Tag Archives: easy desserts

FRIDAY FEAST with Pamela Cook

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Hello, food ‘n fiction lovers and welcome to another happy edition of Friday Feast. This week, a gorgeous new rural romance into which to sink your heart and a luscious tart for your mouth. Yes, we cater for all the important bits here on Friday Feast, so keep reading!

Okay, so in Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news, my theory about channelling golf pro Ricky Fowler via my new Puma trousers worked. Unfortunately not the way I wanted. As golf fans will know, young Ricky failed to make the cut at the US Open, finishing the first two rounds with a Author Pamela Cookrather ignoble score somewhere in the vicinity of 13 over par. A contagion of bad play that then spread across the globe to me and turned worse. Oh, well. This week I have new golf shoes and a new putter grip to test out. Surely this has to help? Yes? Pleeeease?

It’s my pleasure to welcome back to Friday Feast fellow rural romance author Pamela Cook whose success in 2012 with her popular debut Blackwattle Lake was soon followed up in 2013 with Essie’s Way. Both featured feisty women, tangled family relationships and a healthy dose of romance, and were loved by readers.

Pamela’s new release is Close To Home. Take a look!

CLOSE TO HOME

Cover of CLOSE TO HOME by Pamela CookA compelling story of love, lies and loss in a small country town.

Orphaned at thirteen, Charlie Anderson has been on her own for over half her life. Not that she minds – she has her work as a vet and most days that’s enough. Most days. But when she’s sent to a small town on the New South Wales coast to investigate a possible outbreak of the deadly hendra virus, Charlie finds herself torn between then haunting memories of her past and her dedication to the job.

Travelling to Naringup means coming face to face with what is left of her dysfunctional family – her cousin Emma, who begged Charlie not to leave all those years ago, and her aunt Hazel, who let her go without a backward glance. But it also means relying on the kindness of strangers and, when she meets local park ranger, Joel Drummond, opening her heart to the possibility of something more …

As tensions in the town rise, can Charlie let go of the past and find herself a new future in the place she left so long ago?

I can see the fingers of all you rural romance lovers itching to buy from here, so here are all the links in one convenient place to satisfy that covetous need for this book. Try Booktopia, Bookworld or Angus and Robertson. Also Boomerang Books, Fishpond.com.au, Abbey’s Bookshop, QBD The Bookshop, Amazon.au, Kobo, Google Play, iBooks, JB Hi-Fi, or your favourite independent book seller or chain store.

Now for some deliciousness with Pamela.

Resistance is Useless

Lovely to be back on Friday Feast. Thanks for having me, Cathryn.

Last time I was here I shared a recipe for my Aunty Elsie’s Blueberry Cheesecake, a family favourite. Another favourite Lemon Meringue Pie. I have to admit I’ve never actually made one but I do enjoy devouring the ones my mum whips up. One of them makes an appearance in my very-soon-to-be-released novel Close To Home. And when I say very soon, I mean in four days. And yes, I’m just a tad excited!!!

Sadly I’m not much of a cook but I do love a good dessert, just like my new main character Charlie Anderson. Charlie has a sweet tooth and fortunately for her the town she is working in, Naringup, has a great variety of restaurants. When she finds herself dining at Savannah with the very handsome local Parks and Wildlife Ranger how can she resist sharing the Chocolate Tart with Salted Caramel Icecream?

The week I was revising this scene I’d had the pleasure of dining at St Isidore’s, a beautiful restaurant in Milton. When I saw the Chocolate Tart on the menu I didn’t have to think twice. And although I was a little unsure about the accompaniment I have to say, the combination of the sweet tart with the slightly salty icecream was to die for! Needless to say the dessert made it into the novel.

I was pleasantly surprised when I found a recipe for a Chocolate Tart with Salt Flakes. Not quite the same as the one I sampled at the restaurant but close – and easy enough for me to attempt. It turned out pretty well and the sea salt flakes sprinkled over the top are a great contrast to the rich chocolate filling. You only need a sliver but it really is delicious.

