FRIDAY FEAST with Cathryn Hein

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Greetings, Feasty lovelies, and welcome to another tastebud tantalising edition of Friday Feast. This week: rocking on with a bargain priced Rocking Horse Hill, getting stoned with fruit (well, maybe not high but certainly very happy), and a book giveaway you will luuuurve.

First, news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. I’m on the improve, oh yes I am. And I can Cathryn ready to golfprove it because I only hit ONE ball into a dam on the weekend… I think. It’s entirely possible I blocked memory of the others. All this ball loss does get traumatic at times. Not to mention expensive.

But onto some Feasty goodness. This week you have ME as the guest and I have a treat for you too. A few of them, in fact.

Now, in case you haven’t heard, the ebook of my fourth rural romance Rocking Horse Hill is currently on sale for only $4-99 across all platforms. A saving of eight dollars of the normal retail price. How’s that for a bargain? And it’s a great read, if I do say so myself!

Take a look…


Rocking Horse Hill by Cathryn Hein coverWho do you trust when a stranger threatens to tear your family apart?

Ever since she was a little girl, Emily Wallace-Jones has loved Rocking Horse Hill. The beautiful family property is steeped in history. Everything important in Em’s life has happened there. And even though Em’s brother Digby has inherited the property, he has promised Em it will be her home for as long as she wishes.

When Digby falls in love with sweet Felicity Townsend, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, Em worries about the future. But she is determined not to treat Felicity with the same teenage snobbery that tore apart her relationship with her first love, Josh Sinclair. A man who has now sauntered sexily back into Em’s life and given her a chance for redemption.

But as Felicity settles in, the once tightly knitted Wallace-Jones family begins to fray. Suspicions are raised, Josh voices his distrust, and even Em’s closest friends question where Felicity’s motives lie. Conflicted but determined to make up for the damage caused by her past prejudices, Em sides with her brother and his fiancée until a near tragedy sets in motion a chain of events that will change the family forever.

Like the sound of that? Then grab it now at a rocking price. Try Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play and JB Hi-Fi. Prefer the smell and feel of paper, then clickety-click on over to Booktopia, Bookworld or Angus & Robertson. Or why not pop into your favourite local bookshop or chain store?

Stocked up? Excellent. You can now come and get stoned with me.


Summer Lovin’

Today I made my first cherry purchase of the season.

What? Not impressed? Huh. Fine. I know this may not sound much to you, but it matters bigtime to me. You see, I don’t just love cherries, I worship them. They are by far my favourite fruit. Come cherry season I cannot stuff enough of those babies into my mouth.

I like the way they burst. I like the intensity of their flavour. I like that funny sensation I get when my front teeth pierce the skin. I like how they colour my fingers all pink. I like how you can be munching through a bowl, thinking how delicious they are, and then suddenly get one whose sweet amazingness outshines all the others and makes your brain go all bright like it’s been filled with sunshine. I like how deeply, almost sexily red they are. I like to stroke them…


Sorry, but I did say that I worshipped them.

Anyway, today I scored my first batch of new season cherries and I had plans for these things. Cooking type plans. I was going to turn those plump little morsels into a beautiful French dessert. Until I ate one…. um, okay, I ate many. Then I thought: Why waste my darlings on a dessert when I can scoff them pure and whole, the way nature intended?

So I turned to summer’s third best stone fruit, the humble apricot (the second being nectarines). Now normally it’s hard to go past a beautifully blushed apricot but when there are cherries being all Eat me! Eat Me! it’s easy. I mean, apricots  are all demure peachy blush while cherries are vibrant and siren-like. If cherries were a man they’d be… I dunno. Think of someone dark ‘n hot ‘n dangerous maybe. Someone sultry and sexy, with smooth skin and taut muscles and long lashes and brown come-hither eyes.

Washed new season cherries and apricots

But I digress… cherries kind of have that effect.

Because this Feast is about Rocking Horse Hill, and with the heroine Emily Wallace-Jones being such a wonderful cook and gardener, I needed a recipe that she would make and share with friends and family. She’s a seasonal girl, our Em. She likes to let nature dictate what’s on the menu. And in summer, with her orchard in full production, you can bet she’d be inundated with stone fruit.

I think – no, I know cos she is, after all, my invention – that a lovely French clafoutis would be exactly the dish she would cook.

Have you ever had a clafoutis? It’s one of the world’s easiest desserts to make and one whose success relies almost entirely on the quality of the fruit used. So choose that fruit wisely. You can use anything really, but beautifully ripe stone fruit always works well. Cherries are traditional but I just couldn’t bring myself to cook my precious batch. So apricots it is. I can sacrifice them.

