Tag Archives: Australian coastal romance

FRIDAY FEAST with Jennifer Scoullar

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Greetings, food and book lovers, and welcome to another tasty edition of Friday Feast. This week we trip to the tantalising tropics and go a bit nutty with one of Australia’s favourite rural and environmental fiction authors. Plus there’s a giveaway!

But first, the disappointment that is Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. Sigh. Deep, deep sigh. I was on form, dropping shots off my handicap with almost every round. But that was before, when the sun shone bright and autumn was far away. Now… Oh, it is ugly. So very, very ugly. The summer of my golfing content is over. The curse has returned with the shortening days and I am but a hacker once more.

Author Jennifer ScoullarEnough lamenting. It’s time for our guest.

Australian author Jennifer Scoullar blazed into our literary landscape with the best-selling rural romance Brumby’s Run, following that success up with Currawong Creek and Billabong Bend. What makes Jennifer’s novels different is their focus on environmental issues. Issues that are often complex and divisive, yet Jennifer handles with knowledge and empathy.

Her latest is Turtle Reef, which officially releases next week . Take a look…

TURTLE REEF

TurtleReef_cover2.0From the bestselling author of Billabong Bend, Brumby’s Run and Currawong Creek comes a wonderful new novel set against the spectacular beauty of Queensland’s rocky coral coast.

Unlucky-in-love zoologist Zoe King has given up on men. Moving from Sydney to take up an exciting new role in marine science in the small sugar town of Kiawa is a welcome fresh start. Zoe  is immediately charmed by the region’s beauty – by its rivers and rainforests, and by its vast cane fields, sweeping from the foothills down to the rocky coral coast.  And also by its people – its farmers and fishermen, unhurried and down to earth, proud of their traditions.

Her work at the Reef Centre provides all the passion she needs and Zoe finds a friend in Bridget, the centre’s director. The last thing she wants is to fall for her boss’s fiancé, cane king Quinn Cooper, so she refuses to acknowledge the attraction between them – even to herself. But things aren’t quite adding up at the Reef Centre and when animals on the reef begin to sicken and die, Zoe’s personal and professional worlds collide. She faces a terrible choice. Will protecting the reef mean betraying the man she loves?

Ooh, this sounds exciting. Nothing like a story featuring a heroine stuck between a rock and a hard place. Definitely one for the buy list. Turtle Reef releases officially on Wednesday, March 25th but you can secure your copy right now.  Simply  pre-order from those good people at Booktopia, or try Bookworld, Angus & Robertson, Collins Booksellers, iBooks, Amazon.au, Google Play, Kobo, JB Hi-Fi, eBooks.com or your favourite bookstore.

All set? Then come swimming in delicious waters with Jennifer.

Turning Turtle

Many thanks for having me on ‘Friday Feast’ Cathryn, and for helping me celebrate the macadamia orchardupcoming release of my new book, Turtle Reef. The story is set at the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef, where rainforests and cane fields sweep down from the foothills to meet the rocky, coral coast. Much more than sugar cane grows in these rich volcanic soils. Shady tropical orchards abound: avocados, custard apples, egg fruit, lychees, mangos – and of course macadamias, the king of nuts.

Macadamias aren’t really nuts at all, but the kernels of a hard, green fruit. I’m a bush tucker fan, and sometimes have trouble sourcing ingredients. But these are such popular international favourites, it’s easy to forget they’re indigenous.They macadamia fruitgrow on lovely rainforest trees that evolved not long after the death of the dinosaurs. For millions of years, they flourished along the east coast of Australia. However by the time Europeans discovered their commercial potential, they only persisted in a small number of rainforest remnants.

Today the macadamia tree is our only native commercial food crop. It can bear fruit for over 100 years. The oldest known tree was planted in 1858 at what is now Brisbane’s Botanical Gardens, and is still producing.

To celebrate the release of Turtle Reef, here is a simple macadamia recipe with a Queensland feel. I make this cake in a 30 cm cast iron skillet, however any oven-proof fry pan would do. An old-fashioned Aussie recipe, delicious but fattening!

