FRIDAY FEAST with Helene Young

49 Replies

Greetings, food and book lovers, and welcome to another delicious edition of Friday Feast. This week, a lamb dish exploding with flavour, a suspenseful new release, plus another fab giveaway. Indeedy, Friday Feast has all the comforts, so kick back and read on!

In Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news, you know how I said last week that it looked like the curse hadn’t followed me home from Mount Gambier? I was wrong. It did, the rotten thing, and I’m a bit crankypants about the whole affair too. Offering false hope is cruel. I was smacking balls okay until halfway through my last round, then the curse struck and it aaaaall went wrong and I had to hand in a completely embarrassing score card. Hmph. Oh well, time to show a bit of optimism and hope the only way is up!

Author Helene YoungI’m absolutely delighted to welcome this week’s Friday Feast guest. Not only is Helene Young a regular here and renowned for sharing amazing recipes, she’s a gorgeous person and a highly talented author, having twice won romance the coveted Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year, and been nominated and shortlisted for several crime writing awards. Plus, given she’s been a pilot and Regional Flying Manager with Australia’s largest regional airline, and now lives on a catamaran, she’s also one pretty damn cool woman!

Helene’s latest release is Northern Heat. Check it out.


Cover of Northern Heat by Helene YoungIn remote northern Australia, Conor Stein is living under an assumed name and rebuilding his shattered life. Working at Cooktown’s youth centre has given him the chance to make a difference again, and a chance to flirt with Kristy Dark. When he finds himself dragged into a murder investigation, with more lives at risk, he fights to the death to protect those he loves.

After tragedy tore her family apart, Dr Kristy Dark fled home to the steamy north with her feisty teenage daughter, Abby. She hoped being part of the small community would help them both heal. When late one sultry night Conor staggers into the emergency department supporting a local fisherman with a gunshot wound, she has no inkling her world is about to be turned on its head.

As a cyclone tears through Cooktown, cutting them off from the world, the real killer moves to silence any witnesses. With their lives on the line, Kristy will have to summon her courage and place her trust in Conor, or they’ll both lose someone they love.

A gripping new novel of high drama and desire by Australia’s award-winning master of romantic suspense.

What a cracking read that sounds! And Northern Heat could be yours right now with just a few clicks. Buy from Booktopia or Bookworld. Or from the good people at Abbey’s Bookshop, Boomerang Books, QBD The Bookshop,,, Kobo, iTunes, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi or your favourite book retailer.

Sorted? Excellent. Time to kick back with Helene.

Size Doesn’t Matter – or not to Capt G 🙂

I’m so excited to be back visiting Cathryn and Friday Feast. This full time writing gig is wonderful!! The last 2 years have been so manic I’ve barely had time to cook so I’ve had fun perusing the past posts looking for recipes I can experiment with now I have time on my hands.  Mind you, Capt G presented me with this most delicious breakfast last Thursday and announced, ‘That’s the last one, darling. Now you’re retired you won’t need a cooked breakfast any more.’

Captain G's last cooked breakfast for author Helene Young

I felt quite ripped off, although Capt G has been exemplary since we moved back to Brisbane. Every morning he’s crawled out of bed, made me a cooked breakfast, packed me a lunch and sent me off to work. Every evening I’ve come home to dinner! (Exactly how he fills his days remains something of a mystery, but I suspect it involves coffee, chatting, coffee, chatting, and getting dinner ready!)

But the truly amazing thing for me is the yummy food Capt G delivers in a very compact space. The Roobinesque's kitchenRoobinesque has 2 small fridges, a camping freezer, a convection microwave, a small gas oven, a 3-burner gas stove and a Baby Q Weber BBQ. The kitchen itself is basically one bench top. Organisation is the key – and the Captain is organized!

One of my favourite dishes is Shawarma Lamb – slow cooked in the oven. He serves it with couscous, although he adds some chicken stock to the water so it’s delicious! It’s perfect for feeding 6 to 8 people and is trouble free.

