All posts by Cristine Eastin

Tipsy Laird, a Trifle

Love Inherited, the first in the series A Highland Romance, is full of delicious Scottish cuisine from oatcakes to steak and ale pie to Atholl brose. Readers have clamored for recipes, so here’s the start of the wee cookbook I’ll be putting together: Tipsy Laird.

Tipsy Laird (Scottish Trifle)

Tipsy *Laird is often served as the dessert (pudding) course at a Burn’s Night Supper (as it is in Love Inherited) or on Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve). This Scottish version of the English Trifle is both a visual treat and easy to make.


  • 10oz (300g) pound/sponge cake, halved and cut into thick slices
  • 10oz (300g) fresh raspberries
  • 6 tablespoons (90ml or 0.75gi) Scotch (whisky) or Drambuie (orange juice for a nonalcoholic version)
  • 2 cups (500ml) thick custard sauce (I recommend Bird’s Custard Powder. Use heaping tablespoons)
  • 2 cups (500ml) heavy whipping cream (double cream), softly whipped
  • Handful toasted slivered (flaked) almonds
  • Grated chocolate over the top (optional)


Tipsy Laird can be made in one large glass bowl to show off the pretty layers or divided into individual glass compote dishes. Don’t make the trifle too far ahead.

  • Arrange cake slices in bottom of the dish
  • Layer raspberries, reserving a few to decorate the top
  • Drizzle liquor or juice over raspberries, making sure it soaks through to the cake
  • Spoon custard over in thick layer
  • Spoon whipped cream over
  • Decorate the top with a few raspberries and toasted slivered almonds

*What’s a laird? A laird is the owner of a large and long-established estate in Scotland. Laird is a description, not a title, dating to the fifteenth century, though many holders of the designation may have hereditary and conferred titles as well. In Love Inherited, the reader meets Sir Duncan Eideard Armstrong Sinclair, 10th Baronet, Laird of Fionnloch, owner of Glengorm House and a 65,000-acre estate on the west coast of the Highlands of Scotland.

Mundane Beauty


BirdMundane beauty is beauty in the everyday things. The birds in the birdbath inspired me this morning. They’re beautiful! Even, maybe especially, the plain little brown ones. They’re not just brown: they’re shades of brown and grey and tan.

The two men who walked by with their long-haired dachshund were a breath of sweetness—one old, one younger—immigrants from Pakistan or India, I think, at least the older one; he walks by several times a day and has that other-country look about him. We’ve said hello a couple times.

My cat snoring. Contented, rhythmic sounds.

Homemade peanut butter ice-cream—chilling in the refrigerator, to be churned in a couple hours.

Reading a good book. I take books for granted; I read all the time, and I have a constant source available to me at our library. (When I discovered the inter-library loan it was like Christmas!) I just finished Longbourn by Jo Baker, so I’m savoring having made the acquaintance of those characters.

What else? Mundane beauty.

Clouds. How could I forget clouds. A constant and ever-changing source of wonder. We have high and big windows in our living room; the clouds laze or race by in amazing shapes and colors. All day, every day! Well, except on cloudless days when I’m enjoying the sun.

And then there are the varmints—a family of thirteen-lined ground squirrels that live under our front sidewalk. We don’t want them there, tunneling under the walk, but they’re so cute. Yesterday the baby appeared for the first time. He’s no bigger than a dormouse.

Thank you, Lord, for everyday beauty.



Books—Read, Rate, Review


Read. Rate. Review. The Three R’s of books.

Ratings and reviews are the butter on the bread for authors, and we check and hope for them continuously. Preferably good reviews! But honest reviews.

Why? Because, especially for newly published authors like me, ratings and reviews are what get us noticed and read. And getting read is why we publish books. Authors are leaders of sorts, and if an author looks behind and there’s no one following…. Continue reading Books—Read, Rate, Review

Small-Town, Minnesota—Setting for My Novel


Northfield, Minnesota
Northfield, Minnesota

Northfield, Minnesota is the town that inspired the setting for my novel, Fifty Days to Sunrise. Northfield is the home of St. Olaf College, Carleton College, and the bank building bearing Jesse James’s bullet holes. And my home from age nearly zero to three.

Life was good in Northfield, Continue reading Small-Town, Minnesota—Setting for My Novel

Big Accomplishments—Little Ripples





I‘m a published author! Yes, that’s a big accomplishment, but really, it just made little ripples on the surface of the water.FiftyDaysToSunrise-02-kindle

Even our big deal accomplishments are but small ripples in God’s world.

Sure, I wanted to string a banner on my front porch: “It’s a book! 1 lb. 2 oz.!” But the misty eyes didn’t come till someone, and then someone else, told me they were blessed by the story. Continue reading Big Accomplishments—Little Ripples

Haggis—and Other Scottish Yummies


The Highlands of Scotland near Gairloch
The Highlands of Scotland near Gairloch

This photo has nothing to do with this post. But if I put up a picture of haggis, would you be reading this? If you don’t know what haggis is, read on. Or if you don’t know what clootie dumpling is, read on. Or chapshot—you’ll never guess that one.

On a recent trip to the Scottish Highlands, I wanted to sample as many of the uniquely Scottish dishes as I could. Here’s what I ate. Continue reading Haggis—and Other Scottish Yummies

A Sister is a Good Thing to Have

Maddening as they might be, a sister is a good thing to have. I should know, I’ve got one.

What’s a sister good for?

When we were young she was good for picking on, or, shame on me, for ignoring.

Now that we’re adults, I’ve found my sister to be a lot more useful. She’s good for lots of talk on the phone—she lives a thousand miles away.

She’s good for an honest opinion. Me, “What do you think of the new title for my book?” Her, “I don’t get it.” Continue reading A Sister is a Good Thing to Have

Expectations of Spitting Dinosaurs

images“That wasn’t as cool as I thought it’d be.”

My grandson had expected the dinosaurs to spit at him. The ad promised there would be spitting dinosaurs.  But he had his cities confused—not at this particular exhibit.

Expectations. They can ruin our day.

Unmet expectations are bad enough—unacknowledged expectations can create a real ball of knots. Continue reading Expectations of Spitting Dinosaurs

“Love and Respect”

Reuben, Reuben, I’ve been thinkin’ 
What a grand world this would be 
If the men were all transported 
Far beyond the Northern Sea! 

Then Reuben comes back with his rebuttal to Rachel. And round and round they go. Truly–where they’ll stop nobody knows!

This children’s song has been around since 1871, training us in the war of the sexes. I learned it in grade school and sang it with great fervor. Continue reading “Love and Respect”

Dr. Eastin’s Harley Pothole Theory

At the Harley-Davidson Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Dr. Eastin’s Harley Pothole Theory was born when, my first ride on my brand new 1200 Custom Sportster, I hit a pothole—a big one—smacked it so hard I thought I cracked the rim on the spoked wheel. The thing was, I was out in the country, no other vehicle in sight for half a mile in any direction.

Why did I hit it? It’s not that I didn’t see it! Reason: I was trying to avoid hitting the pothole, but I LOOKED AT IT TOO LONG! Continue reading Dr. Eastin’s Harley Pothole Theory