Tag Archives: The Falls by Cathryn Hein

Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser TuesdayGreetings from Teaser Tuesday, the series where I share fun paragraphs from past and upcoming releases, and works-in-progress, and occasionally invite author buddies on to do the same.

Did you know my rural romance The Falls is now out in the smaller, cheaper paperback version? You should be seeing it in stores now, looking all pretty with its covergirl staring across the beautiful landscape of the Falls Valley toward her future. For the book’s heroine Teagan, that future is very uncertain. How she reaches it is the basis of the story and it is not an easy journey.

The hero of The Falls is local farrier Lucas Knight and I based his looks on actor Chris Hemsworth, which made for some truly delicious research. You know that scene in the movie Thor where Thor wanders in shirtless? I had to study that very closely. In the name of authenticity, of course. It’s a hard, hard life being a writer sometimes but I endure for you.

Anyway, here’s a juicy bit of banter between Lucas and Teagan. Enjoy!

 

She eyed him sceptically but didn’t step back. The last of the sun touched her hair, burnishing it. Lucas resisted an urge to stroke the strands, feel them flow like molten copper through his fingers. ‘I didn’t mean Ness. She’s always been Cover of The Falls by Cathryn Heinstraightforward with me.’

‘And I haven’t?’

‘Hard to tell. We only met two weeks ago.’

‘You could always get to know me better.’

‘I could.’

Their voices were getting quieter with each word. The air began to hush like it had in the pool.  Everything felt stretched, as though someone had taken the world and pulled it from either end.

He leaned close, lowering his voice to a seductive murmur. ‘Want to make a start?’

 ©Cathryn Hein

I’d make a start!! And you can too with your own copy of The Falls. Purchase the paperback from Booktopia or Bookdepository and the ebook from Amazon, iBooks, Kobo or your favourite ebook store.

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser TuesdayAfter a brief hiatus to celebrate the release of my new rural romance Summer and the Groomsman, Teaser Tuesday, the series where I share tasty morsels of works-in-progress, up-coming releases and published novels, is back. Rah!

Now that the excitement has died down a little, it’s time to refocus and start writing my next book. If only I knew what that was. I have three stories all clamouring to be told, and another abandoned story begging to be finished. This week it’s decision time. I predict much angsting ahead.

Speaking of angsting (like that segue?), let’s share a little of it from my May rural romance release, The Falls. This story revolves around Teagan Bliss, a character you might remember from Rocking Horse Hill. Broken-hearted after a family betrayal, Teagan has fled South Australia for New South Wales and her Aunt Vanessa’s property in the beautiful Falls Valley where she hopes to heal and find her new path in life. Easier said than done!

This is fun scene in Vanessa’s pool where Teagan is trying to relax after a hard day repairing fences, only to be interrupted by the worst (and sexiest!) person possible, local farrier Lucas Knight.

 

The water was bliss, warm enough to be pleasant but cool enough to soak away the heat and hard work of the day. She swam laps before gliding to the middle to lie on her back with her eyes closed in an effort to clear her thoughts. She sang songs in her head, concentrated on the metallic pings of the water, yet no matter how she tried, her mind remained filled with memories of Pinehaven.

And each passing image brought another slow leak of tears.

Cover of The Falls by Cathryn Hein‘Mind if I join you?’

Teagan splashed and turned in fright, swallowing a gush of water as she did. She emerged coughing and hacking with her hair plastered over the front of her face, cutting off her vision. She swept it back, only for the pound in her heart to hammer even worse when she saw who stood at the edge of the pool.

She opened her mouth and shut it, then looked around in a panic. Her towel was thrown over the far seat of the outdoor setting. She’d have to walk a good five metres in her bikini to fetch it, exposing every bony inch of her underweight frame to Lucas.

‘Don’t worry,’ he said, in his deep, smile-filled voice. ‘I grew out of peeing in the pool. You’re safe.’

She glanced back at him again and found herself repeating her gormless cod-mouth gape, only this time it wasn’t due to shock. The man had abs. A full-on sixpack. And hair. A sexy line of it that traced across his chest and down to the top of his board shorts. For some reason she’d expected him to be hairless. One of those blokes who went for waxing because it made his muscles stand out better. But here he was, radiating manliness like Adonis come to life.

©Cathryn Hein

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Hello again from Teaser Tuesday, the series where I share tasty morsels of works-in-progress, up-coming releases and published novels.

STeaser Tuesdayeeing as I’m currently reading final proofs of my upcoming rural romance novella, Summer and the Groomsman – release details coming very, VERY soon – I figured it must be time to share another little snippet from the story (if you missed the first one, you’ll find it on this Teaser Tuesday).

I love this story. It’s sweet and a little funny, and familiar characters from The Falls and Rocking Horse Hill make cameo appearances, including Granny B, who’s up to her usual mischief. Plus there’s a wedding and we all love one of those.

Summer and the Groomsman‘s sighworthy cover and pre-order links will be revealed over the next week to newsletter subscribers, so if you haven’t already signed up, make sure you do right now!

