FRIDAY FEAST with Ebony McKenna

Long to feel young at heart, to suffer once again all the agony and ecstasy of freefall teenage love? Don’t mind a super clever and oh-so-gorgeous snuggly ferret? Then Friday Feast has the author for you!

It’s my great pleasure to host Australian author Ebony McKenna on Friday Feast today, a lady who is as cute and adorable as her Ondine series. A series, I should add, as perfect for the old adults among us as it is the young. The Ondine books are simply wonderful; a sparkling combination of magic and romance, from a fantastically imaginative author. Just what you need to escape a miserable winter’s day or to heighten that summer joy.

Plus who can resist a ferret? Those creatures are just made for love!

 

ONDINE: THE SUMMER OF SHAMBLES

 

Cover for Ondine: The Summer of Shambles by Ebony McKennaWhat’s the point in falling in love with a man if he turns back into a ferret when the moon goes down?

Ondine is your classic 15-year-old student looking for fun in her summer holidays.

When she finds out her pet ferret Shambles can talk, and is in fact a gorgeous boy trapped under a witch’s spell, she vows to help him become handsomely human again.

But her plans for an idyllic summer of romance are complicated when an assassination plot is uncovered and a long-lost treasure is discovered. Then things get really tricky when Ondine falls under the spell of Lord Vincent, the devastatingly handsome son of a duke.

Set in the magical and wonderfully weird European country of Brugel, The Summer of Shambles is the first in the four-part ONDINE series.

 

Doesn’t that sound fun? Ondine: The Summer of Shambles is out now in paperback throughout the Commonwealth. Try your local bookstore or most excellent Australian bookseller Booktopia. Ondine can also be purchased from Amazon UK or Bookdepository.

For ebook lovers in Australia and the UK, try Kobo or Amazon UK (for Kindle). For the US and other non Commonwealth countries, clickety click on over to Amazon.com for the Kindle version. For a full list of links please visit Ebony’s website.

Keep your beady eyes out for more Ondine books, with book two out now in ebook and paperback in selected countries, followed by book three in December and four in March, 2014. Nearly a year of fabulously ferrety fun reading!

Now kick back and enjoy Ebony…

 

CURRY UP!

Curry pies. I am addicted to these things and hardly need encouragement to talk about them. I don’t think I’d survive Melbourne’s winters without at least one a week. Not that I can make them, because that would require a recipe and following it. Yes, I can follow a recipe, but I’m hungry now.

Ebony McKenna's favourite treat, a curry pie

Lucky for me, Melbourne is blessed with pie shops. I have several within driving distance that make extraordinarily good ones. Or at least, they sell them. I don’t know if they individually make them.

Your basic curried beef pie is the traditional meat pie, with added curry powder mixed in. Nothing too hot or outlandish here. Just your regulation pie with the shortcrust pastry on the bottom and flaky pastry on top with poppy seeds. You can never eat them in your hands, as something happens to the curried gravy to make it extra dribbly. You will need a plate and a knife and fork. It’s the civilised pie, if you will.

But keep an eye out for specialty pie shops. There’s a gorgeous pie shop in a place called Brentford Square in Forest Hill. It’s called Paul’s Pies, and they make two kinds of curried pie: Curried beef, with onion and sultanas (which is a very English way to make curry) and the other curried pie, which is Thai chicken.

You heard me. Thai chicken.

Utter, utter heaven.

Another cafe I went to had curry pies with jalapeño peppers. Eating them was the most delightful torture as the pain burned higher and higher with every mouthful. Of course I ate the whole thing.

BUT, my favourite curry of all time is the seasonal bliss of my mother-in-law’s Boxing Day turkey curry. And she is generous enough to share this with you. (Possibly in the hope that one day I’ll do it. But she’s so good at it, really, should I even try?)

Ebony McKenna's mother-in-law's famous turkey curry

(This is a rare photo of the boxing day curry, as its rare that anyone sits still long enough to have a photo taken before devouring it.)

