Hello food and book lovers, and welcome to this week’s whiz-bang edition of Friday Feast. This week: one of Australia’s most loved rural romance authors, some serious foodie technology, cupcakes to die for, and a giveaway!
But first, the no-news zone that is Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. I’m currently in Mount Gambier, my home town and the place where my golfing life began. Also the location where the phrase “Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf” originated, courtesy of my father. Again this week I have nothing to report game wise, although I did go out with Dad for smack around the practice fairway, where I got to laugh at his air swings and other duffs. Never fear, the Great Golfing God will get me back for my meanness. He always does. The bugger.
Right, onto to our most fantabulous guest.
Anyone who loves rural romance and Australian romance fiction knows who Rachael johns is. She blasted onto the best-seller lists with Jilted in 2012 and hasn’t looked back, growing her readership with Man Drought, her hugely successful Outback series and more. She’s also a great friend, and we’ve spent many an email, phone call, text, and late night in conversation, talking all things bookish and life, which is why she’s featured in the acknowledgements of my books. Gotta thank our friends. God knows, they put up with enough.
I’m thrilled to have Rachael on Friday Feast and if you haven’t already done so, you should all go out and buy Rach’s latest release and sequel to Jilted, The Road To Hope, right now. It’s a beauty!
Nurse Lauren Simpson is known in Hope Junction for the wrong reasons – and she’s over it. Watching the man she’s always loved marry someone else is the last straw – she decides to get out of Hope. But her resolve is tested when the hot new locum doctor arrives in town.
Doctor Tom Lewis also has skeletons in his closet – including a painful breakup and devastating family news. He’s hit the road with his vintage ute and surfboard, to travel the outback and live in the moment.
When Tom and Lauren meet the attraction is instant, but for Lauren Tom threatens to be just another fling and Tom has his own reasons for hesitating. Everyone else – their friends and patients – can see how perfect they are together, but just what will it take for them to admit this to themselves?
A brand new Hope Junction story of fresh starts and second chances.
Told you The Road To Hope was a beauty and it can be yours right now with just a few clicks. Try Booktopia, Bookworld or Angus & Robertson. You can also buy from Dymocks, Abbey’s Bookshop, QBD The Bookstore, Amazon.au, Amazon.com, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi, Boomerang Books, Fishpond, direct from the publisher Harlequin or try your local independent book shop or chain store.
Now settle back and be whizzed by Rach!
I Bought A Thermomix
So… I recently relented and bought a Thermomix. It was just over a year since I went to my first demo and saw this kitchen tool in action. At that first demo, I remember not being THAT impressed. Sure the Thermie made a yummy dip and pretty delicious sorbet, all fairly easily, but was it really worth it’s $2k+ price tag? I am not a domestic goddess these days and my kids are so fussy that what I cook is so mundane I’m even bored myself. The only enjoyment I get from cooking is baking cakes and yes, I enjoy eating them just as much.
I left the demo semi-impressed but still unsure how much I would use such a gadget. Then, over the next few months every time I made a cheese sauce or a soup or a cake, I thought about how much quicker, how much easier it would be if I had the super machine on my bench. During this time a number of other friends became Thermie owners – and maybe it was a case of coveting what I didn’t have but I felt myself coming around to the idea. When we had to bake cakes for a school cake-stall it took up my whole day, thus I lost ALL that writing time, and I thought, you know… if I had a Thermomix I could do this SO much quicker. I could also make MORE cakes to sell.
Then, a year after that first demo I went to the second and THIS time the host made cocktails with her old Thermie while the consultant cooked up a feast with the new Thermie (note, the old was pretty cool but the new one is all digitalized and awesome. It has a micro-chip recipe book and everything that pretty much cooks for you! Seriously good for those dunces in the kitchen like me). Well, I took one sip of said cocktail and my decision was made. I’ve had my Thermomix for almost four months now and I actually haven’t MADE any cocktails but knowing I CAN is enough
So… what have I made and was the $2k+ price tag worth it? Well, I threw out my rice cooker, my blender, my electric beaters and most of my other kitchen appliances, so now I cook all my rice in Thermie and do all my cakes, biscuits, etc in there too. I always made pancakes lots and now do these in the Thermomix as well. I’ve made a couple of full meals – a steamed chicken dish, risotto and a really delicious chorizo and sun-dried tomato pasta – and it is SO easy.
I’ve also taken to making myself a veggie juice every morning and am really enjoying experimenting with this. Best thing is probably that I have less mess at the end of a cooking session and also that I can go away and leave the Thermomix cooking while I attend to other things. Great news for a busy mum and writer who sometimes gets lost in her own little world.
I use my Thermomix at least once a day if not more. I find the recipes it comes with are fabulous but there are also millions more online tried and tested by other Thermomix users. I’ve even used non-Thermomix recipes and find they are really easy to adapt. I recently made an apple and oat cake from a recipe Cathryn gave me 🙂 I’m sure there are a lot of Thermomix users who utilize theirs a lot more than me, but I do not regret the purchase and find I’m using it more and more each day.
And right now… I’m off to try a caramel cake recipe I saw in a magazine. I’m going to convert it for Themie!!
It worked! But I decided to make cupcakes instead. Here’s my adapted recipe – they might look bland but they taste AMAZE-BALLS!!
125 grams softened butter
220 grams packed brown sugar
1 ts vanilla extract
1 Ts golden syrup
150 grams plain flour
75 grans SR flour
a pinch of cinnamon
125 mls milk
Line 12 large muffin tins with cases. Put oven to 180 degrees.
Put butter, sugar and vanilla in Thermomix bowl and mix for 20 seconds on speed 5.
Add eggs one at a time, set blades on speed five and add eggs through hole in the lid. Mix about 30 seconds.
Add half flour and half milk and mix for 10 seconds on speed 5. Repeat with the rest of the flour and milk. If not quite mixed together, scrap down sides and turn up quickly to speed 6 for a second.
Spoon into prepared muffin cases and bake for 20-25 minutes.
50 grams butter
30 grams milk
70 grams brown sugar
100 grams icing sugar
Add butter, milk and brown sugar to bowl and cook for 6 minutes at 50 degrees on speed 3. After two minutes increase the temperature to 90 degrees. After four minutes (two minutes to go) drop temperature back to 50 degrees and remove the measuring cup from lid. Once done add icing sugar and mix for 10 seconds on speed four. Scrape sides and remix if necessary. Allow to cool before icing the cakes!
They sound and look DIVINE, Rach. I’m definitely giving these a run, although I’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way with my mixmaster (which I’m still trying to blow up so I have an excuse to buy a new one). Mind you, looking at that icing, I might just skip the cake bit and make the icing. That’d be pretty tasty scooped into my mouth by the spoonful. Not healthy, mind, but we don’t get too het up about things like that here at Friday Feast.
Now, my sweet little dumpling Feasties, Rachael, as we all know, is a bloody luverly person and an open-hearted one too, which is why she’s offering a…
For your chance to win a signed copy of Rachael’s gorgeous new release, The Road To Hope, simply share your favourite cupcake flavour in the comments below.
I bags lemon! I’m a sucker for anything tangy and citrusy and lemon will trump chocolate for me almost every time.
What about you? What’s your favourite cupcake flavour? Strawberry? Plain vanilla? Or do you have an exotic flavour for us to drool over? Share and we’ll pop you in the giveaway draw.
Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 19th May 2015. Australian postal addresses only.