Tag Archives: Romance Writers of Australia

FRIDAY FEAST with Cathryn Hein

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Greetings Feasty lovelies, and welcome to another tasty edition of Friday Feast, coming to you again from the mighty metropolis of Melbourne where I’ve been for the Romance Writers of Australia annual conference. What a ball we had. I promise to post lots of photos for you when I get home. In the meantime you can enjoy this Friday Feast from me, where I wax lyrical about one of my favourite food destinations.

Cathryn Hein playing golfBut first, news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. Not a lot of golf to talk about thanks to the conference but I did sneak down the Mornington Peninsula for a hit during the week. It was not pretty. The course was playing mean, it was bloody freezing, and I lost to His Majesty after being four shots up. Gah! But while the golf might have been ordinary, the views were good and the miserable day gave us the excuse to snuggle up in an Irish pub afterward with pints of Guinness and some hot, hearty food. There’s always a silver lining!

This week I’m going to feature my debut novel, Promises, which hit shelves almost four years ago to the day, on the 29th August 2011. Such an exciting time!

PROMISES

Promises by Cathryn HeinA father with something to hide, a jockey with a taste for blackmail, a man with an agonising secret. . . and a young woman in love, defying them all.

Sophie Dixon is determined to leave her tragic past behind and forge a bright future on her beloved farm. While looking to buy a new horse, she is drawn into her neighbour Aaron’s Laidlaw’s orbit, despite the bad blood between their families.

As the racing season unfolds, Sophie and Aaron’s feelings for each other deepen. But Aaron is torn, haunted by a dark secret he fears can never be forgiven – especially by Sophie.

Sophie believes herself strong, but the truth behind her mother’s death will test her strength, and her love, to the limit. She’s been broken once. No one wants to see her broken again. Least of all the man who has grown to love her.

This is such a wonderful book, with feuding families, deep secrets, loads of romance and a whole lot of good feeling. I’m horribly biased of course, but this story is completely sigh-worthy. If you missed Teaser Tuesday this week, there’s a little snippet for your reading pleasure there, plus a another extract on the Promises book page. Or why not just buy the whole book? You know you want to… Try Booktopia, Bookworld, Angus & Robertson, Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi or your favourite book store or e-tailer.

All set? Good. Now come enjoy some happy foodie snaps from Mighty Melbournetown!

To Market, To Market!

I’ve never been shy about how much I adore Melbourne. It’s my favourite Australian capital. Melbourne has a great vibe, one of action and excitement, of fantastic food and culture, of interesting architecture and art, and it’s the spiritual home of that most excellent and pervable of sports, Australian Rules Football.

Pasta at Queen Victoria Market

Seafood at Queen Victoria Market

In many ways, it’s the city I grew up with. Mount Gambier, my home town, is almost equidistant between Adelaide and Melbourne. Being South Australian, you’d think we’d gravitate to our own capital for big city experiences but it was Melbourne that we frequented most. I guess simply because it was so much bigger. Or it could be that the road was easier. Driving to Adelaide via the Coorong was, admittedly, scenic but back then the road was pretty ordinary, and the alternative route through the upper south-east not much better, whereas Victoria’s Glenelg Highway and Princes Highway weren’t too bad. But that could be my faulty childhood memory. The older I get the more I find discover how many tricks that can play.

Olives at Queen Victoria Market

Cheese at Queen Victoria Market

I’ve been fortunate enough to live in Melbourne twice. The first time was post-university when I was employed by a pasture seed company that had a depot in Melbourne. The second time was in 2012 when Jim scored a brief posting here. Boy-oh-boy, did we make the most of that year. I think we spent every weekend doing something, whether it was going to the footy, taking a ferry up the Yarra, visiting a museum or gallery, shopping up a storm, or lunching at one of Melbourne’s many great restaurants.

Chicken nibbles at Queen Victoria Market

Offal at Queen Victoria Market

One of my absolute favourite things to do in Melbourne is visit the markets. The South Melbourne Markets were our regular haunt in 2012 but before then it was either Prahran Market or Queen Victoria Market.

Octopus and Cuttlefish at Queen Victoria Market

Chillies at Queen Victoria Market

Visiting Queen Vic late on a Saturday morning back in the 90s was a blast, especially the meat and seafood areas. The butchers and fishmongers would be in a mad scramble to shift stock before closing and if you timed it right you could snag some real bargains. Our favourite was 3 rolled beef seasoned roasts for $10 and trays of crumbed schnitzel for ridiculous prices. It was noisy, crowded and great theatre, and I revelled in it.

Gurnard at Queen Victoria Market

Fruit and Veg at Queen Victoria Market

Fishmonger at Queen Victoria Market

Female pork cuts at Queen Victoria Market

Naturally, being in Melbourne this past week for the RWA conference, I couldn’t miss another trip back to the market. We needed cheese and salumi to munch on and I wanted new ugg boots, and I just like the colour, atmosphere and interesting produce.

Duck eggs at Queen Victoria Market

Duck Breasts at Queen Victoria Market

Deli at Queen Victoria Market

Bread at Queen Victoria Market

What’s your favourite shopping experience? I’d love to hear recommendations, even if it’s not foodie.

While I adore Melbourne’s markets, I have to admit that my best shopping experiences have been overseas. Wandering through the ancient streets of Aix-en-Provence on market days is still one of the most vivid memories of our years in France. There was always something fascinating and the produce stalls were amazing.

What about you? Where can you recommend to shop?

If you’d like to learn more about me and my books, please feel free to explore my website. You’ll find everything from my book releases to past Friday Feasts and other blog posts. You might even discover some secret things about me. If you’d like to connect with me elsewhere, I’m on Facebook, Twitter as @CathrynHein, Google+, Goodreads and Pinterest.

For all the latest news and new releases, plus free short stories and other goodies, please sign up to my newsletter. I luuuurve newsletter subscribers and treat them super-special.

Friday Feast recipe index link.

FRIDAY FEAST with Cathryn Hein

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Greetings from the Romance Writers of Australia annual conference in vibrant, footy-mad Melbourne! The conference kicked off last night with publisher drinkies and everyone had a ball. But enough of that. I’ll be telling you aaaaall about the conference later, when I’m home and recovered. Today it’s Friday Feast time, once again with yours truly, and a Country Women’s Association morning tea favourite.

First, news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. Did I tell you about my new putter grip? The super fat one that is supposed to do wonders for your putting? The one that didn’t fit in my old golf bag so I had to buy an expensive new one just to accommodate it? Yeah, that putter grip. Romance author Cathryn HeinWell… it doesn’t work. Either that or it has an allergy to one-putting and can only two, three and *sobs hysterically* four putt. If it can’t find some immunity soon, it may not be long for this world.

We had my latest release, The Falls, as feature book last week, so to keep things interesting, let’s go back in time to my second novel, Heart of the Valley. I love this book. Luuuuuurve it. I love the gutsy heroine Brooke, the truly babelicious hero Lachie, the horses, the heroine’s friends, even Billy the dog.  The crush I had on Lachie took about a year to get over and even now I still sigh when I think about him. If you haven’t read this book, please do. It’s lovely, I promise!

Take a look.

HEART OF THE VALLEY

Heart of the Valley  by Cathryn HeinA vivid, moving and passionate story of love and redemption.

When a tragic horse float accident leaves young showjumper Brooke Kingston unable to properly manage her family’s Hunter Valley property, she believes nothing worse can happen. Until she discovers her well-intentioned family have employed a new farm manager for her beloved Kingston Downs. But stubbornness runs in the family, and Brooke isn’t about to leave her home or abandon her darling horse Poddy. Working on the principle possession is nine-tenths of the law, she digs in her spurs and stays put.

Lachie Cambridge is unimpressed to arrive at his new job and find the boss’s sister still in residence. Lachie immediately classifies Brooke as yet another spoilt brat, but to his surprise Brooke proves nothing of the sort. She’s clever, talented and capable, but it’s her vulnerability he can’t resist and after a shaky start they develop a friendship. A friendship that soon evolves into something more.

As his feelings for Brooke deepen, and the Valley and its people wriggle further into his affections, Lachie starts to question what he really wants. He’s always believed that home is where your heart is, and his lies in the soil of his family property Delamere. Torn by his love for Brooke, Lachie must make a decision – to chase his dream or follow his heart.

But Fate has other plans, and Brooke and Lachie are left reeling when the very things that brought them together now threaten to tear them apart.

Sigh. Did I mention how much I love that book? Heart of the Valley is available right now from Booktopia, Bookworld, Angus & Robertson, Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi or your favourite book store or e-tailer.

All set? Excellent. Now grab a cuppa and settled down for some old-fashioned goodness.

