Welcome, my Feasty bunnies, to another magnificent edition of Friday Feast. This week: rural romance, secret oven business and a double giveaway!
But first, the item you eagerly await every week, news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. Last weekend saw the opening round of the Club Championships. Pressure indeed! But did I crack? Not on the first nine holes. No, no, no! I was blitzing it. And then… sigh. It did not last. But I’m currently still in the hunt, hovering in fourth. Stay tuned!
So after that excitement, here’s even more.
I am absolutely delighted to host rural romance author Jennie Jones on the blog today. Jennie was born and bred in Wales, attended drama school in London and spent a number of years treading the boards of British theatres. She now calls Western Australia home and from her gorgeous Australian stories has found the move very satisfying indeed.
Jennie’s debut novel, the first in the Swallow’s Fall series, The House On Burra Burra Lane, was a runaway success, and is soon to be followed up with 12 Days at Silver Bells House this November, and The House at the Bottom of the Hill in January. As you can see Jennie’s not resting on her laurels!
12 Days at Silver Bells House releases on the 22nd of next month, but you could be enjoying it sooner if you enter our Friday Feast giveaway. Read on…
Kate Singleton has twelve days to find herself. With Christmas Day and her thirtieth birthday approaching, the best thing a city-chic fashion designer who no longer has a raison d’être can do is nullify herself in the country. With Chardonnay.
When trouble strikes, the country presents her with Jamie Knight – a gallant but uncommunicative He-Man who drives an excavator and rescues her, her shoes, and her case of Chardonnay from a boggy field.
The adventure should be over – nothing but a good story to tell to her friends in the city – but her saviour turns out to also be an unexpected roommate, the new owner of Silver Bells House, Kate’s holiday home.
Forced together and dragged into the community Christmas spirit of the town, Kate and Jamie flounder their way through mistletoe, kissing games, carolling choirs, and a bone-deep yearning for community and acceptance.
Can the enchanting Silver Bells House and the holidays bind them together? Or will love get lost on Highway B23 back to the city?
Doesn’t that sound gorgeous? You can pre-order 12 Days at Silver Bells House right now from Amazon.com, Amazon.com.au, Amazon.co.uk, iBooks or consult Escape Publishing for a full list. Hungry for something to read now? Then why not treat yourself to The House on Burra Burra Lane? It can be yours with just a click. Try Booktopia, Bookworld, Amazon.com, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, Nook or JB Hi-Fi.
All loaded up? Excellent. Now you may play with Jennie. She’s lovely!
Me and My Oven
What a thrill to be a Friday Feaster. Thanks for inviting me, Cathryn. I can’t wait to tell you about my oven. There’s a New York City Cheesecake involved too. Plus a giveaway.
Kate, my heroine in 12 Days at Silver Bells House has just flown home from a fashion shoot in New York and is heading to the country for a twelve day Christmas-free sojourn from business and all its problems. There’s very little cheer in her life at the moment. Then she meets Jamie Knight, Master Builder, and the crackers start cracking. Jamie is renovating Silver Bells House and I don’t foresee any oven door fiascos in Kate’s future.
What happened to my oven door? Well…
It’s one of those ovens with a drop-down door that you have to keep hold of when you open, and if you don’t keep your hand on it – wham! – gravity takes it down with a heavy bounce. This loosens something on the hinges which in turn means that the oven door won’t close properly and therefore – you guessed it – the temperature cannot be controlled.
No use for making New York City Cheesecake.
It cost eighty dollars to get the over-door-fixer man around and guess what? It took him thirty seconds to fix my door. He used a little tool (which he wouldn’t show me) to re-tighten the hinges. “Where can I buy one of those?” I asked, pointing at the tool that was now hidden in his fist. He shook his head. “You won’t, love.” I tried a number of tricks: smiling coquettishly, engaging him in oven-talk conversation, but he wouldn’t give. Getting rather annoyed, I advised him that I knew about the secret oven-door-fixers handshake and the monthly meetings at the local Community Centre where they all danced naked around a freestanding hotplate waving their little hinge-fixing tools.
