Tag Archives: horse books

FRIDAY FEAST with Pamela Cook

10 Replies

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.

A Horsey History

8 Replies

Have you ever wondered where your passions developed from, whether they were inherited, nurtured, spontaneous, or even adopted from someone else?

My father, Merv Hein, on Tactful Queen, winning the  1952 Frances Handicap, Naracoorte, SA.

My father on Tactful Queen, winning the 1952 Frances Handicap at Naracoorte, SA.

As many of you will know from visiting Friday Feast, I’m a passionate foodie, yet my mother never cared about cooking, produce or anything cuisine related. She loathed gardening too, whereas I love growing my own food. Dad reads, much more now he’s a bit housebound with looking after Mum, but Mum never did, whereas I’m a complete bookworm. My brother is sporty. I’m an enthusiastic participant but somehow the genes governing easy athleticism and co-ordination passed me by.

My love for all things equine, though? Ah, well, now that’s what is known in the vernacular as a no-brainer.

As happened in those days, my father was indentured as an apprentice jockey when he was 11 years old. It would be impossible to think of an eleven-year-old today leaving home to work and live with a racehorse trainer but Dad did it, thrived and had a bit of success too. I have the most marvellous, if a little battered, whale bone whip in my office which Dad won as the winning rider of Tactful Queen in the 1952 Frances Handicap at Naracoorte, SA.

The whale bone whip prize presented to my father, Merv Hein, as winning jockey of the 1952 Frances Handicap.

The whale bone whip prize presented to my father as winning jockey of the 1952 Frances Handicap.

But I guess he was only following in the footsteps of his forebears, because my grandfather was also a jockey, and my great-grandfather rode jumps races. I have a book I’m currently using for research called Personalities in Pink Coats by Brian J. O’Connor, which covers the history of the Cover of Personalities in Pink Coats by Brian J. O'ConnorMount Gambier Hunt Club. A club of which I was also once a member. There’s a wonderful story in it of a veterans race held on September 12th, 1931 to help celebrate the club’s Golden Jubilee. It was run during the local Winter Race Carnival, I assume at Mount Gambier’s Glenburnie Racecourse, although that isn’t specified. The SA Jockey Club allowed the race on the proviso it was run under SAJC rules and that the jockeys were amateur.

The veterans were aged 60 and over and among them was my great-grandfather Lou Hein, aged 63, riding Kings Street. The eldest rider was Jim Hanlon aged 77. As you can imagine, the race drew considerable interest. Perhaps some locals expected carnage. Not a chance. These riders were all true horseman and had been all their lives.

My great-grandfather Lou Hein circa 1900.

My great-grandfather Lou Hein circa 1900.

Lou was the only Mount Gambier man to ride, the remainder were from over the south-east of SA and western Victoria. I would love to say he won, but he didn’t. That honour went to 71 year old Jack Stock, riding 2/1 favourite Bonny Deen. According to Personalities in Pink Coats, Jack was a bachelor but won a lot of lady admirers that day. It was the silver cutlery that did it.

My great-uncle Clarence also rode and there’s a wonderful family tale of how, in 1928, Clarrie, aged sixteen, travelled from Mount Gambier across the Victorian border to Coleraine for a race meeting. When the meet proved unsuccessful, he headed back to Casterton where, the next day, he rode King Sam to victory in the Casterton Cup. Fast forward to 2008 and there’s Clarrie, aged 96, once again at the Casterton Cup, only this time presenting the prize to the winning jockey of the same race he’d won eighty years before.

My grandfather, Lloyd 'Torchy' Hein on horseback.

My grandfather, Lloyd ‘Torchy’ Hein

With this kind of family history it’s little wonder I was born horse mad. Fortunately I had Dad on hand to help teach me horsemanship. He was no longer a jockey, his career having ended at age twenty-one when his apprenticeship finished and he’d grown too big for the job, but there are some things you don’t forget. My teenage years are a blur of horses and horse events. Pony club, trail riding, saddle horses, dressage, eventing, showjumping, hunting – if it involved a horse and riding, I was probably in on it. I even worked for a couple of racehorse trainers riding exercise in my gap year before university.

Sadly, I no longer ride but I’m still horse mad and it’s a pretty fair assumption that when you pick up one of my books there’ll be a horse or two woven into the tale. I simply can’t help it.

Science may not have proven the existence of a gene for horse-mania, but if my family history has anything to do with it, something’s sure going on.

