Tag Archives: Medical Romance

FRIDAY FEAST with Nicki Edwards

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Hello, Feasty Lovelies, and welcome to another slurpalicious edition of Friday Feast. This week: the Thermie cult snags another member, a quiche to make your mouth water, and a rural romance giveaway. Seriously, we have it all.

But first, all the drama from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. Exciting news! Last Sunday I was asked to fill in for our ladies pennant team – think club representative golf and that’s kinda what playing pennants is – and not wanting our girls to have to forfeit a match, agreed to have a go. Oh. My. God. I can’t remember when I had a more stressful round of golf. The pressure! Made worse because the lady I was playing against was a gun, with a much lower handicap than me. But despite trailing almost the entire round, come the 16th I rallied and won the hole, then I won the next, which put us tied on the 18th tee. After smacking my drive long and far up the middle of the fairway then hitting a not bad second just off the green, in a fairy tale ending I won. Whoop! Sadly our girls lost the day but we remain in pretty good stead in the overall competition in equal first. Honestly, I don’t know how the ladies do it every week. It was bloody stressful!

Author Nicki EdwardsSpeaking of stress, we book lovers know that the best way to wind down after a tough day is with a heart-warming read and my guest this week is a lady who delivers just that. Geelong girl, critical care nurse and romance author Nicki Edwards’s first release Intensive Care was enthusiastically received by reviewers and readers, as has been her second, Emergency Response, which hit shelves last week. Not least because Nicki’s rural-set medical romances reflect her love of country life and small towns, and teem with authenticity.

Check out Emergency Response. You’ll love it.

EMERGENCY RESPONSE

Emergency Response by Nicki EdwardsRunning away didn’t solve anything … at least, not the first time.

Intensive care nurse Mackenzie Jones is no stranger to running. As a teenager she fled her family home leaving tragedy and loss in her wake. Now, after fifteen years alone in Sydney, with the strain of working in a city hospital wearing her thin, she’s tempted to run again.

Mackenzie jumps at the chance to work in a mining town in the West Australian desert – anything to lift her spirits. Though she barely dares to hope, she wonders if she might find the kind of love that can ease her loneliness.

In the outback, Nathan Kennedy is at a loose end. He’s been making money in the mines for years, and pressure from his family to return to the east coast, settle down and get married is reaching fever pitch. The problem is, he hasn’t met the right woman.

When Mackenzie turns up in town, there’s an instant attraction between her and Nathan, maybe even true love. But tragedy’s not done with Mackenzie Jones – the past is about to catch up with her in more ways than one.

Can Nathan convince Mackenzie to stop running, or is this just another tragedy in the making?

Emergency Response is a heart-warming read that you should buy right now. Try Amazon.com, Amazon.au, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, Booktopia or your favourite book retailer.

Now come join the newly converted Nicki!

My New Love (I Joined A Cult)

Thanks so much Cathryn for having me on Friday Feast again.

Last time I admitted to readers that I have a little secret – I despise cooking which made it ironic that I was writing a cooking related blog post! I also admitted I didn’t even own a recipe book, which shocked a few people.

But I’m here to announce all that has changed in the last two months!

I am now the proud owner of a thermomix.

Yes, I have joined the ‘thermie’ cult and I’m a cooking convert!

Over the past few weeks I’ve made all the usual thermie staples – sorbet, hummus dip, risotto, soup – and I’ve been brave enough to try ice cream, fried rice, bolognaise sauce and beef stroganoff. I’ve also made my own peanut butter, raspberry jam, egg mayonnaise and Caesar salad dressing. I know, I’m impressed with myself too!

But I have to tell you about the bread. O.M.G. The bread. I’m talking better-than-Baker’s Delight white bread. It’s just perfect with the home made jam! Close your eyes for a moment and inhale deeply. Can you smell that just-out-of-the-oven fresh bread? MmmHmmm.