This recipe has been adapted from the clafoutis recipe in Bien Cuisiner du marché à votre table by Marie-Claude Bisson, a lovely big fat 800 recipe cookbook that’s well worth buying if you love French family food and don’t mind a bit of translating. Some recipes I’ve seen call for almond flour and whatnot but that sounds far too heavy. This clafoutis produces a silky light custard with the fruit juices running through. It’s easy and beautiful and very moreish.

Apricot Clafoutis

The baked apricot clafoutis served with a drizzle of cream.


4 eggs

Pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

125g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

80g plain flour

60g butter

250ml milk (or use 125ml cream and 125ml milk for a richer result – but straight milk works fine)

500g apricots or the fruit of your choice


Preheat the oven to 180C.

If using smaller fruit like cherries, stone and keep whole (there’s a special depipping gadget for this – or you can halve them, whatever you like). For larger fruit, remove the stone and cut in half and place in a ceramic dish cut side down (or up, if you prefer that look).

Beat the eggs, salt, vanilla and sugar until pale and creamy.

Sift the flour nice and high over the egg mixture and fold in. Melt 30g of the butter and gently stir that into the egg mixture along with the milk. The mix will be quite liquid but airy.

Pour over the fruit. Dot with remaining butter. Bake for 30 minutes, depending on the shallowness of your dish, your oven’s temperament, the alignment of the stars etc etc. Remove and sprinkle with extra sugar while it’s still hot.

Serve with cream and smiiiiile at all that summer goodness.

Serves 6.


Doesn’t that sound easy and delicious? Believe me, it is.

And because this post is about Rocking Horse Hill being bargain priced and not just my cherry obsession, I think we should celebrate the fact with a…


Yes, you could win a pretty purple paperback copy of Rocking Horse Hill, signed to you or whomever you like in case you want to give it away as a present (now there’s a Christmas gift idea for the reader in your circle). But as always you have to work to be in the draw, oh yes you do!

I want to know your favourite summer fruit and how you like to prepare and eat it. Naturally, there will be bonus points for anything involving cherries.

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 18th November 2014. Australian postal addresses only.

If you’d like to learn more about me or my books, then take a leisurely stroll around my website. While you’re there, sign up to my newsletter which delivers all my book news direct to your inbox along with exclusive goodies and giveaways. You can also connect with me via Facebook, Google+ and Twitter using @CathrynHein.

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Maria who has won a signed copy of Rocking Horse Hill. Thanks to everyone for joining in the fun. Lots of fruity ideas! 

21 thoughts on “FRIDAY FEAST with Cathryn Hein

  1. AvatarChristine Stinson

    Hi Cathryn and thanks for another mouth-watering Friday Feast! I, too, have a soft spot for nice, plump, ripe cherries. As a child, I remember draping the double stemmed ones over my ears for earrings and using cherry juice as lipstick. These days, I just eat and love them, along with raspberries (or any summer berries, for that matter) served fresh with some really decadent ice-cream.
    Am about to stock up the Kindle before we head off for a 9 night break so will put Rocking Horse Hill on it forthwith.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      I used to do that too, Christine. Cherry earrings were very glam. Mine never lasted long though because I ate them.
      Have a lovely holiday (very jealous) and I hope enjoy Rocking Horse Hill!

  2. AvatarDB Tait

    I have an Evernote folder for recipes and this is going straight into it! I love apricots! Don’t hate me but I love them more than cherries. But raspberries are my favourites.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Ha ha! I’ll forgive you, DB. This recipe really does go beautifully with apricots though. Well worth a try. The fruit goes all luscious and the eggy mix is silky but not too sweet. And dead easy. A cracker.
      I like raspberries too, although Youngberries…YUM!

  3. AvatarKim Foster

    ok my favourite fruit has to be a mango, how you bite it and it drips down your hands soooooooo yummie, well ok if i have to mention cherrys then how about a Cherry Ripe that is my favourite chocolate so i hope that passes ……….have a wonderful weekend everyone xxx

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      You know, Kim, I can’t stand Cherry Ripes! Only fresh cherries, or sometimes the sour-y tinned ones. But have never warmed to Cherry Ripes. Probably because of the coconut.
      Now, as for mango. it’s a lovely thing! It gives you a wonderful tropical feeling.
      Thanks for playing along!

