Tag Archives: Easter

FRIDAY FEAST with Cathryn Hein ie me!

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Hoppy Easter, everyone! And welcome to this special Good Friday edition of Friday Feast. I say special a bit tongue-in-cheek because you have ME as your host and guest, something that doesn’t happen often. Actually, you’ll have me this week and next week. Aren’t you lucky!

Unlike my darling football team, who are not.Cathryn holding Rocking Horse Hill

My beloved Sydney Swans, bless them, are currently playing worse football than I’m playing golf, and that’s saying something. And because I still have the footy-sulks you’re going to have to put up with Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news instead.

Despite difficult conditions –  ie. the course being as soggy as a soppy sponge and the bunkers being flooded – last week I managed to score less disastrously than I have for a while, which doesn’t mean much, really. However I did at least manage to look particularly fetching in purple tartan shorts teamed with a blue and white floraly patterned polo and pink socks. Stylish. Very stylish indeed.

And now… er… here’s ME!

Well, my book: Rocking Horse Hill, which releases in only five sleeps and which is garnering suuuuper reviews!

ROCKING HORSE HILL

Rocking Horse Hill by Cathryn Hein coverWho do you trust when a stranger threatens to tear your family apart?

Ever since she was a little girl, Emily Wallace-Jones has loved Rocking Horse Hill. The beautiful family property is steeped in history. Everything important in Em’s life has happened there. And even though Em’s brother Digby has inherited the property, he has promised Em it will be her home for as long as she wishes.

When Digby falls in love with sweet Felicity Townsend, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, Em worries about the future. But she is determined not to treat Felicity with the same teenage snobbery that tore apart her relationship with her first love, Josh Sinclair. A man who has now sauntered sexily back into Em’s life and given her a chance for redemption.

But as Felicity settles in, the once tightly knitted Wallace-Jones family begins to fray. Suspicions are raised, Josh voices his distrust, and even Em’s closest friends question where Felicity’s motives lie. Conflicted but determined to make up for the damage caused by her past prejudices, Em sides with her brother and his fiancée until a near tragedy sets in motion a chain of events that will change the family forever.

A cracking family drama and a wonderful romance (if I do say so myself). Why not pre-order the ebook right now? Simply visit Amazon for your Kindle, iBooks, Kobo or Google Play. Do it now and it’ll be delivered right to your device on release day. Easy!

And now more ME!

EASTER TREATS

What are your childhood Easter memories? Are they overloaded with chocolate, camping or perhaps all the glorious colour and action of the Royal Easter Show?

In the Hein household we went to the beach. Marvellous, I hear you say. Lucky you! Er, yes. Lucky us. Except let me tell you a little about the place I’m talking about. Nene Valley is a tiny fishing village right down the very bottom of South Australia. It was named after a barque that was wrecked there in 1854. When I was a kid, at really low tide, you could still see the remains of the wreck but the sea and sand has covered it now. It’s a nice place though. It was then and it still is now, and Mum and Dad’s Mount Gambier limestone shack had everything you could want.

However, think about where it is. Think of Antarctica, think of the Great Southern Ocean, and Map of Australia and Antarctica showing approximate location of Nene Valleythen picture a map of Australia. Bar a few guano-covered islands, between Nene Valley and all those icebergs there is nothing but freezing water and slicing wind. When the weather turns, it’s bloody horrible. And inevitably, so, so perfectly, it would turn Easter weekend.

Ah, Dad, ever the optimist, would head out on Good Friday to lay crayfish pots and nets (you used to be able to net in those days) and rub his hands in glee at the thought of the cray, whiting, bream or snapper soon to be lining his plate. And what would happen, almost without fail? Foul weather. Out there the pots would remain. If we were lucky, the sea would be safe enough in the bay to fetch the nets. But the pots, which were usually laid on the reef where the breakers crashed, had to stay.

So what would we eat instead? Rabbit! Often with the added extra crunch of shotgun pellets. And chocolate, of course. Lots of it because Mum always loaded up. Which was just as well when you consider the seafood situation….

Now, what has that to do with the recipe I’m sharing today or Rocking Horse Hill? Absolutely nothing. But it was fun talking about it anyway.

Seeing as it’s Easter, I thought I’d share my recipe for hot crossed buns, or in this case, uncrossed buns because I’m usually too lazy to make the crosses or glaze them. Who needs that faffing around when they taste good without it anyway?

You can make the recipe the traditional way but why bother if you have a breadmaker? Put the ingredients in the machine in the right order, hit the dough setting and go and read a book. Perfect! It took a bit of experimenting to get the recipe right but it’s pretty foolproof now. The only hard work is kneading in the sultanas and forming the buns and even that takes no time at all. The rest is all done by machine. Lovely!

