FRIDAY FEAST with Annie West

Good morning, Feasters, and what a gorgeous one it is too, not least because we have one of my favourite guests returning to Friday Feast.

How lovely it is to have Annie West back. Not only is Annie an excellent cook, she writes intensely romantic and emotional best-selling novels and lives in a gorgeous part of the world – Lake Macquarie, right near and all those magnificent New South Wales beaches and the wine growing heaven that is the Hunter Valley. I tell you, if Annie weren’t so nice I’d be horribly jealous.

Annie’s new release is the delicious sounding and sensually covered Defying Her Desert Duty. Check it out.




Chained by silk and jewels

Across the bustling nightclub, bodyguard Zahir El Hashem watches his latest charge swaying temptingly on the dance floor, his pulse quickening. Returning the Princess to her bridegroom might not be such a simple operation after all…

Soraya Karim has always known one day she must resume her royal obligations-just not so soon! Clinging to the last shreds of her freedom, Soraya insists they take the long way back to Bakhara – and their attraction reaches a dangerous fever pitch…

Once they reach the gates of the palace such a liaison will be utterly forbidden. From then duty must reign…


Oooooh, that sounds sexy! I feel the need to fan myself just reading the blurb. Defying Her Desert Duty is out now in the UK and Australia. UK readers, try Amazon and Bookdepository. For Australian readers, you can also use Bookdepository, look it up on the Australian Mills & Boon site, or rush to your local book or chainstore. For US readers, keep your eye on Annie’s website for release dates and buy links.

And now here’s Annie!


Biscuit Blessings!


Hi Cathryn and Feasters. Thanks for having me back again to chat. I love visiting here, though it always results in me salivating over food I don’t really need, but want.

I told myself I was going to blog about the joys of French food. I know you’d appreciate that, Cathryn. Not that I’m a cordon bleu cook, but time spent in France last year inspired my current book ‘Defying Her Desert Duty’. I know, I know, it sounds like it’s set in an Arabian Desert, doesn’t it? The truth is there’s a fair bit of France in that story.

So there I was, all set to discuss the wonders of French garlic potatoes and cherry ice cream (not together) and delicious sauces, not to mention soufflés, when something happened. Something in the nature of a pantry crisis. We’d run out of biscuits! Or to those from North America – cookies.

How it happened I don’t know, but I was faced with a lanky son in study mode (ie. distracted and in dire need of refuelling) and he’d already has his fill of fruit and cheese on toast. Briefly I thought about a cake but it seemed like too much time and effort. As for slices – I was missing some ingredients. It was biscuits that saved the day.

Biscuits are an integral part of our lives – at least in this neck of the woods. Now we tend to graze on savoury crackers more than sweet biscuits. Nothing quite like a triple cream brie with a little fig paste on a lovely rosemary and salt cracker. Or five… But biscuits, of one sort or another are always in the pantry. They’re a lifesaver when someone stops in for a cuppa, or when inspiration is lacking and a sugar hit at morning tea time is needed to stir the brain.

My mum cooked everything from cakes to pickles, from roasts to jam, even toffees for the school fete, but for some reason never biscuits. I remember Rich Tea biscuits and shortbreads and especially Iced Vovos (yes, they HAVE got smaller over the years).

When I got a place of my own, biscuits soon overtook cakes in the baking department. They were the perfect size and portable for hungry adults or kids. Said kids could take a hand in making them – whether rolling the dough or pressing it down or mixing. They were easy to pack and I could convince myself they were healthy if I added fruit or nuts.

A Canadian friend introduced me to home made Chocolate Chip Cookies. Sigh. And Sugar Cookies for Christmas. Another friend made Banana in Pyjamas biscuits for all the children at birthday time – plain biscuits iced in blue, white and yellow. I understand her 21 year old still insists on them for his birthday.

After living in Germany I started making Lebkuchen (gingerbread) at Christmas. The picture of the Christmas plate includes Gingerdead Men (gingerbread but stamped to show the men’s skeletons) and some truly, truly delicious little Cinnamon Stars. Never let anyone tell you the Germans can’t cook sweet things! There are also little Christmas trees – made of shortbread stars with cachous for extra sparkle. For me making biscuits is a chance for a little family bonding. For some reason making the Christmas biccies is still seen as a treat by the family – long may it last!

So in the spirit of sharing, here’s a recipe I snaffled from a magazine years ago. It’s the one I cooked just a couple of days ago to feed my starving lad. It’s quick and dead easy. Let’s not talk about the calories.


Lemon Shortbread Biscuits

250g butter

grated rind of one lemon

1 cup icing sugar, sifted

2 cups plain flour, sifted.

Beat the butter and rind until creamy. Add the icing sugar and beat well. With a metal spoon stir in the sifted flour.

Take level teaspoons of the mixture (I know it’s tempting to take more but in this case small really is best) and roll lightly into balls. Place on ungreased baking trays and press down with a fork dipped in cold water to prevent sticking.

