Tag Archives: Regency romance

Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser TuesdayWelcome again to another fun instalment of Teaser Tuesday, the blog series where I share snippets from my works-in-progress, up-coming releases and published novels. Most of the time. Occasionally I like to spice it up and let writing buddies tease you with their works too.

Today is such a day and I’m delighted to host historical romance author Anne Gracie on the blog. Her Chance Sisters series, including The Autumn Bride, The Winter Bride and The Spring Bride (current finalist in the Romance Writers of Australia’s prestigious Ruby Awards), has been a blast and I’ve been eagerly awaiting book 4—The Summer Bride—and Daisy’s story. The girls are all great characters but I’ve developed a real soft spot for Daisy and so want her to reach her happy ever after. I bet if you’ve been following the series you feel the same.

Here’s Anne to tell you more about the The Summer Bride. Oh and don’t forget to read right through to the end. There might be a giveaway!

 

Romance Author Anne Gracie

The Summer Bride is the first “friends-to-lovers” story I’ve written, and I have to say I really enjoyed watching these two following their separate paths, all the while fighting an attraction that can’t be denied.

I loved Daisy and Flynn. Daisy is down-to-earth and outspoken and funny, and Flynn . . . well, Flynn’s a real charmer — brash, confident, and very masculine. And though it took him a while to work out what he really wanted, when he did, he went all out to get it.

Daisy and Flynn are on different courses. He wants to marry an aristocratic lady, she doesn’t want to marry at all. She has plans . . .

Daisy had no illusions about herself. She was a little Cockney guttersnipe with a gimpy leg and a foul mouth—though she was working on the swearing, and her grammar. But she loved beautiful clothes and—praise be!— she was good at making them.

She was going to be somebody, and she was going to do it all herself; Daisy Chance, Dressmaker to the Toffs, with a shop and a business all her own. That was her dream, and she was so hungry for it she could almost taste it.

The fact that Daisy fancies Flynn and always has, is irrelevant. She’s a realist, and a businesswoman, and respectability is what matters now.

Daisy pretended to stare out of her window but watched him from the corner of her eye. He was one good-looking man, Flynn. His breeches fitted nice and tight, his legs were long and powerful, and he smelled beautiful—clean and manly, not like so many posh gents who drenched themselves in perfumes and smelled like a blooming flowerpot.

No, Flynn was all man. She fancied him rotten—always had, from the first day he’d come swaggering into Lady Bea’s parlor, as brash and confident as if he owned the place. Those bold blue eyes of his had summed up every female in the room, a perfect invitation to sin.

The Summer Bride by Anne GracieFrom the very first he’d been danger wrapped in shades of masculine elegance—he’d just come from Freddy Monkton-Coombes’s very exclusive tailor—all the while complaining about having to dress like a pea-hen—not a peacock—in drab colors. With a gold earring in his ear, like a bloomin’ pirate. He was wearing it today; it glinted in the dim light.

He’d flirted with her that first day, just a bit—and she’d flirted back.

Daisy sighed. In the old days she’d have gone after him like a shot, but she’d turned respectable now, and so had Flynn.

He was planning to marry the finest young lady in London, and Daisy was starting up a business of her own. They were on different pathways, and a romp between the sheets wasn’t on the cards for either of them.  More’s the pity.

Besides, Flynn was her friend, the first man she’d ever been friends—real friends—with. The men she’d known in the past were users—pimps, predators, thieves and swindlers—all crooks of some kind.

Flynn was different, and she wasn’t going to risk spoiling their friendship with a bit of rumpy pumpy, no matter how tempting it was. That sort of thing never lasted—and the break-up always ruined the friendship.

So it was look but don’t touch.

She eyed his long, muscular thighs in their gleaming boots, and smiled to herself. Lucky he was such a treat to look at.

*

Oooh, I can’t wait for this book. I pre-ordered it back in March and today is the day it’ll be popping onto my Kindle and racing to the top of my to-be-read pile.

I bet you’d love a copy of The Summer Bride too. Well, here’s your chance to win one. Yes, lovelies, we have a…

GIVEAWAY!

For your chance to win a paperback copy of The Summer Bride simply answer this question from Anne:

What’s your favorite romance trope? Friends to lovers? Revenge? Second chance at Love? Convenient Marriage? Secret baby? Amnesia? Etc

Comment away and we’ll pop you into the draw.

Please note: Giveaway closes Friday midnight Friday AEST, 8th July 2016. Open internationally. Rah!

The Chance Sisters books are available right now from Booktopia, BookdepositoryAmazon, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, or your favourite bookstore.

The Summer Bride cover and blurb image

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser TuesdayWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, the tantalising blog series where I share snippets from works-in-progress, up-coming releases and published novels. Unless I invite good writing buddies to fill in for me, as is the case today.

Historical romance author Anna Campbell is a regular on the blog with good reason—she’s lovely, likes a good a natter over a glass of fizz, and writes fabulous romances! If you haven’t picked up any of the books in Anna’s Dashing Widows series you’re missing out. They’re huge fun. But I have to say her newest release Stranded with the Scottish Earl sounds even more fun. There’s something about men in kilts…

Here’s Anna to tell you more about it. Make sure you read to the end. There could be a GIVEAWAY!

Author Anna CampbellHi Cathryn! Or should I say Och aye the noo, lassie?

Thank you for having me as your guest today. I’m so excited to be back here on your wonderful blog to talk about my latest release which, as you’ve probably guessed, has a Scottish flavour.

Haggis, bagpipes, hunky Highlanders, what’s not to like? Well, maybe the haggis…

Stranded with the Scottish Earl: A Regency Novella is out 30th June (it’s up for pre-order now). As you can tell with a title like that, it’s a complex political thriller. Nah, I’m having you on. It’s a fun romance featuring a Scotsman and a feisty English lassie who, you guessed it, get stranded together in a flood in Hampshire.

When roguish Scotsman Ewan Macrae, Earl of Lyle, turns up on Charlotte Warren’s doorstep in the middle of a flood, he’s the last person she wants to see. Her father has decided Lyle will make her a wonderful husband, but resolutely independent Charlotte is having none of it. Until the weather traps them alone together in the house. Baby, it might be cold outside, but it’s sure heating up indoors!

The teaser takes place just after a passionate first kiss in Lyle’s borrowed bedroom.

 

“I don’t understand what happened,” Charlotte said dully.

“It’s quite simple.” Lyle pushed up until he sat beside her, leaning against the bedhead. “I wanted to kiss you the moment I saw you.”

Astonishment flared in her caramel eyes. And dangerous pleasure. He fought the urge to draw her back into his arms. He’d managed to stop once. Nothing on God’s green earth would restrain him if he succumbed to temptation a second time.

“But why did I let you?”

tranded with the Scottish Earl by Anna Campbell“Perhaps because we’re trapped here,” he said, knowing that the attraction went much deeper than mere propinquity.

“It must be more than that.” She studied him with a troubled expression. “I’ve never acted this way before.”

“I generally don’t leap on virtuous young women either,” he responded, stung.

“You seemed to know what you were doing.” It sounded like an accusation.

Lyle knew she picked a quarrel as a distraction. But he refused to oblige. He was experienced enough to know that a loss of temper would lead to a different loss of control. He stared into the fire and answered in a mild tone. “Does that mean you liked it?”