 

My Top 5 Favourite Horse Stories

10 Replies

I’ve just begun writing my next rural romance which features a heroine determined to resurrect the long-defunct local hunt club’s point to point race, albeit with a twist that not everyone approves of.

To help put me in the mood, I’m reading a history of the Mount Gambier Hunt Club, of which I was a once a member. All the adventurous tales and amusing anecdotes, including those of my great-grandfather Lou Hein, grandfather Lloyd aka “Torchy”, and uncle Clarrie, who were also members, got me thinking about my favourite horse books.

So here they are!

1/. The Black Stallion by Walter Farley

The Black Stallion by Walter FarleyI cannot express how passionately I felt as a child about this story of a boy called Alec Ramsay and a stallion simply called the Black, who find themselves washed up on a barren island after a storm wrecks the ship on which they were travelling. Slowly the pair form an unbreakable bond. When they finally make it home, it’s discovered that the Black is one super-fast horse. Soon, he’s pitted against the best in the land in a race that will have you turning those pages at a gallop. Gawd, I get teary just thinking about it.

Seriously, if it was in any way possible, I would have married this book. I loved it and the entire Black Stallion series that much. I also wonder if this was the book that made me want to be a writer. The daydreams I had over it! Certainly it has a very special place in my reading heart.

2/. Riders by Jilly Cooper

Riders by Jilly Cooper. Ah, how can one go past the absolute naughty deliciousness that is Rupert Campbell-Black, Cooper’s much-adored equestrian star and complete bounder? While the story is actually more about Jake Lovell, and his rise in the professional showjumping world, it’s his arch-rival Rupert who looms large. Rupert is truly awful sometimes, but he’s brave, smart, funny, unapologetic, deeply loyal to his friend Billy, and fabulous in bed, and we can’t help but forgive him.

What’s great about this story is that there are more like it, including Rivals, Polo and The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous. Given Cooper writes lovely big fat books, that means hours and hours of reading delight. Wheee!

I always imagined myself writing bonkbusters like this and it was a huge shock to discover my stories turned out nothing like Cooper’s. Ah, well…

3/. French Relations by Fiona Walker

French Relations by Fiona WalkerFrench Relations and its follow-up Well Groomed are very much in the vein of Cooper’s Rutshire Chronicles. There’s lots of posh carrying-on and plenty of laughs, plus lashings of lovely romance. French Relations begins with Tash French heading to her eccentric mother’s Loire chateau for a summer break. On arrival she finds Alexandra has bought her a wholly unsuitable, half-mad stallion to ride. When sexy eventer and Tash’s devastating teenage crush Hugo Beauchamp turns up, he’s conned into giving Tash lessons. But there is more than one eligible male in the chateau, taking Tash’s love life on a rather twisted journey.

Ignore the horrid cover (the original was far better), this is great, addictive fun!

4/. My Friend Flicka by Mary O’Hara

My Friend Flicka by Mary O'HaraLike The Black Stallion, O’Hara’s trilogy had me enchanted as a child. Wyoming sounded like a kind of horse heaven and I wanted to visit so badly.

Once more, this is about love and trust between a boy and his horse. Both of whom kind of end up saving one another.

It’s a beautiful tale and a guaranteed heart-warmer. But if I recall correctly, I think it was the second book in the series, Thunderhead, that I liked most.

 

 

5/. The Man From Snowy River by A.B. ‘Banjo’ Paterson

The Man From Snowy River by AB Banjo Paterson. There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around

That the colt from old Regret had got away,

And had joined the wild bush horses – he was worth a thousand pound,

So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.

Reading or hearing that never fails to send a shiver down my spine, and when discussing horse stories it would be impossible not to include this classic Australian poem. It’s exciting and romantic, set in an iconic location, and features a brave hero and his “small and weedy beast” of a mountain-bred horse, both of whom prove their merits in spectacular fashion. Nothing like an underdog to stir an Aussie heart!

The language is wonderful. The rhythm of Paterson’s poem draws us in and sweeps us along, and it’s hard not to get teary over the drama of it all. A must read.

 

If you’re wondering why I didn’t include Black Beauty, it’s because I never really warmed to that book. I also haven’t included The Silver Brumby because, somehow, I never discovered it. How that tragedy occurred is one of the great mysteries of my life. Equine-obsessed me miss a horse book? Impossible! Yet somehow it happened.

Do you have a favourite horse story or movie? I’d love to hear about it. A horsey girl can never have too many equine tales!