Tag Archives: Beef Stew

FRIDAY FEAST with Michelle Douglas

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Greetings dumplings, and welcome to another delectable edition of Friday Feast. This week we have wine, babies, and beef. Although not in the same recipe, as I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know.

First, the frustration that is Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. Bad. Very, very bad is all I can say about my game at the moment. I even tried marking my balls with bright blue love hearts in the faint hope it might amuse Oh, Great Golfing God, but no. Recent form has proven that it only made him crankypants. However the weather has been glorious and the company enjoyable, and, really, when one is playing this atrociously the only way is up!

Michelle Douglas authorAs much as I would like to move on to the wine bit of this week’s Feast, the baby must come first. My guest is the ever-delightful Michelle Douglas, who received her first rejection letter at the age of eight for Keri the Koala Baby.

Michelle has since moved on from koalas but not necessarily babies, and is now a multi-published author writing for Harlequin’s Romance line. Her latest is Reunited By A Baby Secret, part of the Vineyards of Calanetti continuity and a guaranteed heart-tugger. Check it out.

REUNITED BY A BABY SECRET

Reunited By A Baby Secret coverShe’s back in Calanetti…

After a vacation in paradise, Marianna Amatucci returned to her family vineyard determined to make a fresh start. But her plans changed in an instant when two blue lines on a pregnancy test reveal she’d returned home with a souvenir!

When she finds the father, Ryan White, he’s nothing like the laid-back surfer she met on the beach. In a tailored suit, he oozes masculine authority, and he’s staying in the penthouse! What will walking into his high-flying corporate world mean for their baby…?

Did you hear that, my lovelies? Vineyards! A baby! A sexy hero! Just what you need to give a smile, a sigh and maybe even a little tear. And Reunited By A Baby Secret can be yours right now with a mere click. Buy from Booktopia, BookdepositoryAmazon, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play or your favourite book retailer.

All set? Good. Now feel free to get beefy!

Fine Vines

To be visiting Cathryn today and talking about wine does seem rather appropriate. Not that I mean to be telling tales outside of school or anything, but Cathryn and I do seem to find ourselves in the bar together on a rather regular basis at RWAust and ARRA conferences. 🙂

Authors enjoying a tipple

Wine has been on my mind quite a bit recently because my latest release REUNITED BY A BABY SECRET is set in the rolling green hills of Tuscan wine country, and my heroine is a viticulturist. Mind you, Marianna is pregnant so wine tasting is out for her, but it wasn’t for me. And, naturally, a girl has to provide due diligence and perform appropriate research. So off to the Hunter Valley I went to look at vineyards and taste wines. I discovered two things:

  1. Wine country is gloriously beautiful regardless of what part of the world you’re in.
  2. One shouldn’t wine taste at 11 o’clock in the morning if they haven’t had breakfast. 😉

So, in honour of all things wine-related, I thought I’d share one of my favourite recipes with you. This, amazingly enough for me, is ludicrously healthy. It’s also incredibly simple. And despite what the photo looks like (I’m terrible at taking pretty pictures of food) it’s utterly delish.

Beef in Red Wine

Beef and red wine casserole

Place the following ingredients into a nice big pot: ½ kilo of diced beef, two diced onions, two large sliced carrots, 2 sliced sticks of celery, a diced green capsicum, 200g sliced mushrooms, a clove or two of crushed garlic, a can of tomato puree (415ml), a teaspoon of Italian herbs, a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, and ½ cup of red wine.

Bring it all to the boil and then cook on low, covered for 90 mins.

My favourite way to eat this is with mashed potatoes and green beans. But crusty bread is perfect with it too. Pasta would work as well. Also, it’s a forgiving recipe. I’ve made it with one onion rather than two, and when I haven’t had a green capsicum on hand I’ve used a zucchini to fine effect, so feel free to mess about with the ingredients. Enjoy!

Thanks for having me to visit, Cathryn! I always love hanging out with you (whether wine is involved or not).

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A pleasure to host you, Michelle! Your casserole sounds beautiful and just the thing to enjoy with a glass (or two) of Hunter shiraz. Then a nice relax with Reunited By A Baby Secret and a very pleasant evening is to be had.

