Tag Archives: banana recipes

FRIDAY FEAST with Shona Husk

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Hello, foodie-reader people! Welcome once again to the deliciousness that is Friday Feast. And what healthy little beasties we’re going to be today. There’s a pancake recipe that will sweeten up any breakfast, plus an amazing new paranormal romance to lose yourself in. How’s that for the perfect way to start your weekend off.

But first, the cringeworthy update that is Us Heins Weren’t Mean To Play Golf. The rot has well and truly set in. Shots were duffed. Balls were bulleted into dams. Swearwords were said. A head was hung in shame. On a good note, I guess the only way is up!

Author Shona HuskSpeaking of good notes (oh, I am the segue QUEEN!), our guest today is Friday Feast regular and multi-romance genre author Shona Husk (she of the Toblerone Brownies, which I made a batch of last week and nearly passed out from chocolate overdose after eating). Shona has a new book out in the brilliant Court of Annwyn series and it sounds a beauty, with spies and fairies and powerplays and, of course, that thing that makes good books even better, romance.

Take a look…

THE DARKLING LORD

The Darkling Lord by Shona HuskA darkling with a lust for power…

Henry Saint shouldn’t exist. Every year on his birthday, he kills someone and takes their soul so that he may live another year. He is a darkling, not fairy… but not human either. Yet he is bound by the laws of both worlds. With a new King on the throne of Annwyn and the mortal world trying to rebuild after plagues killed so many, Henry seizes the opportunity to carve out a place of his own. He wants Detroit.

A spy without a soul…

Darah was Felan’s spy before he became King of Annwyn. Now he has one last mission for her. He wants her to join the darkling’s Court and discover what Henry’s endgame is. No one trusts the Banished when they gather in great numbers. As Darah gets drawn into Henry’s world she realizes he can give her the one thing she could never find in Annwyn—love. But is love worth betraying her King?

Far out, that sounds exciting and you’ll in the capable hands of a skilled storyteller with The Darkling Lord, so why not buy it today?  Try amazon.comKobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, or your favourite ebook retailer. And while you’re clicking about, add The Darkling Lord to your Goodreads shelf and give everyone else the heads-up about this cracking book.

Right. Now let’s get healthy with Shona. A woman who knows her way with chocolate…

Breakfast Made Extra Delicious!

For the last quarter of 2014 I had to go gluten and dairy free. It was extremely unfun (yes, I know it’s not a word but it should be). When you read labels you quickly realize that gluten and dairy are in everything. Coconut milk power…includes dairy. Gluten…where isn’t it?

So I did a bit of research and tried to find new things to eat. Breakfast was the big one for me because I liked fruit salad with yoghurt or porridge (when it’s made with water it’s just gruel) or cereal.

Fortunately the internet is wondrous and I discovered quinoa with apple and sultanas and walnuts and honey. Yum!

Then I found these. Chocolate chip oatmeal cookie pancakes by the Minimalist Baker.

These pancakes are so delish as long as you don’t go into them expecting light and fluffy, or thin and crepe like. These are chunky and full of awesome.

Recipes are just a guideline and we have giant bananas at the moment so click the link for the original or check out my slightly altered version (because I’m lazy and I use what’s in the cupboard).

Shona’s Choc Chip & Rolled Oat Pancakes

In a bowl put 1 banana, 1 egg, 1 tbsp peanut butter (crunchy, smooth, whatever is handy), 1 tbsp coconut oil, dash of vanilla and cinnamon (cloves and nutmeg too if you feel like it). Give it a whisk until smooshy.

Toss in 2/3 cup of rolled oats and ¼ cup gf flour and 1tsp baking powder. Whisk. It should be quite thick. Add ~80ml water (I ran out of oat milk one day and decided water would be fine. It totally was).

Let the mix sit for 10 mins. So go and get dressed, tell the kids to get dressed, feed the cat etc…

Stir the mix add a splash more water if it’s thickened up a lot. It should be gloopy not runny. Add 3 tablespoons of choc chips (throw in what looks like the right amount because who really measures chocolate?)

Blob mixture onto the frying pan. Don’t try for big pancakes, think pikelet size. Flip and then serve with nutlex and maple syrup and fruit (oranges, berries and pears go really well).

If your kids aren’t snarfing them down these will keep in the fridge for a couple of days once cooked so you can enjoy them for breakfast tomorrow without the fuss of cooking them.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do…the Minimalist Baker has lots of other yummy recipes for the gf and df. I no longer have to be as strict which makes going out a whole lot easier but at home I try and avoid them still.

And while you enjoy choc chip pancakes check out The Darkling Lord for some paranormal romance with spies and fairies.

