FRIDAY FEAST with Rachel Bailey

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Hello tasty people, and welcome to Friday Feast, the blog series where Australian authors share their love of food, latest releases and more. This week it’s choc heaven so prepare to drool, plus we have a wonderful book giveaway!

But before that, news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. After last week’s debacle in the Gold Brooch play-off I thought the only way was up but no. The barrel of my golfing despair has yet to have its bottom scraped. There were good shots, especially with my driver, but mostly they were bad. I appear to have a massive problem with looking at the ball, ie. I can’t seem Author Rachel Baileyto look at it at all. I may have to change from marking my balls with blue love hearts to pictures of Chris Hemsworth as Thor… shirtless. That’ll hold my focus!

And now on to today’s delicious guest. Rachel Bailey is a USA Today best-selling author whose books have been published in over 26 countries and translated into 16 languages. She also loves dogs. As everyone knows, dog lovers are the best people so that makes Rachel extra cool.

Rachel’s latest release is the very delectable looking The Finn Factor. Check it out.


The Finn Factor by Rachel Bailey coverSometimes all a girl needs is a little practice…

It’s been twelve months, three days, and eleven hours since accounting student Scarlett Logan made it past a second date. A pitcher of mojitos in hand, she employs her supreme graphing skills to narrow things down to one horrifying explanation. Kissing. Clearly someone needs to teach her how to kiss properly. Like, say, her best friend and roomie, Finn Mackenzie. He’s safe, he’s convenient, and yeah, maybe just a little gorgeous.

Finn knows exactly why Scarlett’s boyfriends are disappearing quickly. Him. Not a single guy she’s brought home is nearly good enough. And he’ll be damned if he lets some loser give her “kissing lessons.” No. He’ll do the honors, thank you very much. The moment their lips touch, though, everything turns upside down. But Scarlett deserves the one thing Finn can’t give her. And if he doesn’t put an end to the sexy little shenanigans, he’ll teach Scarlett the hardest lesson of all…heartbreak.

I LOVE the sound of this book! And you will love it too. The Finn Factor releases on September 28th but you can pre-order it right now from,,, Kobo, iBooks and Barnes and Noble, and come the day it’ll be sitting in your reader, ready for devouring. Easy!

If you would like to taste test this delicious book, Rachel has an excerpt on her website. I also recommend you read her Sunday Smooch on the LoveCats DownUnder blog. It’s fantastic!

Now, for the really luscious part… Please give a big welcome to Rachel, who’s celebrating the world’s favourite foodstuff: chocolate.

Secret Ingredients to Make Chocolate Even Better

I’m a chocoholic. There’s a good size portion of my brain taken up with just thinking about chocolate and planning my next foray into the chocolate cupboard. So it’s pretty safe to say that A mug of hot chocolate with spice sprinkled on topI’ve done a bit of – how shall I say – chocolate experimentation over the years.

Most people have caught onto the chocolate and salt trick, courtesy of the salted caramel craze, but my brother and I were dipping our French fries into chocolate and/or caramel sundaes for years, though when I was older, I started a more sophisticated blend: salted popcorn in with our M&Ms.

A few other tips from my years of experimentation:

Hot Chocolate: you’ve tried cinnamon sprinkled on the top and you’re looking for your next taste sensation? Try cardamom. A friend added cardamom and cinnamon on my coffee years ago (apparently it’s a common treat in the Middle East), and I loved it. Of course, I also extended the idea to hot chocolate. It blends nicely but has an exotic flavour.

Ice-cream: I make chocolate ice-cream at home, and the chocolate was just never strong enough when I followed the recipes. A tip from a friend helped here – add a teaspoon of coffee. chocolate icecreamYou can’t taste it in the final product, but it makes the chocolate even chocolatier, kinda like adding sugar to tomatoes when they’re cooking. We never make it without coffee now!