Hot (Un)Crossed Buns

Hot uncrossed buns

14 grams or so of dried yeast

4 cups plain (bread) flour

1 teaspoon salt

¼ cup sugar

2 teaspoons mixed spice

1 cup sultanas

1 ½ cups warm milk

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 egg, lightly beaten

Mix dry ingredients, including yeast & sultanas, in a large bowl. Add milk, butter and egg. Mix well to form a soft dough. Knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover and leave in a warm place to rise until doubled in volume. Approx. 1 hour.

(This stage can be done in a bread machine – liquid ingredients first, followed by dry, NO SULTANAS, then set to ‘dough’ function.)

Knock down dough, then knead for 1 minute.

(If you’re using a breadmaker, let it finish its cycle, remove the dough and knead in the sultanas.)

Dough ready for sultanas to be kneaded in

Dough ready for sultanas to be kneaded in

Divide dough evenly into 12 pieces. Shape each piece into a bun. Place slightly apart on a lined baking tray. Leave in a warm place to double in size. Approx 1 hour, depending on ambient temperature.

Or, if you’re like me, take a big cake tin (26 x 26 cm), tear off some baking paper to fit. No grease, just plop it in – the paper overhang makes great handles for lifting the buns out afterwards – then roll your 12 buns and place them in the tin and leave to prove. They’ll be a bit more rectangular than square but it’s the taste, not the shape, that counts. Don’t worry about it. Anyway, if they’re too perfect everyone will think you bought them!

Rolled buns in the tin ready for baking

Rolled buns in the tin ready for baking

If you’re feeling cheffy, pipe crosses onto buns. (Make the paste with 1/3 cup plain flour and 1/3 cup water, mixed until smooth).

Just to prove I can add crosses….

Buns with crosses ready for baking

Buns with crosses ready for baking

Okay, so I’m not great with a piping bag…

Bake at 200⁰C for 15-20 minutes. When baked, place buns on a rack and brush with glaze. (Make the glaze by mixing ¼ cup water, 2 tablespoons sugar and ½ teaspoon mixed spice in a saucepan. Bring to boil slowly, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes)

Finished glazed hot cross buns

Finished glazed hot cross buns

See? Easy! And delicious. Plus your house will smell amazing and you’ll have exerted hardly any effort. Stand by for cheers and compliments when you hand out butter-smothered hot (un)crossed buns to grateful family and friends.

Hot crossed buns broken apart

GIVEAWAY

Why not? It’s Easter. So…

For your chance to win not only a signed copy of my fantabulous new rural romance Rocking Horse Hill, the book that everyone is raving about (it’s my blog, I’m allowed enthusiasm!), but some Lindt chocolates too, simply share your favourite Easter memory or treat. Either one, I don’t care. The main thing is to join in the Friday Feast fun!

Did you shiver in a collapsed tent for an entire weekend? Perhaps you ate too many Easter Bilbys (chocolate ones) and couldn’t move for a day? Maybe you have a wonderful family tradition you could share?

Comment away and I’ll put you in the draw.

Giveaway closes midnight AEST Wednesday, 23rd April 2014. Australian postal addresses only.

Take note: I’m be leaving the giveaway open a little longer usual because of the holiday break.

Now, if you’d like to learn more about me, just go exploring the website. But you can also play around on Facebook, Twitter via @CathrynHein and Google+.

FRIDAY FEAST with Emmie Dark

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Greetings, Feasters, and welcome to this Easter edition of Friday Feast. I hope you’re not overdosing on hot cross buns, and remember to be sensible with the chocolate on Sunday.

Actually, on second thoughts, don’t. Go silly. Life’s too short to be abstemious. As my guest today understands!

Emmie Dark is nothing like her surname. She’s light and lovely – just like her newly released debut novel Cassie’s Grand Plan.  I know this because I’ve met Emmie. Over lunch, funnily enough. And today she’s sharing an amazing foodie travelogue, with lots of photos and gorgeous descriptions for us to drool over. Got a hot cross bun handy? You’ll need it because you’re going to be pretty hungry after this post.

But before you start salivating over Emmie’s foodie adventures, feast instead on this!

 

Cassie’s Grand Plan

 

Four steps to a brand-new life

Cassie Hartman knows what she needs to do to get her life under control. First, she’ll get herself promoted. Then she’ll update her appearance. Steps three and four—marriage and family—well, those will have to wait.

Then Ronan McGuire shows up. The too-sexy, too-polished business consultant has the power to derail Cassie’s plans before she’s even really started. If he doesn’t approve her promotion, she’ll be back to square one—and that’s not an option. Cassie needs to keep her focus on that first step, no matter how much Ronan tempts her to skip ahead to the third and fourth ones….

