Category Archives: Rocking Horse Hill

Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser Tuesday MemeWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, where I share snippets from new and past releases, and works-in-progress and sometimes twist the arms of author buddies to share theirs.

First up, there will be no Teaser Tuesday next week. I’m heading off to Sydney on Thursday for the Romance Writers of Australia annual conference and it’ll be a veeeeery busy weekend. History has shown that it’ll take a good four or five days to get my voice back properly and catch up on all the sleep I’ve lost. So I’m thinking ahead and cancelling next week’s Teaser Tuesday so I have one less thing to worry about, but we’ll be back on the 28th for certain.

I can’t wait to catch up with all my author friends. Romance writers are huge fun. They’re also very savvy, generous with sharing what they’ve learned, and inspiring. Just the sort of people to rev me up for the rest of the year.

Onto what we’re here for: a teaser!

Last week we had Wal from Heartland being grumpy. This week I thought we might show popular character Granny B in full stride. She’s appeared in a few books now and I hope to see her in a few more. She’s too much of a hoot to write to let go of yet.

Here’s Granny B in full flight in Rocking Horse Hill.

 

‘You look amazing,’ she said, as her grandmother helped Em out of her coat and hung it up. ‘Been somewhere?’

Today Granny B’s elegance had reached an even more impressive height. A pair of navy cigarette pants showed off long legs enhanced by a pair of low-heeled patent pumps. Her gold silk shirt sported a high collar, the neck fixed with a tasteful but expensive pearl brooch that matched the triple-stranded pearl bracelet around her left wrist. Her make-up was deftly applied: rouge adding colour to her heavily powdered cheeks, eyes smoky with eye shadow and liner.

Rocking Horse Hill by Cathryn Hein - global cover‘A late afternoon tea with Barry McClintoff and that idiot new councillor, Herriott.’

‘I gather it wasn’t fun.’

‘I do so loathe vegetarians. Ridiculous people.’

‘Could have been worse,’ joked Em, desperate to keep things light. Granny B’s tumultuous mood did not bode well. ‘She could have been vegan.’

‘Indeed.’ Granny B maintained a special dislike for vegans. ‘Hard to trust these people, though, isn’t it? As I pointed out, if nature had wanted us to be vegetarian she would have given us a rumen. Anyway, how does the silly woman think we grew brains the size we did?’ Granny B huffed. ‘And she refused wine.’

‘She probably had to work.’

‘That may be true, but it’s hardly supporting local agriculture. Barry and I made up for it. Enjoyed a rather nice pinot from Ryan’s. That winery is doing very well for itself. I proposed to Barry that we host a local wine festival to run concurrently with Art Week, but the Herriott woman thought the idea “unwise in light of the town’s youth drinking culture”. What about the rest of us? Just because she’s part of the lunatic greenie fringe doesn’t meant the rest of us should suffer.’

‘Gran.’

Granny B rolled her eyes. ‘Don’t start, Emily. I’m seventy-nine years old. I’m permitted my prejudices.’

 

Ah, I do so love Granny B. She’s so haughty and naughty!

Rocking Horse Hill is available now in print and ebook. Try these retailers:

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

iBooks | Kobo | Nook | Google Play

Bookdepository | Booktopia

If you’d like to know more about Rocking Horse Hill or read another excerpt, check out its book page on this website. For extra background, read The Story Behind Rocking Horse Hill.

Granny B also appears in Wayward Heart, Summer and the Groomsman and Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy. She’s also up to her usual mischief in my current work-in-progress Eddie and the Show Queen. Stay tuned for news on that one!

See you again on the 28th.

 

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Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser Tuesday 2017 logoWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, the blog series where I share snippets from new and past releases, and works-in-progress and occasionally let good writing buddies join in the fun.

I’ve had an exciting week. My next Levenham Love Story novella Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy is with my editor getting her expert treatment, and my cover designer presented me with some amaaaaazing cover concepts.

With edits to be done, proof-reading and other bookish things to be sorted, there’s still a bit of work to do before Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy will be available for pre-order, but it’s definitely a-coming.

