FRIDAY FEAST with Helene Young

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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? Helene Young - romantic suspense authorNot 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.

 

HALF MOON BAY

 

Half Moon Bay by Helene Young book coverEllie 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!

 

FISHY BUSINESS

 

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.

Helene Young's beautiful catamaran, Roo Bin Esque

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…

Helene Young's dog Zeus aboard the catamaran Roo Bin Esque, looking back at Hinchinbrook Island

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!’

‘Of course!’

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.

Helene Young's husband Capt G's with his first fish of the trip, an impressive Spanish mackerel

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

 

INGREDIENTS

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

METHOD

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

Method

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.

 

22 thoughts on “FRIDAY FEAST with Helene Young

  1. AvatarLouise Reynold

    Hi Helene and Cathryn. Laughing because there’s the romance of catching a fish (hey, we’re self-sufficient!) but along the way you have to put live wriggly things on a hook and then kill said fish and gut it. It’s the sort of thing I could do – if I had to. But I totally understand how gorgeous it would be to cook such a fresh fish. Cathryn, I haven’t fished since I was a child when my Dad gave us all a length of twine wrapped around an old glass Coke bottle. Simple pleasures. Congratulations on Half Moon Bay, Helene. It sounds terrific.

    1. AvatarHelene Young

      You’re spot on, Louise! It all sounds very manly until the ‘murdering’ part comes around… We too had line wrapped around coke bottles and also pieces of wood when we were growing up. Never did catch anything, so I’ve never learnt the gentle art of dispatching a fish to Davey Jone’s locker… Thanks for dropping by!

  2. AvatarAnnie West

    Loved this! Thanks for the entertainment Helene and Cathryn! I’m having a coffee break from writing and had such a good time I want to go and cook, or better yet read! The book sounds just my sort of treat and it was a timely reminder that I haven’t yet snaffled my copy. Tomorrow when shopping…
    I’m laughing here at using half a bottle of Bundy to despatch the fish. Did it add to the flavour? It’s been years since I fished but I seemed to have spent half my childhood patiently waiting for something to bite. Never caught anything like yours though, Helene.

    1. AvatarHelene Young

      Happy to help with a smile during a coffee break, Annie:-D

      I’m also happy to report the fish didn’t taste of Bundy and we are now equipped with a squeeze bottle for ease of anaesthetic delivery. Much tidier 🙂 I suspect this is something I’m going to have to get used to… Thanks for taking a break from writing to visit.

      1. AvatarCathryn Hein

        I have a huuuuuge urge to make Helene’s hollandaise, Annie. Doesn’t it sounds delicious and super easy too? One for my poached eggs tomorrow perhaps…
        Hope your writing is going wonderfully.

  3. Avatar1girl2manybooks

    Love this post – Capt G does look very impressed with himself indeed! Now I have no stories as I am not a seafood person – in fact I can’t walk past the seafood place in the shopping centre without gagging. But I do LOVE Hollandaise sauce and that will definitely be getting a go in this kitchen – I shall pass the recipe over to my personal chef (aka my husband)!

    1. AvatarHelene Young

      Oh Bree, I know what you mean but this fish didn’t taste anything like a fish! I’m really not a seafood eater myself but I could be converted if it all tasted so delicate and light.

      I love hollandaise sauce and discovering an easy way to make it was a god send! Hope your chef approves 🙂

      Thanks for dropping by!

      1. AvatarCathryn Hein

        Pretty cool fish brag photo, isn’t it, Bree?
        Bummer about not being a fish girl. You don’t know what you’re missing…or perhaps not, given that gagging!

  4. Avatarbrendat59

    Lovely post once again Cathryn and Helene! The end result certainly sounds delicious…well done. I don’t have any fishy tales (of catching anything) but I do love to EAT those wonderful crayfish Cathryn. Oh the joy of the tastebuds!!

    1. AvatarHelene Young

      Hi Brenda, thanks for being part of the conversation.

      Crayfish can either be spectacularly good or very disappointing so I’ve only attempted cooking them once. It was successful, but I remember thinking they were like eating crabs – more trouble than they are worth!! Capt G says I’m a heathen 🙂

      1. AvatarCathryn Hein

        I soooooo love crayfish, Brenda. And we have absolute beauties off the southern coast of SA. My brother dives for them so I get to scoff myself silly If I’m ever in Mount Gambier during the season. Love!
        Thanks so much for dropping by. Great to see you here.

  5. AvatarJuanita Kees

    Finally, recipes that don’t require igniting a flame and having my local firies groaning, “She’s cooking again!” That spicy Thai Carrot Salad sounds divine, Helene. The perfect side for hubby’s Barramundi, baked on the coals in foil on a bed of grated carrot and leek, sprinkled with lemon & black pepper.
    Every time I look at the cover of Half Moon Bay on my bookshelf, I sigh. Can’t wait to read it after 50K30Days 🙂

  6. AvatarAnne Gracie

    Fabulous post, galz. Helene, that fish looks fantastic — really fresh fish is so yummy (though I’ve never had to kill anything and would probably be too squeamish to do it). Love the Thai carrot salad — will definitely try it.
    And I have my copy of Halfmoon Bay here beside me — love how they’ve printed those gold award stickers on the cover — verrry cool.

    1. AvatarHelene Young

      Thanks, Anne, killing the poor things is still the hardest part of this fishing caper… The alcohol method was definitely less distressing than other methods!!

      Hope you enjoy Half Moon Bay – and I’m so lucky to be able to use those little gold sticker so I will be forever grateful to ARRA and RWA for awarding them!!

  7. AvatarNoreen Allan

    Capt G does look good holding his catch. Rum!!! ‘What a waste,’ said the rum drinker in the family. We’ll be fishing again in August just near Dunk Island. My hubbie does the dispatching with a knife – quickly. We usually just crumb the mackerel and have it with a salad. It also makes nice fish cakes. Love crayfish too but make do with red claw as the crays are so expensive. Last year I caught a small shark and it took me half an hour to land it. I was buggered. When the hammerhead circled the boat my line stayed in the boat. Loved HMB and the recipes.
    Noreen

    1. AvatarHelene Young

      Noreen, you had a hammer head circling your boat?? Yikes, dolphins are cool but not the sharks… I did warn Zeus that not all things in the ocean were friendly…

      Red Claw are yummy and even I have managed to catch them in the past. Will need to invest in some crab pots too 🙂

      Glad you enjoyed HMB!

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