Tag Archives: slow-cooker recipes

FRIDAY FEAST with Lisa Ireland

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Hello, Feasty lovelies. I hope today finds you warm and dry and not turned into an icicle. But if you are, never fear because Friday Feast is bound to warm those cockles! This week we venture back to the country with our favourite genre, rural romance. Plus we have a beautiful winter stew recipe and the chance to win a signed copy of our feature book. Read on!

I suppose you want to hear Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news? No? Excellent, because I don’t really feel like discussing it. The only good tiding is that I didn’t finish last in the comp, Author Lisa Irelandalthough I deserved to. Lovely weather though, once the sun came out. Maybe next week I’ll have something positive to say. We can only hope…

Now to the real reason your here: books, food and lovely authors!

This week’s guest is rural romance author Lisa Ireland. Lisa’s debut novel Breaking The Drought was an instant hit. Understandably too. Everyone loves a city girl goes to the country story and having experienced such a move herself, Lisa knows exactly how it feels. Her second novel is Feels Like Home and looks and sounds a stunner. Check it out.

FEELS LIKE HOME

Feels Like Home by Lisa IrelandLisa Ireland, a brilliant new voice in rural romance, invites you to Linden Gully and the wedding of the year… 



When celebrity novelist Johanna Morgan surprises everyone by arriving back in Linden Gully three weeks early for her best friend’s wedding, she’s shocked to find her ex-boyfriend Ryan Galloway is back too and well-integrated in the community as the local vet. 



Jo’s maid-of-honour duties are not the only thing that’s brought her home. The family homestead of Yarrapinga is now her responsibility, and Jo needs to decide whether to keep it – and replace old memories with new ones – or sell it and cut off all ties to her childhood and her home. 



Ryan has brought his young daughter home to Linden Gully to provide stability after the death of her mother. The last thing he needs is Jo’s return, and all of the emotional turmoil that she brings with her. 



Thrown together as attendants at their best friends’ wedding, Jo and Ryan have no choice but to grin and bear all the tension. But it’s not only resentment lingering between them. The attraction is still there, and the heat and the memories. 



They say you can’t come home again, but maybe, for Jo and Ryan, home is not just a place, but a state of the heart.

Doesn’t that sound fun? Wedding stories are great. You can have this one with just a few clicks. Visit Booktopia, Bookworld or Angus & Roberston. Or try Fishpond, QBD the Bookshop, Amazon.au, Amazon.com, Amazon.uk, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, Nook, All Romance eBooks, JB Hi-Fi or your favourite retailer.

Set? Good. Now come get lovely and warm with Lisa.

Take Me Home, Country … Stew

Recently I received an invitation that got me reminiscing about my childhood home. The invitation was from Wyndham City Council, who asked if I’d like to hold the launch of Feels Like Home in their Werribee CBD Library.

I grew up in Werribee. These days it’s a fast growing outer western suburb of Melbourne, but when I was little it was a small country town. There was one main street with all the shops, everybody in town knew each other, and there were as many sheep in the municipality as there were people, if not more.

The idea of going back to my hometown for the launch has brought back many happy memories of my time there. I find myself thinking back to days building cubbies in the paddocks near my house, tadpoling in puddles at the base of the no-longer-existent “Sandy Hills” and of happy times spent at the dining table of my family home.

My father insisted the evening meal was eaten at the dining table every night. The TV was off and we talked about our day. I can remember thinking this was the most tedious thing on earth when I was a teenager, but now looking back, some of my fondest memories involve meals at that table. Now I make my kids sit at the table for dinner each night. I’m sure they’ll thank me for it … eventually!

There are certain foods that take me back to that happy time: Lamb Shank and Pearl Barley Soup (my Nana’s recipe, but Mum always made the nicest version – one that I simply cannot replicate no matter how hard I try!; Pavlova – once again a delicacy that only Mum could make perfectly; and Nana’s Perfect Sponge Cake – I won’t even attempt that one.

But there is one family recipe that I excel at. I am no cook, but this is a recipe that is impossible to mess up. It’s Mum’s Beef and Winter Veggie Stew. Being a fan of simplicity I’ve adapted it to work in my slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Beef and Winter Veggie Stew

(Serves 4-5)

Slow Cooker Beef and Winter Veggie Stew

Ingredients:

500 grams diced beef (use a cheap cut – you’re slow cooking it so no need to spend a fortune!

2  – 3 medium carrots sliced

2 medium parsnips sliced

1 small sweet potato diced into 1 cm cubes

Gravy (more on this later!)

