Tag Archives: Baking

FRIDAY FEAST with Joan Kilby

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Hello, food and book lovers, and welcome to another super-tasty edition of Friday Feast. This week, a sexy outback romance, a delicious cake, and an even more delicious book giveaway!

But first, news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. This week marked the first round of my golf club’s premier ladies competition, the Goblet. It also coincided with me coming down with a filthy cold but, being the dedicated golfing fool that I am, I dragged myself out to play. Probably should have stayed in bed because while my front nine was quite good, by the time I hit the turn my cold ‘n flu tabs had worn off and I was knackered. The only positive is that I’m not coming last but maaaaan, am I close!

Author Joan KilbyEnough of that. It’s time for something uplifting, sweet and maybe just a bit sexy too, all of which we’ll find with my guest today, contemporary romance author Joan Kilby. Originally from Vancouver but now a staunch Melbournian, Joan has published over 30 novels. In an exciting move, Joan has joined with fellow authors Sarah Mayberry and Karina Bliss to release The Outback Bachelor Ball series, with Joan’s book Win Me as the lead title.

This series looks fabulous, not to mention hot! Take a look.

WIN ME

Cover of Win Me by Joan KilbyShe’ll do anything to get him to see her as a woman…

Feisty, fearless Ellie McFarlane has tried forever to get cattle station manager, Rick Drummond, to notice she’s not another cowhand. So when her gal pals talk her into glamming up for an Outback Bachelor and Spinster ball she’s eager to prove she’s all woman, all the time, and leave her boneheaded cowboy eating dust.

Sexy wrangler Rick is crazy about Ellie just as she is but her father – his boss – told him long ago that his daughter was off limits. Even though she’s all grown up now, Rick still feels it’s his job is to protect her, not seduce her. Plus, he’s finally got an opportunity to buy back his family farm which means moving far away.

Ellie’s transformation from Cinder-Ellie to belle of the ball has Rick’s jaw dropping – and all the other cowboys falling at her feet. Ellie tries to revel in her new-found sex-pot status but without Rick it’s a hollow victory. Has Rick left it too late to claim the only woman he’ll ever truly love…?

Doesn’t that sound fun? What a hoot! And you can be assured you’re in expert story-telling hands with Joan. Win Me releases October 20th but you can pre-order it right now from Amazon.com, Amazon.auAmazon.uk, Amazon.ca, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. Want to read a sample? Joan has a very tasty excerpt on her website. You’ll love it, and while you’re there check out the other two titles in the series, Karina Bliss’s Woo Me and Sarah Mayberry’s Wait For Me.

All set? Excellent. Now please give a warm welcome to Joan because she has something veeeeery nice for you!

Girlfriends and Cake – Best Friends Forever

Thanks, Cathryn, for having me on Friday Feast.

Cooking and baking are among my favourite hobbies, right up there with eating. Probably like a lot of people, I learned to cook by helping and watching my mother. Mum was an awesome baker. Mouth-watering smells of homemade bread, cookies, cakes, pies formed a sensory backdrop to my childhood. Mum even made cookies or brownies on weekday mornings so we would have something yummy in our school lunches.

The recipe for coffee cake I’m sharing today was Mum’s. Australia has tea cake but the Canadian equivalent – a delicious, quick and easy cake that’s best served warm – is coffee cake. It’s quite a bit richer than a tea cake so anyone who’s avoiding sugar and butter, look away now.

My mum and a group of her friends formed a diet club and called themselves the “Fat Ladies.” Mum would always make this cake when it was her turn as hostess. She and her friends never lost any weight – and were unabashed and unconcerned by the fact – but they had a lot of fun. I remember the gales of laughter coming from the kitchen during their get-togethers. And now, when I have friends over, I make Mum’s coffee cake.

