Tag Archives: ebooks

FRIDAY FEAST with Amy Andrews

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Felicitations, food ‘n fiction fans, and welcome! This week, in yet another packed-to-the-max Friday Feast, we host a multi award-winning and best-selling Australian contemporary romance author who’s going to reveal her cracking new read, share a winter-beating recipe, AND give you the chance at a giveaway. It’s all happening, so read on!

First, in Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news. Frankly, it’s so bad I’m not sure I’m up to talking about it. After coming last – yes, LAST – in last week’s ladies competition I thought things couldn’t get any worse over the weekend. They did. I went from diabolically bad to… Sorry. I can’t bring myself to tell you. It’s too awful. I want to be upbeat say the only way is up, but I said that last Author Amy Andrewsweek and look what happened. So I’m just going to continue to sulk and mutter, and watch the Haney Project on the golf channel while pointing at my chest and yelling, “You want a challenge, Hank? Try this baby then see how good you are!”

Eh hem.

My guest today is Amy Andrews, who is, if you weren’t already aware, most awesome. She’s prolific, talented, has won bucketloads of awards, hit best-seller lists and done lots of other cool things. I am not ashamed to say I’m a total fangirl. Her books are a hoot and you should all go out and grab one today.

Amy’s latest release is Limbo. Take a look.

LIMBO

Cover of Limbo by Amy AndrewsSix Feet Under meets Stephanie Plum in Amy Andrews’ fresh, funny, sexy urban-family noir about a country singer who almost made it, a private investigator who’s seen too much and a mother who will cross all barriers to save her child.

When ex hillbilly-punk rocker turned cadaver make-up artist Joy Valentine is visited by the ghost of a high-profile murder victim begging for Joy’s help to find her kidnapped baby girl, Joy knows from experience the cops are going to think she’s crazy. So she takes it to the one guy she knows who won’t.

The last thing disgraced ex-cop turned private investigator Dash Dent expected is a woman from his past turning up to complicate his present with a nutty, woo-woo story. The problem is he knows Joy is telling the truth and he can’t ignore the compelling plight of baby Isabella whose disappearance six months prior transfixed the nation.

Discounted and discredited by the police, Dash and Joy work together to uncover the mystery and find Isabella, with a whacky supporting cast including Eve, a brothel madam; Stan, an excommunicated priest; Katie, Dash’s ten-year-old daughter; and two horny goldfish. It’s a race against time and against all odds – but the real battle for Dash and Joy might just be keeping their hands off each other.

Trust me, you’ll be on a winner with any Amy Andrews book so get clicking and snap Limbo up now. Buy from Booktopia, Bookworld, Amazon.com, Amazon.au, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi, Nook or your favourite ebook retailer.

Now settle back and enjoy!

2 Ingredients, 1 Crockpot

Well I must be doing something right because this is now my 4th visit to The Feast and Cathryn still seems to want this food faker back. The good news is the last month or so my cooking mojo has returned! Which was nice of it after 19 years of being AWOL. I cooked two banana cakes, an orange cake and three lots of Coq au Vin in a month! I’ve been mildly surprised at this most unusual behaviour while the family wondered if I’d been abducted by aliens who’d switched my brain with Nigella’s then returned me (particularly cruel when you think they could have switched our bodies as well!).

I emailed Cathryn and told her cooking lived here once again and could I do a Feast spot. No food construction I promised her. I’ll do Coq au Vin, I said. I even went and bought all the ingredients and made it last Saturday. Then promptly forgot about taking pictures as I went. Doh! The worst part was when it came to writing this blog the thought of doing another batch left me completely unenthused. That’s the thing with we food fakers – we’re fickle. So apologies to Cathryn and regular readers but no Coq au Vin.

What I did cook this week, though, was a delicious pea and ham soup which is kinda perfect for these winter months. I even took pictures! So, that’s what I have for you today. No chopping, slicing or dicing, no frying, no rolling in flower or beating/separating anything. Its food construction personified – 2 ingredients and one crockpot – with apologies to Cathryn for leading her on with promises of my reformed character 🙂

PEA AND HAM SOUP

Ingredients

Pea and Ham soup ingredients - bacon bones and dried peas

1/. Bacon bones. The amount depends on you and how big your pot is. You can also use ham hocks or ham bones. Lucky for us my BFF has a farm where she raises pigs because she loves them but occasionally one finds itself onto a roasting spit. We scored some smoked bacon bones off them when they visited a couple of weeks ago. They kind of look like something you might see hanging in an abandoned railway yard in The Walking Dead but they smelled amazing. My husband grew up on a pig farm so he just about died and went to heaven when they were presented.

2/. A packet of dried peas.

And that’s it…

Method

Before you go to bed, place peas in a bowl and drown them in water leaving a good few fingers of liquid covering them. You only have to soak them for a couple of hours but I always soak them overnight.

The next morning place the swollen peas and any water that might not have been absorbed and ham/bacon bones in crockpot. You might need to add some more water depending on the amount of bones you’ve used – so the liquid is up to about ¾ of the crockpot bowl.

Preparing pea and ham soup

Put crockpot on low.

Leave until the evening when all the meat will have fallen off the bones and the peas are all mushed.

Trawl through soup for all the bones (this is the most time consuming part of the recipe) then give a good stir.

Pea and ham soup

Voila! It’s done. Grab a bowl and fill. A nice crunchy bread roll or toast is the perfect accompaniment. Also a glass of wine. I can recommend this cheeky red with the fabulous retro label that every romance author/reader should have on hand!

Amy's red wine recommendation

I don’t know about you guys but winter has hit hard as I write this so guess what I had for lunch?

