FRIDAY FEAST with Helene Young

What a Friday Feast treat we’re in for this week, Feaster friends. Oh yes, yes. A treat indeed! We’re up-up in the sky with Australian romantic suspense author Helene Young.

Helene, as I’m sure you know, is not only a Romantic Book of the Year and Australian Romance Reader Award winner, she’s also an accomplished pilot. So who better to talk to us about airline food?

But first, take a look at Helene’s brilliant new release, Burning Lies, which has been garnering fantastic reviews.  Check Goodreads for a sample or these reviews from The Australian Bookshelf, Book’d Out and 1 Girl….2 Many Books




“Lies, all lies. It didn’t matter how attractive he might be. She didn’t really know this man . . . He was living a lie and she didn’t know why.”

Kaitlyn Scott is searching for the truth about her husband’s death, even if that means revisiting the most painful day of her life. But what she uncovers is a criminal willing to stop at nothing to keep his secret.

Ryan O’Donnell, an enigmatic undercover cop, is investigating arson attacks when he is drawn into Kaitlyn’s world. He tries to fight his attraction for her, hoping the case might put his own demons to rest, but it only threatens to push him over the edge.

With Kaitlyn and Ryan on a collision course, the arsonist seizes the chance to settle some old scores. As the Atherton Tableland burns, the three of them are caught in a fiery dance of danger and desire, and not everyone will come out alive.

Set in Australia’s tropical far north, this is an explosive story of peril and passion by the author voted by the Romance Writers of Australia as the most popular novelist of the year, and by the Australian Romance Readers Association as the most popular romantic suspense novelist two years running.


Makes you excited just reading the blurb, doesn’t it? Burning Lies is available right now from your local bookseller or you can order online from Booktopia and have it delivered straight to your door. Prefer the ebook? Then try Amazon, Kobobooks, Google Play or your favourite ebook store.

Now here’s Helene!


Up, Up and Away!

Ok, ok, my mouth starts watering as soon as I click on the link to Cathryn’s Friday Feast posts! So many wonderful recipes. I can’t top Barbara Hannay’s yummy recipe from last week for her divine Lemon Cake so I thought I’d talk about airline food instead!

I was born in the wrong era. I firmly believe I should have been flying in the thirties when the journey to London took days and involved white coated butlers, overnight stops in exotic locations and gourmet food prepared fresh on the aircraft.

How good does this look?

I may have missed out on this decadent delight, but I can remember my first trip to London on a Thai Airways flight in the early ‘80s. The meal came in a collection of little dishes, starting with a delicate entrée, progressing through spicy main, on to an unidentifiable but yummy dessert and finishing with a tiny chocolate.  I came home on British Airways and their catering tray held an unidentifiable grey mass that was masquerading as Beef Bourguignon… Meat and three veg stilled ruled…

Sadly since then the rise of mass market catering means airline food has become more pedestrian. These days it’s more likely to come in a plastic wrap with a use by date a terrifying year away – just how do they preserve a cake that long?

There are still airlines that do include hot meals, but have you ever thought about the logistics of that? Whole armies of catering staff work around the clock preparing food that has to survive being cooked and packaged, then cooled, loaded into giant trucks, transferred into trolleys, placed in aircraft catering ovens – renowned for being recalcitrant – reheated, slapped on a tray in another trolley and wheeled up an aisle before making it to a passenger. I doubt that my cooking could stand up to the test! I’m usually pleasantly surprised at how well the meals survive.

As a pilot I’m a little spoiled at work because we are fed well – who wants to have their crew fall over from hunger mid flight – but not as well as Air France. A friend of mine who’s a doctor helped out on an Air France flight when a passenger collapsed. She was invited to the flight deck so the captain could say thank you personally for her assistance. There on the captain’s tray was a glass of red wine.  How very civilized J.  Unfortunately that won’t be coming to my flight deck any time soon.

So what’s your best or worst experience of airline food? GW was most perturbed last time we flew Jetstar. Meat pies were no longer available… The culinary highlight of his trip apparently…  Have you been disappointed, surprised, amazed?


Told you we were in for a treat! Thanks, Helene, for another great post. Always a pleasure to have you on.

Now, Feasters, you heard our generous Captain speaking. Share your airline food experiences and Australian commenters could win an ebook copy of Burning Lies!

I was fortunate enough to experience a first class international flight once. Now that was civilized. Moet on arrival, followed by more beautiful wine and a lovely menu designed by, if I recall correctly, Neil Perry of Rockpool fame, and all served with a smile and a super comfy sleeper bed seat. Plus complimentary pyjamas! Sadly, I think that will be my first and only experience of such luxury, but it was special while it lasted.