The Outback Bachelor Ball seriesThis idea of women friends having fun together has special significance with my latest release. In Win Me, my heroine, Ellie, and her two best girlfriends have a reunion at a Bachelor and Spinster Ball. Not that Ellie has much time to cook – she’s got a hot cowboy to wrangle. In a case of life imitating art, writing friends Sarah Mayberry, Karina Bliss and I had a wonderful time collaborating on The Outback Bachelor ball series. I only wish we could have sat around a kitchen table and eaten coffee cake while we discussed our stories instead of relying on email and Skype.

I’m not sure where Mum got this coffee cake recipe from but I’ve copied it down from her hand-written recipe card complete with vanilla stains, butter spots and a smear of cinnamon. These are the original amounts but Mum (and I) always doubled the recipe because, well, nuts and cinnamon and buttery deliciousness! And because I love the topping so much I always increase those amounts by another third. Any leftover topping can, of course, be eaten straight from the bowl. I also add extra cinnamon because you can never have too much cinnamon. The batter doesn’t seem like it’s going to be enough but somehow it rises and fluffs up around the topping. And it’s all about the topping!

I’m giving away a copy of Win Me (Book 1, The Outback Bachelor Ball series), any e-format, anywhere in the world.

What’s your favourite recipe that you got from your mother or grandmother?

Nut Coffee Cake

Joan Kilby's Nut Coffee Cake

Topping:

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon (or to taste)

1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

3 tbsp butter

Batter:

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

2 tbsp butter

2 tsp baking powder

1 egg, beaten

1/2 tsp salt

2/3 cup milk

2/3 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Prepare topping: Melt butter and combine with brown sugar, nuts and cinnamon

Joan Kilby's Nut Coffee Cake in panPrepare batter: Combine flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla and beat till light. Gradually stir in dry ingredients alternately with milk. Spread half the batter into a greased 8 X 8 inch pan (20 X 20 cm). Sprinkle on half the topping. Spread the rest of the batter on and sprinkle on the remaining topping.

Bake at 180 C for about 30 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let sit for 10 – 15 minutes. Eat while it’s warm.

*

That sounds unreal, Joan! I am so giving this one a try. I love easy recipes that are disproportionately tasty to the amount of time they take to make. They’re real keepers.

Now, my Feasty lovelies, you heard Joan, we have a…

GIVEAWAY!

For your chance to win an ebook copy of Win Me, book 1 in The Outback Bachelor Ball series, simply share the favourite recipe that you snaffled from your mother or grandmother. An aunt, godparent or family friend will also do.

I have so many I don’t know where to start! There’s my mum’s pavlova, my grandmother’s buttery scones, my godmother’s cream puffs… I’m a bowerbird when it comes to recipes and the list is huge. What about you? Share and we’ll pop you into the draw.

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 20th October 2015. Open internationally. Rah!

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

Friday Feast recipe index link.

FRIDAY FEAST with Cathryn Hein

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Hello, book and food lovers, and welcome to another mouth-watering edition of Friday Feast. This week, because my brand spanking new rural romance The Falls released on Wednesday and milestones like this need to be celebrated, you have the pleasure of my company. Which means much deliciousness!

But first, the emotional roller-coaster that is Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. In an astonishing turn-around, I actually played well and won a golf ball for my efforts. Ha! I bet you Cathryn ready to golfdidn’t expect me to say that, did you? It wasn’t perfect, by any means. There were some verra ugly shots made but overall a vast improvement on the horrors of previous weeks. I am praying for this to continue. All that bad play was costing a small fortune in drowned golf balls.

Wednesday was release day for The Falls, which is always a wonderful time. And this is a book that deserves a party. The Falls was huge fun to write, with a great line up of characters, both animal and human. Lucas, the hero, is a bit of a fantasy man (insert deep, longing sigh here) and it’s nice to find out what happened to Teagan after Rocking Horse Hill. Then there’s Teagan’s glamorous, generous Aunt Vanessa and her menagerie of waifs and strays, and all the other colourful characters that inhabit Falls Farm and the local village. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Take a look…

THE FALLS

Will 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 Cover of The Falls by Cathryn Heintake the reins. But when a family betrayal leaves her reeling, Teagan is forced to rethink her Cover of The Falls by Cathryn Heinentire 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.