In the meantime, enjoy this glimpse of big Harry Argyle, the hero of Summer and the Groomsman, as he readies for a wedding party bonding session at Levenham’s Lush Spa and Beauty.

 

“Everyone here?” asked Dollybird.

Em nodded. “And looking forward to it.”

“Great. Everything’s prepared.” She smiled at them in turn. “Now, girls first.” From the corridor behind emerged three equally slim women wearing outfits that seemed more appropriate for a pharmacy or science lab than a beauty salon. “Em, you’re with Megan. Jas, if you’ll go with Sandy? And Teagan, we’ve paired you with Katie.”

Em planted a kiss on Josh’s mouth before waving at Harry and Dig, and with a call of “Enjoy!” trailed her beautician down the corridor. Jas followed suit, throwing Dig a wink as she went.

Teagan touched Harry lightly on the arm. “Just relax. You’ll be fine.” Then she leaned close. “But if they offer you an enema, say no.” And with a giggle she trotted off, leaving Harry feeling faint from the blood that had just drained from his face to pool in his boots. Enema? Enema?

© Cathryn Hein 2015

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FRIDAY FEAST with Cathryn Hein

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Greetings, food lovers, and welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Feast, once more featuring me. And what fun we’re going to have too, because I have toys to show you!

ARRA Booksigning - Cathryn HeinBut first, the roller-coasting fun that is Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. With the rise in temperature so does my golf game continue to improve. Not in great leaps and bounds, as one would like, but slowly and surely. I’m even trying smarty-pants shots. Admittedly not all of them pay off but one day soon they’ll begin to. I can feel it in my waters… Or maybe that’s just an omen of where my balls will end up if I continue the smarty-pants act. We shall see!

Right, as always we need a lovely read for you to check out. This week we’ll look at my latest release, The Falls.

THE FALLS

Cover of The Falls by Cathryn HeinWill losing the home she loves mean finding the place she belongs?

For as long as she can remember, Teagan Bliss has wanted to manage her family’s property. She’s invested everything in the farm, knowing that when her parents retire she’ll be ready to take the reins. But when a family betrayal leaves her reeling, Teagan is forced to rethink her entire future.

Heartbroken, Teagan flees to her aunt’s property in the idyllic Falls Valley. Vanessa is warm and welcoming and a favourite of the locals who drop in regularly for cocktail hour. Teagan soon catches the attention of sexy local farrier Lucas Knight, and with a new job, new friends and the prospect of a new relationship, she slowly begins to open up again.

But the village is a hotbed of gossip and division and when Teagan gets caught up in town politics, Lucas and Vanessa become concerned. As the tension in town escalates, Teagan must decide who to trust. But when she realises those close to her have been keeping secrets, the fallout may split Teagan apart forever.

Talking Books Blog described The Falls as “A knockout of a read that had me completely captivated from the first page…” And this great story could be yours with just a few clicks. Try Booktopia, Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, Big W or your favourite bookstore.

All set? Now come join me in playtime!

My Favourite Gadgets

Ooh, I adore a good gadget. They call to me from the windows of cooking shops and chef’s supplies, from catalogues and department store shelves, and don’t get me started on the sink that is the internet. I have been known to escape for hours into Peters of Kensington, Kitchenware Direct, Kitchen Warehouse, and places far flung.

I’ll admit to buying quite a few items that I’ve never used and probably never will. Those ravioli cutters I bought spring to mind, along those wanky steel rings for plating up salads into perfect Kitchen junk drawertowers. And silicone egg poaching pods. Who the hell thought those were a good idea? Me, obviously, seeing as I have half a dozen of the useless things clogging my kitchen junk drawer. Palette knives are another dud buy, along with dough cutters. I mean, I know they’re lovely and I have used them, but it’s far easier to grab a knife from the rack, and god knows I have a pile of those things too. Knives of every persuasion, from teeny-tiny fruit knives to giant cleavers and the most beautiful carving knife from Toledo. What do I use most? The cheap Chinese chef knives with the soft steel that sharpen fast and blunt just a quickly. Mind you, at least I don’t cry when I break the tip off those, unlike my others.

Yes, I cry over broken (good) knives. Doesn’t everyone?

But, you know what? For every dud gadget I own, there’ll be another that’s paid for itself many times over. In fact, there are a few things I’ll admit to being perhaps a tad obsessed by.

Like…

The Best Whisk Evah

I bought this in Cologne, Germany, and wish I’d bought one in every size plus the one with the Teflon-coated balls on the end. Over ten years on and I’m still stroppy that I only bought this one, and live in fear of it somehow disappearing from my life. This whisk is the GOODS. Seriously. It whips faster than any other whisk, ingredients don’t get caught up like they do with balloon whisks, the beads catch every corner, it makes a satisfying noise when you use it, and it’s plain cool. I would go back to Cologne just to buy another of these whisks. ‘Tis the truth.

Me with my beloved whisk

El Cheapo Knife Sharpener

$14-99 from Aldi and one of the best gadget investments imaginable. Before this baby I’d persevered with steels of all persuasions, without success. I don’t care what the purists say, sharpening knives the proper way when you have no prowess has knobs on it. But with this, a few strokes through the slots and my knives are back razor sharp. Yeah, they’ve probably had about ten layers of steel stripped off them in the process but I don’t care. At least my knives get used now. Before they sat in their racks all blunt and annoying because I could never get them sharp enough to use again once the store edge wore off. Now they are. I rest my case.

