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FRIDAY FEAST with Beck Nicholas

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Hello, lovely people, and welcome to another fantabulous edition of Friday Feast! Today is very special because we have on a debut Australian author, a book giveaway and a totally slurpilicious recipe. Much cause for celebration!

Unlike a certain beloved football team whose performance in the  AFL Grand Final still makes me want to sob with heartbreak and bewilderment. But enough of the Sydney Swans. Cos, quite frankly, I’m still too upset to talk about it. So, in Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news… well, at least I wasn’t as bad as my football team! Not even close. Although I did send a ball hurtling into a dam. Actually, make that two balls. Oh… Hang on. It was three. Sigh. But I did spot a frill-necked lizard and had a brown snake go slithering across the fairway. Just as a bonus!

Speaking of bonuses, that’s what you’re in for today, so read on.Young Adult author Beck Nicholas

I am absolutely chuffed to welcome Beck Nicholas to Friday Feast and to showcase her debut young adult novel, Fake. Beck hails from Adelaide and has been a long time member of the Romance Writers of Australia, and we’ve caught up at many a conference. I was thrilled when I heard Harlequin would be publishing her first book and even more delighted when I saw the fantastic cover she’d been given. Now it’s wonderful reviews I’m seeing!

Fake is on the shelves now and while it might be marketed at young adult readers, adult readers will be in for a treat too. Take a look.

FAKE

Cover of Fake by Beck NicholasSeventeen-year-old Kath McKenny has a date to the end-of-term party with her since-forever crush. He publicly messaged her to confirm, but there’s been a recent status update: he’s taking the new girl — giggly, pretty, well-developed Lana Elliot — instead.

After being thoroughly humiliated in front of half the school, best friend Chay talks Kath into revenge: a scheme to create the perfect — and very fake — online guy for Lana. Once she falls for him, they’ll show her what it’s like to get brutally dumped.

Everything is going to plan until Kath starts spending more-than-just-friends time with the other new kid in town — Lana’s dreamy older brother, Sebastian. Kath finds herself getting in deep — in love and drowning in guilt, she tries to put an end to her prank, but it’s taken on an unstoppable momentum of its own, with very real consequences.

As her plotting begins to unravel, so do the people Kath thought she knew:
Her mother has a secret online life.
Her father has a whole new family.
Her best friend is barely recognisable.
Her boyfriend has a disturbing hidden past.
And her enemy is more familiar than she knew

Doesn’t that sound a blast? You should buy a copy right now. For the paperback visit most splendiferous online bookstore Booktopia. Also Bookworld, Dymocks, Angus & Robertson, QBD The Bookshop, Collins Booksellers, direct from the publisher Harlequin, or your favourite bookshop or chain store. For the ebook try Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi or your favourite retailer.

Still not sure? Try this excerpt on for size.

‘Kath! What are you hiding here for?’

I look up, into the frowning face of Chayanne Davy. She’s been my best friend since fourth grade when she cut my finger in a fight over a piece of purple ribbon. She didn’t do blood and promptly fainted, meaning we both spent the rest of the lesson in the nurse’s office. Now, she looks even more pissed than she did then. Her eyebrows, a dozen shades darker than her bleached hair, are lowered in a scowl.

I shrug. ‘This is where we always sit.’

She drops a folder on the damp grass and settles beside me with an exaggerated sigh. ‘But now you’re dating Joel, you need to hang out near the canteen in case he wants to talk to you.’

‘He bought me an ice-cream almost two weeks ago. It’s hardly a commitment.’

‘You’ve finally got Mr Hottie’s attention and now you’re going to blow him off?’

I’m not sure a meet-up at Sweety’s Icecreamery, two doors down from my house, even counts as a date. I shrug again.

Chay flashes me one of her infectious grins. Her bright red lipstick matches her sandals which, combined with tiny cut-off shorts, are completely inappropriate for the chill in the air. ‘So did I imagine the fact that he asked you to the end-of-term party?’

My lips twitch but I refrain from repeating the jig I’d performed in the privacy of my bedroom. ‘Nope.’