Pea and Ham soup

  111

Well, Amy, I know what I wish I was having for lunch! That looks delish and I’m a bit of a fan of a good soup. Mum’s pea and ham soup was an absolute winter winner in our household growing up. She wasn’t much of a cook, bless her, but she could make a mean pavlova and super tasty soup. Just like you!

Now, my Feasty lovelies, because Amy is so wonderful, she’s offering a…

GIVEAWAY!

For your chance to win an Amazon Kindle copy of Amy’s new release Limbo, simply tell us this: What’s your favourite way to snuggle up in winter?

Are you a blankie on the couch type of person, or perhaps your greatest winter love is ugg boots? Maybe you’re a demon at hunting down places with open fires or perhaps you’re like me and sidle as close to your other half as possible, pinching all their body heat. Reveal your favourite way to avoid the winter cold and we’ll pop you into the draw.

Please note: giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 16th June 2015. Open internationally. Rah! Don’t have a Kindle e-reader? That’s okay, you can still read the book via the Kindle app on your phone, tablet or computer.

If you’d like to learn more about Amy and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter using @AmyAndrewsbooks or keep up with all of Amy’s news by signing up to her newsletter.

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Rachael Johns

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Greetings my little Feasty elves, and welcome to the penultimate edition of Friday Feast for 2014. Yes, only one more to go before we take our annual break, but what delights we have for you! This week, everyone’s favourite rural romance author, a super tart and a book snippet you will adore.

But first, Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news… My putter is broken. It  looks perfectly intact but clearly it has developed a major fault because it refuses to tap balls into holes. I think Santa should bring me a new one for Christmas. One of those flash custom-made Scotty Cameron ones. In Sydney Swans colours. That’ll solve it, surely…

Author Rachael JohnsNow to my delicious guest, rural romance star and good buddy Rachael Johns. Rach, as you all know, has this year been delighting readers with the latest in her Bunyip Bay series Outback Ghost, but did you know she also has some fabulous novellas out? The first in the Wildwood Point series was The Kissing Season but now there’s a follow up, and just in time for Christmas too.

Check out…

THE NEXT SEASON

The Next Season by Rachael JohnsSometimes going home is the hardest thing you can do… and sometimes the hardest thing turns out to be the best.

When Zoe Bennett’s boyfriend cheats on her, leaving her homeless, jobless and practically broke, she returns to the only place she’s ever felt safe and at home – Wildwood Point.  She hopes to heal her heart and find a job to get herself back on her feet – but she has forgotten how small Wildwood Point is.

Until a couple of months ago Shaun Elliot’s life was sweet – a job he loved and big plans for the future. Until, that is, his long-time girlfriend turned down his romantic New Year’s Eve marriage proposal in front of all their family and friends. Angry, hurt and feeling like he is the laughing stock of small town Wildwood Point, Shaun has sworn off relationships while he works out what to do with himself and his life.

The last thing he needs is to find his high school sweetheart stranded on the side of the road. She broke his heart when she left him seven years ago, but he’s never been the type to ignore someone who needs help…

Doesn’t that sound wonderful? And the ebook could be yours with just a few clicks. Buy from Amazon Aus, Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, iBooks or direct from the publisher Harlequin.

All loaded up? Excellent. Now enjoy a tasty time with Rach.

The Season To Be Sweet

We all know I am a massive fan of Cathryn and in awe of her marvelous cooking (and all the fab guests on Friday Feast), so whenever she asks me if I want to come on her blog and share a recipe, I tremble. But like many people, I don’t know how to say “no,” so here I am!

As Cathryn mentioned I’ve got a new novella out now called THE NEXT SEASON, and surprise surprise, this little story features a chocolate café and therefore I name a lot of lovely cakes and treats.

Here’s a little snippet from the story about one of these desserts:

‘Hi, ladies. What can I get for you?’

None of the four women at the table even glanced her way. They were engrossed in conversation.

‘I shouldn’t have come,’ said an immaculately groomed bottle-blonde before covering her face with her hands. ‘This is so awkward.’

‘Don’t be silly,’ said her red-headed, big-busted friend. ‘This is your town as much as his now and you both need to learn to live in it separately.’

The penny dropped and Zoe only just managed to cover her gasp. The blonde was Melissa? Her grip tightened on her order pad while the conversation continued before her as if she were invisible.

‘Yes, but it’s his sister’s café,’ Melissa whined. ‘Surely there are boundaries.’

Yes, girlfriend, there are. Zoe’s jaw clenched as she tapped her shoes against the floor and contemplated the things she’d like to do to Shaun’s ex. Perhaps Melissa would order a molten lava cake too and then Zoe could accidentally drop the hot dessert in her lap, leaving a nasty stain on her white skirt. She’d felt so angry when he’d told her about Melissa. Maybe she had no right to feel this way—she’d turned down his proposal once too—but that was different. They’d only been eighteen years old for crying out loud. Every one knew marriages between people so young never lasted so she’d probably done him a favour. But it sounded like this Melissa had totally strung him along. And now here she was, flaunting herself in his face. Not even the decency to keep away.

Zoe found herself turning to look at him and her heart cramped at the expression on his face. Melissa being here must be simply awful for him. She looked back to her customers and cleared her throat. ‘Are you ladies ready to place your order?’

All four heads snapped up to look at her as if they’d only just realised she were there. She smiled down tightly at them, a little shaky about being rude, but knowing—considering who sat at this table—that her boss would likely be lenient if they complained.

‘I’m sorry,’ Melissa gushed, then after another quick glance in Shaun’s direction, she asked, ‘What do you recommend?’

‘The molten lava cake,’ Zoe retorted without having to think twice. She wouldn’t really dump it in Melissa’s lap, but…

Now unfortunately I have NO idea how to cook one of those delicious-sounding creations but would love for someone to cook for me.