Chocolate Tart

Chocolate Tart

Ingredients

300 ml double cream

2 teaspoons of caster sugar

A pinch of sea salt

50 g unsalted butter, softened

200 g 70% cocoa chocolate, broken into small pieces (I used Lindt – yummy)

50 ml milk

One sheet of ready-made shortcrust pastry  or use your own recipe

Sea salt flakes and cream or ice cream, to serve.

Slice of chocolate tartMethod:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line a greased tart tin with the pastry and bake blind for 10-15 minutes. Remove weights and bake again for 15 minutes until golden.
  2. Mix the cream, sugar and salt in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from heat and add the butter and chocolate. Stir until all the ingredients are blended.
  3. Leave the mixture for a few minutes then stir in the milk. Keep stirring until shiny. Pour into the tart shell and leave to set for around 2 hours. I left it out until it cooled then put it in the fridge for an hour.
  4. Sprinkle lightly with salt flakes. Serve with cream or ice cream.

Enjoy!

Ooh, definitely one to enjoy, Pamela. Very hard to go past chocolate anything but that tart looks utterly divine. So rich and naughty and yet so easy!

So what do you think, Feasties? Reckon you could have a go at a bit of salt with your chocolatey sweetness? How about a touch of chilli or mint or even orange?

Share your favourite chocolate flavouring in the comments and for a bit of fun we’ll see who can come up with the most tempting.

In the meantime, if you’d like learn more about Pamela and her excellent books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Twitter using @PamelaCookAU and her Flying Pony blog.

FRIDAY FEAST with Mandy Magro

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Hello Feasters, and welcome to the devilish deliciousness that is Friday Feast! This week is pure gold, with a gold standard rural romance author, an 18 carat cover and a golden syrup based dessert to die for. So read on…

First, news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. On Monday I trekked up to Windsor to play in the final of the Women’s Golf Nepean Silver Brooch thing that I somehow qualified for. The course was lovely, my playing companions too, and… wait for it… I didn’t disgrace myself! Mandy MagroActually, I played quite well. I know, amaaaaazing. Who’da thunk it? Not me, that’s for sure. I was predicting duffed shots and a score that read like cricket a innings.

Speaking of amazing…

My Friday Feast guest today is Mandy Magro, a Queensland country gal who has quickly become one of Australia’s favourite rural romance authors. Her books are lush with outback imagery, emotional and a bit sexy. This isn’t a gal who keeps the bedroom door closed on her heroes and heroines!

Mandy’s latest book is Country At Heart. Take a look.

COUNTRY AT HEART

Country At Heart by Mandy MagroA wounded soldier and a free spirit, both determined to follow their dreams – can their love survive?

The Army, protecting the country he loves, and his dearly beloved explosive detection dog Indy are Dean’s life – he can’t imagine doing anything else. But life has other plans for Dean when he and Indy are wounded in action in Afghanistan and sent home to his family’s seaside horse property, Whispering Meadows, to heal.

Free-spirited Summer has agreed to spend one last holiday with her parents at their luxurious vacation home, despite her father’s resistance to her plans for her career. But events take an unexpected turn when Summer and Dean meet and discover that love at first sight truly exists.

But can they overcome the very real challenges of coming from different sides of the tracks? And when Summer has to face the unpleasant truth about an old friend, as well as come to terms with the after-effects of a bewildering assault, she has to make a heartbreaking decision about their relationship. Can Dean’s love ultimately sway her?

‘A timeless tale of love and war brought to vivid life from war-torn Afghanistan to country Australia’ –TONY PARK, bestselling author of The Delta and Ivory

Doesn’t that sound a cracking read? You can have your hands on it in a jiffy with just a few clickety-clicks. For the paperback, visit Booktopia, Bookworld or Angus & Robertson. For the ebook, click on over to Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi or buy  direct from the publisher Harlequin.

All stocked up? Excellent. Now for more gold, thanks to Mandy!

The Sweet Side Of Life…

Thanks for inviting me back to your mouth-watering Friday Feast, Cathryn. I just adore anything to do with food – recipe books, growing it, shopping for it, cooking it and eating it! I will admit I do like to eat healthy – the majority of the time. But then there are the moments when I crave comfort food, the kind of stuff you eat with a stupid grin while fighting the urge to lick your bowl clean.

