Tag Archives: Italian recipes

FRIDAY FEAST with Cathryn Hein

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This week on Friday Feast, lucky devils that you are, you have ME again. I’m sharing one of my absolute favourite pasta recipes, showing off my new release again (because I can, and I love it to bits and want you to as well), and… oh, let’s have a giveaway. It’s been too long!

But before you get to that excitement, you must endure news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. As mentioned last week, the past weekend saw me compete in the final round of the Romance author Cathryn Heinclub championships and I came SECOND! Okay, so technically with only two of us ladies left in the field I also came last but we’ll  ignore that. What was kind of cool was the gallery (aka the hecklers) surrounding the 18th green, watching the field come in, and me making a very respectable par in front of them instead of cracking under the pressure. Not normal Hein golfing behaviour at all!

Now to plug my book, which I’m allowed to do to my heart’s content because it’s my blog and I have overlord (overlady?) powers. I will, however, try not to be boring.

So… reviews for my new release Summer and the Groomsman are coming in and they’re lovely! I’m so chuffed. 5 stars from Talking Books Blog and 8/10 from Bree at 1 Girl 2 Many Books, along with lots of very kind comments about the sweet characters and the humour of the story.

It’s enough to make a girl a little teary. Or drink fizz. I prefer the latter.

On the off chance you haven’t had enough of it yet (which of course you haven’t), here’s the cover and blurb.

SUMMER AND THE GROOMSMAN

Cover of Summer and the Groomsman by Cathryn HeinIt’s Levenham’s wedding of the year but unlucky-in-love Harry Argyle has more on his mind than being groomsman.

After yet again nearly colliding with an escaped horse while driving home to the family farm, Harry Argyle comes face-to-face with its pretty owner, and doesn’t hold back his disapproval.

Confronted by a bad-tempered giant on a dark country road, beautician and new arrival in town Summer Taylor doesn’t know who to be more afraid for: herself or her darling horse Binky. It’s not her fault Binky keeps escaping. The alcoholic owner of the paddock she rents won’t fix the fence and Binky can be sneaky when it comes to filling his stomach. But no matter how big and muscled the bully, she refuses to be intimidated.

When Harry’s wedding party book a session at the day spa where Summer works, both she and Harry are horrified to be paired together. Grudgingly, they agree to make the most of it – only for the session to spiral into disaster. Realising he’s made a dill of himself in front of sweet Summer yet again, Harry vows to set things right.

Summer isn’t about to easily forgive the man who called her horse stupid, no matter how brave and kind, but with everyone on Harry’s side, even fate, resistance is hard. Can these two find love or will Summer’s wayward horse put his hoof in it again?

Oooh, this story is FUN. And you should buy it now, oh yes you should! Try Amazon.com, Amazon.au, Amazon.uk, Kobo, iBooks or Nook.

Now, grab those pots and fire up that stove, because this recipe’s a cracker.

Pucker-Up For Pasta

By now you’re all probably aware that I’m a sucker for recipes that taste disproportionately impressive to the amount of effort they take to prepare. I never used to be this way though. In fact, there was once a time when the longer the recipe, the more complicated, the more ingredients it required, the happier I was. And if it involved learning some obscure new technique, even better.

Personally, I blame the 80s.

Me at uni graduation with big hair

Me on graduation day with big hair and even bigger shoulder pads beneath my gown.

Everything had to be bigger and better then: hair, shoulder pads… plates. Remember enormous white plates with tiny bits of lonely food on them? So fashionable. I still have the most beautiful Royal Doulton set in my crockery collection. You could eat entree and main off those things and still have room for dessert, but I’ll never get rid of them because they’re so nice.

The ‘more is better’ fad followed me into the early 90’s too, when I moved to Melbourne. I used to hold these dinner parties that would take days to prepare for and involve early morning trips to Queen Victoria Market followed by hours in the kitchen and exhaustion by the end of the evening. Vogue Entertaining magazine was my bible, along with Elle Cuisine and another short-lived ultra-cheffy one I can’t recall the name of.

These days? It’s all about maximum taste from minimum effort.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to spend an afternoon in the kitchen playing around with something novel. I adore cooking, trying new ingredients, learning new techniques, especially on a Friday when there’s the end of the week to celebrate. Weekdays though, it’s all good food done fast. Well, not necessarily fast but certainly without drama.

Which brings me to today’s recipe, pasta e fagioli. Pasta and beans.

I’m sure there are hundreds of different recipes for this, and I certainly don’t claim the following as authentic. Not even close. In fact, my version is a total mash-up, and even then I change it around, depending on my mood. But in my book adaptability is a sign of a great recipe, plus mucking about is fun. I think traditionally, like many cucina povera dishes, pasta e fagioli is meatless. I also believe it’s meant to be runnier, like a soup. I make my version thick and serve as a plated pasta. Easy to eat and very satisfying.