So, I’m going to be a little contrary and not share you a recipe that would complement the story, but rather something I experimented with a few weeks back. I’ve got very fussy eaters and so meals are usually boring and bland in our house, but every now and then I decide to surprise everyone with something different, fully expecting that no one (aside from hubby and I) will actually eat it.

The recipe I want to share today, was tweeted by my friend author Jen Tucker on Twitter a few weeks back and although I cannot find the link or what it was called, I do remember how I made it and how good it tasted. I also remembered it was easy and didn’t take long and that’s what I like in a recipe because that means more time for writing AND reading!

So here goes!! I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.

Sweet Potato, Bacon and Maple Syrup Flan

Sweet Potato, Bacon and Maple Syrup Flan

What you’ll need:

*2 large sweet potatoes or 1 sweet potato and half a butternut pumpkin.

*olive oil

*6 rashers of bacon

*Maple syrup

*2 tablespoons caster sugar

*2 large onions

*a handful of grated cheese

*Cream to paint over pastry

*2 cups of plain flour

*145g butter

*2-3 tablespoons of iced water

What I did:

1. Chop up the potatoes and pumpkin into 1cm-ish cubes, toss in oil and then drizzle maple syrup over the top and put in a hot oven to roast until tender. I’m not going to tell you how long or give you an exact temperature, because I’m the world’s worst roaster and I’m sure most of you will do a much better job than me.

photo 1

2. While potatoes are roasting, make the short-crust pastry – I think homemade is best for this recipe and trust me, if I can make it, so can you. I used Donna Hay’s recipe, which you can find here: Donna Hay: Basic Shortcrust Pastry

3. While pastry is in the fridge (according to above recipe) and potatoes roasting, slice the onions, add a pinch of salt and cook them until tender. Take off heat and stir in sugar.

4. Slice up bacon and fry in a pan.

5. When the potatoes are roasted and the onions and bacon ready, roll out the pastry to a large round about 5mm in depth. Lay pastry in a pie flan/tin and then layer in the filling – potatoes, bacon, onion, cheese, and repeat.

6. Fold up the pastry at the edges (see picture) and then brush cream over the top.

photo 2

7. Bake in a moderate oven for 40 minutes or until pastry is cooked and golden.

8. Serve warm and enjoy!

 

Oh, I will enjoy, Rach, because that sounds amazing. And we can all kid ourselves that it’s marvellously healthy because of the veg. What a win!

Hmm. I’m wondering what it’d be like with fetta… might have to test this out.

Okay, my scrumptious Feasty elves, what’s your favourite tart or flan? Are you a sweet or a savoury person? Maybe you get wobbly legs at the sight of a beautiful quiche Lorraine or perhaps a tangy lemon tart is more your go.

Me, I love a good frittata. They’re easy to make, make great leftovers or picnic food and, as long as you have eggs, you can stuff them full of whatever happens to be in your fridge. Although now that I’ve mentioned quiche Lorraine I have a terrible craving for that… In fact, I might make one for dinner.

So come along, share your tarty love. We’d love to hear all your clever suggestions!

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 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! 

A Rocking Bargain!

Heads-up, everyone.

ROCKING HORSE HILL IS ON SALE!

Yes, you can pick up the ebook version of my best-selling rural romance for only…

Doesn’t that make you feel…


It does me, because WHAT A BARGAIN!

Only for a limited time, so don’t miss out. Buy now from:

Kindle

kobo

Google play

Available_on_the_iBookstore_Badge_US-UK_146x40_0824

jbhifinowbooks

Go on, I promise this book will fill you up with lots of wonderful emotions like this…

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Cathleen Ross

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Happy Friday, Feasters! And what a grand day it is too because this week Friday Feast  is getting Scottish. Which is perfect for me seeing as I’ve just spent this week gutsing episodes of Outlander. That Jamie… sigh.

Speaking of Scottish things, let’s move on to golf. In Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news, I only lost one ball in a dam last week. Only ONE! Rather excited about that. And because I didn’t play completely disastrously, I won a ball. Which means I had a net loss of zero. Bonus!

I’m also rather excited to have multi-published erotic romance author Cathleen Ross on Friday Feast today. Yes, we’re not only getting Scottish, we’re getting steamy too! Plus Cathleen has a special treat for you – a free read.

Take a look…

HIGHLANDER

Highlander by Cathleen RossHighlander is the first of the Forbidden Fantasy stories by best-selling erotic writer, Cathleen Ross. It is a 10,000 word erotic romance set in Scotland. When Sir James Bruce conquers enemy territory, his reward is the hand of beautiful virgin, Lady Isobel McLaird. Although Isobel has no intention of marrying Sir James, he is determined to change her mind by taming her to his touch. Only James has the power to save her imprisoned brother and the stubborn tenacity to win her heart.

 

You can download Highlander for free right now from Amazon, Kobo, or Barnes & Noble. And if you want more, the entire boxed set is available for purchase from these same stores – Amazon, Kobo and Barnes & Noble.

Now, please welcome Cathleen!

Scottish Passion

Seeing as I am obsessed with all things Scottish, I should be giving you a recipe for Haggis but instead of inflicting this on you, I’m going to give you the first of my historical Highlander Romance series books, titled Highlander, FREE, plus an interesting and easy recipe.

Cathleen flirting with a Hot Scot

Cathleen flirting with a Hot Scot

Set in the 1300s, Scotland, Highlander tells the story of James Bruce, the mythical cousin of King Robert the Bruce. James is the oldest knight who has been in love with Lady Isobel McLaird, the only daughter of an enemy family.

The boxed set titled Highlander Romance continues the story introducing Isobel’s handsome brother David who falls in love with James’ sister.