So, I’m very excited to share my favourite dessert with you, Steamed Golden Syrup Pudding. My mouth is watering just thinking about its delicious golden gooiness.

Steamed Golden Syrup Pudding

Mandy Magro's cooked Steamed Golden Syrup Pudding

Ingredients

150g soft brown sugar

150g softened butter

1 lemon – zested

3 eggs, beaten

150g self raising flour, mixed with a pinch of salt

10 tablespoons golden syrup

Method

  1. Butter a 2-pint (1.1 litre) pudding/steamer dish. Put the sugar and butter in a large bowl and beat with electric beaters until pale and fluffy. Beat in the lemon zest and eggs (add a couple of tablespoons of the flour to help), and then fold in the flour. Mix in 5 tablespoons of golden syrup – or a little more if you like. Put the other 5 tablespoons of syrup – or a little more if you like – in the bottom of the steamer dish. Spoon the pudding mixture on top.
  2. Secure the lid on the steamer basin.
  3. Place the steamer basin in a large pan on an upturned saucer (to stop it touching the base of the pan) with simmering water coming a third of the way up the sides of the dish. Steam for 2 hours, checking the water now and again and topping up if needed.
  4. (This is where my inner-child comes out and I lick the bowl!)
  5. Rest the pud for a couple of minutes before turning it out (you may need a palette knife to loosen)
  6. Serve with lashings of cream, or ice-cream, or custard, or all three – why not live it up! 🙂

So there you have it, my wickedly full-fat over-indulgent syrup pudding. I promise every single mouthful will be worth the sin of it!

Happy cooking, and eating!

Mandy

Happiness indeed! Thanks, Mandy. What a beautiful recipe you’ve shared. Golden syrup is a bit like condensed milk I think. There is no bad recipe with it in!

I adore classic puds like this. They’re tried and true, and so very comforting. They also look great and taste divine.

Okay, my darling Feasties, what is your favourite naughty pudding or dessert? One that is so, so bad it’d clog an elephant’s arteries but you can never resist?

For me, it would have to be caramel tart because it reminds me so much of my childhood. And Mum opening the condensed milk tin too early and painting the ceiling in hot caramel. Funny to me, but not even remotely funny for her. Imagine trying to clean that off! I could also add the Chocolate, Walnut and Prune cake that I recently discovered in the November Gourmet Traveller to the list. That cake is AMAZING.

So what about you? What’s your favourite naughty dessert? Curious minds want to know so we can go and try it too!

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

FRIDAY FEAST with Cathryn Hein

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Greetings, Feasty lovelies, and welcome to another tastebud tantalising edition of Friday Feast. This week: rocking on with a bargain priced Rocking Horse Hill, getting stoned with fruit (well, maybe not high but certainly very happy), and a book giveaway you will luuuurve.

First, news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. I’m on the improve, oh yes I am. And I can Cathryn ready to golfprove it because I only hit ONE ball into a dam on the weekend… I think. It’s entirely possible I blocked memory of the others. All this ball loss does get traumatic at times. Not to mention expensive.

But onto some Feasty goodness. This week you have ME as the guest and I have a treat for you too. A few of them, in fact.

Now, in case you haven’t heard, the ebook of my fourth rural romance Rocking Horse Hill is currently on sale for only $4-99 across all platforms. A saving of eight dollars of the normal retail price. How’s that for a bargain? And it’s a great read, if I do say so myself!

Take a look…

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.

Like the sound of that? Then grab it now at a rocking price. Try Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play and JB Hi-Fi. Prefer the smell and feel of paper, then clickety-click on over to Booktopia, Bookworld or Angus & Robertson. Or why not pop into your favourite local bookshop or chain store?

Stocked up? Excellent. You can now come and get stoned with me.

Ahem.

Summer Lovin’

Today I made my first cherry purchase of the season.

What? Not impressed? Huh. Fine. I know this may not sound much to you, but it matters bigtime to me. You see, I don’t just love cherries, I worship them. They are by far my favourite fruit. Come cherry season I cannot stuff enough of those babies into my mouth.