The key to the success of this recipe is in the sausages. Honestly, if you don’t have good Italian sausages, don’t bother making it. Without them the dish will turn out ordinary. With them, it’ll be delicious. But as I’m sure you know, using quality ingredients is the secret to getting the best out of all recipes.

Look for lovely chunky pork sausages with plenty of seasoning. Fennel is a must, and if you can score ones with chilli in them as well, even better.

Pasta e Fagioli – Pasta and Beans

Serves 4

My Pasta e Fagioli

Ingredients

Olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

4 fat Italian sausages

1 tablespoon tomato paste

Dried chilli flakes to taste (if the sausages are chilli-less), 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon

400g can tomato polpa (or used tinned tomatoes and crush them up with your hands or a potato masher)

½ cup (125ml) beef stock

400g can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

250g macaroni (or any small pasta – tiny penne works well as tubetti and ditalini)

Grated parmesan to serve

Method

Squeeze the sausage meat from the casings and chop if really chunky or you can feel gristly bits.

Squeezed out Italian sausage meat

Heat a good splodge of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Throw in onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring, until softened.

Cooking chopped onion

Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Increase the heat a little and add sausage meat. Cook for 5 minutes or so, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon, until browned. Add tomato paste, chopped tomato, chilli (if needed) and stock, then simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened.

Simmering tomato and sausage meat

Taste and season as needed, then stir in beans to heat through.

Tomato, sausage mince and beans

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to packet instructions until al dente. Drain, add to the sauce and mix.

Spoon onto plates and serve with plenty of grated parmesan, and watch those plates clear!

Empty plate

Okey-dokey, cos I’m feeling in the mood for one, let’s have a…

GIVEAWAY!

Hmm, which book shall I put up for grabs? I had planned to give away a print copy of Summer and the Groomsman but, annoyingly, they’re not ready yet (gah!). How about a copy of my debut Promises by Cathryn Heinrelease Promises instead? I love that story. It’s a bit Romeo and Juliette-ish, is set in south-east South Australia where I’m from, and has lots of gorgeous horses. Perfect!

Already have a copy? That’s okay. If you win, you can always give the copy away as a present. I’ll sign it to whoever you like.

So, to be in the draw to win a signed paperback copy of Promises, simply leave a comment revealing your favourite pasta or noodle dish.

How’s that for easy peasy?

I’ve just shared mine, although I do have many other recipes in my collection that I adore. Veal ragù with home-made papardelle springs to mind – that dish is amaaaazing – and I just love spinach and ricotta canneloni. Ooh, and how can one go past pumpkin ravioli with sage butter? That dish is like eating autumn!

So what’s your favourite? Share and I’ll pop you into the draw.

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 17th November 2015. Australian postal addresses only.

If you’d like to learn more about me or my books, there’s plenty to discover on this website, including a fun video on my About page on How To Grow An Australian Romance Author, plus The Story Behind each book and more on its book page. You can also connect with me on Facebook, Twitter using @CathrynHein, Google +, Goodreads and Pinterest.

Friday Feast recipe index link.

 

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Cathryn Hein

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Hello, book and food lovers, and welcome to another mouth-watering edition of Friday Feast. This week, because my brand spanking new rural romance The Falls released on Wednesday and milestones like this need to be celebrated, you have the pleasure of my company. Which means much deliciousness!

But first, the emotional roller-coaster that is Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. In an astonishing turn-around, I actually played well and won a golf ball for my efforts. Ha! I bet you Cathryn ready to golfdidn’t expect me to say that, did you? It wasn’t perfect, by any means. There were some verra ugly shots made but overall a vast improvement on the horrors of previous weeks. I am praying for this to continue. All that bad play was costing a small fortune in drowned golf balls.

Wednesday was release day for The Falls, which is always a wonderful time. And this is a book that deserves a party. The Falls was huge fun to write, with a great line up of characters, both animal and human. Lucas, the hero, is a bit of a fantasy man (insert deep, longing sigh here) and it’s nice to find out what happened to Teagan after Rocking Horse Hill. Then there’s Teagan’s glamorous, generous Aunt Vanessa and her menagerie of waifs and strays, and all the other colourful characters that inhabit Falls Farm and the local village. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Take a look…

THE FALLS

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 Cover of The Falls by Cathryn Heintake the reins. But when a family betrayal leaves her reeling, Teagan is forced to rethink her Cover of The Falls by Cathryn Heinentire 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.

You can join Lucas and Teagan on their journey to love with just a few clicks. Buy now from Booktopia, Bookworld, Angus & Robertson, Amazon.au, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi, QBD The Bookshop, Boomerang Books, Collins Bookstore, and Abbey’s Bookshop. Or simply trot down to your local Dymocks, independent book store, or Big W and pick up a copy there.