Fluffy Fun!

My mother-in-law is a pretty handy baker. She makes beautiful cakes of all sizes and flavours, her peanut biscuits are seriously moreish, and there’s an ongoing argument over who makes the better ANZAC biscuits in the family – Alice or Essie. As you can imagine, I’ve snaffled a few recipes from her over the years.

Those of you who receive my newsletter and read the Christmas edition will know that my in-laws run a livestock transport company, carting cattle (and other things) all over from their north Queensland small country town base. Here’s me with one of their giant trucks, of which they have a lot. The one below is only a B-double but they run up to triples as well, which are seriously long.

Romance author Cathryn Hein with one of her in-laws' trucks

Anyway, back to foodie goodness and country kitchens. Morning smoko is a bit of a ritual around the yard, with everyone stopping for a cuppa and whatever sweet goodies happen to be on hand. Alice makes it all – cakes, biscuits, slices – and there are usually at least a couple of things to choose from.

Now, my mum and grandmothers used to home bake everything too, and occasionally we’d have pikelets. As country people know, buttered pikelets are standard CWA fare. They’re delicious and dead easy to make, and rarely do you find any left over after an event.

But did you know all pikelets aren’t created equal?

Seriously, they’re not. And I never knew until I discovered my mother-in-law’s Fluffy Pikelets. They’re the same as the ones I ate as a kid, only lighter and better and oh so scrumptious.

In fact, you could whip up a batch now. Go on, I dare you…

Fluffy Pikelets

Fluffy pikelets on Friday Feast

1 cup self-raising flour

Pinch salt

¼ teaspoon bi-carb soda

2 tablespoons sugar

1 egg

½ cup milk

1 dessertspoon melted butter

Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Add egg and milk and whisk well. Fold in melted butter.

Heat a flying pan over a medium heat. Add a little butter to coat the base of the pan, pouring off any excess then drop in tablespoon amounts of the batter. Turn pikelets over when bubbles appear on the surface and cook until lightly golden.

Makes approximately 12

*

Okay Feasties, what’s your favourite morning tea snack?

Are you a gingernut and a cup of tea person or perhaps a healthy piece of fruit muncher? Maybe you… *gasp* skip morning tea. Me, I have a coffee and a wholemeal Salada, and kid myself it’s healthy. Otherwise there are always home-made goodies in the freezer, like banana and oat cake, muffins and the like, that I make for Jim. But I try to be good and avoid those. Writing is an unhealthy enough occupation as it is without adding that naughtiness too it.

If you’d like to learn more about me and my books, please feel free to explore my website. There are plenty of cool things to discover, especially on the blog, my about page and each book’s “the story behind” page. You can also connect via Facebook, Twitter using @CathrynHein, Google+, Goodreads and Pinterest.

For all the latest news and new releases, plus free short stories and other goodies, please sign up to my newsletter.

Friday Feast recipe index link.

FRIDAY FEAST with Helene Young

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Greetings, food and book lovers, and welcome to another delicious edition of Friday Feast. This week, a lamb dish exploding with flavour, a suspenseful new release, plus another fab giveaway. Indeedy, Friday Feast has all the comforts, so kick back and read on!

In Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news, you know how I said last week that it looked like the curse hadn’t followed me home from Mount Gambier? I was wrong. It did, the rotten thing, and I’m a bit crankypants about the whole affair too. Offering false hope is cruel. I was smacking balls okay until halfway through my last round, then the curse struck and it aaaaall went wrong and I had to hand in a completely embarrassing score card. Hmph. Oh well, time to show a bit of optimism and hope the only way is up!

Author Helene YoungI’m absolutely delighted to welcome this week’s Friday Feast guest. Not only is Helene Young a regular here and renowned for sharing amazing recipes, she’s a gorgeous person and a highly talented author, having twice won romance the coveted Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year, and been nominated and shortlisted for several crime writing awards. Plus, given she’s been a pilot and Regional Flying Manager with Australia’s largest regional airline, and now lives on a catamaran, she’s also one pretty damn cool woman!

Helene’s latest release is Northern Heat. Check it out.

NORTHERN HEAT

Cover of Northern Heat by Helene YoungIn remote northern Australia, Conor Stein is living under an assumed name and rebuilding his shattered life. Working at Cooktown’s youth centre has given him the chance to make a difference again, and a chance to flirt with Kristy Dark. When he finds himself dragged into a murder investigation, with more lives at risk, he fights to the death to protect those he loves.

After tragedy tore her family apart, Dr Kristy Dark fled home to the steamy north with her feisty teenage daughter, Abby. She hoped being part of the small community would help them both heal. When late one sultry night Conor staggers into the emergency department supporting a local fisherman with a gunshot wound, she has no inkling her world is about to be turned on its head.

As a cyclone tears through Cooktown, cutting them off from the world, the real killer moves to silence any witnesses. With their lives on the line, Kristy will have to summon her courage and place her trust in Conor, or they’ll both lose someone they love.

A gripping new novel of high drama and desire by Australia’s award-winning master of romantic suspense.

What a cracking read that sounds! And Northern Heat could be yours right now with just a few clicks. Buy from Booktopia or Bookworld. Or from the good people at Abbey’s Bookshop, Boomerang Books, QBD The Bookshop, Fishpond.au, Amazon.au, Kobo, iTunes, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi or your favourite book retailer.

Sorted? Excellent. Time to kick back with Helene.

Size Doesn’t Matter – or not to Capt G 🙂

I’m so excited to be back visiting Cathryn and Friday Feast. This full time writing gig is wonderful!! The last 2 years have been so manic I’ve barely had time to cook so I’ve had fun perusing the past posts looking for recipes I can experiment with now I have time on my hands.  Mind you, Capt G presented me with this most delicious breakfast last Thursday and announced, ‘That’s the last one, darling. Now you’re retired you won’t need a cooked breakfast any more.’

Captain G's last cooked breakfast for author Helene Young

I felt quite ripped off, although Capt G has been exemplary since we moved back to Brisbane. Every morning he’s crawled out of bed, made me a cooked breakfast, packed me a lunch and sent me off to work. Every evening I’ve come home to dinner! (Exactly how he fills his days remains something of a mystery, but I suspect it involves coffee, chatting, coffee, chatting, and getting dinner ready!)

But the truly amazing thing for me is the yummy food Capt G delivers in a very compact space. The Roobinesque's kitchenRoobinesque has 2 small fridges, a camping freezer, a convection microwave, a small gas oven, a 3-burner gas stove and a Baby Q Weber BBQ. The kitchen itself is basically one bench top. Organisation is the key – and the Captain is organized!

One of my favourite dishes is Shawarma Lamb – slow cooked in the oven. He serves it with couscous, although he adds some chicken stock to the water so it’s delicious! It’s perfect for feeding 6 to 8 people and is trouble free.

The lamb is ‘melt in your mouth’ tender and pretty much cooks itself. He marinates it in the morning and leaves it sitting all day in the fridge until he’s ready to fire up the BBQ. Once it’s in and cooking the rest of the meal is simple to prepare and takes 20 minutes at the maximum. Perfect for a sailor with a busy marina social life!

Here’s the recipe:

Shawarma Lamb

(Courtesy of taste.com.au)

1 cup chopped fresh coriander

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

6 garlic cloves, crushed

80ml (1/3 cup) olive oil

2kg leg of lamb – boned and flattened.

180g (2/3 cup) Greek yoghurt

1 tablespoon tahini

2 Lebanese cucumbers, halved, thinly sliced

1 cup fresh mint leaves

1/2 red onion, cut into thin wedges

2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

Lebanese bread, to serve

Step 1: Combine coriander, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, 5 garlic cloves and 60ml (1/4 cup) oil in a large glass or ceramic baking dish. Add the lamb and turn to coat. Cover and place in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight to marinate.

Step 2: Preheat oven 160ºC. Preheat the BBQ.

Step 3: Sear the lamb on the BBQ, browning all sides.

Step 4: Place lamb on a wire rack in a roasting pan. Drizzle over remaining oil. Season. Add water to pan to reach a depth of 2cm. Cover with foil and roast for 2 hours in oven at 160ºC. Remove foil. Roast for a further 1 hour or until the lamb is tender. Rest for 20 minutes.

Step 5: Meanwhile, combine yoghurt, tahini and remaining garlic in a bowl.

Step 6: Slice the lamb and divide among plates, placing on a bed of couscous. Top with the cucumber, mint, onion and pine nuts. Serve with the yoghurt mixture and bread.