You can join Lucas and Teagan on their journey to love with just a few clicks. Buy now from Booktopia, Bookworld, Angus & Robertson, Amazon.au, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi, QBD The Bookshop, Boomerang Books, Collins Bookstore, and Abbey’s Bookshop. Or simply trot down to your local Dymocks, independent book store, or Big W and pick up a copy there.

Right. Food time!

Getting Dippy!

There’s something really enjoyable about relaxing with nibbles, especially outside. Whether it’s rowdy and laughter laden with friends and family, or quiet with just a book to keep you company. That lovely combination of simple, tasty things to munch on, where your hand keeps reaching for another morsel, is very pleasurable.

Teagan’s Aunt Vanessa in The Falls is an expert at entertaining. She adores having friends over and holds a cocktail hour every evening on her verandah, with a different cocktail punctuating each day of the week. Teagan’s first experience of this is margarita night, but there are days for negronis, kir royales, gin and tonics, sangria, martinis and Pimms cocktails.

Vanessa, being exceedingly generous, usually lays out platters of antipasti to go with her drinks. Simple dishes like homemade focaccia, marinated olives, tangy giardiniera, cheese, paté and shaved Parma ham. She also often includes simple dips like pesto and black olive tapenade, the latter of which you can find the recipe for on one of my earlier Friday Feasts.

But with dips you need something to attack them with. Vanessa mostly chooses bread – sliced baguette or, as mentioned, homemade focaccia (recipe here). But as she’s a product of my imagination, I know for a fact that she would also occasionally include sticks of grissini.

If you’re not familiar with grissini, they’re basically slim bread sticks baked until dry and ‘snappy’ and they’re great for poking into dips or wrapping prosciutto around. The best thing is that they’re dead easy to make. Honest! And you can flavour them however you like, with herbs, spices, seasoned salts, whatever takes your fancy.

So next time you’re having a barbie or hosting drinks where there’ll be dippy dishes, why not have a go at your own grissini? They look attractive, plus you can puff out your chest and say you made them and everyone will think you’re very clever, when reality is they took next to no effort.

Grissini

Home-made grissini on Friday Feast  with Cathryn Hein

Makes approximately 25.

2 teaspoons dried yeast

200ml blood temperature water

300g bread flour

1½ teaspoons salt

Preheat oven to 200˚C.

Mix yeast with water and set aside for ten minutes while you measure out the other ingredients and sort your flavourings. If using a breadmaker (which takes out much of the grunt work), add all the ingredients to the pan in this order: water, salt, flour, yeast. Then use the dough setting to mix and prove.

If doing by hand, simply mix the yeast liquid into the stirred together flour and salt and when combined, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. If that sounds too much like hard work and you have a mixmaster with dough hooks, use those. Place the dough in a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave in a draught-free place for an hour to rise.

Slice off small pieces of dough, about the size of your thumb, and using the palms of your hands, roll each piece into a long, straight stick. It should be quite thin, around the size of a pencil. If they’re too thick they won’t dry out properly and give you that satisfying snap, nor will they keep very well.

When you have the right size, roll in whatever flavours you’ve chosen. The ones in the photo were rolled in poppy seeds, thyme and plain polenta. Don’t worry if they look a bit uneven, they’re meant to be rustic!

Lay out on a baking paper covered baking tray and bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden and dried. Cool on a wire rack. Properly made, they’ll store in an air-tight container for a week.

 

I hope you enjoyed this easy recipe and are planning to laze about scoffing dips and grissini with your nose in a copy of The Falls. Sounds lovely, yes?

So here’s a question, what’s your favourite indulgent nibble? Can’t say no to a big bowl of salt and vinegar chips? Or perhaps duck liver pate is your weakness. Maybe you love a bit of retro cheese and kabana on a toothpick.

Please share. We’d all love to hear! And you could inspire someone’s next party.

If you’d like to learn more about The Falls or any of my previous releases, check out my books page on this site. And don’t forget to connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and now on Pinterest! Plus sign up to my newsletter to be the first to hear all the news, receive exclusive content, enter special giveaways and more.

