FRIDAY FEAST with Melanie Scott

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Greetings, food and booklovers, and welcome to another session of Friday Feast goodness. This week we’re getting sporty (and not with golf either), plus share a super delish and easy to bake dinner and offer a super-hunky giveaway!

But first, Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news. Alas, as predicted, my newly lowered handicap proved a psychological barrier too high and I failed to play to it. This was to be expected. As my father – bless him – has proven many times, when it comes to the sport we love but are cursed by, us Heins have no mental strength. We are, however stubbornly persistent. A personality fault we can’t seem to remedy. Sigh.

Now onto the promised funstuff!

Author Melanie ScottThis week’s guest is Melanie Scott, whose novel Devil in Denim, the first in her New York Saints baseball series, I read and adored. The second, Angel in Armani, has just released and looks an absolute cracker. That smokin’ cover doesn’t hurt either (although wait until you see book three, Lawless in Leather. Phwoar!) .

You don’t have to be a sports or baseball fan to enjoy these steamy contemporary stories because while the settings centre around a baseball team, the plots concern the Saints’ sexy alpha male owners and the equally determined women in their lives. Yep, it’s all about the luurve.

Rightly so, too.

ANGEL IN ARMANI

Cover of Angel in Armani by Melanie ScottWILL A LOVE OF THE GAME

Sara Charles is trying not to strike out. With her dad out of commission, Charles Air has only one helicopter left-and only one Sara to fly charters. With the family business in jeopardy, Sara needs all the clients she can get and the newest one is New York Saints team surgeon, Lucas Angelo. When an unexpected flirtation escalates into a night of pure blind passion, Sara realizes she may have just blown the game. To stay in play, she vows to avoid Lucas and keep her mind on her business and only her business. But there’s a catch: she needs him–in more ways than one.

LEAD TO A FIELD OF DREAMS?

Lucas thought he had his head in the game until his night with Sara throws him off balance. Spring training is upon him, and his schedule is madness but he can’t forget her. So he makes an offer she can’t refuse. Be his personal pilot and earn the money she needs to save Charles Air. She intends to keep him at arm’s length–especially when she discovers just how different their worlds are. Little does Sara know that, for Lucas, the only thing more important than business is pleasure. He only plays to win. And he intends to hit it out of the park…

How cool does that sound? If it’s anything like the reviews are saying then it’s going to be as good, if not better than, Devil in Denim.  Secure your copy of Angel in Armani now via BooktopiaBookworld, Book Depository, Amazon.com, Amazon.ukAmazon.au, iBooks US, iBooks Aust, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, Kobo, JB Hi-Fi or your favourite retailer.

Sorted? Time to enjoy a tasty meal then!

Lazy Cooking or Yay For Nigella And Jamie

I’ve always loved a good roast dinner. My mum does a great one and we’d have it for weekend dinners fairly regularly (and she still does them when I go home to visit, yay). Roast lamb or chicken with roast potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, parsnip and all the trimmings. Delicious. But for some reason it’s something I rarely bother to cook at home. It always seems like a bit of a drama with having to time everything to be ready together etc. Plus lots of washing up that needs to be scrubbed. So when I was watching Nigella Lawson one day and saw her do a tray bake of chicken pieces with chorizo and potatoes, I was kind of intrigued. Cooked all in one pan, not huge amounts of meat left over. Shorter cooking time. Right up my alley. And about the same time I saw Jamie Oliver do the same thing. Since then a lazy chicken tray bake has become one of my favourite weekend dinners. Feels like a roast without any of the fuss. Genius.

My heroine in Angel in Armani, Sara Charles, is definitely a no kind of fuss dinner gal. She’s a helicopter pilot who’s struggling to keep the family business afloat so no time for fussing in the kitchen. This would be exactly her kind of thing.

Easy Chicken Tray Bake

Inspired by Nigella Lawson (see an example here and Jamie Oliver here).

Melanie Scott's Chicken Tray BakeIngredients

8 chicken thighs or wings. Skin on is better, take the skin off after cooking if you don’t want to eat it. You can also use chicken Maryland pieces.

Handful of cherry tomatoes

1 sweet potato or a few potatoes

Other vegies to taste (I use carrot/zucchini/onion/pumpkin)

3-4 cloves of garlic (unpeeled)

Olive oil or spray

Pepper and salt

Optional pancetta or chorizo (roughly sliced for the pancetta and chopped into inch or so chunks for the chorizo)

Heat oven to 180 Celsius.

Line a roasting pan with baking paper (makes clean up lazy too!)

Season the chicken with whatever you like (sage or thyme, spicy rub or just good old salt and pepper) and place in the tray

Chop the vegetables other than the tomatoes and garlic into smallish chunks (maybe an inch or so wide). If using pancetta or chorizo chop as well.

Put vegies in the pan around the chicken then add the tomatoes and garlic cloves and chorizo/bacon if using.

Add a good splash or two of olive oil (or spray well with olive oil spray)

Season with pepper and salt to taste

Bake in oven for 30 minutes then turn chicken and vegetables over. If using olive oil spray you may need to spray again. Bake another 30 minutes or so until chicken is done.

