Things are looking fishy on Friday Feast this week. But what else can one expect when the guest is multi award-winning romantic suspense author Helene Young? Not that Helene is dodgy. Or on the nose. Oh no, no, no! Everyone who knows Helene understands what a gorgeous person she is. No, we’re talking fishy in piscatorial terms, but more on that later…
Helene’s new release is Half Moon Bay, and what a beauty this book is, both inside and out. The cover is simply gorgeous but the story is so brilliant (as all Helene’s stories are) it’s the June book of the month for Get Reading!, Australia’s largest celebration of books and reading.
Take a look at Half Moon Bay.
Ellie Wilding has been running from her past, but when the residents of Half Moon Bay call for help she knows it’s finally time to return home. As an international photojournalist, she’s used to violence in war zones, but she’s shocked when it erupts in the sleepy hamlet on the north coast of New South Wales, threatening all she holds dear.
Battle-weary Nicholas Lawson walked away from his military career leaving unfinished business. In a coastal backwater, that decision returns to haunt him. He remembers all too vividly his last lethal assignment in Afghanistan when Ellie’s sister, Nina, was shot and killed. Ellie’s been in his dreams ever since, even if she doesn’t remember him…
As a storm rages and floodwaters rise, Ellie struggles to save her community. But who can she trust? Nick Lawson, the dangerously attractive stranger with secrets, or an old friend who’s never let her down?
Enticing, isn’t it? And exciting. Well, Half Moon Bay is in stock everywhere now, so you know what that means, don’t you? Buy time! Visit your local bookstore or favourite chainstore to pick up a paper copy, or try that most excellent of online booksellers, Booktopia. You can also purchase from Bookworld, Angus & Robertson, QBD The Bookshop, Collins Booksellers, and many others. For the ebook try Kobo, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi, Amazon (for Kindle), and iTunes.
All set? Fabulous. And now I hand you over to the always entertaining Helene. Enjoy!
I’m very honoured to be visiting again as Cathryn’s Friday Feast is a post I never miss, even though I seem to be a lurker of late…
As Capt G, Zeus and I have turned into grotty yachties aboard our beautiful catamaran, Roo Bin Esque, I thought a fishy post was in order.
I was in awe of Callie’s fishing skills in Heartland – clearly, Cathryn, you too must know a thing or two about hooking the right fish!
But the first difficulty we encountered aboard the good ship Roo Bin Esque? I don’t fish and Capt G, being a Pom, is not necessarily skilled in the art of open ocean fishing. For twenty-four long days we trawled a line behind us. We lost count of the lures and baits that were ‘taken by razor sharp teeth in the mouths of great monsters from the deep.’ (Even my imagination couldn’t quite keep up with the proffered theories as to why we continued to eat anything but fish night after long night…)
I quietly hid the cookbooks with titles like ‘One Hundred and One Ways to Barbeque Seafood’ and ‘Fresh Fish Fetish.’ Clearly they were only causing disharmony and angst upon the high seas… Zeus seemed to find the whole thing amusing and used to wander out, stand on the back deck and sniff the air, before resuming navigator’s station on his beanbag. I swear he was chuckling…
Finally, on our last day at sea, we’d just had a discussion about hoisting the sails when Capt G went quite red in the face (being a copper top he does tend to blush rather spectacularly) and lost his power of speech. It took me several seconds to work out that there behind us, being dragged along by the hand line, was a great big ‘monster from the deep with razor sharp teeth!’ Who would have believed it!!
I was most impressed when my very own hunter-gatherer hauled this thing in hand over hand, muscles straining. Capt G looked even more heroic than usual. Finally, he landed it on the back transom. And then we looked at each other… Somehow we had to slay the monster…
‘Alcohol,’ I shouted.
‘What? You want to drink? Now?’ Capt G didn’t look impressed.
‘No, to kill it!’
Luckily for us Hettie Ashwin, a writer we caught up with in Airlie Beach, had given us some wonderful advice. ‘Squirt straight alcohol into their gills and voila, the fish will die a quick and painless death.’
