FRIDAY FEAST with Helene Young

26 Replies

Hello Feasters, and welcome to another truly excellent Friday filled with food and fabulous authors.

But first…. DID YOU SEE MY SWANNIES? At last, we have scrambled our way into the eight. Now, if we can just do the righty and give Hawthorn the spanking they deserve tonight all will be well in Swanfan world. Which reminds me, all is rather well with Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news too. No, I don’t have my new 3 wood yet, it’s on order, but I did play well enough last week to win a golf ball.

Go ahead and laugh, but remember: From little things, big things grow!

Speaking of growing, how about the superstar growth of our guest today! Helene Young ishelene-young-2-0 not only a multi-award winning author, with Australian Romance Reader Awards and RWA Romantic Book of the Year honours galore, she’s also one of Australia’s best-selling authors. And a lovely lady to go with it.

An airline pilot now living on a catamaran in Queensland (I know, I know), Helene continues to write romantic suspense novels that capture the Australian landscape beautifully, as well as keeping you on the edge of your seat.

Her latest release is Safe Harbour. Take a look…


Cover of Safe Harbour by Helene YoungWhen Darcy Fletcher drags a handsome sailor from a stricken yacht, she finds herself drawn into his mysterious world.  Having saved his life can she now rescue him from his dark past? Or will that endanger all she holds most dear?

Noah, keeper of the peace and guardian of the Banskia Cove secrets, can’t tell Darcy the real reason this man has washed up on their shores. If she knew the links between the stranger and her own dysfunctional family, she’d flee the Cove and he’d lose her love for good.

As they take refuge in an old whaling station, only one thing is certain – by morning, no one will be the same again. Lies will surface, hearts will break, and not all will find safe harbour.

Doesn’t that sound exciting? This is one book you won’t want to miss and it can be yours now with just a quick trip to the shops or a few clickety-clicks of your mouse (or finger taps for you tablet and phone users). Buy Safe Harbour now from Booktopia, Bookworld, Collins Booksellers, Dymocks, QBD the Bookshop, Angus & Robertson, Fishpond, or your local independent. For immediate download of the ebook, why not try Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi or your favourite ebook retailer.

Now kick back and be comforted by Helene!

Fresh Is Best

Thanks to Cathryn for allowing me to visit Friday Feast one more time – I’m very honoured 🙂 I’ve discovered so many wonderful recipes on this amazing blog and it goes from strength to strength.

So, Feasters, let me start with a question. How do plan your meals? Do you begin with a recipe or do you source the ingredients first? I have to admit that I was someone who would decide on the menu, usually by drooling over glossy photos in magazines and recipe books. Then I’d head out to scour the shops for the ingredients. Sometimes I’d be beside myself scene from manly marketbecause pomegranates weren’t in season or the tender asparagus shoots looked more like stakes I’d use to prop up a wilting tomato plant that something that would grace the smoked salmon ravioli. Or rhubarb was only to be found in the frozen section and the new potatoes were decidedly last season…

And then I had an epiphany. How about I check out what’s in season and then build the menu around that? You can stop laughing right now… For a girl who spent a lot of time in restaurants – both working and eating – you might assume it would be basic stuff, but clearly I’m a slow learner. Now we’re living aboard a boat with limited storage it’s even more important. We choose the fresh, glossy produce and then decide what to cook. Simple food takes on a new flavour when it’s market-day fresh.

The Goat Pie Guy's stallLucky for us there are markets every Sunday in the local park at Manly. Once a month there’s a fantastic Farmers Market with everything from Goat Meat Pies (which are delicious!) to hot smoked salmon and stalls full of fresh produce. You can chat to the stall owner about the best way to cook something new – or new to Capt G in the case of custard apples – and you can sample their wares before you buy.

In Safe Harbour, Darcy Fletcher is a chef and she’s come home to Banksia Cove to open a restaurant in an old whaling station. In her words – ‘There’s unlikely to be any truffle oil on the menu or wagyu beef, but there will be melt in your mouth beef from west of Rockhampton, luscious Scene from Manly marketsseafood hauled from the Pacific, beetroots and sweet potatoes straight from the ground, asparagus spears whose tips have basked in the same morning sun as my patrons. Don’t think you can ask for anything better than fresh food, simply prepared with love.’

So, I’d love to hear how you go about deciding what to cook? Are you a ‘once a week shopper’ or a ‘shop as you go’ kind of cook? Do plan or go with the flow? Join in the discussion to go into the draw for a copy of Safe Harbour. 🙂

And I thought I’d share one of my favourite potato dishes because, for me, winter is all about comfort food and there is nothing more comforting than a well-dressed potato.

Here’s our never fail recipe for stuffed jacket potatoes.

Stuffed jacket potatoes

Choose a potato variety that is good for mashing and baking – Coliban, Desiree or Golden Delight all work well. Select one per person and choose good oval shapes of medium size.