The lamb is ‘melt in your mouth’ tender and pretty much cooks itself. He marinates it in the morning and leaves it sitting all day in the fridge until he’s ready to fire up the BBQ. Once it’s in and cooking the rest of the meal is simple to prepare and takes 20 minutes at the maximum. Perfect for a sailor with a busy marina social life!

Here’s the recipe:

Shawarma Lamb

(Courtesy of

1 cup chopped fresh coriander

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

6 garlic cloves, crushed

80ml (1/3 cup) olive oil

2kg leg of lamb – boned and flattened.

180g (2/3 cup) Greek yoghurt

1 tablespoon tahini

2 Lebanese cucumbers, halved, thinly sliced

1 cup fresh mint leaves

1/2 red onion, cut into thin wedges

2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

Lebanese bread, to serve

Step 1: Combine coriander, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, 5 garlic cloves and 60ml (1/4 cup) oil in a large glass or ceramic baking dish. Add the lamb and turn to coat. Cover and place in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight to marinate.

Step 2: Preheat oven 160ºC. Preheat the BBQ.

Step 3: Sear the lamb on the BBQ, browning all sides.

Step 4: Place lamb on a wire rack in a roasting pan. Drizzle over remaining oil. Season. Add water to pan to reach a depth of 2cm. Cover with foil and roast for 2 hours in oven at 160ºC. Remove foil. Roast for a further 1 hour or until the lamb is tender. Rest for 20 minutes.

Step 5: Meanwhile, combine yoghurt, tahini and remaining garlic in a bowl.

Step 6: Slice the lamb and divide among plates, placing on a bed of couscous. Top with the cucumber, mint, onion and pine nuts. Serve with the yoghurt mixture and bread.

I’m looking forward to getting back into the kitchen myself, but I know I’ll have some adjusting to do in order to work in the confined space. Capt G has frequently commented that I have a knack for using every pan in the kitchen – luckily we don’t have as many pans on the boat as we did in a house!!

What’s your kitchen like? Is it your pride and joy, or a work in progress? Is a good kitchen important to you or can you make do?

Join in the conversation and go into the draw to win a copy of Northern Heat! I’ll leave it to Cathryn to decide 🙂

Happy cooking!


Did you hear that, Feasties? We have a…


Tell us all about your kitchen, whether you love it, wish for something better, or don’t care because you hate cooking, and we’ll pop you into the draw to win a copy of Helene’s brilliant new release, Northern Heat.

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 9th June 2015. Australian postal addresses only.

Need more inspiration to enter? Take a look at Helene’s fantastic trailer for Northern Heat. If that doesn’t get you wanting to win, I don’t know what will!


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

Friday Feast recipe index link.

49 thoughts on “FRIDAY FEAST with Helene Young

  1. AvatarLaura Boon

    We rent, and our kitchen is a disaster. Ok, possibly that is a bit unfair. But only a bit. It’s 40 years old and in drastic need of a reno. The most irritating part is the extraction fan. It has big open blades which get covered in oil that then drips back down onto the stove top. We can’t unscrew it to clean (believe me, we’ve tried) so I am obliged to lean backwards over the stove top at a 45 degree angle while I try to clean above my head. Needless to say, I hate the d*&%#$ thing. And the kitchen is probably only a fraction bigger than Captain G’s despite being land-based. What’s with that? Did builders in the seventies think home cooking was so last century or something?
    Rant over. At least everything works, which is good because Helene has made me hungry for roast lamb 🙂

    1. AvatarHelene

      Oh that sounds like hard work, Laura!! I do remember the rise and rise of fitted kitchens and my mum finally getting one in the late 1980s. Clearly the ’70s weren’t inspired!!

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        Oh, I’m feeling for you, Laura. That sounds awful! Extraction fans are revolting enough without not being able to pull one apart to clean it.

  2. AvatarDB Tait

    I had my kitchen renovated in 2010 after living with it for 10 years (I can’t believe I waited so long – it was a terrible kitchen). I was so thrilled to get deep draws and a lazy susan thing that means I can store all my saucepans with their lids on! If I had my time over I’d get a different sink and tap, but otherwise it works very well. That lamb dish looks divine Helene! Congrats on the new release!