I’m looking forward to getting back into the kitchen myself, but I know I’ll have some adjusting to do in order to work in the confined space. Capt G has frequently commented that I have a knack for using every pan in the kitchen – luckily we don’t have as many pans on the boat as we did in a house!!

What’s your kitchen like? Is it your pride and joy, or a work in progress? Is a good kitchen important to you or can you make do?

Join in the conversation and go into the draw to win a copy of Northern Heat! I’ll leave it to Cathryn to decide 🙂

Happy cooking!

 

Did you hear that, Feasties? We have a…

GIVEAWAY!

Tell us all about your kitchen, whether you love it, wish for something better, or don’t care because you hate cooking, and we’ll pop you into the draw to win a copy of Helene’s brilliant new release, Northern Heat.

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 9th June 2015. Australian postal addresses only.

Need more inspiration to enter? Take a look at Helene’s fantastic trailer for Northern Heat. If that doesn’t get you wanting to win, I don’t know what will!

xxx

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

Friday Feast recipe index link.

FRIDAY FEAST with Carol Marinelli

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Hello food and book lovers, and welcome to another delicious edition of Friday Feast. This week: a super-selling author, the best accompaniment to a roast ever, topped off with an international bad boy for dessert.

But first, to Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news. I only lost one ball to water last week. Hoorah! Actually, I played quite well on the front nine. The back nine was, alas, a different matter. One of these days I might blast out one full round of goodness. Then again, piggies Carol Marinellimight get airborne. Sadly, one’s nongolfing genes appear to be very, very strong…

Let’s move on to far more exciting things, like romance authors so loved they barely need introduction. Born in the UK but now living in magnificent Melbourne, Carol Marinelli is a trained nurse who sold her first book to Mills and Boon in 2000 and has now at least 70 novels to her name. Carol’s romances and women’s fiction have sold all around the world and she’s a multiple finalist in the Romance Writers of Australian Ruby Award.

Carol has a brand spanking new book out with up and coming publisher Tule. This baby is hot and bad in the best possible way. Check it out.

BORN TO BE BAD

Born to be Bad by Carol MarinelliInnocent Milly Harper knows that it would be foolish at best to get involved with billionaire bad boy, Roman Zaretsky. He’s a guest at the hotel where she works, so she knows his reputation only too well.

One night, when all the other guests have left, Milly finds herself dancing with the Devil himself. His touch, his kiss, even his words seduce.

Being in his arms is pure passion and delight, but she’d never anticipated the shame of being paid.

Ooh, now that’s an intriguing premise, isn’t it? With an author of Carol’s calibre, you know you’ll be in good hands  so why not add Born To Be Bad to your reading list right now. One click on Amazon and it’s all yours.

Now that you’re all bookied up, please join Carol for her debut Friday Feast appearance.

Keep it Hot!!

The oven I mean!

That’s the secret to good Yorkshire puddings— a very hot oven but we’ll get to that soon.

Thank you to Cathryn for inviting me onto her wonderful blog. I am not a very imaginative cook. I need blogs like Friday Feast to give me ideas to try different things but Yorkshire puddings are one thing that I have mastered.

Why, I hear you asking, as we go into summer, am I giving you a recipe that would be more apt for winter? Well, I am going to give them a little twist for Christmas.

When it was William and Kate’s wedding I was having friends over so that we could all watch it together. People were coming straight from work and so apart from finger food I needed something a bit more filling. I am from England and of course I wanted an English theme to the food.

I also wanted to ignore my guests and focus on the wedding!

The day before I was a cooking machine. I made two beef roasts and a lot of Yorkshire puddings. I cooled them and then froze them.

The next day when the beef was cold I carved it into small pieces.

Just before people arrived I took the Yorkshire puddings out of the freezer and into muffin papers and put out the beef, some gravy and also horseradish sauce.

Whenever anyone was hungry they just piled some beef onto a couple of Yorkshires, topped them with gravy (doesn’t matter if it’s gone cold) and then gave them a ten second spin in the microwave.

Of course they could be warmed in the oven but this was more about a DIY supper and watching the fabulous wedding.

The Yorkshire’s were a huge hit. The men actually fell quiet when they tasted them, or was it that Pippa and her soon to be famous bottom had just been sighted? I like to think it was a bit of both!

This Christmas I am going to be doing the same with turkey and cranberry sauce.  Actually I’ve already done the same (see attached images). There are none left but I managed to take a couple of pictures before they vanished. I am not a brilliant photographer but believe me when I say they tasted fantastic and will be a huge hit.

photo (8)

Or you could just have them with your regular roast.

Yorkshire Pudding

½ cup of plain flour (very important that it is plain)

1 ½  cups of milk.

2 eggs

Salt and pepper.

I use a jug for speed and ease when pouring.

Put in all the ingredients and give them a very good whisk until the batter is shiny.

Leave to stand.

I tend to make the batter about half an hour or so before I use it and leave it on the bench, so that it is not very cold (we want hot remember) when it is added to the oil.

Before I take my roast out to rest, at the final baste I take some fat from it and add enough to cover the bottoms of a 12 tin muffin tray – you can use vegetable oil if you prefer.

I put the tray and oil in the oven so it is sizzling hot for when I add my batter.

photo (9)Give your batter another whisk.

Can you feel the tension mounting?

As you take out the meat to rest turn up the heat so that your oven is very hot (I put it on maximum – I actually turn my oven up to maximum before I take the meat out but I am scared that you’ll burn your roasts and blame me, so do so at your own peril)

Quickly but carefully add the batter to the very hot tray—about 1/3 to ½ way up the side.

Put them into the very hot oven and close the door.

Don’t open it.

Just watch those babies suddenly rise and lift out of the tins and turn golden.

They take about 15 -20 minutes.

Practice makes perfect with Yorkshire’s— like my heroes they can be a bit temperamental, but once you crack them you are set for life.

One word of warning— for some odd reason I never made them till after I got divorced. When I finally did my children asked why the hell I’d never made Yorkshire’s before. Now, I can’t get away with not making them when I do a roast.

I hope yours turn out to be fab!

Much love

Carol xxx

Oh, and for some extra hotness, you can check out my sexy, Russian, bad boy, Roman.

Send in the fans!

 

We’ll need them by the sound of your hottie, Carol. Roman, combined with all the heat from the oven, will make for one scorching household.

Thanks so much for this recipe. I never had Yorkshire pud growing up but I’ve sure been making up for it as an adult. No hunk of beef gets roasted without Yorkshire pudding to add to the deliciousness. The way it takes the hot fat and creates those puffed delights is wonderful to see, not to mention eat. And I LOVE the idea of making turkey and cranberry sauce ones for nibblies. That’s so cool!

So, clever Feasters, what’s your favourite accompaniment to a roast? I must admit, show me a big oozy dish of cauliflower in cheese sauce and I’m your friend for life. Actually, I could eat that stuff on its own I love it so much. Alas, my other half has an inexplicable aversion to cauliflower and I rarely have it.

But what about you? What’s your favourite? Perhaps it mint sauce for lamb, Brussels sprouts with bacon, or maybe special tricked-up stuffing for a chook. Share away. I’m roasting a leg of lamb this weekend so your suggestion could end up on my dinner table!

If you’d like to learn more about Carol, please visit Harlequin. com, her page at Tule Publishing or follow her on Twitter using @CarolMMarinelli.

FRIDAY FEAST with Trish Morey

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Hello Feasters, and welcome to another fantabulous edition of Friday Feast! This week: amazing eggplants and a newly-minted rural romance author for you to look forward to.

First, news from Us Heins Weren’t To Play Golf because I know how hungry you are to hear how I fared in round 3 of the club championships. Bluntly, I was a complete embarrassment. THREE balls into the water off the tee on the first. I’m still having anxiety attacks about it. Seriously. The Author Trish Moreyastonishing thing is that I’m still running fourth in the champs but with one round to go and the leader 40 shots ahead, I’m just there to make up numbers. And hopefully not make a total nong of myself again.

But on to far more pleasant things. It’s my great delight to welcome Trish Morey to Friday Feast for the first time. Trish is not only a USA Today best-selling author, she’s also a three-time Romance Writers of Australia Ruby Award finalist and two times winner, plus a Romance Writer of America Rita finalist. In other words, this lady knows how to pen a tale!

Now she’s turned her hand to that most excellent of genres, rural romance. Trish’s first rural Stone Castles releases December 1st  but is available for pre-order now. Check it out!

STONE CASTLES

Cover of Stone Castles by Trish MoreyShe turned her back on the girl she was. He’ll show her the woman she was meant to be.

After ten years pursuing a prestigious career in New York, Pip Martin has returned to the Yorke Peninsula to farewell her dying grandmother. She doesn’t intend to linger – there are too many memories in the small country town and not all of them will stay in the past.

