Tag Archives: Stawell Library

FRIDAY FEAST with Me!

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

Don’t mind me, just channeling a little Lewis Carroll to celebrate the release of my new rural romance, Heartland. Cathryn Hein Author PhotoBooks always seem to take so long to birth that it’s wonderful when they finally pop out, all pretty, pink (or in Heartland’s case, blue), and shiny.

Yes, yes, I know it’s my baby and I’m terribly biased, but Heartland really is a comely thing. I love its soaring black cockatoos, stunning sky and summer-parched landscape. And the model? She’s the perfect Callie.

But it’s the content that matters, and Heartland has been earning praise. Oh, yes it has!

9/10 from 1 girl, 2 many books and this gorgeous comment:

“It’s easy to overhype books in your mind sometimes, which can lead to them not living up to expectation. That was definitely not the case with this one – it was everything I thought it would be and more. It’s a beautiful story of finding courage to be happy and letting go of the past but without forgetting it.”

And 5/5  from Marcia at Book Muster Down Under.

“Cathryn so skilfully combines atmosphere with location, creating a world which offers authenticity and a full range of sensory stimuli.  As I felt the sun stinging my shoulders, the red dust settling on my tongue and licked the saltwater from my lips, I was immediately pulled in by her fluid and easy writing style and a narrative which has a well thought-out pace, enabling this reviewer to live vicariously through her well rounded human (and animal) characters.”

But you know what else is really cool about release time? I get to take over Friday Feast.

Ahh yes, tis a frabjous day indeed!

 

HEARTLAND

 

Heartland_cvr_640x480A powerful, passionate and moving rural love story from Cathryn Hein, author of Promises and Heart of the Valley.

When Callie Reynolds arrives at Glenmore, the property she’s recently inherited, the last thing she wants is to be saddled with a warty horse, an injured neighbour and a mad goose. Haunted by her sister’s death and her fractured family, all she wants is freedom.

But Callie hasn’t counted on falling for Matt Hawkins, an ex-soldier determined to fulfil his own dream of land and family. Nor could she predict the way the land, animals and people of Glenmore will capture her heart.

Callie is faced with impossible choices. But she must find the courage to decide where her future lies, even if it costs her everything she holds dear.

 

Heartland is available now from chain stores (it’s in this week’s BigW Catalogue) and your favourite book retailers, including Booktopia (who, as you recall, we luuuurve because of their most splendiferous ARRC2013 sponsorship). You can also buy the ebook from Amazon (Kindle), Kobo, Google Play and iTunes. For a longer list of retailers please visit the Heartland page on my website.

And now please welcome… er… me!

 

My Kind Of Research

 

Novels take research. Some more convivial research than others and such was the case with Heartland. There’s a fun scene in the book where the heroine, Callie Reynolds, learns to drive Glenmore’s old Fiat tractor. As a child she’d watched her grandfather work machinery plenty of times but she’d never actually done it herself. The Fiat, with its gears and knobs and PTO, leaves her flummoxed, so she calls on Heartland’s sexy hero Matt Hawkins for help. But Callie doesn’t ask outright. Instead, in one of my favourite scenes of the book, she leaves a bemused Matt sifting through their flirtatious banter, trying to decipher what she’s really come over for.

Now, because you’re all special Feasty lovelies, I’ll reveal a bit of a secret. I nicked part of this scene from an old unpublished manuscript. The tractor in that instance was my brother’s ancient Massey Ferguson, but I needed a few more details and wouldn’t be travelling to Mt Gambier for a while to check. Rather fortuitously, I was heading to Stawell for a library talk, and had planned to spend the rest of the weekend out of town on a farm with my girlfriend and her gorgeous family, who also just happened to have the perfect tractor hiding in a shed.

And so ensued a weekend of research merriment!

Ahh, country kids. They’re classics. This lot insisted on being photographed with a stinky dead sheep.

Ahh, country kids. They’re classics. This lot insisted on being photographed with a stinky dead sheep.

The Fiat, now immortalised in a rural romance.

The Fiat, now immortalised in a rural romance.

Stawell, if you’re unaware, is in the Victorian Wimmera, two hundred and fifty or so kilometres from Melbourne and close to the magnificent Grampians National Park. It’s also very close to the Great Western wine growing region. So what’s a girl to do on a Saturday in a wine region? She goes a-tasting, of course!

Where else to venture than historic Seppelt at Great Western, which not only has a wonderful history, it has amazing drives (cellars) you can tour. Seriously, if you’re cruising around the region do not miss this tour. It’s fascinating, enlightening and afterward you can sample wines not normally on Seppelt’s tasting list. Details of the tours, history and wine on Seppelt’s website.

