FRIDAY FEAST with Cathryn Hein

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Hello food and book lovers, and welcome to another joyous edition of Friday Feast. This week’s guest is me. In fact, lucky devils that you are, you’ll have me for the next few weeks. It’s going to be fun! This week I’m going to share my celebrity crush. And no, it’s not Chris Hemsworth, although he is very tasty. Very, very tasty…


Cathryn Hein golfer!As always, before we get to that you must suffer through Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. You may recall my excitement last week about my return to form, but that I was careful to temper that excitement with the knowledge that such good play was unlikely to last. I was right. Two weeks of glory and it’s back to normal. I swear there is a fault in my genes that causes half my problems. I stand over the ball, look at it, think: that ball is too far back in your stance, and instead of walking away like a smart person would, what do I do? I think: nah, it’ll be all right, and hit the bloody thing anyway. Usually straight into a water hazard. If I weren’t so used to it, I’d cry. Oh, well. Such is the Hein golfing life.

As with all Friday Feasts, guest authors get to feature a book and, anal retentive that I am, I like to keep things neat and tidy, which means I’m going to feature my books too. This week, take a gander at my latest release, The Falls.


Cover of The Falls by Cathryn HeinWill losing the home she loves mean finding the place she belongs?

For as long as she can remember, Teagan Bliss has wanted to manage her family’s property. She’s invested everything in the farm, knowing that when her parents retire she’ll be ready to take the reins. But when a family betrayal leaves her reeling, Teagan is forced to rethink her entire future.

Heartbroken, Teagan flees to her aunt’s property in the idyllic Falls Valley. Vanessa is warm and welcoming and a favourite of the locals who drop in regularly for cocktail hour. Teagan soon catches the attention of sexy local farrier Lucas Knight, and with a new job, new friends and the prospect of a new relationship, she slowly begins to open up again.

But the village is a hotbed of gossip and division and when Teagan gets caught up in town politics, Lucas and Vanessa become concerned. As the tension in town escalates, Teagan must decide who to trust. But when she realises those close to her have been keeping secrets, the fallout may split Teagan apart forever.

The Falls is an uplifting story of healing and hope from the author of Promises, Heart of the Valley, Heartland, and Rocking Horse Hill.

This is a heart-warming book about village life and finding happiness when it seems impossible, and you can have it now with just a few clicks. Try Booktopia, Bookworld, Angus & Robertson, Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi or your favourite book store or e-tailer.

Now let me tell you aaaaaaaall about my celebrity crush.

For The Love of Rick

My collection of cookbooks is pretty scary-huge. I read cookbooks and cooking magazines for recreation. I like to stroke the pages, gawp at the photos, mull over whether a recipe will actually work, smile at my scribbles in the margins and try to solve food splatter puzzles. One thing I don’t do is get over-excited about the authors themselves. Except for one man.

That man is Rick Stein.

The cover of my copy of Taste of the Sea by Rick SteinMy adoration for all things Rick began back in the 90s with the release of his first television series A Taste of the Sea. As a seafood lover, I adored his celebration the ocean, of fishing, of Cornwall and all the sea’s abundance. I loved what he did with his produce too. Recipes like Skate with Black Butter (which you’ll also find in French Odyssey) and Baked Red Bream and Fennel with Orange and Provencal Herbs seemed very glamorous to me. Naturally I bought the book and though I’ve never made a thing out of it, I still drag it out as comfort read.

Fruits of the Sea followed. Loved the TV series, loved the book. Did I cook out of it? I did. One recipe only: Escalopes of Salmon with Champagne and Chive Sauce. But I have about 8 others marked as to-try.

My copy of Fruits of the Sea by Rick SteinSee, this is my dilemma with Rick’s seafood tomes. I adore seafood. My other half doesn’t. He’s pretty good on shellfish –  prawns, mud crab, bugs and the like – but fish? No. He’ll eat it but it’s under sufferance, which makes cooking fish problematic (although I’ve had pretty good success with Matt Moran’s Black Bream with a Beurre Noisette, probably because it’s so damn tasty).

That hasn’t stopped me buying seafood cookbooks, mind, and dreaming of all the lovely things I could make. Which means, of course, that I couldn’t go past Rick’s Seafood Odyssey when it came out. Nor could I resist the chance to… gasp… meet him in person!

When my girlfriend Carol, who also loves good food, heard Rick would be coming to the Vital Ingredient in South Melbourne to promote his new book, she was on the phone to me straight away. I was living in Newcastle at the time, but distance is nothing when it comes to me and Rick.

