FRIDAY FEAST with Louise Reynolds

Feeling a bit puffed up and pleased here on Friday Feast this week. A huge crop of talented debut Australian authors is hitting the reading market and many of them are booked in for Friday Feast sessions. Wonderful authors with even more wonderful books, and an overload of food and travel fun – what a year 2013 is going to be!LReynolds1012_0059

Today I’m delighted to introduce contemporary romance author Louise Reynolds, and not just because I know she’s a dedicated foodie who knows all the best providores in Melbourne. No, this talented lady also writes rich romances about modern women finding love with their perfect hero. And she’s a lovely person too. In other words, the total package!

Louise’s debut release is Her Italian Aristocrat, and who doesn’t want one of those!




Her Italian Aristocrat coverOn a mission to buy a prestigious shoe company, Australian career girl, Gemma Parkinson, arrives in Italy determined to succeed. But when she falls ill, effortlessly handsome local aristocrat, Luca Andretti, is on hand. Suspicious about Gemma’s presence in his town, he offers to let her recuperate in his amazing palazzo. Surrounded by the lavish trappings of the rich – servants, designer clothes, fine food and wine – Gemma is completely out of her depth.

Intent on saving the town’s local industry, Brunelli Shoes, from foreign take-over, Luca throws every obstacle he can in Gemma’s path. Headstrong, savvy and equally determined to successfully wrestle the company away from him, Gemma fights Luca all the way.

But Luca’s life of privilege masks a private world of pain and Gemma has demons of her own. As they come to understand one another, their growing attraction starts getting in the way.

This moving love story involving two people from very different backgrounds is a delightful, contemporary romance in a gorgeous Italian setting.  


Ahh, I was sold at the name Luca. So strong, so sexy, so dreamy. Sigh. A little clickety-clicking and Luca could be all yours. Buy the ebook direct from the publisher, Destiny Romance, or from iTunes, Amazon Kindle, Kobo or Google Play.

And so we travel from glamorous Italy to the far, far more glam 🙂 Australian outback, where Louise’s next novel is set. Enjoy!


My Outback Kitchen Rules


Thanks for having me on Friday Feasts, Cathryn. Today I’m taking a break from my imaginary world of aristocrats and glamorous Lou Outbackjpeg006 (2)living and sharing my love of the Outback.

Just because we’re sleeping on the ground, digging our own toilet and spending most of the day walking around in our underwear, my nearest and dearest and I have never seen the need to compromise on food when we’re bush camping. The thought of dehydrated or canned food (unless it’s the very excellent Watties baked beans) revolts me. And don’t start me on people who pre-cook, cryovac and label every meal and pack them in sterile conditions in the camping fridge or freezer in the precise order they’re going to eat them. (‘Oh look, dear, it’s Tuesday so we must be having the mango chicken and rice’).

I have a perfectly lovely kitchen at home but when ‘outback’ I come over all pioneer woman; gathering fuel and sorting timber into kindling and logs so the RIMG0947heat can be adjusted throughout cooking. And I want to cook by gaslight. No sensible cooking in broad daylight for us. It’s not nearly as much fun if you can’t peer at the chopping board and wonder is it mushroom or is it moth?

You will never have more time and leisure to prepare a meal than you have on a holiday like this. If you’ve travelled through the Mallee, it’s likely you’ve visited a local butcher and bought some local saltbush lamb and country bacon, thick cut and with plenty of oink. You’ll have t-bone steaks with a thick layer of creamy fat just begging to be barbecued over coals and served with slightly ashy jacket potatoes and salad.

I’ve just finished a book set in the outback so I decided to share two of my favourite meals.


Darling River French Toast

with Bacon and Maple Syrup

Throw a handful of twigs onto the smouldering ashes of last night’s fire. When the flame appears load heavier kindling on top and place the kettle next to it. Feed more wood on the fire and when the kettle boils make a cup of tea. Sit back, relax and look at birds.

RIMG0513Put some clothes on.

When the fire has settled down, place the hotplate over it. Scrape off the remains of last night’s barbecue and pour on some water so it spits and hisses. Drizzle on a little oil and fling some bacon rashers onto the hotplate. Pour another cup of tea. As the bacon cooks, make a huge fuss of turning it using an old fork with a bent tine.

