Tag Archives: Brownies

FRIDAY FEAST with Melanie Scott

33 Replies

Oh, we have special treat on Friday Feast today. A brilliant book, a super giveaway and a recipe that was so mouth-watering I had to whip it up as soon as I saw it.

But more on that shortly because I just know you’re hanging out for Sydney Swans news. After a most excellent win on the weekend, only a tiny percentage separates us from those pesky (pecky?) Hawks at the top of the ladder. Give it time. We can still overtake them and win Author Melanie Scottthat coveted spot. I have faith!

Sadly, there is no Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news because I was too busy hangin’ with my tribe at the Romance Writers of Australia conference, which was brilliant even if I still haven’t recovered my voice. Jim says it’s because I put an entire year’s worth of talking into four days. Perhaps a sign I should get out more…

And now to today’s guest. You may know her as dark fantasy author MJ Scott, but Melbourne based Melanie Scott is about to take the sports romance world by storm with her new series featuring the New York Saints baseball team and the three men determined to save it. The first in the series is The Devil in Denim, a book I’m reading, and loving, right now.

You will want this baby. Oh yes you will!

THE DEVIL IN DENIM

Cover of The Devil in DenimLIFE JUST THREW HER A CURVEBALL.

As the team-owner’s daughter, Maggie Jameson grew up in the New York Saints’ stadium—glove, cap, hot dogs, and all. Baseball’s in her blood, and she’s always dreamed of the day when she would lead the Saints to victory herself. That was before her dad had to sell the team to Alex Winters. The fast-talking, fiercely attractive businessman has a baseball pedigree that’s distinctly minor league. Maggie wants to hate him but his skills of seduction, however, are off the charts.

WILL LOVE BE A HOME RUN?

Alex could never have imagined how much this team means to Maggie. He needs her to help show the players that they’re still a family…even if he and Maggie are at the verge of exchanging blows. But her fiery determination and gorgeous looks prove irresistible to Alex. And much as he wants to relegate their relationship to the playing field—and get the Saints back in the game—Alex just can’t help himself: What he wants to win most is Maggie’s heart…

There are some shallow people out there who would only buy this book for the taut manbum cover (me!) but I can assure you what’s on the inside is even better. Yes it is! And you can pre-order it right now and have it in your hands, all ready for stroking and reading, right on its August 26th release day. Secure your copy now via Amazon, Book Depository, iBooks, Booktopia, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, Kobo or your favourite retailer.

Taut manbum organised? Awesome. Now let’s get zesty with Melanie.

Sweet or Sour

You know those questions on quizzes? The ones that ask you if you like salty or sweet. I’m always thinking “Both”. Life’s too short to choose between the joys of the perfect salty potato chip or good rich chocolate. And one thing that those quizzes always fail to ask about is sour! I will confess I like a good sour sharp tang. If it was possible to overdose on Wizz Fizz as a A packet of Wizz Fizzkid, I would have (and these days I find it hard to resist a good sour lolly). But, growing up in the country, we always had a lemon tree and, luckily for me, my parents still live there and still have a magic pudding lemon tree that rarely stops fruiting so they can keep me supplied. Lemon delicious pudding, lemon juice on crispy fish or fresh steamed vegies, lemon butter, lemon tart (unless there’s a lemon cheesecake on offer), lemon in iced water and of course my beloved margaritas, well, let’s just say I’m a fan of the little yellow fruit. Here in Australia, lemon slice popped up all over the place when I was a kid and I’m always on the quest for a good version (and generally I amp up the tanginess with an extra lemon kick), well, frankly, sometimes a gal just can’t wait for a slice to set to get her lemon goodness fix.

The other day I was in the mood to bake, which often inspires a brownie fit, but I wasn’t in the mood for chocolate (who knew that was possible). Having attempted a lemon drizzle cake recently that was good but needs some more experimenting with, I was still in the mood for lemons but didn’t want a cake. I thought of lemon slice but then I stumbled across a lemon and coconut brownie on Pinterest. Pinterest is baker enabling heaven. It was lemon. It was coconut. It was a brownie. I was sold. And it turns out a lemon coconut brownie is very much the love child of lemon cake and lemon slice. Aka it was exactly what I was in the mood for. And delicious.