Like Luke Trenorden, her childhood sweetheart. A man Pip had promised her heart to, until tragedy stole Pip’s family away, and a terrible lie tore both their lives apart.

Pip cannot deny there is still a spark between them, even amidst the heartache of losing her Gran and the demands of her new life. But it may not be enough to rekindle a love that has been neglected for so long.

When a long-kept secret is revealed, Pip is free to go back to the life she thought she wanted… unless Luke can break down the stone castle Pip has built around her heart.

“I fell in love, laughed, cried… [an] emotional and page-turning read” – Rachael Johns, bestselling author of Outback Dreams.

“A story with a heart as vast as South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula ” – Karly Lane, bestselling author of North Star.

“Pacey, vibrant, sexy … and touching. Stone Castles is the perfect package.” – Barbara Hannay, bestselling author of Zoe’s Muster.

Have a listen to that praise! This is one book you won’t want to miss and it’s available for pre-order from Booktopia, Bookworld, Angus & Robertson, QBD The BookshopKobo, Amazon, iBooks, Google PlayJB Hi-Fi or your favourite local bookshop or ebook retailer. Go on. You know you want this!

Now get the napkins ready because Trish has a recipe to make you drool.

A few of my favourite things

Eggplants and garlic and fat red tomatoes…

Ingredients for Antipasto di MelanzaneIf that’s not a line from Julie Andrews singing about her favourite things in The Sound of Music, it should have been. They’re certainly some of my favourite things, and when I spotted eggplants (or aubergines or melanzane) in the greengrocer yesterday for only $3.99/kilo, it was a case of be still my heart.

Eggplants are just amazing. You can stuff them with spicy mince, cook them up with other veg in a colourful and delicious ratatouille, use them in a base for a delish moussaka, roast them in an oven or over flame and make the gorgeous smoky dip, baba ghanoush. And that’s just the start. Is that not the definition of versatility?

Today I’m sharing an easy and so yummy appetizer, that goes way further than any appetizer has gone before (seriously, this dish deserves hyperbole and lame Star Trek references). And if you don’t like eggplants, maybe it’s because you’re just not doing them the right way. It’s fabulous on crusty Italian bread, awesome with the old family favourite zucchini slice, and it’s amazing the morning after with poached eggs.

Here’s the recipe, from the Women’s Weekly Italian Cooking Class Cookbook of whatever year that cookbooks only cost $4.98. Seriously, $4.98. It was a bargain then and if WW thought to reprint it, I’d buy a truckload for my four daughters and all their friends at whatever price. It is my go-to cookbook and is stained and falling out of its staples but it is sooo good. (Sorry, more hyperbole, but you get the picture…)

So here goes.

Eggplant Appetizer – or Antipasto di Melanzane

2 large eggplant

1 cup oil (I tend to use whatever I need, and drizzle it on as I go, so go with your gut on this one)

3 ripe tomatoes (substitute a tin of diced tomatoes for the fresh, paste and water if you need)

1 tblspn tomato paste

1/2 cup water

salt (if you use – I don’t) and pepper (the good black grinder stuff)

Cut eggplants into 0.5 to 1 cm x 6 cm slices. Heat oil and fry in batches for 5 minutes (or until gorgeously soft and brown. If you add your oil to the pan bit by bit like I do, rather than as a cup upfront, the eggplant will suck it up and you’ll know when it’s had enough because it will let it out again.) Drain on paper towel.

When eggplant batches are done, a little oil more, if there’s none left in the pan, and into that goes the chopped garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste and water. Simmer this for ten minutes or so until thick and gorgeous. Pop back the eggplant and combine and simmer a few more.

Season with pepper (and salt if you want) and voila, behold!

completed Antipasto di MelanzaneNow I did make double, because it is so good and it is so popular here in Chez Morey, so don’t be disappointed if yours looks like less. I don’t know how you could be though, because it’s so good.

To make it better – use ripe fresh tomatoes. Tinned are fine and it’s always fabulous, but fresh – mmmmh, it tastes like summer.

Likewise the oil. Extra virgin olive oil and make it local if you can. I use a local Adelaide Hills Bald Hills variety now that is so good, but for years I used Moro in the big tins and still loved it.

For a low(er) fat version, spray your eggplant slivers with oil and bake in the oven until soft. It’s not quite the same but it will save you a truckload of calories if that’s what you’re counting, but use more tomatoes or another tin, as the eggplant will draw up that extra juice.

There are no rules with this kind of recipe. Just make it with what you’ve got and to suit yourself and enjoy!

So do you have a special way with eggplant? Or maybe tomatoes if eggplant isn’t your thing? Or maybe garlic if neither eggplant nor tomatoes is not your thing. Though while you’re still reading, I don’t know 🙂

Enjoy!

Trish x

Great recipe, Trish! Eggplant is such a delicious veg. I just adore how it takes on that amazing smoky flavour when you grill it. By the way, I have that AWW cookbook too and agree that it’s a cracker.

Besides caviar d’aubergine, my favourite way to use eggplant is in moussaka. Grilling the slices on the barbecue beforehand gives the dish extra oomph. Having said that, one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten involved stuffed eggplant. Sigh. I still remember that day…

So come along, clever Feasty people. What’s your favourite way to use Mediterranean veg like eggplant, tomatoes and garlic? Or perhaps you have a secret way with zucchini or celeriac?  Share and help us prepare for summer!

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

FRIDAY FEAST with Beck Nicholas

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Hello, lovely people, and welcome to another fantabulous edition of Friday Feast! Today is very special because we have on a debut Australian author, a book giveaway and a totally slurpilicious recipe. Much cause for celebration!

Unlike a certain beloved football team whose performance in the  AFL Grand Final still makes me want to sob with heartbreak and bewilderment. But enough of the Sydney Swans. Cos, quite frankly, I’m still too upset to talk about it. So, in Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news… well, at least I wasn’t as bad as my football team! Not even close. Although I did send a ball hurtling into a dam. Actually, make that two balls. Oh… Hang on. It was three. Sigh. But I did spot a frill-necked lizard and had a brown snake go slithering across the fairway. Just as a bonus!

Speaking of bonuses, that’s what you’re in for today, so read on.Young Adult author Beck Nicholas

I am absolutely chuffed to welcome Beck Nicholas to Friday Feast and to showcase her debut young adult novel, Fake. Beck hails from Adelaide and has been a long time member of the Romance Writers of Australia, and we’ve caught up at many a conference. I was thrilled when I heard Harlequin would be publishing her first book and even more delighted when I saw the fantastic cover she’d been given. Now it’s wonderful reviews I’m seeing!

Fake is on the shelves now and while it might be marketed at young adult readers, adult readers will be in for a treat too. Take a look.

FAKE

Cover of Fake by Beck NicholasSeventeen-year-old Kath McKenny has a date to the end-of-term party with her since-forever crush. He publicly messaged her to confirm, but there’s been a recent status update: he’s taking the new girl — giggly, pretty, well-developed Lana Elliot — instead.

After being thoroughly humiliated in front of half the school, best friend Chay talks Kath into revenge: a scheme to create the perfect — and very fake — online guy for Lana. Once she falls for him, they’ll show her what it’s like to get brutally dumped.

Everything is going to plan until Kath starts spending more-than-just-friends time with the other new kid in town — Lana’s dreamy older brother, Sebastian. Kath finds herself getting in deep — in love and drowning in guilt, she tries to put an end to her prank, but it’s taken on an unstoppable momentum of its own, with very real consequences.

As her plotting begins to unravel, so do the people Kath thought she knew:
Her mother has a secret online life.
Her father has a whole new family.
Her best friend is barely recognisable.
Her boyfriend has a disturbing hidden past.
And her enemy is more familiar than she knew

Doesn’t that sound a blast? You should buy a copy right now. For the paperback visit most splendiferous online bookstore Booktopia. Also Bookworld, Dymocks, Angus & Robertson, QBD The Bookshop, Collins Booksellers, direct from the publisher Harlequin, or your favourite bookshop or chain store. For the ebook try Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi or your favourite retailer.

Still not sure? Try this excerpt on for size.

‘Kath! What are you hiding here for?’

I look up, into the frowning face of Chayanne Davy. She’s been my best friend since fourth grade when she cut my finger in a fight over a piece of purple ribbon. She didn’t do blood and promptly fainted, meaning we both spent the rest of the lesson in the nurse’s office. Now, she looks even more pissed than she did then. Her eyebrows, a dozen shades darker than her bleached hair, are lowered in a scowl.

I shrug. ‘This is where we always sit.’