 

Honestly, Shona, you are the queen of healthy cooking with chocolate! These sound great and I love the idea whipping up an batch and keeping them in the fridge to have later. That’s very handy, especially for when you’re running late. And because they’re only pikelet sized, these pancakes would be perfect to munch on while reading The Darkling Lord!

If you’d like to learn more about Shona and her edgy romances, including the Shadowlands and Court of Annwyn series, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Twitter using @ShonaHusk, or sign up to her newsletter to keep up to date with new releases and more.

FRIDAY FEAST with Ros Baxter

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Greetings Feasty lovelies, and welcome to the final Friday Feast of the year! Yes, I know, it’s very sad but a girl needs a break and never fear, Friday Feast will return at the end of January for another year of fabulous authors and foodie tales.

This week we’re featuring sexy science fiction and Christmas mocktails but first, news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. You are not going to believe this, but last Friday I won the Ros Baxter romance authorladies Christmas party competition. Wonders never cease! It was back to normal on the weekend though with the usual stuffuppery, but I’ll take whatever fleeting glory I can.

Now to our most excellent guest. Please give a big cheer to Australian romance author Ros Baxter who is making her Friday Feast debut today. Ros is a Brisbane girl who writes across genres, from sci-fi and fantasy to contemporary. Her stories are loaded with feisty heroines, quirky families and heroes to sigh over.

Ros’s latest release is The Seek, the first in her New Earth sci-fi romance series. Take a look…

THE SEEK

The Seek by Ros BaxterWhen everything else is gone, all that’s left is blood.  And hope.

The year is 2098, and the people of New Earth have been homeless for seventeen years.

Ruled by a mysterious Council, and adrift in a fleet of space stations, their sole mission is to survive long enough to find a new home. They call it The Seek.

Kyntura is the first and only female Avenger – one of the secret, separate elite who stand on the frontline between the refugees of Earth and a universe that would do them harm. For Kyn, fight and pain are the only things that drive out memories of the Apocalypse, and of the boy she left behind when she enlisted.

But a young recruit called Mirren and a deadly mission will bring her face to face with all she has tried to forget.

As she leads a squad of Avengers in The Seek, Kyntura must face her demons, join forces with the boy whose heart she broke a decade before, and confront the truth about New Earth.

Now that’s sounds exciting! Perfect for holiday reading. The Seek is available right now from Booktopia, Angus & RobertsonKobo,  iBooks, Google Play, amazon.com, amazon.au, amazon.uk, JB Hi-Fi, Nook, Bookworld or your favourite ebook retailer.

All loaded up? Most excellent. Please give a festive welcome to Ros…

Cheeky Mocktails

So, I’m more than a little intimidated being on Cathryn’s food blog, given that I consider myself a bit of a food faker (my sister calls it food assembler – that is, you take pre-made stuff and arrange it artfully).  But I’m also excited to be here too because, after all, who hasn’t faked something? Thanks for having me Cathryn.

Right now I’m in a bit of a bind, food-wise.  School holidays have just begun, and so I should be mining my repertoire of kiddy recipes, but my head is all full of less than g-rated food thinking, as a result of scenes like this from The Seek.

Finally, they stopped and he positioned himself behind her again. ‘Are you ready?’ His voice was deep and growly behind her and she had that sense again — that he had gone and turned into a man when she wasn’t looking.

‘Ready,’ she said, feeling her tummy contract. She really didn’t like surprises.

He gently lifted the blindfold, and when it was gone Kyn saw what he had done. They were somewhere on the ship, she could see that, but she had no idea where. A massive perspete viewing window dominated her vision, and laid out before it was some kind of deep space picnic. A largish square of what looked like grass took pride of place.

He saw her staring at it. ‘Tabi helped.’ He shrugged. ‘Trainee explorers get access to the specimens. It’s real; feel it.’

She knelt down and touched the grass, and he was right. It was cool and slightly damp. He shrugged again. ‘I wanted it to have that after-rain smell,’ he said.

On the grass a picnic rug was laid — red checks and all. And a meal — the usual, processed fare with some crackers, and…Kyn’s breath caught. ‘Dom Perignon?’

‘Hey,’ he said, smiling broadly at her. ‘You only turn eighteen once.’

‘But where..?’

He put a finger to his lips. ‘I have my sources.’

He motioned for her to sit, and she did. Then he reached into a small basket in the very centre and pulled out a brightly wrapped box. ‘For you, Kyntura,’ he said, and the way he was looking at her and the sound of his voice told her he wasn’t thinking of her as his best friend, not even maybe his friend. Something else entirely.

She opened the gift speechlessly. ‘It’s an orange,’ he said, as she stared at the thing inside. ‘Tabi’s worked out how to grow them, from some DNA she found.’

Kyn held it up — it was bright orange perfection, its dimpled skin a promise of summer sweetness.

‘Symon,’ she said slowly, turning the thing around in the dim light. ‘You are so sweet.’