Now Maggie Jameson, the heroine of The Devil in Denim, feels like she’s been handed a pretty big box of lemons at the start of the book. She needs to figure out if she can wants to suck it up and make lemonade (though she starts the process by using lemons in a time honoured way… by drinking too many tequila slammers) or not. Maybe while she’s thinking about it, and trying not to think about Alex Winters, who is partially responsible for her pile of lemons, she should whip up a batch of these bad boys. I’m sure they’d cheer her up.

Lemon and Coconut Brownies

(original recipe from taste.com.au)

Lemon and Coconut Brownies

Ingredients:

250g butter

2 cups caster sugar

4 eggs

1 ½ cups plain flour

1 cup desiccated coconut

3 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (1/3 cup if you like it really lemony like me) plus extra for icing if you ice them

Directions:

Preheat oven to 180ºC (my over is fan forced and I used 170c). Line a 20 x 30cm (base measurement) slab pan with non-stick baking paper. Whatever you use for brownies. I was lazy and used a square pan that was a little too small so they came out thicker and needed a bit longer cooking but they were still yummy

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Turn heat down low. Stir in sugar until it dissolves. Turn off heat and move to a cool spot. Add eggs, 1 at a time and beat into the mixture quickly so no bits of egg cook before it’s combined. It will end up thick and glossy.

Sift the flour over the egg mixture and stir until well combined. Stir in coconut, lemon rind and lemon juice. Spread over base of prepared pan.

Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside in the pan to cool completely. Turn out and cut into pieces (you decide how big, the original recipe suggests 15). Doesn’t need to iced but would be lovely with a thin lemony icing made from icing sugar and lemon juice…I usually start with a cup of icing sugar and add a tablespoon or so of lemon juice and then adjust the mixture to taste and for consistency when I’m making that kind of icing. Keep in an airtight container if there are any left.

 

Doesn’t that make your mouth water, Feasters? As it should because like The Devil in Denim, these brownies are delicious! Impossible to stop at one piece. Why would you want to anyway? There’s fruit in there which means the recipe has to be good for you.

And guess what other goodness Melanie has for you? Yes, we have a…

GIVEAWAY!

Because you’re all special and Melanie is lovely, she’s offering one lucky reader the chance to win a signed copy of his devilish bumness… I mean, The Devil In Denim. A truly excellent read that you will love. But you must work for it. You must shaaaaare!

So, for a chance to win, tell us what do you prefer when you’re reaching for a treat? Sweet, sour, salty or a combination?

Are you a sour fan and love to gobble sour snakes and mouth puckering lemon drops? Perhaps you prefer a salty bowl of chips or nuts, or maybe sweet treats are your go, lollies or sweet cakes and biscuits. For me it depends. There’s nothing quite like a nice dark piece of chocolate post dinner but I have been known to turn slightly rabid over a bowl of salt and vinegar chips (those Red Rock Deli ones are awesome). What about you? Share and we’ll pop you into the draw.

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 19th August 2014. Open internationally. Rah!

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

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Delores who has won a copy of Melanie’s new release The Devil in Denim. I predict some fun reading and cover stroking in someone’s future! Thanks to everyone for sharing their favourite sweet and sour treats, and giving us all terrible cravings. See you again soon!

FRIDAY FEAST with Caitlyn Nicholas

14 Replies

Happy Friday, Feasters! Did you back the winner of the Melbourne Cup? I didn’t, but that’s hardly new. Last time I picked a winner on Cup day it was the year Subzero romped home in the mud, waaay back in 1992 when I frocked up and caught the train to Flemington only to spend the day getting rained on. Cold, wet but fun and a very, very Melbourne experience.

Now, my Friday Feast guest this week hails from not from the fine city of Melbourne, but its arch rival Sydney. We won’t hold that against her though.

Caitlyn Nicholas not only writes one of the best “mummy blogs” going, she also pens wonderful contemporary romances. And I can say that with conviction because I have Caitlyn’s latest release burning up my Kindle right now.

Check it out!

 

DRIVE ME TO DISTRACTION

 

Sometimes life or death decisions are easy. Alex Radford has a choice – borrow the money to treat her mother’s rare and aggressive cancer from sleazy moneylender Hamish MacCameron. Or do nothing and watch her die.