  4. AvatarLouise Reynolds

    Ooh, here’s something I haven’t tried making but have always wanted to. Shall put it on the TBC list right now. We make a pretty fab Neil Perry Tropical Fruit (cherries, lychees and mango) Salad with lemongrass and lime syrup. You can google it. Well worth buggerising around with pitting cherries and stoning the lychees. Toss up on favourite fruit would be peaches and nectarines. But, seriously, it is all good! Don’t we live in an amazing place?

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      I think you mentioned that recipe once before, Louise, and I went and tracked it down. I must try it now that the hot weather is here. It sounds beautiful!

      This clafouti recipe really is lovely. Jim pretty much ate the whole lot and now wants me to make one with peaches. Think I’ll try with nectarines because I prefer them. What I should do is make it with cherries but I just can’t bring myself to. I love them on their own too much.

      As for living in an amazing place, we sure do. Lucky us!

  5. AvatarSue Gerhardt Griffiths

    Oh no Cathryn, no bonus points for me because I dislike cherries… no, that’s not true I love cherries but the ones that come in the glass jars already pitted. The fresh ones just don’t do it for me there is more stone than fruit, sorry to say. I did like them when I was young and hung them off my ears too, that was fun lol. I love love love mangoes!! I peel them and sink my teeth in to the juicy flesh, the only way to eat them, sooooo goooood!
    I love your apricot dessert sounds yum and I love cooking with apricots so will give this one a go, hopefully soon!

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      I can forgive you for the lack of cherry love, Sue… I think. The flesh to seed ratio is a bit out of whack – would certainly love more of that juicy red goodness, but I just eat more to make up for it!

      Give the recipe a try. It’s beautiful and the apricots go all stewed-ish and lovely. Very moreish.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Another mango vote! I feel like I’m missing something with this fruit, Kaye. I like them, sure, but they’re not a favourite. They are with other people by the sounds though!

      Thanks for dropping by. All the best in the giveaway draw.

  6. AvatarKaren

    Hi Cathryn
    Fresh fruit platter in the warmer season. Including honeydew melon, rockmelon and watermelon 🙂

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Oh yes, Karen! That’s a fab way to eat fruit. I love all the melons too. They’re so refreshing and look gorgeous all cut up and laid out. A very pleasant, and summery, way to finish a meal. Great choice.

      Thanks for joining in the Feasty fun!

  7. Avatarmaria fenech

    Favourite summer fruits are: stawberries, mangoes, blueberries & banannas with white chocolate flavoured cream on pancakes.. yum

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      A foot in many camps, Maria! But it is hard to choose a favourite when they’re all so beautiful. As for white chocolate flavoured cream on pancakes…. *groan* That sounds amaaaaaazing.

      Lovely to see you on Friday Feast!

  8. AvatarAndrea Cook

    Well in summer I love eating different types of fruit. Strawberries, sometimes raspberries and blueberries I would just eat out of the punnet when freshly brought. Sometimes I like to sprinkle sugar over my strawberries and let it sit for a while then eat it. I have lived in NSW twice and learnt a different wording for this type of fruit and even though I live in Victoria know I tend to say both ways so I’m covered. Lol anyway I love candelope or rockmelon which are the same thing. Fresh or covered in sugar for a little while give it a nice syrup taste. Mangos I love eating fresh.
    Last Christmas I brought a frozen dessert maker. I love it. You by frozen fruit of you liking. Last time I had this I brought a summer fruit packet. You put the frozen fruit into the machine and it comes out similar to a soft serve. I’ve tried a few different things. If you use just fruit it’s like having a realy soft frosty fruit. I have also done this by putting gluten free vanilla ice creams with the fruit and it tastes like you own version of a splice just softer.
    One other thing I like to add is called toffee Popsicles. A banana and a tin of coconut creame mixed/blended together. Freeze the mixture. When frozen you can have it one it’s own or add coconut sugar around your Popsicle to give it a toffee like taste. Coconut sugar can be hard to find but I managed to get it at Coles. Anyway you can also do these for ice blocks too. Plus it’s dairy free gluten free. Very refreshing. My mate doesn’t like sharing that recipe but I like to and think it will help me through this summer.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      When we were kids, Mum ALWAYS sprinkled sugar on our cut up rockmelon to sweeten it. And you’re right, it did dissolve and make a lovely syrup. Same with strawberries.
      That frozen dessert maker sounds a fabulous gadget!! I have a couple of ice-cream machines but not one of those. Tempting, when you’ve made the result sound so delicious.
      Love, love, LOVE the sound of you popsicles. Definitely trying that one, especially with the sugar addition. What a fantastic idea. Thank you!!!!

  9. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

    This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Maria who has won a signed copy of Rocking Horse Hill.
    Thanks to everyone for joining in the fun. Lots of fruity ideas!

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