Tag Archives: Christmas desserts

FRIDAY FEAST with Lisa Heidke

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Hello, lovely readers, and welcome to another delicious edition of Friday Feast. This week we’re playing in the snow with one of Australia’s best popular women’s fiction authors, seriously overdosing on sugar, and giving away a book!

But first, the rollercoaster ride that is Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. I’m on the improve! There are signs of life! I even managed not to dunk my ball straight into the dam off the 15th Author Lisa Heidketee two times in a row. Tis a miracle! It has to be the weather. The days have been glorious here lately and I think it’s tricked my feeble golfing brain into thinking it’s spring and therefore time to play better. Perhaps a dodgy theory but let the sun shine on, I say!

Now to our fab guest. Many of you will know Lisa Heidke from her novels It Started With a Kiss, Stella Makes Good, Claudia’s Big Break, What Kate Did Next and Lucy Springer Gets Even. Lisa’s books cover all the feel-good bases with plenty of love, drama and fun, but most of all they’re entertaining.

Her latest release is The Callahan Split and it looks a cracker.

THE CALLAHAN SPLIT

The Callahan Split by Lisa HeidkeIn tennis, as in life, nothing ever goes truly to plan.

Samantha and Annie Callahan are successful doubles champions — the toast of the Olympics, Wimbledon, and Flushing Meadow. But their winning partnership spirals out of control when Annie’s new boyfriend announces their engagement at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Bear, the sisters’ coach, guides Annie as much as she’ll allow. But when she insists on dropping Samantha in favour of a singles career, her game and rankings plummet.

Samantha is left floundering. Disillusioned, her only sweet spot is the growing passion between her and Bear. Amidst rising anger and betrayal, Samantha completely changes both their destinies when she does the unthinkable after a devastating Wimbledon loss.

The sisters are driven to create new lives by confronting the past and taking control of the present. But can Samantha and Annie both win?

I adore the sound of this book. Clashing tennis sisters? Wheee! I’m sure you’ll love it too. The Callahan Split can be yours with just a few clickety-clicks. Try Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, or Kobo.

Now prepare thee for a grand slam sugar hit with Lisa!

Christmas in July

I’ve just returned from a magical few days in Leura, NSW, where not only was I celebrating Christmas in July with friends, but it actually snowed!

Yippee. And I have photographic evidence to prove it!

Lisa Heidke in the snow

It was a stroke of luck, really. Even though snow had been predicted, I didn’t believe it.  But indeed it did.

Snow at Leura

After we played in the snow and built some daggy snowmen, we lit the fire and it was time to get down to some Christmas business!

Leura

Lots of champagne, yummy food and way too much dessert.

My contribution was this magnificent Yule Log!

Lisa’s White Christmas Yule Log

(not for the faint hearted)

Lisa Heidke's Yule Log

Ingredients

125g caster sugar, plus extra to dust

3 large eggs

100g plain flour

25g cocoa powder, plus extra to dust

For the filling

300ml double cream, whipped

For the white chocolate fudge icing

110g (4oz) butter

90g (3 1/4oz) 70% white chocolate

425g (14oz) icing sugar

½ tsp vanilla extract

175ml (6fl oz) milk

Extras

Whipped cream

Reindeer Droppings (chocolate drops)

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C. (fan 180°C) Line a 33 x 23cm (13 x 9in) Swiss roll tin with nonstick baking paper.

Whisk the sugar and eggs with an electric whisk for 10 minutes, until pale and thick. Sift the flour and cocoa into the mixture, plus 1 tbsp of lukewarm water. Fold into the mixture until evenly mixed.

Pour the mixture into the tin. Bake in the centre of the oven for 10-12 minutes until risen and just firm.

Meanwhile, lay out a clean, damp tea towel. Place a piece of nonstick baking paper larger than the sponge on top and dust with icing sugar. Turn the sponge onto the paper and peel the paper off the base.

Make an incision line about 1cm from one short edge, being careful not to cut through the cake. This will help you start rolling. Use the paper to roll the sponge tightly. Wrap in the tea towel. Allow to cool, then unroll and spread the cake with whipped cream and roll back up again.