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Nicki Edwards

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Welcome to the food and book magnificence that is Friday Feast! We have a treat for you today: a debut author and Feast virgin! But more on that in a moment…

Prepare yourselves. You may find the news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf a tad startling. Yes, folks, I didn’t play too badly. In fact, so not-too-badly that I lost a stroke off my handicap. I Author Nicki Edwardshaven’t stopped blinking at it since the update came through. Tis a wonder indeed. Naturally, I will now spend the next month not being able to play even close to it. But that’s golf for you!

Enough of that. We have far more important things to discover, like books ‘n food.

This week I’m delighted to introduce Australian author Nicki Edwards to you. Nicki has a brand-spanking new rural romance release out and it looks fabulous. Intensive Care, as the name suggests, has a medical bent and being an Emergency Department nurse, you can trust Nicki to bring real authenticity to the story.

Take a look.

INTENSIVE CARE

Cover of Intensive Care by Nicki EdwardsEscaping to the country was meant to be easy…

On the surface it looks like busy Intensive Care nurse Kate Kennedy has it all: a long-term relationship, a great career and a sleek inner city apartment. But appearances are deceiving, and in one fell swoop everything comes crashing down around her. In a moment of spontaneity, Kate leaves her city life and takes a new role as Nurse Unit Manager at Birrangulla Base Hospital, but her dream move proves harder than expected.

Local café owner Joel O’Connor finds himself increasingly drawn to the gorgeous new nurse, but like Kate, he’s been scarred by love and isn’t looking to jump into anything. Yet their chemistry is hard to deny and after a near fatal incident, Joel and Kate find themselves opening up to one another.

Just when Kate thinks she’s found love again, their fragile relationship is thwarted by their pasts. Can they both let go of their guilt and grief to move on to a bright new future?

Ooh, thwarted love. We do love that in romance land, which makes this a must for your rural romance collection. Intensive Care can be yours right now with just a few clicks. Buy the ebook direct from the publisher Momentum or try Kobo, Amazon.com, Amazon.au, Amazon.uk, iBooks, JB Hi-Fi or Google Play.

All set? Excellent. You may now play with Nicki.

The Secret Ingredient

When Cathryn first emailed and asked me if I’d like to join her on the blog, I said “yes” without thinking. Then I checked out her blog and my heart thudded into my RM William’s boots. You see, I need to share a little secret. Don’t tell anyone (especially not Cathryn), but I despise cooking! I hesitate to say I ‘hate’ it in case that comes across too strongly, so let’s just stick with words like ‘detest’, ‘loathe’ or ‘dislike’! (And yes, I’m aware that they all mean the same thing!) And while I’m airing all my dirty laundry, I have another confession to make – I don’t even own a recipe book! All I have is a spiral bound book full of handwritten recipes I’ve gathered over the Well used recipe book showing Lenore's Muffins recipeyears.

Now that massive weight is off my shoulders I can get on with the business of talking about food, which is what this blog is about! Just because I don’t like cooking, doesn’t mean I can’t do  it. I can actually make an amazing lasagne, have a few sensational chicken meals, and I even have a great kangaroo dish that I make. But my downfall is baking.

My four kids will tell you I can’t bake to save myself. I follow recipes from my mother-in-law and two sisters-in-law (all of them brilliants cooks) and they all fail. Every time. I would sample a chocolate cake, slice or dessert at their house, demand the recipe, go home and attempt it, but it would never work out. In the end, I came to the conclusion that they left out some vitally important ingredient on their handwritten list, on purpose!

One of my friends is incredible when it comes to hospitality and she makes the most amazing white chocolate chip muffins. She told me they are fool proof. Now those words should have been a warning sign. I should have backed away immediately before anyone got hurt. But no, you guessed it. I asked for the recipe which she handed over, scrawled on a scrap of paper. And I went home and attempted to make them. Sadly I have lost how many times I’ve attempted these muffins, but each time I tell myself this will be the day they work out.