“I don’t have much to compare it to,” she muttered.

Shocked, he turned back to her. Shocked, and disgusted with himself. He’d jumped on her like a starving man snatched at a cheese sandwich. “You make me feel like a beast.” He paused as he pondered just what she’d said. “Much or nothing?”

She frowned at him. “What?”

“You said you didn’t have much to compare my kisses to.”

She blushed. “You have no right to ask that.”

“I had no right to kiss you either. Yet I did.” His gaze sharpened. “Who’s been trifling with your favors? And where do I need to go to kill him?”

She didn’t smile at his absurdity. Nor was he convinced he was joking. “I’ve been kissed before,” she admitted ungraciously. “It was…nice.”

A grunt of laughter escaped as he sagged with relief. “I don’t need to kill him after all. Heaven help your swains if that’s the best they can do.”

Miss Warren regarded him with displeasure. Thank God. He preferred her snap and fire to seeing her crushed with mortification.

“Your kisses weren’t nice.”

“I should hope not.”

“And I do wish you’d put a shirt on,” she said crossly, shifting to the edge of the bed but still—interesting again—without making any move to leave.

Feeling absurdly optimistic for a laddie who had been stopped in his wicked tracks, he rolled to his side of the bed and stood. The temptation of having her near tested what small restraint he retained.

 

Want a longer excerpt? You’ll find it on Anna’s website.

Stranded with the Scottish Earl is only 99 cents on Amazon.com. Talk about a bargain, so secure your copy today! You can also purchase from Smashwords and Barnes and Noble.

And now for an even more exciting bit. Yes, folks, we have a…

GIVEAWAY!

Anna says: I’ve got a Kindle download of Stranded with the Scottish Earl for someone who comments today. No geographical restrictions.

Do you like Highlander romances? Who’s your favourite Scottish hero?

Good luck in the draw!

And good luck from me too.

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Friday AEST, 1st July 2016. Open internationally.

tranded with the Scottish Eart by Anna Campbell banner

Remember, Stranded with the Scottish Earl is only 99 cents on Amazon. That’s a whole lot of kilted romance for less than a dollar, so pre-order your copy now.

 

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser TuesdayWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, the tantalising blog series where I share snippets from works-in-progress, up-coming releases and published novels. Except on the days when I invite good writing buddies to fill in for me, like today!

What a thrill it is to have Anna Campbell returning to Teaser Tuesday. Those of you who’ve been following my blog and social media for a while will know what a fan of Anna’s work I am. Her Regency romances are wonderful, loaded with great characters and filled with passion. I’m a particular fan of her novellas. They might be short but those babies sure pack emotional punch.

Here’s Anna to tell you about her newest release, Tempting Mr. Townsend. Can’t wait to get into this one. It sounds fab.

Oh, and make sure you read the post to the end. There could be a giveaway.

 

Hi Cathryn! Thank you so much for having me as your guest today. I always love visiting your blog and I think a book called Tempting Mr. Townsend fits a spot called Teaser Tuesday to a T!

Author Anna CampbellI had huge fun writing my second Dashing Widows book, Tempting Mr. Townsend, especially its rough, gruff, heart-of-gold hero Anthony Townsend who comes from the wrong side of the tracks compared to delicate Lady Fenella. This is a bit of an opposites attract/Beauty and Beast story – two of my favourite tropes in romance. I love watching two people who start out with apparently nothing in common gradually reach an understanding as they fall in love.

This novella begins as a road trip to find two runaway schoolboys, but by the time we get to the excerpt, the boys are safe, but Fenella isn’t so sure that her heart is! The scene takes place in the library of Anthony’s newly acquired estate, the Beeches, on the night after their arrival.

 

Fenella threw her hands up. “Oh, you’re impossible. I’ll be glad to get back to my real life.”

“Will you?” Anthony asked softly.

Briefly she looked unsure, then her lush mouth firmed. “At least in Mayfair, I’m free of insane plutocrats and their persuasions.”

He laughed, enjoying himself. “Yet.”

He’d always intended to pursue her, but her confession of a weakness for him invited a more overt wooing. She was a grand little fighter, but he doubted she’d win when Anthony Townsend allied with her own desire against her.

Tempting Mr Townsend by Anna Campbell“There’s no point continuing. I’m tired, and you’re off your head. Good night, Mr. Townsend.” With an irritated swish of her skirts, she flounced off. He let her reach the door before he spoke. “Lady Deerham, there is one more thing.”

“What is it?” Annoyance roughened her voice.

A man of his size could cross the room in a few paces. He caught her arm and using her surprise, swung her around to face him. A gentle push and her back bumped against the closed door. “This.”

Furious eyes snapping blue fire focused on his face. “Mr. Townsend, just what on earth do you think you’re doing?”

“My dear Lady Deerham, surely it hasn’t been that long.”

“I’ll scream,” she warned, trying to slay him with her disapproval. Unfortunately for her, he found her spirit arousing. This close she smelled like a flower garden in spring. He drew that glorious scent deep into his lungs.

“I dare you.” One hand pressed her shoulder against the door while the other caught her chin to hold her still.

Not that she was struggling. Which was dashed interesting.

“You are the most provoking man,” she muttered.

“That’s insane plutocrats for you.” He hid a smile as anticipation made his blood rush. “Now stand still so I can kiss you.”

“Well, really,” she gasped before his lips stole her breath away.

©Anna Campbell

You can read a longer excerpt and the blurb on my website.

Tempting Mr. Townsend is only 99 cents on Amazon! Why not grab your copy today? Instant gratification could be yours. Visit Amazon, Barnes & Noble or iBooks.

GIVEAWAY!

Two people who comment today will win a Kindle download of Tempting Mr. Townsend. No geographical restrictions.

I’ve told you that one of my favourite themes in a romance is Beauty and the Beast. What’s yours? Fish out of water? Friends to lovers? Cinderella? Secret baby? Cowboys? Sheikhs? Billionaires? There’s so many of them and they’re all great! Let’s talk classic romance tropes today on Teaser Tuesday.

Please Note: Giveaway closes midnight Friday AEST, 18th March, 2016. Open internationally.

That’s TWO BOOKS UP FOR GRABS, dear readers. So get commenting and good luck!

The Dashing Widows series by Anna Campbell

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser TuesdayWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, the tantalising blog series where I share snippets from works-in-progress, up-coming releases and published novels. Unless I’m feeling lazy and invite good writing buddies to fill in for me, like today!

I’m very excited to show off a sample of historical romance author Anna Campbell’s new Regency novella. Not only do I adore her books, she’s huge fun at writerly get-togethers and is always up for a glass of fizz, which makes her very much my kind of person. Anna has won the Australian Romance Readers Awards Favourite Australian Romance Author so many times I nicknamed her the Romance Queen. A title. I must say, she wears magnificently.

Anyway, enough of me. Here’s Anna to tell you about her new release. This one sounds a hoot. Make sure you read to the end. There might be a special giveaway.

Author Anna CampbellHi Cathryn! Thank you so much for having me as your guest today.

