FRIDAY FEAST with Amy Andrews

Look out, we’re hosting another million plus seller on Friday Feast this week! Hmm, a girl would feel a tad jealous if these weren’t such fabulous women, and we only allow nice people on the Feast. It’s a house rule.shortdo

Today my guest is Amy Andrews, multi-published author and Romantic Book of the Year winner. Amy’s written 30 plus romances for publishers as diverse as Harlequin Mills & Boon, Entangled Publishing, Harper Collins Australia and Momentum, and been translated into over a dozen languages, including Manga! She also spent six years on the national executive of the Romance Writers of Australia, including two years as president, and organised two national conferences. If that isn’t enough, Amy’s married with two teenagers and works part-time as a paediatric intensive care nurse. I don’t know, these overachievers…

Amy’s latest release is from Harlequin’s KISS series, which is all about the gooey delirium of new love, and heroes and heroines who can’t get enough of one another. Guaranteed fun reads!

 

GIRL LEAST LIKELY TO MARRY

 

Girl Least Likely To Marry coverTalk nerdy to me

Samuel Tucker is absolutely the last person scientist Cassie Barclay would ever date. Yes, he’s gorgeous, but he’s also far too cocky for his own good and thinks that Pi is a tasty afternoon treat. So when he asks her to dance at her friend Reese’s non-wedding she’s wondering why on earth she says yes!

Tuck is used to people assuming he’s all brawn and no brain, and amuses himself by winding Cassie up. But when he finally takes her to bed, suddenly it’s Tuck who can show Cassie a thing or two! Can he convince her that love and sex have nothing to do with logic and everything to do with chemistry?

 

Now, that sounds like a lovely romantic romp, perfect to warm your winter-jaded cockles. Buy Girl Least Likely To Marry now direct from Harlequin or Amazon.

Now here’s Amy!

 

Claytons Cooking

 

So I have a confession to make. Well, two actually. I don’t really like to cook. And, having poured over all the previous bloggers here at Friday Feast, I’m going to admit to feeling slightly intimidated.

You see, the thing is, I used to love to cook. Loved it! Dinner parties were my forte and desserts my specialty! I have a hundred recipe books and probably a thousand recipes ripped out of magazines. My mother was an excellent cook. I can remember at school fete time every year Mum baking eight tarts (yes, proper pastry and all!) of different varieties which meant we could all carry two each during the transportation to said fete. She was a tuckshop convenor for years, she cooked two chooks every Saturday morning for the netball raffle, she catered for my engagement party of a 100+ people.

This is the stock I come from.  We cook in my family.

So, what happened?

I had a child who wouldn’t eat anything from about the age of two. The fussiest boy alive (almost not alive actually on many, many occasions!)  All my gourmet creations knocked back. Tinned food made specifically for fussy little eaters spat out.

And oh the advice I was given.

Useless advice #1

You just need to persevere. Trust me, after having stuffed his mouth full of something one time (damned if I can even remember what it was now), clamped it shut and held his nose, I have learned, to the detriment of my clothes,  that you can get food in a fussy eater’s mouth but you cannot make them swallow!

Useless advice #2

You just need to offer a variety of food from an early age. All I have to say to that is my next child, (a girl if it makes any difference) was eating olives at 8 months and if anyone thinks for a minute that I didn’t try that with fussy boy child, then they’re wrong.

Truly. This is a child who wouldn’t even eat chocolate cake – yes, chocolate cake – until he was 8 years old. Then he looked at me like I had hidden the wonders of this particular food from him deliberately all that time. Ha! If he’d shown even the slightest inclination towards eating it the multiple other times I’d offered it to him (read begged and pleaded) I’d have cooked it morning noon and night!

So yeh…I had the joy of cooking sucked right out of me. Cooking is something I do for us all to survive. Don’t get me wrong I can still make a mean anything I set my mind to. I’m great with profiteroles and I made an apple and rhubarb pie recently that almost made my daughter weep (my son, now almost 18, didn’t eat it).

The point is – I just have no inclination to do it anymore. None. I look at it as a complete and utter chore.