A few years ago (yes I have been trying to make these muffins FOR YEARS) I announced proudly to my youngest son Toby that I’d made “Nore’s Muffins”. He was so excited until he bit into one and screwed up his face.

“They don’t taste like Lenore’s,” he said.

My shoulders sagged. I knew he was telling me the truth.

“I just don’t know what Lenore puts into hers to make them work,” I said.

“I know!” Toby stated. “Lenore makes hers with love.”

And that is my problem dear readers. I can cook. But I forget to add the most important secret ingredient. Love. So, on that note, I’d like to share Lenore’s muffins with you. I promise you, if you add love, they will work every time! I’m told they taste great with coffee, but I wouldn’t know as I’m one of those strange people who has never tasted coffee in my life. Which is all the more strange that I would feature a coffee-loving nurse in my debut novel, Intensive Care!

“Made with Love” Muffins

Muffins in the oven, ready to bake

1 cup SR Flour, heaped

1 cup sugar, heaped

3 large tablespoons butter (melted)

½ – ¾ cup of milk

1 tblsp cocoa

2 eggs

¾ pack of White Chocolate chips

Mix

Bake for 15 minutes at 180.

Make yourself a muffin, grab a coffee and have a read. Enjoy!

 

From Intensive Care:

“Hello, love,” the man greeted Kate as she got closer and she blinked in surprise. It was the Irish guy from the elevator! At the sound of his voice a sudden unexpected warmth coursed through her body, traveling down to her toes.

“Oh! Hi.” She grinned.

“What can I get yer today then, love?”

“If you’re still open, I’m in need of a proper coffee.”

“Yeah love, we’re still open. My name’s Joel.” He smiled and his blue eyes twinkled. “Joel O’Connor.” The dimples she remembered formed on each side of his mouth.

“Well, hello there, Joel O’Connor.” She smiled in return. When it was obvious he didn’t recognize her, she felt strangely disappointed. “I’m Kate.”

 “So where are you from then, Kate?” he asked, his bright blue eyes dancing.

Do I have something written across my forehead? How do they know I’m not from around here?

“Sydney,” she replied.

“Well Miss City Chick, I make the best coffee in Birrangulla.” He smiled again, revealing perfectly straight white teeth. “And when I say I make the best coffee, I mean it really is the best coffee. I’ll even bet it tastes better than any coffee you’ve ever tasted from that city of yours.”

“Oh yeah?” she teased him. “How about I let you know once I taste it?” She laughed softly before stopping herself and covering her mouth with her hand. God, it sounded like she was flirting.

“It’s a deal,” he replied.

 

 

Thanks so much, Nicki. And how easy are those muffins? Absolutely no excuse not to make a batch and settle in for a good long read of Intensive Care. The perfect way to spend a lazy afternoon and we Friday Feast readers all know we need more “me” time.

Now, my delicious little Feasty darlings, Nicki has a question for you: If you were to sit down in a café like Bean Counter in Intensive Care, what type of coffee would you order? And if you were to have something to eat with it, would you pick sweet or savory?

Ooh, this is a bit of a tricky one for me, because it depends. Post lunch I’d probably go for an espresso, something to get me through the afternoon. Maybe with something light and sweet, like a macaroon. In the morning I’d more inclined to go for a latte and perhaps something savoury.

What about you, Feasties? Is your penchant for a nice cup of Earl Grey and a shortbread? Or perhaps a hot chocolate matched with a terribly indulgent dessert is more your go, or a lusty long black. Let us know. We’d love to hear!

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

FRIDAY FEAST with Rachael Johns

Friday, Friday tra-la-la-la-la!

Actually, thanks to my darling Sydney Swans succumbing to Fremantle in the AFL Preliminary Final, I’m not feeling all that chirpy. A bit heart-sore, in fact.Author Rachael Johns It would have been so great to make the Grand Final again but my boys should be commended for the amazing effort they put in despite being decimated by injury. Never fear though, we’ll be back even better harder next year.

Speaking of people who should be commended (oh, I kill myself with these segues!), today on Friday Feast I’m thrilled to host my most excellent clever-trousers writing buddy Rachael Johns.

