FRIDAY FEAST with Alissa Callen

23 Replies

Hello, my Friday-loving lovelies, and welcome to another mouth-watering edition of everyone’s favourite food series, Friday Feast!

Things have calmed down a little at Chez Hein now that the initial flurry of Rocking Horse Hill release run-around has passed, which means I can now concentrate better on other things, like my darling Sydney Swans and golf. My boys had a most excellent win last week in the footy. I, in golf, did not. Well, not when it counted. Whupped butt ANZAC day when I went out for a practice hit and then it all fell apart in the comp on Sunday. Sigh.

However, all going well this afternoon I’ll become the proud owner of a new 3 wood…

Speaking of afternoon delights, this week’s guest has some beautiful afternoon tea recipes to Author Alissa Callenshare. A born and bred country girl living in the central west of NSW, Alissa Callen’s books are a wonderful addition to the rural romance genre. It’s in the sweeping Australian countryside and small rural towns that she knows so well that Alissa sets her stories. What Love Sounds Like is out in ebook right now, while the first book in her Red Dust Outback series, Beneath Outback Skies, has just hit the shelves in paperback.

The second in the Red Dust Outback series released this week. Check out Down Outback Roads.


Cover of Down Outback Roads by Alissa CallenSometimes you need to give yourself permission to fall in love.

Kree Garrett’s younger brother Seth is all the family she has left, so when he goes missing in the Australian outback, she doesn’t think twice about leaving her American home to find him. When Seth is rescued Kree vows to find a way to thank the small town of Glenalla. It isn’t long before she falls in love with the tight-knit rural community. But is it really the town she’s falling for?

Ewan Mackenzie has given up everything for his brother’s family, but he can never give enough to assuage his guilt at what happened one dark night, years ago . . . Ewan knows he doesn’t deserve a second chance at happiness, but when beautiful, open-hearted Kree stays to fight to save his home town, he finds it hard to keep his distance.

Can Kree and Ewan leave their pasts behind for long enough to find a future together?

Doesn’t that sound romantic? Ahh. Makes my heart all a-flutter reading that. You can own a copy right now with just a few clickety-clicks. Purchase your ebook copy of Down Outback Roads from Amazon for Kindle, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi or your favourite ebook retailer.

Now settle back with cuppa and munch on this!

Afternoon Tea Treats with Alissa Callen

In my new release, Down Outback Roads, I had so much fun using food as a way to integrate the two different worlds of my main characters. Kree Garrett is from the Rocky Mountains in America while Ewan Mackenzie is from the small rural town of Glenalla, Australia.

Kree quickly develops a liking for iconic Aussie lamingtons while Ewan, who initially can’t bring himself to eat peanut butter with chocolate, crosses to the dark side and tries American peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies. Much to the delight of his small twin nephews, quietly-spoken Darby and mischievous Braye, he finds the cookies not only edible but also delicious and goes back for seconds.



1 plain and unfilled sponge or vanilla cake cut into squares. Can be made from scratch, a packet mix or purchased.

Chocolate icing:

2 ½ cups icing sugar/mixture

¼ cup cocoa powder

2/3 cup warm water

Sift together dry ingredients, whisk in water until smooth.

Tip 2 cups desiccated coconut into a wide-mouthed bowl.

Roll chocolate-covered cake in coconut until evenly coated.

Lamingtons can also be sliced and filled with whipped cream or jam before being rolled in the chocolate icing and coconut.

Allow to set and then enjoy 🙂


 Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut butter and choc chip cookies

1 cup of peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)

1 cup brown sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Mix first four ingredients. Drop small spoonfuls of mixture onto a lined biscuit tray, keeping in mind the cookies will spread. Press in the chocolate chips onto the cookie tops. Bake in a moderate oven until golden.

For the batch in the photo my kids substituted small chocolate m and m’s instead of chocolate chips.


Deeeeelicious, Alissa! As one would expect from a country gal. And who can go past lamingtons? My other half turns into the Cookie Monster whenever he spies a plate. They are the perfect morning or afternoon tea treat.

Now, speaking of treats…


Alissa has very generously offered one lucky reader the chance to win a Kindle copy of her charming and heart-warming book What Love Sounds Like, featuring a an outback based Cover of What Love Sounds Like by Alissa Callenspeech pathologist, a man who believes money is as important as breathing, and a little girl who will bring them together.

To be in the giveaway, simply reveal what sweet treat you enjoy from another country.

That’s an easy one for me. Baklava! This Greek treat is such a favourite, with its sticky syrup, nutty layers and beautiful pastry. Gawd, I really want a piece now!

What about you? Maybe a traditional Devonshire tea is your go. Perhaps pecan pie from the US or an Italian canoli. There’s a whole world of sweet treats out there. Share your favourite and you’ll go into the draw.

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 6th May 2014. Open internationally. Rah!