Usually I’m drooling over the recipes on Friday Feast on your blog – it’s nice to be here for the low-calorie Teaser Tuesday spot! Snerk. Which doesn’t mean I plan on delivering one of those tasteless low fat cheese kind of teasers.

No, this one’s as full-blooded and swashbuckling as my hero in A Pirate for Christmas, my seasonal novella this year.

Actually Rory Beaton, the new Earl of Channing, isn’t a pirate – gossip just paints him as one. He is, however, neglecting his duties as lord of the manor and redoubtable vicar’s daughter, Bess Farrar, beards him in his den to point out his obligations – and to get permission to borrow his donkey for the annual nativity play.

Cue entry of mischievous donkey Daisy who was a lot of fun to write. Now, she really does have a pirate heart!

Here’s the first meeting between Rory and Bess – and if you catch a whiff of classic British comedy To the Manor Born, your nostrils are not deceiving you!

 

“If you leave a note, I promise to deliver it,” the man said.

Bess’s lips firmed as she shifted to find a comfortable spot on the unforgiving seat. The noble Earl of Channing didn’t want visitors settling in. Indications were that he didn’t want visitors at all.

Too bad for the noble Earl of Channing.

“So he can ignore it, the way he’s ignored my other correspondence?” she asked sweetly.

A Pirate for Christmas by Anna Camobell coverThe studious-looking man avoided her eyes. “His lordship has been busy since taking over, Miss Farrar.”

Bess glanced around the dusty, empty great hall. “Not with domestic matters.”

“His lordship—”

His lordship stormed in.

At least Bess assumed that the disheveled auburn-haired man who crashed through the door at the other end of the hall must be Penton Abbey’s elusive new master. He stalked past her, brandishing a sheaf of papers.

“That blasted Farrar besom is hounding me again, Ned. I thought I asked you to put her off.” His Scottish brogue added an exotic edge to his heated remarks.

He didn’t see her as his long stride ate up the tiled floor. It would be hard to make out an army in this gloom, especially with the sky darkening for snow.

“Rory, for heaven’s sake,” the other man stammered, casting Bess an embarrassed glance.

Bess stood and performed a perfunctory curtsy. “Good afternoon, my lord.”

He turned on her. He was as tall as his friend, but much more heavily muscled. A more formidable character altogether, she could already tell. “Just who the devil are you?”

She permitted herself a cool smile. “I believe I’m the blasted Farrar besom.”

“Oh, hell,” he muttered, staring at her thunderstruck. He looked as shocked as if one of these iron-hard oak chairs had stood up, bowed and asked him to dance.

©Anna Campbell

You can read a longer excerpt and the blurb on my website.

A Pirate for Christmas is only 99 cents on Amazon! Buy from Amazon.com, Amazon.au and Smashwords.

GIVEAWAY!

True to the tradition of Friday Feast, which I know this isn’t, do you have a favourite cheese? I must admit to a liking for brie and gouda.

Anna's favourite cheeses

I’ve got two Kindle downloads of A Pirate for Christmas: A Regency Novella to give away to people who share their cheesy stories today. Good luck!

Please Note: Giveaway closes midnight Friday AEST, 6th November 2015. Open internationally.

That’s TWO BOOKS UP FOR GRABS, lovely readers. So get commenting!

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FRIDAY FEAST with Anne Gracie

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Hello lovelies, and welcome to another super-tasty edition of Friday Feast. This week, in a not-to-be-missed post, one of my absolute favourite historical romance authors shows off her gorgeous new release, gives you a step-by-step guide to jelly cake bliss, and generously offers a wonderful giveaway. So keep reading!

But first, the sigh-worthy saga that is Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. At last I’m home from South Australia and have managed to hit a familiar golf course with my own clubs. Author Anne GracieI was more than a bit fretful that some of Dad’s bad golfing juju might have followed me home and curled its sniggery, meddling self around my clubs but fortunately that wasn’t the case. Thank god. Then again, it could be simply biding its time. The curse is sneaky that way.

What is most definitely not sneaky is this week’s Friday Feast guest. She’s a joy! Multi-award winning and best-selling Regency romance author Anne Gracie is an auto-buy author for me. Her stories are charming, fun, emotional and absolute delights to read. If you’ve never tested the Regency romance waters, then Anne’s Chance Sisters series it the perfect place to start. The Autumn Bride and The Winter Bride were completely heart-warming and now book three in the series, The Spring Bride, has hit Australian shelves with US following shortly. It looks another beauty. Check it out.

THE SPRING BRIDE

US Cover of The Spring Bride by Anne GracieOn the eve of the London Season, Jane Chance is about to make her entrance into high society. Haunted by a childhood riddled with poverty and hardship, Jane is determined her own children will never suffer the same; she intends to make a good, safe, sensible marriage. All goes according to plan until a dark, dangerous vagabond helps her rescue a dog.

Zachary Black is all kinds of unsuitable–a former spy, now in disguise, he’s wanted for murder. His instructions: to lie low until his name is cleared. But Zach has never followed the rules, and he wants Jane Chance for his own.

If that means blazing his way into London society, in whatever guise suits him, that’s what he’ll do. Jane knows she shouldn’t fall in love with this unreliable, if devastatingly attractive, rogue. But Zach is determined–and he’s a man accustomed to getting what he wants.

Doesn’t that sound wonderful? I already have The Spring Bride loaded to my e-reader and with a few quick clickety-clicks you could have this charming book too. Try those good people at Booktopia, Bookworld or Angus & Robertson. Or visit Book Depository, Amazon.comAmazon.au, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, JB Hi-Fi, Google Play, Fishpond, Boomerang Books, or your favourite book retailer.

All loaded up with some spring goodness? Great. Now get some jelly in your belly with Anne!

A Retro Wonder

I made these recently to take to a friend’s birthday party. I was going to make something savoury, but I’ve known this woman since she was 15, so I decided to make something fun and yummy and retro. They proved a big hit.

Cup cakes are very fashionable, but for my money these are more delicious and fun. And surprisingly easy to make. The hardest part is getting the jelly at the right texture, and that’s all a matter of timing. And I had to buy a new patty pan tin because Mum’s old one was all rusty.

Jelly Cakes

Makes up to 30 or more little cakes, depending how you fill the patty pans.

Anne Gracie's Jelly Cakes

The cakes:

60g butter, softened

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup caster sugar

1 cup self-raising flour

2/3 cup milk

The coating:

85g packet raspberry jelly crystals (any flavour will work, though)

1 cup boiling water

2/3 cup cold water

3 cups desiccated coconut

The filling:

Lashings of whipped cream (a 300ml container of thickened cream is plenty)

Method:

1) Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 12 hole shallow patty-pan tin (1.5 tablespoon capacity) or a gem-iron pan. (If you don’t have one, a cup cake or small muffin pan might do)

2) Cream butter and sugar with an electric beater until light and fluffy. Add in egg, a little at a time, beating until well combined.

3) With a big spoon, gently fold in half the flour and half the milk. Repeat until remaining flour and milk is used up.

Jelly cake batter

4) Spoon mixture into patty pans. Bake for 10 — 15  minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool cakes on a wire rack. (Cakes can be frozen in this state and kept for coating later.)

