Greetings Feasty lovelies, and welcome to the final Friday Feast of the year! Yes, I know, it’s very sad but a girl needs a break and never fear, Friday Feast will return at the end of January for another year of fabulous authors and foodie tales.
This week we’re featuring sexy science fiction and Christmas mocktails but first, news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. You are not going to believe this, but last Friday I won the ladies Christmas party competition. Wonders never cease! It was back to normal on the weekend though with the usual stuffuppery, but I’ll take whatever fleeting glory I can.
Now to our most excellent guest. Please give a big cheer to Australian romance author Ros Baxter who is making her Friday Feast debut today. Ros is a Brisbane girl who writes across genres, from sci-fi and fantasy to contemporary. Her stories are loaded with feisty heroines, quirky families and heroes to sigh over.
Ros’s latest release is The Seek, the first in her New Earth sci-fi romance series. Take a look…
When everything else is gone, all that’s left is blood. And hope.
The year is 2098, and the people of New Earth have been homeless for seventeen years.
Ruled by a mysterious Council, and adrift in a fleet of space stations, their sole mission is to survive long enough to find a new home. They call it The Seek.
Kyntura is the first and only female Avenger – one of the secret, separate elite who stand on the frontline between the refugees of Earth and a universe that would do them harm. For Kyn, fight and pain are the only things that drive out memories of the Apocalypse, and of the boy she left behind when she enlisted.
But a young recruit called Mirren and a deadly mission will bring her face to face with all she has tried to forget.
As she leads a squad of Avengers in The Seek, Kyntura must face her demons, join forces with the boy whose heart she broke a decade before, and confront the truth about New Earth.
Now that’s sounds exciting! Perfect for holiday reading. The Seek is available right now from Booktopia, Angus & Robertson, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, amazon.com, amazon.au, amazon.uk, JB Hi-Fi, Nook, Bookworld or your favourite ebook retailer.
All loaded up? Most excellent. Please give a festive welcome to Ros…
So, I’m more than a little intimidated being on Cathryn’s food blog, given that I consider myself a bit of a food faker (my sister calls it food assembler – that is, you take pre-made stuff and arrange it artfully). But I’m also excited to be here too because, after all, who hasn’t faked something? Thanks for having me Cathryn.
Right now I’m in a bit of a bind, food-wise. School holidays have just begun, and so I should be mining my repertoire of kiddy recipes, but my head is all full of less than g-rated food thinking, as a result of scenes like this from The Seek.
Finally, they stopped and he positioned himself behind her again. ‘Are you ready?’ His voice was deep and growly behind her and she had that sense again — that he had gone and turned into a man when she wasn’t looking.
‘Ready,’ she said, feeling her tummy contract. She really didn’t like surprises.
He gently lifted the blindfold, and when it was gone Kyn saw what he had done. They were somewhere on the ship, she could see that, but she had no idea where. A massive perspete viewing window dominated her vision, and laid out before it was some kind of deep space picnic. A largish square of what looked like grass took pride of place.
He saw her staring at it. ‘Tabi helped.’ He shrugged. ‘Trainee explorers get access to the specimens. It’s real; feel it.’
She knelt down and touched the grass, and he was right. It was cool and slightly damp. He shrugged again. ‘I wanted it to have that after-rain smell,’ he said.
On the grass a picnic rug was laid — red checks and all. And a meal — the usual, processed fare with some crackers, and…Kyn’s breath caught. ‘Dom Perignon?’
‘Hey,’ he said, smiling broadly at her. ‘You only turn eighteen once.’
He put a finger to his lips. ‘I have my sources.’
He motioned for her to sit, and she did. Then he reached into a small basket in the very centre and pulled out a brightly wrapped box. ‘For you, Kyntura,’ he said, and the way he was looking at her and the sound of his voice told her he wasn’t thinking of her as his best friend, not even maybe his friend. Something else entirely.
She opened the gift speechlessly. ‘It’s an orange,’ he said, as she stared at the thing inside. ‘Tabi’s worked out how to grow them, from some DNA she found.’
Kyn held it up — it was bright orange perfection, its dimpled skin a promise of summer sweetness.
‘Symon,’ she said slowly, turning the thing around in the dim light. ‘You are so sweet.’
‘No, I’m not, Chickita,’ he said, leaning forward and capturing her mouth in his. He drew back a little. ‘I’m not sweet at all. In fact, lately, every time I look at you, I feel far, far from sweet.’ His mouth pressed hard against hers, and his lips were warm and firm and hard and soft. His tongue pushed inside her mouth, lighting a fire in Kyn’s belly and making her moan a little, low in her throat.
