FRIDAY FEAST with Loretta Hill

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Greetings, and welcome to another year of fabulous Feasting. Yes, after a busy summer break, Friday Feast is back and what a year we have planned. Lots of wonderful Australian authors are already booked in, super excited to share their new releases, favourite recipes and more.

We’re going to start the 2015 feasting year with a big tastebud bang too, but more on that in a moment. It’s time for news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. Ahh, what to say about the summer so far… it’s been good and it’s been bad. I lost the Great Christmas Golfing challenge, as per normal, but arrived home to put in a stellar performance in my club comp which cost me another stroke off my handicap. Naturally, I haven’t been able to play to it since, but I’m working on it!

Author Loretta HillTime to turn to our guest, and I’m delighted to welcome Loretta Hill back for another dose of Friday Feast goodness. Loretta, as you know, took the Australian  book market by storm with her debut The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots, following that success up with The Girl in the Hard Hat and The Girl in the Yellow Vest.

Loretta has a new novel out, one that’s set in Western Australia’s Margaret River wine region. Wine, women, family drama and fun. This one’s bound to go down a treat.

Check it out…


Cover of The Maxwell Sisters by Loretta Hill‘You are cordially invited to the wedding of Phoebe and Christopher . . .’

All families have their problems. No more so than the Maxwell’s of Tawny Brooks Winery. Situated in the heart of the Margaret wine region, this world-renowned winery was the childhood home to three sisters, Natasha, Eve and Phoebe.

Today all three women are enmeshed in their city lives and eager to forget their past – and their fractured sibling relationships. Until Phoebe decides to get married at home . . .

Now the sisters must all return to face a host of family obligations, vintage in full swing and interfering in-laws who just can’t take a hint. As one romance blossoms and others fall apart, it seems they are all in need of some sisterly advice.

But old wounds cut deep. Somehow, the Maxwell sisters must find a way back to one another – or risk losing each other forever.

The Maxwell Sisters is a heartwarming romantic comedy about three extraordinary women on a journey to find love and rediscover family.

Doesn’t that sound a hoot? You want it, don’t you? Oh, yes you do! And in just a few quick clickety-clicks it can be yours. Buy The Maxwell Sisters now from Booktopia, Dymocks, QBD, Boomerang Books, Collins Booksellers, Kobo, Amazon, iBooks, Google Play, or JB Hi-Fi.

All set? Then prepare yourself because what Loretta is sharing is mouth-watering!

Moussaka to the Max!

Hi Cathryn!

Friday Feast happens to be the perfect blog for me to be visiting right now with my book, “The Maxwell Sisters.” just released this month. It’s a story jam packed with food, wine and romance – my three favourite things in the world. I can’t imagine a better place to be talking about it than your foodie paradise online. So thanks for having me, girl.

The Maxwell Sisters” apart from being full of good things to eat is about family and sisters. I come from a big family myself and have three sisters of my own. Any family event we have is always full to the brim with food. Usually too much. It’s the way we express ourselves. Maybe it’s my ethic background but to us… food is love. Nothing gives me more contentment or that feeling of utter belonging that an overly full belly and fridge full of left overs. Is that weird?

So I knew when I reunited these three estranged sisters at their childhood family home in the Margaret River Wine Region, there was going to be lots and lots of food involved. Today, the recipe I want to share is for a classic Greek Moussaka.

The Maxwell sisters (Natasha, Phoebe and Eve) have a Greek mother who spoils them with her signature dish when they all arrive home. They kind of need spoiling because they’re all in a pretty bad way. Secrets, betrayal, relationships gone wrong. You name it. They’ve all got something sitting on their chest. There’s nothing like a bit of mother’s home cooking to get them all opening up to each other.

I also thought Moussaka was a great metaphor for the Maxwell sisters because it too has three essential parts.  The thick spicy sauce that has that rich in your face flavour – I’d like to liken that to the eldest Maxwell. She’s been hurt badly and is hoping to hide it all from her family. After first bite however, her hidden layers are about to be revealed.