He was wonderful, just as erudite and charming as on the telly, and he cooked and fed us recipes from the book. I can still recall the garlicky goodness that was the Chickpea, Parsley and Salt Cod Stew. By the end of the session I was so full I could have rolly-pollyed out. Instead, I stood in line with my precious copy of Seafood Odyssey to have it signed by the man himself. I was so star-struck that when Rick asked me my name so he could make it out personally that I giggled. Not just giggled, but giggled inanely while blushing like a schoolgirl who’d just been smiled at by her teenage crush. Meanwhile, back in the aisles, Carol was being incredibly supportive and wetting her pants with laughter.

Embarrassing, but I don’t care. Rick signed my book!

Me with my personally signed Seafood Odyssey

I didn’t buy the Seafood Lovers or Food Heroes books although I watched the series avidly. I guess I was sick of buying books I didn’t cook anything out of, and I was having trouble finding shelf space. But with the advent of Mediterranean Escapes I was back on the bandwagon. I love that book. LOVE IT. It’s the book I’ve cooked out of most. The Tzatsiki is fab, so is Pollo alla Diavola. Our version of LahmacunHis Lahmacun (like little lamb pizzas) is gobsmackingly tasty and has become a household favourite. We serve it as two big pizzas, eating one while the other is cooking, so Jim and I can enjoy it together. They’re the best recipes so far but I’ve also made the Seared Swordfish Steaks with Salmoriglio, Lamb Tagine with Prunes and Almonds, and Pastitsio, with plenty more I want to try.

I have Far Eastern Odyssey and drag it out quite often for a looksie, but never cooked out of it. Same with India. Probably because I already have loads of Asian and Indian cookbooks, and a collection of tried and true recipes I adore.

My copy of Rick Stein's SpainSpain, on the other hand,  is another treasured book. If there’s one recipe you should make from that one, it’s the Pot-Roasted Chicken with Chorizo, Leeks and Cider. I can’t express how much I love that recipe. The chicken turns out tender, moist and tasty, and the chorizo and vegetable mix is sublime. Plus it’s dead easy. We make it often. I’ve also made the Pork in Almond Sauce. I swear that one day I’ll make the Clams with Garlic and Nut Picada, even if I have to eat the lot myself.

Having lived in France you’d think my favourite book would be French Odyssey, but it’s not. We have the DVD of the series and will happily watch an episode, spending our time joyfully waving fingers at the screen and yelling, Been there! Eaten that! but of the cookbook I’m not so keen. Again, probably because I have an enormous collection of French recipe books already. But if you’re looking for a truly beautiful casserole, try Rick’s Ragoût of Lamb. Magnificent.

My new copy of From Venice to IstanbulNow there’s a new Rick kid on the block. Last week I picked up my copy of From Venice to Istanbul and I can already tell it’s going to give Mediterranean Escapes a major run for its money. I have about fifteen recipes earmarked already and last weekend we made the Lamb Kleftiko (using shoulder instead of leg) and it was beautiful. Next time we’re going to try it on the Weber.

One day I’ll go on pilgrimage to his restaurant, Bannisters, at Mollymook, NSW. I’ve already made the journey to Padstow in Cornwall (or Padstein as the locals have branded it) and eaten at his The Seafood Restaurant there.

Even though it was twelve years ago I still have my souvenired menu, can tell you that our meal cost ₤110, that I ate Linguini with Crab Meat, Chilli, Garlic and Parsley followed by Fillet of Turbot and Jim had Salt and Pepper Squid Tempura with Coriander, Chilli, Watercress and Beansprouts followed by Monkfish Vindaloo, and that, despite booking three months in advance, we were seated in what would probably be classed as the worst table in the restaurant. It was right next to the swing doors into the kitchen and I was as happy as Larry about it because every time that door opened I got to see the chefs at work and every dish that was carried past. Good times! Except for the rain. But we were in Cornwall, so hardly unexpected.

Me at The Seafood Restaurant in Padstow

It’d be nice to meet him again. I’d quite like to make up for my stuttering, blushing idiocy from last time and ask him something intelligent like, Can I hug you? But I fear this may never happen. Oh well, I’ll just keep watching my DVDs, reading his books and cooking his recipes. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll put him in a book of my own. Cast him as a noble, poetry-quoting chef hero who falls madly for a freckle-faced horse-mad blonde. Charming fellow that he is, I’m sure Rick would appreciate that.