I like the way they burst. I like the intensity of their flavour. I like that funny sensation I get when my front teeth pierce the skin. I like how they colour my fingers all pink. I like how you can be munching through a bowl, thinking how delicious they are, and then suddenly get one whose sweet amazingness outshines all the others and makes your brain go all bright like it’s been filled with sunshine. I like how deeply, almost sexily red they are. I like to stroke them…

*cough*

Sorry, but I did say that I worshipped them.

Anyway, today I scored my first batch of new season cherries and I had plans for these things. Cooking type plans. I was going to turn those plump little morsels into a beautiful French dessert. Until I ate one…. um, okay, I ate many. Then I thought: Why waste my darlings on a dessert when I can scoff them pure and whole, the way nature intended?

So I turned to summer’s third best stone fruit, the humble apricot (the second being nectarines). Now normally it’s hard to go past a beautifully blushed apricot but when there are cherries being all Eat me! Eat Me! it’s easy. I mean, apricots  are all demure peachy blush while cherries are vibrant and siren-like. If cherries were a man they’d be… I dunno. Think of someone dark ‘n hot ‘n dangerous maybe. Someone sultry and sexy, with smooth skin and taut muscles and long lashes and brown come-hither eyes.

Washed new season cherries and apricots

But I digress… cherries kind of have that effect.

Because this Feast is about Rocking Horse Hill, and with the heroine Emily Wallace-Jones being such a wonderful cook and gardener, I needed a recipe that she would make and share with friends and family. She’s a seasonal girl, our Em. She likes to let nature dictate what’s on the menu. And in summer, with her orchard in full production, you can bet she’d be inundated with stone fruit.

I think – no, I know cos she is, after all, my invention – that a lovely French clafoutis would be exactly the dish she would cook.

Have you ever had a clafoutis? It’s one of the world’s easiest desserts to make and one whose success relies almost entirely on the quality of the fruit used. So choose that fruit wisely. You can use anything really, but beautifully ripe stone fruit always works well. Cherries are traditional but I just couldn’t bring myself to cook my precious batch. So apricots it is. I can sacrifice them.

This recipe has been adapted from the clafoutis recipe in Bien Cuisiner du marché à votre table by Marie-Claude Bisson, a lovely big fat 800 recipe cookbook that’s well worth buying if you love French family food and don’t mind a bit of translating. Some recipes I’ve seen call for almond flour and whatnot but that sounds far too heavy. This clafoutis produces a silky light custard with the fruit juices running through. It’s easy and beautiful and very moreish.

Apricot Clafoutis

The baked apricot clafoutis served with a drizzle of cream.

Ingredients

4 eggs

Pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

125g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

80g plain flour

60g butter

250ml milk (or use 125ml cream and 125ml milk for a richer result – but straight milk works fine)

500g apricots or the fruit of your choice

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C.

If using smaller fruit like cherries, stone and keep whole (there’s a special depipping gadget for this – or you can halve them, whatever you like). For larger fruit, remove the stone and cut in half and place in a ceramic dish cut side down (or up, if you prefer that look).

Beat the eggs, salt, vanilla and sugar until pale and creamy.

Sift the flour nice and high over the egg mixture and fold in. Melt 30g of the butter and gently stir that into the egg mixture along with the milk. The mix will be quite liquid but airy.

Pour over the fruit. Dot with remaining butter. Bake for 30 minutes, depending on the shallowness of your dish, your oven’s temperament, the alignment of the stars etc etc. Remove and sprinkle with extra sugar while it’s still hot.

Serve with cream and smiiiiile at all that summer goodness.

Serves 6.

 

Doesn’t that sound easy and delicious? Believe me, it is.

And because this post is about Rocking Horse Hill being bargain priced and not just my cherry obsession, I think we should celebrate the fact with a…

GIVEAWAY!

Yes, you could win a pretty purple paperback copy of Rocking Horse Hill, signed to you or whomever you like in case you want to give it away as a present (now there’s a Christmas gift idea for the reader in your circle). But as always you have to work to be in the draw, oh yes you do!

I want to know your favourite summer fruit and how you like to prepare and eat it. Naturally, there will be bonus points for anything involving cherries.