Dining on the Royal Yacht

Dining on the Royal Yacht

The series takes place within the Scottish wars of independence where Scottish families fought to the death to maintain their allegiance to the English crown or the Scottish one. I went to Scotland on an Alison Weir historical tour in order to get both the facts and feel for my historical novels. Highlights included dining on the Royal Yacht, meeting the last Stuart monarch in waiting and spotting Hot Scots. When you interact with the Scots it’s easy to imagine the passion and pride they have for their beautiful country. Alas, the closest I came to the highlands where my story is set is Stirling, but I did get a good view of Stirling Bridge one of the seats of a major battle that won the day for Robert the Bruce.

Here’s taste of Highlander

Lady Isobel McLaird spun on her heels at the thunderous noise of metal and hooves approaching the marketplace. Her maid, peasants and livestock scattered as the phalanx of knights drew to a halt, but Isobel stood her ground. At their head was Sir James Bruce, the man who’d once held her and made her yearn for his caresses. Now she hated him. With her heart in her throat, she gathered her skirts to confront him. “Murderer!” she shouted.

Sir James’s enormous black steed reared at the sound of her sharp cry. Hooves flailed near her head as the fearsome knight fought to keep in his horse in check.

Fear chilled her blood and she stepped back.

After climbing down from his horse and throwing the reins to his page, Sir James took off his helm revealing dark blue eyes, which fixed upon her. “You’re as beautiful and foolish as you were on the riverbank three years ago, Isobel McLaird.”

When he pushed back his chain mail, she saw his raven hair was cropped shoulder length and his lips were as sensual as ever under his noble nose.

Wet from the river, her shift sticking to her skin, he’d held her. She’d turned her lips up to his to be kissed.

“I was foolish not to have reported your trespass on my father’s lands three years ago. You’re a traitor to King John Balliol and my brother’s murderer.”

He strode towards her, his hand on the hilt of his sword.

Stirling Bridge

Stirling Bridge

Fear rooted her feet to the damp earth of the marketplace. Though the rain had passed and the sun shone, for her, everyday was gloomy because of this knight.

“Have you not noticed that you’ve not an army to defend you now?” A half smile formed on his lips.

“You jest about my people’s destruction, brave men all, led by my brother. Your cruelty does you no merit, Sir.” Tears pricked the corners of her eyes. David and his men would have gone down fighting the stronger Bruce army until the end, determined to give everything for the cause of John Balliol, the true king.

At her accusation, the smile slipped from his face and his eyes held sympathy. “It is a bad day for Scotland when Scotsmen spill the blood of their own. I’ve news for you, my lady, but it comes at a cost. Your brother lives.”

“What?” For a moment, Isobel thought the ground had shifted under her feet. Owen, David’s best friend had seen her brother killed by this knight’s very hand.

“You play with me, Sir.”

“Nay, my lady. I do not jest about a cause so dear to your heart. Take this proof of my words.” He took a piece of parchment from his page and handed it to her.

A buzz of voices swarmed as the villagers gathered around her but Isobel paid them no heed. With trembling fingers she saw the parchment contained her brother’s fine hand.

Her gaze flicked up to meet Sir James’s. “David says the Bruce will no accept ransom.”

“Aye, my cousin, the king will brook no opposition to his claim and your brother is a formidable knight. I warrant my cousin will keep him prisoner. And now I’ll take my price for giving the message.”

Isobel reached for the purse that hung at her waist.

Sir James stepped forward, wrapped his arms around her and lifted her off the ground. “Would that I had done this those three years ago by the river. I can’t get you out of my mind.”

She opened her lips to protest, but he planted his mouth hard on hers. Surprise, hotly followed by indignation rose within her. She slapped her hands on his chest and kicked with her feet, but her toes met body armor. A sharp pain zinged through her foot and she opened her lips further to cry out. The knight taking full advantage, put his lips to hers, moving them in a rhythm. His action was bold.  Her blood pumped wildly and sensations she had no name for, rushed through her.

Fried Zucchini Flowers

Zucchini

Fry garlic in olive oil in pan until golden. Put in zucchini flowers and turn slowly until brown. Cook until soft but not falling apart so that the zucchini flower remains on the plant and is crunchy. Add a sprinkle of breadcrumbs.

Thanks, Cathleen. Tasty on all fronts! A delicious recipe and that excerpt ought to get Feasters clickety-clicking on your free Highlander ebook. If you missed it, the links are above, just below the cover. Go on. You’ll have fun!

So what’s your favourite book setting? Do you prefer home grown or somewhere exotic? Or, like Cathleen, do you harbour a passion for all things Scottish? Perhaps Africa does it for you? Or France or Italy?

Share away. Curious minds wish to know. Plus you could be the inspiration for a book!

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

FRIDAY FEAST with Amy Andrews

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Greetings, Feasters! Don’t you just love Fridays? Especially when they feature super authors, scrumptious food and book giveaways.

But first, news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. A two week break seemed to have done wonders… for 8 holes. Then it all fell apart. Like, REALLY apart. By the 18th I was having a severe attack of the sookybum-I-just-want-it-to-be-overs. I’m starting to think I should change my home course. Mine is costing a small fortune in water-dunked balls. Hmph.Author Amy Andrews

At least my darling Sydney Swans won and are now perched back where we belong at the top of the AFL ladder, although we ended our game against St Kilda with injury worries. Not the time of the year to be losing players, especially super stars like Josh Kennedy whom I luuuuurve.

Speaking of superstars – ha! – today on the blog we have awesome Aussie author and Australian Romance Reader Award winner Amy Andrews. Amy has written over forty romances, including the brilliant Holding Out For A Hero, which, if you haven’t read it, you should go fetch and devour now. It’s a blast.