Giveaway closes midnight, Tuesday 14th August, 2012. Australian residents only, sorry.

If you’d like to discover more about Helene and her heart-racing books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter.

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Ingrid who has scored an ebook copy of Burning Lies and whose death by rogan josh comment had us all in stitches. And a big thanks to everyone else who joined in the fun. Hope to see you again soon.

0 thoughts on “FRIDAY FEAST with Helene Young

  1. Avatarshelleyrae @ Book'd Out

    I’m not sure I would be too impressed to find my pilot sipping wine in the cockpit! LOL. Thanks for sharing a fun post! (Don’t enter me in the contest though)

  2. Avatarphillipafioretti

    I think I’ve been pretty lucky actually, nothing stands out as ghastly. Flown Singapore airlines twice to Europe in the last few years and ate everything they gave me. On a JAL flight to the US when youngest child was four we pre-ordered a kids meal and it was almost entirely chocolate. Great, load up child with sugar and chocolate then stick em on a plane for 12 hours! Worst meal was Portland, Oregon to Mazatlan in Mexico on Alaskan Airways who had just lost a jet off LA a few moths before. Each passenger was given a little basket with a sandwich wrapped in plastic inside the basket, under the sandwich was a little piece of paper with a prayer printed on it. Very comforting. Now …. hospital food, there’s a topic for you!

  3. AvatarHelene Young

    Cathryn I’m just a little jealous! I want to fly first class just once before I retire from flying… Business class does spoil us but First???

    No sipping on Australian flight decks, Shelleyrae 🙂

    A prayer?? They’d have been better off giving you a stiff drink Philipa!!!

    Apologies for any typos – we’re on the road to Cooktown:)

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      First class was fun, Helene. One of the best bits was the check-in treatment. We were whisked around like stars. Such a hoot.

      Did you see the recent story about a Qantas flight being delayed out of the US because a couple of first class passengers missed out on their jim-jams? How funny and stupid.

      I’m like you, Phillipa, in that I haven’t had any truly horrid food experiences on flights. But I’m very glad I never had a basket with a prayer in it. Not exactly confidence inspiring!

  4. Avatarrachael johns

    Absolutely FABULOUS post!! I always find the meat on planes questionable, so I’ve now learnt to order vegetarian. Not only do I usually MUCH prefer the dish but it always comes out early and I HATE waiting 🙂

  5. AvatarKathy

    Best airline food? The one served right in my own house. Airline pilot husband often comes home and brings the special chocolate from his Captains tray, the one with the hazelnut inside it. Just perfect with a cup of tea. 🙂 Look forward to reading the book!

    1. AvatarHelene Young

      Oh those chocolates are to die for Kathy. Lucky for me GW doesn’t eat hazelnuts so no requirement for me to bring them home! Hope you enjoy the book!

  6. Avatarsandraharrisauthor

    I bet on Air France they have the best coffee and croissants.
    Hazelnut chocolates, hmmm? Now I wonder why I haven’t heard of these before? I see an interrogation in the near future.

    1. AvatarKathy

      Ah Sandra. I only heard about them because another pilot’s wife told me her husband brought them home for her. So I made my demand … along with the Singapore orchids. You know they can be bought at the airport for as little as $12?

    2. AvatarHelene Young

      Lol, he needs to go to Moresby more often, Sandy:) We used to get macadamias coated in chocolate on our trays. Most times now it’s dark chocolate frogs – still very yummy!!

    3. AvatarCathryn Hein

      I’m trying to recall whether they did, Sandra. We flew Air France quite a bit when we lived there, but I can’t remember what the food was like. Stuffit!

  7. Avatarcccoburn

    Don’t get me started on airline food! 🙂 We fly around the world and to the States and back twice a year, so I get to try lots of airlines and their offerings. Sometimes I’m amazed what they manage to whip up – light and fluffy omelets for instance. I can’t even manage that in my own kitchen let alone massed produced and reheated at 40,000 feet!
    But my worst meal would have to be on Egypt Air – don’t know what was scarier, the flight or the risk of what we’d catch if we consumed the curried egg sandwiches – I think they used thousand year old eggs on them. The bread probably dated back to the time of Moses as well, it was so dry and curling at the edges.
    Best meal? First class on Thai – very obsequious service with at least three attendants serving us at once. Can’t remember what I ate, but it was goood!
    Lufthansa always has great food and their service is excellent.
    Singapore Airlines really upset me recently on a A380 in economy. For breakfast – all they had left was Singapore fish soup and noodles. For breakfast???!!! I mean, couldn’t they look at the manifest and work out that 95% of the passengers had European names and therefore order appropriately from Gate Gourmet?
    The short ribs we had yesterday on United in first class were pretty toothsome, but the breakfast croissants??? Inedible. I’ll bet they’re better on Air France too 🙂 And the drinks came in plastic glasses…
    Do tell GW they have meat pies on Virgin, I noticed them on the menu yesterday, however since United had force fed us all the way across the Pacific, I passed.
    I’m having Birgit Davis-Todd for dinner during the conference and am seriously thinking of serving Barbara Hannay’s yummy Greek Lemon Cake for dessert, although with my luck in the kitchen, I might be better seeing if Lufthansa would mind whipping one up for me instead! 🙂

