Tag Archives: Louise Reynolds

FRIDAY FEAST with Louise Reynolds

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Hello food and fiction lovers, and welcome to another aromatic edition of Friday Feast. This week: a charming contemporary romance from a favourite Australian author along with some delicious figgy goodness.

But first, news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. Despite occasional lapses of concentration and some appalling putting, I’m actually rather pleased with how my game’s Author Louise Reynoldsimproving at the moment. The winter golfing blues appear to have been well and truly cleared away. An enormous relief, let me tell you, because with the club championships now in progress, four weeks of horror play would have been too awful to contemplate.

What IS wonderful to contemplate, however, is today’s guest. Louise Reynolds has fast become a very popular contemporary romance author, with good reason. Her books have great dialogue, fantastic settings, memorable characters, and lots and lots of romance. Perfect. Oh, and beautiful covers too. So beautiful that her previous novel, Red Dirt Duchess, was announced best rural romance cover at the recent Romance Writers of Australia conference. Fair enough too. That one’s a stunner.

Louise’s brand new release is If I Kissed You. Prepare to be charmed!

IF I KISSED YOU

Cover of If I Kissed You by Louise ReynoldsRaised by a pair of hopeless hippies, Nell Connor had to grow up quickly. But now her father, awash in whisky, has handed her the reins of his Irish pub. After obliterating every trace of Ireland, Nell has transformed it into a smart, and trendy bar. Business is booming but, outside of work, things aren’t going so smoothly.

When gorgeous musician Declan Gaffney arrives, it’s clear he’s definitely not Nell’s type.  He’s Irish (therefore must be feckless and unreliable), he sings romantic Irish ballads (which Nell hates) and his nomadic lifestyle reminds her of some of the most painful parts of her childhood.

After Declan helps Nell out of a tricky situation, her father takes a shine to him and starts matchmaking. And when her aura-reading mother turns up, Nell’s carefully ordered life is thrown into chaos. She’s losing control but the biggest shock of all is yet to come … 

In a story that shines a light on the unusual forms family can take, Nell must accept that sometimes love takes you in unexpected directions.

Doesn’t that sound enticing? Hard to resist an Irish hero. If I Kissed You is available right now from Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, and Booktopia. Grab your copy today!

Now please welcome Louise, who is going to delight you with one of the world’s most beautiful fruits.

Two Simple Ingredients

Thanks for hosting me again on Friday Feast, Cathryn. As you know I’m a keen reader of your blog. What better entertainment than books and food, with a side helping of the Hein’s golfing triumphs and tribulations.

Fig, Prosciutto, MintBut, you know, I’m a little bit peeved. Recently you hosted Amy Andrews with her smarty-pants throw-it-together-no-cooking-needed recipes and her two-ingredient crockpot soup, all of which look wonderful for next to no effort and the blurb for her Gazillionth fabulous book!

I was ogling that soup when the penny finally dropped. This is why the woman is a writing powerhouse. She spends next to no time in the kitchen. While I’m boning rabbits and scouring Melbourne for the freshest burrata, I’m not banging out the words. I’m a kitchen goddess, not a writing machine, Nigella not Nora (oh, why can’t I be both?).

So I’ve taken a leaf out of Amy’s book. No more elaborate Friday Feast recipes from me. Today, in the spirit of friendly competition, I offer a two-ingredient recipe of my own (two because everyone has mint in the garden, right?). It’s my throw-it-together, no cooking needed appetiser and it’s a crowd pleaser.

It’s the sort of dish my heroine, Nell, in If I Kissed You, would prepare for herself and friends on a night off from the Fitzrovia, her fashionable St Kilda hotel. She might have a two-hatted chef in the kitchen at work but what girl doesn’t want to pare it back to basics, kick off her heels, open a good bottle of wine and serve a simple meal she hasn’t slaved over?

But stop! I’m me. Because that fictional chef downstairs at the Fitzrovia needs a job, and because I just can’t help myself, I’m going to add value to those ingredients with the addition of two simple ingredients, lemon and cream.

So here’s that recipe, two ways.

Nell’s Fresh Figs and Prosciutto

Fig, Prosciutto, Mint

Quarter lusciously ripe figs and lay in a tumble on a plate. Twist curls of prosciutto by the side. Garnish with tiny mint leaves. That’s it.

Fitzrovia’s Fresh Figs and Prosciutto with a Minted Cream Sauce (with thanks to Richard Olney)

Crush 6 mint leaves in the juice of 1 lemon and leave for 30 mins. Discard the mint. Dissolve a pinch of salt in the juice then stir in ¼ cup of thick heavy cream and whisk till smooth. Drizzle around the dish as above and garnish with additional mint leaves.

*

Oh, Louise, you’re a woman after my own heart. I adore figs. They’re so succulent and gorgeous and versatile, as you’ve shown. I have to say I love the minted cream sauce idea. Definitely one to try.