Right. Food time!

Getting Dippy!

There’s something really enjoyable about relaxing with nibbles, especially outside. Whether it’s rowdy and laughter laden with friends and family, or quiet with just a book to keep you company. That lovely combination of simple, tasty things to munch on, where your hand keeps reaching for another morsel, is very pleasurable.

Teagan’s Aunt Vanessa in The Falls is an expert at entertaining. She adores having friends over and holds a cocktail hour every evening on her verandah, with a different cocktail punctuating each day of the week. Teagan’s first experience of this is margarita night, but there are days for negronis, kir royales, gin and tonics, sangria, martinis and Pimms cocktails.

Vanessa, being exceedingly generous, usually lays out platters of antipasti to go with her drinks. Simple dishes like homemade focaccia, marinated olives, tangy giardiniera, cheese, paté and shaved Parma ham. She also often includes simple dips like pesto and black olive tapenade, the latter of which you can find the recipe for on one of my earlier Friday Feasts.

But with dips you need something to attack them with. Vanessa mostly chooses bread – sliced baguette or, as mentioned, homemade focaccia (recipe here). But as she’s a product of my imagination, I know for a fact that she would also occasionally include sticks of grissini.

If you’re not familiar with grissini, they’re basically slim bread sticks baked until dry and ‘snappy’ and they’re great for poking into dips or wrapping prosciutto around. The best thing is that they’re dead easy to make. Honest! And you can flavour them however you like, with herbs, spices, seasoned salts, whatever takes your fancy.

So next time you’re having a barbie or hosting drinks where there’ll be dippy dishes, why not have a go at your own grissini? They look attractive, plus you can puff out your chest and say you made them and everyone will think you’re very clever, when reality is they took next to no effort.

Grissini

Home-made grissini on Friday Feast  with Cathryn Hein

Makes approximately 25.

2 teaspoons dried yeast

200ml blood temperature water

300g bread flour

1½ teaspoons salt

Preheat oven to 200˚C.

Mix yeast with water and set aside for ten minutes while you measure out the other ingredients and sort your flavourings. If using a breadmaker (which takes out much of the grunt work), add all the ingredients to the pan in this order: water, salt, flour, yeast. Then use the dough setting to mix and prove.

If doing by hand, simply mix the yeast liquid into the stirred together flour and salt and when combined, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. If that sounds too much like hard work and you have a mixmaster with dough hooks, use those. Place the dough in a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave in a draught-free place for an hour to rise.

Slice off small pieces of dough, about the size of your thumb, and using the palms of your hands, roll each piece into a long, straight stick. It should be quite thin, around the size of a pencil. If they’re too thick they won’t dry out properly and give you that satisfying snap, nor will they keep very well.

When you have the right size, roll in whatever flavours you’ve chosen. The ones in the photo were rolled in poppy seeds, thyme and plain polenta. Don’t worry if they look a bit uneven, they’re meant to be rustic!

Lay out on a baking paper covered baking tray and bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden and dried. Cool on a wire rack. Properly made, they’ll store in an air-tight container for a week.

 

I hope you enjoyed this easy recipe and are planning to laze about scoffing dips and grissini with your nose in a copy of The Falls. Sounds lovely, yes?

So here’s a question, what’s your favourite indulgent nibble? Can’t say no to a big bowl of salt and vinegar chips? Or perhaps duck liver pate is your weakness. Maybe you love a bit of retro cheese and kabana on a toothpick.

Please share. We’d all love to hear! And you could inspire someone’s next party.

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.

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Carla Caruso

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Greetings food and book lovers, and welcome to another delicious instalment of Friday Feast. This week we’re getting in a pickle with a “pretty famous” author and celebrating with another giveaway!

But first, news from the segment formerly known as Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. For some bizarre reason known only the golfing gods, my good form continues. Form that has cost me another stroke off my handicap. Things are getting scary, let me tell you. This is not normal! My dad – coiner of the Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf phrase – is chuffed though, even if his mates are now questioning my parentage…

Carla Caruso - smallNow onto the funstuff!

I’m delighted to welcome another debut guest to this week’s Friday Feast, Carla Caruso. Carla’s from South Australia (as are all the awesome people) and has had a fascinating writing career. She’s been a gossip columnist, a newspaper fashion editor, a magazine journalist and freelanced for titles like Woman’s Day and Shop Til You Drop. How cool is that!

Carla also writes fun romantic books that’ll leave you laughing and feeling good.  Her latest release is Pretty Famous. Check it out!