Amy’s latest release is an urban-family romantic comedy and sounds a hoot. Take a look…

RISKY BUSINESS

Risky Business by Amy AndrewsSamantha Evans’s life is going to hell. Not only has she rage-quit her beloved, high-powered job, but she is suddenly afflicted by hormones, free time, and an unavoidable, unignorable, undeniably gorgeous irritant in the form of Nick Hawke, her extreme sports star neighbour, who has come home to take over the reins of his grandmother’s second-hand bookshop. Sam needs something to keep her from begging for her old job back until she’s good and sure her boss understands how wrong he was, and taking a low-risk, low-stress job helping Nick at the bookstore might be just the thing.

After all, it’s not like Nick is the right guy to help her with her hormones. He’ll just be fun to look at while she searches for the one.

Nick has six months to get over an injury before Everest and a big, fat contract beckon. That means no sports, no danger and, above all else, no risks. It means playing it safe. And Nick Hawke doesn’t do safe. So he’s going to need something to stave off the boredom while selling books he doesn’t read to people who wouldn’t know a carabineer from a crochet hook. What could be safer than hiring a cranky, unemployed accountant to help run the bookstore? Sam is efficient and methodical and messing up her neat, post-it note world could be a fun way to pass the time….

Risky Business mixes the classic romance of Philadelphia Story, the humour and wit of When Harry Met Sally, and a strong, contemporary Australian setting to create a delightful, irresistible, utterly satisfying treat of a novel.

Doesn’t that sound cool? And there’s a special offer on right now. Buy from the Mills & Boon website using code RWA14 at the checkout and you can have Risky Business for only 99 cents. How’s that for a bargain! Otherwise, you can insta-buy via Amazon, Google Play, Kobo, JB Hi-Fi or your favourite ebook retailer.

Now buckle up for another fun foodie ride with Amy.

Fantastic Food Faking

So, surprisingly, Cathryn has asked me back. Considering I’m one of those who finds cooking a chore I feel very blessed. Anyone who’s read my previous two blogs here knows that I subscribe to the food construction method of “cooking” and whilst that may be an okay thing to do in the privacy of your own home it is entirely another thing to put your slack-arse, slap-dash cooking ability up for critical viewing on a world-wide blog.

But hey, this is Cathryn’s little corner of the internet and we are all in the cone of silence. Right?

So…forthwith, the third instalment of my Clayton’s cooking efforts – the cooking you get when you’re not really cooking at all.

Clayton’s Cooking Part Three  Or Cathryn plying me with too much alcohol at RWA and asking me to do it with absolutely no recollection on my behalf…

Raspberry, Chocolate Mousse and Brandy Snap Tartlets

(yes, I just literally made up that name)

Sounds posh right? But don’t get too carried away – its easy peasy, consists of 4 ingredients and requires no actual oven being turned on! But it also looks spectacular and goes down a treat at parties!

Ingredients –

•             A box of Brandy Snap baskets.

Now…..long story. I went to buy these at the supermarket yesterday and was told they’re only a Christmas item (WTF – I’m sure I’ve bought them at other times???!) but never fear, we food constructors are nothing but versatile in our attempts to actually avoid cooking anything.

Anzac Biscuits

Any packet of round biscuits will work. I found these gourmet (special note – important part of food faking is buying the most expensive ingredients so they appear to be homemade) Anzac biscuits. Although I also used some plain chocolate ones as an experiment and Gingernuts work quite well also. The thinner the better!

Anzac biscuits

•             A tub of Chocolate Mousse.

Chocolate mousse

You can of course make your own but splash out on an expensive brand and put your feet up for the hour it would have taken you to make one! I used a posh Belgian chocolate brand from my supermarket fridge section.

•             Punnet of fresh Raspberries.

Raspberries

•             Icing Sugar to garnish.

•             Zap the biscuits individually in the microwave (special note – the microwave is a food constructors best friend) for approx 30 secs but you may have to experiment to get it just soft and pliable enough to push into a cupcake pan. Don’t worry if it breaks up – just push it in and mush it together as you go while its nice and warm. Repeat until you have as many as you need or run out of biscuits.

Brandy Snap Baskets

•             Leave to cool for ten minutes. The biscuits will have re-moulded into a basket shape and will slip easily out of the pan.

•             Fill with mousse.

•             Top with raspberries.

•             Dust with icing sugar.

Tartlets

And hey presto – they’re done!  Look fab, taste amazing and it’s taken less than half an hour!

You’re welcome 🙂

 

Don’t they sound delicious? And how easy! Even my inner food snob (who I like to keep well-slapped down these days) is drooling. I bet these go down a treat at parties, as Amy says. What’s not to like? They even have fruit to make them healthy.

I’ll tell you what is else good and healthy, a…

GIVEAWAY!

Now, my Feasty lovelies, what’s your favourite way to cheat with party food? Do you buy in mini sausage rolls and pies? Perhaps you’ve been known to take bought dips and add a few secret touches so they appear home-made? I have to admit I’ve done that before…

Reveal your secrets and you’ll go into the draw to win an e-book copy of Amy’s new release Risky Business. Guaranteed great fun!

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 26th August 2014. E-book only. Open internationally. Rah!

If you’d like to learn more about Amy and her fabulous books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using @AmyAndrewsbooks. Amy has also just started a newsletter. Sign up for up-to-date details on new releases and giveaways.

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Shelley who will soon be laughing her socks of with her ebook copy of Amy’s Risky Business. Thanks to everyone who joined in the fun. As always, you were a joy. See you again soon!

FRIDAY FEAST with Christina Phillips

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And another fantastic Friday rolls around. This week I’ll actually get some Swans footy!

With my darling boys having a bye last week it was all a bit colourless in the Hein house, although the neighbours were probably grateful. No mad yelling at the telly to put up with. There was the Open golf, of course, but that’s not really a sport to get yelly on the couch about, is it?