Because my head is still in the Levenham zone, I thought today we’d go back to the book that started these stories – Rocking Horse Hill. The other day, while I was making a few last tweaks to Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy, I had to go back to Rocking Horse Hill to check a few things. Reading this book reminded me how much I love this setting, not to mention the characters. After four published works set in Levenham and another not far away, and with more to come, I’m so comfortable with this place it feels like home.

Anyway, here’s a little paragraph from Rocking Horse Hill in the heroine Emily’s point of view, describing her feelings about the volcanic crater she’s had an affinity with since childhood. Enjoy!

 

Her grandmother turned from the avenue to contemplate the crater. Em followed suit, grateful for the change of weather and the weak, though welcome, cast of sun. The day was sad enough without drizzle.

Rocking Horse Hill by Cathryn Hein - global cover

Global cover

The ashy paths that once snaked to Rocking Horse Hill’s summit were fading, overgrown with weed or hidden by an encroaching rash of plastic-collared seedlings, planted by a local Landcare group determined to rehabilitate the crater’s eroded and denuded slopes. No matter how important their work, Em couldn’t suppress her dismay at the sight of all the trees. They spoiled the hill’s majesty; made it just another extinct volcano in a land dotted with many. Some of the best afternoons of her childhood were spent on those slopes: sliding from top to bottom on her bum, riding the hill like a giant, dirty slippery dip. Her mother exasperated by her wrecked jeans and inevitable scrapes, while her grandmother and uncle secretly encouraged the fun.

Rocking Horse Hill by Cathryn Hein cover

Australia and New Zealand cover

‘Ugly, aren’t they?’ said Granny B, as though reading her mind.

‘Just a bit, but they’ll go. Eventually.’

What the crater would look like then, Em didn’t know. Darker, she supposed. Perhaps a little mysterious, with the soft trees masking the hill’s true stony nature. She smiled slightly. As a child Em had cultivated all sorts of romantic ideas about the hill, and spent countless days exploring its slopes and crags, imagining secret passages that led, Narnia-like, to parallel universes of mystical animals, kings and brave knights. But there never was and never would be anything mysterious or romantic about the volcano. Thousands of years ago the earth suffered indigestion and burped up molten rock and Rocking Horse Hill was the result. Even so, her heart continued to resist logic. Em loved the hill too intensely for pragmatism, and a person’s sense of home wasn’t something that could be rationalised or calculated. That connection belonged to the soul.

 

Rocking Horse Hill is available worldwide in ebook and paperback. Try Bookdepository, Booktopia, Angus and Robertson Bookworld, Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Nook, or Google Play.

If you want to be the first to know about Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy‘s release, along with other news and goodies, make sure you sign up to my newsletter.

 

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Rocking Horse Hill is Going Global!

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So much for great plans. I was going to share photos from my trip to outback Queensland today in a This Writing Life post, but I’m up to my eyeballs in edits for my next full length release and haven’t had a chance to organise it. As fun as blogging is, books must come first.

But I do have exciting news!

Rocking Horse Hill – the story that triggered the (loosely) related Levenham Love Story series – is currently available only to Australian and New Zealand readers, but very soon the rest of the world will be able to enjoy this book too, in both ebook and print.

So today it is my great pleasure to present to you its new, rest-of-the-world cover.

Rocking Horse Hill by Cathryn Hein - global cover

What do you think? I love it and that cover model makes a very sexy looking Josh. Slurp!

I’ll have news on the exact release date shortly, along with order links, so stay tuned. In the meantime, you can discover more about Rocking Horse Hill, read an excerpt, reviews, and how the story came about on its book page.

Or, if you’re in Australia or New Zealand and have yet to savour this delicious tale, why not grab a copy today from your favourite retailer? ‘Tis easy with just a few clickety-clicks on:

Amazon.au | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play |Booktopia| Fishpond

 

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This Writing Life: Tales From The Real Rocking Horse Hill

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Those of you who follow me on social media will know that I’ve recently returned from a trip to my home town of Mt Gambier, in the beautiful lower south-east of South Australia. My dad turned 80 and all the family gathered together for a lovely party at the local RSL.

Me and the birthday boy. Not looking too bad for an old fella!

Me and the birthday boy. Not looking too bad for an old fella!

