Tag Archives: biscuits

FRIDAY FEAST with Jennie Jones

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Greetings, food ‘n fiction fans, and welcome to another delicious edition of Friday Feast. This week: buttery goodness, a treasure or two, plus a wonderful giveaway!

First, the ridiculousness that is Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. I’m still in Mount Gambier and have been a touch too busy dealing with Mum’s move into full-time care to play much golf, but I did head out for a few smacks on the practice fairway with Dad. Dad, bless him, had an air swing for his first shot which reminded me yet again about why I can’t play either. We also managed a round at the very picturesque Casterton Golf Club where Dad was so enamoured of all the gorgeous manna gums he kept hitting his ball at them. Playing with borrowed clubs, I wasn’t much better but at least I had an excuse for my wayward shots!

Author Jennie JonesWith that out the way, it’s on to our guest and it’s my pleasure to welcome back rural romance author Jennie Jones whose Swallows Fall series has been delighting readers since her first book, The House on Burra Burra Lane, hit the shelves in mid 2013.

Jennie has two new additions in the series coming this year. The House at the End of the Street will be out in August, but today we’re very honoured to be hosting Jennie on release day for The Turnaround Treasure Shop. Rah! And you’ll be cheering even louder in a minute when you see what Jennie has in store for us. In the meantime, check out the cover and blurb for The Turnaround Treasure Shop. It’s gorgeous!

THE TURNAROUND TREASURE SHOP

Cover of The Turnaround Treasure Shop by Jennie JonesRevisit Swallow’s Fall in this short novel from Jennie Jones about an ex-military man, a single mother, and the impossibility of dreams coming true.

Fatalistic, long divorced and doing her best to give her children a good life, Lily Johnson works two jobs in her hometown of Swallow’s Fall, saving every spare cent for the day she can lease the empty corner shop on Main Street. She longs to open it as Turnaround Treasures, a second-hand shop bursting with rescued country curios—but there aren’t enough spare cents and Lily’s dream is slipping away.

Ex-Navy diver Nick Barton arrived in Swallow’s Fall a year ago to quietly reunite himself with civvy life. Recognising an instant attraction to Lily, Nick backed away fast. Given his track record of an unhappy ex-wife and the baggage that comes with a Special Forces career, Nick doesn’t think he stands a chance with shy, reserved Lily. He can’t be with her – but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t see her.

Lily has spent her whole life cheerfully giving to others. When Nick offers her the ultimate chance for a turnaround, will Lily’s fear of being ‘second hand’ ruin the opportunity of forever love for both of them?

Doesn’t that sound fun? And because today is the official release day, you can own a copy of The Turnaround Treasure Shop with a simple clickety-click. Buy now from Amazon.com, Amazon.au, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, JB H-Fi or your favourite ebook retailer.

Loaded up? Good. Now sit back and enjoy. This is lovely!

Shortbread, Sherry & Chic Afternoons

It’s so lovely to be welcomed back to Cathryn’s Friday Feast. Hope you’ve got your rolling pin floured and ready to go, Cathryn. This is a shortbread recipe handed to me just after I got married. I copied it (in my terrible handwriting) into a Recipe Notebook I bought from the kitchen and garden courtyard shop at Hever Castle – the childhood home of Ann Boleyn. It was Jennie's hand written recipe for delicate shortbreada pleasant purchase after a wonderful tour of that exception property ending with a good look at implements of torture commonly used in the sixteenth century – which were not pleasant! Hence the trip to the courtyard shop to re-charge.

I’m partial to shortbread, sherry and chic afternoons although they don’t happen as frequently as I’d like. Sipping a sherry mid-afternoon seems such a contemplative, relaxing way to behave. Sipping sherry makes me think of my Nan. She always had a bottle in the sideboard and when I was old enough to move from Babycham to real alcohol, I did enjoy a sherry or two and still do.