She drops a folder on the damp grass and settles beside me with an exaggerated sigh. ‘But now you’re dating Joel, you need to hang out near the canteen in case he wants to talk to you.’

‘He bought me an ice-cream almost two weeks ago. It’s hardly a commitment.’

‘You’ve finally got Mr Hottie’s attention and now you’re going to blow him off?’

I’m not sure a meet-up at Sweety’s Icecreamery, two doors down from my house, even counts as a date. I shrug again.

Chay flashes me one of her infectious grins. Her bright red lipstick matches her sandals which, combined with tiny cut-off shorts, are completely inappropriate for the chill in the air. ‘So did I imagine the fact that he asked you to the end-of-term party?’

My lips twitch but I refrain from repeating the jig I’d performed in the privacy of my bedroom. ‘Nope.’

Truth be told, for a while I’d worried that I’d dreamed the casual invite to the annual dress-up celebration. I’d been polishing off the remnants of my strawberry shake and the final slurp nearly drowned his words.

Wasn’t that fun? Now go buy. Go on!

Sorted? Excellent. Please enjoy some delicious naughtiness with Beck.

A Little Fakery

I am a regular reader of Friday Feast for the brilliant excerpts (to make my TBR pile groan)and the recipes. Part of the excitement of that call with my first sale was the prospect of at last being a guest myself. Here I am with FAKE on the shelves and my turn in the FF spotlight. Thanks for having me Cathryn (even though we might have a slight disagreement on footy teams – Go you Crows, 2015 for sure!).

There isn’t a lot of cooking in Fake – apart from one horrible experiment when Kath makes her fave lunch of banana and peanut butter warmed on fresh bread. The thought of it actually makes me gag but I remember a friend at school LOVING the combination. Personally I preferred the timeless (but perhaps equally disgusting) potato chip sandwich for my no-mum-around meal.

Although there aren’t many cooking moments, the characters do spend an awful lot of time visiting Sweety’s Icecreamery where they enjoy ice-creams and milkshakes… and a little romance.

Today I’m sharing a recipe inspired by the mint milkshake in the book. It’s is more of a building than cooking one but is super delicious. And you know sometimes it doesn’t hurt to Fake it a little.

Choc-mint Ice-Cream Sandwich

One tub awesome choc mint ice-cream (whole tub not required for dessert)

Choc chip cookies (or buy some)

150g softened butter

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg

1 1/2 cups SR flour

1 cup milk chocolate bits

Method

First, cream butter and sugar. Add in egg and vanilla and beat well. Mix in sifted flour and choc chips, until well combined.  Place heaped teaspoons of mixture onto lined tray, and press gently flat.

Bake at 180C for 10-12 minutes or until golden in colour and slightly gooey.

Choc chip cookies

Choc sauce

200g 70% Cocoa dark chocolate

185ml thickened cream

Break up choc and mix together. Heat in microwave or over double boiler gently, stirring often to combine.

Broken up chocolate ready for melting

Construction

Place dollops of ice-cream between two cookies. Then simply drizzle the warm choc sauce over the top.

Choc-mint Ice-Cream Sandwich

Enjoy!

I’m not sure how many this makes thanks to family scavenging as I cooked but all the components can be enjoyed on their own too.

For a chance to win a signed copy of Fake, comment below to let me know your favourite after school snack or an easy dessert.

 

Thanks, Beck! And how good does that sandwich look? Mmm. I adore mint chocolate so this is right up my alley.

Now, you heard Beck. There’s a…

GIVEAWAY!

Rah! We so adore a giveaway on Friday Feast. It’s such a great way to discover a new author and this giveaway is totally easy-peasy. All you have to do to win a signed paperback copy of Fake is leave a comment sharing your favourite after school snack or easy dessert.

In the interest of playing along, I’m going to divulge one of the snacks I used to sneak in as a teenager: zap a snack-sized tin of corn in the microwave, drain and then stir through one (or many more) of those individually wrapped cheese slices. Zap a bit more until the cheese is melted, then scoff with spoon. Embarrassing to think about now but I loved that mix.

Your turn to share!

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 7th October 2014. Australian postal addresses only.

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

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Shelleyrae who has scored a copy of Beck’s fabulous debut release, FAKE. Thanks so much to everyone who joined in the Friday Feast fun. There were some wonderful after-school snack blasts from the past, as well as some, how shall we say… not for the fainthearted foods mentioned!

FRIDAY FEAST with Helene Young

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Hello Feasters, and welcome to another truly excellent Friday filled with food and fabulous authors.

But first…. DID YOU SEE MY SWANNIES? At last, we have scrambled our way into the eight. Now, if we can just do the righty and give Hawthorn the spanking they deserve tonight all will be well in Swanfan world. Which reminds me, all is rather well with Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news too. No, I don’t have my new 3 wood yet, it’s on order, but I did play well enough last week to win a golf ball.

Go ahead and laugh, but remember: From little things, big things grow!

Speaking of growing, how about the superstar growth of our guest today! Helene Young ishelene-young-2-0 not only a multi-award winning author, with Australian Romance Reader Awards and RWA Romantic Book of the Year honours galore, she’s also one of Australia’s best-selling authors. And a lovely lady to go with it.

An airline pilot now living on a catamaran in Queensland (I know, I know), Helene continues to write romantic suspense novels that capture the Australian landscape beautifully, as well as keeping you on the edge of your seat.

Her latest release is Safe Harbour. Take a look…

SAFE HARBOUR

Cover of Safe Harbour by Helene YoungWhen Darcy Fletcher drags a handsome sailor from a stricken yacht, she finds herself drawn into his mysterious world.  Having saved his life can she now rescue him from his dark past? Or will that endanger all she holds most dear?

Noah, keeper of the peace and guardian of the Banskia Cove secrets, can’t tell Darcy the real reason this man has washed up on their shores. If she knew the links between the stranger and her own dysfunctional family, she’d flee the Cove and he’d lose her love for good.

As they take refuge in an old whaling station, only one thing is certain – by morning, no one will be the same again. Lies will surface, hearts will break, and not all will find safe harbour.

Doesn’t that sound exciting? This is one book you won’t want to miss and it can be yours now with just a quick trip to the shops or a few clickety-clicks of your mouse (or finger taps for you tablet and phone users). Buy Safe Harbour now from Booktopia, Bookworld, Collins Booksellers, Dymocks, QBD the Bookshop, Angus & Robertson, Fishpond, or your local independent. For immediate download of the ebook, why not try Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi or your favourite ebook retailer.

Now kick back and be comforted by Helene!

Fresh Is Best

Thanks to Cathryn for allowing me to visit Friday Feast one more time – I’m very honoured 🙂 I’ve discovered so many wonderful recipes on this amazing blog and it goes from strength to strength.

So, Feasters, let me start with a question. How do plan your meals? Do you begin with a recipe or do you source the ingredients first? I have to admit that I was someone who would decide on the menu, usually by drooling over glossy photos in magazines and recipe books. Then I’d head out to scour the shops for the ingredients. Sometimes I’d be beside myself scene from manly marketbecause pomegranates weren’t in season or the tender asparagus shoots looked more like stakes I’d use to prop up a wilting tomato plant that something that would grace the smoked salmon ravioli. Or rhubarb was only to be found in the frozen section and the new potatoes were decidedly last season…

And then I had an epiphany. How about I check out what’s in season and then build the menu around that? You can stop laughing right now… For a girl who spent a lot of time in restaurants – both working and eating – you might assume it would be basic stuff, but clearly I’m a slow learner. Now we’re living aboard a boat with limited storage it’s even more important. We choose the fresh, glossy produce and then decide what to cook. Simple food takes on a new flavour when it’s market-day fresh.

The Goat Pie Guy's stallLucky for us there are markets every Sunday in the local park at Manly. Once a month there’s a fantastic Farmers Market with everything from Goat Meat Pies (which are delicious!) to hot smoked salmon and stalls full of fresh produce. You can chat to the stall owner about the best way to cook something new – or new to Capt G in the case of custard apples – and you can sample their wares before you buy.

In Safe Harbour, Darcy Fletcher is a chef and she’s come home to Banksia Cove to open a restaurant in an old whaling station. In her words – ‘There’s unlikely to be any truffle oil on the menu or wagyu beef, but there will be melt in your mouth beef from west of Rockhampton, luscious Scene from Manly marketsseafood hauled from the Pacific, beetroots and sweet potatoes straight from the ground, asparagus spears whose tips have basked in the same morning sun as my patrons. Don’t think you can ask for anything better than fresh food, simply prepared with love.’