PRETTY FAMOUS

Pretty Famous by Carla CarusoA dark secret from Hollywood’s Golden Age. A possible prince-in-hiding. Astonvale’s about to implode…

Professional organiser Celeste Pretty swore she’d never work with uber-blonde interior designer Imogen Karmel again, but then she’s presented with a project she can’t refuse.

The prestigious Astonvale College is celebrating its centenary and needs the pair to ensure the festivities go off without a hitch.

As Celeste sets to work in a flurry of activity — in between organising her own engagement party — she finds herself blowing away the cobwebs on a sixty-year-old secret.

Meanwhile, Imogen becomes enamoured with a substitute teacher, Hudson Addison, who may or may not be a royal in hiding. And there’s nothing Imogen dreams of more than becoming a princess.

Will all be revealed on party night?

Doesn’t that sound a blast? Love the idea of a royal in hiding. You can buy Pretty Famous right now and have it loaded to your computer, ereader, phone or tablet in an instant. Visit iBooks, Amazon.com, Google Play, Kobo, JB Hi-Fi, eBooks.com or your favourite retailer.

All loaded up? That’s the way.  Now please give a big Feasty welcome to Carla.

What To Do With Too Many Zucchinis

I’m what could be called an ‘Italian princess’. Basically, what ‘wog boys’ are always being accused of – having been brought up with their mothers doing all of the cooking and (most of the) cleaning for them!

Carla's mum's "care package"

One of Carla’s mum’s care packages

My mum is a perfectionist Virgo and uber-domestic goddess, so I like to blame her for my lack of skills in the kitchen. She preferred to slave over dishes, night after night, than have me (and my two sisters) muck up her domain. The other bit of blame could also – cough – be put down to my own lack of interest in cooking. Though, I did always have a healthy interest in eating!

My poor husband must have thought he struck gold when he married me with my Italian name and looks, and his previous experience sampling my mum and grandma’s dishes… until he got me near our stove and I couldn’t figure out where the on-switch was. (James, by the way, took the snaps for this post.)

Which leads me to the kind of ‘care packages’ my mum still has my dad regularly drop off to our house en-route to my older sister’s with similar fare. This picture is a typical example of such a package from Mum, comprising home-made zucchini pickle (with a hand-written recipe), cut-up figs (for my morning porridge), sun-dried tomatoes, and a potted mint plant (with care instructions – and, yes, Mum decorated it with brown paper and string before sending).

Part of the ‘gift’ was subtly telling us (from the wasteful generation) what to do with the abundance of zucchinis and tomatoes in our veggie patch we were scratching our heads over.

IMG_2166

Chocolate zucchini cake

So I’ve included Mum’s zucchini pickle recipe from that package, below, and you can find a recipe my sister kindly sent me for chocolate zucchini cake here – bestrecipes.com.au. (Who knew how sensual ‘creaming’ butter and sugar was? Note: Hubs was rather disgusted with me licking my fingers afterwards…)

Anyway, if I’m an Italian princess, a character in my latest novel, Pretty Famous (the third in my ‘Astonvale’ rom-com mystery series with HarperCollins), is a serious prince hunter. Imogen Karmel — a Grace Kelly-obsessed blonde — takes the cake when it comes to royalty stalking. But I bet she doesn’t get such nice deliveries from her mum…

Zucchini Pickle

The original hand written recipe for zucchini pickle

The original hand-written recipe

Cut zucchini in slices (however many you have/want), salt, and leave for 24 hours.

Next day, drain, squeezing all the liquid out.

Place in vinegar for approximately one hour.

Squeeze liquid out again.

Dress with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in a jar and top with oil, or leave in the fridge.

Should last two weeks. Enjoy as a side to meat, on crusty bread with tuna, in pasta, or whatever suits!

Giveaway: Want to win an ebook copy of Pretty Famous by Carla Caruso? Tell us what YOU like to do with your zucchinis – ahem, in the kitchen, please! The comp’s open worldwide.

Did you read that, Feasties? We have a…

GIVEAWAY!

To be in the draw to win an ebook copy of Pretty Famous share your favourite way with zucchini. And if you’re like my other half and even shudder at the mention of the word, that’s fine. You can come up with a creative way to dispose of them instead. Too easy!

My favourite way with zucchini (which I don’t get to make often thanks to a certain person’s unfathomable dislike of this lovely veg) is zucchini and fetta slice. Beautiful!

What’s yours?

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 10th March 2015. Open internationally. Rah!

If you’d like to learn more about Carla and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Twitter using @CarlaCaruso79, Instagram and Goodreads.

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Sue who has won a copy of Carla’s gorgeous new rom-com, Pretty Famous. Thanks to everyone who indulged in our zucchini madness!

FRIDAY FEAST with Lisa Heidke

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Greetings food and booklovers, and welcome to another exciting edition of Friday Feast. We have a cracking line-up today, including one of Australia’s leading popular women’s fiction authors, a beautiful pasta dish and a book giveaway!