While I wasn’t home for long, I managed to pack a few adventures into the few days I was there. I’ll be sharing more photos from the trip next Friday but today I have something special.

A Video!

And not just any video, this one is of Rocking Horse Hill. Actually, it’s of Mt Schank but it was this crater that provided much of the inspiration for the fictional volcanic crater Rocking Horse Hill.

Rocking Horse Hill by Cathryn HeinThose of you who have read Rocking Horse Hill and Wayward Heart will understand the enormous importance this crater holds for those stories’ characters. It’s been the site not only of heartache and tragedy, but also love and even passion. The hill is so dominant in those two books it’s almost a character itself, and I think the passages where it’s featured show how much I adored writing about it.

There’s a reason for that adoration.

Let me explain…

Wayward Heart by Cathryn HeinIt’s not that widely known, but Australia has one of the best volcanic fields in the world. The Newer Volcanic Province stretches from Melbourne through to Mt Burr, north-west of Mt Gambier and contains a whopping 400+ volcanoes. There are at least 20 eruptive sites around Mt Gambier alone.

Hard to imagine, isn’t it? Yet it’s true, and if you drive through the western districts of Victoria to South Australia along the Princes or Hamilton Highways and scan the landscape you’ll see them. Many are highly eroded but others, like Mt Elephant, Mt Rouse, Mt Napier, Mt Gambier and Mount Schank, stand proudly, their magnificent slopes a reminder that this lush and peaceful countryside was once violent with quakes, molten rock and flames.

Mt Schank has always had a special place in my heart. As kids, a great day out was climbing to the top of the crater and sliding all the way down again on our bums. We’d get filthy, tear clothing, occasionally hurt ourselves and have the best fun imaginable.

There was a kind of romance about the crater too. Unlike all the others, which are spent, Mt Schank is dormant and there was always this delicious fear that it might erupt again. My girlfriend Cathryn (yes, our names were exactly alike) used to live at the base of the crater and her mum would say she could feel it grumbling deep below the earth.

I loved the idea that the volcano was somehow still alive, that it was like a hibernating bear, snoring softly as it waited for the right moment to wake. Looking back at those feelings it seems inevitable that I would one day write about it. Not only write about it but develop a whole series of stories set in the shadow of Rocking Horse Hill.

On my latest trip home, it seemed only polite that I should introduce the mountain to one of the books it inspired.

And, because I thought you’d enjoy the moment too, I recorded the event.

Enjoy!

There was a quarry at Mt Schank but it’s closed now. Rocking Horse Hill’s quarry, the place that broke hero Digby Wallace-Jones’s heart and almost tore his family apart, isn’t based on this one. The inspiration for that comes from Mt Elephant near Derrinallum in western Victoria.

The northern side of Mt Elephant has a dramatic gouge where the slope was mined for railway ballast in the early 1900s, while the cut into the western side was a commercial gravel quarry that operated until the 90s. Both quarries provided ideas for Rocking Horse Hill’s.

The photos below were taken from a distance so it’s a little hard to see, but you can still get an idea of how dangerous the edge of the diggings would be. They’re like savage gashes in mountain’s face, sharp-edged and cliff-like.

The north side of Mt Elephant, western Victoria.

The north side of Mt Elephant.

Mt Elephant's western quarry.

The quarry on the west facing side of Mt Elephant.

I hope you enjoyed this insight into how Rocking Horse Hill came about and the real volcanoes it’s based on.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to work on my fitness. All that puffing and panting on the video has left me seriously embarrassed!

Wayward Heart is in stores now. You can also order the paperback online from Booktopia, Angus and Robertson Bookworld and Fishpond. Or for instant gratification, download the ebook from Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play and Nook.

Discover more about Wayward Heart and Rocking Horse Hill, including the story behind both books, by visiting their books page on this site.

Other books set in the Rocking Horse Hill and Levenham district include Summer and the Groomsman and Santa and the Saddler, with Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy coming (hopefully) later this year.

 

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser TuesdayTime for another tantalising treat thanks to Teaser Tuesday, the series where I share snippets from my novels, old, new and in progress, and occasionally let author buddies take over.