Crack two eggs into a battered enamel dish and chuck the shells on the fire. Whisk with the fork and add a little milk. Soak the bread slices in the egg mix and slap onto the hotplate next to the bacon. Make them nice and brown and crispy.

When ready, serve with liberal amounts of maple syrup and a can of aeroguard.


Back o’ Bourke Beef Stew

Cut good quality oyster blade steak into large cubes, dredge in flour and brown in a camp oven.RIMG0673 Remove. Add sliced onions and brown. Add sliced kidneys (that’s kidneys, not echidna) and pour in a bottle of beer. Mix well, season and cover. Hang on a tripod over coals and cook for 2 hours. Half an hour before serving throw in mushrooms. Serve with potatoes mashed with plenty of butter and milk.


Oh, Louise, you made me laugh with this. LOVE the style of your camping!

Now, Feasters, when you’ve stopped laughing and drooling, have a ponder about this: Where’s the most unusual place you’ve prepared a meal? Think hard, because your answer could earn your very own Luca. Yes, my feasty lovelies, Louise is generously offering one commenter a Kindle copy of Her Italian Aristocrat, so prime your typing fingers and get to it.

Giveaway closes midnight AEST, Tuesday 12th February 2013. Open internationally. Just in time for Valentine’s Day!

If you’d like to learn more about Louise and her novels, please visit her website. You can also connect via her blog and Facebook.

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Bec who has won herself Luca! (Well, a kindle copy of Her Italian Aristocrat with lovely Luca burning up the pages, which is close enough)


0 thoughts on “FRIDAY FEAST with Louise Reynolds

  1. Avatarchristinestinson

    What a great post, Cathryn and Lou. Those recipes made my mouth water and laugh at the same time, which means I’ve been dribbling. Strangest place I’ve ever cooked is the middle of my loungeroom floor, courtesy of a combined kitchen and bathroom renovation that was meant to take a fortnight and lasted 6 weeks, one of them without water. Since those six weeks corresponded with one of the wettest winters on record, cooking on the barbeque was rarely an option. The experience wasn’t a total washout as I did learn one very important thing: even if you cover whole eggs with water, you cannot boil them in the microwave without explosions.

    1. Avatarfitzroylou

      Hi, Chris. That does sound awkward. I presume there were small children in the mix as well? I’m just imagining the row of cereal boxes and canisters along the mantelpiece and window ledges 🙂

      1. Avatarchristinestinson

        Just the one bub at the time. Awkward is one word to describe it. While we were waterless, the neighbours left their hose over the fence and let us troop in every evening for showers. Otherwise it could have been really ugly…

      2. AvatarCathryn Hein

        Now that must have been an experience, Christine. One I’m sure you could have done without. As for exploding eggs, I don’t even want to contemplate how hard that must have been to clean up. Yuck!

        1. Avatarchristinestinson

          The egg mess (6 eggs in all: one exploded inside the microwave, I stupidl/ pressed the ‘door open’ button to see what was going on just before the other 5 went boom) wasn’t hard to clean up at all. Since I started to gag on the smell, my husband had to do the clean up. Only took him 40 minutes to get everything off the walls, ceiling, light fitting, chairs…

  2. AvatarDora Braden

    How do moths taste? You crack me up, Louise. My campfire cooking days were inside when I lived in a mud brick house without running water. I used to cook hot water over the lounge room fireplace for a mug of tea and my basin bath every morning. I already have you gorgeous book. Loved it.

    1. Avatarfitzroylou

      Hi Dora. Strangely, they taste like mushroom. At least they do when washed down with a really good red. Your experience is true pioneer woman stuff. I’d only want to do my outdoor cooking for a couple of weeks or so,

      1. AvatarCathryn Hein

        As Louise says, Dora, how very pioneer woman of you! Not sure I’d like to live like that permanently though. I think the novelty would wear off pretty quick. I do love my showers!

  3. AvatarMargaret Midwood

    You must be one of the few real bush women left, Louise. Give me the comforts of home anytime but I loved hearing your view and recipes.

    And I remember those moths, they are enormous, especially when they crash and burn in the fire.

    Her Italian Aristocrat is a beautiful story with a wonderful ah ha ending.

      1. AvatarCathryn Hein

        All this talk of moths is making me feel a bit squicky. Think I’m getting a tad soft in my middle age!

        Thanks for dropping by, Margaret. Lovely to see you here.