Rach has shot to rural romance writing superstardom thanks to her brilliant books Jilted and Man Drought, and now she has a new one out. Outback Dreams is the first in a loosely related trilogy set in Bunyip Bay and believe me, it’s a cracker.  Plus it has a bonus rural hunk on the cover. Should be more of it!

 

OUTBACK DREAMS

 

Outback Dreams by Rachael JohnsFaith and Monty are both looking for love…but they’re looking in the wrong direction.

Faith Forrester is at a crossroads. Single, thirty and living on a farm in a small Western Australian town, she’s sick of being treated like a kitchen slave by her brother and father. Ten years ago, her mother died of breast cancer, and Faith has been treading water ever since. She wants to get her hands dirty on the family farm. She wants to prove to herself that she’s done something worthwhile with her life. And she wants to find a man…??

For as long as he can remember, Daniel ‘Monty’ Montgomery has been Faith’s best friend. When he was ten, his parents sold the family property and moved to Perth, and ever since, Monty’s dreamed of having his own farm. So for the last ten years, he’s been back on the land, working odd jobs and saving every dollar to put toward his dream. Now he finally has the deposit. But there’s still something missing…??

So when Faith embarks on a mission to raise money for a charity close to her heart, and Monty’s dream property comes on the market, things seem like they are falling into place for them both. Until a drunken night out ends with them sleeping together. Suddenly, the best friends are faced with a new load of challenges…

Monty and Faith are both ready to find a life partner and settle down, but have they both been looking in all the wrong places?

 

Don’t you just LOVE a friends to lovers story? You can own your copy now with just a couple of clicks. Visit that most excellent Platinum ARRC sponsor Booktopia and buy away or try your local bookseller or chain store. You can also purchase Outback Dreams from Kobo. Amazon (for Kindle), Google Play, JB Hi-Fi and iTunes.

Done? Excellent. Now get ready for some crunchy fun with Rachael.

 

DREAMY DELIGHTS

 

It’s so great to be back on my fab friend Cathryn’s AWESOME Friday Feast. I do feel like a bit of a fraud compared to some of the authors who come on here and offer really complicated gourmet recipes. I’m a simple girl at heart and lately that’s been transferring to my cooking. In fact, if I can get away with NOT cooking, I will. Maybe that’s cos my fussy kids have taken the joy out of it, but there is ONE thing I do enjoy doing in the kitchen and that is BAKING cookies and cakes!

Like Faith, the heroine of my latest release, OUTBACK DREAMS, I am a comfort baker. If I’m in a bad mood or sad about something, there is nothing that can fix my emotions faster or better than baking a cake. In OUTBACK DREAMS Faith has a LOT to get grumpy about – mostly men, aren’t they always the problem? – and she does a LOT of baking. There are references to a number of slices, cakes and biscuits throughout the book but one thing that really gets the hero’s heart racing is her famous Custard and White Chocolate Cookies.

OUTBACK DREAMS excerpt:

‘Damn straight,’ he replied, trying to ignore his body’s reaction to yet another physical interaction, which was all about her.

Come on, she barely touched you.

‘Anyway, right now my stomach is crying neglect. Do you have any of your famous custard and white choc-chip cookies in that esky?’

‘I can’t believe you’re hungry already. We’ve barely been on the road half an hour.’ But she was already unclicking her seatbelt. ‘Pull over.’

While Faith retrieved the snacks, Monty drummed his fingers on the steering wheel and brainstormed safe topics of conversation. He’d never had to think about such things with Faith before; come to think of it, he’d never had to with any woman.

She returned moments later with a large Tupperware container and as she peeled back the lid, the familiar aroma filled the cab.

‘Here you go.’ She handed him a cookie and he took the first bite before pulling out onto the road. After he’d finished the mouthful, he said, ‘How are the catering plans coming along for the ball?’

He heard the roll of her eyes in her response. ‘The catering plans?’ She laughed. ‘It’s not all about the food you know.