To make the icing, melt the white chocolate and butter in the microwave. In a large bowl combine the icing sugar, vanilla and 120ml (4fl oz) of the milk. Add the melted chocolate mixture and stir well.

Add the remaining milk, a little at a time, until you have the desired consistency. Let the icing stand until spreadable, it will thicken as it cools.

Spread the icing over the Yule log, then whipped cream and sprinkle with reindeer droppings.

Eat, sit back and wait for the sugar coma to hit.

When not gobbling food or playing in the snow, I can be found at my desk or out in the wild promoting my latest book, The Callahan Split, a story about sisters, love, lies and loss.

I loved writing this novel and I really hope readers enjoy reading it. I have 1 print copy to give away.

Do you have a sister? If so, what’s your most memorable experience together? If not, what’s a memorable experience you shared with another family member?

*

Thanks, Lisa. I luuuurve the sound of your cake and the photos are fabulous. What a lovely time you must have had.

So, did you hear that, Feasty people? Lisa is offering a…

GIVEAWAY!

Yes, a paperback copy of Lisa’s brand new release, The Callahan Split could be yours. All you need to do is reveal your most memorable experience shared with a family member.

Hmm. I’m going to have to think hard on this one because there’s been quite a few, but I did go on a hot air balloon ride in Alice Springs with my brother when he was living there that was pretty cool. The scenery was amazing and the ride so peaceful! I managed three trips to “the Alice” while he lived there so managed to do some wonderful touring around the area. Australia’s red heart is a definite must-see.

So what’s your memorable experience? Share away in the comments and feel-good book joy could be yours!

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 4th August 2015. Australian postal addresses only.

If you’d like to learn more about Lisa and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Twitter using @lisaheidke, Goodreads, Instagram, LinkedIn and through her blog.

Friday Feast recipe index link.

FRIDAY FEAST with Margareta Osborn

Welcome to the first Friday Feast of autumn 2014.

To celebrate, we have suitably fabulous author sharing her latest release and a delicious recipe that  will have your tastebuds dancing. But first, the news you await every week from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. It rained so hard last weekend that my round was washed out. Naturally, this occurred right when my game was coming together. The Great Golfing God has it in for me, the sod. Hmph.Author photo of Margareta Osborn

But enough of that, let’s get onto the really important stuff: BOOKS and FOOD!

My guest this week is Margareta Osborn, best-selling author of rural-set romances Bella’s Run, Hope’s Road and A Bush Christmas. Not only does Margareta write great heroines, she is one herself as a volunteer fire-fighter, recently helping to fight the choking Hazelwood coal mine fire in Gippsland, among other incidents.

Margareta’s new release is Mountain Ash and the premise will have you hooked!

 

MOUNTAIN ASH

 

Cover of Mountain Ash by Margareta OsbornAfter years of struggling as a single mother, Jodie Ashton has given up on love and passion. What she craves now is security for herself and her beloved daughter Milly. And marriage to widower Alex McGregor, the owner of the prosperous Glenevelyn cattle station in East Gippsland, will certainly offer that. If only he wasn’t so much older and so controlling.

Needing space to decide her future, Jodie reluctantly agrees to a girls-only weekend at the Riverton rodeo …

Meanwhile, cowboy Nate McGregor vows off women, after his latest one-night stand costs him his job in the Northern Territory. Perhaps it’s time to head back to his family home, Glenevelyn, to check out for himself the ‘gold-digger’ his father seems determined to marry.

But first, on his way through Riverton, he plans to stop off at a rodeo.

Two lives are about to collide in one passionate moment – with devastating results…

 

Doesn’t that sound like a riveting read? Which is why you should be clickety-clicking right now on these ‘buy’ links. For the paperback, visit most excellent Australian online bookstore Booktopia. You can also try Bookworld, Angus & Robertson, Dymocks, QBD the Bookshop, your local independent, or your nearest chain store. For the ebook try Amazon for Kindle, Kobo, iTunes, Google Play or your favourite online retailer.

Loaded up? Good. Because you’ll need something delicious to snack on while eating and Margareta has just the thing!