‘No, I’m not, Chickita,’ he said, leaning forward and capturing her mouth in his. He drew back a little. ‘I’m not sweet at all. In fact, lately, every time I look at you, I feel far, far from sweet.’ His mouth pressed hard against hers, and his lips were warm and firm and hard and soft. His tongue pushed inside her mouth, lighting a fire in Kyn’s belly and making her moan a little, low in her throat.

‘Me too,’ she said, wondering vaguely why it didn’t even occur to her to play it cool.

She tried hard to remind herself that she was going tomorrow, that she should not be doing this, that she should be doing anything but this. But he was kissing her and winding his hands in her hair and she couldn’t think.

She could only act.

Symon pushed her down onto the rug and feathered kisses over her face, her neck and her ears. He whispered to her of the desire he had for her, how it had been growing, how he had wanted tonight to be so special, but it had been so hard to keep himself from kissing her that he’d had to stay away.

Neither of them were in any mood to take it slow. Symon was fumbling with her top as she tore at his. In seconds, he was naked beside her and she marvelled at the beauty of him. She had seen him naked when they’d been kids, but not for a long time, she realised. Her eyes slid to his sex and widened. Not for a long, long time.

He dispensed with her top in seconds and his head lowered to her breasts. ‘Oh, Kyntura,’ he breathed. ‘You are so perfect.’

And she felt it.

Except for the fact that she knew she should be telling him tomorrow she would leave, and never come back. She would be an Avenger. But she couldn’t — it would blow the lid off everything.

And Pietr.

Pietr would never forgive her.

She knew it was bad, knew it was so, so wrong but she just wanted to have this, take it, just this one little thing.

When he took her, it was like a piece of her that had been missing for seven years found its way home. Like she remembered who she was. This girl. This girl, capable of love and warmth, and having something beautiful. She opened herself to him willingly and wholly. She held the side of his face as he pushed into her, trying to imprint the outline of him on her brain.

Her Symon.

Her man.

Her first love.

Sigh.  I love those two.

Now, where was I? Ah, yes, kids and Christmas and school holidays.  Enough to drive any of us to drink, which is maybe why when I was thinking about which recipe to share I decided on this one, because it’s a sad fact that when you’re sharing a festive drink with friends or family, and your kids see you with those colourful, saucy-looking cocktails, they’re going to want one too.

I developed this mocktail recipe to assuage their appetite for “pretty” drinks while ensuring I keep the Social Services wolf from the door.

The only thing you really need for this is frozen banana – but I recommend you always keep a few frozen bananas in the freezer anyway.  They’re like WD40 – you can use them for everything. Use those ones that are kind of at the end of the bunch and the kids have lost interest in.  Freeze them in ziplock bags and use them for smoothies and banana bread. Or….cheeky mocktails. The beauty of using frozen banana is that you don’t need ice-cream – they kind of ice-creamify once blended.

Christmas Baby Mocktails

What do you need?

Two frozen bananas (see note above)

Two tablespoons of Greek yoghurt

Two teaspoons of honey

A sploodge (technical term) of vanilla (essence/extra/pod-scrapings/whatever)

100mls of coconut milk

A splash of whatever milk your family rocks with

A teaspoon of coconut shavings

A couple of squares of dark chocolate

A cocktail umbrella

kidsWhat do you need to do?

Tell all the children having a mocktail to go and change into their swimmers and grab a beach towel.

Here’s a pic of two of my little budding Olympians eyeing off Emily Seebohm’s medal.

Stick all ingredients except chocolate and coconut shavings in the blender, whir it up til its smoothie consistency – add more banana, yoghurt or milk depending on preferred thickness .

Pour the mocktail into a tall, shapely glass.

Grate the chocolate and sprinkle it over the top.

Sprinkle coconut shavings on the top also.

AND (this bit is very important) add the umbrella (otherwise they might feel ripped off and try to taste yours, which you really, really don’t want them to do if you are as heavy-handed with the Christmas cocktails as I am!

Tell the children to go outside and lie on their beach towels with their mocktails – double bonus points if there’s a pool for them to lie besides.  Otherwise, that’s what kids have imaginations for.

Ros Baxter saying cheersCheers!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas, and remember to eat at least as much as you drink (rumballs don’t count) and never sit on a strange man’s lap even if he claims to be Santa Claus (we’ve all been fooled by that one).

Another key Christmas food survival tip I’ve learned is to use the slow cooker so you can make meals at breakfast-time and enjoy the rest of the day with your loved ones.  Otherwise, hire a caterer, bribe the kids to pass around platters, get drunk and boss your husband around. Happy holidays!