By the time of completion in 1932, Seppelt's drives extended 3km

By the time of completion in 1932, Seppelt’s drives extended 3km

Mould creeps onto every surface in the drives. A bit War of the Worlds red weedy but harmless.

Mould creeps onto every surface in the drives. A bit disturbingly War of the Worlds red weedy but harmless.

The drives were dug by goldminers for sparkling wine maturation. Seppelt's most iconic (and tasty!) fizz is their Salinger range which is made using the best grapes of the year's vintage.

The drives were dug by goldminers for sparkling wine maturation. Seppelt’s most iconic (and tasty!) fizz is their Salinger range which is made using the best grapes of the year’s vintage.

Where some of the special wines are kept locked. Legend has it Dame Nellie Melba took a bath in champagne here.

Where some of the special wines are kept locked. Legend has it Dame Nellie Melba took a sparkling wine bath here. The bathfizz was later poured back into 152 bottles and recorked. One hopes the contents were all wine!

Naturally, enthused by the sight of those bottles and the post-tour tasting, we stocked up and tonight, to celebrate Heartland’s release (because celebrations are indeed warranted!), I’ll be popping the cork on the very nice bottle of Seppelt Original Sparkling Shiraz that I bought post tour. Lovely!

Now, what does one eat when one has built a red wine appetite? A deliciously flavoured casserole, of course! And this one is a beauty.

WINE-Y SLOW-COOKED LAMB

Slow Cooked Lamb casserole

You’ll need to begin this recipe the night before.

1.5 kg trimmed, boneless lamb (leg or shoulder), cut into 4-5cm pieces

4 cloves garlic, crushed

250ml shiraz – use something decent!

A good slug or two of olive oil

1 red onion, finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika (I use La Dalia brand Pimentón de la Vera dulce)

2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves stripped and chopped finely

3 red capsicums roasted, deseeded and peeled and cut into strips. Or for speediness and rather excellent flavour, use a jar of wood-roasted piquillo peppers.

300 g tomato passata

1-2 bays leaves

½ cup shiraz, extra

½ cup beef stock

Place the lamb in a bowl with the garlic and red wine and marinate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 160° C (or whatever temperature equates to ‘slow’ on yours).

Strain off the shiraz marinade and discard. Heat the oil in a large heavy casserole (an enamel-coated cast iron Le Creuset style pot is perfect) and brown the lamb in batches until a rich, dark colour. Remove browned meat and juices and set aside.

Add the onion and paprika to the pan and stir together for 30 seconds or so, then return the meat and juices, along with the chopped rosemary, peppers, tomato puree and bay leaves. Season well with salt and pepper and mix.  Add the extra shiraz and stock, and bring to a simmer. Cover and place in the oven for 1 ½ to 2 hours, checking occasionally to ensure the meat is covered in liquid. When meat is tender, taste and adjust for seasoning.

Serve with lots of crusty bread to mop up the delicious gravy. And don’t forget a nice red wine to match!

And now, because I’m all dosed up with red fizz cheer and book release excitement, I’m going to run a giveaway. Simply reveal a wine-y tale – anything from your favourite cellar door, to a much loved wine-including recipe, to dear old Uncle Albert’s infamous port barrel dunking – and the one that tickles my fancy most will win a signed copy of Heartland.

But get in quick. Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 30th April 2013. Australian addresses only, sorry.

If you’d like to learn more about me or my books, including the story behind Heartland, please visit my website. You can also find me chattering away on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

 

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Rachael Johns

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Well, Feasters, I’m super excited today. Not only am I in Stawell, Victoria, talking at the local library’s Girl’s Night In (7-30pm, Stawell Library, Sloane Street in case you’re in the area and on the hunt for a faaaaabulous evening) but it’s the official release day of my good buddy Rachael Johns’ rural romance Jilted.

Now, call me biased (cos I am), but I can honestly say that Jilted is a wonderful book. It’s the sort of story that hooks you from page one and keeps you entranced until the final page. The characters are vividly drawn, the setting dynamic, the story emotional and don’t get me started on the hero, the super sexy farmer Flynn Quartermaine. He’d nearly give Lachie from Heart of the Valley a run. Nearly. A girl has to stand up for her man after all, even if he is fictional.

Here’s the cover and blurb to whet your literary appetite.

 

JILTED

 

She left him at the altar, but her heart was always his…

After more than ten years away, Australian soap star Ellie Hughes returns to the small country town of Hope Junction, determined to remain anonymous while caring for her injured godmother, Matilda.

But word spreads fast in the tight-knit community. It isn’t long before the people of Hope’s are gossiping about the real reason for Ellie’s visit and why she broke the heart of golden boy Flynn Quartermaine all those years ago.