Knife Sharpener

Porcelain Pastry Beads

Once upon a time I used to go through bags of rice and beans, simply for blind baking tart bases. Not anymore! Now I simply pull out my pastry beads and away I go. They’re nice and heavy, cool fairly quickly and store away on the shelf in an old passata jar next to my rolling pin. Great investment! Oh, but do not drop the bottle or container they’re kept in, or spill them when lifting from the pastry case. Ever. These beads bounce, far and high. You’ll be picking them out of your home for the next year.

Pastry beads

Microplanes

What did we do before Microplanes? Can you remember the torture that was zesting citrus before these came along? The zester in particular is a must in any kitchen. You need one of these, oh yes you do. It is a thing of much beauty and will transform your zesting life.

Mircoplane Zester

Mandolin Magic

Like The Best Whisk Evah, I’m a little obsessed with this gadget. I bought it in Stockholm from a lovely big cooking shop that I discovered during my wanderings. The truth is I wanted a pure stainless steel version but the price of the one I had my eye on put me off. This one cost 495 Krona – about $80 or so – and it’s a cracker. It slices and shaves and juliennes and crinkle cuts and cleans up a breeze. Yup, those Swedes sure know a thing or two about design.

Mandolin

Mortar and Pestle

There’s something very satisfying about bashing things in a lump of granite and watching tough foodstuffs like lemongrass pulverise into pastes. The pestle makes a really cool ring when you use it, and the fragrance of the ingredients when they release all their goodness makes the cooking process even more exciting. I have two of these. A mid-sized one for small jobs and then the big mama for things like curry pastes.

Mortar and pestle

The Mixmaster That Will Not Die

You have no idea how much I crave a new mixmaster. I look at all that lovely new technology out there and want to weep because I can’t justify buying any of it because my 20+ year-old Sunbeam refuses to die. The engine occasionally overheats when mixing highly resistant things like dough but even then it keeps churning away. Sometimes, when I’m feeling naughty, I walk away from it in the faint hope it’ll vibrate its way off the bench, but no. It stays there, whipping, mixing, doing its thing as it’s always done. I hate it. But I love it too. Oh, faithful cooking servant.

Mixmaster

There are lots of other gadgets I could wax on about – my pasta machine, digital scales, Mouli, the humble garlic press, so many knives (now that they’re kept properly sharp), the really cool sieve I bought specifically for making one sauce and rarely use, a bazillion pots, pans and tins, that work of art meat tenderiser I bought in Vienna (cos they know aaall about schnitzels there) – but the above are the tools I can’t do without. I love them. Like, really, really love them. Which is a perfectly normal way to feel about a life-saving kitchen gadget, as I’m sure you’ll agree.

What about you? What’s your favourite kitchen gadget? Or maybe there’s one you want some clever-trousers to invent?

Share away. You might entice me, or someone else, to a new obsession!

If you’d like to learn more about me and my books, please feel free to explore my website. There’s lots of cool stuff on here. You can also connect via Facebook, Twitter using @CathrynHein, Google+, Goodreads and Pinterest.

For all the latest news, plus giveaways and more, not to mention secret ‘I love yous’ from me, please sign up to my newsletter. There’s going to be some pretty exciting news in it very soon!

Friday Feast recipe index link.

FRIDAY FEAST with Cathryn Hein

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Greetings food and book lovers, and welcome to another slurpalicious edition of Friday Feast. This week you again have the pleasure of my company, and I have a tasty and simple Asian inspired meal for you that you’ll love.

But as usual, let us endure the embarrassment that is Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. I thought it was happening, I really did. There were definite signs of improvement last weekend My new blue oveheart marked golf balland I was beginning to feel a glimmer of confidence. Then, because I somehow qualified for this year’s Women’s Golf Nepean Gold Brooch, on Wednesday I zoomed up the road to play the final at Leonay Golf Club. It started so well… Par, then bogey (not so good) then another par. Rah! I had form! Alas, it then descended into what at times could only be called utter humiliation. On a positive note, it was a gorgeous day and the other ladies were lovely and kind. If only Oh, Great Golfing God had been, but the bugger hates me. Must be the blue love hearts I’ve painted on my balls.

Time for a look at one of my books. This week: Rocking Horse Hill. This is the first in a loosely related rural romance series I’ve nicknamed the Levenham Love Stories. The Falls is already out, Summer and the Groomsman is in production (news on that soon), and I’m currently working on another full-length related novel with the working title Admella Beach. So Rocking Horse Hill is ground zero, so to speak.

Take a look…

ROCKING HORSE HILL

Rocking Horse Hill by Cathryn Hein coverWho do you trust when a stranger threatens to tear your family apart?

Ever since she was a little girl, Emily Wallace-Jones has loved Rocking Horse Hill. The beautiful family property is steeped in history. Everything important in Em’s life has happened there. And even though Em’s brother Digby has inherited the property, he has promised Em it will be her home for as long as she wishes.