Nicki's Bread

As part of the full thermie experience with Trixie (yes, I named my Thermomix), we invited friends for dinner and I made almost everything from scratch in the thermomix. But before you get the idea that owning a thermomix has totally transformed me from cooking hater to cooking lover, let me set the record straight. The thermomix is awesome, but it doesn’t do the cooking for me. Neither does it clean up after itself! Apparently, that’s still my job.

Nicki's Thermie in the kitchen

Anyway, this post is not just about my thermomix. Today I want to share a scrumptious secret recipe with you – one of the very few recipes I own that’s hand written on a piece of paper. I remember tasting this quiche about 25 years ago and once I had the recipe, I’ve never used another one for quiche. I figure if I can actually master something, there’s no point messing up perfection! And this quiche is perfection. You’ll be emailing me and thanking me, I promise.

Nicki's Quiche

This is what it looks like before you put it into the oven. I don’t have an “after” photo because trust me, you’ll want to be eating it straight off the screen.

It’s perfect served hot with a salad, or cold the next day (but we never have leftovers!)

Nicki’s Quiche

4 rashes of short cut bacon or 4 bacon rashes, diced

2 spring onions, chopped

¾ cup grated tasty cheese (light is fine)

4 eggs

1tblsp plain flour

¼ tsp dried thyme

1 ½ cup milk (light or full cream)

½ cup cream (light or full cream)

1 large tomato, sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Whisk or beat eggs with flour, cream, milk, thyme, salt and pepper. Saute bacon. Line quiche dish with shortcrust pastry (Feel free to be clever and make your own – I buy the frozen stuff!). Place bacon, cheese and spring onions on top of shortcrust pastry. Pour egg/milk mixture over this. Carefully place sliced tomato on top. Bake for 45-55 minutes at 190C.

For a chance to win a copy of “Emergency Response”, share your recipe — the one you never mess with (or share your favourite quiche recipe).

*

Jeez, that Thermie cult is rampant. It’s already taken my buddy Rachael Johns and now it’s claiming more authors. Mind you, I can see the benefits. A gadget that takes all the  work out of stirring risotto has to have status, and I did taste an amaaaaazing sorbet at the Thermie demonstration I attended. For busy people with families, or for those who don’t enjoy cooking, I bet a Thermie is a life saver, and if you love kitchen gadgets – and who doesn’t? – this would be a must. I mightn’t be quite prepared to fork out for one, but if someone offered me a Thermie as a present I sure wouldn’t knock it back!

Nor would I knock back a slice of your quiche, Nicki. It looks lovely. Bacon, cheese, eggs… you can’t go wrong.

Now, food and book lovers, you heard our generous guest, we have a…

GIVEAWAY!

To be in the giveaway draw for an ebook copy of Emergency Response, simply share the recipe or dish that you never, ever mess with. Or, if you prefer, your favourite quiche recipe.

The recipe I never mess with is an Asian noodle dish made with pork, thick rice noodles and chilli bean paste. Oh, I LOVE that recipe. It’s spicy and fast, delicious and, with all the veg I chuck in, nutritious. The perfect weeknight meal. In fact, I made it Monday just gone.

So what’s the dish you never mess with? Share and you’ll be in the draw to win Nicki’s brand new release, Emergency Response.

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 3rd November, 2015. Ebook only. Open internationally.

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

Friday Feast recipe index link.

FRIDAY FEAST with Fiona McArthur

Feeling pretty chuffed this week. My beloved Sydney Swans are still perched very nicely near the top of the AFL ladder, my book is finished (at least until edits come), and I’m playing decent golf for a change, but I’m also super thrilled to introduce a new Friday Feast guest, lovely Australian author Fiona McArthur.

Fiona’s a country midwife who knows all about babies, which is why she writes gorgeous Medical Romances for Harlequin Mills & Boon. And they’re popular. Like over two million copies worldwide style popular. Yup, this is a lady who knows her stuff!

Fiona’s next release is Two Tiny Heartbeats (isn’t that a beautiful title?) and it sounds wonderful. Check it out.

 

TWO TINY HEARTBEATS

 

Two Tiny Heartbeats by Fiona McArthurGold Coast City Hospital

First-day baby bombshell!