 

Great tips there, Ros. As for those mocktails, a dash of something naughty for us adults and this could easily be converted into a grown-ups drink. A healthy one too, with all that fruit. These things are important…

So, my Feasty lovelies, what’s your favourite cocktail or mocktail? I must admit that I’m not much of a cocktail girl but I am partial to a nice caprioska or mai tai. Very refreshing when it’s hot. So what about you?  Any ideas for some Christmas indulgences would be greatly appreciated. After all, ’tis the season to be jolly!

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

FRIDAY FEAST with Alissa Callen

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As you know, I’m always thrilled to introduce new authors on Friday Feast. It never ceases to amaze me how much talent we have in Australia, especially in the romance writing community, and I want everyone to know and Author Alissa Callen relaxing with a bookcelebrate it too.

This week I’m delighted to present Alissa Callen who has had a fabulous start to 2013 by releasing not one, but two novels, both of which have received wonderful reviews. January saw the release of What Love Sounds Like, followed closely in February with her captivating rural romance, Beneath Outback Skies. Talk about hitting the ground running.

Alissa is a farm girl who, after living overseas, now calls the central west of N.S.W. home and where life is kept very busy with four children, three dogs, two horses and a renegade cow.

Alissa also runs a great Facebook page called Books For Country Girls and Guys. If you’re a fan of rural romance, this page is not to be missed.

I have no doubt we’ll be hearing a lot more from Alissa in the future. In the meantime, take a look at Beneath Outback Skies. Love that cover!

 

BENEATH OUTBACK SKIES

 

Book cover of Beneath Outback Skies by Alissa CallenPaige Quinn will let nothing and no one distract her from caring for her wheelchair-bound father, Connor, and fighting for her remote, drought-stricken property, Banora Downs. Least of all a surprise farm-stay guest named Tait Cavanaugh, whose smooth words are as lethal as his movie-star smile. Except Paige can’t help noticing that, for a city-boy, Tait seems unexpectedly at home on the land. And he does ask a lot of questions…It doesn’t matter how much he helps out or how much laughter he brings into her life, she soon suspects he is harbouring a big secret – the real reason he has come to Banora Downs…

 

How cool does that sound! And the ebook can be yours in just a few clickety-clicks. Try Kobo, JB Hi-Fi, Google Play, Amazon (for Kindle), and iTunes. You can also find a list of retailers at publisher Random House.

Now grab yourself a napkin (you’ll need it to wipe up your drools) and enjoy Alissa!

 

Friday Afternoon Tea Feast with Alissa Callen

 

It’s no secret I’ve a sweet tooth. It’s also no secret I read the desert menu first to know how much room to leave. So it’s no surprise my Friday feast recipes require chocolate.

I blame living in America for my obsession with chocolate chip cookies (and with Reese’s peanut butter cups – but that’s another story) and over the years have accrued a collection of recipes. This particular cookie recipe uses condensed milk which results in a decadent and creamy dough that is a treat within itself.

Chocolate chip cookie dough mixture

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

250 gm melted butter

2/3 cup sugar

1 tin condensed milk (I use condensed skim-milk)

3 1/2 cups of SR flour

250 gm chocolate chips (white, milk, dark, caramel or a combination)

Mix all ingredients in bowl by hand. Roll into small balls and press onto a greased or paper lined tray. Cook in an 180C oven until slightly golden. Left over mixture will thicken so cover bowl with tea towel or plate to prevent dough from drying out.

Afternoon tea with baked chocolate chip cookies

Another family afternoon tea favourite that again involves chocolate is banana and chocolate chip muffins. Packed with banana, cinnamon, egg and milk and with a reduced sugar content they are more nice than naughty.

Banana and Chocolate Chip muffins

1 ½ cups SR flour

¼ tsp bicarb of soda

½ tsp cinnamon

½ cup brown sugar

1 ripe mashed banana

100gm chocolate chips (white, milk, dark, caramel or a combination)

¼ cup vegetable oil

¾ cup milk

1 egg

Sift SR flour, bicarb of soda and cinnamon into bowl. Add brown sugar. Or just throw all 4 dry ingredients into food processor. Add rest of ingredients and stir until just combined. If using food processer add everything but chocolate chips. Add them in at end and stir by hand.

Spoon into greased or paper lined muffin tin. Bake in a hot oven 210C until golden.

A display of banana and choc chip muffins

Happy baking 🙂

 

Ha! I told you that you’d need that napkin to mop up your drools. Don’t those muffins and biscuits look amazing? Just the thing to satisfy an afternoon hunger.

Thanks so much, Alissa. Wonderful post.

Now, lovely Feasters, what is your all-time favourite afternoon tea treat? Are you a humble scone lover? Perhaps a brownie is your go (check out the Friday Feast index for some seriously decadent recipes), or maybe you prefer a delicate cucumber sandwich or smoked salmon blini. Let us know. Curious minds are, well, curious!

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