 

So, today, I’d like to share with you Faith’s incredibly easy but amazingly tasty recipe. The dough and the finished product are of equal brilliance and one batch will never be enough.

FAITH’S CUSTARD AND WHITE CHOCOLATE COOKIES

 Custard and White Chocolate Cookies

Ingredients:

140g butter, softened

175g caster sugar

1 egg

½ tsp vanilla extract

225g self-raising flour

85g custard powder

85g white choc-chips

Method:

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan. Line two baking trays with baking paper.

  1. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowel until light and fluffy – I use an electric mixer, cos who wants wooden spoon hand sprain?
  2. Add the lightly whisked egg and vanilla and mix well.
  3. Sift in the flour and custard powder and mix until a dough is formed.
  4. Throw in the choc chips and worked together by hand.
  5. Form the dough into small balls, place them on the baking tray and then press down lightly. Be sure to leave a gap because they grow J
  6. Bake for 10-15 mins until golden. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
  7. Try not to scoff the whole batch in one go!

I hope some of you will have a go at this splendidly easy and delicious recipe!! In the meantime, do tell me what YOUR favourite cookie is!

 

Thanks, Rach. Those biscuits (sorry, the Aussie snob in me can’t bring myself to call them cookies) sound completely delish. Just imagine, if I stuffed them with red Smarties, they’d be celebratory Sydney Swans biccies!

Now listen-up, Feasters. Because Rachael is kind and generous and lovely, she’s offering a print copy of Outback Dreams to one lucky commenter. All you have to do is share your favourite biscuit and we’ll put you in the draw.

Maybe you’re an ANZAC biscuit fiend. Perhaps Tim-Tams are your go. Or maybe you’re a secret Iced Vo-Vo connoisseur.  Simply share your biccie (or cookie!) love and you could win.

But get in fast. Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday, 1st October 2013 AEST. Open to Australian postal addresses only.

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

 

FRIDAY FEAST with MJ Scott

Happy Friday, Feasters! Have you finished cheer, cheering the red and the white yet? I know I haven’t. My beloved Swans’ club song has been ringing joyously in my ears all week. Ahh, the Sydney Swans winning the AFL Grand Final. Now that’s what I call a fantasy come true.

Speaking of fantasy (Enjoy that segue? Perfect way to sneak in a mention of my footy team I thought), at Friday Feast we understand how important it is to keep our horizons broad, so this week we’re spinning off to another realm with Australian author MJ Scott.

MJ Scott’s first novel in the Half-Light City series, Shadow Kin, was a 2011 Australian Romance Reader Award finalist. The second, Blood Kin, released in June this year to excellent reviews, including this one from Seeing Night Reviews:

“Blood Kin had everything I love about Urban Fantasies, kick butt action, fantastic characters, romance that makes the heart beat fast and a plot that was fast paced all the way through. Even more so the villains are meaner, stronger and downright fantastic, I never knew what they were going to do next. You don’t want to miss out on this series!”

BLOOD KIN

 

Imagine a city divided. A city where human and Fae magic rests uneasily next to the vampire Blood and the shapeshifting Beasts. A city where a fragile peace is brokered by a treaty that set the laws for all four races…a treaty that is faltering day by day.

I didn’t plan on becoming a thief and a spy. But options are limited for the half-breed daughter of a Fae lord. My father abandoned me but at least I inherited some of his magic, and my skills with charms and glamours mean that few are as good at uncovering secrets others wish to hide. Right now the city has many secrets. And those who seek them pay so well…

I never expected to stumble across a Templar Knight in my part of the city. Guy DuCaine is sworn to duty and honor and loyalty—all the things I’m not. I may have aroused more than his suspicion but he belongs to the Order and the human world. So when treachery and violence spill threaten both our worlds, learning to trust each other might be the only thing that saves us.

But even if a spy and a holy knight can work together, finding the key to peace is never going to be easy…

 

Humans, Fae, a Templar knight, shapeshifting beasts, treachery, how cool does that sound? Very, which I why I’m sure you want to buy yourself a copy right now. You know the drill, clickety-click on over to Amazon, Booktopia or the Bookdepository for the print copy and for the ebook, try Amazon (Kindle), Kobo, or discover a full list of retailers on MJ’s website.