 

Cooling It

 

Hi Cathryn, thanks so much for having me back on your blog. It seems like we’re  making this a yearly event!

Seeing the last few mornings up here in the Gippsland hills have had a snippet of autumn in the air (you can feel it, taste it, smell it), I had thought to give you a yummy autumn cum winter-ish recipe to get us in the mood for all that cool weather with it’s comforting, scrumptious food to come.

BUT … then we hit today.

Outside the temperature is in the mid 30’s and there’s a blistering hot wind blowing itself into frenzy. The dust is spinning into willy-willys and I can see what’s left of our pasture shrivelling before my eyes. So, I can hardly talk about warming casseroles and oozing puddings with all of us sweltering like lizards on a pile of hot rocks. Summer is obviously not done yet. In addition, the fire pager’s doing a dance on my desk requesting change-over crews for tonight, as the people of Gippsland have also been fighting bushfires, yours truly included. In fact it’s a wonder anyone in this part of the world is going to have time to read my latest novel MOUNTAIN ASH (just released on March 1, 2014) until autumn – and relief from the heat – arrives! The tagline of my latest novel, reads, ‘In matters of the heart she’s playing with fire …’. Unfortunately it’s a tad apt at the moment in this part of the world. And that’s before you throw in a devastating love triangle twist.

So maybe it’s time to head back to the kitchen and make the most decadent treat to cool off. I made this stunning looking, deviously simple and delicious ice-cream cake for Christmas lunch. It was a H.I.T. (in capitals!)

 

Ice-Cream Cake

 

Margareta Osborn's Ice-Cream Cake

Ingredients:

3 litres of vanilla ice-cream

400 g of chocolate honey-comb pieces, chopped into chunks

220g bottle of chocolate Ice-Magic

Fresh berries (I used strawberries & would’ve added raspberries if I’d had some) & icing sugar

Put 3 litres of ice-cream into a big bowl. (It needs to be BIG, trust me.) Leave to soften for 10 minutes (don’t let it melt).

Gently fold in the chopped honeycomb. (I did this in two bowls as one wasn’t big enough.)

Grease a 22cm spring-form tin. Line base and sides with 2 layers of baking paper. I suggest you go 2-3cm above the edge of the pan with the paper, creating ‘hungry-boards’, so you can get all that yummy ice-cream into the tin.

Spoon ice-cream and honeycomb mixture into the tin and level with a knife or spatula. Freeze overnight.

Just before serving tip ice-cream cake from tin (I removed sides of tin along with the paper, laid a plate on the ‘top’ and tipped the cake upside down so the bottom became the top.) Drizzle immediately with Ice Magic, allow a minute or so to harden then top with fresh fruit. Sift icing sugar over the fruit to finish.

This cake goes ultra well with plum pudding but it would be terrific with any other desert or just by itself.

Note: You can replace the honey-comb with other lollies or chocolate bar treats. Let your imagination run wild!

 

Thanks, Margareta. My imagination is absolutely running wild. Imagine this with Smarties or broken up Peppermint Crisp. The possibilities! And so stunning too.

Okay, Feasters, what dish do you like to make that is disproportionately impressive to the amount of effort that went into its creation? I have one that I’ve been making for years – meringue towers with berries. They’re basically glorified individual pavlovas, but constructed in such a way to form an impressive tower on the plate. Dead easy. The only tricky part is piping the meringue into circles and stripes.

So what about you? Can you make a stunning soup in a heartbeat? Whip up a colourful salad in moments that looks like it was taken from the pages of Gourmet Traveller? Make our lives easier so we have more time to spend with friends and family – or reading – and share away!

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

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Emmie Dark

One week until Christmas! Are your bells a-jingling in excitement? Mine are. Well, maybe not a-jingling but thanks to a fantastic writing month I’m feeling a tad seasonally happy and in the mood for celebration.

