance.
PS. These are wonderful made in small tea cups or espresso cups. Just be sure your vessel is oven proof!