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 18th November 2014. Australian postal addresses only.

If you’d like to learn more about me or my books, then take a leisurely stroll around my website. While you’re there, sign up to my newsletter which delivers all my book news direct to your inbox along with exclusive goodies and giveaways. You can also connect with me via Facebook, Google+ and Twitter using @CathrynHein.

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Maria who has won a signed copy of Rocking Horse Hill. Thanks to everyone for joining in the fun. Lots of fruity ideas! 

FRIDAY FEAST with Louise Reynolds

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Welcome, welcome to another truly splendiferous Friday Feast. This week: get down and dusty with a duchess, cop these pears, and a rural romance giveaway!

But first, news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. Despite a rather lacklustre performance last weekend in round two of the club championships, I’m still running fourth. A great surprise, believe me. But with two rounds still to play and TWENTY-FIVE strokes to make up before I even come close to the leader, there’s not much chance of a podium finish. Still, in the world of golf anything could happen. The Great Golfing God may shine on me, the leader might get the yips, and pigs might fly. Stay tuned for a miracle. Or not.Author Louise Reynolds

I’m thrilled to host contemporary romance author Louise Reynolds this week because not only is she a truly lovely lady who writes wonderful rural stories, she’s also a dedicated foodie. The best of people! Louise’s previous novel Outback Bride was a delight, the story stretching between Melbourne and dusty Jindaburra and featuring a lizard race and even a pony. With her new release, Red Dirt Duchess, she’s gone even further afield, mixing English society with the red soil of outback Australia.

Check it out…

RED DIRT DUCHESS

Cover of Red Dirt Duchess by Louise ReynoldsWhen English society playboy Jonathan Hartley-Huntley is sent to outback Australia after a disastrous affair with his editor, all he wants is to take a few pictures, do a quick interview and get back to his usual life of luxury as soon as possible. Until he meets his host, the irresistible Charlie Hughes, and suddenly the back of beyond is a lot more appealing.

Running the pub is a labour of love for Charlie and she has no desire to ever leave the tiny town of Bindundilly. That is, until Jon discovers an old painting that raises questions about both their lives. Charlie impulsively decides to follow him to London, and as the feelings between them begin to deepen, she starts to wonder if there’s more to life than the pub. But at Jon’s family home, the magnificent Hartley Hall, they become acutely aware of the differences between them, and it soon seems clear they have no future together – especially if Jon’s mother has her way.

Family and tradition threaten the course of true love in this warm and witty novel from the author of Outback Bride and Her Italian Aristocrat.

Doesn’t that sound fun? Red Dirt Duchess is available right now from Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi, direct from the publisher Destiny Romance, or your favourite ebook retailer.

Now that you’re loaded up with some great Aussie reading, help yourself to the deliciousness that is Louise!

A Fine Pear!

Thanks for having me back on Friday Feast, Cathryn!

One of my favourite things to cook with is pears. This humble, cheap ingredient is incredibly versatile. It turns up in numerous salads, sits proudly on a cheeseboard and has a natural sweetness that works well with so many things from walnuts to pork and duck.

Pears also have a porous flesh which takes up colour beautifully. For many years one of my go to winter desserts has been Marcella Hazan’s Pears Braised in Red Wine and Bay Leaves, where long cooking results in deep ruby coloured pears and a dense delicious syrup. More lately, I’ve been making Saffron Pears.

I could riff endlessly on this recipe. A little amaretti biscuit on the side and a splash of amaretto on the pear at serving time gives it an Italian edge. Strew some pomegranate seeds around the dish and it’s suddenly a vibrant Middle Eastern feast for the eyes. A pool of Crème Anglaise drags it firmly back towards the English Channel.

It’s dead easy and very delicious. If you use good quality saffron your pears will be the colour of a Buddhist’s robes.

Marieke’s Saffron Pears

(recipe Marieke Brugman via Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion).

Saffron Poached PearsIngredients:

6 firm Beurre Bosc pears with stalk attached.

2 cups white wine

2 cups water

2 cups sugar

1 vanilla bean

½ teaspoon saffron threads

Chopped green pistachios

Method:

Dissolve sugar in the water and wine over med heat. Add vanilla bean.

