FRIDAY FEAST with Jennie Jones

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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.

Author Jennie JonesI 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…

12 DAYS AT SILVER BELLS HOUSE

12 Days at Silver Bells House by Jennie Jones - CoverFrom the author of the international best-selling The House on Burra Burra Lane comes a Christmas story – country style.

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?

The House on Burra Burra Lane by Jennie JonesDoesn’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.

No response.

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.Jennie's oven and bucket oven closing system

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

New York cheesecake straight from the oven

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

Directions

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.

Filling:

  1. Mix castor sugar and cornflour in large bowl.
  2. Add cream cheese and beat with electric mixer until smooth.
  3. Beat in eggs and vanilla essence until just mixed.
  4. Add thickened cream and blend in slowly
  5. Pour into prepared springform cake tin

Bake for 55 minutes.

Slice of Jennie Jones's New York CheesecakeNOTE: 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…

GIVEAWAY!

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!

If you’d like to learn more about Jennie and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Twitter using @JennieJRomance and Goodreads.

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!

50 thoughts on “FRIDAY FEAST with Jennie Jones

  1. AvatarPaula Beavan

    I’m not a huge fan of cheesecake, but my mum makes a mean “Rum soaked Prune” version that even I like 😛
    I love the sound of “12 Days at Silver Bells House”. It is now firmly on the top of my TBR list 🙂

  2. AvatarMelissa Kremser

    So, considering that I am lactose intolerant, and therefore don’t eat decent cheesecake, I am just drooling over the idea of a crushed Tim tam and peanut butter topping 🙂
    Ir sounds like it will be yet another ripper book 🙂

  3. Avatarlily malone

    When it comes to cheesecake, I’m of the non-baked variety, so the New York one is probably not my thing. But up there with my favourites are black forest cheesecake, chocolate cheesecake and kind of just anything ending in cheesecake especially with lots of whipped cream. Lots of. And a couple of garnishy strawberries.

    1. AvatarJennie Jones

      I like a plain, non baked lemon cheesecake Lily. So easy. 1 tin condensed milk, 1 pack philly cheese and juice of 2 large lemons. Whip it all up, plop it on a biscuit crust and let it set in the fridge (probably overnight, as there’s no gelatine involved, only the lemon juice). Yummy with strawberries!

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        Stop it! You guys are killing me. Any second and I’m going to be raiding my naughty food freezer stocks.

        Black Forest cheesecake sounds utterly divine, Lily. Love cherries. Speaking of which, it’ll soon be cherry season. Can’t wait. Just as an aside, I used to prefer the no-bake cheesecakes because all the cooked ones I’d tried tended to be dry and not creamy enough. But I have seen the light! A friend made the most amazing baked blueberry cheesecake and after that I was hooked. I’m going to have to try Jennie’s too. Because, I mean, FIVE packets of cream cheese? How can that not turn out lush and creamy?

  4. AvatarLaura Boon

    Hi Cathryn and Jennie

    This cheesecake looks particularly delicious. I am definitely going to have to try it. Not sure what explanation I will give to my dietician. Mind you, she does allow treats and she only asked me to swear off packaged foods. And if you make it yourself, it is definitely not packaged, right? Anyway, I know it sounds crazy given that this recipe already has 5 packets of cream cheese, but I would like to eat mine with cream cheese icing that has been spiced up with some crushed nuts (unsalted almonds and/or fresh walnuts) and a taste of cinnamon and ginger spice.

    1. AvatarJennie Jones

      Oh Laura – you must ‘lie’ to your dietician. He/she must not know! I love a cream cheese icing too and the nuts and spices sound delicious. By the way – if you do make this cheesecake (without telling your dietician) it’s quite a lot of mixture for an electric beater to handle. So halve the cream cheese and cream and beat it up in two separate goes. Then put it together and it’s easy to beat in the eggs as the cheese has softened.

      1. AvatarLaura Boon

        Thanks Jenny. That’s a good tip about halving the cream cheese. I will let you know how it goes. I’ve decided that my ‘lie’ will be one of those of the omission variety!

        1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

          This definitely doesn’t fit in the packaged category, Laura, so it has to be dietician friendly! In particular if you add a coating of healthy fruit and/or nuts. All natural, all good, and home made. Perfect!

          Jennie, that’s an excellent tip about halving the mix. I shall surely NOT follow it and watch in glee as my 20 year old mixmaster finally carks it from the effort. I have been trying to blow that thing up for five years but it keeps chugging along. I know that should be pleasing, and a sign of an excellent machine, but I really, really want a new KitchenAid mixer with all the cool attachments and I can’t justify it until my old one dies. Maybe your cheesecake will do it!