Which brings me to some Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news. Despite not playing to the handicap I already have, I somehow managed to shave another stroke off it over the weekend. ‘Tis this newfangled Slope/GA Handicap system. It can sneak up and bite you on the bum and not even offset the pain with a win!

Speaking of winning, this could be you on Friday Feast this week. But more on that later…

Today’s guest is Christina Phillips, an ex-pat Brit who now lives in sunny Western Australia with her high school sweetheart and their family. Christina writes scorching-hot paranormal, historical and contemporary romance. Not only are her stories super steamy, they’re gorgeously written, which is why she’s a triple finalist in the 2013 ARRA Awards for Favorite Erotic Romance, and finalist in the 2012 ARRA Awards for Favorite Paranormal Romance. Christina is a also a double finalist in the EC Golden Ankh Awards for Favorite E-book of the Year 2014.

Check out Christina’s latest release, Her Vengeful Scot.

HER VENGEFUL SCOT

Her Vengeful ScotTo avenge his sister’s honor, he must destroy the woman he wants most in the world…

Ordered to remain in Pictland, Cameron MacNeil fights the lust that consumes him whenever he encounters the aloof princess, Elise. Not only is she a cursed Pict, she belongs to the man he has vowed vengeance upon.

Despite her reputation, Elise has no interest in men until she meets Cameron. Lacking the famed Scots charm, his blunt ways enchant her and he ignites a passion she long thought dead. When she is freed from her difficult marriage, Elise places her trust in the tough Scot warrior who has stolen her heart.

Bound by blood oaths, the only way Cam can protect Elise from political schemes is to make her his bride. When Elise discovers the truth, she fears everything she knew about her husband was a lie. All she can do is trust her goddess was right and Cameron is her one true love.

Go on, admit it. You’re after a bit of hot Scot right now, aren’t you? So get clicking! Buy Her Vengeful Scot right now from Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, All Romance eBooks, Barnes & Noble, or the publisher Ellora’s Cave,

All loaded up? Excellent. Now give a big welcome to Christina.

Hunting Out Good Food

Thank you Cathryn for inviting me onto your Friday Feast today!

Well over in WA it’s been both cold and wet (I know I should be used to this kind of weather since I hail from England but uh, no.) So I thought today I’d share a yummy winter meal that my mum used to make when I was a child. She only made it on rare occasions, probably because it takes two and a half hours prep time (excuse me while I laugh hysterically at this point! And never fear, this version takes about 10 minutes prep time which is not only far more civilized but also about my limit!!)

We knew it as Chicken Hunter Style and to my shame it was only when I was an adult that I realised it was an Italian dish by the far more exotic name of Chicken Cacciatore 🙂

There are of course many variations of this dish, including adding various peppers. I don’t bother adding peppers to anything since my darling family will meticulously fish out every single one on their plates before they can take the first bite. On the other hand I do add celery because I love cooked celery even though said beloved family… don’t 🙂

Chicken Hunter Style Recipe

Chicken Hunter Style

One four pound chicken cut into pieces

Salt

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 thinly sliced medium onion

226g thickly sliced mushrooms

2 thinly sliced garlic cloves

1/3 cup red or white wine

1 810g can of plum tomatoes in their juice (or 21/2 to 3 cups of peeled and chopped firm ripe tomatoes with their juices. Guess which I do…)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dry thyme (or 2 teaspoons fresh, chopped)

1 teaspoon dry oregano (or 2 teaspoons fresh, chopped)

Method

Rinse, pat dry and season chicken with salt. Heat oil on medium heat and brown the chicken pieces. Set chicken aside.

Add sliced onions and mushrooms to the pan (and any peppers or celery 🙂 ) Cook until onions are translucent then add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the wine and give it a good stir. Simmer until the wine is reduced by half and then add the tomatoes and stir in the pepper, thyme, oregano and a teaspoon of salt. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Place chicken pieces on top, skin side up, lower the heat and cover with the lid slightly ajar.

Cook on a low simmer, turning and basting from time to time, until chicken is tender (about 30 to 40 minutes).

 

Ah, now there’s a lovely fast recipe to keep the hordes happy this winter. Thanks, Christina. I can just imagine this with a load of crusty bread to mop up all the juices. Mmm.

Speaking of juicy things, we have a…

GIVEAWAY!

Christina is very generously offering one lucky reader the chance to win an ebook copy ofhersavagescott_msr the first in her Highland Warrior Series, Her Savage ScotAll you have to do is tell us in the comments what your favourite casserole is. Easy!

Perhaps you’re a bit partial to an Irish stew, or lean toward the spicy with some chilli con carne. Maybe a vegetarian stew is your go? Share, and we’ll pop you into the draw to win an ebook copy of Her Savage Scot.

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 29th July 2014. Open internationally. Rah!

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

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Meredith who has won her own sizzling hot Scot! Thanks to everyone for playing along. Always a hoot!

 

New Cover For PROMISES

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On August 27th, the smaller (and cheaper) ‘B’ format paperback edition of my debut rural romance PROMISES will hit the shelves, complete with a swanky new cover.

Isn’t it lovely? I adored the original with the couple gazing into each other’s eyes, but this one’s gorgeous. Then again, I’m a terrible sucker for a noble headed horse!

Don’t yet own a copy of Promises? Pre-order this new edition from Booktopia or Bookworld. The ebooks are also available right now from Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi or your favourite ebook retailer.

 

Promises by Cathryn Hein

A father with something to hide, a jockey with a taste for blackmail, a man with an agonising secret… and a young woman in love, defying them all.

