Book Bites: The Buried Life by Carrie Patel

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US: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | BarnesandNoble.com | IndieBound.org   Global DRM-Free Epub Ebook: Robot Trading Company                                 UK: Amazon.co.uk | Book Depository | Waterstones | WHSmith

Book Bites is Cooking the Books‘ more easygoing sibling. Authors talk about their book and share a recipe, all in one tasty bite. We’re so glad to have the wonderful Carrie Patel here to talk about her new Angry Robot book The Buried Life, which debuted on March 3.

Book Bites with Carrie Patel:

The Buried Life takes place in an underground city filled with scheming blue bloods, cunning detectives, and plucky laundresses. While food isn’t the centerpiece of the story, characters frequently come together to share a bite and a drink while they trade secrets and barbs.

In a status-obsessed city like Recoletta, the cuisine also reflects the venue—fashionable whitenails dine on canapés and caviar, and working-class characters enjoy meat and potatoes. Also, since inter-city trade is limited, all but the most expensive dinners must come from ingredients provided by Recoletta’s local farming communes.

For Book Bites, I thought I’d share a good, hearty casserole. It’s the kind of meal that Jane, one of the protagonists, would have bubbling in the oven while she’s ironing the last of the day’s laundry. Warm and filling, it’s perfect for warding off the subterranean chill after the cross-town trek to and from the estates of the Vineyard.

After all, we couldn’t depend on Inspector Malone for a recipe. She’s washing her fish and chips down with a pint of something bitter and pale. She doesn’t use her stove for anything more than the occasional pot of tea.

Without further ado, here’s my recipe for Chicken, Quinoa, and Broccoli Casserole. It’s a riff off of my mother’s Chicken and Rice Casserole. And, just like a manuscript, it’s constantly undergoing revisions.

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 can (10.5 oz.) cream of mushroom soup
  • same volume of quinoa
  • same volume of water
  • 8-12 oz. broccoli
  • as much shredded mild cheddar as you can handle (okay, probably ~2 cups)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the chicken breasts at the bottom of a 2.5 quart (or slightly larger) casserole dish. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl, then pour over the chicken. Bake for 40 minutes, or until chicken breasts are cooked through and quinoa is soft.

Serve hot, and invite reporter-next-door Fredrick Anders for supper. Tell him to bring a flask of the good stuff to share. With any luck, he’ll start early, and by the time dinner’s served, he’ll be ready to share the latest rumors and scandals about your wealthy clients in the Vineyard.


carrie_patel_400x500Carrie Patel was born and raised in Houston, Texas. An avid traveller, she studied abroad in Granada, Spain and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

She completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Texas A&M University and worked in transfer pricing at Ernst & Young for two years.

She now works as a narrative designer at Obsidian Entertainment in Irvine, California, where the only season is Always Perfect.

You can find Carrie online at www.electronicinkblog.com and @Carrie_Patel on Twitter.

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