          1. AvatarLaura Boon

            Hi Cathryn, I will keep my fingers crossed that everything blows. You might want to cover your mixer with a dish towel in case it attempts one final spectacular effort that results in you scraping cream cheese off the ceiling in a form of karmic retaliation 🙂

              1. AvatarPaula Beavan

                I would purchase a double lot of cream cheese just in case the mixer leaks oil into it as my old Kenwood chef did when ot carked it. Just in case, and you van always freeze the Philly if you don’t need it and have it in hand for spontaneous cheesecake making.

            1. AvatarJennie Jones

              Cathryn, now listen up – your 20 year old mixmaster will last another ten years. Just buy a new kitchen aid (tell the powers above it was an “in case” purchase) and keep the mixmaster in a cupboard for old time’s sake. My 20 year old Braun magi-mix thingo is STILL going strong – even though I have to use an international adaptor plug (which is about the same age.)

              1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

                Funny you should mention Braun, took delivery of a new Braun stick blender on Friday and had so much fun with it Friday afternoon. That thing has POWER!

                My mixmaster is a Sunbeam. My mum’s version lasted 30 years so I suspect you’re right that mine is likely to last another ten. Sigh. Maybe it’ll get broken in a house move…

  5. AvatarAstrid

    The cheesecake looks delicious. I’ very jealous that yours didn’t crack. Mine always does! My very favourite cheesecake would have lemon meringue cheesecake -Lemony cheesecake on the bottom and a mountain of fluffy meringue on the top.

    1. AvatarJennie Jones

      Lemon meringue topping! Astrid, that sounds gorgeous enough to eat the topping and leave the cheesecake! (Sometimes mine cracks – it shrinks quite a bit from the side of the tin too).

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        Now THAT’S an idea, Astrid!!! Lemon meringue cheesecake. Mmmmm. Imagine swirling the cheesecake with lemon butter to make ripples through it, or a layer on top. YUM! And it’d look stunning too.

  6. AvatarSue Gerhardt Griffiths

    Hi Jennie and Cathryn

    My favourite topping is after dinner mints, they’re also placed on the biscuit base the filling gets poured on top and once it’s cooked after dinner mints are placed on top and alternated with cream, yum yum.

    Reading your comments Cathryn I thought it was funny that you want your mixmaster to blow up. I had my Kenwood mixmaster for 28 years and was so pleased that it was still working. My parents had to buy a new one (after having had theirs for over 30 years) and I mentioned how mine was still going strong until I had to use it a few days later and in my face it went off like a bomb – I tell you it scared the beejeeba’s out of me. I loved that Kenwood mixmaster but my lovely hubby bought me a new one, I use all my old attachmments and it works brilliantly.

    Jennie your book sounds amazing! I don’t own an ebook but does an Amazon Kindle App count? I was so lucky to find your book The House on Burra Burra Lane at our Lifeline Big Book Fair. Why anyone would give these gorgeous rural books away is beyond me. I’ve got mine for keeps!

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      All these scary stories of the way mixmasters can cark it is making me wonder if this is something I shouldn’t be hoping for!!!

      Sue, I LOVE the sound of your choc-mint additions. I bet that’s beautiful. Actually, that’s made me think of a Gordon Ramsey recipe I have for marquise which has layers of after dinner mints. Been meaning to make that for about 10 years. I’ll have to dig it out.

      Jennie’s already answered you, but no probs with your app!

  7. AvatarJennie Jones

    Wow Sue! Dinner mint topping – a very sophisticated topping (and on the base too? Seriously decadent). Thanks for your kind words about Burra Burra Lane Sue. And yes! an Amazon kindle app certainly counts. That way you can read it on your pc or wherever they allow you to download the free kindle app (which I’m guessing you’ve already got). So sad that nothing lasts for 28 years any longer isn’t it? But there are lots of fabulous kitchen tools out there now.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      It IS sad, Jennie. But the other thing is that technology has moved on so much that the power and sophistication you get from these gadgets is quite different. My old stick blender only had stop-go. It still works perfectly well but the new one I bought does all these other cool things with variable speeds and click change weaponry like a whisk. And there’s the dishwasher safe bits…

  8. AvatarAndrea Cook

    Hello that recipe sounds great will have to try it. Jenny I know how you feel about your oven door as mine doesn’t shut completely so it longer to cook everything. But to my surprise it cooked something before it’s time limit twice last week.
    I’m not a huge cheesecake fan. But that one sounds to die for. Will have to give it a go on a special occasion. As for toppings a friend of mine just gave me a Nought Limar bar for my late birthday present and it was cherry cranberry and pistachio flavour while I was eating the last bit I was thinking I wonder what that would taste like melts pored over the cheese cake. Adding a more creame taste to the cheese cake.
    My mum use to make black forest cake with tinned cherries so I think that would be lovely ontop of this cheese cake.
    I love violet crumbles so whipped cream with the violet crumbles greatest ontop sounds very tempting.