Okay, food lovers, what would you serve with Michelle’s casserole, or a casserole like it?

I love the idea of crunchy green beans but we do adore our bread and would probably have a nice crusty loaf on the side to mop up all that tasty gravy. What about you? Share away!

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

Friday Feast recipe index link.

FRIDAY FEAST with Lisa Ireland

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Hello, Feasty lovelies. I hope today finds you warm and dry and not turned into an icicle. But if you are, never fear because Friday Feast is bound to warm those cockles! This week we venture back to the country with our favourite genre, rural romance. Plus we have a beautiful winter stew recipe and the chance to win a signed copy of our feature book. Read on!

I suppose you want to hear Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news? No? Excellent, because I don’t really feel like discussing it. The only good tiding is that I didn’t finish last in the comp, Author Lisa Irelandalthough I deserved to. Lovely weather though, once the sun came out. Maybe next week I’ll have something positive to say. We can only hope…

Now to the real reason your here: books, food and lovely authors!

This week’s guest is rural romance author Lisa Ireland. Lisa’s debut novel Breaking The Drought was an instant hit. Understandably too. Everyone loves a city girl goes to the country story and having experienced such a move herself, Lisa knows exactly how it feels. Her second novel is Feels Like Home and looks and sounds a stunner. Check it out.

FEELS LIKE HOME

Feels Like Home by Lisa IrelandLisa Ireland, a brilliant new voice in rural romance, invites you to Linden Gully and the wedding of the year… 



When celebrity novelist Johanna Morgan surprises everyone by arriving back in Linden Gully three weeks early for her best friend’s wedding, she’s shocked to find her ex-boyfriend Ryan Galloway is back too and well-integrated in the community as the local vet. 



Jo’s maid-of-honour duties are not the only thing that’s brought her home. The family homestead of Yarrapinga is now her responsibility, and Jo needs to decide whether to keep it – and replace old memories with new ones – or sell it and cut off all ties to her childhood and her home. 



Ryan has brought his young daughter home to Linden Gully to provide stability after the death of her mother. The last thing he needs is Jo’s return, and all of the emotional turmoil that she brings with her. 



Thrown together as attendants at their best friends’ wedding, Jo and Ryan have no choice but to grin and bear all the tension. But it’s not only resentment lingering between them. The attraction is still there, and the heat and the memories. 



They say you can’t come home again, but maybe, for Jo and Ryan, home is not just a place, but a state of the heart.

Doesn’t that sound fun? Wedding stories are great. You can have this one with just a few clicks. Visit Booktopia, Bookworld or Angus & Roberston. Or try Fishpond, QBD the Bookshop, Amazon.au, Amazon.com, Amazon.uk, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, Nook, All Romance eBooks, JB Hi-Fi or your favourite retailer.

Set? Good. Now come get lovely and warm with Lisa.

Take Me Home, Country … Stew

Recently I received an invitation that got me reminiscing about my childhood home. The invitation was from Wyndham City Council, who asked if I’d like to hold the launch of Feels Like Home in their Werribee CBD Library.

I grew up in Werribee. These days it’s a fast growing outer western suburb of Melbourne, but when I was little it was a small country town. There was one main street with all the shops, everybody in town knew each other, and there were as many sheep in the municipality as there were people, if not more.

The idea of going back to my hometown for the launch has brought back many happy memories of my time there. I find myself thinking back to days building cubbies in the paddocks near my house, tadpoling in puddles at the base of the no-longer-existent “Sandy Hills” and of happy times spent at the dining table of my family home.

My father insisted the evening meal was eaten at the dining table every night. The TV was off and we talked about our day. I can remember thinking this was the most tedious thing on earth when I was a teenager, but now looking back, some of my fondest memories involve meals at that table. Now I make my kids sit at the table for dinner each night. I’m sure they’ll thank me for it … eventually!

There are certain foods that take me back to that happy time: Lamb Shank and Pearl Barley Soup (my Nana’s recipe, but Mum always made the nicest version – one that I simply cannot replicate no matter how hard I try!; Pavlova – once again a delicacy that only Mum could make perfectly; and Nana’s Perfect Sponge Cake – I won’t even attempt that one.