In The Turnaround Treasure Shop (a shorter length novel in my Swallow’s Fall series), my heroine is mid-thirties, long-divorced and doing her best to look after her two teenage children, work two jobs in the remote Snowy Mountains town of Swallow’s Fall and save for her dream. She taught herself how to turn shabby old country curios into sparkling new I-want-one wares and longs to open the empty shop on Main Street. So I thought it would be great to have a Friday Feast full of old-fashioned afternoon delights.

Here’s my Delicate Shortbread recipe – the biscuits will be thin and crunchy to the bite but still have that buttery melt-in-your-mouth shortbread-gorgeousness – and beware, the pastry is so delicate that when you roll it out, you won’t be able to pick up the pastry to turn it once it starts to get thin.

Delicate Shortbread

Jennie Jones's finished delicate shortbread

Makes 30 biscuits

Oven temp: 150C

Two large baking trays greased with butter or lined with baking paper (better result with baking paper)

100 gm icing sugar

200 gm unsalted butter, softened

200 gm plain flour (can use wholemeal flour if preferred)

100 gm cornflour

(Optional: 50 gm of finely chopped crystallised ginger, or finely grated zest of one large lemon)

Castor sugar for sprinkling

Method:

Cream butter and icing sugar very well using a mixer.

Add sifted flour and cornflour and fold with a metal spoon. (At this point, also add crystallised ginger or lemon zest if using.)

The metal spoon will only do so much, so get in with your hand and knead in the bowl until all the flour has been mixed, then take half the pastry and roll out on a very well-floured surface to ½ centimetre thickness. (This pastry is soft and will be difficult to move or turn while rolling.) Use a sprinkle of flour when needed – especially on your rolling pin.

Steps to making delicate shortbread

Cut into preferred shapes – scone cutters are perfect, as are star and heart cookie cutters.

Use metal baking spatula to slide off the floured surface and onto your prepared baking sheet.

Repeat with the other half of pastry.

Bake in oven for 30 minutes, but keep a careful watch after 25 minutes to ensure they don’t brown too much. They should be golden in colour.

Remove from oven and transfer to wire cooling racks.

Sprinkle with castor sugar while warm.

Enjoy with sherry, champagne, tea or coffee!

 

Oh, I will most definitely enjoy, Jennie! Luuuuurve shortbread. The more buttery the better and this recipe looks gorgeous. Thanks so much for sharing.

Now, my Feasty friends, because Jennie is so nice she’s offering you a…

GIVEAWAY!

Here’s what Jennie has to say:

“As today is the release of the fourth book in my Swallow’s Fall series, The Turnaround Treasure Shop, I’m delighted to offer one reader an eBook copy. Simply comment on this question: Do you ever have a hankering for something old-fashioned?”

Well that’s an easy-peasy question for me to answer. I do LOTS of hankering for old-fashioned things, especially when it comes to food. Corned beef, pea and ham soup, a good old cream sponge or pavlova. The list is huge. Not so much for other things though. I’m quite partial to the luxuries of modern life!

What about you? Do you hanker for old-fashioned things? It can be anything, your choice, and if you share we’ll pop you into the draw to win an ebook copy of Jennie’s gorgeous new release, The Turnaround Treasure Shop.

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 26th May 2015. Open internationally. Rah!

If you’d like to learn more about Jennie and her gorgeous books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and Twitter using @JennieJRomance.

 

Friday Feast recipe index link.

FRIDAY FEAST with Anna Campbell

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Greetings, Feasty lovelies, and welcome to a positively cherry-topped Friday Feast. This week we play host to one of my favourite historical romance authors who has the perfect accompaniment for a cuppa. Plus there’s an even more perfect giveaway!

Not a lot to report this week from the Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf trenches. We suffered so much rain on the morning of our ladies open day the event was washed out. With the weekend equally soaked, there was no chance for play. I can only hope that the time off will result in some easing of my current formus horribillus (a dreadful disease no golfer wishes to catch).