MacCameron has an agenda. He wants Alex in his bed, and he wants her to help him exact revenge on his sworn enemy, Robert Dryden. He is only too happy to lend her what she needs, but the strings attached form a tangled web from which Alex has little hope of escape.

It’s not all bad. Since she was a girl Alex has had one dream: to become a Formula 1 driver and show the boys how to drive a race car. MacCameron’s money gives her a shot at fame, and in a move that scandalizes the F1 racing fraternity she becomes the new driver for Rob Dryden’s struggling F1 team, Prometheus.

Alex tries to keep her distance from Rob, knowing that one day she will need to betray one of the few people who ever had faith in her. But things begin to unravel when Hamish MacCameron is murdered and she and Rob are the top suspects on the list …

 

Sounds cool, doesn’t it? Sleazy moneylenders, murder, fast cars, steamy attraction…. yep, it’s all there in one fab book. A book you can own right now! So click on over to Amazon for the US Kindle Store or the UK Kindle Store, the Kobo bookstore or Google Play for epub file using devices, or for Apple’s various i-things try the iBookstore.

Prefer to try before you buy? Then sample away at publisher Momentum Books.

Sorted? Excellent. Now you can play with Caitlyn. But remember to keep your dog at a distance. She’s a dangerous woman…

 

How To Poison Your Dog

 

Greetings feasters and the lovely Cathryn.

Firstly, Cathryn is guest blogging over on my blog today, don’t forget to pop over and check her interview out.

Cathryn: it’s a cool interview too… but I’m horribly biased!

Today I’m blogging about a very dangerous recipe.  Make it at your peril. The last time I did it cost me $270. I kid you not.

It was an idle Sunday afternoon. My husband was at work, and the kids were home, bored, bickery and in need of distraction.  This recipe is an easy one for kids to make, quick, low on the washing up and totally yummy. Also chocolate.

It worked a treat.  Within an hour we were munching on warm brownies and I had my feet up, leisurely sipping a cup of tea and congratulating myself on redirecting an afternoon of cranky kids into a spot of domestic bliss.  There was a bang on the front door, the neighbour kids were after some company and everyone, including me, rushed outside to play (well I watered the garden and kept an eye on things).  A strange clattering noise made me hurry inside, to find, to my horror, that we’d left the pan of brownies on the coffee table and the dog had helped himself.  To the lot.

Now chocolate is poisonous for dogs.  So after a quick call to our local after hours vet, the dog, the kids and I pile into the car and rush down to the surgery.

Poor Sebastian (he’s a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel) had a miserable night of throwing up at the vets. But by the time we picked him up he was completely recovered, bright eyed, bushy tailed, utterly unrepentant and ready to do it all again.

$270 later and we were able to bring the damn animal home.

Sigh.  Lesson learned.

I do still love this Brownie recipe though. I’ve been making it since I was eight years old and it is utterly delicious.

 

Caitlyn’s Disastrous Brownies

4oz butter (110g)

2oz plain chocolate (dark, I use 70% Lindt) Have made it with milk though.

2 eggs, beaten

8oz white sugar (225g)

2oz plain flour (50g)

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt (I tend to leave it out)

4oz chopped nuts (I use any I have around, walnuts this batch, pecans the last)

Pre-heat oven to 350 F or 180 C

Melt butter and chocolate (I do this in the microwave)

Stir all ingredients into melted butter and chocolate

Bake in oven for 30mins, until the mixture shows signs of shrinking away from the side of the tin, and the centre feels springy. A knife inserted in the centre should come over clean.

Leave to cool in the tin for 10mins

Eat and Enjoy.

 

So what’s your food versus animal story? Cat coughed up a furball in the soup? Dog destroyed a dessert your mother-in-law slaved over for days? Pet parrot taught the local padre some blue language? 

Time to fess up, Feasters. Come on, it’s cathartic to reveal these things!

If you’d like to learn more about Caitlyn and her books, including her December release Geek Girl saves the world novella, Dark Moon Rising, then please visit her website. You can also connect via Caitlyn’s truly excellent blog, Twitter and Facebook.