Method:

  1. Turn on slow cooker to allow it to warm before adding ingredients.
  2. Add all the vegetables to the low cooker – carrots on the bottom (as these take the longest to cook.)Layering veg in slow cooker
  3. Brown the beef in a frying pan. Add to slow cooker, but reserve the pan juices to use in the gravy (if desired.)Browned beef added to cooker
  4. Make gravy.

You need two cups of thick gravy for this dish. There are endless methods to make gravy so choose whichever method works best for you. Here’s my method:

Mix 3 tablespoons of gravy powder into 2 cups of beef stock. Pour into frying pan containing reserved juices from beef. Cook over a low heat, stirring constantly until gravy thickens.Making the gravy

  1. Pour gravy over ingredients already added to slow cooker.Stew ready for cooking

Cook for 4 hours on High or 6-7 hours on Low (times may vary depending on your slow cooker.)

Voila! You are done!

Serve with sides of mashed potatoes and steamed green beans.

I’d love to hear about your family recipes. What are the dishes that remind you of home? Tell me in the comments for the chance to win a signed copy of Feels Like Home.

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Thanks, Lisa. Slow cooker recipes are beloved by many (especially authors so they can spend more time writing), and this sounds delicious and easy. Not to mention ideal for the woolly weather we’ve been experiencing.

But did you hear that, readers? Lisa is offering you a…

GIVEAWAY!

Yes, for your chance to win a signed copy of Lisa’s brand spanking new rural romance, Feels Like Home, simply share which dishes remind you of home.

Easy for me. My mum’s pea and ham soup was a winter wonder in our house. Perfect for slurping with buttered toast after a morning spent outside freezing on the hockey field or riding. Mum, bless her, really hated cooking but that soup was special.

What about you? What special dish makes you feel like home? Share and you’ll go into the draw.

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 21st Juky 2015. Australian postal addresses only.

If you’d like to learn more about Lisa and her book, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter using @LisaIreland66.

And while you’re thinking about the dish that reminds you of home, why not have a look at Lisa’s trailer for the book. It’s lovely!

Friday Feast recipe index link.

FRIDAY FEAST with Amy Andrews

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Felicitations, food ‘n fiction fans, and welcome! This week, in yet another packed-to-the-max Friday Feast, we host a multi award-winning and best-selling Australian contemporary romance author who’s going to reveal her cracking new read, share a winter-beating recipe, AND give you the chance at a giveaway. It’s all happening, so read on!

First, in Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news. Frankly, it’s so bad I’m not sure I’m up to talking about it. After coming last – yes, LAST – in last week’s ladies competition I thought things couldn’t get any worse over the weekend. They did. I went from diabolically bad to… Sorry. I can’t bring myself to tell you. It’s too awful. I want to be upbeat say the only way is up, but I said that last Author Amy Andrewsweek and look what happened. So I’m just going to continue to sulk and mutter, and watch the Haney Project on the golf channel while pointing at my chest and yelling, “You want a challenge, Hank? Try this baby then see how good you are!”

Eh hem.

My guest today is Amy Andrews, who is, if you weren’t already aware, most awesome. She’s prolific, talented, has won bucketloads of awards, hit best-seller lists and done lots of other cool things. I am not ashamed to say I’m a total fangirl. Her books are a hoot and you should all go out and grab one today.

Amy’s latest release is Limbo. Take a look.

LIMBO

Cover of Limbo by Amy AndrewsSix Feet Under meets Stephanie Plum in Amy Andrews’ fresh, funny, sexy urban-family noir about a country singer who almost made it, a private investigator who’s seen too much and a mother who will cross all barriers to save her child.

When ex hillbilly-punk rocker turned cadaver make-up artist Joy Valentine is visited by the ghost of a high-profile murder victim begging for Joy’s help to find her kidnapped baby girl, Joy knows from experience the cops are going to think she’s crazy. So she takes it to the one guy she knows who won’t.

The last thing disgraced ex-cop turned private investigator Dash Dent expected is a woman from his past turning up to complicate his present with a nutty, woo-woo story. The problem is he knows Joy is telling the truth and he can’t ignore the compelling plight of baby Isabella whose disappearance six months prior transfixed the nation.

Discounted and discredited by the police, Dash and Joy work together to uncover the mystery and find Isabella, with a whacky supporting cast including Eve, a brothel madam; Stan, an excommunicated priest; Katie, Dash’s ten-year-old daughter; and two horny goldfish. It’s a race against time and against all odds – but the real battle for Dash and Joy might just be keeping their hands off each other.

