Tag Archives: dessert recipes

FRIDAY FEAST with Rachael Johns

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Hello, food and book lovers, and welcome to another tastebud tingling Friday Feast. This week, one of the hottest authors in Australia, a delicious New Orleans treat, a sexy book that will also win your heart, and a giveaway!

But first, the ongoing saga that is Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. So even though it is now spring, the winter of my golfing discontent has carried on. I appreciate that I had a little time away from the golf course, but you’d think the Great Golfing God would cut me a bit of slack, wouldn’t you? In particular when I kindly sacrificed 4 (or was it 5?) balls into water hazards to keep the big fella happy, but no. Not only could I barely hit the ball on the fairways, I couldn’t putt either. I had 6 three-putts. SIX! That’s just humiliating. Fortunately, as a golfing Hein I’m used to it, didn’t chuck a tanty and laughed my way round. Only cos it beats crying.

Author Rachael JohnsRachael Johns is one of, if not THE biggest selling rural romance author in Australia. Right from her debut novel Jilted she cemented her place in rural romance stardom and hasn’t looked back, following Jilted with hits like Man Drought, and the much-loved Bunyip Bay series. But as many of you already know, Rachael is talented in more than the rural romance genre. She can write sexy stories too, and her latest is Fire Me Up, book 2 in the Deacons of Bourbon Street series, which also features titles from leading authors Maisey Yates, Megan Crane and Jackie Ashenden.

Take a look at Fire Me Up.

FIRE ME UP

Fire Me Up by Rachael JohnsCan a scorching affair with a bohemian beauty tame a motorcycle man with a dark side? Rachael Johns takes the wheel in the sexy series co-written with Megan Crane, Jackie Ashenden, and Maisey Yates.

Travis “Cash” Sinclair values only two things from his days with the Deacons of Bourbon Street: his prized Harley Davidson and the man who gave it to him. But now Priest Lombard is gone, and Cash has inherited the Deacons’ clubhouse—not to mentions its unexpected tenant. She’s exactly the type of woman he tries to avoid: all incense and art, with a sharp tongue that promises trouble. So why does Cash want to push aside those flowing skirts and lose himself between her legs?

Billie Taylor fled a bad marriage to start a new life among the grit and glamour of the French Quarter. She refuses to let another man distract her from her dreams, especially an outlaw biker with nothing to offer except hot sex and an eviction notice. Cash is dangerous, with an untamed streak he tries desperately to conceal. He drives Billie wild, sending her too close to the edge for her own good. And she won’t fall under his spell—or into his bed—without a fight.

How hot does that sound? Phew! Fire Me Up can be yours right now with just a clickety-click. Try Amazon.au, Amazon.com, iBooks. Kobo, Google Play, Barnes & Noble or your favourite ebook retailer.

All set? Now come on a tasty journey with Rachael.

A Taste of New Orleans

Beignets and hot chocolate in New Orleans

Beignets, coffee and hot chocolate at the famous Café du Monde, New Orleans.

Last year I had the absolute joy of attending the Romantic Times readers’ convention in the French Quarter of New Orleans. I’d never been to the convention or New Orleans before and had no real idea of what to expect from either place. Except people kept raving to me about how much I’d LOVE the food. Two things I was told I must absolutely try were “gumbo” and “beignets.”

For the uninitiated like I was here’s the Wikipedia definitions for both:

Gumbo – a stew or soup that originated in southern Louisiana during the 18th century. It consists primarily of a strongly-flavoured stock, meat or shellfish, a thickener, and the vegetable holy trinity of celery, bell peppers and onions.
Beignet – is the French term for a pastry made from deep-fried choux pastry. They can also be made from other types of dough, including yeast dough. Commonly known in New Orleans as a breakfast served with powdered sugar on top.

Well, I had a couple of tries of gumbo and personally couldn’t see the appeal but the moment I put my first beignet into my mouth, I understood what everything was raving about. Although they tasted a little like a donut, they were so much better than donuts. The fried dough melts in your mouth and there is no way to eat them without covering yourself and your clothes in icing sugar dust. I had beignets (on more than one occasion) at the famous Café du Monde, which is open twenty-four hours a day and only sells beignets and drinks. Each time I went the venue was very busy and their hot chocolate was almost as good as their beignets.

