Tag Archives: Melanie Scott

FRIDAY FEAST with Melanie Scott

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Greetings, food and booklovers, and welcome to another session of Friday Feast goodness. This week we’re getting sporty (and not with golf either), plus share a super delish and easy to bake dinner and offer a super-hunky giveaway!

But first, Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news. Alas, as predicted, my newly lowered handicap proved a psychological barrier too high and I failed to play to it. This was to be expected. As my father – bless him – has proven many times, when it comes to the sport we love but are cursed by, us Heins have no mental strength. We are, however stubbornly persistent. A personality fault we can’t seem to remedy. Sigh.

Now onto the promised funstuff!

Author Melanie ScottThis week’s guest is Melanie Scott, whose novel Devil in Denim, the first in her New York Saints baseball series, I read and adored. The second, Angel in Armani, has just released and looks an absolute cracker. That smokin’ cover doesn’t hurt either (although wait until you see book three, Lawless in Leather. Phwoar!) .

You don’t have to be a sports or baseball fan to enjoy these steamy contemporary stories because while the settings centre around a baseball team, the plots concern the Saints’ sexy alpha male owners and the equally determined women in their lives. Yep, it’s all about the luurve.

Rightly so, too.

ANGEL IN ARMANI

Cover of Angel in Armani by Melanie ScottWILL A LOVE OF THE GAME

Sara Charles is trying not to strike out. With her dad out of commission, Charles Air has only one helicopter left-and only one Sara to fly charters. With the family business in jeopardy, Sara needs all the clients she can get and the newest one is New York Saints team surgeon, Lucas Angelo. When an unexpected flirtation escalates into a night of pure blind passion, Sara realizes she may have just blown the game. To stay in play, she vows to avoid Lucas and keep her mind on her business and only her business. But there’s a catch: she needs him–in more ways than one.

LEAD TO A FIELD OF DREAMS?

Lucas thought he had his head in the game until his night with Sara throws him off balance. Spring training is upon him, and his schedule is madness but he can’t forget her. So he makes an offer she can’t refuse. Be his personal pilot and earn the money she needs to save Charles Air. She intends to keep him at arm’s length–especially when she discovers just how different their worlds are. Little does Sara know that, for Lucas, the only thing more important than business is pleasure. He only plays to win. And he intends to hit it out of the park…

How cool does that sound? If it’s anything like the reviews are saying then it’s going to be as good, if not better than, Devil in Denim.  Secure your copy of Angel in Armani now via BooktopiaBookworld, Book Depository, Amazon.com, Amazon.ukAmazon.au, iBooks US, iBooks Aust, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, Kobo, JB Hi-Fi or your favourite retailer.

Sorted? Time to enjoy a tasty meal then!

Lazy Cooking or Yay For Nigella And Jamie

I’ve always loved a good roast dinner. My mum does a great one and we’d have it for weekend dinners fairly regularly (and she still does them when I go home to visit, yay). Roast lamb or chicken with roast potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, parsnip and all the trimmings. Delicious. But for some reason it’s something I rarely bother to cook at home. It always seems like a bit of a drama with having to time everything to be ready together etc. Plus lots of washing up that needs to be scrubbed. So when I was watching Nigella Lawson one day and saw her do a tray bake of chicken pieces with chorizo and potatoes, I was kind of intrigued. Cooked all in one pan, not huge amounts of meat left over. Shorter cooking time. Right up my alley. And about the same time I saw Jamie Oliver do the same thing. Since then a lazy chicken tray bake has become one of my favourite weekend dinners. Feels like a roast without any of the fuss. Genius.

My heroine in Angel in Armani, Sara Charles, is definitely a no kind of fuss dinner gal. She’s a helicopter pilot who’s struggling to keep the family business afloat so no time for fussing in the kitchen. This would be exactly her kind of thing.

Easy Chicken Tray Bake

Inspired by Nigella Lawson (see an example here and Jamie Oliver here).

Melanie Scott's Chicken Tray BakeIngredients

8 chicken thighs or wings. Skin on is better, take the skin off after cooking if you don’t want to eat it. You can also use chicken Maryland pieces.

Handful of cherry tomatoes

1 sweet potato or a few potatoes

Other vegies to taste (I use carrot/zucchini/onion/pumpkin)

3-4 cloves of garlic (unpeeled)

Olive oil or spray

Pepper and salt

Optional pancetta or chorizo (roughly sliced for the pancetta and chopped into inch or so chunks for the chorizo)

Heat oven to 180 Celsius.

Line a roasting pan with baking paper (makes clean up lazy too!)