Tropical Upside Down Cake

Tropical upside-down cake

Ingredients

½  cup butter

⅔ cup brown sugar

 1- 1 ½  cups unsalted roast macadamia nuts

Pineapple rings (fresh or canned)

1 cup plain flour

¾ cup sugar

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ cup milk

1 egg

Pineapple juice or syrup

Method

Melt ¼ cup butter in pan.

Add ⅔ cup brown sugar until melted. Use more butter & brown sugar if needed so that the bottom of the pan is covered with mixture. Once melted, remove from heat.

Arrange pineapple rings on top of melted brown sugar. Fill each with a macadamia nut. Chop remaining nuts and sprinkle in spaces, keeping some aside.

Sift 1 cup flour with ¾ cup of sugar and baking powder.

Add ¼ cup butter and ½ cup milk. Mix until well blended.

Add one egg and 2-3 tablespoons of pineapple juice or syrup. Mix well.

Pour batter over pineapple, spreading evenly to the edges. Sprinkle with remaining chopped nuts.

Bake 40-45 minutes or until golden.

Cool on rack for about 15 minutes. Place cake plate over pan, turn upside down and give a little shake. The cake should slide out easily.

For an indulgent tropical twist, serve warm, with Streets Blue Ribbon Coconut & Mango Ripple Ice Cream. Yum!

 

Doesn’t that sound divine? I was gone at the mention of caramel and macadamias. And don’t get me started on the sweet pineapple. Thanks for sharing this beautiful recipe, Jennifer. I’ll be testing this one out for sure.

Now, my luscious little Feasties, as you are probably already aware, Jennifer is not only an excellent writer but a generous soul. Which is why she’s offering a…

GIVEAWAY!

Yes, you could win your very own copy of Turtle Reef. Rah! But as always, you must work for it. Not very hard though. We’re about making life easy here on Friday Feast.

To be in the draw to win a copy of Turtle Reef, simply share which dish or food reminds you of the tropics.

Perhaps it’s a big bowl of juicy prawns with tangy seafood sauce, or a perfect fillet of reef fish with its skin grilled crispy. Maybe mangos or lychees or another exotic fruit like durian makes you think of sandy beaches and warm water. Or even a spicy green papaya salad and aromatic satays on the barbie. Reveal all and you’ll go into the draw.

For me it’s Morton Bay bugs. I love those babies and have them every time we head to north Queensland to visit Jim’s family. Served with bowls of nuoc cham for dipping, they go down a treat. A quick trip to the fish co-op and greengrocer, a bottle of something white and zesty to wash them down, and a feast is on.

So what brings out the tropics for you?

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday, AEST, 24th March 2015. Australian postal addresses only.

If you’d like to learn more about Jennifer and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook or Twitter using @JenScoullar.

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Amanda B who has scored herself a copy of Turtle Reef. Lots of vicarious tropical living ahead for her. Thanks to everyone who joined in and shared their tropical delights. What fun!

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Victoria Purman

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Ciao, to another magnifico Friday Feast! This week we’re going postal. Oops, sorry. I mean COASTAL! And a little bit Italian. Read on…

But before that, because I know you’re hanging out for it, news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. Last weekend saw the final round of the Club Championships in which I did not (read that: NOT) embarrass myself… much. Well, I did a little on the 3rd. And quite badly on the 11th but the rest wasn’t too cringeworthy. Overall it was a mighty 3rd placing, but only because the lady running 3rd had to retire.

On to far more interesting things. Today’s guest has fairly body surfed her way onto to the best-seller lists. South Australian romance author Victoria Purman has rapidly become one of Australia’s favourite coastal romance novelists, and with good reason. Her stories are warm, romantic and filled with humour as well as drama. Victoria’s latest, Our Kind of Love, sees the conclusion to her popular Boys of Summer series that started with Nobody But Him and continued with Someone Like You.

Reviews are pouring in and they’re all wonderful. You won’t want to miss this.

OUR KIND OF LOVE

Our Kind of Love by Victoria PurmanThe best thing to happen to her… or her biggest mistake?

Anna is… unexpected… unbelievable… unstoppable.  And unavailable. Will what happened in Middle Point stay there?

