Tag Archives: Toblerone brownies

FRIDAY FEAST with Shona Husk

14 Replies

Hello, foodie-reader people! Welcome once again to the deliciousness that is Friday Feast. And what healthy little beasties we’re going to be today. There’s a pancake recipe that will sweeten up any breakfast, plus an amazing new paranormal romance to lose yourself in. How’s that for the perfect way to start your weekend off.

But first, the cringeworthy update that is Us Heins Weren’t Mean To Play Golf. The rot has well and truly set in. Shots were duffed. Balls were bulleted into dams. Swearwords were said. A head was hung in shame. On a good note, I guess the only way is up!

Author Shona HuskSpeaking of good notes (oh, I am the segue QUEEN!), our guest today is Friday Feast regular and multi-romance genre author Shona Husk (she of the Toblerone Brownies, which I made a batch of last week and nearly passed out from chocolate overdose after eating). Shona has a new book out in the brilliant Court of Annwyn series and it sounds a beauty, with spies and fairies and powerplays and, of course, that thing that makes good books even better, romance.

Take a look…

THE DARKLING LORD

The Darkling Lord by Shona HuskA darkling with a lust for power…

Henry Saint shouldn’t exist. Every year on his birthday, he kills someone and takes their soul so that he may live another year. He is a darkling, not fairy… but not human either. Yet he is bound by the laws of both worlds. With a new King on the throne of Annwyn and the mortal world trying to rebuild after plagues killed so many, Henry seizes the opportunity to carve out a place of his own. He wants Detroit.

A spy without a soul…

Darah was Felan’s spy before he became King of Annwyn. Now he has one last mission for her. He wants her to join the darkling’s Court and discover what Henry’s endgame is. No one trusts the Banished when they gather in great numbers. As Darah gets drawn into Henry’s world she realizes he can give her the one thing she could never find in Annwyn—love. But is love worth betraying her King?

Far out, that sounds exciting and you’ll in the capable hands of a skilled storyteller with The Darkling Lord, so why not buy it today?  Try amazon.comKobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, or your favourite ebook retailer. And while you’re clicking about, add The Darkling Lord to your Goodreads shelf and give everyone else the heads-up about this cracking book.

Right. Now let’s get healthy with Shona. A woman who knows her way with chocolate…

Breakfast Made Extra Delicious!

For the last quarter of 2014 I had to go gluten and dairy free. It was extremely unfun (yes, I know it’s not a word but it should be). When you read labels you quickly realize that gluten and dairy are in everything. Coconut milk power…includes dairy. Gluten…where isn’t it?

So I did a bit of research and tried to find new things to eat. Breakfast was the big one for me because I liked fruit salad with yoghurt or porridge (when it’s made with water it’s just gruel) or cereal.

Fortunately the internet is wondrous and I discovered quinoa with apple and sultanas and walnuts and honey. Yum!

Then I found these. Chocolate chip oatmeal cookie pancakes by the Minimalist Baker.

These pancakes are so delish as long as you don’t go into them expecting light and fluffy, or thin and crepe like. These are chunky and full of awesome.

Recipes are just a guideline and we have giant bananas at the moment so click the link for the original or check out my slightly altered version (because I’m lazy and I use what’s in the cupboard).

Shona’s Choc Chip & Rolled Oat Pancakes

In a bowl put 1 banana, 1 egg, 1 tbsp peanut butter (crunchy, smooth, whatever is handy), 1 tbsp coconut oil, dash of vanilla and cinnamon (cloves and nutmeg too if you feel like it). Give it a whisk until smooshy.

Toss in 2/3 cup of rolled oats and ¼ cup gf flour and 1tsp baking powder. Whisk. It should be quite thick. Add ~80ml water (I ran out of oat milk one day and decided water would be fine. It totally was).

Let the mix sit for 10 mins. So go and get dressed, tell the kids to get dressed, feed the cat etc…

Stir the mix add a splash more water if it’s thickened up a lot. It should be gloopy not runny. Add 3 tablespoons of choc chips (throw in what looks like the right amount because who really measures chocolate?)

Blob mixture onto the frying pan. Don’t try for big pancakes, think pikelet size. Flip and then serve with nutlex and maple syrup and fruit (oranges, berries and pears go really well).

If your kids aren’t snarfing them down these will keep in the fridge for a couple of days once cooked so you can enjoy them for breakfast tomorrow without the fuss of cooking them.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do…the Minimalist Baker has lots of other yummy recipes for the gf and df. I no longer have to be as strict which makes going out a whole lot easier but at home I try and avoid them still.

And while you enjoy choc chip pancakes check out The Darkling Lord for some paranormal romance with spies and fairies.