Bake in a modern oven (180C or 350F) for 10-12 mins or until only very slightly coloured. Cool and store in an airtight tin. Makes about 4 dozen.

Do you have favourite biscuits/cookies? Are they home made or bought? Do you crave Tim Tams or go for something plain? What’s the most unusual biscuit you’ve come across?


Thanks, Annie! Those biscuits sound divine. I’m a terrible sucker for anything lemon and anything shortbread.

I must admit I’m not much of a Tim Tam craver, although I’ll happily scoff one when offered. Plain biscuits are more my go but tease me with a home-made ANZAC biscuit and I’m yours. My mother in law makes some beauties.

So what about you, Feasters? Share your biscuity tale and you could win a copy of Annie’s delicious new release, Defying Her Desert Duty!

Giveaway closes midnight, Tuesday 6th November 2012, AEST. Open internationally. Rah!

If you’d like to learn more about Annie and her sexy books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and keep up to date through her newsletter.

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to fitzroylou who has now won a copy of Annie’s wonderful Defying Her Desert Duty. Thanks to everyone who joined in the Friday Feast fun. Hope to see you here again!

0 thoughts on “FRIDAY FEAST with Annie West

  1. AvatarKandy Shepherd

    Hi Annie and Cathryn
    Yum! There is nothing like homemade biscuits/cookies. Yours look amazing, Annie, I love the skeleton one.
    Though I love the packaged ones too, they can never taste as wonderful as the ones fresh out of the oven. I have a never-fail recipe for pecan cookies that are of the refrigerator kind. When I have time to indulge in baking, I make the dough and keep it in the freezer so I can bake slice off the cookies and bake them when I don’t have time to start from scratch.
    Please don’t put me in the draw for DEFYING HER DESERT DUTY as I am lucky enough to already have a copy. Whoever wins is in for a treat!

  2. Avataranniewest

    Hi Kandy, those pecan cookies sound fantastic. Love pecans. And I’ve always been fascinated by dough mix that can be stored then cut and baked. I’m definitely going to have to try it some time. Maybe if I’m nice I can cadge the recipe from you some time…

    Glad you liked the Gingerdead men. They disappeared quickly. Another favourite at Christmas time is the plain shortbread biscuit. You can see some of them on the Christmas platter near the front. As I began making them when the children were little I got in the habit of making (with help) shortbread pigs and rabbits as well as traditional stars etc. Now we still make them and they go down very well. There are some rabbits in the picture, possibly because the pigs had already disappeared – they always seem to go first.

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      I really need to get onto this stored dough mix thing. Love the idea of slicing pieces off and baking what you need. Wonderfully economical!

      Thanks for dropping by, Kandy.

  3. Avatarannegracienne Gracie

    I’m not much of a big biscuit maker — I love making them, but then. . . I’ll eat them, won’t I, so usually I don’t even start. Mostly I make biscuits and sweet treats at Christmas to give away — and thanks, I’ll try these lemon shortbreads — they sound yummy. My emergency biscuits for if I have visitors coming at short notice are ANZACs. I always have the ingredients at hand, and the way I make them, it’s one pot to wash up. Plus I love the taste of ANZACs.

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      Yes, that does tend to be the problem with biscuits. Bake and then scoff. Tasty but not so good for one’s bum, belly etc etc.

      ANZAC biscuits are my fave too, Anne. Love them. AND I can kid myself that they’re healthy thanks to the oats. Bonus!

  4. AvatarJill

    Hi Annie and Cathryn!
    Thanks for the lovely shortbread recipe. There’s something so comforting about the smell of freshly baked biscuits, isn’t there? Shortbread always reminds me of Christmas; my mother used to make it on Christmas Eve and we’d leave some under the tree for Santa with a glass of milk. I’ll have to pass on your recipe to Mum for her to give it a go!

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      Hi Jill. What a lovely thing to be reminded of. Shortbread is so Christmassy, isn’t it? Not quite like gingerbread but still. I love the sound of Annie’s recipe too but I’m a sucker for anything lemony or shortbread.

      Thanks so much for visiting.

  5. Avataranniewest

    Hi Anne,

    I’m in awe of you baking and not eating. What a woman! I know what you mean though. Sometimes when I’m feeling particularly energetic I make biscuits to give away and it’s such a satisfying feeling – there are days when baking is just the right thing to do, then there’s the pleasure of eating but not the need to add those extra calories – let someone else worry about them!

    Aren’t ANZACs a great standby? I’ll have to invite myself over some time and try them.

  6. Avataranniewest

    Hi Jill,

    What a lovely memory to have. I bet your mum used to get a thrill out of making shortbread for you to share with Santa. It’s no wonder he’s so rotund with all that food left out in various houses. A nice tradition for you to carry on. Hope you and your mum enjoy the recipe.