The white sauce is more like Eve. She’s desperate to be subtle and thinks of herself as more of the background girl in the Maxwell family. Shy and quiet, this book allows Eve to realize her full potential. And yes, she does come out on top just like the sauce.

Finally, we’ve got the eggplant – the essential ingredient that holds it all together. That’s Phoebe down to a tea. She’s the reason everyone has to return to Tawny Brooks Estate. She’s getting married. And if ever there was an event fraught with family drama, it’s a wedding.  It’s going to take all her efforts to stop things from falling apart.

If you’re going to have wine with this and I insist you must. I would go for a nice robust red, dense earthy and flavoursome. Maybe a spicy shiraz or a cabernet sauvignon. Choosing a wine is mostly about matching the intensity of the food to the intensity of the wine.  So you want something with a good body.

Funnily enough, this is exactly how I went about choosing the romantic love interests for each of my three heroines. Wink! Wink! Nudge! Nudge! 🙂

I hope you’ll take a moment to read their story, enjoy the romance and perhaps have a slice of moussaka on the side.

Bon appetite!

Loretta Hill



Moussaka plated up

The Meat Sauce  ( Natasha Maxwell)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 brown onion, chopped

2 cloves of crushed garlic

800g beef mince

1 can crushed tomatoes

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/3 cup grated cheese

Lemon wedges


  1. Fry onion and garlic for five minutes in oil
  2. When onion has just softened, add mince and brown.
  3. Add tomatoes, cinnamon and allspice.
  4. Bring to the boil.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low, simmer for half an hour or until sauce has thickened.

Eggplant an sauces ready for layering

The White Sauce (Eve Maxwell)

75g butter

1/3 cup plain flour

2 cups milk


  1. Melt butter over medium-high heat.
  2. Add flour and stir until bubbling. Gradually stir in the milk and bring to the boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture has thickened. Turn off stove.

final eggplant layer of the moussaka

Bringing it all Together (Phoebe Maxwell)

2 large eggplant, thinly sliced

Oil spray

White sauce

Meat sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced.
  2. Spray sliced eggplant with oil and fry in a pan over medium-high heat for until browned on both sides. Transfer onto a plate
  3. Grease an ovenproof dish. Place a third of the eggplant, slightly overlapping, over the base of the prepared dish.
  4. Spread half the meat sauce over eggplant.
  5. Repeat layers, ending with eggplant.
  6. Spread white sauce over eggplant. Sprinkle with cheese.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden.
  8. Stand 15 minutes.
  9. Garnish with lemon wedges.

Moussaka ready for the oven


*GROANS* Have you any idea how much I adore moussaka, Loretta? And this sounds perfect too. All that smoky eggplant goodness, with full-flavoured mince and creamy béchamel sauce. It just CRIES OUT for a glass of Margaret River red followed by a lovely flop about with The Maxwell Sisters.


Now, my Feasty lovelies, Loretta has a wonderful blog tour going on at the moment. Not only is she here, she has a full-on schedule of bloggy goodness happening, including:

Jan 12th – Margareta Osborn

Jan 19th – Jennifer Scoullar

Jan 27th – Helene Young

Jan 30th – Friday Feast

Feb 2nd – Fiona Palmer

Feb 9th – Jenn J Mcleod

Feb 16th -Rachael Johns

And as part of this tour, Loretta is giving you the chance to win a signed copy of The Maxwell Sisters. All you have to do is leave a comment here, or on any of Loretta’s other blog posts listed above, and you’ll go into the draw. Winners will be announced on Loretta’s blog on February 23rd.

So, to get you in the commenting mood, how about answering this:  What recipe or meal, do you enjoy making with family?

I’ll start you off. Nothing like a good barbecue to get everyone involved, even if most of that entails standing around the barbie, poking steaks or sausages and criticising their degree of burnt-ness!

So what’s your favourite meal that involves the family? Get commenting and you’ll go into Loretta’s The Maxwell Sisters blog tour giveaway draw.

If you’d like to learn more about Loretta or her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter using @LorettaHill7.