So Feasty lovelies, how do you like to use or show off fresh fruit like figs? I know it’s a bit naff but I really enjoy melon and prosciutto. They just seem to team so well. Grapes in salads are yum too, like little bursts of sweetness. As for desserts, sour cherry strudel, anyone?

So what’s your favourite way with fruit? Sweet or savoury, we’d love to hear.

If you’d like to learn more about Louise and her wonderful books, please visit her website. You can also connect on Facebook, Twitter using @LouiseHReynolds, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Friday Feast recipe index link.

FRIDAY FEAST with Louise Reynolds

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Welcome, welcome to another truly splendiferous Friday Feast. This week: get down and dusty with a duchess, cop these pears, and a rural romance giveaway!

But first, news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. Despite a rather lacklustre performance last weekend in round two of the club championships, I’m still running fourth. A great surprise, believe me. But with two rounds still to play and TWENTY-FIVE strokes to make up before I even come close to the leader, there’s not much chance of a podium finish. Still, in the world of golf anything could happen. The Great Golfing God may shine on me, the leader might get the yips, and pigs might fly. Stay tuned for a miracle. Or not.Author Louise Reynolds

I’m thrilled to host contemporary romance author Louise Reynolds this week because not only is she a truly lovely lady who writes wonderful rural stories, she’s also a dedicated foodie. The best of people! Louise’s previous novel Outback Bride was a delight, the story stretching between Melbourne and dusty Jindaburra and featuring a lizard race and even a pony. With her new release, Red Dirt Duchess, she’s gone even further afield, mixing English society with the red soil of outback Australia.

Check it out…

RED DIRT DUCHESS

Cover of Red Dirt Duchess by Louise ReynoldsWhen English society playboy Jonathan Hartley-Huntley is sent to outback Australia after a disastrous affair with his editor, all he wants is to take a few pictures, do a quick interview and get back to his usual life of luxury as soon as possible. Until he meets his host, the irresistible Charlie Hughes, and suddenly the back of beyond is a lot more appealing.

Running the pub is a labour of love for Charlie and she has no desire to ever leave the tiny town of Bindundilly. That is, until Jon discovers an old painting that raises questions about both their lives. Charlie impulsively decides to follow him to London, and as the feelings between them begin to deepen, she starts to wonder if there’s more to life than the pub. But at Jon’s family home, the magnificent Hartley Hall, they become acutely aware of the differences between them, and it soon seems clear they have no future together – especially if Jon’s mother has her way.

Family and tradition threaten the course of true love in this warm and witty novel from the author of Outback Bride and Her Italian Aristocrat.

Doesn’t that sound fun? Red Dirt Duchess is available right now from Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi, direct from the publisher Destiny Romance, or your favourite ebook retailer.

Now that you’re loaded up with some great Aussie reading, help yourself to the deliciousness that is Louise!

A Fine Pear!

Thanks for having me back on Friday Feast, Cathryn!

One of my favourite things to cook with is pears. This humble, cheap ingredient is incredibly versatile. It turns up in numerous salads, sits proudly on a cheeseboard and has a natural sweetness that works well with so many things from walnuts to pork and duck.

Pears also have a porous flesh which takes up colour beautifully. For many years one of my go to winter desserts has been Marcella Hazan’s Pears Braised in Red Wine and Bay Leaves, where long cooking results in deep ruby coloured pears and a dense delicious syrup. More lately, I’ve been making Saffron Pears.

I could riff endlessly on this recipe. A little amaretti biscuit on the side and a splash of amaretto on the pear at serving time gives it an Italian edge. Strew some pomegranate seeds around the dish and it’s suddenly a vibrant Middle Eastern feast for the eyes. A pool of Crème Anglaise drags it firmly back towards the English Channel.

It’s dead easy and very delicious. If you use good quality saffron your pears will be the colour of a Buddhist’s robes.

Marieke’s Saffron Pears

(recipe Marieke Brugman via Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion).

Saffron Poached PearsIngredients:

6 firm Beurre Bosc pears with stalk attached.

2 cups white wine

2 cups water

2 cups sugar

1 vanilla bean

½ teaspoon saffron threads

Chopped green pistachios

Method:

Dissolve sugar in the water and wine over med heat. Add vanilla bean.

Saffron Pears CookingPeel the pears leaving stalk attached and cut a slice off the bottom so they will sit upright when serving. Add pears to the syrup with the saffron.

Cook at a bare murmur for about one and a half hours. The saffron will give off its colour and aroma and gradually turn the pears a stunning saffron gold. Turn them over every so often as they bob around in the syrup. Cool in the syrup.

 

Oh, I ADORE poached pears, Louise, so this sounds perfect. Simple to prepare and glamorous on the plate too. Now there’s a dessert to impress cook and guests alike.