Sophie Dixon is determined to leave her tragic past behind and forge a bright future on her beloved farm. While looking to buy a new horse, she is drawn into her neighbour Aaron Laidlaw’s orbit, despite the bad blood between their families. As the racing season unfolds, Sophie and Aaron’s feelings for each other deepen. But Aaron is torn, haunted by a dark secret he fears can never be forgiven – especially by Sophie.

Sophie believes herself strong, but the truth behind her mother’s death will test her strength, and her love, to the limit. She’s been broken once. No one wants to see her broken again. Least of all the man who has grown to love her.

FRIDAY FEAST with Jennifer Scoullar

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Tra-la-la! Another excellent Friday is here and what fun we’ll have with it too. But first, one must gloat!

Did you see my darling Swannies? They were magnificent last week against Geelong. Magnificent! It’s taken a while but my boys have really hit their footy straps now. Which leads me nicely into Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news. Last week I didn’t just play to my Australian author Jennifer Scoullarnew handicap, I beat it. By TWO WHOLE STROKES. Imagine! ‘Tis a miracle, but for some very strange reason the Great Golfing God loves me at the moment. It will pass, of course. That is the Hein fate, but for now I’m loving it!

Speaking of loving (hee!), today’s Friday Feast guest has been receiving rave reviews for her latest release. Jennifer Scoullar broke into the rural romance genre with the hugely successful Brumby’s Run, followed by Currawong Creek. Now her latest, Billabong Bend, is out and it’s being praised by readers and bloggers everywhere.

Check it out…

BILLABONG BEND

Cover pf Billabong Bend by Jennifer ScoullarFor riverine farmer Nina Moore, the rare marshland flanking the beautiful Bunyip River is the most precious place on Earth. Her dream is to buy Billabong Bend and protect it forever, but she’s not the only one with designs on the land. When her childhood sweetheart Ric Bonelli returns home, old feelings are rekindled and Nina dares to hope of a future for them both on the river. But a tragic death divides loyalties, tears apart their fledgling romance and turns her dream into a nightmare. Will Nina win the battle for Billabong Bend? Or will the man she once loved destroy the wild wetlands she holds so close to her heart?

Billabong Bend is a star-crossed love story which sets Nina, a floodplains grazier, and Ric, a traditional cotton farmer, on a heart-rending collision course amid the beauty of New South Wales’ northern riverlands.

A star-crossed love story! Now, how could anyone refuse that? And you don’t have to because Billabong Bend is available right now from your favourite book shop or chainstore. Or you can order instantly online from Booktopia, Bookworld, Angus & Robertson, Dymocks, Fishpond, Boomerang Books, and QBD The Bookshop. For the ebook, try Amazon for Kindle, iBooks, JB Hi-Fi, Google Play, Kobo or your favourite ebook retailer.

All stocked up? Fabulous. Now it’s time to get native with Jennifer!

Cooking With Native Mint

‘Two moons, one in the sky and its dimpled twin in the river, cast a soft glow over the bush. The velvet night was fragrant with eucalyptus and wild river mint.’ Billabong Bend

Thanks so much for asking me over for a Friday feast Cathryn. As you already know, I’m a fan of bush tucker. To celebrate the release of Billabong Bend I’m sharing a recipe using the rambling River Mint bush Mentha australisis – a subtle Australian native herb with the taste and aroma of spearmint. It thrives along waterways after flood, particularly in the beautiful Murray Darling riverlands. Indigenous people used River Mint to flavor food, and also medicinally for coughs and colds. Early settlers embraced this perennial herb, commonly teaming it with roast lamb. It can be easily grown and is great for boggy places. Although not as invasive as common mint it does spread, so may be best in pots for small gardens. Dry it, or use it fresh in savoury sauces, salads, fruit drinks and desserts. You can buy dried River Mint online very reasonably from The Bush Food Shop. They also sell River Mint and Pepperleaf Jelly and a delightfully refreshing Wild Spearmint Cordial!

Here’s a delicious no-bake slice that takes hardly any time at all to prepare, and will impress people with your bush tucker skills!

Native Mint and Macadamia Slice

Jennifer Scoullar's macadamia slice

200gm chocolate (I like dark best)

175gm Shortbread (Butterfingers shortbread made by the Old Colonial Cookie Company in Victoria’s Yarra Valley is yum and Aussie made. I’m not much of a shortbread cook!)

I/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts

40gm butter

2 tablespoons of Australian honey

2 tablespoons dried River Mint

– Line a pan with baking paper

– Place the dried native mint in a saucer and add 2 tablespoons of hot water. Leave to cool.

– Combine 200gm chocolate with 40gm butter and 2 tablespoons of Australian honey in a

stainless steel bowl over a saucepan of boiling water until the chocolate just melts, and the

ingredients are combined.

– Remove from heat and stir in the native mint. Then fold in the packet of shortbread broken

into chunky pieces.

– Pour mixture into lined pan.

– Press macadamia halves on top and chill for 2 hours.

– Sprinkle icing sugar on top

– Slice and serve

 

Jenn, this sounds a lovely slice! And so easy. Like hedgehog slice but with a minty hint. I’ll have to give this one a try.

GIVEAWAY

We adore a good giveaway on Friday Feast and Jennifer has very generously offered one. This is your chance to win a paperback copy of her brand new, raved about release, Billabong Bend. Star-crossed lovers, Feasters! Star-crossed lovers! And yours to be had with just a teensy bit of effort.

To be in the draw, tell us your favourite slice. Maybe it’s lovely gooey caramel. Or perhaps you love nothing better than a savoury slice made with zucchini and fetta. Or even a bakery made apricot or apple slice that oozes luscious fruit the moment you bite into it.

Simply share your tastiest slice and we’ll pop you in the draw.

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday, 10th June 2014. Australian postal addresses only.

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

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Andrea, who has won a copy of Jennifer’s Billabong Bend. Great reading ahead. Thanks to all who joined in the Friday Feast fun. Hope to see you again soon!