Truth be told, for a while I’d worried that I’d dreamed the casual invite to the annual dress-up celebration. I’d been polishing off the remnants of my strawberry shake and the final slurp nearly drowned his words.

Wasn’t that fun? Now go buy. Go on!

Sorted? Excellent. Please enjoy some delicious naughtiness with Beck.

A Little Fakery

I am a regular reader of Friday Feast for the brilliant excerpts (to make my TBR pile groan)and the recipes. Part of the excitement of that call with my first sale was the prospect of at last being a guest myself. Here I am with FAKE on the shelves and my turn in the FF spotlight. Thanks for having me Cathryn (even though we might have a slight disagreement on footy teams – Go you Crows, 2015 for sure!).

There isn’t a lot of cooking in Fake – apart from one horrible experiment when Kath makes her fave lunch of banana and peanut butter warmed on fresh bread. The thought of it actually makes me gag but I remember a friend at school LOVING the combination. Personally I preferred the timeless (but perhaps equally disgusting) potato chip sandwich for my no-mum-around meal.

Although there aren’t many cooking moments, the characters do spend an awful lot of time visiting Sweety’s Icecreamery where they enjoy ice-creams and milkshakes… and a little romance.

Today I’m sharing a recipe inspired by the mint milkshake in the book. It’s is more of a building than cooking one but is super delicious. And you know sometimes it doesn’t hurt to Fake it a little.

Choc-mint Ice-Cream Sandwich

One tub awesome choc mint ice-cream (whole tub not required for dessert)

Choc chip cookies (or buy some)

150g softened butter

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg

1 1/2 cups SR flour

1 cup milk chocolate bits

Method

First, cream butter and sugar. Add in egg and vanilla and beat well. Mix in sifted flour and choc chips, until well combined.  Place heaped teaspoons of mixture onto lined tray, and press gently flat.

Bake at 180C for 10-12 minutes or until golden in colour and slightly gooey.

Choc chip cookies

Choc sauce

200g 70% Cocoa dark chocolate

185ml thickened cream

Break up choc and mix together. Heat in microwave or over double boiler gently, stirring often to combine.

Broken up chocolate ready for melting

Construction

Place dollops of ice-cream between two cookies. Then simply drizzle the warm choc sauce over the top.

Choc-mint Ice-Cream Sandwich

Enjoy!

I’m not sure how many this makes thanks to family scavenging as I cooked but all the components can be enjoyed on their own too.

For a chance to win a signed copy of Fake, comment below to let me know your favourite after school snack or an easy dessert.

 

Thanks, Beck! And how good does that sandwich look? Mmm. I adore mint chocolate so this is right up my alley.

Now, you heard Beck. There’s a…

GIVEAWAY!

Rah! We so adore a giveaway on Friday Feast. It’s such a great way to discover a new author and this giveaway is totally easy-peasy. All you have to do to win a signed paperback copy of Fake is leave a comment sharing your favourite after school snack or easy dessert.

In the interest of playing along, I’m going to divulge one of the snacks I used to sneak in as a teenager: zap a snack-sized tin of corn in the microwave, drain and then stir through one (or many more) of those individually wrapped cheese slices. Zap a bit more until the cheese is melted, then scoff with spoon. Embarrassing to think about now but I loved that mix.

Your turn to share!

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 7th October 2014. Australian postal addresses only.

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

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Shelleyrae who has scored a copy of Beck’s fabulous debut release, FAKE. Thanks so much to everyone who joined in the Friday Feast fun. There were some wonderful after-school snack blasts from the past, as well as some, how shall we say… not for the fainthearted foods mentioned!

FRIDAY FEAST with Emmie Dark

One week until Christmas! Are your bells a-jingling in excitement? Mine are. Well, maybe not a-jingling but thanks to a fantastic writing month I’m feeling a tad seasonally happy and in the mood for celebration.

Before I introduce our gorgeous guest, here’s the Christmas edition of Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf.  Last week was a team event. Everything that went wrong is all my partner’s fault. Me hitting into the water for the bazillionth time had nothing to do with it. Noooothing at all. Oh well, at least we didn’t come last.Romance author Emmie Dark

Now don your Santa hats and pour a glass of festive bubbly because it’s time to get seriously Christmassy with contemporary romance author Emmie Dark.