Historical romance author Anna CampbellNow onto my delightful guest!

It’s always a pleasure to host historical romance author Anna Campbell on Friday Feast. Not only do I have a major fan-girl crush on Anna and her books, her posts are always hugely entertaining. I fondly refer to Anna as the Romance Queen, thanks to her many awards and best-selling status. And because in person she does have a touch of regality!

I’m also very excited to have a copy of her brand new release, A Scoundrel by Moonlight beside me as I type. I’ve loved all the books in Anna’s Sons of Sin series and it’s wonderful to see it continuing on. Can’t wait to get into this one.

Take a look.

A SCOUNDREL BY MOONLIGHT

A Scoundrel by Moonlight by Anna CampbellAnything can happen in the moonlight…

Justice. That’s all Nell Trim wants – for her sister and for the countless other young women the Marquess of Leath has ruined with his wildly seductive ways. Now she has a bold plan to take him down… as long as she can resist the scoundrel’s temptations herself.

From the moment Nell meets James Fairbrother, the air positively sizzles. Yet for all his size and power, there’s something amazingly tender in his touch. Could he really be such a depraved rogue? The only way to find out is to beat the devil at his own game… one tempting kiss at a time.

 

Doesn’t that sound wonderful? And you can be guaranteed that this will be a highly emotional, passionate and romantic read. Believe me, with Anna you’re in expert hands. Which means you’ll be wanting to buy a copy of A Scoundrel by Moonlight right now. In which case, get clickety-clicking straight over to those good people at Booktopia, Bookworld or Angus & Robertson. You can also purchase a copy from Book Depository. For the ebook, try Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, or your favourite retailer.

Now please give a bow to Queen Anna.

A Happy Accident!

Hi Cathryn! Thank you for having me as your guest today. I always love visiting your blog – and this time I’ve got a recipe that is genuinely mine.

Last year, I was waiting for a visit from my dear friend and regular Friday Feaster Annie West and I’d decided to make cherry nut cookies, an Australian Women’s Weekly recipe that’s one of my favorites.

Quote from A Scoundrel by Moonlight by Anna CampbellSacre bleu, what was I to do when I was halfway through cooking them and discovered that I didn’t have a major ingredient? These lovely little buttery morsels are usually rolled in crushed peanuts before you put the cherry on top. But my pantry was bare of crushed peanuts.

As any good writer will tell you, when you’re stuck, improvise. I had a bag of flaked almonds which I keep on hand for apple crumble.

Problem solved – almost.

The flaked almonds were far too big to sit on the outside of my biscuits. So I decided to try mixing them in with the dough. Worked a treat – as Annie was kind enough to tell me.

I’ve since made this a couple of times and I think I actually prefer them to the original. So it’s time to share my recipe with the world.

Quote from A Scoundrel by Moonlight by Anna CampbellA happy accident is how I’d describe my latest book, A SCOUNDREL BY MOONLIGHT which is out in North America this month.* The Sons of Sin series grew out of a stand-alone proposal to Grand Central Forever in New York for SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED. They liked the idea so much, they wanted more of the same with some linked books. So I hastily put together a trilogy about three friends who meet at Eton. In one way or another, the shadow of bastardy looms over Jonas Merrick, Richard Harmsworth and Camden Rothermere, but all three discover their true selves when they fall in love.

As I wrote the books, another man loomed larger and larger. James Fairbrother, Marquess of Leath, is mentioned in book 2, A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS, as the villain’s nephew. He plays a much more significant role in book 3, WHAT A DUKE DARES, when his sister forms a scandalous liaison with Harry Thorne, the heroine’s brother.

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When Grand Central approached me about continuing the series, Leath was the obvious hero to choose. So A SCOUNDREL BY MOONLIGHT was born. Because I love to put my characters through the wringer, I make him fall in love with a woman who threatens everything he’s always wanted. Life as a writer is fun that way.