‘Me too,’ she said, wondering vaguely why it didn’t even occur to her to play it cool.
She tried hard to remind herself that she was going tomorrow, that she should not be doing this, that she should be doing anything but this. But he was kissing her and winding his hands in her hair and she couldn’t think.
She could only act.
Symon pushed her down onto the rug and feathered kisses over her face, her neck and her ears. He whispered to her of the desire he had for her, how it had been growing, how he had wanted tonight to be so special, but it had been so hard to keep himself from kissing her that he’d had to stay away.
Neither of them were in any mood to take it slow. Symon was fumbling with her top as she tore at his. In seconds, he was naked beside her and she marvelled at the beauty of him. She had seen him naked when they’d been kids, but not for a long time, she realised. Her eyes slid to his sex and widened. Not for a long, long time.
He dispensed with her top in seconds and his head lowered to her breasts. ‘Oh, Kyntura,’ he breathed. ‘You are so perfect.’
And she felt it.
Except for the fact that she knew she should be telling him tomorrow she would leave, and never come back. She would be an Avenger. But she couldn’t — it would blow the lid off everything.
Pietr would never forgive her.
She knew it was bad, knew it was so, so wrong but she just wanted to have this, take it, just this one little thing.
When he took her, it was like a piece of her that had been missing for seven years found its way home. Like she remembered who she was. This girl. This girl, capable of love and warmth, and having something beautiful. She opened herself to him willingly and wholly. She held the side of his face as he pushed into her, trying to imprint the outline of him on her brain.
Her first love.
Sigh. I love those two.
Now, where was I? Ah, yes, kids and Christmas and school holidays. Enough to drive any of us to drink, which is maybe why when I was thinking about which recipe to share I decided on this one, because it’s a sad fact that when you’re sharing a festive drink with friends or family, and your kids see you with those colourful, saucy-looking cocktails, they’re going to want one too.
I developed this mocktail recipe to assuage their appetite for “pretty” drinks while ensuring I keep the Social Services wolf from the door.
The only thing you really need for this is frozen banana – but I recommend you always keep a few frozen bananas in the freezer anyway. They’re like WD40 – you can use them for everything. Use those ones that are kind of at the end of the bunch and the kids have lost interest in. Freeze them in ziplock bags and use them for smoothies and banana bread. Or….cheeky mocktails. The beauty of using frozen banana is that you don’t need ice-cream – they kind of ice-creamify once blended.
Christmas Baby Mocktails
What do you need?
Two frozen bananas (see note above)
Two tablespoons of Greek yoghurt
Two teaspoons of honey
A sploodge (technical term) of vanilla (essence/extra/pod-scrapings/whatever)
100mls of coconut milk
A splash of whatever milk your family rocks with
A teaspoon of coconut shavings
A couple of squares of dark chocolate
A cocktail umbrella
What do you need to do?
Tell all the children having a mocktail to go and change into their swimmers and grab a beach towel.
Here’s a pic of two of my little budding Olympians eyeing off Emily Seebohm’s medal.
Stick all ingredients except chocolate and coconut shavings in the blender, whir it up til its smoothie consistency – add more banana, yoghurt or milk depending on preferred thickness .
Pour the mocktail into a tall, shapely glass.
Grate the chocolate and sprinkle it over the top.
Sprinkle coconut shavings on the top also.
AND (this bit is very important) add the umbrella (otherwise they might feel ripped off and try to taste yours, which you really, really don’t want them to do if you are as heavy-handed with the Christmas cocktails as I am!
Tell the children to go outside and lie on their beach towels with their mocktails – double bonus points if there’s a pool for them to lie besides. Otherwise, that’s what kids have imaginations for.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas, and remember to eat at least as much as you drink (rumballs don’t count) and never sit on a strange man’s lap even if he claims to be Santa Claus (we’ve all been fooled by that one).
Another key Christmas food survival tip I’ve learned is to use the slow cooker so you can make meals at breakfast-time and enjoy the rest of the day with your loved ones. Otherwise, hire a caterer, bribe the kids to pass around platters, get drunk and boss your husband around. Happy holidays!
Great tips there, Ros. As for those mocktails, a dash of something naughty for us adults and this could easily be converted into a grown-ups drink. A healthy one too, with all that fruit. These things are important…
So, my Feasty lovelies, what’s your favourite cocktail or mocktail? I must admit that I’m not much of a cocktail girl but I am partial to a nice caprioska or mai tai. Very refreshing when it’s hot. So what about you? Any ideas for some Christmas indulgences would be greatly appreciated. After all, ’tis the season to be jolly!
If you’d like to learn more about Ros and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter using @RosBaxter.