Emmie writes gorgeous stories, the sort that spark with snappy dialogue, steamy sexual tension and plenty of heart-tugging emotion. Earlier this year saw the release of Spellbound, a sizzling hot romance filled with angst, lust and a super hot hero. This week sees its companion novella Charmed hit the shelves. Check it out…

 

CHARMED

 

Cover of Charmed by Emmie DarkWhen a handsome and charming stranger reluctantly enters the magic shop where perky Melanie Cooke works as a psychic, she fully expects to give him a standard reading and send him on his way. But for the first time in her life, her powers fail her and the reading goes horribly awry.

Michael Harrison was dubious about the idea of seeing a psychic, but given the attraction between them, he’s prepared to put first impressions aside. Yet as he and Melanie get to know each other, Michael is forced to confront his past, and to face the fact that Melanie may be more than she seems.

Will fear and suspicion ruin all or will the magic and power of love keep them together? 

 

Doesn’t that sound fun? Lucky for you that Charmed is available for immediate download right now. You can purchase direct from the publisher Destiny Romance or your favourite ebook retailer like Kobo, Amazon (for Kindle), Google Play, iTunes, JB Hi-Fi, BigW ebooks and more.

Ready for some Christmas fun? Heeeeeere’s Emmie!

 

Christmas Creativity

 

HI Cathryn and all Friday Feasters! Thanks so much for the invitation – it’s lovely to be here, especially to talk about food at this time of year. This time of year is my favourite foodie time – probably because it’s one of the few times of the year that I get to feed hordes. I properly plan menus and organise shopping lists – I do enjoy it! (But, if I’m honest, part of me is very glad that it only comes around once a year!)

I saw that Christina Brooke provided you with an ice cream Christmas cake a couple of weeks back, which, by the away, looks divine. I thought I’d do something similar – an icy Christmas treat, just perfect for a hot, sunny, Australian Christmas Day.

Have you ever looked at a photo in one of those gorgeous food magazines and been desperate to recreate it? Well, this was one of those times.

Delicious Magazine cover

Don’t they look great? And the recipe is SO simple. (I’m really not kidding!) Just grab some of your favourite vanilla ice cream and stir through some grated chocolate. From memory, I think we also added some chopped up pistachios and cranberries for an added Christmassy touch.

BUT… (You knew there’d be a catch, right?) There are a couple of little tricks.

But before I go into those, let me finish with the “recipe”. Once you have your ice cream with all its special treats folded through, you need to cut up squares of baking paper and twist them into long, narrow cones, and then stick them in place with a little sticky tape. Then you simply fill each cone with ice cream and return them to the freezer until you’re ready to serve.

SO EASY!

Ah, but here are the tricks. One, make sure you have enough room in your freezer. Something I didn’t plan, until we were already scooping ice cream into the paper cones was how on earth I was going to freeze them! Solution (thanks to my ever-logical mother) came from standing them up in champagne glasses! We needed to take a shelf out in the freezer to give ourselves enough room, though. And we all know at this time of year, fridge and freezer space is at a premium, so make sure you can fit them in.

And second – accept that it’s simply not going to look exactly like the picture.

Emmie Dark's Icecream Cones

If I make them again, I will do a better job of making sure the cones are completely filled, to avoid those little gaps. And I’d also try to do a better job of levelling off the tops, so that when you turn them out, they’re not quite so lopsided-y.

Emmie Dark's Christmas ice-cream cones

Having said that, they tasted absolutely delightful, and isn’t that what it’s all about in the end?

Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!

 

And a very merry Christmas to you too, Emmie! Thanks so much for this fabulous Christmas idea. Those icecreams look gorgeous, like decorations themselves and I bet they tasted delicious.

So, my clever Feasters, do you have a special Christmas trick? Something that looks amazing and impressive yet takes no time at all? I don’t so I’m in need of tips!!

If you’d like to learn more about Emmie and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest and Tumblr.