When Digby falls in love with sweet Felicity Townsend, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, Em worries about the future. But she is determined not to treat Felicity with the same teenage snobbery that tore apart her relationship with her first love, Josh Sinclair. A man who has now sauntered sexily back into Em’s life and given her a chance for redemption.

But as Felicity settles in, the once tightly knitted Wallace-Jones family begins to fray. Suspicions are raised, Josh voices his distrust, and even Em’s closest friends question where Felicity’s motives lie. Conflicted but determined to make up for the damage caused by her past prejudices, Em sides with her brother and his fiancée until a near tragedy sets in motion a chain of events that will change the family forever.

A moving family drama and passionate love story by the author of Heartland, Promises and Heart of the Valley.

Romance. A sexy hero and clever heroine, both with complex pasts. An eerie volcano. A meddling granny. Family drama. Donkeys! What more could you want? Buy Rocking Horse Hill right now from Booktopia, Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play or your favourite book retailer.

And now for something slurpalicious.

My Leetle Dumpling…

I am a dumpling devotee, and proud of it.

I don’t mean European-type dumplings, made with flour and so on – although old-fashioned golden syrup dumplings are pretty tasty, and the occasional herb or cheesy dumpling-topped casserole can be a treat too. No, my dumpling love is for Asian-style dumplings. Little parcels of savoury goodness that can be anything from slippery to crunchy, and all textures in between.

They’re a sensation in flavour too, from interesting meat fillings to nourishing vegetables, even doughy delights on occasion. You can find them steamed, fried, boiled, or a combination. And they come in all shapes and sizes too, from crescents to buns to open-topped cups and prettily pleated balls.

With their flavours, aromas, texture and beauty, dumplings appeal across the senses. Plonk me in an Asian restaurant or noodle bar and my eyes will immediately go a-hunting for them. Any sort will do – potstickers, bao, buns, dimsum, wontons and more – there seem to be an endless array.

Sadly, you can’t eat out all the time. Well, you can, but that would mean no cooking and life without kitchen fun is too horrible to contemplate. And if, like me, you need your dumpling fix often, that means making them at home.

Fortunately, dumplings are dead easy.

No, don’t you look at me like that. They are! And I’m going to prove it with my recipe for dumpling soup.

I adore this soup. It’s simple and seriously tasty. Oh, and healthy. The soup itself is embarrassingly easy: stock, lemongrass, ginger, ketjap manis. The vegetable part is whatever you feel like.

It’s also versatile. These dumplings are made with prawn meat but I’ve made them with pork mince and chicken mince as well, to great success, varying the other ingredients to include spring onions, chilli, soy, whatever takes my fancy (leftovers of these versions are really tasty cold). Steamed spinach, soy and water chestnut is another fab combo.

Best of all, there should be enough dumplings remaining to serve with dipping sauce for extra indulgence!

I have no idea where the original recipe came from. I have a feeling it’s an amalgam of several, mashed around until I came up with a version that I liked most. All I know is that I’ve been making it for donkey’s and it’s foolproof. I make it for two as a main meal, but it can easily be divided to serve four. You just won’t have leftover dumplings.

So here it is. Enjoy!

Dumpling Soup

Cathryn's dumpling soup, ready to slurp

Ingredients

12 Australian green king prawns (approximately 12 prawns)

60g (approx) tinned water chestnuts, drained and roughly chopped

3 French shallots (eschallots – the small brown, oniony ones), peeled and roughly chopped

1 tablespoon cornflour

1 egg

½ teaspoon sesame oil

1 packet gow gee wrappers (30 wrappers). Wonton wrappers work fine too, you’ll just have triangles instead of crescents

1.5 litres of chicken stock. Vegetable stock works really well too

6 thick slices of fresh ginger

1 stem lemongrass, outer skin removed, the stem bashed about a bit to release flavour

1 tablespoon ketjap manis

Vegetables of your choosing. I tend to use variations of snow peas, spring onion, baby bok choy, choy sum, bean shoots and/or finely shredded cabbage. Whatever’s in the fridge crisper that requires very short or no cooking.

Method

Peel and devein your king prawns.

Australian green king prawns

Plonk the prawn meat, water chestnuts, shallots, sesame oil, egg and cornflour into a small blender and pulse. Don’t over process. It won’t matter if there’s a few chunky bits. In fact, they make the dumplings more interesting.

Chopped ingredients in processorNote: If you’re using pork or chicken mince, whiz the shallots and chestnuts (or whatever other flavours you’re using) until finely chopped, then add the other ingredients and pulse until just combined.

Lay out your gow gee wrappers on the bench. Have a pastry brush and a cup of water on standby.

Gow Gee wrappers laid out, ready for filling

Spoon about a teaspoon of prawn mix onto each wrapper.

Prawn filling on gow gee wrappers

Using the pastry brush, moisten the wrapper edges, then fold over and press firmly to seal. It doesn’t matter if some mix oozes out or there’s a few dodgy bits. These dumplings are very forgiving. Layer them on a plate and stick in the fridge until needed.