Saffron Pears CookingPeel the pears leaving stalk attached and cut a slice off the bottom so they will sit upright when serving. Add pears to the syrup with the saffron.

Cook at a bare murmur for about one and a half hours. The saffron will give off its colour and aroma and gradually turn the pears a stunning saffron gold. Turn them over every so often as they bob around in the syrup. Cool in the syrup.

 

Oh, I ADORE poached pears, Louise, so this sounds perfect. Simple to prepare and glamorous on the plate too. Now there’s a dessert to impress cook and guests alike.

Now, my darling Feasties, because Louise is so lovely and wants to spread her warm Australian stories far and wide, she’s offering a…

GIVEAWAY!

Yes, you could win yourself a Kindle ebook copy of Red Dirt Duchess, just by answering a super simple question.

What is your favourite fruit recipe?

Could it be another simple dessert like stewed prunes or a humble apple crumble? Perhaps it’s a recipe for mango fool or a traditional cherry clafoutis. Whatever your favourite, share in the comments and we’ll pop you into the draw to win a Kindle ebook copy of Red Dirt Duchess.

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 28th October 2014. Open internationally. Rah!

If you’d like to learn more about Louise and her wonderful books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Twitter using @LouiseHReynolds, Facebook and her blog (which also features fab foodie series, Cooking the Books).

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Cath who has won a Kindle copy of Red Dirt Duchess. What a ball she’s going to have with that! Thanks so much to everyone who joined in the Feasty fun. You all made me so hungry!!

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.

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Cathryn Hein (again!)

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Hello, my lovely Feasters! Welcome to this ANZAC day edition of Friday Feast. Did you brave the cold for dawn service this morning? We did, and it was as moving as always.

Lest We Forget.

Now, as is tradition, it’s time for your favourite sporting update in Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. There is good news to report. Ha! You didn’t expect that, did you? Well, it appears the Easter Bunny bought me a golf swing and it was magnificent to behold.

Okay, that’s a lie. Magnificent was my beloved Sydney Swans victory over Fremantle in the AFL, something my swing could never be classified as. Doesn’t matter. The Easter weekend was stunning weather-wise and I had great fun on the golf course (except for those two balls in the dam on the 18th on Saturday – that wasn’t fun at all). Plus I won the Sunday competition. All right, so there were only five in the field but ppht, who cares about that? Bar me, they were all men and a victory is still a victory!

Another victory is Rocking Horse Hill finally hitting the shelves. Yeehaa!

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.

And you can buy this exciting read RIGHT NOW!

For the paperback why not support your local bookstore? You’ll also find Rocking Horse Hill at chain stores like BigW, K-Mart and Target, and excellent online retailers like Booktopia and Bookworld.

For the ebook, clickety-click on over to Amazon for an instant download to your Kindle, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play or JB Hi-Fi.

All loaded up? Oh, you’re good people! Now we can get on with some…

Sweet Seduction

There were many things I loved writing about in Rocking Horse Hill. The hill itself was a big one. The animals, of course. The indomitable Granny B. And Josh and Em’s history-burdened relationship.

The other thing was the food. Wallace-Jones women are renowned cooks. Em often has her friends Teagan and Jas over for dinner and a girly gossip. Tuesday night dinner at the Wallace-Jones mansion in Levenham is tradition, and Em’s mum Adrienne always cooks up something wonderful and comforting. When this family entertains, they do it in style.

One of my favourite scenes in Rocking Horse Hill is the first night Josh comes to Em’s for dinner. They’re both a bit nervous and want to impress, but neither wants to look like they’ve made too big an effort. So Em takes great care with her menu.

Here’s a little taste of what happens…

Dessert was as big a hit with Josh as the main course. He settled back to regard her with a lazy, satisfied smile. ‘If you set out to impress me, I’m impressed.’

Em’s desire soared hill-high. She smothered it with domesticity. Figuring that he wouldn’t be easily fobbed off, she allowed him to help with the dishes, and was glad she did. The practical chore took the edge off, and let them talk about developments in the town and local gossip. By the time the last dish was stowed and the benches were wiped, they were back to easy friendship.