Wouldn’t he?


So ‘fess up, Feasties. Who is your celebrity crush?

If you’d like to learn more about me and my books, please feel free to explore my website. There’s lots of cool stuff on here. You can also connect via Facebook, Twitter using @CathrynHein, Google+, Goodreads and Pinterest.

For all the latest news, plus giveaways and more, not to mention secretly blown kisses from me, please sign up to my newsletter. It’s a blast!

Friday Feast recipe index link.


18 thoughts on “FRIDAY FEAST with Cathryn Hein

  1. AvatarFi

    Ah Cathryn
    See, this is why I love your books. Love your story telling. And your golf, of course. 🙂
    Made me look at Booktopia and Mediterranean cook book, yikes $50 not counting postage, might just watch from afar, but sounds divine. Seeing as I come out in hives if I’m in a kitchen longer than ten minutes, bit of a waste for me, but love looking at the piccies too.

    Haven’t started the Falls, have it, just need to fly in a plane, but wait, next week. Will see you toooooo! Look forward to both immensely.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Thank you, Fi. You’re a sweetheart.

      And you’re coming to RWA? Of course you are! Can’t wait to catch up. I’m sure we’re in for another blast of a time.

      And get someone to put Mediterranean Escapes on your Christmas list. That book is brilliant. I can just picture you whipping up the Pollo alla Diavola and grilling it on the barbie, and washing it down with a lovely drop of vino. Peeeerfect!

  2. AvatarPamela Cook

    Great post Cathryn. I don’t have any of Rick’s books but I’m going out to buy that Spain one now! That chicken and chorizo recipe sounds divine. I’ve eaten at Bannister’s a few times and love it. As for celebrity crushes I have too many to name although George Clooney springs immediately to mind 🙂

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Oh, Pamela, you will LOVE the chicken and chorizo dish. It is absolutely beautiful. The chicken is moist and flavoursome and it’s such an easy, no-fuss dish to cook. Great for family meals.

      Spain is definitely one of my all-time favourite cookbooks.

      And VERY jealous of your Bannisters experiences. I’m nagging madly here for a south coast trip. All that wonderful food and there’s a speccy golf course too. It’s a MUST!

  3. AvatarLouise Reynolds

    Oh, Cathryn, I am swooning right along beside you. Rick Stein is THE man. Although I’ve watched all his TV series several times over, I confess to only owning 2 of his books: Taste of the Sea and French Odyssey. I obviously need to correct this oversight!
    Like you, I’ve never cooked a thing from Taste of the Sea but have decided, based on this post, to do so, pronto. We love French Odyssey, particularly the Cream of Mussel Soup, Clams in Garlic and Parsley Veloute and Vetou’s Magret de Canard.
    I was on a flight to Sydney with the great man a year or so ago, sitting in row 3 just behind business class where he was in Row 2 so I got to check him out for an hour. Very well dressed, extremely pleasant and, I thought, much better looking in person. Thanks for a great Friday post!!!

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Rah! Another fan. Isn’t he wonderful, Louise? So erudite, personable, well-travelled, well-read, loves a vino or two and the man can cook!
      I must try that clam recipe. I love those sweet little things. A bit hard to source where I am but next time I see them at the fishmongers they’re coming home with me.
      Lovely to hear you breathed his plane air. I would have spent the entire flight gawking, and probably blushing and giggling and embarrassing myself, but these things happen.

  4. AvatarMelanie Scott

    Hmmm, pretty sure, I’d be a mess if I met Chris Hemsworth 😀 Don’t think anyone is good at meeting people they are fans of…my mum had a friend who was a massive fan of David Hobson (the opera singer) and finally got to meet him when he was signing CDs one day. He asked her name, she said “Gwen.” He then said (in that making conversation thing you do at signings) “Is that short for Gwendolyn or Guinevere or just Gwen.” And she was so star struck she couldn’t remember and only managed to say “Yes.” So he just wrote Gwen.

    I do like Rick Stein’s shows. Though I shy away from cooking seafood, even though I like eating it. I think I have a mental block about buying fresh seafood and thinking it’s not going to be fresh and giving myself food poisoning. Which is just dumb.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Actually I’d be a mess if I met Chris Hemsworth too, Melanie. My mind would be full of Thor with his shirt off. I’d probably drool, then giggle etc etc.

      LOL on the Gwen story. That’s a funny one!!