 

Tempting, huh? Well, you know what to do: shop! Cassie’s Grand Plan is in stores right now. You can also order direct from Harlequin, or from Book Depository and Amazon.

 

Keep on moving

 

Hi Cathryn! Thanks for inviting me to join you on your blog – it’s lovely to be here in such esteemed company! Not to mention being given the opportunity to talk about my two loves – romance writing and food.

I’ve just returned from a trip in the USA. I’m fortunate enough to be able to travel quite a bit for my (non-writing) work and one of the perks is getting to eat in some amazing places. On this trip, I managed to have some amazing meals that were all wonderful – but for very different reasons. I know most people talk about their own cooking on your blog, but if it’s okay with you, I’d like to tell you about some of the foodie highlights from one of my favourite cities in the world: San Francisco.

First up, breakfast. I’ve been to San Francisco many times, but on this trip I finally made it to Brenda’s French Soul Food – a San Fran icon, famous for its New Orleans-inspired cuisine. The menu, as you’d expect, is full of southern specialties like grits and biscuits. Can’t say I’m overly fond of grits, but the biscuits (pretty much an over-sized scone to an Aussie like me) were fabulous – light, fluffy and somehow just the right match for my omelette, potatoes and the sneaky but delicious sparkling rosé I indulged in. Intriguingly, the wine was served in a plain tumbler – which had no effect other than to make my indulgence less obvious to others!

Next, lunch. I know it’s not the height of cool or groovy, but I don’t think I’ve ever made a trip to San Fran without going to the Cheesecake Factory. Apart from the ridiculously broad menu and the insanely huge portion sizes, the restaurant’s location on the top of Macy’s department store overlooking Union Square is impossible to beat. And they just happen to stock a delicious chardonnay from Russian River that I’ve become quite keen on. (Don’t be too concerned for my liver – despite appearances so far, I didn’t have alcohol with *every* meal. Just nearly every meal… 😉 )

As for dinner? Well, there are so many wonderful places in San Fran it’s almost tough to have a bad night out. Let me tell you about two highlights.

I had an astonishingly good Vietnamese meal at Le Colonial. It’s a well-regarded San Francisco eatery and the food was excellent. I do have to admit that I was with a relatively large group of work colleagues, and we enjoyed some exotic cocktails in the bar upstairs prior to eating which made for some noisy and hilarious dinner conversation. (There I go talking about alcohol again! But really what is a good meal without an accompanying drop?)

Le Colonial’s cocktails were fantastic – not only unusual combinations, but prettily decorated with fresh flowers too. I had something called a Gigi, which included Grey Goose vodka, St Germain elderflower liqueur, Lillet Blanc and a dash of sparkling rosé. Yum!

While in town I was also fortunate enough to sample another San Fran icon – the Wayfare Tavern. Located in the financial district, even on a weeknight this place was pumping and due to our last-minute reservation we weren’t sitting down to eat until well after 9pm. Luckily the food was so good that even though I was feeling more like bed-time than dinner-time, I scoffed what I was served. The Wayfare is famous for its fried chicken, and so, of course, that’s what I ordered.
The reputation is deserved! The chicken was moist, crispy, not at all oily and the coating wasn’t too thick. Served simply with some lemon wedges, it was the epitome of simple elegance – something I have come to appreciate when travelling and eating out every night. There’s only so many dishes of complicated ingredients and complex flavours you can take after a while. Sometimes you need something simple – but good. Wayfare delivered on both counts.

I know that most of your guests contribute a recipe. Unfortunately given that I’ve spent my visit talking about other people’s cooking, it doesn’t really seem appropriate for me to provide one. However I will, if I may, give a plug to the SuperRomance Authors recipe book.

The photo on the front cover is my zucchini and pistachio spice cake with lime frosting – you can find the recipe three clicks in. It’s my never-fail-to-impress baking star and not only does it look fantastic and taste amazing, it’s incredibly easy to make.

Leave a comment and tell me about your favourite dining out dish and I’ll send one lucky commenter a copy of my debut novel, Cassie’s Grand Plan!

 

Okay, I am officially jealous of Emmie Dark. Like, really, really jealous. How sensational did that sound? And check out the SuperRomance recipe book. There are some excellent recipes and Emmie’s cake looks and sounds beautiful.

Now, see Emmie’s book up there with that gorgeous cover and enticing blurb? You could win it. All you need to do is share your favourite dining out dish. So you know the drill, Feasters. Get commenting!

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday, 10th April AEST. Open internationally.

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

 

A fraction late with this announcement, but this giveaway has closed. Congratulations to our winner, Natalie, and thanks to all who to took the time to comment. Much fun was had!