Chocolate and chilli: You’ve tried the fancy chocolate and chilli and the expensive chocolate shops and want to recreate the effect at home? There are two ways I use – a sprinkle of chilli powder in my hot chocolate, but that’s limited to winter use. My other favourite way is smearing chocolate spread over toast, then adding a thin layer of sweet chilli sauce. It’s like there’s a whole party in your mouth.

So, over to you – any tips on chocolate combinations for me? Or, if you’re not a fan of chocolate, what’s your favourite combination of flavours? I’ll give a e-copy of The Finn Factor to one commenter!


What fantastic tips! I especially like the icecream one, Rachel. I’m going to try that one out because, like you’ve found, many recipes aren’t often chocolatey enough. And if you’re going to eat chocolate, there should be no holding back.

Now, my sweet Feasties, did you read the above? Rachel is offering a…


For your chance to win an e-book copy of The Finn Factor, either share one of your choc tips or favourite combination of food flavours and you’ll be in the draw.

I’ll start you off with my choc tip: if a recipe calls for dark choc, trying using the Lindt A Touch of Sea Salt. The salt seems to add extra oomph.

So what’s your tip or food combo favourite? Share and you’ll be in the draw to win The Finn Factor!

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight AEST, Tuesday 29th September 2015. Open internationally. Rah!

If you’d like to learn more about Rachel and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Pinterest and the fab LoveCatsDownUnder blog.

Friday Feast recipe index link.

34 thoughts on “FRIDAY FEAST with Rachel Bailey

  1. AvatarHelen

    Woohoo Hi Ladies

    Oh I am looking forward to this one Rachel I have it on pre-order 🙂

    What a recipe and I have been so good over the last few weeks but for me chocolate milk chocolate is the best and if it can go in a recipe then in it goes LOL

    Have Fun

    1. AvatarRachel Bailey

      Helen, I eat all kinds of chocolate, from milk to dark to extra dark, but I’m with you: there’s something particularly yummy about the creaminess of milk chocolate!

  2. AvatarNicki Edwards

    I’ve just started learning how to drive my new thermomix and one of the recipes I can’t wait to try is Tim Tam and Nutella icecream. Mm mmmm. A great portion of my day is spent thinking about chocolate too 🙂
    Love the sound of your book Rachel and I look forward to reading it.

    1. AvatarRachel Bailey

      Nicki, I’ve heard such good things about thermomixes – I’d love to hear how you go with that ice cream recipe! I have an ice cream maker, and we leave the bowl permanently in the freezer so it’s ready to whip up a batch when we feel like it. Now that’s living the dream. 🙂

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        That icecream recipe sounds unreal, Nicki, and should take no time in your Thermi.
        I’ve managed to resist the lure of one of those machines so far. Tempting though…

        I leave my icecream machine bowl in the freezer all the time too, Rachel. Just in case the icecream urge hits.

  3. AvatarMelissa Woods

    I make chocolate brownies, but add extra choc chips too it. But it must have walnuts on top with chocolate icing. Mmmm, it’s making my mouth water.
    Would love to win one of Rachael’s book.

    1. AvatarRachel Bailey

      Melissa, great idea! Extra chocolate chips and chocolate icing on the chocolate brownies. Because, let’s face it, you can never have too much chocolate. I wonder if you could have curls of grated chocolate on top with the walnuts? 🙂

  4. AvatarSusanne Bellamy

    I’m intrigued by the many things that go well with chocolate. It may well prove to be the basic food group all on its own. Love the sound of Finn and his protective streak. Look forward to reading it. All the best, Rachel! xx

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        It does indeed work with many, many things, Susanne. Which reminds me, spotted a recipe for chocolate chai tart in a cooking magazine last night. Must remember to rip that one out.

  5. AvatarMarilyn Forsyth

    Hi ladies! Crunchie bars are one of my favourite choc indulgences and I recently found this amazingly easy recipe which you might like. Layer 1/2 pkt malt biscuits in laming ton pan lined with baking paper. Whisk 300 ml thickened cream until stiff peaks form, pour in 200 g sweetened condensed milk and continue beating until firm. Crush 1 1/2 crunchie bars and fold into mixture. Pour cream mixture over biscuits. Sprinkle leftover1/2 of crunchie bar over top. Freeze overnight. Cut into squares. Delish!
    Looking forward to reading your latest, Rachel.