 

Honestly, Shona, you are the queen of healthy cooking with chocolate! These sound great and I love the idea whipping up an batch and keeping them in the fridge to have later. That’s very handy, especially for when you’re running late. And because they’re only pikelet sized, these pancakes would be perfect to munch on while reading The Darkling Lord!

If you’d like to learn more about Shona and her edgy romances, including the Shadowlands and Court of Annwyn series, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Twitter using @ShonaHusk, or sign up to her newsletter to keep up to date with new releases and more.

FRIDAY FEAST with Shona Husk

9 Replies

Oof, it’s been a big week. So much to catch up on after my trip away to South Australia and western Victoria but a very lovely time was had so all worth it.

We have an excellent guest on Friday Feast today, and a regular, but first you must endure Author Shona HuskUs Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news because I’m chuffed. Chuffed, I tell you!

Yes, I played well enough last week to lose an entire stroke off my handicap. Whee! Lots of long puts sunk and I only hit one ball into a dam. Marvels!

Which gives me a very nice segue back to today’s Friday Feast guest because she is a true marvel. Why? Because Shona Husk gave us TOBLERONE BROWNIES! Plus she’s a pretty awesome author. Shona is a three-time Australian Romance Reader Award finalist and best-selling author of multiple contemporary, fantasy, paranormal and sci-fi romances (her Shadowlands series is fantastic). Whatever tickles your romantic fantasy, Shona has a book for you.

Her latest release is The Changeling Soldier. Check it out.

THE CHANGELING SOLDIER

Cover of The Changeling Soldier by Shona HuskHer time in the mortal world is running out…

After fleeing Annwyn three centuries ago, Ella built a life in the mortal world making gowns for European royalty and playing in mortal intrigues. Now those Courts are long gone, and she dresses Hollywood starlets. Mortals come and go, but Ella always ends up alone. She longs for the home she left behind.

He’s been dreaming of the coming battle all his life…

Isaac Norton is a returned soldier. Now home, he’s restless and his recurring dream is becoming more frequent: he’s fighting on a snow-covered field stained with blue blood. When he sees Ella, he knows she isn’t human. And she knows what he is, a changeling.

Ella can give Isaac the answers he needs, but there will be a price to pay: his soul.

Ooh, now there’s a story with a lot at stake! The Changeling Soldier releases June 3rd but you can pre-order it right now for a measly 99 cents. What a bargain! Order the ebook from Smashwords, iBooks, Kobo, Barnes & Noble for Nook, All Romance eBooks or you can buy a print version from  Amazon or Createspace.

Go on! It’s 99 cents and you’ll have a cracking time!

Speaking of a cracking time, here’s Shona.

My Favourite Cookbooks

I love cooking, not the huge labor intensive dinner party style cooking, but the sling it together with love style of cooking. Simple and delicious. It should be no surprise that one of my favorite cookbooks is Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals (No, I have never cracked the 15 minute mark but it’s still something I aim for).

Cathryn: Neither have I with the 30 Minute, Shona, but it’s still fast-ish and the results are pretty tasty!

I also love that I can hand his 15 and 30 minute meals books to the kids and they can select the menu for the week (as an added bonus if they don’t like it I can remind them that they picked it).

My other favorite cookbook is one I was given for Christmas (I might have suggested that was what I wanted). Silvia’s Cucina is full of Italian yumminess. I started with the desserts, then moved my way to gnocci and pasta before trying bread. OMG! I haven’t bought a loaf of bread since January.

While I’ve had a bread machine for over a decade it was never great for sandwiches and the texture wasn’t quite right. Silvia’s bread is awesome. I love the overnight no knead recipe (it has 3 ingredients!) and the kids like her soft crust yoghurt bread. Silvia’s Cucina has been a great addition to my library. While many of these recipes are a little more time consuming, slow roasted goat and Nona’s polenta and pork ribs are so worth the wait—and perfect for making on the weekend.

Lastly Curtis Stone’s What’s for Dinner. This is another one that I can hand to the kids so they can choose the meals. Potato and corn chowder is very popular, as it the banana bread (although I must confess taking out half the walnuts and swapping them with choc chips).

I can’t leave without sharing a recipe, this is one my sister sent me and it’s for no bake chocolate slice. From ihearexercisewillkillyou.com (my notes are in italics, this recipe is also super easy to halve if you are running out of things but still want a sweet treat, it’s also super rich so cut small squares!)