But first, the self-flagellation that is Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. In good news, my putting demon partner and I won (by a whisker) the ladies ambrose competition last week, while I also somehow managed to win longest drive. Rah! In bad or, rather, typical news, it was all downhill from there with me failing to play to my new handicap in the mixed comp. Again. Mind you, that didn’t stop the computer stealing another 0.2 of a stroke off me. No compassion those computers. None. Phht.

But on we go to much more uplifting news!

Lisa Heidke has been at the forefront of Australian popular women’s fiction for a number of Author Lisa Heidkeyears now, catapulting onto the scene with Lucy Springer Gets Even and continuing that success up with What Kate Did Next. Claudia’s Big Break and Stella Makes Good followed to great reviews as well, which should come as no surprise. Lisa studied journalism, has worked in the book and magazine publishing industries, and teaches popular women’s fiction workshops at the Australian Writer’s Centre. In other words, she knows how to tell a good yarn and her stories sparkle with good humour, warm characters and clever observation.

Lisa’s new book is It Started With A Kiss and it looks GORGEOUS. Check it out.

IT STARTED WITH A KISS

It Started With A Kiss by Lisa HeidkeIt Started with a Kiss is about shattered hearts, secrets and the lies that tie Friday and Liam and their teenage daughters, Evie and Adelaide together.

Naturopath, Friday Jones, feels betrayed when Liam, her husband of almost twenty years, announces that their marriage is over. On the brink of a mid-life crisis and crippled with a fear of missing out, Liam moves in with his bachelor brother, Brad, and pursues his secret ambition of becoming a stand-up comic.

Months later, Friday, still heartbroken, meets an unavailable man, but unable to control her desire, embarks on an intense secret affair.

When her best friend, Rosie, discovers that Friday is flirting with a danger that can only lead to further heartbreak, she signs Friday up with KissMeCupid.com and Friday dives into the murky, unknown, online dating world.

Friday soon starts receiving anonymous letters and gifts and quickly realises that one of her flings has taken obsession to the next level…

Doesn’t that sound like fun? And being a Lisa Heidke book you can be sure there’ll be plenty of twists, drama and laughs as the story unfolds. It Started With A Kiss is available right now from Booktopia, Bookworld, Angus & Robertson, QBD The Bookshop, Boomerang BooksAmazon.au, Kobo, Google Play, iBooks, JB Hi-Fi, chain stores or your favourite book retailer.

Now please give a very hearty welcome too Lisa, and prepare to drool!

Memories Of Santorini …And My Spaghetti Vongole

Hi Cathryn,

Thanks for having me over! I must say, when you invited me the Friday Feast I was a tad daunted. You see, rather like Nicki Edwards, one of your previous Friday Feast guests, I’m not much of a cook. Like Nicki, I dislike cooking, mainly because I’d rather be writing or reading – and also because my kids are fussy. Give them a roast chook and salad or sushi every night and they’d be happy!

Unlike Nicki, I do have recipe books. Hundreds of them. People give them to me for Christmas, birthdays, Mother’s Day…and largely, they remain unopened. I was once given a subscription to Gourmet Traveller. Pretty pictures!

santoriniHowever, one of those Gourmet Travellers (I think it was a February edition) inspired me to travel to Santorini. Three whole weeks of bliss!  Whilst I was there, I had one of the most amazing dishes ever – Spaghetti Vongole.

Simple but so delicious and tasty.

The kids begrudgingly eat it though it can get messy, but I don’t care. Every time I smell it cooking, the flavours remind me of Greece and I am transported back to that cute little restaurant in Santorini, on the waters’ edge with the red and white checked tablecloths and the pretty white geraniums haphazardly arranged in pottery vases…heaven. The restaurant’s signature Spaghetti Vongole was to die for!

Claudia's Big Break by Lisa HeidkeSantorini was also the inspiration for my second novel, Claudia’s Big Break but that’s another story.

In my latest book, It Started with a Kiss, the protagonist, Friday Jones isn’t a great cook. I’d say she’s poor to middling. In fact, all my characters seem to be very average in the kitchen. Funny that!

Still, I’d have to say when it comes to the Vongole, it’s hard to go wrong. Even Friday could do it. So here’s the recipe!

Spaghetti Vongole

vongole-large

Ingredients:

1 kilo Vongole (pipis)

4 whole red chillie4 garlic cloves

1 cup parsley

500 gm spaghetti

Wine or water…depending on your preference

Method:

  1. Boil enough water for the spaghetti
  2. Finely chop garlic and thinly chop chillies
  3. Roughly chop parsley
  4. Cook pasta according to instructions
  5. While pasta is cooking, sauté garlic, chilli, parsley and pipis in deep frypan for two minutes
  6. Add a couple of tablespoons of water (or white wine) to the frypan and cover.
  7. Steam pipis for approximately five minutes until all have opened.
  8. Drain pasta and add to frypan…toss through…
  9. Sprinkle parsley on top
  10. Enjoy with a glass or two of chilled white wine.