So I was slightly at a loss as to what to write about in this blog. I did think wine might be a subject on which I could converse much more knowledgeably and I know Cathryn’s quite partial so…. And then I thought maybe I could talk Amy's vodka cookbookabout my two favourite cookbooks – The Vodka Cookbook and The Liquid Kitchen but I didn’t want anyone to get the wrong idea about me…

Which is why, even though it will probably get me kicked off this blog in disgrace, I thought I’d talk about the one thing I am passionate about in the kitchen – food construction. This is when a combination of already prepared food is thrown together to make a different dish – it’s quick and easy and I highly recommend it.  It’s Clayton’s cooking. The cooking you look like you’ve done when you haven’t really done anything at all.

For example – a bag of lettuce, some cherry tomatoes, some olives and feta cheese from the deli and a bottle of balsamic dressing equals a delicious fresh salad done in under two minutes. Cook up some pasta, a jar of pasta sauce, some pre-grated parmesan cheese, stir it all together and ta da! Some brandy snap baskets, a tub of chocolate mousse and a punnet of raspberries  – the perfect dessert.

This, dear readers, is the way I roll.  Or as much as possible anyway. Certainly when I’m having people over or if I have to take a dish anywhere, I do. Once upon a time I would have made chocolate mousse. Shudder. Once upon a time I would have bought a lettuce and ripped the leaves off and washed them – nope, not any more. Once upon a time I would have hand-cut my own coleslaw from scratch – finely shredded all the cabbage, grated the carrot etc etc. Not anymore. Now I buy a bag of the pre-mix, slap in some dressing (and some currants cos I think they add a little zing) and hello coleslaw!

So I’m going to share a quick and easy food construction “recipe” that I totally nicked from my sister who is a brilliant cook (and writer) but also has construction tendencies – what can I say it runs in this generation of women… It’s mini Banoffee tart, it requires only 4 ingredients, takes about two minutes and looks amazing.

Plus, trust me, wherever I go, these suckers disappear before my eyes.

MINI BANOFFEE TARTS

Mini Banoffee Tarts

Ingredients – 1 packet of sweet plain biscuits. (I use butterscotch snaps but you can use Gingernuts or whatever takes your fancy.)

1 banana. (You might need 2 depending on how many of the biscuits you use and how big the banana.)

1 tin of caramel (Or you can boil a can of condensed milk for like a zillion hours like my Mum used to do but…why?)

1 can of whipped cream. (Dollop cream works too.)

Method – Take a biscuit. Scoop on a blob of caramel. Place a slice of banana on the caramel. Top with a squirt of cream. Repeat.

Finito.

Easy-peasy lemon squeezy. They look great and ooh la la they taste bloody good too.

Help me out here guys, please tell me I’m not the only one who cheats in the kitchen? If anyone out there wants to admit to it – even just a little – you can go in a draw for my latest book Girl Least Likely To Marry and it’s the US cover version as well because it’s so bloody dazzling I need to share that sucker around, plus now it’s been plastered all over a lift in the Marriot in Atlanta it’s famous, don’t you know.  It’s true – I have the picture on my FB page if you want to see for yourself. Of course you  could also like my page while you’re there too – that would be lovely 🙂 but not necessary to go into the draw. I don’t care where you come from or how far I have to post my pretty little baby, if you’re into  a bit of Clayton’s cooking then your name goes into the hat!

 

See? Told you we only have nice people on Friday Feast. Not only has Amy given you a great read, some fantastic feeding children hints and a super easy banoffee tart recipe, she’s giving you a chance to win her book. So get commenting!

Giveaway closes midnight AEST, Tuesday 6th August 2013. Open internationally. Rah!

If you’d like to learn more about Amy and her thirty-plus books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter.