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

23 thoughts on “FRIDAY FEAST with Alissa Callen

  1. AvatarSuzanne Brandyn

    Now Lamingtons I love. I’m going to try this recipe. Yum… As for the other recipe, perhaps I could swap the choc chips for something else. lol.

    I’ve read Beneath Outback Skies, and totally loved loved it. The characters drew me in. I loved Tait and Paige. They were well suited. 🙂 I’ve also got Down Outback Roads on my ipad. Looking forward to the read over the weekend hopefully.

    Another great Friday Feast Cathryn. 🙂

  2. AvatarSuzanne Brandyn

    Oh forgot to do this. Oppss…I’ll have to go for the healthy. lol It’s an Italian recipe of Amaretti baked pears with custard & yogurt ice cream. Love it. 🙂

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        Hiya Suzanne!
        That Amaretti baked pear recipe sounds DIVINE! And I think I may have a recipe for something similar somewhere. Surely I must. God knows I have enough Italian cookbooks.

        Sounds like you have a wonderful weekend of reading lined up. Enjoy!

  3. AvatarHelen

    Hi Alissa and Cathryn

    I do love the sound of this book I really need to read this 🙂

    I have to say that lammingtons are a favourite in my household and have been since I was big enough to help my Mum make them they always bring back fond memories when I get my grandcjildren to help with the dipping and rolling coconut LOL as for a favourite from another country I would Tiramusu 🙂 and I am going to try the peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies the next time the grandkids are here to help

    Congrats on the release

    Have Fun

    1. AvatarAlissa Callen

      I love tiramusu too Helen:) And my kids also help with the dipping and rolling part of making lamingtons – even though not all the finished ones make it into the container! Happy cooking with your grandchildren:):)

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        How messy do you get with those lamingtons, Helen? Choc + coconut + kids can only = giant mess! But what a fun time I bet you have. Lovely.

        I reckon try the biccies with smarties. They’d be delish.

        Thanks so much for dropping by. Always a delight to see you!

  4. AvatarLaura Boon Russell

    Hi Cathryn,

    I love koeksisters, a braided deep fried dough covered in syrup. They have to be fresh, though. I think they are based on a Dutch cookie of some sort, but koeksisters themselves are Afrikaans (South African). Koek translates as cake and sisters is sisters (although misspelled; it should actually be susters in Afrikaans but it has become a hybrid word used in both languages). I can only hazard a guess on why sisters – because of the likeness to a hair braid. You can see a pic here: You also get a Cape Malay version that is spicy, but I’m a sucker for the sweet stuff!


    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Laura. those koeksisters look beautiful! I bet it’s hard to stop at one. Thanks so much for the explanations too. I’ve never heard of them and love hearing about new foods like this. Thank you! I want to try both versions now. Spicy sounds very good to me. Wonder where I’d be able to get some…

      PS. My apologies for the late arrival of your comment on the blog. Because of the link to the photo it had to wait for approval (spam is SUCH a horror and this helps keep it under control) and I only noticed it this morning. I promise to be more vigilant in the future!

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        Oooh, yes, bn100. LOVE gelato!

        Molong, you say, Alissa? I may have to investigate this when we’re hanging around Orange. Although not really a gelato time of the year for that neck of the woods. Brrrr!

  5. AvatarLouise Reynolds

    Hi Alissa and Cathryn!
    Those recipes look terrific but I’m really loving the way you’ve mixed those pretty china patterns. It’s such a sweet look 🙂 As to overseas sweet treats, my favourite at the moment are Spanish tortas de aceite; delicious biscuits made with olive oil and flavoured with aniseed. They’re large, crisp, fragile and very, very moreish. I love the way they come individually wrapped in waxed paper as well.
    Don’t put me in the draw as I’ve got a copy of ‘What Love Sounds Like’. Congratulations on the release of ‘Down Outback Roads’, Alissa. I’m looking forward to reading it!

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        Those plates do look pretty, don’t they, Louise? Very afternoon tea delight!

        I’m intrigued by your Spanish biscuits now. No idea where I’d get them here though. Nevermind. I’ll just have to arrange a trip to Melbourne. I could visit the NGV’s Prado exhibition and snack on tortas de aceite afterwards. Sounds a plan!

        Thanks for visiting. Always a pleasure to have you pop by, especially when you share your foodie finds!

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Me too, Kathy!!!!

      I make Delia Smith’s version and love it but I’ve just found a recipe from a restaurant chef that looks really interesting. The creamy part is made by first whipping up a zabaglione and then mixing it with the mascarpone and cream. It looks totally lush!

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Ooh, now there’s a good suggestion. Thanks, Janine. Brownies are always a crowd pleaser. All that chewy chocolatey goodness.

      There are some cracking brownie recipes in the Friday Feast recipe index, like Shona Husk’s Toberlerone Brownies and Kandy Shepherd’s famous Triple Choc Brownies. So bad but oh so good!

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