I’ve just received edits for Wayward Heart which is very exciting. The book is definitely on its way! I had planned to share a little bit from it but the manuscript is covered in mark-ups and editing notes and a bit messy, and sharing is probably left best for another time, when it’s cleaner. I’m sure Jasmine and Digby would much prefer to be shown off at their best.

Instead, let’s have a few paragraphs from Rocking Horse Hill, the book in which Jasmine is first introduced. Jas is the heroine Emily’s best friend and known for her big heart and sense of fun. Here she is with Em and Teagan (Teagan’s story is continued in The Falls) at Em’s property where they’ve gathered for a girly gossip and to clip their horses for the show season. As you do when you’re horsey gals!

 

Hoping she might learn from the others, or at least calm a little, the girls agreed to leave fractious Astra until last. The filly paced the stable, poking her head out of the half-door before jerking back inside to wheel another agitated circuit. Lod paid her no attention, content to stand dutifully on the concrete in the sun, waiting for his clipping, off-hind leg cocked and his hoof resting on its point. His head was down and eyes half-closed in a doze like his old friend Ox, now equally slumberous in Lod’s stable.

Rocking Horse Hill by Cathryn Hein‘Honestly, you’d send her to the knackers if she weren’t so stunning,’ said Jas, shaking her head as Astra embarked on yet another restless round.

‘She just needs to mature,’ said Em.

Teagan reached up to scratch Astra’s nose. ‘She’s only four.’

‘Ox was calm at four.’

‘Yes, but Ox had no balls.’

Jas grinned and blew a kiss at Ox. The big grey twitched his ears and blinked across the half-door before returning to sleep. ‘Poor thing. I wonder if he misses them.’ She turned back to Em who was perched on a crate, clippers in hand, palm pushing over Lod’s mane so she could clip the top-side of his neck. ‘Speaking of balls, how are things with Josh the Sexpot?’

 

Rocking Horse Hill is available in paperback and ebook from Booktopia, Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play or your favourite retailer. You’ll also find photos and inside information about how I came to write the book on its ‘The Story Behind’ page.

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser TuesdayIt’s Teaser Tuesday again, the tantalising series where I share snippets from my novels, old, new and in progress, and occasionally let author buddies take over.

As I checked back through my schedule to see what teasers had been featured recently, I was amazed to discover that I have yet to post any from Rocking Horse Hill. Time to remedy the situation.

Rocking Horse Hill is the first in a series of three loosely related books covering three female friends. Rocking Horse Hill tells Emily Wallace-Jones’s story while The Falls follows Teagan Bliss into her new life. News about the third book, featuring Jasmine Thomas, is just around the corner, so stayed tuned for that. Better still, subscribe to my newsletter and you’ll hear it first. There’s also a spin-off novella from the series – Summer and the Groomsman – and I have plans for more. Seems I can’t let go!

But back to Rocking Horse Hill

I don’t know about you, but I adore a first kiss. It’s so exciting! And with a romance, a kiss usually involves a lot more than just a joining of mouths. There’s a whole of emotion behind it, and in some instances a lot of baggage. Which is definitely the case with Josh and Em.

Enjoy!

 

Josh ruffled Muffy’s ears before turning to Em. ‘Thanks for tonight. It was great.’

‘You’re welcome.’

They stared at one another. The CD finished. Wind threaded through the roof and brushed against the house.

‘So.’

‘So.’Rocking Horse Hill by Cathryn Hein

The temperature rose.

He leaned forward to kiss her cheek but the kiss lingered. The tiny hairs on her skin stirred against his breath. She could feel his swallow of hesitancy, then his long exhale as he made his decision. Another kiss: soft, fluttery. Heat swept her body, scattering it with  delicious prickles.

Em closed her eyes against the pull of yearning. ‘Josh . . .’

His lips crept in a series of butterfly touches towards her mouth, leaving little puckers of ecstasy in their wake, the chasing skim of his stubble shooting thrills down her back. ‘I know.’

‘It’s too soon.’

‘Yeah.’

‘Then . . .’

And suddenly she didn’t care. It was simply him, back where she needed him.

©Cathryn Hein

Find out what happens next by reading your own copy of Rocking Horse Hill. Purchase from Booktopia, Bookdepository, Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, your favourite bookstore or ebook retailer.

