FRIDAY FEAST with Louise Reynolds

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Welcome, welcome to another truly splendiferous Friday Feast. This week: get down and dusty with a duchess, cop these pears, and a rural romance giveaway!

But first, news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. Despite a rather lacklustre performance last weekend in round two of the club championships, I’m still running fourth. A great surprise, believe me. But with two rounds still to play and TWENTY-FIVE strokes to make up before I even come close to the leader, there’s not much chance of a podium finish. Still, in the world of golf anything could happen. The Great Golfing God may shine on me, the leader might get the yips, and pigs might fly. Stay tuned for a miracle. Or not.Author Louise Reynolds

I’m thrilled to host contemporary romance author Louise Reynolds this week because not only is she a truly lovely lady who writes wonderful rural stories, she’s also a dedicated foodie. The best of people! Louise’s previous novel Outback Bride was a delight, the story stretching between Melbourne and dusty Jindaburra and featuring a lizard race and even a pony. With her new release, Red Dirt Duchess, she’s gone even further afield, mixing English society with the red soil of outback Australia.

Check it out…


Cover of Red Dirt Duchess by Louise ReynoldsWhen English society playboy Jonathan Hartley-Huntley is sent to outback Australia after a disastrous affair with his editor, all he wants is to take a few pictures, do a quick interview and get back to his usual life of luxury as soon as possible. Until he meets his host, the irresistible Charlie Hughes, and suddenly the back of beyond is a lot more appealing.

Running the pub is a labour of love for Charlie and she has no desire to ever leave the tiny town of Bindundilly. That is, until Jon discovers an old painting that raises questions about both their lives. Charlie impulsively decides to follow him to London, and as the feelings between them begin to deepen, she starts to wonder if there’s more to life than the pub. But at Jon’s family home, the magnificent Hartley Hall, they become acutely aware of the differences between them, and it soon seems clear they have no future together – especially if Jon’s mother has her way.

Family and tradition threaten the course of true love in this warm and witty novel from the author of Outback Bride and Her Italian Aristocrat.

Doesn’t that sound fun? Red Dirt Duchess is available right now from Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi, direct from the publisher Destiny Romance, or your favourite ebook retailer.

Now that you’re loaded up with some great Aussie reading, help yourself to the deliciousness that is Louise!

A Fine Pear!

Thanks for having me back on Friday Feast, Cathryn!

One of my favourite things to cook with is pears. This humble, cheap ingredient is incredibly versatile. It turns up in numerous salads, sits proudly on a cheeseboard and has a natural sweetness that works well with so many things from walnuts to pork and duck.

Pears also have a porous flesh which takes up colour beautifully. For many years one of my go to winter desserts has been Marcella Hazan’s Pears Braised in Red Wine and Bay Leaves, where long cooking results in deep ruby coloured pears and a dense delicious syrup. More lately, I’ve been making Saffron Pears.

I could riff endlessly on this recipe. A little amaretti biscuit on the side and a splash of amaretto on the pear at serving time gives it an Italian edge. Strew some pomegranate seeds around the dish and it’s suddenly a vibrant Middle Eastern feast for the eyes. A pool of Crème Anglaise drags it firmly back towards the English Channel.

It’s dead easy and very delicious. If you use good quality saffron your pears will be the colour of a Buddhist’s robes.

Marieke’s Saffron Pears

(recipe Marieke Brugman via Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion).

Saffron Poached PearsIngredients:

6 firm Beurre Bosc pears with stalk attached.

2 cups white wine

2 cups water

2 cups sugar

1 vanilla bean

½ teaspoon saffron threads

Chopped green pistachios


Dissolve sugar in the water and wine over med heat. Add vanilla bean.

Saffron Pears CookingPeel the pears leaving stalk attached and cut a slice off the bottom so they will sit upright when serving. Add pears to the syrup with the saffron.

Cook at a bare murmur for about one and a half hours. The saffron will give off its colour and aroma and gradually turn the pears a stunning saffron gold. Turn them over every so often as they bob around in the syrup. Cool in the syrup.


Oh, I ADORE poached pears, Louise, so this sounds perfect. Simple to prepare and glamorous on the plate too. Now there’s a dessert to impress cook and guests alike.