Soon Ellie and Flynn are thrown back together again, forced to deal with the unresolved emotions between them. For Ellie is not the only one with secrets. Flynn has his own demons to battle, and Matilda is hiding something from her much-loved goddaughter.

When all is uncovered, can the ill-fated lovers overcome the wounds of their past? Or is Flynn destined to be jilted again?

 

Fantastic, isn’t it? Fortunately Jilted is now released and you can buy it right here, right now.  Just click!

And now here’s Rach…

 

Hiya Cathryn!! Am ecstatic to be back on your wonderful Friday Feast for a number of reasons:

  1. It’s YOUR blog. Nuff said. For all Cathryn’s readers she’s not only an awesome writer, but an ace crit partner and fabulous friend. I certainly couldn’t do without her!!
  2. We’re talking food and I am a MASSIVE food fan. I admit I bake/cook less and less lately (probably cos my kids whine too much about my cooking and it’s given me a complex) but I’m a VERY good eater.
  3. Today is an extra special day for me – it’s the actual RELEASE date of my first print book – JILTED!

 The Way To A Heroine Is Through Her Stomach…

 

I thought as well as talk about food, I’d talk about fictional heroes! My ideal hero in a book is much the same as in real life – as well as being good looking, hard-working, intelligent, I like a man who can cook and happily does so for the woman in his life. Seriously, I think the saying should be ‘the way to a WOMAN’S heart is through her stomach’ because what woman doesn’t like a man to cook for her?

The hero of Jilted – Flynn – shares some traits with my hubby. When Ellie is at her absolute lowest, Flynn looks after her. He makes her tea, offers a shoulder to lean on and COOKS! Swoon. In one section of the book, he cooks her pancakes for breakfast and pancakes just happen to be one of my favourite foods.

When I was pregnant with my first son, my darling hubby would go into the kitchen at all hours of the night and whip me up some pancakes when I was hungry. Occasionally he’d use that ghastly stuff in a bottle but most of the time, he make them from scratch. How’s that for love!? Let’s not talk about the fact he didn’t make me even ONE pancake for the next two pregnancies.

Pancakes are important in our family. Whether it started with the pregnancy cravings, who knows, but every Sunday morning, we eat pancakes. 51 weeks of the year, I’m the pancake chef and on Mother’s Day my hubby and the boys will give it a whirl.

I’m a bit of a throw it all together and hope for the best cook, so rarely do my pancakes turn out the same. Sometimes they’re thick and fluffy, other times they’re almost crepes. But a few weeks back I saw a recipe in the Masterchef magazine for Coconut Pancakes with Orange Maple Plums. I didn’t do the plum bit but I did try the coconut and I’m hooked!! Delicious. Almost as scrumptious as the time I put choc-chips in the batter, actually maybe more so.

So today, I’d like to share with you a recipe I pretty much stole from Masterchef…

 

COCONUT PANCAKES

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ cups SR flour
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp bi-carb soda
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 60g butter, melted
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Extra butter

Method:

  1. Line a baking tray with baking paper to keep made pancakes warm. Heat oven to 160 degrees.
  2. Sift flour, bicarb, sugar and salt into a bowl.
  3. Place eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and melted butter in another bowl and whisk to combine.
  4. Pour wet mixture onto dry mixture and whisk until smooth.
  5. Melt some butter in non-stick frying pan over low-medium heat. Spoon batter into the pan, and spread to desired size. Wait until bubbles appear, scatter coconut and then flip pancakes with a spatula.
  6. Cooke until lightly browned underneath. Transfer pancake/s to oven to keep warm while you repeat the process until the mixture is finished.
  7. EAT!

We prefer our pancakes the traditional way with maple syrup (must be the real stuff) or sugar and lemon. We also occasionally have strawberries and cream. These pancakes can be made without the coconut, but the coconut is what makes them stand out!!!

 

Mmm, now that’s a recipe to start your day with. Thanks, Rach. Love the piccies of your boys. They’re so cute!

Now, my lovelies, Rachael has very generously offered up a signed copy of Jilted as a giveaway. But to be in the running you have to share your ideal breakfast dish. Don’t have one? That’s okay. Rachael and I will compromise and accept a juicy description of your ideal hero instead. Better make him good though, between Rach’s Flynn and my Lachie that’s a whole lot of man to live up to!

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday, 5th June 2012 AEST. Australian addresses only, sorry.

If you’d like to know more about Rachael and her wonderful books please visit her website. You can also connect via her blog, Facebook and Twitter.

 

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Gemma who is the lucky winner of a copy of Jilted. Thanks everyone for joining in the fun and for all those beeeoooootiful (and rather fattening) breakfast ideas!