 

Wow! You sure know the way to a girl’s heart, Lisa. Spaghetti vongole is one of my favourite dishes. The shellfish is so sweet and sea-tasting, with the other flavours enhancing the vongole rather than taking over. And it’s so much fun to slurp up the pasta and suck on the shells. Beautiful. I bet your Santorini one tasted even better. Oh, to be there. Sigh.

Enough wistfulness. Let’s make this even more delicious by having a…

GIVEAWAY!

Yes, my Feasty darlings, Lisa has very generously offered the chance for one lucky commenter to win a copy of It Started With A Kiss. Naturally you’ll have to work for it. So, to be in the draw, answer this:

Which dishes remind you of a favourite holiday or time in your life?

Me? I have a thousand! Eating sea bass on the Cinque Terra. The jungle curry I helped make at a cooking school in Thailand. Endlessly scoffing crayfish legs and tails at our beach shack during childhood summer holidays. Visiting Rick Stein’s seafood restaurant in Cornwall. Urk. I must stop. All this reminiscing is making me want to go on holiday.

What about you? What dishes remind you of holidays or special times? Reveal all and we’ll pop you into the draw to win It Started With A Kiss.

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 24th February 2015. Australian postal addresses only.

If you’d like to learn more about Lisa and her heart-warming books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter using @lisaheidke.

 

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Meredith who has won a copy of Lisa’s gorgeous new release, It Started With A Kiss.
Thanks so much to everyone for visiting and sharing your lovely holiday food memories. 

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Victoria Purman

11 Replies

Ciao, to another magnifico Friday Feast! This week we’re going postal. Oops, sorry. I mean COASTAL! And a little bit Italian. Read on…

But before that, because I know you’re hanging out for it, news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. Last weekend saw the final round of the Club Championships in which I did not (read that: NOT) embarrass myself… much. Well, I did a little on the 3rd. And quite badly on the 11th but the rest wasn’t too cringeworthy. Overall it was a mighty 3rd placing, but only because the lady running 3rd had to retire.

On to far more interesting things. Today’s guest has fairly body surfed her way onto to the best-seller lists. South Australian romance author Victoria Purman has rapidly become one of Australia’s favourite coastal romance novelists, and with good reason. Her stories are warm, romantic and filled with humour as well as drama. Victoria’s latest, Our Kind of Love, sees the conclusion to her popular Boys of Summer series that started with Nobody But Him and continued with Someone Like You.

Reviews are pouring in and they’re all wonderful. You won’t want to miss this.

OUR KIND OF LOVE

Our Kind of Love by Victoria PurmanThe best thing to happen to her… or her biggest mistake?

Anna is… unexpected… unbelievable… unstoppable.  And unavailable. Will what happened in Middle Point stay there?

Dr Anna Morelli rarely makes mistakes. But this one is big, bordering on huge. Somewhere between sunset and sunrise at the simple beachside wedding of two old friends, she’s cried in the ladies bathroom, danced to too many ABBA songs and survived the best, knock-your-socks-off one night stand in recorded history. Has she gone crazy? She’s supposed to be running from the disasters in her life, not creating more.

Award winning journalist Joe Blake is back in Middle Point to lick his wounds after being dumped by his wife and sacked from his Sydney job on the same day. But after one incredible night with Anna, he finds he’ll need all his investigative skills to figure out why she won’t give in to their sizzling chemistry.

I so love a second chance story and this sounds adorable, and a little sexy. Definitely one you’ll want in your spring and summer reading collection. It can be yours right now with just a couple of clicks. Try that excellent bookstore Booktopia, or clickety-click your way to Bookworld or Angus & Robertson, your favourite local bookshop or chainstore, or direct from the publisher Harlequin. For the ebook, click on Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play or JB Hi-Fi.

Now say ciao, bella to Victoria.

Confession Is Good For The Foodie Soul

Dear Friday Feast Fan,

I have a confession to make.

I’m scared. Terrified. I can barely type for the nerves.

And why? When Cathryn asked me to return to Friday Feast I immediately said, ‘Hell yeah!” because she is lovely, fun, a gorgeous writer and a fellow South Australian (even if she is, inexplicably, a Sydney Swans fan).

Then the panic set in. OH, THE PRESSURE! I’ve been watching everyone else’s Friday Feasts and drooling, in the same way I do when I watch cooking shows, in the that-looks-fantastic-and-I-know-I’ll never-ever-cook-that-in-my-real-life kind of way.