But of course, meeting Nell Trim turns out to be a happy accident for Leath too! Under normal circumstances, their paths would never have crossed. And their clash makes for fireworks.

What sort? You’ll have to read A SCOUNDREL BY MOONLIGHT to find out!

In the meantime, have fun at afternoon tea with my biscuits.

Anna Campbell’s Cherry Almond Biscuits

Anna Campbell's Cherry Almond Biscuits

Ingredients:

125g butter

¼ cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup self-raising flour

200g flaked almonds

Glace cherries

Method:

Anna Campbell's Cherry Almond BiscuitsCream butter and sugar until light and creamy, add egg and vanilla, beat well. Add sifted flour and mix to a firm dough. By hand, mix in flaked almonds until evenly distributed. Roll teaspoonfuls of mixture into small ball shapes. Press half a cherry on top. Put on lightly greased oven trays, allow room for spreading; bake in moderate oven 15 to 20 minutes or until golden. Cool slightly before removing from trays. Makes about 30.

*Aussies can order a print edition of A SCOUNDREL BY MOONLIGHT from Booktopia or the Book Depository. If you’d like an ebook, there will be a local edition later in the year, date to be confirmed.

 

Oh, I love the sound of these, Anna! I must admit, I’d much prefer your almond version than the peanut one. While I love peanuts (my mother-in-law makes the BEST peanut biscuits), I reckon almonds and cherries is a much better match. A cuppa and a biscuit, a squishy chair in a patch of winter sun, and A Scoundrel by Moonlight. Sounds like a perfect morning to me.

Now, my tasty little Feasty beasties, because Anna is such a generous soul (as all good queens are), she’s offering a…

GIVEAWAY!

To be in the draw to win a signed copy of Anna’s brand new release, A Scoundrel by Moonlight, simply answer this question:

Have you ever had a happy accident – something unexpected that happened and took you in a new and better direction?

Maybe you’ve taken a wrong turn and discovered something wonderful, or accidentally hit the one-click buy button on a book or other item you didn’t intend to purchase and serendipitously discovered a gem. Me, I’ve had some gorgeous moments travelling when I’ve gotten lost and found magic. The same with food when I’ve ordered what I thought was one thing only to be served something totally different but also totally delicious (also totally horrid as was once the case with rognons de veau in France *shudder*).

Simply share your happy accident with us and you’ll be in the draw to win.

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 12th May 2015. Open internationally. Rah!

If you’d like to learn more about Anna and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter using @AnnaCampbellOz. You’ll also find her at Romance Bandits.

Friday Feast recipe index link.

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FRIDAY FEAST with Fiona Palmer

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Ooh, I’m feeling just a little bit excited and giggly here in Feast Central. Why? Because rural romance royalty is paying a visit, that’s why. Yes, folks, Fiona Palmer is on the show. Yeehaa!

Fiona hails from the tiny Western Australian town of Pingaring, three and a half hours from Perth, and her stories are so vivid with small town and country life you can taste the wheatstalks. The Family Farm was her first hit and a wonderful story about following your dreams. Heart of Gold, with its honest hero and heroine and excellent portrayal of the stones life can throw at us, followed The Family Farm into best-sellerdom. Fiona’s much-awaited third novel, the evocatively titled The Road Home, releases at the end of March. Let’s take a peek…

THE ROAD HOME

When your life is at a crossroads, how do you find the road home?

Lara Turner has a boyfriend, a nice house in the city and a chance at a big promotion. So when her brother calls asking her to come home, she hesitates. Can she face the memories that inhabit the beloved place of her childhood? And how does she feel with the news it’s to be sold? Is she the answer to saving the family farm?

Jack Morgan has memories of his own to contend with. A falling-out with his family and a bitter end to a past relationship have left a big chip on his shoulder. When his best mate’s beautiful sister arrives on the scene, he finds himself deeply conflicted.