Jelly cakes ready to bake

Baked, un-iced jelly cakes

5) Make the jelly in a big shallow bowl. Stir jelly crystals and boiling water together until crystals are dissolved. Mix in the cold water. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until cold and slightly thick. (*This is the trickiest part. It needs to be the texture of unbeaten egg white.  Too runny and it soaks into the cake, too thick and it won’t coat the cakes at all. Check frequently. If too solid sit the bowl in some hot water to reverse the setting process. Or maybe zap it in the microwave.)

Jelly cakes being coated in jelly

6) Place coconut into a large bowl. Make like lamingtons — coating each cake in jelly, then rolling in coconut. Pop them into the fridge for half an hour or so to let the jelly set.

Jelly cakes being rolled in coconut

You can serve the cakes like this or fill them with cream, which is decadent and delicious and as far as I’m concerned traditional.

7) I put the jelly-and-coconutted cakes in a large plastic container, and keep overnight or until an hour or two before I want to serve them in. (You can freeze them at this point, too, I believe.)

Place jelly cakes into the fridge

8) Whip cream. Carefully slice the top off each cake and place large blob of cream on the inside. Replace top of cake. That’s it.

Anne Gracie's Jelly Cakes

When you’ve finished creaming all the cakes, eat the wonkiest looking one — you owe it to your guests to make sure the cakes are fit to be eaten. 😉 Put the remainder in the fridge. Then resist temptation firmly, or else there will be no cakes left!

A bitten-into jelly cake

Oh, these are brilliant, Anne! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe. Jelly cakes were such a favourite growing up and you don’t see then often now, certainly not  home-made ones, which are the only ones to have. Love the step-by-step instructions too. Very helpful.

Now for the bit we all adore. Yes, Feasty lovelies, Anne has offered a…

GIVEAWAY!

But of course you’re going to have to work for it. Not very hard though, I promise. Today your task is to choose which cover of The Spring Bride you prefer most and why. So… does the Australian version do it for you?

1SpringBrideAussieMed

Or the US version?

US Cover of The Spring Bride by Anne Gracie

Me? I love the covers of both. They both sing spring, but I have to admit that the US version is the one I like best. Her dress is stunning!

So what about you? Reveal which cover you prefer and why and we’ll pop you into the draw to win a copy of The Spring BridThe. Just the thing to enjoy with a cuppa and a sweet jelly cake.

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 2nd June 2015. Open internationally. Rah!

If you’d like to learn more about Anne and her gorgeous books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter using @AnneGracie, and the totally fabulous WordWenches blog.

Friday Feast recipe index link.

FRIDAY FEAST with Anna Campbell

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Greetings, Feasty lovelies, and welcome to a positively cherry-topped Friday Feast. This week we play host to one of my favourite historical romance authors who has the perfect accompaniment for a cuppa. Plus there’s an even more perfect giveaway!

Not a lot to report this week from the Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf trenches. We suffered so much rain on the morning of our ladies open day the event was washed out. With the weekend equally soaked, there was no chance for play. I can only hope that the time off will result in some easing of my current formus horribillus (a dreadful disease no golfer wishes to catch).

Historical romance author Anna CampbellNow onto my delightful guest!

It’s always a pleasure to host historical romance author Anna Campbell on Friday Feast. Not only do I have a major fan-girl crush on Anna and her books, her posts are always hugely entertaining. I fondly refer to Anna as the Romance Queen, thanks to her many awards and best-selling status. And because in person she does have a touch of regality!

I’m also very excited to have a copy of her brand new release, A Scoundrel by Moonlight beside me as I type. I’ve loved all the books in Anna’s Sons of Sin series and it’s wonderful to see it continuing on. Can’t wait to get into this one.

Take a look.

A SCOUNDREL BY MOONLIGHT

A Scoundrel by Moonlight by Anna CampbellAnything can happen in the moonlight…

Justice. That’s all Nell Trim wants – for her sister and for the countless other young women the Marquess of Leath has ruined with his wildly seductive ways. Now she has a bold plan to take him down… as long as she can resist the scoundrel’s temptations herself.

From the moment Nell meets James Fairbrother, the air positively sizzles. Yet for all his size and power, there’s something amazingly tender in his touch. Could he really be such a depraved rogue? The only way to find out is to beat the devil at his own game… one tempting kiss at a time.

 

Doesn’t that sound wonderful? And you can be guaranteed that this will be a highly emotional, passionate and romantic read. Believe me, with Anna you’re in expert hands. Which means you’ll be wanting to buy a copy of A Scoundrel by Moonlight right now. In which case, get clickety-clicking straight over to those good people at Booktopia, Bookworld or Angus & Robertson. You can also purchase a copy from Book Depository. For the ebook, try Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, or your favourite retailer.

Now please give a bow to Queen Anna.

A Happy Accident!

Hi Cathryn! Thank you for having me as your guest today. I always love visiting your blog – and this time I’ve got a recipe that is genuinely mine.

Last year, I was waiting for a visit from my dear friend and regular Friday Feaster Annie West and I’d decided to make cherry nut cookies, an Australian Women’s Weekly recipe that’s one of my favorites.

Quote from A Scoundrel by Moonlight by Anna CampbellSacre bleu, what was I to do when I was halfway through cooking them and discovered that I didn’t have a major ingredient? These lovely little buttery morsels are usually rolled in crushed peanuts before you put the cherry on top. But my pantry was bare of crushed peanuts.

As any good writer will tell you, when you’re stuck, improvise. I had a bag of flaked almonds which I keep on hand for apple crumble.

Problem solved – almost.

The flaked almonds were far too big to sit on the outside of my biscuits. So I decided to try mixing them in with the dough. Worked a treat – as Annie was kind enough to tell me.

I’ve since made this a couple of times and I think I actually prefer them to the original. So it’s time to share my recipe with the world.

Quote from A Scoundrel by Moonlight by Anna CampbellA happy accident is how I’d describe my latest book, A SCOUNDREL BY MOONLIGHT which is out in North America this month.* The Sons of Sin series grew out of a stand-alone proposal to Grand Central Forever in New York for SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED. They liked the idea so much, they wanted more of the same with some linked books. So I hastily put together a trilogy about three friends who meet at Eton. In one way or another, the shadow of bastardy looms over Jonas Merrick, Richard Harmsworth and Camden Rothermere, but all three discover their true selves when they fall in love.

As I wrote the books, another man loomed larger and larger. James Fairbrother, Marquess of Leath, is mentioned in book 2, A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS, as the villain’s nephew. He plays a much more significant role in book 3, WHAT A DUKE DARES, when his sister forms a scandalous liaison with Harry Thorne, the heroine’s brother.

lincolncollage2

When Grand Central approached me about continuing the series, Leath was the obvious hero to choose. So A SCOUNDREL BY MOONLIGHT was born. Because I love to put my characters through the wringer, I make him fall in love with a woman who threatens everything he’s always wanted. Life as a writer is fun that way.

But of course, meeting Nell Trim turns out to be a happy accident for Leath too! Under normal circumstances, their paths would never have crossed. And their clash makes for fireworks.

What sort? You’ll have to read A SCOUNDREL BY MOONLIGHT to find out!

In the meantime, have fun at afternoon tea with my biscuits.