Now, my darling Feasties, because Louise is so lovely and wants to spread her warm Australian stories far and wide, she’s offering a…


Yes, you could win yourself a Kindle ebook copy of Red Dirt Duchess, just by answering a super simple question.

What is your favourite fruit recipe?

Could it be another simple dessert like stewed prunes or a humble apple crumble? Perhaps it’s a recipe for mango fool or a traditional cherry clafoutis. Whatever your favourite, share in the comments and we’ll pop you into the draw to win a Kindle ebook copy of Red Dirt Duchess.

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 28th October 2014. Open internationally. Rah!

If you’d like to learn more about Louise and her wonderful books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Twitter using @LouiseHReynolds, Facebook and her blog (which also features fab foodie series, Cooking the Books).

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Cath who has won a Kindle copy of Red Dirt Duchess. What a ball she’s going to have with that! Thanks so much to everyone who joined in the Feasty fun. You all made me so hungry!!

32 thoughts on “FRIDAY FEAST with Louise Reynolds

  1. AvatarDB Tait

    Favorite fruit recipe. Mmmm ….
    Probably a toss up between Eton Mess, banana and raspberry cake with cream cheese icing or middle eastern orange and almond cake. But sometimes it’s hard to go past really good strawberries and cream with a dash of Cointreau.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Oh, Eton mess. YUM! I love the story behind that dessert too. It’s kinda cool. And who can go past something as sweet as meringue and strawberries. Speaking of strawbs, I should have some of mine ripe today. Yum!

      Thanks for dopping by, DB!

  2. AvatarShelley Russell Nolan

    This peach dish sounds divine, but it wouldn’t beat my mum’s homemade rhubarb and apple pie, all made from scratch. Haven’t had it since I was seven, before we moved from NZ to OZ. We had an apple tree and rhubarb growing in our garden. The apples were so sweet and delicious, kids in the neighbourhood jumped the fence to steal them on their way to the primary school down the road. Mmmm! Want some now.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Anything with rhubarb gets my vote, Shelley. Such an underrated veg but it’s SOOOO delicious. All that tart flavour that can make your eyes cross if you don’t sugar it enough. Love it. As for home-made pie, I bet your mum’s was wonderful. Certainly sounds it!

      All the best in the giveaway.

  3. AvatarLouise Reynolds

    Shelley, that sounds wonderful and isn’t it amazing how nostalgia can add that extra something to a recipe? I bet a slice of that pie would take you right back to your childhood.

  4. AvatarCath Evans

    Hi Lou and Cathryn,
    Your pears sound delicious and easy! I must try them Thanks!

    I love pears and dates and throw them in heaps of things. My favourite is a chicken and pear dish – it’s warm, like a casserole but has that sweet burst of pears. Just gorgeous on a cold winter night.

    Cath xo

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Chicken and pears? How interesting! As you say, Cath, I bet it’s beautiful on a cold night.
      Dates are wonderful things too. Perfect in tagines as well as desserts but we always keep a container of fresh ones in the fridge to snack on. They’re like eating toffee!

      Thanks so much for dropping by Friday Feast.

  5. AvatarChristine Stinson

    Hi, Lou and Cathryn! I do like pears, and those saffron ones look and sound delicious, Lou. I have a soft spot for apple and rhubarb crumble (with almonds as part of the crumble topping) but no need to put me in the draw for a copy of Red Dirt Duchess, Cathryn, I have one already and enjoyed the book immensely! GThanks again for another great Friday Feast, ladies.

    1. AvatarLouise Reynolds

      Hi Chris,
      Yes, apple and rhubarb crumble is a perennial favourite. In fact, thinking about this topic has made me realise I prefer a fruit dessert to chocolate or creamy desserts. Thanks for reading Red Dirt Duchess. So glad you enjoyed it 🙂

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      That one covers all the major food groups, Karen. Dairy, fruit and chocolate! Great choice.

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

  6. AvatarTrish Morey

    Oh, thanks so much for reminding me of poached pears, something that’s fallen off my radar. No more! Another that had fallen off till recently is cherry mousse, made with black cherries in syrup, stirred into smooth as silk ricotta cheese with honey, vanilla and cointreau, and topped with grated chocolate and toasted slivered almonds. Mmmmmmmm.