The Best No-Bake Bars You’ll Ever Eat

1 cup peanut butter (I use crunchy)

1/2 cup honey (um, I never actually measure I do it by eye as it’s less of a PITA)

1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil (be sure to use unrefined for the coconut flavor) (health food shop)

2 cups dry oats (not instant) (I use rolled, I’m guessing that’s the same as dry as it turns out fine)

1 C shredded coconut

1/2 C chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

1 1/4 cups dark chocolate chips (200g of 85% Lindt is awesome)

1 t vanilla extract

Melt peanut butter, honey and coconut oil over medium-low heat. Once melted, remove from heat and add oats, shredded coconut, chocolate chips and vanilla. Stir until chocolate is entirely melted. Pour into a 9×13 pan and cool in the fridge. When it’s set, cut into bars and enjoy. Store in the fridge. If they last that long!

***

While I do use the internet to find recipes, it’s not the same as flicking through a book and feeling inspired to try something new. What are your favorite family (and time friendly) recipe books?

 

Oh, that’s easy…*trots off to survey collection* … er, perhaps not so easy after all. I love all my cookbooks. Some I read for fun and inspiration but never really cook out of, others I try loads of things. Probably my most used is Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes. There are some cracking recipes in there like lahmacun (a delicious lamb pizza type dish) and pollo alla diavola. And tonight I’m making the lamb tagine with prunes and almonds. I agree with Shona about Jamie Oliver too. If you’re time pressed, Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals has some pretty tasty recipes in it. Try the piri-piri chicken and the stuffed Cypriot chicken. Plenty of others to play with too.

What about you? What’s your favourite cookbook? Share the love. I’m sure we could all do with another on our shelves. Although don’t tell my other half that!

If you’d like to learn more about Shona and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter using @ShonaHusk or sign up to her newsletter for all the latest releases.

Mid Summer News

First up, I’m a very proud Australian Romance Reader Award finalist in two categories. Such a thrill!

My rural romance Heartland is up for Favourite Contemporary Romance and, much to my great honour, I’m up for Favourite Australian Romance Author. Winners will be announced at the awards dinner at Cello’s Restaurant, Castlereagh Hotel, Sydney on 22nd March. Tickets to this glittery, star-studded night can be booked through ARRA. Go on, you know you want to be there!

Sitting on the hall table, ready for posting, is a package containing the proof-read pages of Rocking Horse Hill. Which means the next time I see this manuscript, it won’t be looking like this:

Rocking Horse Hill by Cathryn Hein first page proofs

It’ll be in book form with a shiny cover for me to stroke and feel gooey over. Rah!

Which brings me to a release date. Mark your calendars, cos Rocking Horse Hill is coming soon.

Release date for Rocking Horse Hill 23rd April 2014

Speaking of covers, it won’t be long and I’ll have one to show off. Newsletter subscribers score a look before anyone else. So if you want to be the first to see the cover and blurb, as well as catch up on other news, take a trip to my website and sign up.

Currently I’m well into my 2015 book, The Falls, which stars Teagan Bliss, a character from Rocking Horse Hill. This one is set in a gorgeous valley in New South Wales and features some “interesting” villagers, as well as a super sexy farrier hero and an evil cat. Great fun!

For those in the Mildura and Red Cliffs area, I’m coming your way. Just in time for Valentine’s Day too.

Promo for Mildura and Red Cliffs library talk

For more information, please visit the Mildura Rural City Council website.

My new website is nearing completion and should go live mid next month. I can’t wait. It’s so pretty!

Friday Feast is still on holidays but I’ve lined up some fantastic authors to kick the year off. Stay tuned for more on that. But if you’re looking for some recipes to try then don’t forget the recipe index is there for you to salivate over. Toblerone brownies, anyone?

And finally, a quick Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf update. I dropped another stroke off my handicap. I have no idea how or why, but it happened. The Great Golfing God is toying with me…

Till next time, stay cool (or warm!) and enjoy your Australia Day weekend. I know I will!

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Shona Husk

Remember Toblerone brownies, Feasters? Well, she’s baaaaack! Yes, three time Australian Romance Reader Award finalist and paranormal and fantasy romance author Shona Husk Author Shona Huskis gracing Friday Feast once more, and what a delight to have her. Not least because I sniff more chocolate in the air…

But first, Shona has a new series and if it’s anything like her gloriously goblin-y Shadowlands books (gorgeous heroes, highly recommended), this one’s going to be a beauty. The first in Shona’s Court of Annwyn trilogy, The Outcast Prince, is smoking up the shelves now. Check it out.

 

THE OUTCAST PRINCE

 

The Outcast Prince by Shona HuskCaspian Mort can feel the history in anything he touches, a gift he inherited from his father, the Crown Prince of Annwyn. Devastated over his ex-wife’s infidelity, Caspian has withdrawn from human contact except when working as an antiques dealer.