Anna Campbell’s Cherry Almond Biscuits

Anna Campbell's Cherry Almond Biscuits

Ingredients:

125g butter

¼ cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup self-raising flour

200g flaked almonds

Glace cherries

Method:

Anna Campbell's Cherry Almond BiscuitsCream butter and sugar until light and creamy, add egg and vanilla, beat well. Add sifted flour and mix to a firm dough. By hand, mix in flaked almonds until evenly distributed. Roll teaspoonfuls of mixture into small ball shapes. Press half a cherry on top. Put on lightly greased oven trays, allow room for spreading; bake in moderate oven 15 to 20 minutes or until golden. Cool slightly before removing from trays. Makes about 30.

*Aussies can order a print edition of A SCOUNDREL BY MOONLIGHT from Booktopia or the Book Depository. If you’d like an ebook, there will be a local edition later in the year, date to be confirmed.

 

Oh, I love the sound of these, Anna! I must admit, I’d much prefer your almond version than the peanut one. While I love peanuts (my mother-in-law makes the BEST peanut biscuits), I reckon almonds and cherries is a much better match. A cuppa and a biscuit, a squishy chair in a patch of winter sun, and A Scoundrel by Moonlight. Sounds like a perfect morning to me.

Now, my tasty little Feasty beasties, because Anna is such a generous soul (as all good queens are), she’s offering a…

GIVEAWAY!

To be in the draw to win a signed copy of Anna’s brand new release, A Scoundrel by Moonlight, simply answer this question:

Have you ever had a happy accident – something unexpected that happened and took you in a new and better direction?

Maybe you’ve taken a wrong turn and discovered something wonderful, or accidentally hit the one-click buy button on a book or other item you didn’t intend to purchase and serendipitously discovered a gem. Me, I’ve had some gorgeous moments travelling when I’ve gotten lost and found magic. The same with food when I’ve ordered what I thought was one thing only to be served something totally different but also totally delicious (also totally horrid as was once the case with rognons de veau in France *shudder*).

Simply share your happy accident with us and you’ll be in the draw to win.

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 12th May 2015. Open internationally. Rah!

If you’d like to learn more about Anna and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter using @AnnaCampbellOz. You’ll also find her at Romance Bandits.

Friday Feast recipe index link.

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FRIDAY FEAST with Anna Campbell

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Now this is an exciting Friday. Not only do we have a most awesome author as guest, with all sorts of indulgent delights and a giveaway, it’s also Book Expo Australia weekend and the final round of the AFL season (for international visitors, that’s our beloved Australian Rules Football).

All happening!

But first, AFL. Have you seen where my darling Sydney Swans are perched? Yes, there they are at the top of the ladder looking magnificent. With the finals just around the corner I’m gathering all my lucky Swans charms, including my knitted octopus and gnome, and rubbing their bellies for luck to ensure we suffer no injuries before the finals. And that we win against Richmond Saturday night, of course!

Author Anna Campbell

Photo courtesy of Robyn Hills www.robyngraphs.com.au

If you’re in Sydney on Saturday and Sunday, take a trip out to the showgrounds for Book Expo Australia where you’ll find panels, talks, the Australian Romance Readers Association stand and more. I’m on two romance panels on Sunday, at 10-30am and 3-45pm, as well as feature author on the ARRA stand from 2-30 to 3-30pm. Come say hello.

And now to one of my favourite Friday Feast guests ever, Anna Campbell, also known affectionately as the Romance Queen for her multiple ARR Awards and other accolades. And let’s not forget brilliant Regency romances. Anna’s latest has just hit the shelves and as a total fan girl I cannot wait to get stuck in. Take a look…

WHAT A DUKE DARES

Cover of What a Duke Dares by Anna CampbellA reputation at risk

What woman in her right mind would say no to marrying the dashing Duke of Sedgemoor? Miss Penelope Thorne, that’s who. She’s known Camden Rothermere since they were children – and she also knows she’d bring nothing but scandal to his name.

Cam can hardly believe Penelope turned down his proposal. But if she wants to run off to the Continent and set the rumor mill ablaze, he can’t stop her. Then her brother’s dying request sends him to bring home the one woman he thought he’d finally gotten over.

The only way they’ll both get back to London without their reputations in tatters is to pretend they’re married during the journey. That means kissing like they mean it and even sharing a bed – until it becomes hard to tell where the game ends and true desire begins…

Oh, oh, oh. Don’t you just WANT IT NOW! Of course you do, and What a Duke Dares can be yours with just a few simple clicks. Try Booktopia, Bookworld, Book Depository, Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi, Barnes & Noble or your favourite book store.

Not sure? Then why not read an excerpt to see what wonders awaits.

Now let’s go dancing with Anna.

Having a Ball with the Duke!

Cathryn, it’s always a pleasure to be here to do a Friday Feast post and to talk about my latest release. Thank you again for inviting me!

My new book (out 26th August from HarperCollins Australia and Grand Central Forever in North America) WHAT A DUKE DARES starts out as a road-trip romance as the Duke of Sedgemoor (the daring duke of the title) reluctantly escorts his childhood bugbear Penelope Thorne back to England from Italy. But most of the book takes place in England, allowing me to have fun with high society life during the glittering London Season.

Rogue from GCP siteNot only that, I get to talk about clothes (my heroine’s dress sense plays quite a large part in this story) and sparkling jewels and dancing the night away in the arms of a handsome rake or two. I haven’t had the chance to go wild in society since MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION. The two earlier Sons of Sin books, SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED and A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS, take place out in the English countryside so nobody gets to go to the ball.

I always loved reading the ball scenes in Georgette Heyer when I was a girl (still do). There’s something so glamorous about the gleam of candlelight and an orchestra playing a waltz, which at this stage was still considered a touch scandalous, and ladies dressed up to the nines in silks and satins. Not to mention all those elegant gentlemen in their black and white.

Rake AmazonDuring the London season, most balls didn’t start until 10pm, giving guests the chance to have dinner first. In fact, being invited to dinner at the hostess’s home before the larger entertainment was considered a signal mark of honor. Then the party would continue until around 3am. No wonder those Regency girls all slept in so late!

Around midnight, a lavish supper would be served in a separate room (you needed a big house to do this properly!). Wine and champagne would flow, and also punch and popular Regency drinks like ratafia and orgeat. Webster’s defines ratafia as “a liqueur made from an infusion of macerated fruit or fruit juice in a liquor (as brandy) and often flavored with almonds.” Orgeat (which was pronounced or-zha, think Zsa-Zsa Gabor) is another almond concoction made with an enormous amount of sugar.

Pardon me, but I think both of these sound quite revolting and I’ll stick to the champagne. At the famous Almack’s rooms, they only served lukewarm lemonade! Something many a Regency hero complains about when he needs to seek a wife in that temple of the aristocratic marriage mart.

The Great Lobster CookbookThe food for supper was a mixture of sweet and savory and there was usually vast amounts of it, including quite substantial items like roast chicken or lamb, pies, seafood, and vegetables. Something that has intrigued me ever since my first Georgette Heyer was the lobster patties that her heroines nibble on. Partly because they sounded scrumptious.

So today I went on the hunt for a lobster patty recipe. This, with some tweaks, is the best one I found. It sounds like a lobster-filled vol-au-vent, which makes sense if you’re in your good clothes, I suppose, although I’d always imagined something a little more like a Thai fish cake.