Wash well, pat dry, stab with a fork on top and bottom and then microwave until cooked. Timing will depend on your microwave, but around 3-5 minutes should be sufficient for one potato. Allow to cool enough to handle, place on the bench so it rests easily – usually that will be length ways – then slice a ‘lid’ off the top and put to one side. Using a dessert spoon carefully scoop out the soft flesh, making sure not to break the potato skin, and put into a large mixing dish (depending on how many potatoes you’re cooking).

Add a good dollop of butter, a slurp of milk or cream, a small handful of chives, parsley or any fresh herbs you may have left over. Stir well to make a smooth potato mash (firm not sloppy works best). Then add a small handful of grated Parmesan cheese and season to taste.

You can vary the type of cheese or herbs, add crispy bacon, chopped hard-boiled eggs, or salami, so go to town and experiment.

Once you’re happy with the taste and texture of your filling spoon it carefully back into the shell so that it sits mounded higher than the original size of the potato. Place the lid on top, brush the top and sides with oil and grind a scatter of sea salt over it.

Pop on a baking tray and cook in a preheated 180 deg oven for no more than 30 minutes. They will be fluffy on the inside and delicious and crispy on the outside.

Bon appetit!

I am drooling here. DROOLING I tell you! Helene, that stuffed spud sounds absolutely divine. And perfect for the cooler months when we’re allowed to load up on carbs and buttery things to keep out the chill.


Now, my delicious little Feasty dumplings, time to join in the fun with another giveaway. This time a copy of Helene’s wonderful new release, Safe Harbour.

As Helene has already described above, simply reveal how you go about deciding what to cook. Are you a planner or a spur of the moment cook? Or do you leave it to the whim of someone else? Share and you’ll go into the draw.

Me, I’m a combination. Sometimes I plan, sometimes I get carried away when I spot something delicious. On Tuesday I discovered a tub of duck fat at my local IGA. Yes, yes, I KNOW it’s super bad for me and cooking duck fatty food on a weeknight goes against my house rules, but it just so happens I have this fantastic recipe for braised Puy lentils…

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 13th May 2014. Australian postal addresses only.

If you’d like to learn more about Helene, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter as @heleneyoung.

And while you’re here, why not check out Helene’s exciting booktrailer for Safe Harbour. It’s a cracker!

26 thoughts on “FRIDAY FEAST with Helene Young

  1. AvatarAnna Campbell

    Am I the first cab off the rank today? Or the first yacht off the moorings?

    Hiya Helene! Hiya Cathryn! Helene, you always make your life sound so fabulous. I really think in between writing breathtakingly great romantic suspense, you should think of writing one of those memoirs like Almost French or A Year in Provence. I think the world wants a book about your lovely life on the yacht with the lovely Captain G and the gruff yet gorgeous Zeus the wonder dog!

  2. AvatarHelene

    Anna, you’re always ahead of the pack! Welcome to this week’s Friday Feast. Sadly I think the readership of any memoir I wrote would be limited to close friends and relatives!! Zeus’s memoir on the other hand would probably be a best seller

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      You are always number one in my eyes, Anna!

      WONDERFUL idea about a memoir. Life as a Grotty Yachtie, Marvellous. C’mon, Helene. It’d be a hoot.

  3. AvatarKellie Pointon

    As much as I would love to be a better (and more adventurous) cook, I tend to pull out the usual suspects (meat & veg, spaghetti bolognese, casseroles etc) pretty frequently and generally have the ingredients on hand. Funnily enough it is often whatever I’m reading that leads me to try new things – Paullina Simons’ The Bronze Horseman had me cooking plenty of comfort food, while Cathryn’s own Heartland made me crave scones and biscuits! And don’t get me started on Rocking Horse Hill… now I want to cook dishes I can’t even pronounce!

    1. AvatarHelene

      Hi Kellie, I didn’t realise I was in for a mouthwatering read with Rocking Horse Hill!! Cathryn is a very advanced cook 🙂

      I have to say I love comfort food like casseroles, especially in winter – something honest about meat and veg in a locket rich sauce.

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        I LOVED that series, Kellie. I’ve been wanting to make Tatiana’s pirozhkis ever since. The way Alexander acted whenever she made them… they must be something pretty special. Actually, I think Paullina Simons put out a cookbook of Tatiana’s recipes. Must investigate.
        I’m glad Rocking Horse Hill tempted your tastebuds. I had a LOT of fun with the food in that.

  4. AvatarNoelene Jenkinson

    Strewth cobbers, I’d rather be writing than cooking these days. But that said, I choose whatever’s in the freezer or whatever strikes me as interesting about 5.30 pm when my mind is thick after a day at my desk. After about 30 minutes when the fog clears – usually with the help of an ice cube and a splash of good French brandy or a chilled glass of white or rose – I try and throw something together in the shortest time possible. My favourites are fillet steak and salad or a tender roast and crispy potatoes. And being a sweet tooth when we have visitors or winter evenings settle in early, I go a yummy dessert [chocolate sauce pudding, pear crumble with a dollop of Pura thick light cream] and refuse to feel guilty about the calories.
    I’ve recently re-discovered Hummingbird cake – a tropical mouthful on a late autumn day with a cuppa – filled with pineapple, banana and passionfruit.