Filled dumplings

Pour the stock into a large saucepan. Add ginger, lemongrass and ketjap manis. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes or so. This stage can be done well in advance, if you need.

Saucepan of flavoured stock

Meanwhile, add your chopped veg to the bowls. Yes, they’re raw but when it’s poured over the hot stock will cook them to crunchy perfection.

Prepared soup bowls with the vegetables

When you’re ready to serve, bring the stock back to a good boil and lower in your dumplings, one by one. Because they’re cold, they’ll drop the temperature right down. Keep the heat high, stirring your dumplings gently, until the soup returns to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes or until all the dumplings are floating and look juicy and cooked.

Spoon however many dumplings you want for your soup into each bowl and pour over the stock.

Leave any leftover dumplings in the saucepan with a little stock so they don’t dry out or stick, lid on to keep them warm. Then, when you’ve finished your soup and if you have room in your belly, serve the dumplings on plates with a dipping sauce on the side. You can use straight soy, smears of chilli sauce, or I use this quick-to-make, tasty sauce. Simply mix together:

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar

Thinly sliced birdseye chilli. How much and whether you leave the seeds in or not depends on how hot you like it.

Dumpling with dipping sauce

And there you have it: dead simple dumpling love. Told you it was easy!

*

All right, Feasty darlings, what do you love to order or cook whenever you eat Asian food? What delectable dish or ingredient can’t you go past?

Besides dumplings, I am passionate about thick fresh rice noodles. Oh, how I adore those slippery strands. I’ve been known to travel across town to pick up good fresh rice noodles, and buy in bulk. My other favourite ingredient is chilli soybean paste. So hot! So good! So perfect with rice noodles!

What about you? Do you go giggly over gyoza? Perhaps shiver in delight over sago pudding with palm sugar syrup? Even get a tad loony over laksa? Curious minds would love to know!

If you’d like to learn more about me and my books, please feel free to explore this 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.

Teaser Tuesday!

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It’s Teaser Tuesday time again, my new weekly series where I tantalise you with snippets from upcoming and past book releases, and works-in-progress. This week: my latest rural romance, The Falls.

Teaser TuesdayWhile The Falls can be easily read on it’s own, the heroine is Teagan Bliss, Em’s best friend from my earlier novel, Rocking Horse Hill. In that story Teagan is let down badly by her family and flees to the NSW village of The Falls, and it’s the moment of her arrival there where the story of The Falls begins.

Although small in size, the village is big in heart and the perfect place for Teagan to come to terms with her new life. It also just so happens to be home to a very sexy farrier named Lucas Knight. Inspiration for his character involved much looking at pictures of Chris Hemsworth as Thor. It was a hardship, but I swear I did it for you, dear readers.

If you haven’t read The Falls it’s available now in paperback and ebook from Booktopia, Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi or your favourite retailer.

Please enjoy this little taster from The Falls.

Teagan and Lucas are having a conversation by Claudia the horse’s paddock…

 

‘Do you like cricket?’ Lucas asked suddenly.

‘It’s okay.’ Teagan paused and resumed her hunt for something sharp. ‘My brother, Owen, used to play when he lived at home. Club cricket, not grade. I used to watch him occasionally.’ Her hand closed around the handle of a bot knife, a special tool for Cover of The Falls by Cathryn Heinscraping bot fly eggs off a horse’s coat. She held it up and ran her thumb over the edge. Too pitted and worn. She tossed it back and regarded Lucas again. ‘I prefer football. Much better for a perve.’

‘Not impressed by the thunder of a fast bowler?’

‘Hard to beat a good full forward.’

He frowned and then understood. ‘AFL. I forgot you were from the south. It’s mostly rugby up here.’

‘I take it you’re a fast bowler, then.’

‘Medium pace. The team workhorse.’ He grinned in a way that seemed to ignite the afternoon, straight, pure and loaded with genuine good humour. A bloke who found the world a pretty damn happy place. ‘My job is to grind them down with boredom.’

‘I couldn’t imagine you being boring.’

‘I can be all sorts of things, if I try.’

©Cathryn Hein

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FRIDAY FEAST with Cathryn Hein

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Hello lovelies, and welcome to another fiiiiine edition of Friday Feast. This week: me! Yep, I’m at Author Cathryn Heinthe helm and I’m not only a sharing a recipe for easy soda bread, I’m running a giveaway too.

But before we get into that, let’s all give a big sigh for Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. Okay, so last week was better. Not much better but there was an improvement. I think I only lost one ball. Or was that two? I drown so many it’s hard to keep count and the rounds just blur into one another. Anyway, I have a spiffy new pair of golf trousers to try out this week. They’re Puma which, according to the ads, means Ricky Fowler’s swing is just a mind’s leap away. Or something like that. Yeah, I don’t believe it either.

As I’m sure you all know, my latest release is The Falls. It’s lovely. You should read it.

THE FALLS

Cover of The Falls by Cathryn HeinWill losing the home she loves mean finding the place she belongs?