But there is one family recipe that I excel at. I am no cook, but this is a recipe that is impossible to mess up. It’s Mum’s Beef and Winter Veggie Stew. Being a fan of simplicity I’ve adapted it to work in my slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Beef and Winter Veggie Stew

(Serves 4-5)

Slow Cooker Beef and Winter Veggie Stew

Ingredients:

500 grams diced beef (use a cheap cut – you’re slow cooking it so no need to spend a fortune!

2  – 3 medium carrots sliced

2 medium parsnips sliced

1 small sweet potato diced into 1 cm cubes

Gravy (more on this later!)

Method:

  1. Turn on slow cooker to allow it to warm before adding ingredients.
  2. Add all the vegetables to the low cooker – carrots on the bottom (as these take the longest to cook.)Layering veg in slow cooker
  3. Brown the beef in a frying pan. Add to slow cooker, but reserve the pan juices to use in the gravy (if desired.)Browned beef added to cooker
  4. Make gravy.

You need two cups of thick gravy for this dish. There are endless methods to make gravy so choose whichever method works best for you. Here’s my method:

Mix 3 tablespoons of gravy powder into 2 cups of beef stock. Pour into frying pan containing reserved juices from beef. Cook over a low heat, stirring constantly until gravy thickens.Making the gravy

  1. Pour gravy over ingredients already added to slow cooker.Stew ready for cooking

Cook for 4 hours on High or 6-7 hours on Low (times may vary depending on your slow cooker.)

Voila! You are done!

Serve with sides of mashed potatoes and steamed green beans.

I’d love to hear about your family recipes. What are the dishes that remind you of home? Tell me in the comments for the chance to win a signed copy of Feels Like Home.

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Thanks, Lisa. Slow cooker recipes are beloved by many (especially authors so they can spend more time writing), and this sounds delicious and easy. Not to mention ideal for the woolly weather we’ve been experiencing.

But did you hear that, readers? Lisa is offering you a…

GIVEAWAY!

Yes, for your chance to win a signed copy of Lisa’s brand spanking new rural romance, Feels Like Home, simply share which dishes remind you of home.

Easy for me. My mum’s pea and ham soup was a winter wonder in our house. Perfect for slurping with buttered toast after a morning spent outside freezing on the hockey field or riding. Mum, bless her, really hated cooking but that soup was special.

What about you? What special dish makes you feel like home? Share and you’ll go into the draw.

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 21st Juky 2015. Australian postal addresses only.

If you’d like to learn more about Lisa and her book, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter using @LisaIreland66.

And while you’re thinking about the dish that reminds you of home, why not have a look at Lisa’s trailer for the book. It’s lovely!

Friday Feast recipe index link.

FRIDAY FEAST with Louise Reynolds

Feeling a bit puffed up and pleased here on Friday Feast this week. A huge crop of talented debut Australian authors is hitting the reading market and many of them are booked in for Friday Feast sessions. Wonderful authors with even more wonderful books, and an overload of food and travel fun – what a year 2013 is going to be!LReynolds1012_0059

Today I’m delighted to introduce contemporary romance author Louise Reynolds, and not just because I know she’s a dedicated foodie who knows all the best providores in Melbourne. No, this talented lady also writes rich romances about modern women finding love with their perfect hero. And she’s a lovely person too. In other words, the total package!

Louise’s debut release is Her Italian Aristocrat, and who doesn’t want one of those!

 

HER ITALIAN ARISTOCRAT

 

Her Italian Aristocrat coverOn a mission to buy a prestigious shoe company, Australian career girl, Gemma Parkinson, arrives in Italy determined to succeed. But when she falls ill, effortlessly handsome local aristocrat, Luca Andretti, is on hand. Suspicious about Gemma’s presence in his town, he offers to let her recuperate in his amazing palazzo. Surrounded by the lavish trappings of the rich – servants, designer clothes, fine food and wine – Gemma is completely out of her depth.

Intent on saving the town’s local industry, Brunelli Shoes, from foreign take-over, Luca throws every obstacle he can in Gemma’s path. Headstrong, savvy and equally determined to successfully wrestle the company away from him, Gemma fights Luca all the way.

But Luca’s life of privilege masks a private world of pain and Gemma has demons of her own. As they come to understand one another, their growing attraction starts getting in the way.