You see, the husband and I have three teenage sons and you know what that means? Industrial size catering. Food, and lots of it. They don’t care if it’s not fancy. They will eat almost anything (except son number three who hates parsley and avocado).

On the occasions when I do prepare something nice, it’s usually a plate of nibbles to share with friends. That’s how we tend to catch up with people these days, shared plates, lovely wine and afternoons watching the sun go down.

So, in honour of my latest heroine, the feisty, Italian-Australian Dr Anna Morelli from ‘Our Kind of Love’ (who, unlike me, is an amazing cook) I’m going to do two Italian-inspired nibbles. Yes, I believe that’s the technical term for them.

They’re damn easy and incredibly tasty. And I know they’ve been around a while, but you may have forgotten how easy and delicious they are.

Tricolore Bites

The Italian flag is red, white and green and so are these delicious morsels.

You’ll need Baby bocconcini (those little white balls which come in brine), fresh basil, cherry tomatoes and toothpicks. Slice the tomatoes and the bocconcini in half, rip a basil leaf from the bunch and slide them all onto the toothpick.

Victoria's Italian Inspired nibbles

Prosciutto and Melon

This one is best done with ripe rockmelon, so buy one a few days before you need it and let it ripen. Grab some thinly-sliced prosciutto from the deli section of your supermarket, cut it into small strips and wrap it around the chunk of rockmelon. Thread through a toothpick to keep it together and make it easier to pick up. The sweet, juicy melon and the salty ham make this a fab combo.

And to wash it all down, I’d go with a South Australian white. This one’s a Sauvignon Blanc from the Adelaide Hills. Because I am a South Aussie, after all.

Buon appetito and happy reading!

 

From one South Aussie to another, that  sounds delizioso, Victoria! And a super easy way to prepare food for when friends come calling. After all, who wants to be stranded in a hot kitchen when there’s company (and wine!) to be enjoyed.

I know it’s looked down upon by some foodies (silly people), but I adore melon and prosciutto. It’s lovely in the summer as a refreshing morsel but also as a tasty feature in a salad. And mozarella, basil and tomato is a classic that is simply too perfect to ever be criticised.

So, my bellissimo little Feasters, what super fast treat do you whip up when friends call? Maybe a simple plate of cheese and salami, or perhaps a quick dip that can be made in seconds. Or are you a kitchen goddess with a pantry full of yumptiousness and a repertoire of gourmet delights to draw on? Share away! We always love to hear your tricks and treats.

If you’d like to learn more about Victoria and her heart-warming books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter using @VictoriaPurman

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Trish Morey

29 Replies

Hello Feasters, and welcome to another fantabulous edition of Friday Feast! This week: amazing eggplants and a newly-minted rural romance author for you to look forward to.

First, news from Us Heins Weren’t To Play Golf because I know how hungry you are to hear how I fared in round 3 of the club championships. Bluntly, I was a complete embarrassment. THREE balls into the water off the tee on the first. I’m still having anxiety attacks about it. Seriously. The Author Trish Moreyastonishing thing is that I’m still running fourth in the champs but with one round to go and the leader 40 shots ahead, I’m just there to make up numbers. And hopefully not make a total nong of myself again.

But on to far more pleasant things. It’s my great delight to welcome Trish Morey to Friday Feast for the first time. Trish is not only a USA Today best-selling author, she’s also a three-time Romance Writers of Australia Ruby Award finalist and two times winner, plus a Romance Writer of America Rita finalist. In other words, this lady knows how to pen a tale!

Now she’s turned her hand to that most excellent of genres, rural romance. Trish’s first rural Stone Castles releases December 1st  but is available for pre-order now. Check it out!

STONE CASTLES

Cover of Stone Castles by Trish MoreyShe turned her back on the girl she was. He’ll show her the woman she was meant to be.

After ten years pursuing a prestigious career in New York, Pip Martin has returned to the Yorke Peninsula to farewell her dying grandmother. She doesn’t intend to linger – there are too many memories in the small country town and not all of them will stay in the past.

Like Luke Trenorden, her childhood sweetheart. A man Pip had promised her heart to, until tragedy stole Pip’s family away, and a terrible lie tore both their lives apart.

Pip cannot deny there is still a spark between them, even amidst the heartache of losing her Gran and the demands of her new life. But it may not be enough to rekindle a love that has been neglected for so long.

When a long-kept secret is revealed, Pip is free to go back to the life she thought she wanted… unless Luke can break down the stone castle Pip has built around her heart.

“I fell in love, laughed, cried… [an] emotional and page-turning read” – Rachael Johns, bestselling author of Outback Dreams.

“A story with a heart as vast as South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula ” – Karly Lane, bestselling author of North Star.