So, I’d love to hear how you go about deciding what to cook? Are you a ‘once a week shopper’ or a ‘shop as you go’ kind of cook? Do plan or go with the flow? Join in the discussion to go into the draw for a copy of Safe Harbour. 🙂

And I thought I’d share one of my favourite potato dishes because, for me, winter is all about comfort food and there is nothing more comforting than a well-dressed potato.

Here’s our never fail recipe for stuffed jacket potatoes.

Stuffed jacket potatoes

Choose a potato variety that is good for mashing and baking – Coliban, Desiree or Golden Delight all work well. Select one per person and choose good oval shapes of medium size.

Wash well, pat dry, stab with a fork on top and bottom and then microwave until cooked. Timing will depend on your microwave, but around 3-5 minutes should be sufficient for one potato. Allow to cool enough to handle, place on the bench so it rests easily – usually that will be length ways – then slice a ‘lid’ off the top and put to one side. Using a dessert spoon carefully scoop out the soft flesh, making sure not to break the potato skin, and put into a large mixing dish (depending on how many potatoes you’re cooking).

Add a good dollop of butter, a slurp of milk or cream, a small handful of chives, parsley or any fresh herbs you may have left over. Stir well to make a smooth potato mash (firm not sloppy works best). Then add a small handful of grated Parmesan cheese and season to taste.

You can vary the type of cheese or herbs, add crispy bacon, chopped hard-boiled eggs, or salami, so go to town and experiment.

Once you’re happy with the taste and texture of your filling spoon it carefully back into the shell so that it sits mounded higher than the original size of the potato. Place the lid on top, brush the top and sides with oil and grind a scatter of sea salt over it.

Pop on a baking tray and cook in a preheated 180 deg oven for no more than 30 minutes. They will be fluffy on the inside and delicious and crispy on the outside.

Bon appetit!

I am drooling here. DROOLING I tell you! Helene, that stuffed spud sounds absolutely divine. And perfect for the cooler months when we’re allowed to load up on carbs and buttery things to keep out the chill.

GIVEAWAY!

Now, my delicious little Feasty dumplings, time to join in the fun with another giveaway. This time a copy of Helene’s wonderful new release, Safe Harbour.

As Helene has already described above, simply reveal how you go about deciding what to cook. Are you a planner or a spur of the moment cook? Or do you leave it to the whim of someone else? Share and you’ll go into the draw.

Me, I’m a combination. Sometimes I plan, sometimes I get carried away when I spot something delicious. On Tuesday I discovered a tub of duck fat at my local IGA. Yes, yes, I KNOW it’s super bad for me and cooking duck fatty food on a weeknight goes against my house rules, but it just so happens I have this fantastic recipe for braised Puy lentils…

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 13th May 2014. Australian postal addresses only.

If you’d like to learn more about Helene, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter as @heleneyoung.

And while you’re here, why not check out Helene’s exciting booktrailer for Safe Harbour. It’s a cracker!

FRIDAY FEAST with Tricia Stringer

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Hello, Feasters! We’re getting swish this week on Friday Feast with a recipe that will really get your tastebuds tingling. It’s delicious, literally!

But first, this week’s instalment of Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf which is making an appearance despite the fact that it’s now footy season and I should be swapping to updates about my beloved Sydney Swans. Unfortunately, they were poo against GWS on Saturday and I have the sulks, whereas the golf news is good! Yes, I whacked a ball into the water on the 12th and 14th, and another rotten crow pinched my ball on the 13th but they were only minor issues. Overall, I played well! Still can’t quite believe it… could I be on the upswing???

Now, to today’s guest Tricia Stringer, best-selling author of Queen of the Road and 2013 winner of a prestigious Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year award (the Ruby) in the romantic elements category. And South Australian. Cos, you know, all the best writers come from SA. Ha!

Like the Ruby judges, I thoroughly enjoyed Queen of the Road and look forward to reading Tricia’s new one Right as Rain. Not only is it rural, it features food! How can a girl resist?

Take a look…

 

RIGHT AS RAIN

 

Right as Rain by Tricia StringerMack’s determined to do what’s right for her father…but will she choose what’s right for herself?

Mackenna Birch thinks she’s met the man of her dreams while on holiday in New Zealand. Adam Walker seems funny, kind and loving…until — to Mack’s disbelief — he walks out on her. Nursing a broken heart, Mack returns to the family farm in Australia to find her beloved father unwell and her scheming younger brother home from the city, showing a great interest in taking over the business. Also in her absence, a new worker has been hired, and Mack’s unsure of his motives.

Mack longs to make big changes to the farm — changes her father has approved. But with her dad’s ailing health, all her plans have been put on hold. Soon Mack finds herself turning to Hugh — her old friend and neighbour — as her confidant. As they support each other through family pressures, their friendship strengthens, leading them to question their true feelings for each other.

Then, out of the blue, Adam turns up from New Zealand, adding to the melting pot of emotions. Soon Mack’s juggling some tough decisions and trying to make those around her happy. But can she find the balance and have her own ever-after?

 

Ooh, doesn’t that sound intriguing? You want a copy, don’t you? Well, simply click away. For the paperback try Booktopia, Bookworld, Dymocks, QBD The Bookshop, direct from the publisher Harlequin or your local independent or chain store. For the ebook, try Amazon for Kindle, Kobo, JB Hi-Fi, iTunes, Google Play, BigW ebooks, Harlequin or your favourite ebook retailer.

All set? Here’s Tricia!

 

The Gatehouse at Woolly Swamp Farm

 

I love food – but – when thinking about what to blog, I couldn’t decide.

The library decked out as Woolly Swamp Farm.

The library decked out as Woolly Swamp Farm.

My immediate thought was to tell you about the wonderful launch party for Right as Rain at Moonta Community Library. My daughter, Kelly, and fellow library staff went to great lengths to make sure there were many lamb nibbles for guests to try. Why the lamb? Right as Rain main character, Mackenna, is a farmer and also a qualified chef. Her father who works the farm with her is in failing health, her mother isn’t supportive and the love of her life has stood her up. Against the odds, Mackenna has a dream to bring people to the farm gate to taste the lamb produced on their property. Her grandparents little stone cottage is the perfect place. She calls it the Gatehouse and sets out to make her dream come true.

I had such a lot of fun researching and writing this story. It’s full of food. I grew up on a farm so lamb (or more often mutton) was always on the menu. People do so much more with it these days. While I was writing I discovered the best way to try out new recipes rather than cook it myself was to eat out. Yum! My youngest son, Jared is a chef and helped me out a lot with ideas.

My husband and I at the Moonta launch.

My husband and I at the Moonta launch.

There are so many great ways to cook with lamb.

Mackenna has a grand opening of her Gatehouse for her family where she serves assorted lamb dishes. Thus at the book launch we had nibbles including lamb and rosemary sausage rolls, Moroccan lamb tarts and lamb kofta balls.

To carry on with the food theme I was lucky enough to have two great foodies help me with my Adelaide launch at Dymocks in Rundle Mall. My son, Jared, who’d just flown home from Europe, was a fantastic Master of Ceremonies and Duncan Welgemoed, chef and owner of Bistro Dom in Waymouth St, Adelaide, did the official launch. Duncan had recently won South Australia’s Chef of the Year but the reason I asked him to do the honours was it was in his restaurant that I first got the idea for showcasing lamb from a particular property.

A batch of my daughter’s sausage rolls just out of the oven.

A batch of my daughter’s sausage rolls just out of the oven.

In spite of all that, the recipe I’m going to share with you is not a lamb recipe, it’s an old family favourite dessert.

Now you’ll really think I’ve lost the plot. What’s that got to do with Mackenna and her Gatehouse? Well she did have to serve dessert but that’s not the reason. When I asked my son which lamb recipe he would suggest for this blog he said, “Even though we’re spread far and wide we always come home for special occasions/dinners. They now include our extended family with our partners etc. Family gatherings are the best. We always have great dinners with good wine and good conversation. The recipe should be your lemon delicious pudding. It always reminds me of our family dinners, right back when we were only small, we would still have a properly set dining table, no TV, just conversation. Something I treasured and still look forward to when I come home.”

Table loaded with the wonderful lamb nibbles.

Table loaded with the wonderful lamb nibbles.

So there you have it – a message that went straight to this mother’s heart. Even more so as my mother, who died many years ago, used to make this for our family. The original recipe came from the South Australian Country Women’s Association Calendar of Puddings. It’s called Baked Lemon Delicious (Swiss). My copy of this book is falling apart but is special as my mother was once State President of the CWA and her Foreword is in the front of the book. It reads in part – The recipes were freely given by members to be compiled into a calendar… The recipes have stood the test of time and may all who use this book find the same satisfaction and delight in the recipes as those who first tried them so long ago. Patricia Phillis.