I hope if you hold a ball and serve these luscious delicacies that you’ll remember to invite me!

Lobster Patties

Ingredients:

8 oz. (225g) flaky pastry

8 oz. (225g) cooked lobster meat

quarter pint (125ml) thick white sauce

1 tbsp. cream

pinch of paprika

1 tsp. chopped parsley

salt and pepper

beaten egg to glaze

squeeze of lemon juice

Cooking Instructions:

Pre-heat oven to 450F/230C ,Gas Mark 7.

Roll pastry thinly and cut into 3 inch (7.5 cm.) rounds.

Line some fairly deep patty tins with half the rounds.

Add the chopped lobster to the white sauce, cream, lemon juice, seasonings and parsley.

Put a spoonful of the mixture into each patty case, moisten the edge of the pastry and put another round on top, pressing the edges well together.

Crimp the edges and make a hole in the top of each patty with a skewer and brush over with a little beaten egg.

Bake for about 20 minutes in the pre-heated oven.

ENJOY!

Don’t those sound delicious? No wonder Regency heroines can’t get enough of them! I can’t offer anyone today a lobster patty in the mail – I suspect food poisoning might be an issue. Or perhaps hungry postmen! But if you comment on this post, you’ll go in the draw to win a signed print copy of WHAT A DUKE DARES.

Did you hear that, Feasty lovelies? Darling Anna is offering a…

GIVEAWAY!

But as always you’ll have to do a little smidgin of work and answer this simple question from Anna:

Lobster patties sound pretty delicious and decadent to me. What’s the most deliciously decadent thing you’ve ever eaten and where did you eat it?

Ooh! Decadent food, where to start! I was lucky enough to dine with friends at a two-star Michelin restaurant in France. We were so spoiled! We even had our own water waiter, with a choice of waters. The canapés were amazing, the veal I ate sublime. It was all very indulgent, and wallet draining, but we couldn’t help it. We were in France! Sometimes you have to do these things!

So what about you? Perhaps you’ve scoffed truffles in Tuscany, or caviar while dining alongside the Caspian sea. Maybe it was prawns in Australia’s top end. Or the seriously naughty chocolate cake your mum made for your birthday one year. As long as it’s indulgent and special, anything goes!

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 2nd September 2014. Open internationally. Rah!

If you’d like to learn more about Anna and her truly wonderful books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Twitter using @AnnaCampbellOz and Goodreads.

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Pintip, who has won a copy of Anna’s What a Duke Dares and is in for some fabulous reading. Thanks to everyone who joined in the Friday Feast fun and shared their beautiful and indulgent experiences. You made us all very hungry!

FRIDAY FEAST with Christina Brooke

63 Replies

Hello Feasters! What a fiiine Friday we have today, not least because my beloved Sydney Swans are now perched atop the AFL ladder. They look so pretty there, in all their red and white plumage. Fingers crossed they stay there, although it’s still a long way until finals.

As for Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news, I’m not sure I want to talk about it, really. I was playing rather well, then… sigh. The Curse. I will never shed it. But the game keeps me coming back. Sucker.

Enough of that. It’s a fiiiine Friday because we’re hosting a wonderful guest this week on Romance author Christina BrookeFriday Feast: award-winning historical romance author Christina Brooke. Rah!

Christina was the first Australian to win a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award for the manuscript which became her first published novel. From that point there’s been no looking back. Christina has gone on to be a best-seller and been nominated for a prestigious Rita® Award (the romance world’s equivalent to an Academy Award). Her Regency novels are a delight. I adored her Ministry of Marriage series but Christina is excelling herself with the Westruthers. The series began with London’s Last True Scoundrel, continued with The Greatest Lover Ever (aren’t these titles brilliant?) and now we have The Wickedest Lord Alive.

Check his abs … er…*cough* I mean this excellent book out!

THE WICKEDEST LORD ALIVE

Cover of The Wickedest Lord Alive by Christina BrookeCAN AN INDECENT PROPOSAL

Eight years ago, a tall handsome stranger entered Lizzie Allbright’s bedchamber and consummated a marriage of the utmost necessity. The Marquis of Steyne agreed to wed and bed Lord Bute’s admittedly lovely daughter to pay off his mother’s gambling debts. But once the deed was done, Steyne’s lawfully-wedded wife vanished into the London night…

LEAD TO EVERLASTING LOVE?

Years later, Steyne has nearly forgotten about his runaway bride. But when he suddenly finds himself in need of an heir, he has no choice but to track her down. Living happily in a small village under an assumed name, Lizzie is surprised to see her husband—and to feel such a strong attraction to him. But she is downright shocked when he asks her to bear him a son. How can they possibly repeat the heated encounter of their ill-fated wedding night without falling hopelessly in love?

Believe me, you’ll have a wonderful time with Steyne and Lizzie, so grab Christina’s new book today. Try Booktopia, Bookworld, Bookdepository, Amazon, Angus & Robertson, Barnes & Noble, Boomerang Books, Fishpond or your nearest bookshop. For the ebook, visit Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi, Barnes & Noble, or your favourite ebook retailer.

And now, if you can drag yourself away from Ab-Man above, here’s Christina!

Comfort Food

Thanks so much to Cathryn for having me here today on Friday Feast!

It’s winter in Australia and of course, my thoughts turn to those beautifully warming dishes we all enjoy when it’s cold. Curries, roasts, lasagnes, apple pies and chocolate puddings—The Margaret Fulton Cookbookand all of the meals I grew up with. The ones that warm not just the belly but the heart.

My mother is a great cook, capable of fancy schmancy dinners and fiddliness that I can only watch with open-mouthed awe (open-mouthed in the hope she feeds me some of that delicious food!) But for general everyday cookery and baking, the Margaret Fulton cookbook was always her guide.

When I left home and began to amass my own collection of cookbooks, I have to say that Margaret Fulton didn’t cross my Margaret Fultonmind. I gravitated towards Marie Claire and Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and Bill Granger.

Something changed, however, when I started cooking for my family. I began to get nostalgic for the dear old Strog (Beef Stroganoff, for the uninitiated) and basic staple recipes like baked custard and coffee cakes.

My mother’s ancient copy of Margaret’s book is still in use but I was lucky enough to receive my mother-in-law’s, so well-worn as to be coverless and practically in bits. Still functional, however, luckily for me!

I’ve just looked at the original publication date of this copy—1968. Not much rocket or kale or Margaret Fulton Cookbookquinoa in this book! The dishes range from hors d’ouvres to pastry, from cocktails to Chinese food (very exotic at that time!) and from how to cook a simple steak and make accompanying sauces to traditional Christmas cooking, to a full-blown dinner party featuring stuffed lobster tails or duck a l’orange.

Of course there are many dishes that are not terribly fashionable now—angels on horseback, stuffed eggs, avocados with jellied turtle soup, floating island, and so on. But I still can’t go past the Margaret Fulton for sheer comprehensiveness. And using the same cookbook my mother used when I was a child gives me a warm glow of homecoming that is very special.

GIVEAWAY!

What about you? Do you have a favourite comfort food? Favourite basic recipe book? Join in the conversation for a chance to win a copy of my new release, not yet officially out in Australia, THE WICKEDEST LORD ALIVE!