    1. AvatarJennie Jones

      Andrea – melted nougat! Devine. Actually, now I’m reading about everyone’s toppings, it makes me realise how boring a cheesecake can be without one. Ovens are funny things aren’t they? We get used to the way ours work and adjust accordingly, then when we move house or cook at someone else’s place – often we get it wrong because their ovens work 🙂 Haha.

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        Wow, Andrea. Those toppings all sound delicious! I’ve had melted nougat chunks in biscuits and that was unreal. But as cherries are my favourite fruit my vote is a Black Forest topping.

        Hurry up cherry season!

  9. AvatarJuanita Kees

    Love the oven door story, Jennie, and that cheesecake sounds divine. I’m a sucker for anything minty, so my choice would be peppermint crisp sprinkled on top and decorated with strawberries. Good luck with 12 Days, it’s going to be another bestseller. PS: I have pre-ordered my copy and can’t wait for it to arrive! 🙂

    1. AvatarJuanita Kees

      And waving hi to one of my other favourite people, Cathryn Hein! The French Prize is cosied up next to Jennifer St George on my Kindle waiting to be read 😉 Love you work, ladies.

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        Waving right back atchya, Juanita. Hope you have fun with my Frenchie!

        I LOVE peppermint crisps (haven’t had one for donkey’s) so your crispy minty topping gets a big thumbs up from me. My mum used to use that as a pavlova topping sometimes. So good.

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        Yay! Another Black Forest contender. Great choice, Robyn. Cherries have that nice tartness to cut the creaminess of the cheesecake. And this version is veeeeeery creamy!

        Thanks for dropping by and all the best in the draw.

  10. AvatarIngrid

    I just finished rereading The House on Burra Burra Lane – where can I find a guy like that? May need to move out of the burbs…

    I’m going to try your cheesecake tomorrow night with my ideal topping – snickers! Drizzles of chocolate, caramel and crushed peanuts with a light sprinkling of sea salt to cut through the sweetness *wipes keyboard*

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Ha ha ha!!! I’m sure there are plenty of gorgeous men in the burbs too, Ingrid! Although I have to say, I do prefer those country hunks but I am a tad biased!!

      Snickers as topping? Oh!!!!!

      Jennie, I used to do that too with the Snickers bars cos the best bit was the caramel. Did the same with Mars Bars too. Mmmm.

  11. AvatarJennie Jones

    Ingrid – Ethan and Sammy appear in all the next books too (ooh – teaser alert!). Re the Snickers – I LOVE caramel and peanuts so much that you could take the chocolate off a Snickers bar and I’d eat it with my fingers 🙂 Gooey… (If you do try the cheesecake, you might want to split the Philly cheese and cream in half and beat separately otherwise your mixer or hand blender might clog up – then when it’s all soft, you can put it together and beat in the eggs.)

  12. AvatarNoelle Lindsay

    Couldnt go past TimTams with the chocolate melted just enough to drizzle down the side. I have a recipe for a TimTam cake which I havent tried to make yet, but TimTams on cheesecake sounds so decadent. Although, the violet crumble and whipped cream sounds devine as well.

    Thoroughly enjoyed House on Burra Burra Lane so everything crossed I am lucky enough to win!!!

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      I saw a recipe for Tim Tam cake the other day, Noelle. I think it was in one of the cooking magazines I subscribe too. Can’t remember if I tore that one out or not but it looked delicious. But how could it not? Tim Tams are the BEST.

      Oh, yes, yes on the violet crumble and whipped cream. Cos the crumble will start to melt into the cream and get all swirly like a toffee sauce. My mouth is watering something shocking now. Oops.

      Good luck in the draw!

    1. AvatarNoelle Lindsay

      Sadly I have never seen a cheesecake with timtams on top. So maybe the challenge is there to make one. Not that I am much of a cook!

  13. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

    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. Lovely, heart-warming reading ahead for that lucky pair.
    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! Oh, and if anyone is making cheesecake soon, please feel free to send a wedge my way. I’m up to my eyeballs in The Falls edits and need all the comfort I can get!

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