    1. AvatarHelene

      Thanks, Deb! Storage is definitely the biggest issue on the boat. There have been mutterings about giving some of my clothes to a good home… I’m ignoring all suggestions!

    2. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      A good kitchen is such a comfort, not to mention inspiring, DB. When you’re happy with your kitchen you just want to COOK. Not good for the waistline so much, but great for the tastebuds!

  3. Avatarmarilyn forsyth

    Confession: I’m a messy cook. A ‘why use one pot when you can use three or four?’ type of cook, and the bane of my husband’s existence when it comes to washing up (he’s my dishwasher 🙂 ). Solution: let my husband cook on the bbq. Win win. This lamb recipe will be perfect for him, thanks Helene and Cathryn.
    My kitchen is 30 years old and in need of an update but that will have to wait until funds permit. I’d much rather travel than cook, anyway 🙂 .

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Yay! Another messy cook and whose other half is chief dishwasher. We have this cooking biz all sorted, Marilyn!
      Agree with you on the travelling. The best food always seems to be eaten somewhere else.

  4. AvatarShelley Russell Nolan

    Roast lamb is my favourite. This recipe sounds delicious and I’ll have to give it a try. I won’t let hubby cook though, he makes too much mess. He uses every pot and half a dozen tea towels and then I have to clean up after him. I managed to convince him that I NEEDED a new kitchen six years ago, after agreeing that he also NEEDED a massive shed to store his boat and the camper trailer. I have black granite benchtops with sparkles that catch the light and white cupboards. Plenty of bench space and storage. I love it. Although, with a wider bench I find I end up with holes in my shirts from leaning against the bench when I do the dishes. Can never remember to leave a gap.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Your kitchen sounds gorgeous, Shelley. LOL on the kitchen-shed trade-off but if it makes you both happy, why not? I can relate to the problem with the shirt and washing up, although for me it’s more about getting soaked. Which is why I leave that chore mostly to be other half.

  5. AvatarHelene

    Hi Shelley, love the sound of your kitchen Reno. Should I ever write a world wide best seller I plan on giving Roobi a lovely sparkly bench top – the French boat builders had bland taste…

    And enjoy the lamb!!

  6. AvatarHelen

    Hi Helene and Cathryn

    Love that recipe yummo I need to try that one 🙂

    M kitchen is small as well and you do need to be organized when cooking I used to do that a lot once then started working full time and it slowed up but now that I am retired seem to be cooking a bit more these days and seeing as it is cold soup is very good I have just started a pot of sweet potato and carrot soup ad it is going to be yum for dinner with crusty bread rolls 🙂

    Congrats on the release Helene

    have Fu

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        It is indeed soup weather at the moment, Helen. It’s been beautiful during the day but come five o’clock the temperature plummets.
        Thanks for dropping by. Always lovely to have your company!

  7. AvatarSally Schmidt

    After 23 years in this house we are having what I am calling a “house facelift” – no major construction but new floors, painting, some new bathroom faucets and shower doors, AND updating the kitchen!! I am very excited. I got new appliances a couple years ago but now will replace the old tile countertops and backsplash, paint the cabinets so they aren’t the 1990’s oak look, change the sink, install new lights, and we are making the family room the new dining room so it will be one big eat-in kitchen with a fireplace. Work starts in about a week. I love to cook and putter about in the kitchen so can’t wait.

    1. AvatarHelene

      Sally, that sounds like a fabulous makeover! You must have had fun choosing all the pieces that will make your new room perfect. Love a fireplace – more than a little jealous!

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        I’d be excited too, Sally! What fun. You’ll be so thrilled when it’s finished you won’t be able to stop cooking up a storm. I was like that when we moved into our current house. The kitchen is amaaaazing. I fell so in love with it I couldn’t stop making things.
        I’m jealous of your fireplace too. There’s something so truly warming, not to mention mesmerising, about a fire.
        Hope the house facelift goes smoothly for you.

  8. AvatarAndrea Johns

    I am not great at cooking so I won’t complain about my horrible kitchen here! I would prefer to spend my time reading, and Helene’s new book looks amazing!