Trust me, you’ll be on a winner with any Amy Andrews book so get clicking and snap Limbo up now. Buy from Booktopia, Bookworld, Amazon.com, Amazon.au, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi, Nook or your favourite ebook retailer.

Now settle back and enjoy!

2 Ingredients, 1 Crockpot

Well I must be doing something right because this is now my 4th visit to The Feast and Cathryn still seems to want this food faker back. The good news is the last month or so my cooking mojo has returned! Which was nice of it after 19 years of being AWOL. I cooked two banana cakes, an orange cake and three lots of Coq au Vin in a month! I’ve been mildly surprised at this most unusual behaviour while the family wondered if I’d been abducted by aliens who’d switched my brain with Nigella’s then returned me (particularly cruel when you think they could have switched our bodies as well!).

I emailed Cathryn and told her cooking lived here once again and could I do a Feast spot. No food construction I promised her. I’ll do Coq au Vin, I said. I even went and bought all the ingredients and made it last Saturday. Then promptly forgot about taking pictures as I went. Doh! The worst part was when it came to writing this blog the thought of doing another batch left me completely unenthused. That’s the thing with we food fakers – we’re fickle. So apologies to Cathryn and regular readers but no Coq au Vin.

What I did cook this week, though, was a delicious pea and ham soup which is kinda perfect for these winter months. I even took pictures! So, that’s what I have for you today. No chopping, slicing or dicing, no frying, no rolling in flower or beating/separating anything. Its food construction personified – 2 ingredients and one crockpot – with apologies to Cathryn for leading her on with promises of my reformed character 🙂

PEA AND HAM SOUP

Ingredients

Pea and Ham soup ingredients - bacon bones and dried peas

1/. Bacon bones. The amount depends on you and how big your pot is. You can also use ham hocks or ham bones. Lucky for us my BFF has a farm where she raises pigs because she loves them but occasionally one finds itself onto a roasting spit. We scored some smoked bacon bones off them when they visited a couple of weeks ago. They kind of look like something you might see hanging in an abandoned railway yard in The Walking Dead but they smelled amazing. My husband grew up on a pig farm so he just about died and went to heaven when they were presented.

2/. A packet of dried peas.

And that’s it…

Method

Before you go to bed, place peas in a bowl and drown them in water leaving a good few fingers of liquid covering them. You only have to soak them for a couple of hours but I always soak them overnight.

The next morning place the swollen peas and any water that might not have been absorbed and ham/bacon bones in crockpot. You might need to add some more water depending on the amount of bones you’ve used – so the liquid is up to about ¾ of the crockpot bowl.

Preparing pea and ham soup

Put crockpot on low.

Leave until the evening when all the meat will have fallen off the bones and the peas are all mushed.

Trawl through soup for all the bones (this is the most time consuming part of the recipe) then give a good stir.

Pea and ham soup

Voila! It’s done. Grab a bowl and fill. A nice crunchy bread roll or toast is the perfect accompaniment. Also a glass of wine. I can recommend this cheeky red with the fabulous retro label that every romance author/reader should have on hand!

Amy's red wine recommendation

I don’t know about you guys but winter has hit hard as I write this so guess what I had for lunch?

Pea and Ham soup

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Well, Amy, I know what I wish I was having for lunch! That looks delish and I’m a bit of a fan of a good soup. Mum’s pea and ham soup was an absolute winter winner in our household growing up. She wasn’t much of a cook, bless her, but she could make a mean pavlova and super tasty soup. Just like you!

Now, my Feasty lovelies, because Amy is so wonderful, she’s offering a…

GIVEAWAY!

For your chance to win an Amazon Kindle copy of Amy’s new release Limbo, simply tell us this: What’s your favourite way to snuggle up in winter?

Are you a blankie on the couch type of person, or perhaps your greatest winter love is ugg boots? Maybe you’re a demon at hunting down places with open fires or perhaps you’re like me and sidle as close to your other half as possible, pinching all their body heat. Reveal your favourite way to avoid the winter cold and we’ll pop you into the draw.

Please note: giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 16th June 2015. Open internationally. Rah! Don’t have a Kindle e-reader? That’s okay, you can still read the book via the Kindle app on your phone, tablet or computer.

If you’d like to learn more about Amy and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter using @AmyAndrewsbooks or keep up with all of Amy’s news by signing up to her newsletter.