For more information about the book, including review quotes, The Story Behind and another excerpt, please visit the Rocking Horse Hill book page.

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser TuesdayTime for another tantalising treat thanks to Teaser Tuesday, the series where I share snippets from my novels, old, new and in progress, and occasionally let author buddies take over.

Today a couple of paragraphs from a Christmas novella I’ve been working on called Santa and the Saddler. I’m only a couple of chapters in and can’t give it too much attention at the moment because my next full-length rural romance must take priority, but it’s looking to be fun.

The story is set in Levenham, the same as Rocking Horse Hill and Summer and the Groomsman, and introduces a couple of new characters. I’m not sure yet if any of familiar crew will rate a mention but I suspect they’ll sneak in somewhere, even if it’s only for a line or two.

Here’s a little taste of hero Danny Burroughs.

 

The pub was already rocking when he arrived. Thanks to boisterous young singles returning from university or new careers elsewhere to their hometown for Christmas, this time of year it always was. Drawn by the fun atmosphere, plenty of regulars and other assorted locals had sidled in for a drink too, and Danny endured calls of ‘Nice suit!’ and ‘Ho ho ho!’ as he made his way to the bar. He surreptitiously gave those he knew well the finger, the others he just waved off, smiling through gritted teeth.

The publican –  a bit too much into the spirit of things for Danny’s liking – had decided that this year, for the week leading up to Christmas, the staff would dress as Christmas characters. Danny had drawn the short straw and scored Santa. Tall and rangy, with spiky dark hair and blue eyes, Danny was as far from Santa as a bloke could get. Barry, the grey-haired night manager, had fared even worse as Mrs Claus, while Karen Simms, who’d been working at the pub almost as long as Barry, had drawn Frosty the Snowman. The only person who looked good was Lily, one of the casual female bar staff, who instead of appearing ridiculous like him, looked as cute as a button in her elf suit. If Danny’s mate Ben hadn’t already claimed dibs, Danny would have tried for her himself, but the two men had their code and Lily was off limits.

Which meant another Christmas spent single.

©Cathryn Hein

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FRIDAY FEAST with Cathryn Hein

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Greetings food and book lovers, and welcome to another slurpalicious edition of Friday Feast. This week you again have the pleasure of my company, and I have a tasty and simple Asian inspired meal for you that you’ll love.

But as usual, let us endure the embarrassment that is Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. I thought it was happening, I really did. There were definite signs of improvement last weekend My new blue oveheart marked golf balland I was beginning to feel a glimmer of confidence. Then, because I somehow qualified for this year’s Women’s Golf Nepean Gold Brooch, on Wednesday I zoomed up the road to play the final at Leonay Golf Club. It started so well… Par, then bogey (not so good) then another par. Rah! I had form! Alas, it then descended into what at times could only be called utter humiliation. On a positive note, it was a gorgeous day and the other ladies were lovely and kind. If only Oh, Great Golfing God had been, but the bugger hates me. Must be the blue love hearts I’ve painted on my balls.

Time for a look at one of my books. This week: Rocking Horse Hill. This is the first in a loosely related rural romance series I’ve nicknamed the Levenham Love Stories. The Falls is already out, Summer and the Groomsman is in production (news on that soon), and I’m currently working on another full-length related novel with the working title Admella Beach. So Rocking Horse Hill is ground zero, so to speak.

Take a look…

ROCKING HORSE HILL

Rocking Horse Hill by Cathryn Hein coverWho do you trust when a stranger threatens to tear your family apart?

Ever since she was a little girl, Emily Wallace-Jones has loved Rocking Horse Hill. The beautiful family property is steeped in history. Everything important in Em’s life has happened there. And even though Em’s brother Digby has inherited the property, he has promised Em it will be her home for as long as she wishes.

When Digby falls in love with sweet Felicity Townsend, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, Em worries about the future. But she is determined not to treat Felicity with the same teenage snobbery that tore apart her relationship with her first love, Josh Sinclair. A man who has now sauntered sexily back into Em’s life and given her a chance for redemption.