Season the chicken with whatever you like (sage or thyme, spicy rub or just good old salt and pepper) and place in the tray

Chop the vegetables other than the tomatoes and garlic into smallish chunks (maybe an inch or so wide). If using pancetta or chorizo chop as well.

Put vegies in the pan around the chicken then add the tomatoes and garlic cloves and chorizo/bacon if using.

Add a good splash or two of olive oil (or spray well with olive oil spray)

Season with pepper and salt to taste

Bake in oven for 30 minutes then turn chicken and vegetables over. If using olive oil spray you may need to spray again. Bake another 30 minutes or so until chicken is done.

Serve with gravy or chutney or on its own.

Bonus tip, if cooking for one person use just 2-3 pieces of chicken and cook the same amount of vegies and use the leftovers later to make frittata or in a salad or on pizza etc. If you don’t want to do this, then just use a smaller tray or a small square casserole dish to roast in.

After you’ve served up, whip the baking paper out of the tray, put the tray to soak and there will be minimal scrubbing required in the clean up stage!

 

Thanks, Melanie. That sounds seriously yum. I love how easy it is to put together and can be adapted to whatever happens to be in your vegie keeper. Recipes like that are gold.

Speaking of gold, we have a…

GIVEAWAY!

Yes, folks, it’s time to share the sporty love. Melanie has generously offered a copy (ebook or paperback) of Angel in Armani to giveaway to one lucky commenter.

All you have to do is answer this simple question: What’s your favorite easy delicious dinner?

Ooh, I have several! Pastas and stir fries are at the top of the list, but I’m a terrible sucker for a good soup and with the pressure cooker fired up they can be whipped up in no time. What about you, dear Feasters? Maybe you have a one pot recipe for when you don’t feel like cooking much, or perhaps a healthy salad that can be assembled in seconds. Share away and we’ll pop you in the draw.

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 17th February 2015. Open internationally. Rah!

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

 

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Jillian who has won a copy of Melanie’s fabulous Angel in Armani. Thanks to everyone who joined in the Friday Feast fun. As always there were some wonderful suggestions for easy dinners. Thanks!

FRIDAY FEAST with Melanie Scott

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Oh, we have special treat on Friday Feast today. A brilliant book, a super giveaway and a recipe that was so mouth-watering I had to whip it up as soon as I saw it.

But more on that shortly because I just know you’re hanging out for Sydney Swans news. After a most excellent win on the weekend, only a tiny percentage separates us from those pesky (pecky?) Hawks at the top of the ladder. Give it time. We can still overtake them and win Author Melanie Scottthat coveted spot. I have faith!

Sadly, there is no Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news because I was too busy hangin’ with my tribe at the Romance Writers of Australia conference, which was brilliant even if I still haven’t recovered my voice. Jim says it’s because I put an entire year’s worth of talking into four days. Perhaps a sign I should get out more…

And now to today’s guest. You may know her as dark fantasy author MJ Scott, but Melbourne based Melanie Scott is about to take the sports romance world by storm with her new series featuring the New York Saints baseball team and the three men determined to save it. The first in the series is The Devil in Denim, a book I’m reading, and loving, right now.

You will want this baby. Oh yes you will!

THE DEVIL IN DENIM

Cover of The Devil in DenimLIFE JUST THREW HER A CURVEBALL.

As the team-owner’s daughter, Maggie Jameson grew up in the New York Saints’ stadium—glove, cap, hot dogs, and all. Baseball’s in her blood, and she’s always dreamed of the day when she would lead the Saints to victory herself. That was before her dad had to sell the team to Alex Winters. The fast-talking, fiercely attractive businessman has a baseball pedigree that’s distinctly minor league. Maggie wants to hate him but his skills of seduction, however, are off the charts.

WILL LOVE BE A HOME RUN?

Alex could never have imagined how much this team means to Maggie. He needs her to help show the players that they’re still a family…even if he and Maggie are at the verge of exchanging blows. But her fiery determination and gorgeous looks prove irresistible to Alex. And much as he wants to relegate their relationship to the playing field—and get the Saints back in the game—Alex just can’t help himself: What he wants to win most is Maggie’s heart…

There are some shallow people out there who would only buy this book for the taut manbum cover (me!) but I can assure you what’s on the inside is even better. Yes it is! And you can pre-order it right now and have it in your hands, all ready for stroking and reading, right on its August 26th release day. Secure your copy now via Amazon, Book Depository, iBooks, Booktopia, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, Kobo or your favourite retailer.

Taut manbum organised? Awesome. Now let’s get zesty with Melanie.