Café du Monde at midnight

Café du Monde at midnight

The fabulous Megan Crane (author) about to head into Café du Monde with me and eat beignets.

The fabulous Megan Crane (author) about to head into Café du Monde with me and eat beignets.

So in love with beignets I bought a packet beignet mix from New Orleans to take home, but being a slack cook didn’t get around to trying to make them before it went out of date. However, I recently decided to give them a try from scratch – no packet mix entered the equation. I adapted (halved) a recipe I found online at Food Network and hubby and I had a right laugh trying to recreate the amazing beignets I tasted at Café du Monde.

The first bit was easy and lulled us into a false sense of our own cooking abilities. All we had to do was mix the water, sugar and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for ten minutes. In another bowl, we got busy beating the eggs, salt and evaporated milk together. Then in ANOTHER bowl, we measured out the flour. Once the yeast mixture had rested, it was time to combine yeast mixture with egg/milk mixture. After that we added half the flour and mixed, then the shortening and then the rest of the flour, until we mixed it into a dough. How much do I love dough?! We kneaded until perfection and then put it in a greased bowl, covered with plastic and left to (hopefully) rise well.

Beignet dough

 

During this time, I walked the dog, read some of the awesome book I’m currently reading (Come Away With Me by Karma Brown) and then checked the dough, which had risen as expected. So far this was one of the easiest things I’d ever made!

And then came the tricky bit. Well, the rolling out wasn’t hard, but working out exactly how thin it needed to be to cook to golden perfection took a little bit of trial and error. We’re lucky that we had a brand new deep fryer someone had given us YEARS ago, so we dragged that out and fired it up. We learnt it takes a long time for oil to heat up in the deep fryer, so had to wait a little bit longer. You could use a deep saucepan instead if you don’t have a fryer. Anyway, I digress.

Rolled out beignet dough

 

Deep frying the beignet dough

In essence making and cooking beignets was easy, but you do need to roll them fairly thin and continue turning them when they are in the hot oil.

Although the recipe told me to fill a plastic bag with icing sugar and toss the (drained on paper towel) beignets in the bag, I chose instead to sift the icing sugar over the top of them, thus dusting them as I’d experienced them at Café de Monde.

Finished home-made beignets

I have to say the result wasn’t too shabby. Even two (out of three) of my very fussy kids declared them “delicious.”

Now, this love affair with beignets didn’t only make it into my kitchen but also into my latest book – FIRE ME UP, which just happens to be set in New Orleans. It’s a little bit different from most of my books – with a little more heat and a few more naughty words, but I hope everyone will fall in love with Travis, Billie and the beignets they devour as much as I did.

*

Rach, those beignets sound delicious, if very, very naughty, and your trip to New Orleans for the Romantic Times convention must have been a fantastic experience. Every one I know who’s been to New Orleans has raved about it. One of these days I’ll get there too.

Now, because Rachael is such a faaaaabulous person, she’s offering a special…

GIVEAWAY!

To be in the draw to win a super special, limited edition Deacons of Bourbon Street FIRE ME UP cards answer this question: What place would you like to visit for the food?

Fire Me Up playing cards

That’s easy for me: Greece! Just as well there are lots of things to see and do in Greece. I’d need as much exercise I can get to wear off all the delicious things I plan to eat while there.

What about you? Maybe you want to try an authentic Indian curry? Or perhaps a fair-dinkum Cornish pasty in Cornwall? Simply reveal where you’d like to visit for the food and we’ll pop you into the draw.

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight AEST, 8th September 2015. Open internationally. Rah!

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

Friday Feast recipe index link.

FRIDAY FEAST with Barbara Hannay

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Welcome, Feasters, to another fabulous Friday Feast, this time country flavoured. And with a special, you-can-have-it-before-anyone-else-ner-ner-ner-ner-ner giveaway!

But more on that in a moment. I have to grit my teeth and get through last week’s Sydney Author Barbara HannaySwans’ results and Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news. With regards to the former, we played poo and lost. Ditto me with the latter. The curse has struck. Again. Stuffit.

But in truly excellent news, we have a marvellous guest on this week’s Feast – best-selling author Barbara Hannay. Yes, she of Zoe’s Muster and Home Before Sundown fame, as well as more than forty other novels published in twenty-six languages world-wide.