“Pacey, vibrant, sexy … and touching. Stone Castles is the perfect package.” – Barbara Hannay, bestselling author of Zoe’s Muster.

Have a listen to that praise! This is one book you won’t want to miss and it’s available for pre-order from Booktopia, Bookworld, Angus & Robertson, QBD The BookshopKobo, Amazon, iBooks, Google PlayJB Hi-Fi or your favourite local bookshop or ebook retailer. Go on. You know you want this!

Now get the napkins ready because Trish has a recipe to make you drool.

A few of my favourite things

Eggplants and garlic and fat red tomatoes…

Ingredients for Antipasto di MelanzaneIf that’s not a line from Julie Andrews singing about her favourite things in The Sound of Music, it should have been. They’re certainly some of my favourite things, and when I spotted eggplants (or aubergines or melanzane) in the greengrocer yesterday for only $3.99/kilo, it was a case of be still my heart.

Eggplants are just amazing. You can stuff them with spicy mince, cook them up with other veg in a colourful and delicious ratatouille, use them in a base for a delish moussaka, roast them in an oven or over flame and make the gorgeous smoky dip, baba ghanoush. And that’s just the start. Is that not the definition of versatility?

Today I’m sharing an easy and so yummy appetizer, that goes way further than any appetizer has gone before (seriously, this dish deserves hyperbole and lame Star Trek references). And if you don’t like eggplants, maybe it’s because you’re just not doing them the right way. It’s fabulous on crusty Italian bread, awesome with the old family favourite zucchini slice, and it’s amazing the morning after with poached eggs.

Here’s the recipe, from the Women’s Weekly Italian Cooking Class Cookbook of whatever year that cookbooks only cost $4.98. Seriously, $4.98. It was a bargain then and if WW thought to reprint it, I’d buy a truckload for my four daughters and all their friends at whatever price. It is my go-to cookbook and is stained and falling out of its staples but it is sooo good. (Sorry, more hyperbole, but you get the picture…)

So here goes.

Eggplant Appetizer – or Antipasto di Melanzane

2 large eggplant

1 cup oil (I tend to use whatever I need, and drizzle it on as I go, so go with your gut on this one)

3 ripe tomatoes (substitute a tin of diced tomatoes for the fresh, paste and water if you need)

1 tblspn tomato paste

1/2 cup water

salt (if you use – I don’t) and pepper (the good black grinder stuff)

Cut eggplants into 0.5 to 1 cm x 6 cm slices. Heat oil and fry in batches for 5 minutes (or until gorgeously soft and brown. If you add your oil to the pan bit by bit like I do, rather than as a cup upfront, the eggplant will suck it up and you’ll know when it’s had enough because it will let it out again.) Drain on paper towel.

When eggplant batches are done, a little oil more, if there’s none left in the pan, and into that goes the chopped garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste and water. Simmer this for ten minutes or so until thick and gorgeous. Pop back the eggplant and combine and simmer a few more.

Season with pepper (and salt if you want) and voila, behold!

completed Antipasto di MelanzaneNow I did make double, because it is so good and it is so popular here in Chez Morey, so don’t be disappointed if yours looks like less. I don’t know how you could be though, because it’s so good.

To make it better – use ripe fresh tomatoes. Tinned are fine and it’s always fabulous, but fresh – mmmmh, it tastes like summer.

Likewise the oil. Extra virgin olive oil and make it local if you can. I use a local Adelaide Hills Bald Hills variety now that is so good, but for years I used Moro in the big tins and still loved it.

For a low(er) fat version, spray your eggplant slivers with oil and bake in the oven until soft. It’s not quite the same but it will save you a truckload of calories if that’s what you’re counting, but use more tomatoes or another tin, as the eggplant will draw up that extra juice.

There are no rules with this kind of recipe. Just make it with what you’ve got and to suit yourself and enjoy!

So do you have a special way with eggplant? Or maybe tomatoes if eggplant isn’t your thing? Or maybe garlic if neither eggplant nor tomatoes is not your thing. Though while you’re still reading, I don’t know 🙂

Enjoy!

Trish x

Great recipe, Trish! Eggplant is such a delicious veg. I just adore how it takes on that amazing smoky flavour when you grill it. By the way, I have that AWW cookbook too and agree that it’s a cracker.

Besides caviar d’aubergine, my favourite way to use eggplant is in moussaka. Grilling the slices on the barbecue beforehand gives the dish extra oomph. Having said that, one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten involved stuffed eggplant. Sigh. I still remember that day…

So come along, clever Feasty people. What’s your favourite way to use Mediterranean veg like eggplant, tomatoes and garlic? Or perhaps you have a secret way with zucchini or celeriac?  Share and help us prepare for summer!

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