While assessing the contents of the historic Callaway House he encounters the beautiful Lydia Callaway and senses that her home is haunted by a banished fairy. But what does the dangerous exile want? Unbeknownst to Lydia, she’s the owner of the last remaining portal to Annwyn–a mirror hidden somewhere in the house. To keep Lydia safe, Caspian will have to divulge the secrets of his heritage, and risk losing his heart again.

 

Excited about this one. Are you ready to get clicking? I am! Your copy of The Outcast Prince awaits. For the paperback, try most excellent Australian online bookstore and ARRC 2013 platinum sponsor Booktopia. You can also buy from Amazon, BookDepository and Barnes and Noble. For the ebook, try Kobo, Amazon (for Kindle), iTunes or Barnes and Noble.

Now brace yourself, another chocolate hit is on its way!

 

Experimenting With Chocolate And Quinoa

 

I was going to call this post experimenting with quinoa but I thought it might scare a few people 🙂 About a year ago I’d bought a bag of quinoa which looked like tiny cream balls of polystyrene (they even clung with static to the bag). It sat in my pantry for a while before I found a quinoa porridge recipe with walnuts and cranberries. I made it a few times but it was a bit hard core and the kids were not impressed. However they will eat my 3 grain porridge (1 cup Arborio rice, 1 packet wild rice, ½ cup quinoa, about 1lt milk, ½ cup brown sugar and cinnamon—this makes a big pot and we add tinned peaches after microwaving in the morning).

I also discovered that quinoa makes a great brown rice substitute (well any rice really).

But that was as far as I went until a friend came over with mini chocolate quinoa muffins. YUM! And the kids loved them. I asked for the recipe but since I don’t have a thermomix she said I wouldn’t be able to make them. Ummm…I have a kitchen whizz, a saucepan, scales and beaters. I can make anything!

One quick google and I found something that I liked the sound of: Best Ever Quinoa Chocolate Cupcakes.

However I cut the sugar down to ½ cup raw sugar and also only use ½ cup  cocoa (most recipes make things overly sweet) and I add a teaspoon of cinnamon.

If you make them in a mini muffin tin you’ll get heaps and can freeze them for afterschool treats.

One thing I have discovered when using quinoa instead of flour is that you need prep time as it takes time to cook and then time to cool before it can be blended. The muffins are also more fragile than flour based muffins but they also stay moist for longer.

Spurred on by the chocolate muffin success I eyed up my other recipes and wondered if I could simply replace the flour.

The new family favorite is choc orange quinoa muffins.

Here is the original recipe: Orange Chocolate Chip Muffins

Here is my variation.

 

Quinoa Orange Chocolate Muffins

Shona Husk's choc-orange muffins

½ cup quinoa

1 egg

1 orange

80g butter

1 tsp vanilla

½ cup raw sugar

1tsp baking powder

1tsp baking soda

1tsp cinnamon

50g dark chocolate

½ cup choc chips (optional)

 

Cook quinoa in 1 cup of water for ~12 minutes or until soft. Allow to cool.

Place in food processor and blend (it won’t be totally smooth)

Wash orange and chop into pieces.

Add to the quinoa in the food processor the orange, egg, butter and vanilla. Blend.

Add 50g dark choc, raw sugar and baking powder and baking soda and cinnamon. Whizz again. (mix will be flecked with chocolate)

If you want extra choc chips stir them through now. Then pour batter into greased or lined muffin tin. Cook for 15-20 mins at 180.

Allow to cool for a few minutes in the tin before removing.

They keep really well, although I’ve never tested that extensively as they get eaten too fast.

 

I know that adding quinoa to a recipe full of chocolate doesn’t make it healthy, but it’s still better than the white flour alternative. I’ve also swapped out the flour in brownies successfully.

Go on find your favourite muffin recipe and give it a go. Worst case you get a delicious squishy mess.

And if you have any great quinoa recipes let me know!

 

Thanks, Shona. Fascinating stuff. I have yet to cook with quinoa but you’ve definitely inspired me. I love the way you’ve experimented. What does it matter if things don’t turn out perfect? As you say, a delicious squishy mess is still delicious!

So, Feasters, any quinoa fans out there? Got a recipe to share? I’m seeing a lot of recipes in cooking magazines for salads and I thought I spotted one where quinoa was used in a risotto, so it must be a very versatile grain. If you don’t use quinoa, do you use any other alternative type grains? I went through a spelt flour stage a while back and I love wild rice. So nutty. And barley? Oh, I LOVE that stuff. What about you?

If you’d like to learn more about Shona and her wonderful books (they are, believe me), please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, the Winkgirls blog and Darkside Downunder blog.