But as Felicity settles in, the once tightly knitted Wallace-Jones family begins to fray. Suspicions are raised, Josh voices his distrust, and even Em’s closest friends question where Felicity’s motives lie. Conflicted but determined to make up for the damage caused by her past prejudices, Em sides with her brother and his fiancée until a near tragedy sets in motion a chain of events that will change the family forever.

A moving family drama and passionate love story by the author of Heartland, Promises and Heart of the Valley.

Romance. A sexy hero and clever heroine, both with complex pasts. An eerie volcano. A meddling granny. Family drama. Donkeys! What more could you want? Buy Rocking Horse Hill right now from Booktopia, Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play or your favourite book retailer.

And now for something slurpalicious.

My Leetle Dumpling…

I am a dumpling devotee, and proud of it.

I don’t mean European-type dumplings, made with flour and so on – although old-fashioned golden syrup dumplings are pretty tasty, and the occasional herb or cheesy dumpling-topped casserole can be a treat too. No, my dumpling love is for Asian-style dumplings. Little parcels of savoury goodness that can be anything from slippery to crunchy, and all textures in between.

They’re a sensation in flavour too, from interesting meat fillings to nourishing vegetables, even doughy delights on occasion. You can find them steamed, fried, boiled, or a combination. And they come in all shapes and sizes too, from crescents to buns to open-topped cups and prettily pleated balls.

With their flavours, aromas, texture and beauty, dumplings appeal across the senses. Plonk me in an Asian restaurant or noodle bar and my eyes will immediately go a-hunting for them. Any sort will do – potstickers, bao, buns, dimsum, wontons and more – there seem to be an endless array.

Sadly, you can’t eat out all the time. Well, you can, but that would mean no cooking and life without kitchen fun is too horrible to contemplate. And if, like me, you need your dumpling fix often, that means making them at home.

Fortunately, dumplings are dead easy.

No, don’t you look at me like that. They are! And I’m going to prove it with my recipe for dumpling soup.

I adore this soup. It’s simple and seriously tasty. Oh, and healthy. The soup itself is embarrassingly easy: stock, lemongrass, ginger, ketjap manis. The vegetable part is whatever you feel like.

It’s also versatile. These dumplings are made with prawn meat but I’ve made them with pork mince and chicken mince as well, to great success, varying the other ingredients to include spring onions, chilli, soy, whatever takes my fancy (leftovers of these versions are really tasty cold). Steamed spinach, soy and water chestnut is another fab combo.

Best of all, there should be enough dumplings remaining to serve with dipping sauce for extra indulgence!

I have no idea where the original recipe came from. I have a feeling it’s an amalgam of several, mashed around until I came up with a version that I liked most. All I know is that I’ve been making it for donkey’s and it’s foolproof. I make it for two as a main meal, but it can easily be divided to serve four. You just won’t have leftover dumplings.

So here it is. Enjoy!

Dumpling Soup

Cathryn's dumpling soup, ready to slurp

Ingredients

12 Australian green king prawns (approximately 12 prawns)

60g (approx) tinned water chestnuts, drained and roughly chopped

3 French shallots (eschallots – the small brown, oniony ones), peeled and roughly chopped

1 tablespoon cornflour

1 egg

½ teaspoon sesame oil

1 packet gow gee wrappers (30 wrappers). Wonton wrappers work fine too, you’ll just have triangles instead of crescents

1.5 litres of chicken stock. Vegetable stock works really well too

6 thick slices of fresh ginger

1 stem lemongrass, outer skin removed, the stem bashed about a bit to release flavour

1 tablespoon ketjap manis

Vegetables of your choosing. I tend to use variations of snow peas, spring onion, baby bok choy, choy sum, bean shoots and/or finely shredded cabbage. Whatever’s in the fridge crisper that requires very short or no cooking.

Method

Peel and devein your king prawns.

Australian green king prawns

Plonk the prawn meat, water chestnuts, shallots, sesame oil, egg and cornflour into a small blender and pulse. Don’t over process. It won’t matter if there’s a few chunky bits. In fact, they make the dumplings more interesting.

Chopped ingredients in processorNote: If you’re using pork or chicken mince, whiz the shallots and chestnuts (or whatever other flavours you’re using) until finely chopped, then add the other ingredients and pulse until just combined.