    1. AvatarHelene

      Noelene, I reckon there’s plenty of people that cook like you do! And I have to admit when I’m in the middle of writing a book that may well be exactly what happens on board Roo Bin Esque! Love the Hummingbird Cake. I’m sure someone posted a recipe on Friday Feast some time ago for that!
      Thanks for dropping by and I hope Mother’s Day was fun where ever you spent it 🙂

  5. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

    I don’t think you’re alone there, Noelene. I’m like that during edits. The freezer gets destocked because I’m too distracted or busy to bother with cooking. Have to say pear crumble sounds completely delish. Love pears and crumble is so perfect in the cold months.
    Enjoy that hummingbird cake!

  6. AvatarPaula Beavan

    I love stuffed spuds, but alway prefer the good old Sebago to any other. MOTT (man of the truck) used to be a commercial grower of spuds, cabbages and carrots. Unfortunately as they are not as high yield as some other crops, and are getting harder and harder to come by. So I grow my own 🙂 As for ingredients and planning pre or post shopping, I am firmly in the plan for what I have in fridge of cupboard, but MOTT spends all week looking up recipes online, ready to get creative in the kitchen when he gets home, so I will source ingredients for him and his cooking pleasure. So it’s a bit of both here in the Beavan household. 🙂 Your book looks awesome Helene, and is now added to my TBR list.

    1. AvatarHelene

      Is that why Sebagos are in short supply, Paula! Love the idea of a panster and a plotter in the kitchen 🙂 Plenty of room for culinary magic there! Thanks for dropping by and I hope you find room in your TBR pile for Safe Harbour.

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        Plotting vs pantsering in the kitchen!
        MOTT sounds like me, Paula! Nothing like a good cookbook or cooking mag browse to get the creative juices flowing! Although right now, mid-book, I’m more in the whatever’s in the cupboard zone.

  7. AvatarGloria Bale

    I haven’t had to choose for a long while………since retiring, my husband has found he actually LIKES cooking! Oh, that he would have discovered that fact, earlier. Now, before I get told how lucky I am, I will point out a rule in our house……… cooks, the other cleans. Fair enough, you say? Have you ever watched the Muppets? The crazy chef sending food flying, while he chops and dices, looks absolutely annul, in comparison to husband. CHEFS, my husband says, don’t clean, they create.(One hell of a bloody mess, in his case).I have tried to reverse the roles, but, very coincidently, kitchen bitc……..staff, are always ill on those occasions, (But, apparently, not too ill that he can’t eat,…..hmmmm). How to choose?…… me a menu.

    1. AvatarHelene

      Lol, Gloria, that’s a great rule and one we have ourselves – although cleaning on Roo Bin Esque does have to be a work in progress as space is severely limited…

      Capt G has always bemoaned my ability to use every pan in the place – we only have three pans now…

      Hope your menu has plenty of delicious dishes 🙂

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        Oh, that’s so funny, Gloria!!! You have my sympathy of cleaning up after the household ‘Swedish Chef’ has done his thing though. I can picture it… urk!

        I must admit, I’m a pretty messy cook too. But only THREE pans, Helene? Nooooooooo! I mean, I appreciate that there’s not a lot of room on the Roo but three? Ay yi yi!

  8. AvatarCassandra Shaw

    I choose meals by three different things – one time (but limiter for me these days) and what is in the fridge and pantry (I hate shopping), two what people ask for (nag nag make lasagne etc.), and three what I can be bothered if I’ve had a big day – oh and four – if I go to the farmer’s market the fresh produce I buy inspires me.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Oh, for more time!!! Isn’t that the biggest limiter for us all, Cassandra? So many delicious and interesting things we could make but then you have to hunt down the ingredients and then cook an unfamiliar recipe etc etc. I think that’s why I love stir fries so much. There are a bazillion variations and yet they’re mostly super fast to cook. And healthy too.

      Your mention of lasagne has reminded me that I need to raid the last of the basil before it dies of cold and make pesto lasagne for the freezer. Always nice to have a bit of summery flavour in the middle of winter. Except my other half complains about being fed vegetarian. Sigh.

      Thanks so much for dropping by!

  9. AvatarHelene

    Cassandra, sounds like you have a plan! Time is definitely a limiter – which is a shame because I do love to cook! A friend in Cairns had a Face Book post recently where she show cased all the cooking she’d done in a day – it was awesome and I was more than a little jealous…

    Good to hear you have a local farmers market. Fresh food makes all the difference! And thanks for dropping by 🙂

    1. AvatarHelene

      Lol, that’ll work, Jenn!! I have to admit to no longer worrying that much about matching the wine with the menu either. We pretty much gave up drinking anything other than a sparkling red in Cairns. Now we’re in Brisbane I have some red wine drinking to do!

  10. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

    This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Gloria who has won herself a copy of Safe Harbour. Some wonderful reading ahead for Gloria!

    Thanks to everyone who joined in the Friday Feast fun. Always lovely to see you all and hope you’ll visit again.

Comments are closed.