FRIDAY FEAST with Louise Reynolds

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Hello food and fiction lovers, and welcome to another aromatic edition of Friday Feast. This week: a charming contemporary romance from a favourite Australian author along with some delicious figgy goodness.

But first, news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. Despite occasional lapses of concentration and some appalling putting, I’m actually rather pleased with how my game’s Author Louise Reynoldsimproving at the moment. The winter golfing blues appear to have been well and truly cleared away. An enormous relief, let me tell you, because with the club championships now in progress, four weeks of horror play would have been too awful to contemplate.

What IS wonderful to contemplate, however, is today’s guest. Louise Reynolds has fast become a very popular contemporary romance author, with good reason. Her books have great dialogue, fantastic settings, memorable characters, and lots and lots of romance. Perfect. Oh, and beautiful covers too. So beautiful that her previous novel, Red Dirt Duchess, was announced best rural romance cover at the recent Romance Writers of Australia conference. Fair enough too. That one’s a stunner.

Louise’s brand new release is If I Kissed You. Prepare to be charmed!

IF I KISSED YOU

Cover of If I Kissed You by Louise ReynoldsRaised by a pair of hopeless hippies, Nell Connor had to grow up quickly. But now her father, awash in whisky, has handed her the reins of his Irish pub. After obliterating every trace of Ireland, Nell has transformed it into a smart, and trendy bar. Business is booming but, outside of work, things aren’t going so smoothly.

When gorgeous musician Declan Gaffney arrives, it’s clear he’s definitely not Nell’s type.  He’s Irish (therefore must be feckless and unreliable), he sings romantic Irish ballads (which Nell hates) and his nomadic lifestyle reminds her of some of the most painful parts of her childhood.

After Declan helps Nell out of a tricky situation, her father takes a shine to him and starts matchmaking. And when her aura-reading mother turns up, Nell’s carefully ordered life is thrown into chaos. She’s losing control but the biggest shock of all is yet to come … 

In a story that shines a light on the unusual forms family can take, Nell must accept that sometimes love takes you in unexpected directions.

Doesn’t that sound enticing? Hard to resist an Irish hero. If I Kissed You is available right now from Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, and Booktopia. Grab your copy today!

Now please welcome Louise, who is going to delight you with one of the world’s most beautiful fruits.

Two Simple Ingredients

Thanks for hosting me again on Friday Feast, Cathryn. As you know I’m a keen reader of your blog. What better entertainment than books and food, with a side helping of the Hein’s golfing triumphs and tribulations.

Fig, Prosciutto, MintBut, you know, I’m a little bit peeved. Recently you hosted Amy Andrews with her smarty-pants throw-it-together-no-cooking-needed recipes and her two-ingredient crockpot soup, all of which look wonderful for next to no effort and the blurb for her Gazillionth fabulous book!

I was ogling that soup when the penny finally dropped. This is why the woman is a writing powerhouse. She spends next to no time in the kitchen. While I’m boning rabbits and scouring Melbourne for the freshest burrata, I’m not banging out the words. I’m a kitchen goddess, not a writing machine, Nigella not Nora (oh, why can’t I be both?).

So I’ve taken a leaf out of Amy’s book. No more elaborate Friday Feast recipes from me. Today, in the spirit of friendly competition, I offer a two-ingredient recipe of my own (two because everyone has mint in the garden, right?). It’s my throw-it-together, no cooking needed appetiser and it’s a crowd pleaser.

It’s the sort of dish my heroine, Nell, in If I Kissed You, would prepare for herself and friends on a night off from the Fitzrovia, her fashionable St Kilda hotel. She might have a two-hatted chef in the kitchen at work but what girl doesn’t want to pare it back to basics, kick off her heels, open a good bottle of wine and serve a simple meal she hasn’t slaved over?

But stop! I’m me. Because that fictional chef downstairs at the Fitzrovia needs a job, and because I just can’t help myself, I’m going to add value to those ingredients with the addition of two simple ingredients, lemon and cream.

So here’s that recipe, two ways.

Nell’s Fresh Figs and Prosciutto

Fig, Prosciutto, Mint

Quarter lusciously ripe figs and lay in a tumble on a plate. Twist curls of prosciutto by the side. Garnish with tiny mint leaves. That’s it.

Fitzrovia’s Fresh Figs and Prosciutto with a Minted Cream Sauce (with thanks to Richard Olney)

Crush 6 mint leaves in the juice of 1 lemon and leave for 30 mins. Discard the mint. Dissolve a pinch of salt in the juice then stir in ¼ cup of thick heavy cream and whisk till smooth. Drizzle around the dish as above and garnish with additional mint leaves.

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Oh, Louise, you’re a woman after my own heart. I adore figs. They’re so succulent and gorgeous and versatile, as you’ve shown. I have to say I love the minted cream sauce idea. Definitely one to try.

So Feasty lovelies, how do you like to use or show off fresh fruit like figs? I know it’s a bit naff but I really enjoy melon and prosciutto. They just seem to team so well. Grapes in salads are yum too, like little bursts of sweetness. As for desserts, sour cherry strudel, anyone?

So what’s your favourite way with fruit? Sweet or savoury, we’d love to hear.

If you’d like to learn more about Louise and her wonderful books, please visit her website. You can also connect on Facebook, Twitter using @LouiseHReynolds, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Friday Feast recipe index link.

31 thoughts on “FRIDAY FEAST with Louise Reynolds

  1. Avatarchristine stinson

    Hi, Louise and Cathryn, and huge congratulations on the release of “If I kissed you”, Louise! I’m a fan of the figs and prosciutto combination too, Louise, usually with crumbled blue cheese and a splash of caramelised balsamic over the top. Definitely going to try the Fitzrovian minted lemon cream version!
    Cathryn, all the best for the rest of the club championships – may the golfing gods be generous.
    Thanks for another enjoyable Friday Feast, ladies!