    1. AvatarHelene

      Thanks. Andrea! There’s nothing like curling up with a good book and I can’t wait to do that myself in a month’s time!!

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        Helene’s book does look amazing, Andrea. She’s a hugely talented author so you’ll be in for a cracking read with Northern Heat or any of her previous releases.

  9. AvatarMargaret Karas

    I would love to win a copy of Northern Heat. I have read Helene’s other books and can guess that the new book will also be a subtle and intriguing read.

  10. AvatarAnna Campbell

    Hi Cathryn! Hi Helene! Top of the weekend to you both!

    Helene, I can never work out why you married that man. He treats you so appallingly!! Laughed at no more cooked breakfasts for you! Ha!

    I just got a novella in so I’m taking the weekend off. And you know what that means! I get to read Northern Heat. Can’t wait! Actually it’s so cold on the Sunshine Coast this morning, I’d like a bit of southern heat too, please.

    Love my kitchen. Spent so long in tiny kitchens in flats, this big open plan one with an island feels like the height of luxury. Lamb looks great and easy – might give it a go!

    Good luck with the new book – I’ve already bought it so no need to put me into the draw.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      A top weekend to you too, Ms Anna!! I have seen piccies of your kitchen on Facebook and it looks fab. Love those island benches. They work really well.

      Hope you’re enjoying your weekend off!

    2. AvatarDB Tait

      I love your kitchen Anna. Forgot to mention, no need to put me into the draw either Helene. Northern Heat is on the top of my tbr pile too!

  11. AvatarHelene

    Thanks, Anna, I’m snuggled up under a doona and its 6 degrees in North Queensland! Lucky the good Captain needs a cuppa of tea and is off making me one too !!

    Your kitchen is fabulous – so much space and it has a view of the water!!

    Hope you enjoy Northern Heat!

  12. AvatarLouise Reynolds

    Hi Helene and Cathryn!! You obviously have a gem of a husband, Helene. In fact, he reminds me, in this context, of mine (great cook and spending the day chatting and coffee drinking). We do have a very nice kitchen but the funny thing is that we enjoy the relative hardships of camp cooking. Schlepping stuff in and out of the screen tent in the dark, building fires and waiting for the coals, worrying about the temperature the meat is being held at, etc. I wonder why that is? Anyway, that lamb looks absolutely delicious. I can almost taste it now 🙂 And congratulations on the release!!!

    1. AvatarHelene

      Hi Louise,

      We used to love the trials of camp cooking too! Nothing like scraping the crunchy bits off a pan that’s sizzled over the coals. And marshmallows over a fire are still the perfect way to end the night 🙂

      Thanks for dropping by!

  13. AvatarSue Gerhardt Griffiths

    Howdy do Helene and Cathryn!

    I can whip up anything in the kitchen in the caravan and Helene I think it’s smaller than your one in the boat, lol, but it’s funny in the house when we had the old kitchen which was about 30 years old I wasn’t too happy with it and thought everything was too small and kept complaining how it was too difficult to cook anything decent – I think the reason must be when you’re on the road enjoying travelling you can cook up a storm on anything. Three years ago we had a brand new kitchen installed with dishwasher, induction stove top, huge deep draws and a massive pantry. It’s all glossy white cupboards and glossy white Caesarstone benchtops and I just love cooking in it – so much fun also having lots of different appliances to work with.

    Congrats on the release, Helene! Looking forward to reading it!

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Oooh, you have an induction cooktop, Sue? I’d love to have a go at one of those. Your kitchen sounds gorgeous. Lovely and bright.
      I think if you love food and cooking you can kinda make do with whatever you have. Plus adapting is half the fun!

    2. AvatarHelene

      Lol, Sue, I’ve never actually been caravaning but I reckon it would be a little more difficult cooking in that space than Robby’s kitchen. Love the sounds of your new kitchen and hope you’re cooking up a storm for a long weekend!

      Thanks for dropping by 🙂

  14. AvatarNas

    Congratulations Helen! Hi Cathryn!

    I love that your husband gets the food ready, he sounds awesome. I have a new kitchen but don’t do much cooking now as it’s only two of us.

