Carla Neggers: The Joys of Research

Today I’m delighted to introduce a guest post from one of my favorite authors, New York Times and USA Today bestseller, Carla Neggers. At the end of the post, look for a chance to win a ten dollar Amazon gift certificate from Kiss and Thrill. And now without further ado, here’s Carla’s wonderful guest post. Enjoy!

Neggers_Carla_11_col1-2Writing my Sharpe & Donovan series featuring FBI agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan has allowed me to indulge my interests in art, whiskey, Ireland, the Maine coast, “my” city of Boston, sheep farming, ancient history — and food. Even FBI agents have to eat, right?

In Declan’s Cross, the third book in the series, Emma and Colin are taking a break in Ireland when Julianne Maroney, the ex-flame of Colin’s brother Andy, arrives on the south Irish coast to help set up a marine science field station. Julianne is, after all, a marine biologist. Only problem: the village Julianne has chosen is also the site of a celebrated unsolved art theft, the first of a serial art thief who for the past decade has eluded Emma, an art crimes expert, and her grandfather, art detective Wendell Sharpe. Emma and Colin are on high alert. Of all the quaint Irish villages, why did Julianne pick tiny Declan’s Cross? It can’t be a coincidence.

I love Ireland and have visited many times. My idea of “hands on” research! In fact, as I type this note, I’m tucked in a cottage on the southwest Irish coast working onHarbor Island, my next Sharpe & Donovan novel. In the name of research, I’ve sampled not only a wide variety of Irish whiskey but also many different versions of Irish rhubarb crumble. So good! I haven’t had a rhubarb crumble I don’t like. I’ve tried making it at home and, after some trial-and-error, devised my own recipe. I thought I’d share that with you.DeclansCross_188

Rhubarb Crumble

You will need:
About 4 cups of rhubarb cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 to 2 cups sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/8 tsp salt
12 to 14 T. butter
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a glass or ceramic baking dish and add the cut-up rhubarb. 
Sprinkle to taste with 1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar (as much as 2 cups if you have a sweet tooth!). 
Combine remaining sugar, flour, oats and salt. (You can use just flour or any combination of oats and flours to make about 2 cups). 
Cut in butter until you have a coarse meal (you’ll still have small pieces of butter). 
Sprinkle over the rhubarb-sugar mixture and bake for about an hour or until the rhubarb is fully cooked and the “crumble” is brown. 
Serve warm or at room temperature, plain or with whipped cream.

FYI, I prefer my rhubarb crumble with unsweetened whipped cream with a touch of pure vanilla extract. I might have to have some tonight! (I also walk a lot in Ireland!)

Enjoy, and thanks for your time. For more information on Declan’s Cross and all my other books, please drop by my website — — and be sure to sign up for my newsletter. Last month I included the recipe for an easy apple-spice cake. All things in moderation, but rhubarb crumble and apple-spice cake are tough to resist. Fortunately, they freeze well.
Happy reading!


You can also follow Carla on Facebook and Twitter
Thanks to Carla for her lovely post. We hope you’re having a wonderful time in Ireland with your ‘research’ 🙂 !
Readers, since we’re on the subject of food, please tell us if you have a favorite comfort food- mine’s cherry pie, because my mom used to make it for me from scratch, and I remember the special fun of learning to bake with her. One lucky commenter will win a ten dollar gift certificate to Amazon. 

About Carey Baldwin

Carey Baldwin is a mild-mannered doctor by day and an award winning author of edgy suspense by night.

Posted on November 5, 2013, in Carey Baldwin, Guest blog and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.

  1. Carey, thanks for bringing Carla Neggers to us today! She’s a new author to me. I love the Ireland setting and sure would love to visit there one day. Sounds awesome.

    • I agree, Lena. I’ve never been to Ireland, but it’s so beautiful and I’d love to go. If you haven’t tired Carla’s books, I’d really encourage you to do so. Her plots are complex and really keep you on your toes. Plus she is known for these gorgeous atmospheric settings.