Now, my darling Feasties, because Louise is so lovely and wants to spread her warm Australian stories far and wide, she’s offering a…

GIVEAWAY!

Yes, you could win yourself a Kindle ebook copy of Red Dirt Duchess, just by answering a super simple question.

What is your favourite fruit recipe?

Could it be another simple dessert like stewed prunes or a humble apple crumble? Perhaps it’s a recipe for mango fool or a traditional cherry clafoutis. Whatever your favourite, share in the comments and we’ll pop you into the draw to win a Kindle ebook copy of Red Dirt Duchess.

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 28th October 2014. Open internationally. Rah!

If you’d like to learn more about Louise and her wonderful books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Twitter using @LouiseHReynolds, Facebook and her blog (which also features fab foodie series, Cooking the Books).

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Cath who has won a Kindle copy of Red Dirt Duchess. What a ball she’s going to have with that! Thanks so much to everyone who joined in the Feasty fun. You all made me so hungry!!

Not rising, soaring!

My Australian Women Writers

Challenge Update

 

Oh, I underestimated myself bigtime! Back in mid-February when I signed up for the Australian Women Writers Challenge I was obviously feeling delusional. awwbadge_2013I should have known from my past reading how often I choose books by women writers and, more importantly, by Australian women writers.

My AWWC goal was to read 10 books. Last update I stated that I was rising to the challenge but was yet to reach that target. It turned out that wasn’t quite true. If I’d counted Hannah Richell’s The Secrets of the Tides I would have hit the big 10. Phht. Who’s quibbling? Not me, that’s for sure, because not only have I now absolutely reached my goal, I’ve given it a good spanking!

Here is what I’ve read since that June 19th update:

Six of them are by authors I’ve never read before. Sarah Mayberry’s two Favourite books were completely delicious. Outback Bride was gorgeous, with a sweet pony and a lizard race for extra fun. The Yearning had some stunning writing as did The Light Between Oceans, although with very different styles. The Mistake was a fascinating look at rural society, while Gather the Bones was simply an amazing story that I think everyone should read.

That’s TEN books by Australian Women Writers since my last update, which makes it TWENTY for the year, and with a quick glance at my to-be-read bookshelf there are plenty more to come.

So, seeing as it’s only September, can I challenge myself to read another ten books by Australian women authors by the end of the year?

I think I can!

If you’d like to know more about the AWWC, check out the website. You can also follow and contribute to discussions on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads.

Sinking my teeth into more great reading!

Sinking my teeth into more great reading!

Mark your diaries!

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I’m really looking forward to this evening. Expect a lot of insight and many laughs. Kylie Griffin (author of the amazing Light Blade fantasy romance series) and Karly Lane (Bridies Choice, Morgan’s Law, Burnt and other awesome Australian-set stories) are lovely people as well as being fantastic authors, and I think we’ll have a fine time. So will you!

In other news…

I’m Cooking the Books with Australian romance author Louise Reynolds. Come on over for a slice of delicious date and walnut loaf, a snippet from Heartland and more!

Heartland has scored another wonderful review, this time from Lauren Murphy at The Australian Bookshelf.

Heartland is the kind of book that draws you in and makes you not want to put it down and if you do, then the characters will haunt you until you pick it up again. Hein knows how to create characters with depth in communities that come alive on the page. This one’s definitely a keep among my rural lit shelves.”

 

Tomorrow I’ll be here again with Friday Feast, revealing some secrets from my week with Hugh (ahh, I see your mind boggling already).  I’ll also be over on Alissa Callen’s blog answering 10 Teaser Questions.

And in case you missed my non-stop squeaking elsewhere, yesterday I discovered that my rural romance Heart of the Valley hit number one on Google Play’s paid ebook store. And it’s still there this morning. Good thing no one was here to video me doing the muppet-flail when I saw that. Could’ve have been rather embarrassing!

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Louise Reynolds

Feeling a bit puffed up and pleased here on Friday Feast this week. A huge crop of talented debut Australian authors is hitting the reading market and many of them are booked in for Friday Feast sessions. Wonderful authors with even more wonderful books, and an overload of food and travel fun – what a year 2013 is going to be!LReynolds1012_0059

Today I’m delighted to introduce contemporary romance author Louise Reynolds, and not just because I know she’s a dedicated foodie who knows all the best providores in Melbourne. No, this talented lady also writes rich romances about modern women finding love with their perfect hero. And she’s a lovely person too. In other words, the total package!

Louise’s debut release is Her Italian Aristocrat, and who doesn’t want one of those!

 

HER ITALIAN ARISTOCRAT

 

Her Italian Aristocrat coverOn a mission to buy a prestigious shoe company, Australian career girl, Gemma Parkinson, arrives in Italy determined to succeed. But when she falls ill, effortlessly handsome local aristocrat, Luca Andretti, is on hand. Suspicious about Gemma’s presence in his town, he offers to let her recuperate in his amazing palazzo. Surrounded by the lavish trappings of the rich – servants, designer clothes, fine food and wine – Gemma is completely out of her depth.

