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, although 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
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
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!)
- Turn on slow cooker to allow it to warm before adding ingredients.
- Add all the vegetables to the low cooker – carrots on the bottom (as these take the longest to cook.)
- Brown the beef in a frying pan. Add to slow cooker, but reserve the pan juices to use in the gravy (if desired.)
- 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.
- Pour gravy over ingredients already added to slow cooker.
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.
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…
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.
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!