  2. I love this series, and I always love going to Ireland (my mother in law owns a farm named Dungannon). I can’t wait to read the next book!
    My favorite comfort food is pumpkin pie, even if it’s not Thanksgiving!

  3. My favorite comfort food is my Grandmother’s apple pie. Sadly,
    she passed away and no one has the recipe. If you have a favorite food that someone makes please ask them for the recipe before it is too late.

    • I’m sorry for your loss, Deborah. In a way, that makes the memory more special- the pie can’t be replicated. That’s a great point about asking for a recipe, though.

      A friend’s mother used to make wonderful Cannolis. When she passed, her family didn’t have the recipe. But her husband had video taped her making them for years. So the family watched the tapes and figured out the recipe from there. Now the whole family makes the cannolis together every Thanksgiving. It’s a touching thing to see.

  4. The recipe sounds yummy. I always love tie ins between books and food. Looking forward to reading and trying the recipe.


  5. One of the Grant clan’s favorite comfort foods is Portuguese Kale Soup. I make a huge pot every Halloween for the kids to fill up on before trick-or-treating.

    We also have a chicken artichoke casserole recipe complete with mayo, condensed mushroom soup, and shredded cheddar cheese in the ingredients. A classic casserole that isn’t the least bit good for you, but pure comfort heaven.

    Now I’m hungry… 🙂

  6. Welcome back, Carla and wow–supplying us with a rhubarb crumble recipe is certainly a way to get our attention!

    I went to Ireland 2 summers ago and it is now one of my favorite places on earth. And the best part is the Irish consider American visitors ‘cousins’ because SO many of us have an Irish heritage. So they treat us like extended family, not guests. Very unusual.

    Comfort food: That connotes that I need comfort, meaning I’m ill. In which case the answer is Mac and Cheese. I’m perfectly happy with the Kraft box that comes out orange, but since my husband is the one babying me he brings home take-out from gourmet Mac and Cheese restaurants (yes, they have them here…all they serve is Mac and Cheese in different styles.)

    But by the answers above it sounds like ppl are writing in their FAVORITE food, in which case it’s my aunt’s fudge. .

    Good luck on the new release!

  7. Jeanne Dotterweich

    ***Rhubarb Crumble and a Good Book–count me IN!**

    • Hey! Great to see you,Jeanne. Can you believe I’ve never tried rhubarb. I didn’t want to admit it. But it sounds so yummy.

      • I’m crazy for rhubarb, haven’t had it in years though. Used to make strawberry-rhubarb pie at our summer house in Maine…and of course blueberry pie, since the berry bushes grew all around us. Good times. Funny how you think your teens are so awful. 🙂

  8. chicken soup

  9. Can I just say that I was thrilled to read something new by Carey?! Yes, I love her writing that much, lol.

    I’m always interested in an Irish setting and the name Declan makes me swoon. 😀 Consider it added to my TBR.

    Really struggling with the comfort food question…I do have my most favorite chocolate crockpot cake that’s my bit of alright. 😉

  10. For me comfort foods are usually savory. I love a recipe my husband found called Crash Hot Potatoes. Also stuffing. If it’s sweet, apple pie or sugar cookies with lots of frosting. Oh, and my grandmother made the best cinnamon rolls from scratch…

    Ireland is definitely on my list of places to visit. I wish we’d had time to pop over when we were in the UK over the summer. *sigh*

  11. My sister and I never see eye-to-eye on much, but we’ve always agreed that if one of us should every hit the jack-pot, we’d go to Ireland. I’ve done virtual tours and…yeah, it’s on my bucket list. As far as comfort foods, my Mom always made this chicken and biscuit thing. It makes my mouth water, it’s hot and bubbly and so yummy. UH OH, guess I know what I’m having for supper. Thanks for your blog. Love it.

  12. Fried rice and mango pudding. I can always eat those and feel better.

  13. I LOVE this series!! My favorite comfort food is oatmeal raisin cookies. I have a recipe where you actually boil the raisins for a few minutes and use the raisin water as the liquid in the cookie. Yummy! Makes the most moist cookie ever!!! It has lots of spices so the whole house smells good while they are baking.

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