  7. Avataranniewest

    And belatedly, waving hi to you, Cathryn. It’s so great to be here again. I do enjoy the discussions on food – sigh! And the company is pretty good too…

  8. Avatarmichelle douglas

    Annie, you wicked woman! I’m not sure at which word you got me — lemon or shortbread. 🙂 But I am most definitely going to try these. Hmm…and I love the sound of those cinnamon stars too. Sigh. I’m supposed to be watching what I eat, but with Christmas fast approaching I fear that’s going to become ever more difficult…especially with recipes like this to entice me. 🙂

    Cathryn, I completely agree that Annie writes intensely romantic and emotional romances! Please don’t put me in the draw. I have a copy of Defying Her Desert Duty and I can’t wait to get to it.

    1. Avataranniewest

      Michelle, now I know two of your weaknesses – I’ll store that information up for later. Those biscuits are so easy and quick but they always make an impact. Wonderful with tea or coffee. Hope you manage to avoid at least some of those Christmas calories!

      Hope you enjoy the book when you get to it. Am smiling here at the ‘intensely romantic’ description of my books. Absolutely chuffed about that!

  9. AvatarVanessa Barneveld

    Hi, Annie! Hi, Cathryn!

    Annie, your recipe sounds scrumptious. I’ve never tried making shortbread myself, though I’m very good at eating it. I’ve always loved Mrs Fields’s soft cookies–I make a beeline for the little shop in the Pitt Street Mall in Sydney.

  10. AvataranniewestAnnie

    Vanessa, these are easier than the usual shortbread, so a good place to start. I don’t know that shop in the Pitt Street Mall. Will have to check it out when I’m next in Sydney. Another food temptation…! Usually it’s the Lindt Cafe that is the temptation in the city but I’m open to other diversions.

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      Ooh, will have to hunt that shop down too on my next visit. Thanks, Vanessa!

      Mind you, I’m a bit like Annie and find it hard to go past the Lindt Cafe. Those hot chocolates are so, so good.

  11. Avatarfitzroylou

    Hi Annie and Cathryn,
    Christmas baking – eek! It’s getting so close. I don’t make many biscuits because I’m in the bake ’em, gobble ’em camp. But come Christmas I do rustle up some goodies for gifts, usually savoury biscuits, twists, parmesan thins, etc. Although I am rather partial to a shop-bought Speculaas biscuit from time to time.

  12. Avataranniewest

    Hi Lou,

    I love Speculaas too – great with coffee. Interesting about the savoury biscuits. I have some interesting recipes for them but I’ve never taken the time to try them. Maybe this year… As for baking and then gobbling – that’s why I like to cook for other people.

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      Hey, Louise! Those goodies sound very good indeed. But I’d expect nothing less than deliciousness from you!

      I have a recipe for speculaas that I’ve been wanting to try for ages but things like that always seem so much easier to buy.

  13. AvatarJuanita Kees

    Hi Annie and Cathryn 🙂

    Love the blurb for Defying Her Desert Duty and what a great cover too!

    I’m a TimTam addict but Mamuska’s Jam Drops from the Cheesecake Shop come in a close second. I thought I’d share this combo with you though from my favourite Irishman: Take two Oreos and place them between two slices of bread. Squeeze a little salad cream (mayo) on top and enjoy.

    I’m not convinced and not game to try it, but hey, he’s great eye candy despite his choice in sandwiches 😉

  14. Avataranniewest

    Hi Juanita,

    I’m pleased you liked the blurb for the new book. I love the cover, especially as the heroine looks like a friend of mine. I got a bit of a shock (pleasant) when I saw it the first time).

    Are you sure he wasn’t joking about the Oreos with mayonnaise and bread? My mind is boggling with that one! Thinking I might trying the Jam Drops instead. Thanks for the tip.

  15. AvatarAnna Campbell

    Hi Annie! Hi Catherine!

    Wow, Annie, what a luscious post. Actually I’ve been lucky enough to sample your delicious baking – MORE!!!! Love the recipe. The funny thing is that I’ve just got a book in and was contemplating doing some baking – partly because I need to re-establish some social ties that have been left to lie loose while I’ve been in my deadline cave and I love presenting home baking when people come over. Thinking of cherry nut cookies which are an old favourite here.

    And speaking of delicious, YUM, YUM, YUM to Defying Her Desert Duty. I love stories about forbidden love and this one is so luscious. I think somewhere you’re hiding the recipe for the perfect romance novel and I think you should share it with your friends! 😉

    1. Avataranniewest

      Anna, you’re so sweet! I love the idea of having a perfect recipe for making a romance. I wish it was so easy. But on the other hand there are times when it all seems to work out beautifully.

      Good luck with the baking to re-establish yourself socially. I know what you mean about the deadline cave. Everything else seems to pass in a blur at times like that, doesn’t it? Glad to hear you’re out, blinking in the sunlight and enjoying time for some other things.

      1. AvatarCathryn Hein

        Very jealous of your Annie-treat sampling, Anna!

        Enjoy that baking. So hard to keep in touch when a deadline looms. But cherry nut cookies sounds a delicious way to get back into the good books.

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