For as long as she can remember, Teagan Bliss has wanted to manage her family’s property. She’s invested everything in the farm, knowing that when her parents retire she’ll be ready to take the reins. But when a family betrayal leaves her reeling, Teagan is forced to rethink her entire future.

Heartbroken, Teagan flees to her aunt’s property in the idyllic Falls Valley. Vanessa is warm and welcoming and a favourite of the locals who drop in regularly for cocktail hour. Teagan soon catches the attention of sexy local farrier Lucas Knight, and with a new job, new friends and the prospect of a new relationship, she slowly begins to open up again.

But the village is a hotbed of gossip and division and when Teagan gets caught up in town politics, Lucas and Vanessa become concerned. As the tension in town escalates, Teagan must decide who to trust. But when she realises those close to her have been keeping secrets, the fallout may split Teagan apart forever.

The Falls is available right this very moment in paperback and ebook. Visit Booktopia, Angus & Robertson or Bookworld. Also Amazon.au, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi, Boomerang Books, Dymocks, Collins BooksellersAbbey’s Bookstore, QBD The Bookshop, or your favourite independent book seller or chain store.

Right, time for some foodie fun!

The Staff Of Life

We make a lot of our own bread in the Hein house. I have several tried and true favourite recipes that whup the butts off most bought loaves. One of the absolute best is a minimal Our home-made crusty breadknead, long-rise bread that produces the most beautiful chewy crust; like sour-dough but without all the hassle of maintaining a ‘starter’.

There’s also focaccia, various flatbreads for serving with curries, and a few different soda breads. Delia Smith’s recipe for goat’s cheese, onion and potato bread is a cracker and, like most of her recipes, dead easy to make. If a normal white loaf is all we’re after, a few minutes measuring ingredients for the bread machine and it’s on its way. Plus the bread machine is great for when we can’t be bothered to do a slow-rise loaf. Using the same ingredients, we set it to ‘dough’ and when that’s ready use our special oven technique to get a good crust. The texture isn’t as nice as the slow-rise but it does the job.

FocacciaWhich means it’s not often that our freezer is empty of a loaf of some description. It does, however, happen. And it happened one night a few years back right when I’d made a big pot of winter vegetable soup. With no time to make a proper yeast-risen bread, or the right ingredients to whip up any of my favourite flavoured soda breads, panic ensued.

Okay, not panic. After all, we wouldn’t die or anything if we had soup without bread, but it was annoying.

What to do?

Make the best of it, that’s what.  I checked the fridge and cupboards, had a bit of a think, whacked on the oven and started mixing. The result was a soda bread to be proud of.

Seriously, this bread takes no skill, bugger-all effort and tastes brilliant. You’ll love it.

Cheesy Mustard Bread In A Hurry

525g plain flour – I use bread flour but if you don’t have any, normal plain is just fine.

1 teaspoon bi-carb soda

1 teaspoon salt

50g grated cheddar

350 ml milk

1/3 cup (80ml) of buttermilk, sour cream, cream, evaporated milk, whatever. Or simply make up with milk. Frankly, it doesn’t matter. I’ve used them all and they all taste fine.

1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 heaped teaspoon hot English mustard (As with the milk, whatever mustards you have on hand or prefer the taste of – wholegrain works well too)

Thyme or another herb if you have it, otherwise ignore.

Parmesan cheese

Pre-heat oven to 200C.

Weigh out the flour into a large bowl. Add salt and bi-carb. Mix well. Strip thyme stems of their leaves, if using, and throw those in then grate in cheddar and mix again.

Measure out all the other wet ingredients into a separate jug, and whisk until combined.

Cheesy mustard bread ingredients ready to mix

Pour wet ingredients on to dry and mix until you have a sort of dough. Don’t get too excited about kneading it. Just mix until it comes together then form into a nice oval loaf-like shape.

Line a baking tray with baking paper (I used a pre-heated pizza stone this time round) and plonk the dough on top. Using a sharp knife, cut diagonal slashes across the surface. Grate enough Parmesan over the top to suit your taste.

Dough with slashes in the top, ready for baking.

Bung in the oven for 40 minutes until brown and crusty.

Baked cheesy mustard bread.

Slice and serve with butter to many oohs and ahhs!

A slice of cheesy mustard bread

Now, because I have a belly full or bread and am feeling pleased with the world (I had to make a loaf because I had no piccies of it, and then I had to taste test it – honestly, the things I do for you), I think we should have a…

GIVEAWAY!

Okay, to be in the draw to win a signed copy of Heartland, Callie, Matt and Honk the mad Heartland by Cathryn Heingoose’s story, share with me your favourite bread. Or even your favourite soup. Or just leave a comment. Let’s not make things complicated. I’m feeling far too relaxed for that!

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 23rd June, 2015. Australian postal addresses only. 

If you’d like to learn more about me and my books, please feel free to explore my website. There’s lots of cool stuff on here. You can also connect via Facebook, Twitter using @CathrynHein, Goodreads and Pinterest.

For all the latest news, plus giveaways and more, not to mention extra special happy vibes from me, please sign up to my newsletter. It’s fun!

 

Friday Feast recipe index link.