19 thoughts on “FRIDAY FEAST with Loretta Hill

  1. AvatarMaria Fenech

    Everyone love chicken schnitznel, even better when my 12 year old daughter helps crumb it all 🙂

    P.s I especially enjoyed The girl with the steel capped boots & The girls in the hard hat..

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Fab idea on the crumbed chicken, Maria. That’s a great one, especially for kids. You can line up all the bowls and make a mess together!

      Thanks for dropping by. All the best in Loretta’s grand draw. You might win yourself a copy of The Maxwell Sisters to go with the ‘Girl’ books!

  2. AvatarMargaret Stepniewski

    Morning smoothie with my 21 year old son before he goes to work. We are avoiding breakfast cereals and this gives us both a great start to the day.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Ooh, nice and healthy, Margaret. That’s the way. I bet I know what you make those smoothies in, too!!!!

      Lovely to see you here. Hope all is well.

  3. AvatarDelores Bebbington

    My family’s birthday dinner is sour cream and lemon chicken followed by lemon meringue pie.tied together with family conservation!

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Ooooh, that sour cream and lemon chicken sounds really interesting, Delores. Love creamy and tart combinations like that. Which is why lemon meringue pie is so perfect.

      As for family conversation, that’s a must ! Although I like to throw in cool music too for extra ambiance.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  4. AvatarLouise Reynolds

    Lovely to see Friday Feast back! For us, a family meal that will please the crowd definitely includes a pork roast. Sorry to say we buy extra pork skin so we can have double (triple, sometimes) the crackling but it does save arguments!! Lots of trimmings – red cabbage, applesauce, crispy roast potatoes and almost burnt pumpkin (yum). Pretty traditional but it seems to please everyone.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Ha ha ha! You are a woman after my own heart, Louise. We’re having roast port tomorrow night and now I sooooo wish I’d bought extra skin for more crackling. There never seems to be enough.

      Oh, yeah, on the caramelised pumpkin. Only way to have it.

      It’s great to be back with Feast. Felt a little weird not doing it but I needed a holiday!

  5. AvatarLoretta Hill

    OMG! All these comments are making me so hungry. Yumo! Thanks again for having me Cathryn.
    My favourite dish to share with family is curry. Any sort really, chicken, beef or lamb. Nice big pot on the stove, rice on the steam and everybody just rocks, fills a bowl and grabs a seat. Perfect for 5 to 50 people and nice long chats.

  6. AvatarChristine Stinson

    Great to see Friday Feast back, Cathryn, and what a great way to celebrate that fact with a family feast. Congratulations on the release of ‘The Maxwell Sisters’, Loretta! My family’s favourite dish (which tends to change with the seasons) always involves seafood of some kind. Either a whole fish on the barbeque, with everyone doing side dishes, or a big, seafood paella with everyone in the kitchen, drinking wine and waiting for the rice base to go nice and crispy on the bottom!

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        Oh, paella! What a brilliant idea, Christine! That is a wonderful dish to make with family. And I especially love the idea of watching it while enjoying a glass of wine. Lovely!

        Thanks so much for dropping by. Always lovely to see you here.

  7. AvatarSue Gerhardt Griffiths

    Been looking forward to the return of Friday Feast and it’s here already!… excited! Absolutely enjoyed The Girl in Steel-capped boots. The other two or should I say three books are on my to read list this year.

    Wow, that’s moussaka!? I had no idea! The first half is how I make my bolognese. And I looove egg plant so will definitely be making moussaka. I always thought it was something difficult too make but it seems so very easy.

    Hubby and I enjoy making baked dinners together and when the daughter comes over we try out different types of smoothies.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      I think the secret to a really great moussaka, Sue, is the spices. The cinnamon and allspice give it that special oomph that makes it different to bolognaise. That and the smoky goodness that is eggplant! I also use lamb mince in mine. Mmmmm.

      Give it a try. If you can whip up a lasagne you can make this easy-peasy. Go on, you know you want to…

    2. AvatarLoretta Hill

      Yeah Sue! It really wasn’t too bad in terms of difficulty. I would add a bit extra of the spices though in the meat sauce just to give it an extra kick. Good Luck! Loretta

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