Lara and Jack have a powerful attraction but are constantly at odds. Will their love of the same land keep them apart, or grow into a love of a different kind?

From the bestselling author of The Family Farm and Heart of Gold comes a heartwarming novel about finding your true place in the world, and the healing power of the land.

 

I am so looking forward to getting my teeth or, rather, my eyeballs, into this one!

And now I bring you….FIONA!

 

Thanks Cathryn for having me, I love reading the Friday Feast blogs. I love cooking shows too, I just don’t like cooking! I love EATING especially anything with chocolate. So you could imagine I’m loving and hating the fact that Easter is just around the corner. Easter chocolate for some reason is just yummo and the kids and hubby know that their eggs are always in danger if they sit opened in my fridge for too long. I call it the ‘mummy tax’.

So for that reason I’m going to share with you a chocolate chip crunch bicky recipe my mum gave me. She told me she got it from one of my Auntie’s but when I told my Aunt about the awesome bicky recipe of hers, she had no idea what I was on about and said she’d never made them. Ha. So the whole origin of this recipe is unknown. Who cares where it came from, I’m just glad that I have it. I don’t make it that often as I can’t seem to stop eating the mixture, before and after cooking! Hey, when we were kids out on the farm with my cousins we would all make a raw cake to eat, and buy the time we actually cooked what was left no one was hungry.

This recipe is really simple. (It has to be for me to use it lol) Sometimes I use Cornflakes and sometimes Special K, depending on what’s in the cupboard.  And once they are made, and cooled I put them in a ziplock bag and freeze them. The kids just take them straight from the freezer to eat. In summer they are really nice frozen, they don’t go hard, but are nice and cold. I just love the crunch factor. Oh and the chocolate…did I mention that bit?!

Choc Chip Bicky’s

250gms butter/marg

1 cup castor sugar

Cream together, then add 2 eggs and mix

½ teasp vanilla

2 cups S/R flour

4 cups of cornflakes/special K slightly crushed.  (I just pour it into my hand, crunch it and drop into the bowl)

Mix through and add Choc bits (I like to use a whole packet but it’s up to you. Me, chocoholic remember!)

Put onto a tray in small balls. (I have been known to make huge size ones…you get more choc bits that way)

Bake 180º 15-20 mins or until starting to brown.

I have doubled this recipe and frozen the whole lot so I have a huge supply for the kids school lunch boxes.  (I hate having to cook again, so if I’m turning my oven on I like to make the most of it and do a big cook up)

Well I hope you enjoy these as much as I do, and big thanks to Cathryn for having me.

Also I’d love to offer up a signed copy of my new book The Road Home which is due out 21st March.  Please tell me something you used to eat when you were younger, like my raw cakes or sometimes when we were craving a sugar fix my cousin had taken a packet of jelly and we ate that! (This is back when TimTams weren’t readily available in cupboards!)

 

Thanks so much, Fiona. Love the way you can freeze these biscuits. Very handy and a very delicious treat in the summer I imagine. As for teenaged snack-fests, I found culinary heaven after the delivery of our first microwave. This is going to sound gross, but after school sometimes I’d come in and unwrap a whole stack of cheese slices – those really plastic-y ones because proper cheese didn’t work the same – tear them up into pieces into a cup then zap it until it turned all gooey and luscious, then gobble it up with a teaspoon. Poor Mum used to do her nut over how the cheese slices kept disappearing. In the traditions of good sisterhood, I blamed my brother.

So come on Feasters, Fiona and I have shared ours, time you shared your naughty and not so naughty eaty-secrets. There’s a wonderful prize up for grabs.

Entries close midnight Tuesday, 13th March. Open internationally. And please provide a way for us to contact you in case you win!

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

 

Fiona’s giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Jenn, the lucky, lucky winner of a signed copy of The Road Home. 

Thanks to all who entered and for your wonderful comments. I bet there’s been a few tubes of condensed milk purchased thanks to Fiona’s visit!