Before I introduce our gorgeous guest, here’s the Christmas edition of Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf.  Last week was a team event. Everything that went wrong is all my partner’s fault. Me hitting into the water for the bazillionth time had nothing to do with it. Noooothing at all. Oh well, at least we didn’t come last.Romance author Emmie Dark

Now don your Santa hats and pour a glass of festive bubbly because it’s time to get seriously Christmassy with contemporary romance author Emmie Dark.

Emmie writes gorgeous stories, the sort that spark with snappy dialogue, steamy sexual tension and plenty of heart-tugging emotion. Earlier this year saw the release of Spellbound, a sizzling hot romance filled with angst, lust and a super hot hero. This week sees its companion novella Charmed hit the shelves. Check it out…

 

CHARMED

 

Cover of Charmed by Emmie DarkWhen a handsome and charming stranger reluctantly enters the magic shop where perky Melanie Cooke works as a psychic, she fully expects to give him a standard reading and send him on his way. But for the first time in her life, her powers fail her and the reading goes horribly awry.

Michael Harrison was dubious about the idea of seeing a psychic, but given the attraction between them, he’s prepared to put first impressions aside. Yet as he and Melanie get to know each other, Michael is forced to confront his past, and to face the fact that Melanie may be more than she seems.

Will fear and suspicion ruin all or will the magic and power of love keep them together? 

 

Doesn’t that sound fun? Lucky for you that Charmed is available for immediate download right now. You can purchase direct from the publisher Destiny Romance or your favourite ebook retailer like Kobo, Amazon (for Kindle), Google Play, iTunes, JB Hi-Fi, BigW ebooks and more.

Ready for some Christmas fun? Heeeeeere’s Emmie!

 

Christmas Creativity

 

HI Cathryn and all Friday Feasters! Thanks so much for the invitation – it’s lovely to be here, especially to talk about food at this time of year. This time of year is my favourite foodie time – probably because it’s one of the few times of the year that I get to feed hordes. I properly plan menus and organise shopping lists – I do enjoy it! (But, if I’m honest, part of me is very glad that it only comes around once a year!)

I saw that Christina Brooke provided you with an ice cream Christmas cake a couple of weeks back, which, by the away, looks divine. I thought I’d do something similar – an icy Christmas treat, just perfect for a hot, sunny, Australian Christmas Day.

Have you ever looked at a photo in one of those gorgeous food magazines and been desperate to recreate it? Well, this was one of those times.

Delicious Magazine cover

Don’t they look great? And the recipe is SO simple. (I’m really not kidding!) Just grab some of your favourite vanilla ice cream and stir through some grated chocolate. From memory, I think we also added some chopped up pistachios and cranberries for an added Christmassy touch.

BUT… (You knew there’d be a catch, right?) There are a couple of little tricks.

But before I go into those, let me finish with the “recipe”. Once you have your ice cream with all its special treats folded through, you need to cut up squares of baking paper and twist them into long, narrow cones, and then stick them in place with a little sticky tape. Then you simply fill each cone with ice cream and return them to the freezer until you’re ready to serve.

SO EASY!

Ah, but here are the tricks. One, make sure you have enough room in your freezer. Something I didn’t plan, until we were already scooping ice cream into the paper cones was how on earth I was going to freeze them! Solution (thanks to my ever-logical mother) came from standing them up in champagne glasses! We needed to take a shelf out in the freezer to give ourselves enough room, though. And we all know at this time of year, fridge and freezer space is at a premium, so make sure you can fit them in.

And second – accept that it’s simply not going to look exactly like the picture.

Emmie Dark's Icecream Cones

If I make them again, I will do a better job of making sure the cones are completely filled, to avoid those little gaps. And I’d also try to do a better job of levelling off the tops, so that when you turn them out, they’re not quite so lopsided-y.

Emmie Dark's Christmas ice-cream cones

Having said that, they tasted absolutely delightful, and isn’t that what it’s all about in the end?

Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!

 

And a very merry Christmas to you too, Emmie! Thanks so much for this fabulous Christmas idea. Those icecreams look gorgeous, like decorations themselves and I bet they tasted delicious.

So, my clever Feasters, do you have a special Christmas trick? Something that looks amazing and impressive yet takes no time at all? I don’t so I’m in need of tips!!

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