Barbara’s forthcoming release is Moonlight Plains, scheduled to hit a store near you on August 27th but available now for pre-order.

Check it out…

MOONLIGHT PLAINS

Moonlight Plains by Barbara HannayIn 1942, as the Japanese sweep towards northern Australia and allied troops swarm into Townsville, Kitty Martin is sent inland to the safety of Moonlight Plains. But when two American airmen crash on the isolated property, she is forced to grow up fast, coming face to face with tragedy, with love . . . and with heartbreak.

Years on, and Sally Piper, a young journalist, is sent to Moonlight Plains to cover the story of a cattleman turned builder who is restoring his grandmother’s forgotten homestead. Sparks fly between them, but Sally is struggling to let go of the past, and Luke has his eyes fixed firmly on the future.

What they uncover together is a shocking secret that has been kept safe for more than seventy years. Now the entire family’s happiness is at stake – or does the truth about the past hold a valuable lesson for the future?

From the internationally acclaimed and award-winning romance writer Barbara Hannay comes this breathtaking novel about finding love against all the odds. It will have you captivated from beginning to end.

Doesn’t that sound amazing? History, tragedy and romance combined. Rah! And you can pre-order it right now in either paperback or ebook. For the paperback try Booktopia, Bookworld, Angus & Roberston, Boomerang Books, QBD The Bookshop or your favourite store. For the ebook, clickety-click over to Amazon, iBooks, Google Play or your favourite reseller.

Ready to tantalise your tastebuds now you’ve satisfied your reading mind? Excellent. Off you go then!

Easy Entertaining

Thanks so much for welcoming me to your Friday Feast. It’s good timing for me, because although Moonlight Plains won’t be released for a couple more weeks (slight shift in the schedule), my husband and I have just hosted house guests two weekends in a row, so I’ve recently searched through my recipes for dishes that are quick and easy but totally delicious. My husband takes care of the main meat dish, thank goodness, so soup and dessert are my responsibilities.

I’ve served this dessert a few times now and it’s gone down very well. It’s tasty and wintry,  but not too heavy at the end of a meal. (Actually, if you want the whole truth, it’s also healthy, low kilojoule and high fibre, but don’t tell anyone 🙂 ) I reckon the touch of ginger makes all the difference…

Pear Ginger Crumble

pear and ginger crumbleTopping:

1/4 cup plain flour

2/3 cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup melted butter

Filling:

I.5 kg firm but ripe pears, peeled, cored and cut into smallish chunks

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (if you prefer, you could use crystallised ginger)

2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Directions

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.Pear and ginger crumble

For the topping: Combine the ingredients in a medium bowl and work together with a fork or with your fingertips until the ingredients are moistened.

For the filling: Combine the pears slices, lemon juice, and ginger in a large bowl. Add the sugar and flour and toss to blend.

Grease a baking dish. Transfer the pear mixture to the dish. Sprinkle the topping over the pears. Bake crumble until the pears are tender and the topping is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature, with a scoop of ice cream.

 

Oh, how we love a good crumble here on Friday Feast! This winter has seen some delicious recipes posted but I have to say, as a passionate pear-o-phile(?) this one is my favourite. Wonderful, Barbara. Thanks so much for sharing your easy dessert.

And thank you even more for your…

GIVEAWAY!

Yes, my Feasty lovelies, as promised, we have a special giveaway. Moonlight Plains doesn’t hit stores until August 27th but YOU could win an advance author copy. What an opportunity!

Naturally, you have to work for it. Can’t have you lazing around, you know. How would you burn off all those calories? This time we’re looking for the meal that makes your family happiest. Is it a good old roast, or perhaps Nanna’s special pavlova recipe. Maybe your family (or friends) go into paroxysms over your unique recipe for macaroni cheese? Whatever it is, share in the comments and we’ll pop you into the draw to win a copy of Moonlight Plains!

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 5th August 2014. Australian postal addresses only.

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

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Andrea who has won a copy of Moonlight Plains and will be soon enjoying a fantastic read. Thanks to everyone for sharing their meals. As always, they were beauties!