 

0 thoughts on “FRIDAY FEAST with Amy Andrews

  1. AvatarBeck nicholas

    I have three kiddos raised on the same kind of eating with wildly different fussiness levels so you’re speaking to the converted.
    Love to cheat in the kitchen. Hubby spent a year in mexico and (given a free ENTIRE day – yep it takes that long) will make Enchiladas from scratch including his own tortillas and various different sauces. It is delicious, but me – I need to save time and energy for the tequila shots. All three of my kids prefer bought chicken fingers, lettuce leaves, capsicum and old el paso tortillas, preferably with none of the jar of salsa. Quick, easy and THEY ALL EAT IT! Hubby despairs.
    Also, LOVE a scientist heroine. Girl Least Likely looks fab.
    =)
    Bec

  2. AvatarFiona Palmer

    Oh Amy I make the same salad! 🙂 I gave up cooking stuff that took too long & made too much mess. And I have a very fussy daughter. :/ She took all the joy out of cooking. Actually I never found it that much fun in the first place. I hate that you can spend hours creating something and its scoffed in a few minutes!! (or totally rejected by your child!!) See you in Freo. 🙂 Book looks great!

      1. AvatarCathryn Hein

        Am feeling so sorry for you people with fussy eaters! I think I’d cry.

        Fi, can totally relate about spending hours on prep only to have the food scoffed in minutes. I used to make a particular style of barbecue sauce that took 5 bloody hours to make, only for his nibs to damn-near drink the stuff. Frustrating!

  3. AvatarRachael Johns (@RachaelJohns)

    OMG you just wrote about me! Are you a fly on the wall in my house? Only I have THREE like that! Maybe it’s boys. My oldest won’t even eat HOT CHIPS for crying out loud and if you try to make him eat a burger or chicken nuggets, you are asking for death!!! Basically we now eat spaghetti, frozen fish and chips (oldest doesn’t eat the chips) and sausages with bread. Like you, I have lost the passion – except for desserts, but then mostly I’m the only one that will eat those too and you can see the obvious problem there.
    My secret is not for kids but for quickness when on a deadline. 4 Ingredient cookbooks I LURVE them! Or just googling EASY dishes. Fave so far – three ingredient Nutella brownies – and you wouldn’t believe, the one kid who would like to eat these, is allergic to nutella!
    Your book sounds awesome – of course!!!
    PS. I can vouch for Bec’s hubby’s Mexican cooking! WOW!

    1. AvatarAmy Andrews

      Lol Rach – chicken nuggets and sausages were about the only night time meals he’d eat for years! I bought the expensive gourmet ones because I felt so bloody guilty!
      Love the 4 ingredient cook book too!

  4. Avatarjoankilby

    Amy, you had me at caramel. Love the stuff and these tarts look like a scrumptious mouthful, and so easy. Girl Least Likely To Marry sounds like a fun read!

    Cathryn, thanks for bringing us another great Friday Feast.

      1. AvatarCathryn Hein

        And condensed milk caramel is the best, Joan. The excitement and agony of waiting for Mum to finish boiling those tins and then letting them cool is a vivid childhood memory. Gawd, I loved licking those tins, and now you can buy it ready made. Rah!

  5. AvatarFiona Lowe

    I’ve lost the joy of cooking but I think it’s cos I haven’t got anyone to cook for at the moment! Mind you, my number one son only ate 6 things until he was 12. Now he eats most things but the only fruit he eats are apples and bananas. I weep every summer…
    So yes, I too construct. I think ALL working mothers construct. Just LOVE the pad thai sachet…add chicken or prawns and rice noodles and coriander. DONE! Also this one is from fellow Harlequin author, Michelle Willingham…crock pot, chicken breasts or thighs, jar of salsa, packet of taco seasoning and 8 hours later you have the perfect filling for tortiallas or enchildads or…..
    LOVE the cover of your book!
    Fiona x

    1. AvatarAmy Andrews

      Love those recipes, Fiona!
      My son still only eats bananas, apples (red only, don’t even try to get him to eat green!!!), watermelon and grapes (but only green)
      In a house that worships fruit it is a mystery. How could you not like mango? or pineapple?
      The KISS covers really pop, dont they?