Discovering she’s pregnant—with twins!—is not how midwife Lucy Palmer imagined her first day in her new job. Worse is that it took her gorgeous new colleague Nikolai Kefes to suggest a pregnancy test and scan. As they watch those tiny heartbeats on the monitor, Lucy knows instantly that her two little babies are the only things she can focus on. And that her highly inconvenient attraction to the hunky Greek obstetrician—with his legendary reputation for short, sweet, emotionally unavailable relationships—definitely has to be ignored…!

 

Doesn’t that sound fun? I bet it’s gorgeous. Keep your eye out for the release of Two Tiny Heartbeats in October. In the meantime, Fiona has many other novels to warm your heart.

Speaking of warming hearts, try this fantastic post on for size!

 

Train Journeys and Falling In Love With Them

 

Thank you Cathryn, for asking me to join you on your Friday Feast. Not known for my culinary skills but I do like eating so thought I’d share a food journey with a difference.

Early start at the station on the Spirit of the Outback trainFancy a Trip on the Spirit Of the Outback? Longreach to Brisbane. Ever wondered about the cost, the time it takes, the sleepers and the meals?

You have to love being a writer because research trips are definitely perks of the trade. Not often I can drag my husband on trips so we went the whole hog. I thought it was worth saving up for, sleeper class, which included all meals in the Tuckerbox Dining car, and we put the car on the train (ours was the only one on there – it looked so cute) and it meant I could be back at work a day earlier if we drove home from Brisbane – so more time out west. Vote one. Queensland Rail. Seriously. They do it right.Fiona's car on the train

This was the final stage of our recent ten day trip around the amazing red earth of western Queensland, an absolute joy, and more of that coming on my new webpage soon, and a whole lot more in my next book, but I know Cathryn loves to hear about something in the food department.

The good thing is you can’t talk about the Spirit Of The Outback without talking about the meals. A skillful chef, a huge kitchen and a unique and fabulous setting makes the cuisine as tasty and elegant as any restaurant. But in the beginning…

Longreach station

Longreach at sunrise is a little chilly in June while the excitement of looking for your carriage makes up for it. When you leave Longreach, you’ve got half an hour to settle in and admire the glorious colours of those first Fiona enjoying the view on the Spirit of the Outbackgolden rays on the plains and the contents of your little hessian comfort bags – sigh for the days airlines used to give you half what was in these little packs – with eye masks, washers, organic lip balm, plus the usual’s. I love stuff like this as my friends will laughingly tell you. Sniff. Anyway, the views are magic as you peer out the windows, and wave at the traffic when we run alongside the road.

Then your delightful hostess, in our case, Raylene of the endless goodwill – will encourage you to make your way to the dining car and take a seat at the beautifully set alcoves complete with white linen tablecloths, wildflowers and silverware, and best of all, lovely big windows that showcase the reds, browns and orange of outback Queensland.  Truly we are blessed by our beautiful country. Especially arid and sparse it takes my breath away.Fiona's husband Ian at the table

But back to food. Breakfast was all hubby could wish for, (because I had fruit and water – NOT!)  crisp bacon, soft eggs, buttery mushrooms and sausage, grilled tomato, fresh juice and hot, freshly brewed coffee. Groan. And no gym to work it off, still, probably wouldn’t have used it if they had one. But leisurely, and fun.

Then it’s back to your private cabin or into the spacious lounge car. Next time, I’d spend more time in the lounge car because a carriage full of windows give the best view of the surrounding countryside and it’s too easy to stay comfortably antisocial in your own little lounge cabin although the windows are lovely there too.The Tree of Knowledge

Rattle, rattle, rattle for a couple of hours and then a leisurely meander off at Barcaldine to admire the cleverly created replacement Tree of Knowledge, didn’t notice Kevin or Julia poking around up there just outside the station, and a walk along the platform and cheeky peer in the window by my DH. Then back on board where we took the chance for us to go through the hundreds of photos we’d taken over the last week and a half, a joke about the fact that I’d been keen to visit the Qantas Museum in Longreach when hubby decided I’d seen more planes than he’d had breakfasts, and a few more notes on my computer.