Did you hear that, Feasters? Your chance to win a book that hasn’t officially released in Australia yet. What an opportunity!

So crack those knuckles, lay those fingers on your keyboard and get typing. We’re a-waiting all your favourite cookbooks and comfort foods. Seriously, I wouldn’t know where to start with either. I have so many. But I did make an amazing Italian beef and bean recipe the other week. Pulses are so good in the winter. Tis the carbs. As for cookbooks, oh I love them all. But I’m particularly fond of my Rick Stein collection.

What are your favourites? Share and we’ll pop you into the draw to win a copy of Ab-Man. Er, I mean The Wickedest Lord Alive.

Giveaway closes midnight AEST, 15th July 2014. Open internationally. Rah!

If you’d like to learn more about Christina and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Twitter using @chrstnabrooke and the fabulous Romance Bandits blog.

The Wickedest Lord Alive giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Roz who has won herself a copy of Christina’s wonderful new book. Thanks to everyone for joining in the Friday Feast fun and for sharing your memories. It was lovely, as always. 

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Michelle Diener

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And another busy week has passed. I hope yours was a beauty.

I’m stupid with excitement today because one of my favourite authors is visiting for Friday Feast. Prepare yourself for a touch of fan-girl silliness.

Before that though, let’s all give a big cheer for my magnificent Sydney Swans, now perched in 3rd on the AFL ladder after their win over the Gold Coast Suns. They’re pecking away at that top spot! And Author Michelle DienerI’m pecking away at my golf handicap too. Yes, the news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf is once again positive. I’ve lost another 0.3 off my handicap. Incredible!

Which leads me nicely into my fangirl rave. Michelle Diener is an auto-buy author for me. I love her books. LOVE! The Susanna Horenbout & John Parker series is brilliant. Like James Bond in a Tudor court! Go buy In A Treacherous Court now. You’ll love it I promise and become a total fangirl/boy like me. Then there are her Regency-era set books, all with juicy conspiracies and wonderful romances. Even food! Sigh. I get gooey just thinking about them…

Michelle has a new book out which I can’t wait to sink my teeth into. This one’s going to be a cracker…

A DANGEROUS MADNESS

Cover of A Dangerous Madness by Michelle DienerThe Duke of Wittaker has been living a lie…

He’s been spying on the dissolute, discontented noblemen of the ton, pretending to share their views. Now he’s ready to step out of the shadows and start living a real life…but when the prime minister of England is assassinated, he’s asked to go back to being the rake-hell duke everyone believes he still is to find out more.

Miss Phoebe Hillier has been living a lie, too…

All her life she’s played by society’s rules, hiding her fierce intelligence and love of life behind a docile and decorous mask. All it’s gotten her is jilted by her betrothed, a man she thought a fool, though a harmless one. But when she discovers her former fiancé was involved in the plot against the prime minister, and that he’s been murdered, she realizes he wasn’t so harmless after all.

And now the killers have set their sights on her…

The only man who can help her is the Duke of Wittaker–a man she knows she shouldn’t trust. And she soon realizes he’s hiding behind a mask as careful as her own. As the clock ticks down to the assassin’s trial, the pair scramble to uncover the real conspiracy behind the prime minister’s death. And as the pressure and the danger mounts, Phoebe and Wittaker shed their disguises, layer by layer, to discover something more precious than either imagined–something that could last forever. Unless the conspirators desperate to hide their tracks get to them first.

How exciting is that! I already have my copy but what about you? Get clicking, Feasters. Michelle’s books are amaaaazing!

Buy A Dangerous Madness right now in paperback or ebook from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, iBooks, Kobo, or your favourite book retailer.

Bought? Excellent. I’m wriggling in excitement for you because I know what fun you’ll have. Now why not have even more fun with some fabulous  food.

Travel By Taste Bud

I have always loved discovering new places. That’s probably why I love reading and I love travelling. Both activities transport me away, and introduce me to new places, times, characters and food. Ever since I was little, I loved hanging out in the kitchen with my gran, who was from Glasgow, Scotland, and baking with her.

As I grew older, I realized you could travel just as easily by taste bud as by actual plane, and embarked on a lifelong love of cooking exotic (to me) dishes and trying new recipes.

Because I write historical fiction, part of that has included making recipes that were popular during the time my books are set. I was absolutely glued to the screen when Heston Blumenthal did his Renaissance feast episode, in the Heston’s Fantastic Feasts series, because I wanted to see what recipes he’d found from the time of my Tudor-set historicals. I had actually found some of the same ones, although, of course, being Heston, he took it all to another level.Cover of A Banquet of Lies by Michelle Diener

For my Regency historical novel, Banquet of Lies, my main character works as a French cook in the home of a viscount in London. It was freeing that she was French, it meant I didn’t have to cook anything over-boiled 😉 and scoured the internet and cookbooks for recipes that would have been popular at the time. I read the menus and recipes of French celebrity chef, Antonin Careme, who cooked for the Prince Regent as well as Napoleon and Talleyrand, although I chose to go a little more low-key with my fiction menu 🙂 .

My latest book, A Dangerous Madness, doesn’t have as much food in it as Banquet of Lies, but it does include some of the characters from Banquet of Lies, including the French chef from Banquet of Lies, and I do include a few dishes, such as petit fours and lemon brioche (which I try to have every time I’m in Hong Kong, as the pastry chef at the hotel I stay at makes it JUST like my character in A Dangerous Madness).

But that’s all time-travelling by taste bud. I also do some real-life travel through taste bud, as well. I love Moroccan food, I love Indian food, I love Thai food. And when I make dishes from these countries, I feel transported to them.

One recipe I’ve been making a lot recently is a macaroon from the Middle East, which a friend from Tunisia also assures me it authentically Tunisian as well. I love this recipe because it is so easy and quick, and really, really delicious. I have Nigella Lawson from her book Feast to thank for it.

Almond Macaroons

Michelle's Macaroons

Ingredients:

200g caster sugar

200g ground almonds

sprinkle of ground cardamom

2 egg whites

rose water

whole blanched almonds

Method:

Preheat the over to 200 deg C. Use a food processor to whiz up the almonds, sugar, egg whites and cardamom until it forms a thick paste. Get a large baking tray and cover it with baking parchment, then splash a little rosewater onto your hands, rub them together, then pinch off small pieces of the paste, roll into a ball then squash flat on the tray, and then top with a blanched almond. Keep refreshing the rosewater as you go. I usually do four or so, then splash on a little more. The mixture should make about 30 macaroons. Bake for 10 or so minutes, until then macaroons start to go golden at the edges. Leave to cool completely. These keep in an airtight container, although they never really last that long in my house :).

 

They wouldn’t last long in my house either, Michelle. Macaroons are so delicious and the perfect thing to enjoy with a cuppa and one of your brilliant books.

Speaking of brilliant, we have a giveaway.

GIVEAWAY!

Yes, Feasters, this is your chance to win a Michelle Diener book. Your choice of Banquet of Lies or a Dangerous Madness, in  ebook or paperback form. How cool is that? But you have to work a little. That is the Feasty way!

So… what is your favorite travel by taste bud recipe?