BOXING DAY CURRY

(This amount probably covers 6 people. I just double everything (except the curry powder which I increase to 3 not 4) if having 10 or more. )

Ingredients

Oil to cover base of pan

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 sticks celery, finely chopped

1 green pepper, finely chopped

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into thin slices

1 heaped tablespoon of flour

2 tablespoons curry powder ( I use Keen’s curry powder and Madras curry powder, one tblsp of each)

2 cups of chicken/turkey stock or water with a Chicken Oxo cube

1 kg of turkey meat (either recently cooked, or as leftovers from Christmas Day curry)

2 tablespoons of sultanas

Method:

Lightly fry the onions, celery and green peppers.

Add the apple slices

Combine the flour and curry powder and sprinkle over contents of pan

Stir and cook gently for 2 mins

Blend in the stock and bring to the boil

Reduce heat and simmer for 10 mins

Add the turkey meat and sultanas.

When all combined pour into casserole dish and place in oven for 1 hour at 160C

Serve with steamed rice and seasonal vegetables.

Note: Turkey curry apparently keeps for several days in the refrigerator, but it never lasts that long at our place.

 

Geez, thanks Ebony, I now have a shocking hankering for a big dribbly pie. Something my bum does NOT need right now. I also can’t stop thinking about Bridget Jones and her mother’s (in)famous Turkey Curry Buffet. Although unlike Bridget’s mum’s cooking, I bet your mother-in-law’s curry is delicious. Certainly sounds it. Just the thing to attract any passing Mark Darcys!

Back onto pies…

So Feasters, what’s your favourite bakery treat? Are you a pie person? Maybe sausage rolls tickle your fancy. Perhaps a sneaky cream bun or two… ‘Fess up! I don’t want to be the only one here with a desperate need to raid the pie shop. You need to suffer too!

If you’d like to learn more about Ebony and her WONDERFUL Ondine series, please visit her website. You can also connect via Twitter (highly recommended as Ebony is very witty and informative), Facebook and her blog.

0 thoughts on “FRIDAY FEAST with Ebony McKenna

  1. Avatarchristinestinson

    Thanks for the post, Cathryn and Ebony. The Ondine series is on my TBR list, Ebony. Shambles – can’t wait to meet him! (I’ve loved ferrets since I found out about that wonderful sport, ferret legging!! Not that I’ve ever played it…) Favourite pie is easy: chicken, leek and mushroom pot pie, flaky pastry top. Delicious. Now I want one for breakfast.

  2. AvatarPaula Beavan

    On behalf of all the Gluten Free-ers out here, I say this post could be considered cruel and unusual punishment. But I have some good news, there is a GF brand of pies with gorgeous flakey pastry and fillings that don’t resemble something left on the butcher’s floor. http://www.glutenfreebakery.net

    1. AvatarEbony McKenna (@EbonyMcKenna)

      Hi Paula,
      oh, I’m very sorry about your gluten/wheat problem, but the GF bakery sounds wonderful. Also, you could still make the turkey curry and rice without any gluten or wheat products at all. Thank goodness for the clever bakers and chefs out there who can make wonderful meals without the things that make you feel terrible the next day.

      1. AvatarPaula Beavan

        Thanks Ebony, I did bookmark the turkey curry recipe, and if I ever can perfect my own GF pastry, I’ll be on a total winner 🙂 But I’ll make a GF Turkey curry & rice in the meantime 🙂

    2. AvatarEbony McKenna (@EbonyMcKenna)

      Paula, but it can be cruel some times – I have family with various food intolerances and allergies. Someone in the family can’t eat any peas or split peas, lentils etc. But he can eat peanuts. When we buy pies, I’m the ‘taster’ to make sure there are no peas. We always ask first before purchase, but in many cases they don’t know because the pies are created off site and they simply re-heat them.

  3. AvatarLeisl Leighton

    I love pies – there’s nothing better during winter. I have a great Asian bakery near me who do just the best plain meat pies. I don’t know what it is about them, but I don’t need any sauce when I eat them. I have one every week in winter. Using leftovers in curry is my favourite thing. The turkey curry sounds yum. Will have to give it a try.