  6. Avatarevejeann

    Amy don’t feel bad you at least know how to cook. I have been known to burn boiled water because I get so wrap up in order things that I forget that I have something on the stove and let’s not talk about rice. I always managed to either leave it to hard, mushy, or extremely dry. Even the ones that have directions on how to cook it lol.

      1. AvatarCathryn Hein

        I sooo understand, Evejeann. It’s so easy to get distracted and then it’s oops!

        We’ve gotten over the rice cooking problem in this house by only eating curries with either rotis or naans. Easy!

  7. AvatarLauren James

    Amy, I’m with you. I love your term ‘food construction’, by the way. It’s better than ‘lazy cooking’ which is what my poor mother calls it. (I think she’s ashamed of me lol)

    I have friends who cook meals from scratch every night. They swear they love to do it, but all I hear about is how they don’t have enough time in the day, or that they’re sick of washing a million dishes.

    Personally, I’d rather have an extra hour or two each night to dedicate to my writing, not cooking and washing dishes!

    1. AvatarAmy Andrews

      LOL Lauren, lazy cooking is the other name for it 🙂
      I’m with you, I’d rather have more time to read, write, watch TV, drink wine… 🙂

      1. AvatarCathryn Hein

        I bet your mother is more jealous that she doesn’t construct, Lauren.

        I must admit I’m one of those annoying cook from scratch people. Can’t help it. I just love to muck around in the kitchen. Hmm. Actually, that’s not quite true. I love to eat, therefore I muck around in the kitchen. And the hubs and dishwasher take care of the rest!

  8. AvatarKirrily Cant

    Joy of cooking? Is there such a thing? My family thinks that they need to make a TV show just for me entitled “My Kitchen Sucks”! I don’t mind at all, as long as Manu hosts it and declares my homebrand delights “magnifique”.

  9. AvatarAnita H.

    Although I love to eat I certainly don’t have time to spend hours in the kitchen, so any shortcut sounds divine! And I love the whole concept of “food construction” 😀

  10. AvatarAda

    Hi Amy, love your Banoffee Tarts recipe. Since I’m pretty much clueless in the kitchen, this seems like something even I can make (fingers crossed) and make it look good enough to eat in the process! 🙂 BTW, Girl Least Likely to Marry sounds like a fabulous read, can’t wait to read it!

  11. AvatarSharlene Wegner

    Hi, Amy – I am not much of a cook, either. Some day, I will get the stack of papers off of the table so we don’t have to eat watching TV! I guess a short cut I take is adding jarred spaghetti sauce to a can of tomatoes instead of making sauce from scratch. Your recipe looks sweet (in a good way!)

  12. AvatarPrincess Fi

    It’s a long time since I went through the ‘trying on being the perfect housewife’ phase. The one where I baked bread and bulk biscuits and had a couple of June Cleaver style aprons in the house. There have been many phases since then. In my current ‘pretending to be writerly’ phase…excuse me a moment while I give No.7 advice on the consistency of the pikelets she’s cooking for morning tea…yeah not so much with the cooking anymore. I cook a lot of things in the slow cooker now. Chuck in whatever meat, chicken, sausages, whatever, chuck in a bag of pre-diced onion and a bottle of passata sauce and I’m pretty much done until I have to put on veges or the rice cooker.

    1. AvatarAmy Andrews

      Ooh Fi – I have a very unnatural affection for my slow cooker too and OMG, you buy diced onion??? Never even thought of that – one more thing to add to my construction sins! Love it!

      1. AvatarCathryn Hein

        Feeling a bit of a slow cooker philistine. I’ve never really warmed to mine.
        Excellent construction cooking tip with the pre-chopped onions, Fi!

  13. AvatarLouise Reynolds

    Creeping in here to say love your cover, Amy. However, there are whole aisles of the supermarket I never walk down (Chicken tonight, Kan-tong, Pasta sauces etc aisle) so I will respectfully leave the room 🙂

    1. AvatarAmy Andrews

      lol Louise – invite me to dinner at your house next time I’m down your way. Just cos I don’t want to spend hours cooking it, doesn’t mean I want eat someone elses culinary masterpiece.
      And I’ll bring the Giesens!