Sweet or Sour

You know those questions on quizzes? The ones that ask you if you like salty or sweet. I’m always thinking “Both”. Life’s too short to choose between the joys of the perfect salty potato chip or good rich chocolate. And one thing that those quizzes always fail to ask about is sour! I will confess I like a good sour sharp tang. If it was possible to overdose on Wizz Fizz as a A packet of Wizz Fizzkid, I would have (and these days I find it hard to resist a good sour lolly). But, growing up in the country, we always had a lemon tree and, luckily for me, my parents still live there and still have a magic pudding lemon tree that rarely stops fruiting so they can keep me supplied. Lemon delicious pudding, lemon juice on crispy fish or fresh steamed vegies, lemon butter, lemon tart (unless there’s a lemon cheesecake on offer), lemon in iced water and of course my beloved margaritas, well, let’s just say I’m a fan of the little yellow fruit. Here in Australia, lemon slice popped up all over the place when I was a kid and I’m always on the quest for a good version (and generally I amp up the tanginess with an extra lemon kick), well, frankly, sometimes a gal just can’t wait for a slice to set to get her lemon goodness fix.

The other day I was in the mood to bake, which often inspires a brownie fit, but I wasn’t in the mood for chocolate (who knew that was possible). Having attempted a lemon drizzle cake recently that was good but needs some more experimenting with, I was still in the mood for lemons but didn’t want a cake. I thought of lemon slice but then I stumbled across a lemon and coconut brownie on Pinterest. Pinterest is baker enabling heaven. It was lemon. It was coconut. It was a brownie. I was sold. And it turns out a lemon coconut brownie is very much the love child of lemon cake and lemon slice. Aka it was exactly what I was in the mood for. And delicious.

Now Maggie Jameson, the heroine of The Devil in Denim, feels like she’s been handed a pretty big box of lemons at the start of the book. She needs to figure out if she can wants to suck it up and make lemonade (though she starts the process by using lemons in a time honoured way… by drinking too many tequila slammers) or not. Maybe while she’s thinking about it, and trying not to think about Alex Winters, who is partially responsible for her pile of lemons, she should whip up a batch of these bad boys. I’m sure they’d cheer her up.

Lemon and Coconut Brownies

(original recipe from taste.com.au)

Lemon and Coconut Brownies

Ingredients:

250g butter

2 cups caster sugar

4 eggs

1 ½ cups plain flour

1 cup desiccated coconut

3 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (1/3 cup if you like it really lemony like me) plus extra for icing if you ice them

Directions:

Preheat oven to 180ºC (my over is fan forced and I used 170c). Line a 20 x 30cm (base measurement) slab pan with non-stick baking paper. Whatever you use for brownies. I was lazy and used a square pan that was a little too small so they came out thicker and needed a bit longer cooking but they were still yummy

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Turn heat down low. Stir in sugar until it dissolves. Turn off heat and move to a cool spot. Add eggs, 1 at a time and beat into the mixture quickly so no bits of egg cook before it’s combined. It will end up thick and glossy.

Sift the flour over the egg mixture and stir until well combined. Stir in coconut, lemon rind and lemon juice. Spread over base of prepared pan.

Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside in the pan to cool completely. Turn out and cut into pieces (you decide how big, the original recipe suggests 15). Doesn’t need to iced but would be lovely with a thin lemony icing made from icing sugar and lemon juice…I usually start with a cup of icing sugar and add a tablespoon or so of lemon juice and then adjust the mixture to taste and for consistency when I’m making that kind of icing. Keep in an airtight container if there are any left.

 

Doesn’t that make your mouth water, Feasters? As it should because like The Devil in Denim, these brownies are delicious! Impossible to stop at one piece. Why would you want to anyway? There’s fruit in there which means the recipe has to be good for you.

And guess what other goodness Melanie has for you? Yes, we have a…

GIVEAWAY!

Because you’re all special and Melanie is lovely, she’s offering one lucky reader the chance to win a signed copy of his devilish bumness… I mean, The Devil In Denim. A truly excellent read that you will love. But you must work for it. You must shaaaaare!

So, for a chance to win, tell us what do you prefer when you’re reaching for a treat? Sweet, sour, salty or a combination?

Are you a sour fan and love to gobble sour snakes and mouth puckering lemon drops? Perhaps you prefer a salty bowl of chips or nuts, or maybe sweet treats are your go, lollies or sweet cakes and biscuits. For me it depends. There’s nothing quite like a nice dark piece of chocolate post dinner but I have been known to turn slightly rabid over a bowl of salt and vinegar chips (those Red Rock Deli ones are awesome). What about you? Share and we’ll pop you into the draw.

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 19th August 2014. Open internationally. Rah!

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

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Delores who has won a copy of Melanie’s new release The Devil in Denim. I predict some fun reading and cover stroking in someone’s future! Thanks to everyone for sharing their favourite sweet and sour treats, and giving us all terrible cravings. See you again soon!