    1. AvatarLouise Reynolds

      Hi Christine. Yes, figs have a natural affinity with blue cheese as well. We sometimes stuff blue cheese in an opened fig, wrap it in prosciutto and bake in a hot oven. Heavenly.

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        Thanks for the golfing good wishes, Christine. I think I might need them!

        LOVE your suggestion of blue cheese and caramelised balsamic over the top of the figs. Yummo! Fruit and blue does seem to go perfectly though, doesn’t it? Very moreish combo.

        Thanks for dropping by and sharing your delicious suggestion.

  2. AvatarJennie Jones

    Love your books Louise! (And I have to try that minted cream sauce sometime too – yum.) I’ll leave the figs to you though 🙂 but I love fruit in a salad, definitely. I’ll be buying If I Kissed You – loved Red Dirt Duchess. Congrats on the new release.

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        We need to get off this blue cheesiness. I’m hanging out for some now .

        Fruit salad is such a crowd-pleaser, Jennie. With good reason too. It’s colourful, summery, tasty and refreshing. Great choice!

  3. AvatarDora Bramden

    What a gorgeous recipe! I look forward to the figs ripening in Melbourne and whipping this up for my Italian friend. The Fitzrovia will will be so popular with this dish! Loving “If I Kissed You.”

  4. AvatarMelissa Woods

    Hi Louise and Cathryn. I must admit, I have never had figs before, but that recipe makes my mouth water and would love to try it. But I love the good old apple pie. Not that I’m allowed to eat it, because my 11 yr old son beats me to it. But it is a must in my house.
    Congratulations Louise on your new book. It sounds like a book that will take me places.

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        You must try figs, Melissa. They’re a beautiful fruit and really versatile. Suited to anything from savoury dishes like Louise’s through to tarts and icecreams and jam. Fig, dried or fresh, goes great with cheese.

        Thanks for visiting the Feast and taking time to comment. Great to see you here.

  5. AvatarAmy Andrews

    My ears were burning so I headed on over here to find my cooking prowess is being emulated by none other than massive rabbit-deboning foodie, Louise. I must say I’m flattered 🙂

    Love love love fruit in any and all of its many splendoured ways! As you know I’ve been going through a bit of a mulberry phase at the moment thanks to our groaning tree but alas, we did what is probably the last pick today. Still for such a small tree it probably gave us about 20 kilos of fruit so we can’t complain!

    I love Xmas because of all the stone fruit – plums and cherries and apricots! Heaven! Hmmm, which reminds me, I should come on and show my easy peasy ice-cream Xmas pudding one year! 🙂

    One clicked your book Louise and one-clicked the pre-order button for Summer and the Groomsman, Cathryn.

    Love Amy xxx
    PS – what the hell is burrata???

    1. AvatarLouise Reynolds

      I couldn’t resist it, Amy. I was truly in awe (and mildly horrified) by the idea of 2 or 3 ingredient cooking. Now I’ve dipped my toe in, I could get very used to it 🙂

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        Burrata, Amy, is cheesey goodness that’s bad for your body but great for your soul. You need it.

        I am jealous of your mulberry tree! The one I’ve been raiding is also being raiding by a lot of others who keep stealing all the good fruit. Most annoying. Would love to have one all to myself, like you. Mmmmmm.

        And thank you SO MUCH for pre-ordering Summer and the Groomsman. You are a DARLING!

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        Ooh, great choice, Juanita. Fig is probably my favourite Jam. It is THE JAM to have on toast… when you’re not having lime marmalade, that is.

  6. AvatarAnne Gracie

    Louise I adore fresh figs, and mourn the day a good friend selfishly sold her house, which contained the best fig tree in Melbourne and my source of endless summer figs — she didn’t like them, so they were miiine all miiiine. I used to eat them fresh, and still have plenty over for fig, ginger and lemon jam. I have a fig tree of my own, but it doesn’t fig — I suppose it’s a sucker or something and only had little dry horrid things that look like little figs but taste like sawdust.

    So now I have to buy them, and they’re a ridiculous price —and not as nice. There’s something magic about plucking a fig, warmed by the sun and with a drop of fig nectar oozing out ,and eating it straight off the tree.

    1. AvatarLouise Reynolds

      Anne, we live in the perfect area for fabulous figs. All those lovely Italians who arrived post war and planted trees – bless them. We have a fig that’s about 7 yrs old and it’s only now starting to give us decent fruit. For years I thought we’d got a green fig by mistake but sure enough, they now turn purple-brown. Maybe it’s a maturity thing. Have you tried some laneway harvesting?

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        I don’t know, Anne, the thoughtlessness of some people. Selling houses with beautiful fig trees from under your nose. Terrible! As you say, they’re ridiculously expensive to buy.

        I’ve this idea for years that figs are the most rude of fruit. The way the flesh tears and the inside is all seedy and pink… Had to have been a fig in the Garden of Eden and not an apple, surely?

  7. AvatarSue Gerhardt Griffiths

    Hi Cathryn and Louise!
    Oh, I love fresh figs, I’m so going to try the fig and prosciutto with the minted cream sauce.
    Does it sound weird if I say I love eating a bowl of porridge with fresh blueberries scattered on top? It really is very yum. The crunchiness of the blueberries and the softness of the porridge makes it an awesome combo.

    Congrats on the release of your new book, Louise!

  8. AvatarLouise Reynolds

    Hi Sue, blueberries with anything sounds wonderful. I’m not a fan of porridge but that might just change my mind. Just a pity blueberries are so expensive though!

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