FRIDAY FEAST with Cathryn Hein

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Hello, book and food lovers, and welcome to another mouth-watering edition of Friday Feast. This week, because my brand spanking new rural romance The Falls released on Wednesday and milestones like this need to be celebrated, you have the pleasure of my company. Which means much deliciousness!

But first, the emotional roller-coaster that is Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. In an astonishing turn-around, I actually played well and won a golf ball for my efforts. Ha! I bet you Cathryn ready to golfdidn’t expect me to say that, did you? It wasn’t perfect, by any means. There were some verra ugly shots made but overall a vast improvement on the horrors of previous weeks. I am praying for this to continue. All that bad play was costing a small fortune in drowned golf balls.

Wednesday was release day for The Falls, which is always a wonderful time. And this is a book that deserves a party. The Falls was huge fun to write, with a great line up of characters, both animal and human. Lucas, the hero, is a bit of a fantasy man (insert deep, longing sigh here) and it’s nice to find out what happened to Teagan after Rocking Horse Hill. Then there’s Teagan’s glamorous, generous Aunt Vanessa and her menagerie of waifs and strays, and all the other colourful characters that inhabit Falls Farm and the local village. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Take a look…

THE FALLS

Will losing the home she loves mean finding the place she belongs?

For as long as she can remember, Teagan Bliss has wanted to manage her family’s property. She’s invested everything in the farm, knowing that when her parents retire she’ll be ready to Cover of The Falls by Cathryn Heintake the reins. But when a family betrayal leaves her reeling, Teagan is forced to rethink her Cover of The Falls by Cathryn Heinentire future.

Heartbroken, Teagan flees to her aunt’s property in the idyllic Falls Valley. Vanessa is warm and welcoming and a favourite of the locals who drop in regularly for cocktail hour. Teagan soon catches the attention of sexy local farrier Lucas Knight, and with a new job, new friends and the prospect of a new relationship, she slowly begins to open up again.

But the village is a hotbed of gossip and division and when Teagan gets caught up in town politics, Lucas and Vanessa become concerned. As the tension in town escalates, Teagan must decide who to trust. But when she realises those close to her have been keeping secrets, the fallout may split Teagan apart forever.

You can join Lucas and Teagan on their journey to love with just a few clicks. Buy now from Booktopia, Bookworld, Angus & Robertson, Amazon.au, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi, QBD The Bookshop, Boomerang Books, Collins Bookstore, and Abbey’s Bookshop. Or simply trot down to your local Dymocks, independent book store, or Big W and pick up a copy there.

Right. Food time!

Getting Dippy!

There’s something really enjoyable about relaxing with nibbles, especially outside. Whether it’s rowdy and laughter laden with friends and family, or quiet with just a book to keep you company. That lovely combination of simple, tasty things to munch on, where your hand keeps reaching for another morsel, is very pleasurable.

Teagan’s Aunt Vanessa in The Falls is an expert at entertaining. She adores having friends over and holds a cocktail hour every evening on her verandah, with a different cocktail punctuating each day of the week. Teagan’s first experience of this is margarita night, but there are days for negronis, kir royales, gin and tonics, sangria, martinis and Pimms cocktails.

Vanessa, being exceedingly generous, usually lays out platters of antipasti to go with her drinks. Simple dishes like homemade focaccia, marinated olives, tangy giardiniera, cheese, paté and shaved Parma ham. She also often includes simple dips like pesto and black olive tapenade, the latter of which you can find the recipe for on one of my earlier Friday Feasts.

But with dips you need something to attack them with. Vanessa mostly chooses bread – sliced baguette or, as mentioned, homemade focaccia (recipe here). But as she’s a product of my imagination, I know for a fact that she would also occasionally include sticks of grissini.

If you’re not familiar with grissini, they’re basically slim bread sticks baked until dry and ‘snappy’ and they’re great for poking into dips or wrapping prosciutto around. The best thing is that they’re dead easy to make. Honest! And you can flavour them however you like, with herbs, spices, seasoned salts, whatever takes your fancy.

So next time you’re having a barbie or hosting drinks where there’ll be dippy dishes, why not have a go at your own grissini? They look attractive, plus you can puff out your chest and say you made them and everyone will think you’re very clever, when reality is they took next to no effort.

Grissini

Home-made grissini on Friday Feast  with Cathryn Hein

Makes approximately 25.

2 teaspoons dried yeast

200ml blood temperature water

300g bread flour

1½ teaspoons salt

Preheat oven to 200˚C.

Mix yeast with water and set aside for ten minutes while you measure out the other ingredients and sort your flavourings. If using a breadmaker (which takes out much of the grunt work), add all the ingredients to the pan in this order: water, salt, flour, yeast. Then use the dough setting to mix and prove.

If doing by hand, simply mix the yeast liquid into the stirred together flour and salt and when combined, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. If that sounds too much like hard work and you have a mixmaster with dough hooks, use those. Place the dough in a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave in a draught-free place for an hour to rise.

Slice off small pieces of dough, about the size of your thumb, and using the palms of your hands, roll each piece into a long, straight stick. It should be quite thin, around the size of a pencil. If they’re too thick they won’t dry out properly and give you that satisfying snap, nor will they keep very well.