    1. AvatarRachel Bailey

      Marilyn, that sounds positively decadent! I remember years ago there used to be the violet crumble / crunchie debate about the best honeycomb, but I don’t remember the last time I saw violet crumbles…? Even so, they’d be hard to crumble for this recipe.

  6. AvatarJuanita Kees

    Hi ladies!!
    As you know, Cathryn, my attempts in the kitchen usually result in the need for firefighters so I stick to the freezer for my recipes. My all time favourite at the moment is Bailey’s ice cream and the only way to make it better is to top it with chocolate sauce – YUM!!
    PS: I reckon Finn is pretty yum too 😉 I wouldn’t mind kissing lessons from him!

    1. AvatarRachel Bailey

      Juanita, I haven’t tried Bailey’s icecream, but I’ve just realised that with my name, it’s probably important that I do so immediately! I’ll make sure I have chocolate sauce on hand when I do – good idea!

  7. AvatarAnnie West

    Hi Cathryn! Hi Rachel! Congratulations on ‘The Finn Factor’ – I read your excerpt at Lovecats Downunder and was hooked. It looks like a brilliant read.

    As for chocolate – I admit up front to being boring. I love the stuff but I’ve never experimented that way. Just getting good quality chocolate in my mouth is enough. Maybe I don’t qualify as a gourmet chocaholic? But my big find last year was raspberry chocolate (bought in Prague). Utterly addictive. Then I discovered Lindt had brought out something similar. Absolutely wonderful! I’m trying not to buy it right now as I’ve been overeating but soon…!

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        *waves at Annie*
        I was hooked by the LoveCats excerpt too, Annie. It sounds fantastic. And TA for the raspberry choc tip. I’ll have to investigate this. Preferably in beautiful Prague…

  8. AvatarLouise Reynolds

    Hi Cathryn and Rachel! LOVE the sound of ‘The Finn Factor’. Congratulations on the release. I’m afraid I’m not a chocolate fanatic. I can easily walk past all the many top end chocolatiers in Melbourne and barely notice. However, I do love the dark, luscious note that a sneaky square of 70% chocolate adds to some sauces, especially if they involve red wine as well 🙂

    1. AvatarRachel Bailey

      Hey, Louise! You know it might be a good thing that you can walk past those stores when you live in Melbourne. If I lived there, I’d be in danger of overdosing on all that good quality chocolate!

      Red wine and chocolate in a sauce? Now you have my attention. I’m not a red wine drinker, so it’s not something I’d normally cook with, but I can imagine the two flavours would blend fabulously. I’m off to google recipes!

  9. AvatarSue Gerhardt Griffiths

    A favourite of mine is fruit cut up into a bowl, a huge dollop of yoghurt and then cover the yoghurt with chocolate ice magic, it is so good. Another favourite is pouring ice magic over a bowl of cold cherries. The cherries have to be from a jar not fresh cherries.

    Rachel your book sounds fab. Congrats on the release!

    1. AvatarRachel Bailey

      Sue, I don’t know why the combination of fruit and ice magic has never occurred to me before! Also, I haven’t put chocolate and yoghurt together before, but I can imagine it would work well. I have some experimenting ahead of me. Thanks!

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        God, can you still buy Ice Magic? I remember that stuff as a kid. Couldn’t get enough of the choc-mint version.

        Cherries are the best, Sue. Those morello cherries in syrup are the best for strudels and things.

        1. AvatarSue Gerhardt Griffiths

          Lol, yep, they’ve got even more flavours but I must admit I haven’t had ice magic in years, now if they made a healthier version I could be persuaded to buy it again. Lol.

  10. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

    This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Melissa who has won an ebook copy of The Finn Factor. I’ve nearly finished this book myself and OH! it is so, so good! Lots of great reading ahead for Melissa.

    Thanks to everyone who joined in the fun. Always a delight.

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