Brace yourself, dear readers, because this week on Friday Feast we’re entering another realm. Think romance, think fantasy, think the most gobsmacking savoury pie you’ve ever seen…
Oops. Got ahead of myself. Bit hard not to though when your guest is international award winning fantasy author Louise Cusack. Among other achievements, Louise’s best-selling Shadow Through Time trilogy with Simon & Schuster Australia was selected by the Doubleday book club as their ‘Editors Choice’. In Feb 2012 the series was released digitally by Pan Macmillan’s ebook imprint Momentum Books. Which means you can buy these superb stories right now! On your Kindle! On your Sony, Kobo, phone, tablet, computer, you-name-it! With just a little click! Instant booklove! Ahh, technology, we readers so love you.
Louise’s resume is incredible. Not only is she a wonderful author, she’s also a highly respected writing tutor, with her own business Writers: Working with Louise Cusack. Louise has completed 150 manuscript assessments, tutored over 80 writing workshops and mentored over 300 hours with more than 50 clients. There’s more, but I’m feeling awed enough as it is and I’m sure you’d much prefer a peek at the first in the Shadow Through Time trilogy, Destiny of the Light.
DESTINY OF THE LIGHT
Ennae is a parallel world joined to our own world by the Sacred Pool, a portal that can only be opened by one with the Guardian blood running through their veins. It is through this watery gateway that Khatrene leaves her modern-day life behind forever, drawn into a quest that will take her into the depths of the unknown.
Khatrene must fulfil her destiny as The Light, the woman whose child will unite the four elemental worlds. At each turn are real and imagined enemies who will do everything in their power to prevent her from fulfilling the prophecy, including the ethereal and erotic shadow woman, the enigmatic tattooed man, even her beloved brother Mihale.
Talis, her appointed Guardian, must help her through the dangerous terrain of Ennae, sacrificing everything to ensure her safety in a land where magic prevails and nothing is as it seems.
From an exciting new voice in Australian fantasy fiction comes the first book in the Shadow Through Time trilogy. Beautifully crafted and written, Destiny of the Light combines intrigue, magic and horror to create a reality that is out of this world.
Out of this world indeed! An absolute must-buy for romance and fantasy fans alike.
And now, without further ado, here’s Louise…
Thanks for inviting me to share my signature dish King Island Pie. It’s one I invented myself, and every time I make it I reflect on the fact that cooking is so very much like writing. Creating a meal is like creating a story where we bring together all the ingredients we like and mix them in pleasing combinations. Sometimes we surprise ourselves. I’ve been a vegetarian for over thirty years, and had no idea that my eating choices would impact on my writing, not even when the sepia world of Ennae that I had created for my Shadow Through Time fantasy romance trilogy had no animals or insects in it.
Publishers who bid for the series were excited by the novelty of such a world, peopled only by humans and plants, and for my part I was happy they liked it, but I felt as if I couldn’t take credit. As a seat-of-the-pants writer I’d simply been describing the world my heroine was entering, as seen through her eyes. After the first novel was published a friend who knew me well pointed out the obvious, that every brawny, protective hero I’d fallen in love with while writing the series had never eaten meat. I’d been falling in love with one gorgeous vegetarian man after another, and clearly that’s where my subconscious had been heading while it had been constructing Ennae. I knew that worldbuilding was a component of what we call a writer’s “voice” and what makes it unique, but will readily admit I was surprised that I’d inadvertently revealed so much about myself!
Still, I was thrilled to have the books print published, and am now delighted to see this series have a new life, recently republished as eBooks by Pan Macmillan’s digital imprint Momentum Books. I’m also excited to be sharing my recipe for King Island Pie with you! As the name suggests, the pie is iconically Australian, and for those non-Aussies reading, King Island is a lush jewel that sits in Bass Straight between Tasmania and mainland Australia. It’s main claim to fame is the King Island Dairy which produces some of the most decadent and delicious dairy products in the world.
When sourcing ingredients for this recipe, try to find as many King Island brand as you can to ensure the rich flavour of the pie. But when substituting other brands (or lower fat options) you’ll find this is still a fabulous vegetarian meal that will please even the most ardent carnivores. Trust me, it’s Tradie tested!
LOUISE’S KING ISLAND PIE
- a 500g bag of washed baby spinach wilted in the microwave then chopped
- half a small pumpkin cut into 2cm cubes and roasted in oil
- a cup of roasted cashews
- 6 eggs
- 200-500ml of King Island cream (you can substitute sour light cream)
- one King Island triple cream brie cut into tiny chunks (you can substitute crumbled Persian fetta and use the fetta oil to roast the pumpkin and brush over the puff pastry)
- a cup of grated tasty cheese or, for more flavour, shredded Cracker Barrel extra sharp
- sheets of puff pastry and oil to coat
- Mix the eggs and cream together and season with salt and pepper
- Line a big lasagne dish with Glad Bake and lay out the oiled puff pastry (oiled side towards the paper) to form a shell for the pie. Seal any joins so wet ingredients won’t leak out and spoil the crusty bottom of the pie
- Put a layer of pumpkin interspersed with cashews on the bottom, then sprinkle tiny chunks of brie (or crumbled fetta) over that. Dust with a smattering of grated cheese. Then layer your chopped up wilted spinach over that and carefully pour the well mixed egg & cream over the top. Finish off with the rest of the grated cheese and pop into a moderate oven (200 degrees C) for as long as it takes to cook the puff pastry and set the filling. A clean knife in the middle will tell you if it’s set or still mushy.
- When cooked, take out of the oven and sit for five minutes before cutting and serving with either salad or light vegetables. This is a very rich pie, so if you serve it without accompaniment try to have fresh fruit for desert to clean the palate.
As you’ll see from the recipe I’m a bit loose with quantities, and this ensures that every time I bake the pie it tastes different, which I love. So don’t concern yourself overly with details. Feel free to put in more or less cheese, to substitute mushroom for cashews or chives for spinach, or potato for pumpkin (roasted potato & well-cooked leek is a particularly delicious combination). See what new forms you can come up with. This also works well to make baby pies in cupcake moulds for lunchbox treats.
Enjoy experimenting! And thanks again Cathryn for giving me the opportunity to share my books and my pie recipe!
I’d love to give the first eBook of my trilogy away to one commenter. Please tell me the most surprising thing you’ve ever cooked/eaten in a pie, and why you loved/hated it.
Thanks, Louise, for your fascinating post and that completely drool-worthy pie recipe. I’m definitely making this baby. It sounds incredible.
Your question reminds me of an enormously popular pie shop on the Pacific Highway at Frederickton, on the NSW north coast. Fredo Pies produces the most weird and wonderful pies. Among other marvels, you can even eat our coat of arms!
Contest entries close midnight Australian time, Tuesday 6th March and open to all. Please remember to include a way to contact you in case you win.
Let the drooling begin!
Congratulations to Nicole H. who has won an ebook copy of Destiny of the Light, the first in Louise’s Shadow Through Time trilogy. Thanks so much to everyone who visited and commented on Friday east.