    Northern Heat sounds another intriguing story!

    1. AvatarHelene

      Thanks, Nas, I’ve very fortunate to have a hubbie who likes to cook – mind you, now I’m only a full time writer I’m looking forward to elbowing him aside occasionally !

      Thanks for dropping by for a chat 🙂

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        Hi Nas! Helene’s Captain G sounds a treasure, doesn’t he?
        It can be hard to cook for just two sometimes, especially with desserts I reckon. There’s often no real way to halve them, which means you have to make the whole lot and then eat it. Such a shame…

  15. AvatarAnne Gracie

    Love the sound of that lamb, Helene. Am thinking I might be able to cook it in my slow cooker — just set and forget. I had a good bemused stare at your breakfast picture — to me it looked like you breakfasted on bacon, tomatoes, avocado and eggplant topped with ice-cream. Or possibly yoghurt. And then I realized it was a beautifully poached egg. LOL.

    My copy of Northern heat is on order and expected any day now — best of luck with it.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      I made the recipe last week, Anne, and reckon a slow cooker would to the trick perfectly.
      LOL on the breakfast! That is an impressive poached egg though. Very well shaped.

    2. AvatarHelene

      The Captain’s egg poaching skills are legendary! He even times them… I think it would work well in a slow cooker, Anne, so enjoy it!! And thanks for ordering Northern Heat – hope you enjoy it!

  16. AvatarMelissa Woods

    I live in a rented property, and my kitchen is all over the place, but I love cooking. Whether it is a roast lamb (like tonight) or spag bol, to my kids favourite chicken parma. But my kids and I enjoy cooking biscuits, cakes and scones like I did with my nan.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      That’s lovely you’re cooking with your kids, Melissa. They’ll cherish those memories. I have similar ones of cooking with my grandmother too. There were lots of scones made and eaten, that’s for sure.

    2. AvatarHelene

      Yum, Melissa, I’ll have to get back into baking – a whole new experience since I avoid wheat as much as I can these days!

      Sounds like you have fun with your kids in the kitchen. Thanks for dropping by 🙂

  17. AvatarMaria Fenech

    Congratulations on your new release.
    We have almost completed renovating our kitchen, gone from a timber kitchen (which I did like) to a very modern kitchen. Just a few finishing touches to be done still but otherwise it looks great. Oh my osh the dust & mess though as we are renovating bathrooms too & retiled living area. It turned into a bigger project than originally planned. I chased the tradesmen around with the vacuum cleaner cleaning up the mess, although in the end I just gave up & learning to cope with the dust &

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      How exciting, Maria! Although I can imagine the mess isn’t much fun but it’ll be worth it in the end. Like getting a new house without having to move!

  18. AvatarHelene

    Maria, I can sympathise with the dust! Every time there’s any drilling to be done on Roobinesque the vacuum cleaners has to be there to gather the fibreglass dust…

    Sounds like you’ve completed a massive reno!! Enjoy cooking in your new room 🙂

  19. AvatarDelores Bebbington

    Hello Helene and Cathryn. So wierd! I was just perusing your fabulous recipe and realised that I had taken some lamb out of the freezer for tonight’s dinner. No better time than to try your recipe. I love cooking and for some reason every house we ever lived in has had a less-than-perfect kitchen design and of course, we can never afford to improve it.I am undeterred by the obstacles and continue to cook massive dinners for our large family. so looking forward to reading’ Northern Heat’ . Australian authors rock! cheers Delores

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      How serendipitous, Delores! I hope it worked out well for you.
      How lovely to hear you adore cooking. I may be terribly biased but I reckon those who love to cook are the most generous souls on the planet.
      And you are quite right. Australian authors rock indeed!

  20. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

    Thanks to everyone who joined in the Friday Feast fun. Great comments, as always. The giveaway has now closed. Helene handed responsibility of choosing the winner over to me, and I in turn handed it over to the universe, ie the random number generator, which chose Margaret. Rah!
    Thanks again for all your comments. It’s seems even a tiny or bad kitchen can’t keep an enthusiastic cook down. Which is just the way it should be!

Comments are closed.