      I know what you mean about seafood. It’s very hard to train yourself not to overcook it because the thought of food poisoning lingers at the back of your brain. I learned a great tip about cooking fish from Rick from one of his early shows. He said to put the tip of a knife into your fish fillet and them press the tip to your top lip. If you can just stand it, then it’s cooked. Or something like that. I use that trick whenever I cook thick fillets now.

  5. AvatarJuanita Kees

    My guess is that no matter how bad your golfing is, it still can’t beat my lack of cooking skill! Now I have to admit that my favourite chef is my husband, because he is the vital tool in my kitchen that stands between us and starvation. My favourite celebrity chef however is Miguel Maestre of The Living Room fame. OMG, that boy could serve me a cheese toastie and I’d be happy! Not only is he my Spanish version of Chris Hemsworth, but that man knows his way around a skillet. If I met him in person, I doubt I’d be able to say anything except “Besame porfavor” before melting like butter at his feet.

    Looking forward to catching up for a big hug next week at conference 😀

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Oooh, he is very delish, Juanita. I’d certainly be happy to snack on his tapas!!


      Only a few sleeps now until RWA Melbourne. See you there!

  6. AvatarKaren

    Hi Cathryn
    Your Friday Feast is some of the best reading at the end of the week, always brings a smile and a laugh 😀 Chris Hemsworth is a bit dishy lol 😀 and from the stories I’ve heard of golf, challenging is one descriptive used 😉 But keep enjoying the golf and the outdoors 🙂 Your book The Falls is among some of the best stories I’ve read this year 🙂 Congrats on another top Friday Feast and on your awesome book 😀

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Aww, you’re so kind, Karen, but really lovely to hear you enjoy Friday Feast! And I’m even more thrilled to hear you enjoyed The Falls. That’s so cool!!!

      Chris Hemsworth is indeed dishy. Wonder if he can cook too?

  7. AvatarSue Gerhardt Griffiths

    I don’t own any celebrity chef cookbooks or so I thought until I just had a look on my shelf to see what I have – all very ordinary books – but one. Bill Granger – had no idea he’s famous until I read the inside flap and that he has a few restaurants in Sydney and around the world. And apparently they’re supposed to be very very popular. Wonderful and easy recipes in this book but have not tried any, must remedy that. I love making scrumptious meals as long as they’re easy to make, if I want anything fancy and delectable hubby and I dine at Ruby’s. Scott is amaaaazing! He completed his fourth year at Aria under Matt Moran then Scott went to work under Tom Aikins in London and Melissa Craig at the Bearfoot Bistro in Whistler, Canada. No wonder Ruby’s is a hatted restaurant, AND he’s been awarded an AGFG Chef hat this year – fourth year in a row. So, Cathryn another awesome restaurant for you to try.

    Cathryn, I noticed your book, just like mine with the colourful sticky tags sticking out.

    I also have many celebrity crushes but my top one would be John Williamson – yes, weird things happen when you are a major fan of someone well known. We were at his concert, quite a few years ago now and I finally got to meet him afterwards when he was signing his CDs, posters, etc. I was so nervous and shaky so when he asked me where I was from I told him that I was from Germany and then I said “oh, you mean where do I live?” and I said “Berkeley, just up the road”, I was so embarrassed I said to him ” my friend is waiting for me I better get back to my seat”. Omg, who says something like that when you have a chance to talk to someone that was actually interested in where you live? Lol. So off I went all red faced, and hubby said “what’s the matter with you”? I relayed the story and they were practically peeing their pants.

    Fantastic blog, Cathryn!

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      I think you’ve told me about Ruby’s before, Sue, and I checked it out and added it to my ‘must eat at’ list. He’s certainly an experienced chef. What a resume! Maybe we’ll get there when we do our Rick Stein run south. That would be cool.

      LOL on your starstruck moment. I know the feeling perfectly. You’d think grown women would be able to control themselves, but no. Sigh. Oh well, at least it gave others a laugh.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      The Lahmacun is seriously good, Carla. Easy to make and really, really tasty. I use the recipe from Mediterranean Escapes but I see he has another version in From Venice to Istanbul, which has slightly different flavours. I’m going to give it a go. It might prove even tastier!

      Curtis seems to be high on lots of people’s lists! Did you ever watch his show with Ben O’Donoghue, Surfing the Menu? That was great. Two good-looking surfing boys travelling around Australia cooking. Very entertaining!

      Thanks for dropping by.

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