    1. AvatarLouise Reynolds

      OMG, Trish, that sounds divine! Have never heard of it before but it will certainly be getting a tryout in this kitchen. Sounds like having a jar or two of cherries in the pantry would be a great idea. Thanks for commenting!

      1. AvatarTrish Morey

        It’s from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest – one of the Moosewood cookbooks. Here tis…

        Ricotta-Cherry Mousse

        1lb whole milk ricotta (why go half measures, I like to use a kg to fill up a lovely bowl – double other measures if you do this)
        2 tblsns light honey or to taste
        1-2 tblspns orange liqueur – grand marnier or cointreu
        1/4 tspn vanilla extract
        2 cups freshly pitted dark cherries (I use a can with syrup)
        1/2 cup shaved chocolate
        1/3 cup slivered toasted almonds

        Whip ricotta with electric mixer or wiz at high speed about five mins, until utterly smooth, gradually add honey, liqueur and vanilla and syrup if using can. Fold in cherries. Chill in individual dishes or in glass serving bowl. Top with shaved or grated choc and slivered almonds. YUMMO!! 🙂

  7. AvatarAndrea Cook

    Hello again. Well this is a hard one as I like fruit in a lot of things.
    When I was a child/teenager my mum would visit her mother when she could and we always ended up with a pork meal. My grandmother use to always make stewed apples to go with the pork. There would always be some stewed apple left over for me to have on toast the next morning. It was so nice.
    But I have to say one of my favourites is a dish my friends mum use to make and it’s apple and rhubarb crumble. Always nice with cream or with ice cream.
    Does tinned pineapple count cause if it does can’t go past pineapple jelly whip. That was one of my favourites as a kid particularly when we were shearing mum would always make that and I loved it.
    A different friends mum use to make sticky date pudding or might have been just a date pudding.
    There are probable a few more I can share. But they would have to be my favourite.
    Catherine I have finagling got rocking horse hill from the library and am enjoying it even though Ive only read a chapter. One thing about your books you get hocked from the start. I tyres reading outback blaze that Rachel johns wrote and I had troubles getting into it. Think it was trifling memories from bush fires I have been involved in. But am looking forward to reading more of rocking horse hill.

    1. AvatarLouise Reynolds

      Hi Andrea,
      Another vote for apple and rhubarb crumble! I think it wins hands down in the fruit dessert stakes. I also like the idea of pineapple whip as I love pineapple. It might be like something my grandmother made called apple snow. And I only make sticky date pudding about once a year because it is so addictive 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

        1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

          Andrea, I think it was you who mentioned pineapple whip a few times before? I think we thought it was made with Carnation milk. But after last time (cos I was very intrigued by this dish!) I went a-looking and discovered a couple of different recipes. One in my ancient Green & Gold book for pineapple foam and one in the Presbyterian Women’s Missionary Union of Victoria Cookbook (first produced in 1904, and fantastic if you can find a copy) for pineapple cream. Both use eggs to create the creaminess and set the mix like a mousse, although the former uses gelatin as well. And both sound utterly delicious. I really must give them a go one day.

          YAY on finally scoring a copy of Rocking Horse Hill. I hope it continues to be a page turner for you!

  8. AvatarAndrea Cook

    Oh and mum always used tinned black cherries when she made her version of black forest cake. Simple but oh so yummy

  9. Avataranne gracie

    Yum, Louise — I love pears poached in wine. My fave fruit recipe is spiced , grilled peaches that I serve with greek yoghurt. Looking forward to reading Red Dirt Duchess — love that title.

    Cathryn, my student household at uni learned to cook from two basic sources — the PWMU cookbook, that someone’s mother gave us — and yes, it was excellent — and my Elizabeth David cookbooks. I reckon it wasn’t a bad start.

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        I can’t wait for them either, Louise. I have a white peach tart that I love to make. I’ve only seen yellow ones so far. And if you get a chance to try the peach and ricotta tart recipe from Two Greedy Italians it’s definitely worth the effort.

        Anne, I agree totally. Elizabeth David’s books are truly wonderful. Not just for the recipes but for her beautiful writing. She was amazing.

  10. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

    This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Cath who has won a Kindle copy of Red Dirt Duchess. What a ball she’s going to have with that!

    Thanks so much to everyone who joined in the Feasty fun. You all made me so hungry!!

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