Lay out your gow gee wrappers on the bench. Have a pastry brush and a cup of water on standby.

Gow Gee wrappers laid out, ready for filling

Spoon about a teaspoon of prawn mix onto each wrapper.

Prawn filling on gow gee wrappers

Using the pastry brush, moisten the wrapper edges, then fold over and press firmly to seal. It doesn’t matter if some mix oozes out or there’s a few dodgy bits. These dumplings are very forgiving. Layer them on a plate and stick in the fridge until needed.

Filled dumplings

Pour the stock into a large saucepan. Add ginger, lemongrass and ketjap manis. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes or so. This stage can be done well in advance, if you need.

Saucepan of flavoured stock

Meanwhile, add your chopped veg to the bowls. Yes, they’re raw but when it’s poured over the hot stock will cook them to crunchy perfection.

Prepared soup bowls with the vegetables

When you’re ready to serve, bring the stock back to a good boil and lower in your dumplings, one by one. Because they’re cold, they’ll drop the temperature right down. Keep the heat high, stirring your dumplings gently, until the soup returns to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes or until all the dumplings are floating and look juicy and cooked.

Spoon however many dumplings you want for your soup into each bowl and pour over the stock.

Leave any leftover dumplings in the saucepan with a little stock so they don’t dry out or stick, lid on to keep them warm. Then, when you’ve finished your soup and if you have room in your belly, serve the dumplings on plates with a dipping sauce on the side. You can use straight soy, smears of chilli sauce, or I use this quick-to-make, tasty sauce. Simply mix together:

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar

Thinly sliced birdseye chilli. How much and whether you leave the seeds in or not depends on how hot you like it.

Dumpling with dipping sauce

And there you have it: dead simple dumpling love. Told you it was easy!

*

All right, Feasty darlings, what do you love to order or cook whenever you eat Asian food? What delectable dish or ingredient can’t you go past?

Besides dumplings, I am passionate about thick fresh rice noodles. Oh, how I adore those slippery strands. I’ve been known to travel across town to pick up good fresh rice noodles, and buy in bulk. My other favourite ingredient is chilli soybean paste. So hot! So good! So perfect with rice noodles!

What about you? Do you go giggly over gyoza? Perhaps shiver in delight over sago pudding with palm sugar syrup? Even get a tad loony over laksa? Curious minds would love to know!

If you’d like to learn more about me and my books, please feel free to explore this website. There are plenty of cool things to discover, especially on the blog, my about page and each book’s “the story behind” page. You can also connect via Facebook, Twitter using @CathrynHein, Google+, Goodreads and Pinterest.

For all the latest news and new releases, plus free short stories and other goodies, please sign up to my newsletter.

Friday Feast recipe index link.

Australian Romance Reader Awards Finalist!

2014 ARRA finalist badgeWheeee! Yesterday the Australian Romance Reader Awards finalists were published and I was thrilled to bits to be included, especially with such amazing company.

ROCKING HORSE HILL is up for Favourite Contemporary Romance, THE FRENCH PRIZE is on the Favourite Romantic Suspense list and I’m super chuffed to be up for Favourite Australian Romance Author 2014.

Thanks so, so much to everyone who nominated me and my books. It’s a delight and an honour. You can find the full list of finalists on the ARRA blog.

Winners will be announced on March 7th in Canberra at the Australian Romance Readers Convention awards dinner. If you love romance novels and talking books and have yet to register for this event, please do! It’s a truly wonderful weekend. You’ll make lovely new friends, discover new authors, meet your favourites, have the chance to collect and win all sorts of goodies, and return home warm with laughter and great memories.

Find all the details at the ARRA website or click on the banner below. Hope to see you there!

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A Rocking Bargain!

Heads-up, everyone.

ROCKING HORSE HILL IS ON SALE!

Yes, you can pick up the ebook version of my best-selling rural romance for only…

Doesn’t that make you feel…


It does me, because WHAT A BARGAIN!

Only for a limited time, so don’t miss out. Buy now from:

Kindle

kobo

Google play

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Go on, I promise this book will fill you up with lots of wonderful emotions like this…