This moving love story involving two people from very different backgrounds is a delightful, contemporary romance in a gorgeous Italian setting.  

 

Ahh, I was sold at the name Luca. So strong, so sexy, so dreamy. Sigh. A little clickety-clicking and Luca could be all yours. Buy the ebook direct from the publisher, Destiny Romance, or from iTunes, Amazon Kindle, Kobo or Google Play.

And so we travel from glamorous Italy to the far, far more glam 🙂 Australian outback, where Louise’s next novel is set. Enjoy!

 

My Outback Kitchen Rules

 

Thanks for having me on Friday Feasts, Cathryn. Today I’m taking a break from my imaginary world of aristocrats and glamorous Lou Outbackjpeg006 (2)living and sharing my love of the Outback.

Just because we’re sleeping on the ground, digging our own toilet and spending most of the day walking around in our underwear, my nearest and dearest and I have never seen the need to compromise on food when we’re bush camping. The thought of dehydrated or canned food (unless it’s the very excellent Watties baked beans) revolts me. And don’t start me on people who pre-cook, cryovac and label every meal and pack them in sterile conditions in the camping fridge or freezer in the precise order they’re going to eat them. (‘Oh look, dear, it’s Tuesday so we must be having the mango chicken and rice’).

I have a perfectly lovely kitchen at home but when ‘outback’ I come over all pioneer woman; gathering fuel and sorting timber into kindling and logs so the RIMG0947heat can be adjusted throughout cooking. And I want to cook by gaslight. No sensible cooking in broad daylight for us. It’s not nearly as much fun if you can’t peer at the chopping board and wonder is it mushroom or is it moth?

You will never have more time and leisure to prepare a meal than you have on a holiday like this. If you’ve travelled through the Mallee, it’s likely you’ve visited a local butcher and bought some local saltbush lamb and country bacon, thick cut and with plenty of oink. You’ll have t-bone steaks with a thick layer of creamy fat just begging to be barbecued over coals and served with slightly ashy jacket potatoes and salad.

I’ve just finished a book set in the outback so I decided to share two of my favourite meals.

 

Darling River French Toast

with Bacon and Maple Syrup

Throw a handful of twigs onto the smouldering ashes of last night’s fire. When the flame appears load heavier kindling on top and place the kettle next to it. Feed more wood on the fire and when the kettle boils make a cup of tea. Sit back, relax and look at birds.

RIMG0513Put some clothes on.

When the fire has settled down, place the hotplate over it. Scrape off the remains of last night’s barbecue and pour on some water so it spits and hisses. Drizzle on a little oil and fling some bacon rashers onto the hotplate. Pour another cup of tea. As the bacon cooks, make a huge fuss of turning it using an old fork with a bent tine.

Crack two eggs into a battered enamel dish and chuck the shells on the fire. Whisk with the fork and add a little milk. Soak the bread slices in the egg mix and slap onto the hotplate next to the bacon. Make them nice and brown and crispy.

When ready, serve with liberal amounts of maple syrup and a can of aeroguard.

 

Back o’ Bourke Beef Stew

Cut good quality oyster blade steak into large cubes, dredge in flour and brown in a camp oven.RIMG0673 Remove. Add sliced onions and brown. Add sliced kidneys (that’s kidneys, not echidna) and pour in a bottle of beer. Mix well, season and cover. Hang on a tripod over coals and cook for 2 hours. Half an hour before serving throw in mushrooms. Serve with potatoes mashed with plenty of butter and milk.

 

Oh, Louise, you made me laugh with this. LOVE the style of your camping!

Now, Feasters, when you’ve stopped laughing and drooling, have a ponder about this: Where’s the most unusual place you’ve prepared a meal? Think hard, because your answer could earn your very own Luca. Yes, my feasty lovelies, Louise is generously offering one commenter a Kindle copy of Her Italian Aristocrat, so prime your typing fingers and get to it.

Giveaway closes midnight AEST, Tuesday 12th February 2013. Open internationally. Just in time for Valentine’s Day!

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

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Bec who has won herself Luca! (Well, a kindle copy of Her Italian Aristocrat with lovely Luca burning up the pages, which is close enough)