And now here’s MJ.

 

It’s in the genes…

Thanks, Cathryn, for inviting me.  Love a good chat about food!

My grandfather was a baker.  Up at ungodly hours of the morning making bread and biscuits and cakes and all the good things his bakery sold.  Sadly he died when I was small, so I don’t have many memories of his actual food and I definitely didn’t inherit his ability to be up before the sun rises but I definitely got his baking bug.

Luckily my mum was a firm believer in letting kids help in the kitchen so I was pretty young when I first learned how to stir cake batter or sift flour or beat eggs.  The yen for baking has never left me since that time.  Give me a recipe with flour and sugars and butter and eggs and I’m happy. Through in chocolate or cinnamon then I’m in heaven. I also like making bread though that’s for when I’m in the mood for something more involved.

Being a baker, I tend to snoop on other people’s recipes and collect them.  My recipe book is full of things titled “So and so’s cookies” or “X’s birthday cake”.  Now, I can’t claim that any of my fantasy heroines are domesticated enough to be bakers but none of them would turn down a sweet treat…so if they did cook, they’d turn to something quick and indulgent.  So in that spirit, I present a recipe that was long ago wheedled out of one of my friend’s mums, who used to make it for birthday parties.  It’s chocolatey and easy to make and pretty fool-proof. It’s not entirely instant gratification because it has to set. Licking the spoon after scraping the bowl is, of course, mandatory because that’s half the fun of baking….seriously, I had a cookery teacher at school who used to tell us not to taste as we cooked…terrible advice…taste away, lick those beaters and enjoy.  This is a recipe that can be tweaked to suit your tastes, so feel free to experiment…some tips at the end.

 

Mrs. S’s Wonderful Hedgehog

250g butter

500g caster sugar (two cups)

2 dessert spoons of cocoa (you can increase a bit if you like it very chocolate-y)

2 eggs, beaten

375g Marie biscuits (or other plain digestive style biscuits)

A few drops of vanilla essence (if using real vanilla essence, be sparing)

Melt the butter in a large heavy bottomed saucepan.  Remove from heat and leave for 10 minutes.  While the butter is cooling, crush the biscuits.  I do this in two batches in a food processor, one batch (about 2/3s) I whiz up very fine and the second batch I leave chunkier as I like biscuit chunks in my hedgehog. Please yourself.

Once butter has cooled, add the sugar and cocoa and mix then add the eggs. Return to a low heat and stir until tiny bubbles start to form on the surface (don’t boil it, you just want it at the point where it starts to go a bit shiny and the sugar crystals have dissolved aka the mixture is smooth on your tongue if you taste a bit).

Remove from heat and add the biscuits.  Stir to combine.  Pour into a greased or baking paper lined slice tin and refrigerate until set.  Some people like to add a cup of choc chips to the top before setting. Once set, remove from tin, ice with your favourite chocolate icing (or not) and cut into chunks about two inches by an inch.

Serve and watch it disappear.

Variations:

Add a handful of sultanas or chopped nuts at the adding biscuit stage.

Add a bit of cinnamon

Top with other sorts of chopped up chocolate like peppermint crisp

Use a different biscuit type…probably anything that would work in a cheesecake base would work in this.

 

HEDGEHOG!!!! How’s that for a blast from the past? I haven’t had any of that chocolatey-biscuity scrumptiousness for years, which is really very remiss because I’m sure it’s good for me.

Speaking of good (ha! I’m on fire with the segues), what’s the best recipe you’ve ever “borrowed” off someone. Mrs Coghlan’s lemon butter recipe has to be right up there for me, along with my mother-in-law’s ANZAC biccies. We all have them so why not admit yours? Go on, it’ll be cathartic!

Now if you’d like to learn more about MJ Scott and her fabulous fantasies (the book ones, not her…er…others) then please visit her website. You can also connect via her blog, Facebook and Twitter.