Serve with gravy or chutney or on its own.

Bonus tip, if cooking for one person use just 2-3 pieces of chicken and cook the same amount of vegies and use the leftovers later to make frittata or in a salad or on pizza etc. If you don’t want to do this, then just use a smaller tray or a small square casserole dish to roast in.

After you’ve served up, whip the baking paper out of the tray, put the tray to soak and there will be minimal scrubbing required in the clean up stage!

 

Thanks, Melanie. That sounds seriously yum. I love how easy it is to put together and can be adapted to whatever happens to be in your vegie keeper. Recipes like that are gold.

Speaking of gold, we have a…

GIVEAWAY!

Yes, folks, it’s time to share the sporty love. Melanie has generously offered a copy (ebook or paperback) of Angel in Armani to giveaway to one lucky commenter.

All you have to do is answer this simple question: What’s your favorite easy delicious dinner?

Ooh, I have several! Pastas and stir fries are at the top of the list, but I’m a terrible sucker for a good soup and with the pressure cooker fired up they can be whipped up in no time. What about you, dear Feasters? Maybe you have a one pot recipe for when you don’t feel like cooking much, or perhaps a healthy salad that can be assembled in seconds. Share away and we’ll pop you in the draw.

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 17th February 2015. Open internationally. Rah!

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

 

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Jillian who has won a copy of Melanie’s fabulous Angel in Armani. Thanks to everyone who joined in the Friday Feast fun. As always there were some wonderful suggestions for easy dinners. Thanks!

14 thoughts on “FRIDAY FEAST with Melanie Scott

  1. AvatarDB Tait

    That sounds easy and tasty Mel. My easy meal is the old standard, scrambled eggs on toast with a bit of fresh thyme and black pepper. Boring but reliable. Yours at least has the virtue of vegetables. 🙂

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      It might be an old standard, DB, but it’s a good one. Love scrambled eggs or omelettes. Fast, tasty and one pot. And you can always add stuff should you feel veg-guilt!

  2. AvatarChristine Stinson

    Love a good ‘tray’ bake myself, and do it often. Likewise scrambled eggs, with a few mushies and tomatoes on the side. Or a nice easy ‘melt’ – again, with baking paper on the tray to take care of the cheese fall out! Another enjoyable Friday Feast, Cathryn and Mel – congratulations on Angel in Armani, Mel.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Ooh, I’d forgotten about melts, Christine. They used to be a weekend staple when I was growing up. Perfect in winter with a bowl of tomato soup, especially after hockey which was usually played in pretty miserable conditions. No astroturf back then!

  3. Avataranne gracie

    Love an easy roast, Mel.
    My quick healthy lunch or dinner (for summer especially) is to bake a fillet of fish in foil in the oven — I toss some lemon and herbs, or sometimes a splash of soy and some chilli-coconut sauce on a fish fillet (depending on the kind of fish), seal up the foil, bake it 12-15 mins in the oven, then tip onto a pile of salad greens. It’s quick, yummy, healthy and so easy to clean up — just toss out the foil and wash the oven tray and the salad bowl.
    Don’t put me in the draw for Angel, thanks — I had it pre-ordered and have already read and enjoyed it. 🙂

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      That baked fish sounds beautiful, Anne. I’m going to try that! Even Jim, who is not a fish person (although he did buy me some Spanish mackerel cutlets for dinner on Friday night, lovely man that he is), would like that with the Asian flavours. And it’s dead easy with hardly any washing. Perfect. Thanks!

  4. AvatarJillian Britnell

    Hi Mel-that sounds yummy. I only recently heard of ‘tray bake’ and have been looking at recipes.
    My favourite quick recipes are pretty much pre- prepared. Greek salad with feta already cubed in herbed oil, cherry tomatoes, pitted olives, a cucumber that doesn’t need peeling…maybe some cooked quinoa, some tuna or sardine,
    Catherine, with the golf – lots of famous people say persistence is the main thing in ultimate achievement”. And here’s a nice quote from Van Gogh about the mental side: : “If you hear a voice within you say, ‘you cannot paint, then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” All the best.

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        Ooh! Thanks for those quotes, Jillian. I hear a lot of the “I can’t play golf” voice. Have yet to silence the rotten thing, but I’ll keep at it. One day!

        Greek salad is a lovely choice of fast meal. Nice and healthy too.

        Thanks for dropping by and commenting. All the best in the draw.

  5. AvatarSue Gerhardt Griffiths

    Yum, I’ve been looking for another baked dinner idea and the easy chicken tray bake is a great one to try.
    When laziness takes over our favourite easy dinner to make is tomato, turkey slices and cheese sandwiches in the toasted sandwich maker I use gluten free bread and it is so yummy. And the metal in the sandwich maker is so smooth and glossy so it’s an easy wipe-over if any spills occur.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Sandwich makers are a godsend, aren’t they, Sue? You can stick anything in those babies. We recently bought a new one – a Breville Big One – and it’s designed to take more filling. Left over casserole is perfect in it, as are eggs, and the traditional ham, cheese, tomato. As you say, makes life so easy and hardly any washing up.

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