FRIDAY FEAST with Shona Husk

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Oof, it’s been a big week. So much to catch up on after my trip away to South Australia and western Victoria but a very lovely time was had so all worth it.

We have an excellent guest on Friday Feast today, and a regular, but first you must endure Author Shona HuskUs Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news because I’m chuffed. Chuffed, I tell you!

Yes, I played well enough last week to lose an entire stroke off my handicap. Whee! Lots of long puts sunk and I only hit one ball into a dam. Marvels!

Which gives me a very nice segue back to today’s Friday Feast guest because she is a true marvel. Why? Because Shona Husk gave us TOBLERONE BROWNIES! Plus she’s a pretty awesome author. Shona is a three-time Australian Romance Reader Award finalist and best-selling author of multiple contemporary, fantasy, paranormal and sci-fi romances (her Shadowlands series is fantastic). Whatever tickles your romantic fantasy, Shona has a book for you.

Her latest release is The Changeling Soldier. Check it out.

THE CHANGELING SOLDIER

Cover of The Changeling Soldier by Shona HuskHer time in the mortal world is running out…

After fleeing Annwyn three centuries ago, Ella built a life in the mortal world making gowns for European royalty and playing in mortal intrigues. Now those Courts are long gone, and she dresses Hollywood starlets. Mortals come and go, but Ella always ends up alone. She longs for the home she left behind.

He’s been dreaming of the coming battle all his life…

Isaac Norton is a returned soldier. Now home, he’s restless and his recurring dream is becoming more frequent: he’s fighting on a snow-covered field stained with blue blood. When he sees Ella, he knows she isn’t human. And she knows what he is, a changeling.

Ella can give Isaac the answers he needs, but there will be a price to pay: his soul.

Ooh, now there’s a story with a lot at stake! The Changeling Soldier releases June 3rd but you can pre-order it right now for a measly 99 cents. What a bargain! Order the ebook from Smashwords, iBooks, Kobo, Barnes & Noble for Nook, All Romance eBooks or you can buy a print version from  Amazon or Createspace.

Go on! It’s 99 cents and you’ll have a cracking time!

Speaking of a cracking time, here’s Shona.

My Favourite Cookbooks

I love cooking, not the huge labor intensive dinner party style cooking, but the sling it together with love style of cooking. Simple and delicious. It should be no surprise that one of my favorite cookbooks is Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals (No, I have never cracked the 15 minute mark but it’s still something I aim for).

Cathryn: Neither have I with the 30 Minute, Shona, but it’s still fast-ish and the results are pretty tasty!

I also love that I can hand his 15 and 30 minute meals books to the kids and they can select the menu for the week (as an added bonus if they don’t like it I can remind them that they picked it).

My other favorite cookbook is one I was given for Christmas (I might have suggested that was what I wanted). Silvia’s Cucina is full of Italian yumminess. I started with the desserts, then moved my way to gnocci and pasta before trying bread. OMG! I haven’t bought a loaf of bread since January.

While I’ve had a bread machine for over a decade it was never great for sandwiches and the texture wasn’t quite right. Silvia’s bread is awesome. I love the overnight no knead recipe (it has 3 ingredients!) and the kids like her soft crust yoghurt bread. Silvia’s Cucina has been a great addition to my library. While many of these recipes are a little more time consuming, slow roasted goat and Nona’s polenta and pork ribs are so worth the wait—and perfect for making on the weekend.

Lastly Curtis Stone’s What’s for Dinner. This is another one that I can hand to the kids so they can choose the meals. Potato and corn chowder is very popular, as it the banana bread (although I must confess taking out half the walnuts and swapping them with choc chips).

I can’t leave without sharing a recipe, this is one my sister sent me and it’s for no bake chocolate slice. From ihearexercisewillkillyou.com (my notes are in italics, this recipe is also super easy to halve if you are running out of things but still want a sweet treat, it’s also super rich so cut small squares!)

The Best No-Bake Bars You’ll Ever Eat

1 cup peanut butter (I use crunchy)

1/2 cup honey (um, I never actually measure I do it by eye as it’s less of a PITA)

1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil (be sure to use unrefined for the coconut flavor) (health food shop)

2 cups dry oats (not instant) (I use rolled, I’m guessing that’s the same as dry as it turns out fine)

1 C shredded coconut

1/2 C chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

1 1/4 cups dark chocolate chips (200g of 85% Lindt is awesome)

1 t vanilla extract

Melt peanut butter, honey and coconut oil over medium-low heat. Once melted, remove from heat and add oats, shredded coconut, chocolate chips and vanilla. Stir until chocolate is entirely melted. Pour into a 9×13 pan and cool in the fridge. When it’s set, cut into bars and enjoy. Store in the fridge. If they last that long!

***

While I do use the internet to find recipes, it’s not the same as flicking through a book and feeling inspired to try something new. What are your favorite family (and time friendly) recipe books?

 

Oh, that’s easy…*trots off to survey collection* … er, perhaps not so easy after all. I love all my cookbooks. Some I read for fun and inspiration but never really cook out of, others I try loads of things. Probably my most used is Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes. There are some cracking recipes in there like lahmacun (a delicious lamb pizza type dish) and pollo alla diavola. And tonight I’m making the lamb tagine with prunes and almonds. I agree with Shona about Jamie Oliver too. If you’re time pressed, Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals has some pretty tasty recipes in it. Try the piri-piri chicken and the stuffed Cypriot chicken. Plenty of others to play with too.

What about you? What’s your favourite cookbook? Share the love. I’m sure we could all do with another on our shelves. Although don’t tell my other half that!

If you’d like to learn more about Shona and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter using @ShonaHusk or sign up to her newsletter for all the latest releases.