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Fiona Lowe

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And so another fabulous Friday has arrived. What fun! Partly because I get to brag about my darling football team, the Sydney Swans, who won AGAIN last week and remained happily perched at the top of the ladder. I have everything crossed that they won’t fall off!

Speaking of having everything crossed, I’m also hoping that my golfing winning streak will continue. Yes, Feasters, the news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf is good. I had a Author Fiona Lowewin! Still rather flummoxed by this but I’m not complaining. The curse has lifted, if only momentarily. One must enjoy the moment!

A bit like weddings. Things to be savoured and enjoyed. And no one writes a wedding like award-winning Australian author Fiona Lowe. Fiona is an author of over 25 novels, including the Rita® and Ruby award-winning book, Boomerang Bride. Whether her books are set in outback Australia or in the mid-west of the USA, they feature small towns with big hearts, and warm, likeable characters that make you fall in love.

Right now, Fiona has an anthology out: four of her stories repackaged into one wedding filled pack for you to savour. Check it out.

FIONA LOWE’S WEDDINGS

Fiona Lowe's weddings anthologyFour of Fiona’s favourite rural romances republished together in one volume!

They may have sworn off romance but could wedding bells be on the horizon for these couples? In the small outback town of Warragurra, widow Kate Lawson and single dad Baden Tremont fight their feelings for each other, and nurse Emily is vowing she’ll never fall for her playboy boss, Linton. In far north Queensland, doctor Sarah is intrigued by her gorgeous new neighbour, enigmatic surgeon Ryan who’s also a blast from her past. Over in stunning Vietnam, Tom is on a quest to discover his past. Will he also find his future with Bec?

Discover how these couples get their happy ever afters, as Fiona Lowe welcomes you into warm-hearted small communities with stories packed with emotion and sparkling, feel-good romance!  This bundle includes: The Warragurra Duo; A Wedding in Warragurra & The Playboy Doctor’s Marriage Proposal as well as A Woman to Belong To and The Surgeon’s Chosen Wife.

How’s that for a host of hot romance! You’ll be throwing confetti with glee after reading this lot. So why not grab a copy right now from Booktopia, Bookworld, Angus & Robertson, Big W ebooksAmazon, iBooks, Kobo, JB Hi-Fi or direct from Mills & Boon. Or hop on down to your local chain store.

Now here’s Fiona.

Country Cooking

As a prelude to my Wedding Fever trilogy, (Saved By The Bride, Picture Perfect Wedding and Runaway Groom), which is hitting Australian, shelves this September, October and Fiona Lowe's WeddingsNovember, Harlequin have re-released three of my Aussie rural medical romances (and one set in Vietnam) in an anthology called, Fiona Lowe’s Weddings.  It includes my Warragurra books…two stories set in a town with a flying doctor’s base. I loved these books and they were the impetus for me to go on and write longer novels. Warragurra is in outback NSW, sheep and cattle country and wholesome country cooking abounds. Given it’s July, and the nights are chilly, I wanted to share a recipe that’s featured in the book and a big fave of mine and the rest of my family…

Apple and Rhubarb Crumble

Apple and rhubarb crumble

A bunch of rhubarb, washed and diced

6 Granny Smith apples peeled, cored and sliced.

A lemon

Either microwave them on the vegetable setting or cook them slowly in a saucepan on a low heat with a tablespoon of water.  When soft, stir and taste…you may wish to add a little sugar. Pour the mixture into a greased casserole dish.

Mix together oats, brown sugar, flour, butter, coconut and seeds…sesame, sunflower, poppy…I add the cape-seed mix I use when I make bread.  Whiz it all together. Place it over the top of the apple and rhubarb mix. Bake for 30 minutes at 180C.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or cream or yoghurt.

The great thing about this recipe is that not only is it a yummy dessert, it makes a fabulous breakfast the next morning!

 

Ahh, crumble. Such a simple but delicious dessert and an absolute crowd-pleaser. Thanks so much for sharing this one, Fiona. I’m going to test it out on the man of the house as part of my quest to find the perfect crumble topping. Apparently last week’s version wasn’t crumbly enough. Hmph.

Do you have a favourite fruit crumble combination? What about a favourite topping? Perhaps you like coconut in yours, or know how to whip up a dead easy topping with muesli? I’d LOVE to hear your suggestions so share away!

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