Greetings my book and food loving lovelies, and welcome to another bright and shiny edition of Friday Feast. This week we’re playing host to one of Australia’s most popular rural authors, revealing her stunning new novel, and setting your mouth a-watering with a comforting lamb shank recipe.
But first, the horror story that continues to be Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. Sliding backwards, folks. Backwards, fast and red-faced and silently screaming. I laughed at the end of my round last week but that only to stop myself from crying. I played so terribly that my nett score was worse than what my gross score should have been had I played anywhere near my handicap. In non-golfing terms, I was poo. Oh, well. Dare I say it again? The only way is up!
And so we go upwards and onwards to this week’s Friday Feast guest, Fleur McDonald.
I’m sure Fleur needs little introduction. Since her debut novel Red Dust boomed on the Australian literary landscape her books have been best-sellers and Fleur has earned a special place in many reader’s hearts. With stories that reflect and celebrate our Australian heartland and farmers, Fleur has indeed become the “Voice of the Outback”.
Fleur’s latest novel is Emerald Springs. Check it out.
After finishing university, Amelia Bennett returns to her home town. Determined to lose her old reputation for being scatty, she works hard to prove herself as the treasurer of the local rodeo committee.
Flushed with triumph on the evening of the best rodeo in the town’s history, Amelia is driving the bags of cash into town when she becomes the victim of a terrifying smash and grab. Injured and distraught after her ordeal, she’s even more devastated when she finds out that she and her boyfriend Paul are the objects of suspicion.
To prove her innocence and that of the man she loves, Amelia must convince a sceptical detective that her account of what happened does add up and that he must help her track down the real culprits . . .
With its cracker plot, feisty heroine and engaging love story, Emerald Springs will have you reading well into the night.
Doesn’t that sound a page turner? And you know being from Fleur the story will have real authenticity. Emerald Springs is published by Allen & Unwin and on sale now. But you can buy right this moment with just a few clickety-clicks from Booktopia, Bookworld, Angus & Roberston, Dymocks, Boomerang Books, QBD the Bookshop, or your favourite independent book retailer or chainstore. Also try Amazon.au, iBooks, Google Play, Kobo and JB Hi-Fi.
All loaded up? Time to get comfortable with Fleur.
Cathryn, thanks so much for having me on. I often read your Friday Feast blog and mouth is usually watering by the end of it all!
I have to admit I come from a family don’t really enjoy cooking or the finer details of food, so I think it surprised everyone when I announced my love of cooking (and certainly eating!)
My mum is a standard chops and three veg type lady, where as I love to experiment and play around. I love it even more when my partner helps me in the kitchen. Garry tends to be my sous chef. We really enjoy mucking around while we’re cooking and of course we always cook dinner with a glass of wine or a beer in hand.
I’m going to share one of my hearty winter recipes that kids love, today. Esperance has been experiencing a bit of winter in the last week, so I’ve started to drag out the old favourites.
Also I’ve got to admit, this is the time of year I really love writing and brain food is needed. When writing Emerald Springs, I spent a lot of time sitting next to the wood fire, which has a grill on top of it and cooking on it. Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks was cooked more than once, on top of the fire (which I know goes against the recipe but it still works – and isn’t that the best thing about cooking? The trial and error part!).
So here you go…
Slow-Cooked Lamb Shanks
1 cup of plain flour
8 large French-trimmed lamb shanks
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 large onions
2 cloves of garlic
2 cups of beef stock
¾ of red wine (and I give you permission to drink the rest of the bottle!)
1/3 cup of maple syrup
2 tablespoons of corn flour
2 tablespoons of cold water.
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Coat the lamb shanks with flour and cook in bathes on the stove until browned, then pop them into a large roasting pan.
- Add onions and garlic to the saucepan and cook until soft, then add stock, wine and maple syrup, stirring to combine. Then pour over shanks. Before roasting for about an hour, covered.
I love serving this with mashed potato (with grated onion in it) and steamed cabbage. Now not just any steamed cabbage. If you fry up a bit of bacon and add some Worcestershire sauce, before putting the cabbage in, it changes the whole idea of steamed cabbage!
You’re a woman after my own heart, Fleur! Lamb shanks are a huge favourite in our house, especially in the winter months. They’re wonderfully comforting. I love the addition of maple syrup to yours. I can imagine that adds even more sticky lusciousness to the final dish. Will definitely have to test this out. And I particularly adore your cabbage tip. That’s a good one!
So, my cuddly little Feasties, running with Fleur’s tip, what’s yours for brightening up a plain veg?
Do you add balsamic and bacon to your Brussels sprouts (learned that one from Helene Young) or perhaps sprinkle your asparagus with butter and toasted flaked almonds? Maybe you jazz your carrots up with a drizzle of honey?
I’m a firm believer in cheese sauce on cauliflower. That is heaven. Pure, mouth-watering heaven. Sigh. Want some now.
Enough of my drooling. Let’s get sharing our vege brightening tips and make each others’ days!