Here I am with Jared and Duncan.

Here I am with Jared and Duncan.

I hope that while we strive to find new ways with food we will still share the old recipes and serve them with love and laughter just like at the family

gathering. At three my grandson knows the importance of the family dinner table. “Let’s sit at the table together and tell each other our adventures,” he said recently then added. “I’ll go first.”

Perhaps I was influenced by our family dinners when I wrote about Mackenna’s Gatehouse at Woolly Swamp farm.

Here’s my version of the recipe.

I call it…

 

Lemon Swish Delish

 

??????????????????????

Ingredients

2 tbspns butter

¾ cup sugar

4 tbspns plain flour

juice and rind of 1 large lemon

2 eggs

1 cup milk

Method

It’s important to add ingredients in the following order.

Cream the butter and sugar then add the sifted flour.

Stir in the rind and juice of the lemon.

Beat egg yolks then stir into mixture along with the milk.

Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into mixture.

Pour into a greased dish and stand in another dish of water. *(Very important)

Bake in a moderate oven approx. 40 mins.

It’s a nice light dessert which serves six to eight. You can eat it hot or cold but I love it hot with cream or ice-cream or both!

 

Oh, I just ADORE lemon delicious, Tricia! It’s one of those wonderful old-fashioned desserts that everyone loves. And you can play around with it too, adding lime juice or blood orange or whatever citrus takes your fancy.

Thanks so much for a hugely entertaining post. What fun you had with your book launches. Those sausage rolls look perfect. And Right as Rain sounds wonderful.

Now, my lovely Feasters, Tricia is very generously offering a signed paperback copy of Right as Rain as a giveaway prize. But as usual you have to work for it. Don’t worry, it’s easy! All you have to do is reveal your favourite family recipe in the comments and the one that tickles Tricia’s fancy the most will win.

Does your family adore pavlova? Perhaps a good old roast (lamb, of course) gets them running to the table? Maybe it’s your Gran’s favourite recipe for tomato soup that does the job. Simply share and you’ll have a chance to win this excellent book.

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday, 25th March 2014. Australian and New Zealand entries only.

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

 

FRIDAY FEAST with J.M. Bray

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Welcome to Friday Feast, where food and fiction unites in one mouth-watering place!

And we’re going to be getting very mouth-watery soon with a Feast first-timer. But I’m sure you’re anxious for the latest instalment of Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf, and I wouldn’t want to deprive you. Last week I only lost one ball to a dam. A miracle! Next week I’m aiming for none. Can such a feat be achieved? Stay tuned!author JM Bray

Now on to my guest, a man set to break Feasty tradition. No, not because he’s a he – although this is unusual – but because he’s… American. Yes, today’s guest, J.M. Bray hails from Southern California.

I know, I know. Friday Feast is usually restricted to my enormously talented and glamorous Australian compatriots, but  J.M. asked nicely if he could and I said yes. ‘Tis good to have variety, plus J.M. is a member of the Romance Writers of Australia and is published by Australian publisher Escape. And he plays guitar and races a Porche, which, let’s face it, sounds pretty damn cool, so I think we can kind of claim him for today.

J.M.’s debut release is a new adult romantic fantasy novel called Tearing The Shroud and it looks a brilliant read. Take a peek.

 

TEARING THE SHROUD

 

Cover of Tearing The Shroud by JM BrayFall in love, be possessed, hunt a sorcerer and save the world — and Vincent thought calculus was tough.

1984 — Vincent expected college to be about freedom and girls, but then the nightmares of sorcery, monsters and other worlds began. Not even the surprising attention from his dream girl, Julie, could shake them.

Before he’s even nailed his second date with Julie, he’s possessed by Coleman, a warrior from another realm. Coleman is hell bent on defeating the monstrous Kafla who threatens to tear into Vincent’s reality, changing both his and Coleman’s worlds forever. They have one chance to stop them: Vincent must allow Coleman to share his body and wage war against the sorcerer.

Now it’s up to them, the women they love, and Vincent’s rag-tag bunch of role- playing and gaming friends to save the world, or see 1984 descend into the apocalypse.

 

See? Told you it sounded fantastic. It’s available now for immediate download to your e-reader, tablet, computer and phone.  Buy from Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, BigW ebooks, Google Play and JB Hi-Fi, or your favourite ebook retailer.

Loaded up? Excellent. Now enjoy this man-in-the-kitchen moment!

 

On Grandmother’s Stepstool

 

The earliest memory I have of a cooking is being on a stool next to my grandmother. We lived in a small house behind her home and every morning until I was five, I’d toddle down to her back porch where she waited for me. I can still here her say, “Come on, honey, help grandma cook.” Her heavy, white porcelain, gas stove with cast iron skillets and big pots bubbled and sizzled magically. I would watch as she fried bacon, then used the dripping to fry eggs, the centers soft and the edges a crispy dark brown from the bacon fat.

Photo of JM Bray Teaching his 2 year old grandson some kitchen skills

Teaching my 2 year old grandson some kitchen skills

My very first experience as a “cook” was near that time, stirring the white, sausage gravy. Yes, sausage, bacon, fried potatoes, eggs, fluffy biscuits (scones), coffee and juice was the normal breakfast. She was from the south, of Irish descent, born in 1898, five foot two inches tall and not a thin woman…which isn’t surprising given the food she made. Based on the time frame, I was about four. I’d stir the white gravy, with a spiraled whisk, careful to keep it from sticking as it thickened to a creamy consistency, later to be slathered over buttered biscuits.

Through years, she taught me how to bake bread (which she did twice a week until her death at age 81,) flip eggs without breaking them, make gravy and cook my favorite…potato soup. I once ate so much of it as a young teen that when I tried to stand afterward, I ended up on the kitchen floor. I learned my love for cooking at her side. I am the cook in our family and every time I lift a ladle or toss a spice in without measuring it, she is with me.

Today’s recipe is of that same soup…though I’ve made a slight improvement on her recipe. I think she’d approve. This soup, made by my protagonist for his girlfriend and her family, appears in Mending the Shroud, book two of the Shroud Trilogy. It will release mid-year through Escape Publishing. Consider this a preview.

In the Comments section post a fond memory of you have of a family recipe or cooking with grandma. We’ll roll the dice among the entrants and the winner will receive an ebook (.mobi or .epub) of my romantic fantasy novel, Tearing the Shroud.

 

 Potato Soup

 

Ingredients for potato soup

8 large-ish russet potatoes (about fist sized) peeled and cubed

1 medium onion chopped

1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)

1 12 oz. can of evaporated milk

Water

Salt

Pepper.

Serves 6-8 as a full meal.

chopped onions

Chop the onions and put them in a large pot with the stick of butter on a low-medium heat to cook until transparent or slightly golden.

cooking the onions

While that’s cooking, peel the potatoes and cube them to about 3/4 inch.

chopped potatoes

When the onions are ready add the potatoes to the pot and stir carefully, coating them with the onion butter mixture. Add just enough water to come ¾ of the way up the potatoes.

Adding the potatoes to the pot

Bring to a light boil, cover and let cook until the potatoes break apart when poked with a fork. Check occasionally to make sure you don’t run out of water.

(This is the change from grandma. who boiled the potatoes and onion in a lot of water, poured it off, then added the butter. Which I think tosses away some of the potato-y-goodness)

Add the can of milk and mash with a hand potato masher…DO NOT MIX with a mixer or immersion blender. It breaks up the potato too much and makes it too starchy. You want the soup to have texture with little pieces of potato.

Potato soup 

If you need to thin the soup, use milk or half and half, not water.

Salt and pepper to taste. It takes much more salt than you’d think, so don’t be shy.

As you can see, this is not a health conscious recipe, but is it ever good! It is, however economical. For less than five dollars, you can serve a hearty meal for 6-8 people. This soup also works wonderfully as a starter for large dinners or banquets. When I’ve done this, I just multiply the ingredients for my crowd and garnish with a sprinkle of chopped chives just before bringing to the table.

Enjoy!

JM

 

I think we will enjoy, J.M. What a handy recipe. With that creamy, buttery spudly goodness I’m thinking it’ll taste awesome too.

So Feasters, we have another giveaway!

Share a fond memory of cooking with your grandma or a treasured family recipe and you’ll go into the draw to win an e-book copy of J.M.’s fab novel, Tearing The Shroud.

I have lots of wonderful memories of cooking with my Nanny. Mum used to go off to netball on Saturdays and I would spend the afternoon with my grandparents. During those hours Nanny taught me to bake and sew and do all sorts of house-wifely things. They were lovely times that I’ll always treasure.