With a wriggle and a squirm, and half a bottle of Bundy Rum, our monster from the deep succumbed. The next thing was to get photographic proof of Capt G’s success. And here he is looking very chuffed with himself.
Once he’d managed to gut and clean it the hunt was on for the perfect recipe for Spanish mackerel, bearing in mind that by now supplies were running low. I even Face Booked it – social media does have its uses!
The general consensus was barbeque thick steaks and finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime. Sounded good to me since it was my turn to cook! So that’s what we did with the first round of steaks. They were perfect!
To add a little class to the steamed vegetables I made a quick hollandaise sauce in the blender. This one’s fool proof!
Easy Blender Hollandaise Sauce Recipe
3 egg yolks (see how to separate eggs)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne or ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Melt the butter slowly in a small pot. Try not to let it boil – you want the moisture in the butter to remain there and not steam away.
2 Add the egg yolks, lemon juice, salt and cayenne (if using) into your blender. Blend the egg yolk mixture at a medium to medium high speed until it lightens in color, about 20-30 seconds. The friction generated by the blender blades will heat the yolks a bit. The blending action will also introduce a little air into them, making your hollandaise a bit lighter.
3 Once the yolks have lightened in color, turn the blender down to its lowest setting (if you only have one speed on your blender it will still work), and drizzle in the melted butter slowly, while the blender is going. Continue to buzz for another couple seconds after the butter is all incorporated.
4 Turn off the blender and taste the sauce. It should be buttery, lemony and just lightly salty. If it is not salty or lemony enough, you can add a little lemon juice or salt to taste. If you want a thinner consistency, add a little warm water. Pulse briefly to incorporate the ingredients one more time.
We landed at Cairns the next day and decided an impromptu dinner party was in order so we could share the rest of the steaks. (The boasting opportunities were too good to pass up.)
Something more sophisticated than a squeeze of lemon and hollandaise sauce was called for, but I couldn’t bring myself to spoil the fish in my efforts to impress. Instead I made a spicy Thai carrot salad – those lovely crisp vegetables keep for weeks in a small fridge.
Spicy Thai Carrot Salad
4 cups grated carrot
Half a cup raw unsalted cashews
3 – 4 teaspoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 fresh chilli, chopped (optional)
Half a teaspoon brown sugar
Place the carrot and cashews into a large bowl. Put the fish sauce, lemon juice, garlic, chilli (if using) and sugar into a screw top jar and shake until well combined. Pour the dressing over the carrot salad and toss the ingredients together.
As my basil plant had survived I shredded a few leaves over the top as well.
To finish the dish we had boiled new kipfler potatoes sprinkled with parsley and rolled in butter, along with fresh cherry tomatoes tossed together with avocado and a basic French vinaigrette dressing.
After almost four weeks at sea it was wonderful to share great food and good wine with some wonderful friends.
Life doesn’t get any better!
I bet it doesn’t, Helene! What a wonderful tale and delicious recipes, but then I expect nothing less from you. Ahh, Hollandaise, I am such a sucker for that stuff even though it’s pretty up there in the naughty sauce stakes. But, like so many things, it’s the naughty bits that make it taste so good. As for that carrot salad, I am soooo trying that. Easy and delicious: my kind of recipe.
Ok, Feasters, do you have any fishy tales? They could be foody, piscatorial or of the dodgy fishy or sharkish business kind. We’re never fussy here on Friday Feast.
I don’t have any exciting ones but I still remember the absolute thrill of standing as a little girl on the reef at Nene Valley, a tiny South Australian fishing village where my family had a beach shack, and reeling in a hefty sized King George whiting with my tiny kid’s rod. Poor fish must have been lost because the only things that used to hang around that part of the beach were wobbegongs, crabs, the occasional crayfish, and slimy rock cod. I also managed to hook a cray once by dropping a handline over the side of the boat, while my dad and brother hunted (unsuccessfully) for snapper. And it was legal size. Best catch of the day!
We’d love to hear your tales, so comment away.
If you’d like to follow more of Helene’s, Capt. G’s and Zeus’s adventures afloat, as well as more about Helene and her wonderful books, please visit her website. You can also keep up with all the fun and news on Helene’s Facebook page and via Twitter.