Mine is black olive tapenade. I make this when I feel the need for a bit of Provence. It’s so punchy and delicious and reminds me of the restaurants and bars we frequented in Aix-en-Provence when we lived there. Nothing like a glass of rosé, a pot of tapenade and a few grissini to put you in a relaxed mood.

What about you? How do you travel with your taste buds? Share and you’ll go into the draw to win a copy of either Banquet of Lies or A Dangerous Madness.

Giveaway closes midnight AEST, Tuesday 17th June 2014. Open internationally. Rah!

If you’d like to learn more about Michelle and her fantastic books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Google+ and Twitter using @michellediener

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Margareta who has won a copy of either A Dangerous Madness or Banquet of Lies. Fantastic reading ahead. Thanks to everyone who joined in the travelling with our tastebuds fun. Fab foodie ideas, as always!

FRIDAY FEAST with Alison Stuart

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Thank goodness for another weekend! Between Eurovision Song Contest awesomeness, my darling Sydney Swans soaring to a magnificent victory, and me playing (mostly) excellent golf, last weekend was exhausting.

Have you seen where my beautiful boys are on the AFL ladder? Fourth. FOURTH! And this after a terrible start to the year. Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news is equally upbeat. Alison Stuart author photoI’m on fire. Fire, I tell you! Not a single ball lost last week; not duffed into a dam, not pinched by a crow. It’s an omen!

Now, to this week’s guest. Australian author Alison Stuart wrote one of my absolute favourite reads of last year, Gather The Bones, a beautifully written story set after the Great War and a book I can’t recommend highly enough. With her latest release, Alison has dipped her toe into the hugely popular Regency period and it sounds wonderful.

Take a look…

LORD SOMERTON’S HEIR

Cover of Lord Somerton's Heir by Alison StuartCan the love of an honourable man save her from the memory of a desolate marriage?

From the battlefield of Waterloo to the drawing rooms of Brantstone Hall, Sebastian Alder’s elevation from penniless army captain to Viscount Somerton is the stuff of dreams. But the cold reality of an inherited estate in wretched condition, and the suspicious circumstances surrounding his cousin’s death, provide Sebastian with no time for dreams, only a mystery to solve and a murderer to bring to justice.

Isabel, widow of the late Lord Somerton, is desperate to bury the memory of her unhappy marriage by founding the charity school she has always dreamed of. But, her dreams are shattered, as she is taunted from the grave, discovering not only has she been left penniless, but she is once more bound to the whims of a Somerton.

But this Somerton is unlike any man she has met. Can the love of an honourable man heal her broken heart or will suspicion tear them apart?

Knowing how beautifully Alison writes, this will be another amazing story. You can own a copy right now with just a few clicks of your mouse. Try Amazon for the Kindle version, Barnes & Noble for Nook, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi or your favourite ebook retailer.

All stocked up with another great read? Good. Now have fun with this foodie treat.

Take A Stag’s Heart…

It’s wonderful to be back on Friday Feast talking about food. Thank you for the invite, Cathryn.

I have finally stretched my historical wings and ventured into the magical world of the Regency with my May release of LORD SOMERTON’S HEIR. I say magical because I think one of the reasons Regency is such a perennial favourite with readers is because it is a fantasy world inhabited by the men and women of the mystical “ton”. Gracious manners, beautiful clothes and a world that is a little more accessible to the modern reader than the earlier periods of history (such as my own particular passion, the English Civil War).

I have to say it was a wonderful period to write about. In my own version of “Cinderella”, the battle scarred professional army officer of parlous means, wakes to find he is now Lord Image of The Housekeeper's InstructorSomerton, owner of a London town house and an elegant estate in Lincolnshire so as I wrote I discovered the world through his eyes.

Food paid a huge part in Regency life and I am fortunate to have an original 1808 (14th) edition of “The Housekeepers Instructor; or universal Family Cook” by W.A Henderson “Many years eminent in the culinary profession”.  You can buy a reproduction of this book on AMAZON for $27.98 but I love the yellowing pages and the leather bindings of my own copy William Augustus Henderson was the Mrs. Beeton his day and his book remained in print well into the Victorian era.

While I can recall my son and I spending a couple of evenings in fits of laughter as we read Sample of hand notes in The Housekeepers Instructorthrough the household instructions for feeding cows and trussing Woodcocks and Snipes, a previous owner (not my grandmother’s handwriting – although there are a few notes of hers in the book) had obviously studied it in detail and scattered through the book are scraps of paper, written in a confident hand in blue fountain pen with comments on them that are almost as amusing as some of the recipes. Against the recipe for “Surfeit Water” he/she has written “What a terrible brew. I wonder why they called it water? Much understatement makes the sufferer game to try it… I’ve got all the ingredients. If scurvy grass is lemon grass should I try?” I wonder if she did. On making icings for cakes my unknown commentator says “Whisk them well for TWO or THREE HOURS” followed by an enormous exclamation mark. For the recipe for “Stag’s Heart Water” which includes the instruction “Take a stag’s heart, and cut off the fat…”, my commenter drily notes “I’m glad you cut the fat off the Stag’s heart”.

More sobering, in among the instructions for managing the dairy, the author of the book notes “The practice of keeping milk in leaden vessel, and of salting butter in stone jars, is Example of ball supper for 20 peoplevery detrimental; the well known effector of the poison of lead are bodily debility, palsy, death…” So interestingly lead poisoning was in fact well known by the end of the eighteenth century.

We may laugh at the quaintness of it all but in fact the advice is generally sound and the recipes sensible and on the whole, edible. Henderson also includes wonderful suggestions of seasonal menus for suppers and small courses… of up to 10 dishes per course! The first course, we are advised, should consist of soups, boiled poultry, fish and boiled meats; the second course of different kinds of game, high seasoned dishes, tarts, jellies etc and the third course, to be considered dessert comprises fruits and “various kinds of ornamental pastries.”

In LORD SOMERTON’S HEIR, food does not play a huge part, although at one stage, poor Sebastian is forced into eating three breakfasts by a populace determined to “feed him up”. William Augustus Henderson’s book doesn’t really touch on the subject of breakfasts but one of the great favourites of a “proper” English breakfast was “Devilled kidneys”, a dish popular since the 18th century when a thrifty housewife invented a spicy sauce to add some interest to an otherwise bland dish. Devilled Kidneys are not as horrible as you might think and I had a housemate who did rather good devilled kidneys (until the day he cooked kidneys that had gone off… but that’s a whole other story).

This recipe comes from my own copy of “The Cookery Year” by Readers Digest”.

DEVILLED KIDNEYS

Devilled kidneysFor four portions, clean and halve 8 lamb kidneys.

Prepare a devil sauce by mixing 2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce, 2 teaspoons ketchup and 1 level tablespoon dry mustard with 60g melted butter. Season with salt, white pepper and cayenne.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil or butter in a pan and fry the kidneys for 3 minutes on each side.

Arrange them in a flameproof serving dish, spread the devil sauce evenly on top of the kidneys and put under a hot grill for 1 minute.

 

Now how’s that for a bit of English breakfast goodness, Feasters? Not my favourite thing, kidneys, but the devil sauce certainly sounds delicious. Perhaps over a few pork sausages instead for a breaky to really get your heart started. Hmm. Maybe I need a kick like this before golf…

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