What about you? Any sweet memories you can make us dewy-eyed with?

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 4th March 2014. Open internationally. Rah!

If you’d like to learn more about J.M. and his books, please visit his website. You can also connect via Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, and also through his blog.

 

THIS WRITING LIFE: GenreCon 2013

Ahh, Brissy, what a warm and friendly city. And made even better by the staging a few weekends ago of GenreCon, the conference designed for that most excellent of authorly species, Genre Writers. I’ve been a quite a few Romance Writers of Australia conferences now and GenreCon was a lot like one of those, except it had men. A lively, lovely lot of them too. It also had, thanks to the irrepressible Alex Adsett of Alex Adsett Publishing Services, karaoke, an event from which my voice didn’t recover for a week. A week of gravel-throat and I didn’t even get to sing Dancing Queen or Paradise by the Dashboard Light. Although I did get hear editor and writer Patrick O’Duffy do the most amazing deep-voiced version of Total Eclipse of the Heart imaginable.

But I’m getting ahead of myself…

 

Friday: The Start of Sleep Deprivation

 

Before karaoke and the conference proper, there was lunch on Friday at GOMA Restaurant with romance authors Amy Andrews, Anna Campbell, Keziah Hill, Rachael Johns, Bronwyn Parry, Helene Young and myself where much prosecco was drunk, rabbit terrines savoured, desserts drooled over, and happy birthday and Frocktober ditties sung. There may have also been unsubtle mention of the Penis Beaker Debate and He of the Mighty Wang (Amy Andrews’s fault). Personally, I think we added a nice splash of colour and noise to the restaurant although I’m not sure the staff would agree, but at least they were good sports about our rowdiness.

GOMA lunch ladies, left to right: Anna Campbell, Helene Young, Rachael Johns, me, Bronwyn Parry, Keziah Hill and Amy Andrews

L to R: Anna Campbell, Helene Young, Rachael Johns, me,  birthday girl Bronwyn Parry, Keziah Hill and Amy Andrews

Friday night was the opening night reception on the State Library of Queensland’s aptly named Queensland Terrace. Fantastic venue, partially open to the sub-tropical air and a great area in which to mingle, sip wine and eat naughty things.

Anne Gracie and Alex Adsett

Best-selling Regency romance author Anne Gracie and Alex Adsett

Anna Campbell, Lea Scott and Sandy Curtis

Regency romance superstar Anna Campbell with crime and thriller authors Lea Scott and Sandy Curtis

Rachael Johns and Dianne Blacklock

Good buddy and fellow rural romance author Rachael Johns with women’s fiction author and lovely lady Dianne Blacklock. Best-selling babes!

Amy Andrews and Sandy Curtis

Romance author Amy Andrews (and Penis Beaker Debate enabler) with Sandy Curtis

This was followed by a trek back to the bar at Rydges South Bank, the official conference hotel, then cabs into town to Fat Louie’s for some karaoke where so much silliness was had that this may become tradition. I hope so, although if next time anyone tries to make me sing Summer of ’69 again there will be reckoning…

Chuck Wendig in full karaoke throttle

Author and Terrible Minds blogger Chuck Wendig in full karaoke throttle. I have no idea what he was singing but by that time of night I’m not sure anyone did!

Saturday: Brain Awakenings

 

Saturday opened with the Power of Genre Fiction, featuring speeches by Anne Gracie, Kathryn Fox and John Birmingham to well and truly put us in the mood. I then attended Rule of Knowledge author Scott Baker’s Worth A Thousand Words workshop which I found brilliant. Scott has spent the last year working with Peter Jackson on the Hobbit films and was also a consultant in the film industry as well as lecturing at the Australian National University in digital video. How well he knows his stuff was shown in the booktrailers he made which are nothing like I’ve ever seen and, quite frankly, amazing.

Scott Baker

Rule of Knowledge author and booktrailer guru Scott Baker

In fact, this was such an interesting session that I’m considering writing a separate post on it, so stay tuned! After lunch I attended the Writing Fast workshop with Anne Gracie, Charlotte Nash and Anita Heiss, hosted by Denise Rossetti. Thank goodness for Anne making me feel semi-normal over my painful writing process, because Charlotte Nash’s super speedy production levels just left me feeling completely inadequate and even more depressed about my output. But you know what? We all have our processes. I’m slow and horribly pedantic, but I get there in the end. Time to stop beating myself up about it.

Denise Rossetti and Charlotte Nash

Award winning erotic romance author Denise Rossetti and Ryders Ridge author Charlotte Nash

Writing Fast was followed by What Writers Get Wrong with Helene Young, Kathryn Fox and Deborah Burrows. My take away from this was that if you don’t know something, then ask. People tend to be fascinated by this strange writing business and are usually delighted to help.

Helene Young

Award-winning romantic suspense author Helene Young, looking lovely as usual.

John Connolly In Conversation was the last Saturday session and it was funny and fascinating, with the auditorium completely charmed and engaged. One point John made that struck me enough to write down was: In genre fiction, it’s the characters the readers care about, and authors can and do make a living off this affection and investment in character. An important thing to remember when writing.

John Connolly in conversation

Internationally best-selling Irish author John Connolly in conversation

Dinner at Rydges was a great night with crackup author and Terrible Minds blogger Chuck Wendig entertaining the crowd with his 25 Reasons Why I F**king Love Genre Fiction followed by a Q&A with Escape Publishing’s Kate Cuthbert. And then, surprise-surprise, another, even later night gasbagging in the bar.

Listening to Chuck Wendig

Some of the rapt dinner crowd listening to Chuck Wendig

 

Sunday: Can We Do It Again?

 

Alex Adsett of Alex Adsett Publishing Services and karaoke organiser

Alex Adsett of Alex Adsett Publishing Services and karaoke organiser

Sunday’s Plenery Session was The Future of Genre Fiction, featuring agent and contract lawyer Alex Adsett, Leanpub’s Peter Armstrong, and author and academic Anita Heiss. Alex, seemingly unharmed and in good voice despite Friday night’s  karaoke-ing, gave a great overview of industry changes (including a handy tip about reversion clauses on print rights with digital deals), while Anita’s discussion about targetting her audience was equally thought-provoking.

Anita Heiss

Author and academic Anita Heiss

Peter Armstrong of Leanpub

Peter Armstrong of Leanpub

But it was Peter’s rundown of the history of genre fiction and serialisation which had my mind a-spinning and triggered an excellent discussion with good buddy and GenreCon roomie Rachael Johns as we headed back to the hotel to check out, and which so caught us up that we missed the next workshop. A bummer because by all accounts Beyond Rippling Muscles and Uzi 9mms was a hoot.

Amy Andrews, Rachael Johns and Dianne Blacklock looking mighty fine for a Sunday lunchtime.

Amy Andrews, Rachael Johns and Dianne Blacklock looking mighty fine for a Sunday lunchtime.

Post another excellent lunch (the food was fabulous at GenreCon!) I attended the Thinking Like A Pro workshop with John Connolly, Valerie Parv and Keri Arthur, followed by Know Thine Enemy with Chuck Wendig, PM Newton and Kathryn Fox. The fact that I stayed awake throughout both after an extremely late night proves how entertaining they were.

Thinking Like A Pro Workshop. L to R: Aimee Lindorff (Chair), Keri Arthur. John Connolly and Valerie Parv

Thinking Like A Pro Workshop. L to R: Aimee Lindorff (Chair), New York Times best-selling paranormal and urban fantasy author Keri Arthur, John Connolly and romance queen Valerie Parv

The Great Debate: Genre Just Wants To Have Fun was a blast. John Birmingham opened strongly with a story about a certain literary author’s pillow problems that had everyone laughing, only to be neatly countered by Anne Gracie with her “Paris” jibe.

And a new nickname is born: Anne Gracie giving John Birmingham her "Paris" dig

And a new nickname is born: Anne Gracie giving John Birmingham her “Paris” dig

Lindy Cameron and Dianne Blacklock (gorgeous lady!) put in sterling efforts but the negative side, with their brilliant goblin story and Scott Baker’s clever revisioning of The Raven, were just too strong. And so it was proven that genre doesn’t just want to have fun. Which could be said for all GenreCon attendees, I think. We had fling your arms in the air and sing it out, loud and proud fun, certainly. We had karaoke, great food, met lovely old friends and made gorgeous new ones, but thanks to a fantastic program, excellent speakers and plenty of opportunity to network, we also learned an enormous amount. And for that I can’t thank Peter Ball, Meg Vann and their team of ninjas enough.

A wonderful conference. I’ll be back in 2015 with bells on.