- Put a layer of trifle sponges or sponge fingers, or even sponge cake, in the bottom of a glass casserole dish. Add the preferred fruit - strawberries are great, pineapple pieces, whatever you like best.
- Make up a pint of strawberry jelly (jello?) according to the instructions on the packet, and pour it over the sponge and fruit. Put it in the fridge to set. It seeps into the sponge - delicious!
- Once set, pour lots of cold thick custard over the top. I love Ambrosia Devon Custard. Josi Kilpack suggests that vanilla pudding is an acceptable substitute. Never having tasted vanilla pudding, I can't comment. I did look online for a recipe for custard, but they all started by asking for "100 grams of custard powder" and I'll bet you don't have that in America either.
- Add a layer of thick whipped cream. My husband tells me American cream comes with added sugar. Our cream here doesn't have sugar in it, it's just pure juice of cow.
- Finally, crumble a Cadbury's flake bar over the top or, if you don't have those either, grate some chocolate.
Apart from the trifle recipe, it was difficult reading a book set here in England without picking out the bits which seemed to be rather un-English. The pantry contained acorn squash and rutabagas, neither of which I have ever heard of, but perhaps things are different in Devonshire, or "Devon" as it's been called here for the last 200 years. (It drives me absolutely potty that NewFamilySearch.org lists the county of my ancestors as "Norfolkshire" when it has always been called "Norfolk.") Everyone in the book seemed to like to go on holiday or visit relatives for Guy Fawkes Day, whereas all our family has ever done is let off a few fireworks in the garden. But then, like 99.9% of the rest of the UK, we're neither nobility nor servants. Maybe those in higher circles are bigger on tradition.
Several times, however, I thought Sister Kilpack hadn't done her homework, and proved to be wrong. The hero had his mother's number listed in his phone as "Mom's cell" when any English person would call it "Mum's mobile". But then I remembered that the hero's mother is American and he has lived there for several years. The Butler (I hope I'm not ruining the story for anyone here) was obliged to the Earl for paying for his wife's much needed medical treatment. Aha, thought I. Medical treatment is free here! But then it proved to be treatment for alcohol addiction, which isn't readily available on the NHS. So my apologies to Sister Kilpack, and well done, you did indeed do plenty of thorough research, and you've written a cracking book.
This brings me to another problem. The book I am currently writing includes an American character - a New York cop, no less - and I have a single chapter set in New York. I run a very real risk of having him say "a couple of things" instead of "a couple things", and "she's in hospital" instead of "she's in the hospital." Well, maybe not those examples exactly, but there a myriad of little differences which could make any American reader stumble and destroy the authenticity of the character I worked so hard to create. Are there any New York cops out there who would proofread it for me?