Intent on saving the town’s local industry, Brunelli Shoes, from foreign take-over, Luca throws every obstacle he can in Gemma’s path. Headstrong, savvy and equally determined to successfully wrestle the company away from him, Gemma fights Luca all the way.

But Luca’s life of privilege masks a private world of pain and Gemma has demons of her own. As they come to understand one another, their growing attraction starts getting in the way.

This moving love story involving two people from very different backgrounds is a delightful, contemporary romance in a gorgeous Italian setting.  

 

Ahh, I was sold at the name Luca. So strong, so sexy, so dreamy. Sigh. A little clickety-clicking and Luca could be all yours. Buy the ebook direct from the publisher, Destiny Romance, or from iTunes, Amazon Kindle, Kobo or Google Play.

And so we travel from glamorous Italy to the far, far more glam 🙂 Australian outback, where Louise’s next novel is set. Enjoy!

 

My Outback Kitchen Rules

 

Thanks for having me on Friday Feasts, Cathryn. Today I’m taking a break from my imaginary world of aristocrats and glamorous Lou Outbackjpeg006 (2)living and sharing my love of the Outback.

Just because we’re sleeping on the ground, digging our own toilet and spending most of the day walking around in our underwear, my nearest and dearest and I have never seen the need to compromise on food when we’re bush camping. The thought of dehydrated or canned food (unless it’s the very excellent Watties baked beans) revolts me. And don’t start me on people who pre-cook, cryovac and label every meal and pack them in sterile conditions in the camping fridge or freezer in the precise order they’re going to eat them. (‘Oh look, dear, it’s Tuesday so we must be having the mango chicken and rice’).

I have a perfectly lovely kitchen at home but when ‘outback’ I come over all pioneer woman; gathering fuel and sorting timber into kindling and logs so the RIMG0947heat can be adjusted throughout cooking. And I want to cook by gaslight. No sensible cooking in broad daylight for us. It’s not nearly as much fun if you can’t peer at the chopping board and wonder is it mushroom or is it moth?

You will never have more time and leisure to prepare a meal than you have on a holiday like this. If you’ve travelled through the Mallee, it’s likely you’ve visited a local butcher and bought some local saltbush lamb and country bacon, thick cut and with plenty of oink. You’ll have t-bone steaks with a thick layer of creamy fat just begging to be barbecued over coals and served with slightly ashy jacket potatoes and salad.

I’ve just finished a book set in the outback so I decided to share two of my favourite meals.

 

Darling River French Toast

with Bacon and Maple Syrup

Throw a handful of twigs onto the smouldering ashes of last night’s fire. When the flame appears load heavier kindling on top and place the kettle next to it. Feed more wood on the fire and when the kettle boils make a cup of tea. Sit back, relax and look at birds.

RIMG0513Put some clothes on.

When the fire has settled down, place the hotplate over it. Scrape off the remains of last night’s barbecue and pour on some water so it spits and hisses. Drizzle on a little oil and fling some bacon rashers onto the hotplate. Pour another cup of tea. As the bacon cooks, make a huge fuss of turning it using an old fork with a bent tine.

Crack two eggs into a battered enamel dish and chuck the shells on the fire. Whisk with the fork and add a little milk. Soak the bread slices in the egg mix and slap onto the hotplate next to the bacon. Make them nice and brown and crispy.

When ready, serve with liberal amounts of maple syrup and a can of aeroguard.

 

Back o’ Bourke Beef Stew

Cut good quality oyster blade steak into large cubes, dredge in flour and brown in a camp oven.RIMG0673 Remove. Add sliced onions and brown. Add sliced kidneys (that’s kidneys, not echidna) and pour in a bottle of beer. Mix well, season and cover. Hang on a tripod over coals and cook for 2 hours. Half an hour before serving throw in mushrooms. Serve with potatoes mashed with plenty of butter and milk.

 

Oh, Louise, you made me laugh with this. LOVE the style of your camping!

Now, Feasters, when you’ve stopped laughing and drooling, have a ponder about this: Where’s the most unusual place you’ve prepared a meal? Think hard, because your answer could earn your very own Luca. Yes, my feasty lovelies, Louise is generously offering one commenter a Kindle copy of Her Italian Aristocrat, so prime your typing fingers and get to it.

Giveaway closes midnight AEST, Tuesday 12th February 2013. Open internationally. Just in time for Valentine’s Day!

If you’d like to learn more about Louise and her novels, please visit her website. You can also connect via her blog and Facebook.

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Bec who has won herself Luca! (Well, a kindle copy of Her Italian Aristocrat with lovely Luca burning up the pages, which is close enough)