Josh glanced at his watch. ‘I suppose I should get home. It’s been a big day.’

‘You sure you don’t want coffee?’

‘Thanks, but no.’ Josh wandered towards the sliding door, carrying his jacket, Muffy trailing behind. At the glass he stopped and gave the dog a stern look. ‘You look after your mistress now.’

To Em’s astonishment, Muffy pressed her shoulder into Josh’s leg, a sign of affection Em had always considered exclusively hers. Josh ruffled Muffy’s ears before turning to Em. ‘Thanks for tonight. It was great.’

‘You’re welcome.’

They stared at one another. The CD finished. Wind threaded through the roof and brushed against the house.

‘So.’

‘So.’

The temperature rose.

He leaned forward to kiss her cheek but the kiss lingered. The tiny hairs on her skin stirred against his breath. She could feel his swallow of hesitancy, then his long exhale as he made his decision. Another kiss: soft, fluttery. Heat swept her body, scattering it with delicious prickles.

Em closed her eyes against the pull of yearning. ‘Josh . . .’

So what was the dessert Em impressed Josh with? The oh-so-luscious chocolate heaven that is…

Moelleux au Chocolat

Also commonly known as chocolate fondants. This is, as Em points out ‘…a dessert disproportionately impressive to the effort it took to create.’

Honestly, you can whip these babies up in no time. And, because they’re better if you prepare them in advance, you can make them the morning or even the day before you want to serve, and simply keep them in the fridge until you’re ready.

Makes 4. Recipe can easily be doubled.

85g dark, high quality chocolate

85g butter, cubed

85g dark brown sugar

40g plain flour

3 eggs, beaten

Butter

Cocoa powder

Brush 6 ramekins with butter. Be generous. Tip in a spoonful or so of cocoa powder into each ramekin and rotate the ramekin so the powder covers the base and edges. Again, don’t be afraid to be generous. Tip out excess powder into the next one and continue until they’re all well dusted.

Ramekins buttered and dusted with cocoa

Zap the chocolate and butter in a microwave on low, stirring frequently, until melted. Or melt gently on the stove using a bowl set over a pan of hot water.

Mix the flour and sugar together. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Mix eggs into the melted chocolate mixture and then into the flour and sugar. Pour evenly into the ramekins, cover and leave them in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.

Moelleux au chocolat ready for baking

Preheat oven to 180C. Place the ramekins onto a tray and then into the oven for 15 minutes, although the best timing will probably be a matter of trial and error – the perfect excuse to make and eat more as you test. The edges should be set but the inside runny. Poke it with a skewer if you’re uncertain, but remember your goal is to serve it gooey. Remove, allow to rest for a little, then turn out onto plates. Serve with cream and maybe some tangy berries if you have some handy.

The gooey insides of the fondant

And wait for the oohs and ahhs as everyone dips their spoons into the mounds and out pours all that chocolatey goodness.

You never know, you might even catch yourself a hunky man like Josh with this recipe. After all, the way to a man’s heart…

 

GIVEAWAY

Why not? New rural romances don’t come along every day, do they? And we do adore a lovely giveaway here on Friday Feast.

But you’ll have to work for it and share what you could be seduced with or have been seduced by. Reveal all in the comments and I’ll pop you into the draw to win a signed copy of Rocking Horse Hill.

Maybe you’re a sucker for an old-fashioned evening out to dinner. Or, like me, gentlemanly manners and a bunch of flowers had you turning gooey. Perhaps you were taken in by something adrenalin packed, like a skydiving date. Or maybe you fell in love over a hamper of stinky gourmet cheeses.

Share and you’ll be in with a chance to win.

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 29th April 2014. Australian postal addresses only.

If you’d like to learn more about me and my books, you’ll find plenty of news around the website. Just click on the tabs at the top of the page. You’ll also find me on Facebook, Twitter via @CathrynHein and Google+.

PS. For those in the NSW Blue Mountains, I’ll be signing books at the new BigW store in Katoomba for an hour or so from 11am tomorrow morning, 26th April. If you’re in the area, Come along and say hello. I’d love to see you.

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.