      1. AvatarCathryn Hein

        Hey Jenn, great to see you here.

        I’m still annoyed at Louise for looking glam while camping! Where’s the messy swag hair and daggy clothes???? Tis not normal…

  4. AvatarBec

    i guess not that weird but while getting our kitchen fixed we only had our BBQ to cook on – which did have a wok burner on it, trying to cook a pot of pasta on it in the middle of winter with the wind blowing and rain was not fun

    1. Avatarfitzroylou

      Ah, yes. The old wind chill factor has to be taken into account when cooking outdoors because everything takes like a gazillion times longer if there’s a breeze. Still it gives my DH licence to set up complicated tarp arrangements as a windbreak thus satisfying the boy-builder in him. Thanks for dropping in Bec, and sharing your outdoor cooking experience.

      1. AvatarCathryn Hein

        Hi Bec. Amazing how quickly the fun of BBQ cooking can fade, especially when the weather’s being fickle. I bet that pasta took forever to boil.

        Thanks for commenting.

        Louise, your DH sounds just like mine. They do so love a construction challenge.

  5. AvatarAnneGracie

    Loved your descriptions and recipes, Louise. Moths on toast… mmmm.
    Love your book, too, so I don’t need to be in the draw.

    the most unusual place I ever cooked (well it wasn’t actual cooking) was one night after a week camping deep in the bush on Stuart Island on the southern tip of New Zealand. The ferry to the mainland only came three times a week so we hiked in the day before — it was a full days hike —and found everything was closed. We couldn’t even get a hamburger or buy a packet of crisps and we were starving. The camping ground was a mile out of town and we were too tired to walk any further, so in the dark we found a good site up on a hill, well away from any street lights. And emptied out our packs to see if we had anything to make make a meal with. A few slices of dry salami. Yum yum. And a couple of squares of chocolate. Yay, dessert. We lit our little metho stove and made a cup of tea, and ate our salami and chocolate. Then went to sleep.

    We were woken around dawn by chooks clucking uproariously. We poked our heads out of the tent. . . and found we’d camped in someone’s back yard. But there was no fence or anything! So we packed up and crept away, then sat outside the hotel for several hours until it opened and we could come in and order a big english breakfast!

    1. Avatarfitzroylou

      Anne, my stomach is complaining just thinking of those ‘starvation rations’, especially after a full days hike. I’d have been banging on the pub door screaming for breakfast! And I expect the people whose yard you were camped in wouldn’t have minded a bit. NZers seem to be very easy that way.

  6. AvatarRachael Johns (@RachaelJohns)

    The most unusual place I’ve ever cooked (for a whole year) is a kids camp kitchen in England. I worked as a catering assistant there in 1999. Okay, so not THAT unusual but the best I can do. Love the sound of that French Toast!!!

    1. Avatarfitzroylou

      Wow, Rach, that must have been an experience. No wonder you can wrangle 3 little men, run a business and write successful books all with one hand behind your back.

  7. Avataranniewest

    Oh, I so enjoyed this post. Thanks Louise and Cathryn. And, like Cathryn, I was hooked when I read your hero is Luca. Love that name. The book sounds fabulous.

    The recipes sound marvellous. I’m afraid that most of my camping was done when I had to carry all my food in my backpack for several days so weight was a real factor in what I took. Most unusual cooking place? Hm. Not sure. One of the most memorable was in a massive cliff overhang in Wollemi National Park, while watching a 3 metre brown snake swim across the waterhole we’d spent the afternoon swimming in…

    1. Avatarfitzroylou

      Annie, I’m in awe of people who camp like that. That’s the real deal and under those conditions you have my dispensation to eat dehydrated food, lol. A bit leery of snakes as well. One night sitting in the dark in front of the campfire I decided to play with my new little LED torch hanging on a lanyard around my neck. I shone it here, I shone it there. Eventually I directed it to the ground around my chair. And that’s when I saw the snake…

      1. AvatarCathryn Hein

        Annie, that sounds so romantic. Not the snake bit. You can have that yourself! But I imagine that was very spectacular site and worth the climb.

        Think I’d still have nightmares over your snake episode, Louise. I still have them over my childhood encounters! There were tiger snakes EVERYWHERE at our beach house. And brown snakes, and copperheads and red bellied blacks. Sigh. No wonder I have snake issues.

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