    1. AvatarHelene Young

      Love it, CC, you are clearly someone the airlines should be consulting when they change menus! It amazes me that they don’t have focus groups because some of the dishes seem so far out of left field clearly the passengers had no say in it!!

      I’ve passed the good news on to GW – sadly he’s flying Jstar to conference so is stuck with sandwiches in plastic wrap. Of course, none of us would fade away if we didn’t eat for three hours so I know airline food is really only about staving off boredom!!

      1. AvatarCathryn Hein

        Curly curried egg sangas, CC? Oh, I don’t even want to imagine the potential consequences of that!

        All this talk of pies on Virgin makes me want to try one out….

        And do try Barbara’s recipe. Syrups cakes are delicious and rarely fail. Perfect!

        Thanks for dropping by CC.

        1. Avatarcccoburn

          An update on Barbara Hannay’s Greek Lemon Cake! Kandy Shepherd made it last night for us all and it was DELICIOUS! It looked funny and too thick in the tin but turned out fluffy and tasty and I think I’ll go and have some leftovers for breakfast!

  8. AvatarLouise Reynolds

    Love this topic! Best airline food was Malaysian Airlines to London in the early 90s, I opted for the Malaysian dishes and they were seriously good.

    However, the most memorable airline food experience was not so much about the food but how it was consumed. You know how you’re walking down the aisle of the plane, looking ahead to see if you can work out which is your seat and, more importantly, is there anyone sitting next to you? So I see an old Islander guy and I think yup, bet that’s my seat. Sure enough it was and he was a total sweetie although he didn’t have much English.

    But when the food arrived he was right into it, all of it together. Swiss roll and cream was scooped up and mashed onto the same fork as the chicken dish. On and on it went until I had totally lost my appetite, whereupon he turned to me and gestured, was I finished? When I nodded he hauled my tray across and finished it off the same way.

    But we still weren’t done. Once everything had been consumed, he pulled out his upper denture and very slowly and meticulously licked it clean, tooth by tooth.

    True story.

  9. AvatarHelene Young

    Oh my god, Louise, that’s made me laugh out loud! Bad enough to have the food all mashed together but the dentures??? No, no, no… I think I would have been reaching for the sick bag 🙂

  10. AvatarIngrid

    I was diagnosed with lactose intolerance after two years of being sick. Imagine my excitement when I discovered Emirates do a lactose free meal! Imagine my disappointment when, after finishing most of it, I decided to read the ingredients – cream, milk solids and whey. The joys of being sick in a confined space – can only feel sympathy for my fellow passengers.

    The other memorable experience involved the passenger beside me taking sleeping tablets before his meal. I suspect he mistook horse tranquilisers instead. He passed out headfirst into his curry (took the combined efforts of myself and the hostie to save him from a drowning by Rogan Josh) and then haul him off the flight when we landed…15 hours later. Yikes!

  11. AvatarHelene Young

    Ingrid, I feel your pain… I was diagnosed with lactose intolerance… That must have been awful for you.

    Sleeping tablets certainly affect some people more when they’re in the air than on the ground – bit like alcohol really. Drowning in airline rogan josh would not be a good way to go 🙂

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      Oh, poor you, Ingrid. How awful, both on the un-lactose intolerant meal and the curry face planter!

      This is such a cool topic. I’m so glad you brought it up, Helene. Such amazing stories!

  12. Avatarjacquesartandbooksue

    It seems I haven’t had the airtime of many of other ladies leaving comment to experience a large variety of airline meals but I have been luckyenough to have had no memorable BAD airline food episodes… though I must say the BEST meal I have ever had whilst in the air would be on an Air France flight by far.

  13. AvatarHelene Young

    Jacque, I think Air France consistently ranks in the top ten. And then there’s the wine:)

    Had a pretty average sandwich today…

    See you on the Gold Coast:)

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      It’s driving me bonkers that I can’t remember my Air France meals and I flew with them a lot. Maybe they simply didn’t register compared to everyday French food or the awesome pain aux raisins from our local boulangerie…

      Really think I’m going to have to order one of these Virgin pies on my Gold Coast flight. It’s been put into my head and won’t leave now.

      Thanks for visiting, Jacque!

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