Before we knew it lunch was on, must admit I had a wee glass of Sav Blanc to go with my Barramundi Fillet with citrus butter and garden salad. Divine. Ian had Backstrap Lamb and we both daintily nibbled at the Pavlova. Actually not dainty at all. There was also Haloumi salad and Chicken terrine so lots of choices.

It was nice to go for a wander when we paused at Emerald, one of my boys had spent a bit of time working at the feed lot up here for Australian Ag, and I’d heard a lot about Emerald and wanted to see it. Looks like a great town. Love the way the station steps are in the middle of town. Couldn’t believe the agricultural equipment for sale. Must have been millions of dollars worth which illustrates the amount of food produced in this area.Fiona enjoying bubbles in the lounge car

Back for a quick freshen as the afternoon sun was casting long shadows away to the mountains and then I was sipping bubbles in the lounge car chatting to fellow travellers. It wasn’t quite as formal as the Orient Express, God Bless Australia,  but we’d all spruced up and the sun was casting  golden halo around Blackwater. We flew through Comet, but I hear (from that son) it had a good pub, but I digress.

Sunset out of Blackwater (apparently the creek ran black – from the tree roots but now it’s coal miners heaven – and as evening and dark arrived we went through to dinner to find tender grain fed pepper steak and sticky date pudding. Amongst others, and seriously I think I’ve eaten enough.Sunset from the train

When we came back, after a desultory discussion with our fellow travellers,  our lounge had been made into two surprisingly wide and comfortable bunk beds with crisp white sheets and bottled water. Did they know about that second glass of bubbles? After the early start (my car climbed on the train earlier than we did) we were well ready for bed. Loved snuggling down to the peaceful rattle of the rails – apparently it’s better to get a middle cabin as it’s quieter not perched above the wheels but –  zzzzzzzzzz.

And in the morning, (sounds like one of my books) by the time we’d washed and changed (and yes there is a shower with wonderful hot water), captured a great pic of one of the ?Glasshouse Mountains, and it was time to disembark in Brisbane.One of the Glasshouse Mountains

To retrieve our own car we simply walked to the end of the train, were escorted to a driveway, and within twenty minutes it appeared beside us. A little meander through only a couple of Brisbane streets and we popped out on the freeway to Gold Coast. Easy Peasy for this country bumpkin. So twenty four hours flew and I adored it all.

Have you any train stories? Been on any scenic train journeys?  I’d love to hear because I fear I am now addicted. Xx Fi

Spirit of The Outback leaves Longreach 0715 Monday (and Thursday) Arrives Brisbane 0710 Tuesday (or Friday) So 1325 kms in 24 hours.

Cost from Longreach:

Economy non-sleeper between $152-235 depending when you buy the ticket – purchase food from the snack bar

Economy with sleeper – $244-315 depending when you buy the ticket – purchase food from snack bar

First class with sleeper-$427-529 depending when you buy your ticket – all meals but purchase wine and beer

Car -$299 and unaccompanied $499.

There are good discounts for seniors and concession and unlike lots of other telephone booking services Queensland rail sales people are awesome.

Ph 1800 872 467       And no, I didn’t get this journey compliments of QRS. 🙂

 

Thanks so much for sharing your journey, Fiona. It sounds absolutely wonderful. I’m a sucker for train travel after living overseas. It’s such a great way to explore a country and an easy way to cross long distances in comfort. A bit of bubbly while watching the world pass by? That’s my kind of travelling!

So, Feasters, enjoyed any iconic or scenic train rides that you’d like to tease us with? Or maybe your relaxing foodie adventure was on a cruise. Maybe you flew to an exotic tropical island for a picnic (in which case I shall hate you a little bit). We’d love to hear.

Given my last trip anywhere was on the Blue Mountains train into Sydney Harbour to meet up with faaaabulous authors Christine Stinson and Jaye Ford for lunch, I need a bit of armchair travel!

If you’d like to learn more about Fiona and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Twitter and Facebook. You can also write to Fiona direct at fionamcarthur2@gmail.com