      1. AvatarCathryn Hein

        Comfort food indeed, and all this pie talk is giving me severe cravings. It’s cold, wet and miserable outside. Perfect pie weather. How can I resist?

        Thanks for dropping by, Leisl.

  4. AvatarLouise Reynolds

    I love a good meat pie. Best ever was on the long road trips from Melbourne to Sydney and back again when I was a kid. And they were very long trips pre-bypasses and freeways. We always stopped at a bakery in Gundagai and got piping hot pies with fabulous runny gravy and crisp pastry. They don’t sell ‘hot’ pies hot enough these days IMO. Lovely to see you waving the banner for your curry pies, Ebony!

    1. AvatarEbony McKenna (@EbonyMcKenna)

      Hi Louise,
      oh yes, we have our favourite bakery on long trips, especially the one where we stop on the way from Melbourne to Echuca. It’s the Gaffney Bakery in Heathcote and they have tandoori chicken pies and a host of hot delicious savoury nom-noms. And sweets. It’s mandatory we stop here for lunch for seriously good pies, and then we get sweeties to save for later.

      1. AvatarCathryn Hein

        I agree with that observation, Louise. Pies are never hot enough these days. What happened to the risk of third degree burns? And you need a steaming hot pie on a cold day to warm you up and to make sure the filling and pastry stays hot and lovely until the last bite.

  5. AvatarSerena Tatti

    Until recently I hadn’t had a pie in years. Ebony has been taunting us with stories and photos of curry pies for years, yet I held firm. Until last weekend. A trip to Sheparton always requires a stop at the bakery at Nagambie. When we were halfway through our mandatory coffee and scroll (apple scrolls, mmmmm) the wonderful aroma of freshly baked pies wafted throughout the gorgeous little shop/café. We decided that dinner that night would be curry pies! They were YUMBO. And of course I thought of you, darling Ebony.

    I LOVE the Odine series! Ondine—The Summer of Shambles will have you chuckling and laughing out loud through every page and footnote.
    Thanks for having Ebony as your special guest, Cathryn. Hmmm I feel like a trip to Nagambie!!

  6. AvatarEbony McKenna (@EbonyMcKenna)

    Ohhhh Serena, that gladdens my heart! How wonderful that you finally caved in and had a pie, a curry pie at that! Next time I’m in Nagambie, I’ll stop and say Serena sent me. And I’ll get an apple scroll. I adore them.

  7. AvatarSusanne Bellamy

    Pie is the ultimate comfort food but I don’t have a pie shop open at this time on a Sunday night! Next time I’m in Melbourne, I’ll have to try one of these famous curry pies. Cheers, Susanne

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      I had a great urge to hunt one down yesterday afternoon too, Susanne. But we don’t have a proper bakery close either. A sandwich didn’t quite give the same comfort. Had to have hot chocolate to make up for it.

    2. AvatarEbony McKenna (@EbonyMcKenna)

      Susanne, would you believe that when it came time to move house five years ago, we searched areas that we could afford … but also areas that had at least one bakery within walking distance. Where we’ve moved, we had four! (One has closed down, but not my favourite with the curry pies, so we’re doing OK). I think bakery research before you move into a new town is essential!

  8. AvatarImelda Evans

    I MUST MAKE THIS CURRY! Not least, because it reminds me of the turkey curry boofey in Bridget Jones. Love your ferrety books, Ebony. The girl still wants to know when the new one will be out…

  9. AvatarEbony McKenna (@EbonyMcKenna)

    Hello Imelda my champion of Brugel,
    Cathryn beat me to the punch. The third book is coming out in December, and then book 4 is hot on the heels in March. Speaking of book 4, guess who hasn’t finished yet? That would be me. But book 3 is done, edited and proof read. Now Hubbs is having one last read through (and laughing in the right places) so the December release is looking awesome.

  10. AvatarS E Gilchrist (@SEGilchrist1)

    Love the sound of your books, Ebony. Congratulations! And the cover is gorgeous. I made a yummy steak pie on the weekend. It seems to be the weather for it. I’ll pass on the curry one tho as I’m not partial to curry. All the best for awesome sales.