Dr Anna Morelli rarely makes mistakes. But this one is big, bordering on huge. Somewhere between sunset and sunrise at the simple beachside wedding of two old friends, she’s cried in the ladies bathroom, danced to too many ABBA songs and survived the best, knock-your-socks-off one night stand in recorded history. Has she gone crazy? She’s supposed to be running from the disasters in her life, not creating more.

Award winning journalist Joe Blake is back in Middle Point to lick his wounds after being dumped by his wife and sacked from his Sydney job on the same day. But after one incredible night with Anna, he finds he’ll need all his investigative skills to figure out why she won’t give in to their sizzling chemistry.

I so love a second chance story and this sounds adorable, and a little sexy. Definitely one you’ll want in your spring and summer reading collection. It can be yours right now with just a couple of clicks. Try that excellent bookstore Booktopia, or clickety-click your way to Bookworld or Angus & Robertson, your favourite local bookshop or chainstore, or direct from the publisher Harlequin. For the ebook, click on Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play or JB Hi-Fi.

Now say ciao, bella to Victoria.

Confession Is Good For The Foodie Soul

Dear Friday Feast Fan,

I have a confession to make.

I’m scared. Terrified. I can barely type for the nerves.

And why? When Cathryn asked me to return to Friday Feast I immediately said, ‘Hell yeah!” because she is lovely, fun, a gorgeous writer and a fellow South Australian (even if she is, inexplicably, a Sydney Swans fan).

Then the panic set in. OH, THE PRESSURE! I’ve been watching everyone else’s Friday Feasts and drooling, in the same way I do when I watch cooking shows, in the that-looks-fantastic-and-I-know-I’ll never-ever-cook-that-in-my-real-life kind of way.

You see, the husband and I have three teenage sons and you know what that means? Industrial size catering. Food, and lots of it. They don’t care if it’s not fancy. They will eat almost anything (except son number three who hates parsley and avocado).

On the occasions when I do prepare something nice, it’s usually a plate of nibbles to share with friends. That’s how we tend to catch up with people these days, shared plates, lovely wine and afternoons watching the sun go down.

So, in honour of my latest heroine, the feisty, Italian-Australian Dr Anna Morelli from ‘Our Kind of Love’ (who, unlike me, is an amazing cook) I’m going to do two Italian-inspired nibbles. Yes, I believe that’s the technical term for them.

They’re damn easy and incredibly tasty. And I know they’ve been around a while, but you may have forgotten how easy and delicious they are.

Tricolore Bites

The Italian flag is red, white and green and so are these delicious morsels.

You’ll need Baby bocconcini (those little white balls which come in brine), fresh basil, cherry tomatoes and toothpicks. Slice the tomatoes and the bocconcini in half, rip a basil leaf from the bunch and slide them all onto the toothpick.

Victoria's Italian Inspired nibbles

Prosciutto and Melon

This one is best done with ripe rockmelon, so buy one a few days before you need it and let it ripen. Grab some thinly-sliced prosciutto from the deli section of your supermarket, cut it into small strips and wrap it around the chunk of rockmelon. Thread through a toothpick to keep it together and make it easier to pick up. The sweet, juicy melon and the salty ham make this a fab combo.

And to wash it all down, I’d go with a South Australian white. This one’s a Sauvignon Blanc from the Adelaide Hills. Because I am a South Aussie, after all.

Buon appetito and happy reading!

 

From one South Aussie to another, that  sounds delizioso, Victoria! And a super easy way to prepare food for when friends come calling. After all, who wants to be stranded in a hot kitchen when there’s company (and wine!) to be enjoyed.

I know it’s looked down upon by some foodies (silly people), but I adore melon and prosciutto. It’s lovely in the summer as a refreshing morsel but also as a tasty feature in a salad. And mozarella, basil and tomato is a classic that is simply too perfect to ever be criticised.

So, my bellissimo little Feasters, what super fast treat do you whip up when friends call? Maybe a simple plate of cheese and salami, or perhaps a quick dip that can be made in seconds. Or are you a kitchen goddess with a pantry full of yumptiousness and a repertoire of gourmet delights to draw on? Share away! We always love to hear your tricks and treats.

If you’d like to learn more about Victoria and her heart-warming books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter using @VictoriaPurman