Hello, my cute little Feasty bunnies! Welcome to this Easter edition of Friday Feast. This week, you’re blessed with ME! And I have something deliciously sweet and naughty to share too. Oh, and a suuuuper giveaway.
But first, the ongoing debacle that is Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. You know how last week I said that the only way is up? Erm, no. Apparently things can get worse. Horribly, embarrassingly worse. I came last in the ladies comp. Last. Now, we ladies also have this extra competition where the winner of the previous monthly medal has to donate an encouragement prize to be given to the following month’s bottom dweller. Yes, I won my own bloody prize back. Oh, the ignominy!
Anyway, onto more positive things.
There are only nineteen sleeps until my next rural romance The Falls releases. That’s close. Which means you should all have your itchy clicking fingers hitting those pre-order buttons now. Cos this book has a seriously babelicious blacksmith in it. And a nutty ram. And other really, really cool stuff that you won’t want to miss.
Take a looksie…
Will losing the home she loves mean finding the place she belongs?
For as long as she can remember, Teagan Bliss has wanted to manage her family’s property. She’s invested everything in the farm, knowing that when her parents retire she’ll be ready to take the reins. But when a family betrayal leaves her reeling, Teagan is forced to rethink her entire future.
Heartbroken, Teagan flees to her aunt’s property in the idyllic Falls Valley. Vanessa is warm and welcoming and a favourite of the locals who drop in regularly for cocktail hour. Teagan soon catches the attention of sexy local farrier Lucas Knight, and with a new job, new friends and the prospect of a new relationship, she slowly begins to open up again.
But the village is a hotbed of gossip and division and when Teagan gets caught up in town politics, Lucas and Vanessa become concerned. As the tension in town escalates, Teagan must decide who to trust. But when she realises those close to her have been keeping secrets, the fallout may split Teagan apart forever.
Exciting, n’est-ce pas? Which means you should order it right now. And if you do so from those excellent folk at Booktopia, you’ll score a signed copy. But be quick on that one. I’m off to sign copies of The Falls at their warehouse next week and if you don’t have yours secured, you might miss out. And we wouldn’t want that!
All lined up? Then come and get sweet with me!
A Spoonful of Sugar…
One of the most darling characters in The Falls is the heroine Teagan’s Aunt Vanessa. As Teagan describes her, Ness…
“…dressed and acted like an Italian film siren, albeit with dark-red hair and pale, Celtic skin. She liked good food, wine and cocktails, enjoyed foreign films, spoke French and Italian, was rarely seen without makeup, and dressed in ultra feminine clothes. She was also a double divorcee whose mysterious past in Europe made Teagan’s mother’s lips purse in disapproval at any mention of the subject. Which had naturally left a teenage Teagan completely in awe of her aunt and her exotic life.”
Ness is, in other words, extremely attractive, clever, generous and enormous fun. With the exception of a few jealous wives, The Falls locals adore her and Ness adores The Falls in return. She’s also very kind, so when Teagan arrives at Falls Farm not in the best of condition, Vanessa’s immediate reaction is to help. And one of her favourite ways to do that – besides offering up one of her excellent cocktails – is with food.
Ness tempts Teagan with all sorts of goodies, from antipasto, breads and dips, to treats from the local bakery. So frustrated by Teagan’s lack of enthusiasm for food, and unable to take up local vet and close friend Bunny James’s offer to inject Teagan with a dose of steroids to increase her appetite, Ness cooks the naughtiest things she can think of. Including the following orange and poppy seed syrup cupcakes which are loaded with enough sugar to “give an elephant diabetes”.
Sweet and sticky, these babies are good. And gluten-free. Even Teagan liked them!
Orange & Poppyseed Syrup Cakes
Makes approximately 10 small patty cakes
1 medium navel orange. Choose one as blemish free as possible with good orange skin.
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
1 tablespoon milk
70g caster sugar
150g almond meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
125ml fresh orange juice
55g caster sugar
Place orange in a small saucepan. Cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over high heat (lid on). Keeping a good roll to the water, simmer for 45 minutes or until tender. Top up with more boiling water if necessary to keep the orange covered. Remove the orange from the water and process it whole in a food processor until smooth. Allow to cool a while.
Preheat oven to 180C.
Line ten holes of a 12-hole muffin tray with patty cake cases. Combine the poppy seeds and milk in a small bowl and set aside. Using an electric mixer and large bowl, beat the eggs until pale and creamy. Gradually add the 70g of caster sugar and continue to beat until thick. Gently fold in the almond meal, baking powder, orange puree and poppy seed mixture until just combined. Pour into prepared patty cake cases.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden. Leave cakes in the tray ready for the syrup. They need to be still hot for best take-up of the syrup.
Meanwhile, make the syrup. Place the orange juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Simmer 3 minutes or until the syrup reduces slightly.
Pierce each of the cakes several times with a skewer and spoon over the syrup. Leave cakes in the pan to set a little before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Eat and wait for the sugar high.
These types of cakes keep really well but I tend to freeze mine and take them out one at a time, or when needed.
Now, because I’m all excited about the upcoming release of The Falls and I know you are too – oh yes, you are! – I think we should have a…
To be in the draw to win a signed paperback copy of The Falls, answer me this: What is your favourite sugar high?
Is it fairy floss or chocolate? Or maybe you get yours from an overdose of pineapple or another super-sweet fruit. Perhaps you don’t like anything sugary, in which case just say you prefer a hunk of cheese or something. The main thing is to share!
Please note: Giveaway closes midnight AEST Wednesday, 8th April 2015. Australian postal addresses only.
I’ve left this giveaway open a little longer than usual so all you lovelies who went off camping for the weekend won’t miss your chance to enter.
If you’d like to learn more about The Falls or any of my previous releases, check out my books page on this site. And don’t forget to connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and now on Pinterest! Plus sign up to my newsletter to be the first to hear all the news, receive exclusive content, enter special giveaways and more.
This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Jenny Wallis who has won a signed copy of THE FALLS. Rah!
Thanks to everyone who joined in the Feasty fun and shared all your sugar highs. As always there were some amaaaazing suggestions.