So for a while I became the Oven-Door-Police. Whizzing into the kitchen with imaginary flashing lights and sirens every time my daughter or my husband went near the oven. “Don’t drop the door!” I’d yell. “Hold onto it!” Or — “You dropped the door! You didn’t hold on to it!”
As you can imagine, everyone got a little fed up with that.
I also got fed up with dishing out $80 to the oven-fixer guy every couple of months.
So I decided “No more!”. You see, my daughter has left home and my husband is a whiz with the Webber so there are very few occasions I need to use the oven. For those times I do need to use it, I came up with my own secret-oven-door-fixer fix. A $2 bucket and half a broom handle.
Here’s how: half-fill the bucket (choose a colour that matches your décor) with gravel. Fish tank gravel is very pretty, and clean. (Again, match the colour). The gravel gives stability and weight. Next, slip half a broom handle into the bucket (those retractable plastic ones are fantastic because they come in a range of colours).
Next — Light your oven! Line up the bucket and the handle against the oven door and push firmly until oven door is closed tight. If your oven is higher from the floor than mine, use a longer handle.
And with this handy fixer-of-oven-doors little trick, I managed to produce my New York City Cheesecake for you. I thought it fitting as we’re coming up to the festive season and there’s always cheesecake in the festive season. Plus Kate in 12 Days at Silver Bells House flew in from New York so she’d know all about their cheesecake. I’ve tested a few different recipes over the years, dabbling with quantities et cetera and this one is perfect. Enjoy!
New York City Cheesecake
For the Base
¾ cup of crushed gingernut biscuits
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (plus ½ a teaspoon extra for coating cake tin)
For the Filling
1 cup castor sugar
2 tablespoons cornflour
5 x 250g packets of Philadelphia cream cheese (yes – 5! Pointless using ‘light’ version at this stage)
2 x large eggs (size 7)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ cup thickened cream
Heat oven to 180F
Coat 22cm (8 inch) springform cake tin with some of the melted butter
Mix crushed gingernut biscuits and melted butter together.
Press into base of the springform cake tin.
- Mix castor sugar and cornflour in large bowl.
- Add cream cheese and beat with electric mixer until smooth.
- Beat in eggs and vanilla essence until just mixed.
- Add thickened cream and blend in slowly
- Pour into prepared springform cake tin
Bake for 55 minutes.
NOTE: cheesecake will be lightly or perhaps darkly browned and still wobbly in the centre.
Cool in cake tin on a wire cake rack for about 1 ½ hours. The cheesecake will completely ‘set’ in this time. (If not – oops.)
Run a knife around the edge of the cake tin to slightly loosen the sides of the cheesecake.
Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours before removing from cake tin and devouring.
Thanks for having me over, Cathryn! I feel positively famous now that I’m a Friday Feaster.
Ha ha! You were famous well before Friday Feast, Jennie!
I have a terrible hankering for cheesecake now. That one sounds so luscious, as it should be with FIVE packets of cream cheese in it. Ah well, no good doing things by halves I say!
Now, because Jennie is totally wonderful and generous and loves you all so much, we have a…
For not just one book, but two!
Yes, my creamy little Feasters, there are TWO ebook copies of 12 Days at Silver Bells House up for grabs. Isn’t that wonderful?
Naturally, you’ll have to work for your chance to enter the giveaway and by work we mean answering an easy-peasy question in the comments.
So… What would be your dream cheesecake topping? Feel free to be as inventive as you like. The fanciest answer will win.
My immediate thought? Melted Mars Bars. Which is weird because I’m not really a fan of Mars Bars. Either that or traditional blueberry.
What about you? What cheesecake topping makes you all dreamy and gooey? Share and you’ll be in the chance to win and ebook copy of 12 Days at Silver Bells House!
Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 21st October 2014. Open internationally. Rah!
This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Laura and Melissa who have both scored ebook copies of Jennie’s upcoming release, 12 Days at Silver Bells House. Thanks to everyone who joined in the fun. With so many beautiful (FATTENING!) topping suggestions it was very hard to pick winners. What super creative people you are!