When you have the right size, roll in whatever flavours you’ve chosen. The ones in the photo were rolled in poppy seeds, thyme and plain polenta. Don’t worry if they look a bit uneven, they’re meant to be rustic!

Lay out on a baking paper covered baking tray and bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden and dried. Cool on a wire rack. Properly made, they’ll store in an air-tight container for a week.

 

I hope you enjoyed this easy recipe and are planning to laze about scoffing dips and grissini with your nose in a copy of The Falls. Sounds lovely, yes?

So here’s a question, what’s your favourite indulgent nibble? Can’t say no to a big bowl of salt and vinegar chips? Or perhaps duck liver pate is your weakness. Maybe you love a bit of retro cheese and kabana on a toothpick.

Please share. We’d all love to hear! And you could inspire someone’s next party.

If you’d like to learn more about The Falls or any of my previous releases, check out my books page on this site. And don’t forget to connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and now on Pinterest! Plus sign up to my newsletter to be the first to hear all the news, receive exclusive content, enter special giveaways and more.

 

The Falls Release Day!

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Wheee! My new rural romance The Falls has now officially hit the shelves.

Talking Books Blog had this to say about it:

5 star review and quote from Talking

Isn’t that cool? I’m so chuffed. You can read the full review on Goodreads.

Have you spotted any copies of The Falls out and about yet?  I would love to hear if you have. Even better, maybe take a pic and share it on my Facebook page, Google+ or Twitter via @CathrynHein.

Now, to celebrate release day here are…

TEN SECRET THINGS ABOUT THE FALLS

1/. Teagan’s last name Bliss comes was taken from Bargain Hunt’s Kate Bliss. I’m a huge fan of this TV show. It’s always so interesting and I adore Tim Wonnacott.

2/. Lucas Knight bears more than a passing resemblance to actor Chris Hemsworth.

I had to study a lot of bare-chested photos of our home-grown Hollywood star to ensure I had the look just right. Ah, research. It can be such a chore sometimes.

3/. There are two songs I listened to over and over while writing and editing The Falls.

The first is Pearl Jam’s incredibly romantic Sirens. The words “I study your face and the fear goes away” seemed to encompass the way Teagan would come to feel about Lucas. Sigh. Makes me feel gooey just thinking about it.

1

The second song is Karma Police by Radiohead. It seemed to offer a way into Teagan’s head, especially at the end of the song with the lyrics “I lost myself.”
 

4/. Vanessa’s dress sense and voluptuous looks were inspired by Mad Men actress Christina Hendricks.

5/. Merlin the Magic Ram is real. Or, rather, he was.

He’s based on Ram-Lamb, the completely psychotic ram my parents kept and who would attack anything, from people, to cars, to sliding glass doors. We used to have “I ran the paddock with Ram-Lamb races” where one person would keep hold of the ram until the other was halfway down the paddock and then let go. You had to sprint to make the other fence because that ram could really motor.

Ram-Lamb left us the day he took on Dad…

Me with a baby Ram Lamb

 

6/. Domenic Ashe looks like Richard Roxburgh, whom I adore. A verra sexy man.

7/. I wrote the first draft of The Falls in 34 writing days.

It was an experiment in changing my writing process, which is normally a pedantic edit-as-I-go style system. NEVER AGAIN. I might have produced a lot of words in a short period of time, but it took me the next 6 months to rearrange them into a decent order.

8/. At over 116,000 words, The Falls is the longest book I’ve had published. The next closest is Heart of the Valley at around 100,000.

9/. It’s also the first time I’ve introduced an extra character’s point of view in addition to the hero’s and the heroine’s. In this case, Teagan’s aunt Vanessa.

Telling Vanessa’s story through her own eyes was lovely. She’s such a great character.

10/. After deciding that Flopsy was just too naff a name for the rabbit that appears late in the book, I ran a Facebook competition to rename it.

Reader Jan came up with Nibbles, which I thought was really cute.

 

I hope you enjoyed these ten secret things. But most of all I really hope you enjoy the fun and romance of The Falls!

Keen to learn more? Visit The Story Behind The Falls for an insight. You can also hear me talking about the inspiration behind the book, my favourite parts and more on this video. For an excerpt, visit The Falls book page on this website. You can also read the entire first chapter at Penguin.com.au.

Feeling that itchy urge to buy right now? Then canter on down to your local book shop or Big W, or simply clickety-click on any of these retailers.

Booktopia

Bookworld

Boomerang Books

Angus & Robertson

QBD The Bookshop

Collins Booksellers

Amazon Kindle

Kobo

iBooks

Google Play

Right. I’m off to crack some celebratory fizz. Oh, perhaps not. It’s tad early. Never mind, there’ll definitely be some later!

Talking about The Falls

With only three sleeps until my new rural romance The Falls officially hits shelves, I thought it was  time to post a video of me talking about the inspiration behind the story, my favourite parts to write and what you can expect from the book.

Enjoy!

You can order The Falls from Booktopia, Angus & Robertson, Bookworld, Amazon.au, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play or check out your favourite bookseller.