Tag Archives: Victoria Purman

Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser TuesdayWelcome again to another instalment of Teaser Tuesday, the blog series where I share snippets from my works-in-progress, up-coming releases and published novels. Mostly. Having guests around to play is fun too!

Today is a guest day, and I’m delighted to welcome Victoria Purman to Teaser Tuesday. You may know Victoria from her wonderful coastal-set romances and Boys of Summer series but—besides being from my home state of South Australia, which makes her special anyway—Victoria is also a lady of many talents and has swapped beach boys for … *shivers with excitement* … FIREFIGHTERS!

Here’s Victoria to tell you more.

Author Victoria PurmanI was so thrilled when Cathryn offered me a spot on her fabulous “Teaser Tuesday” blog and I knew right away which book I wanted to tease you all with. I have a novella – FLAME – coming out on July 5 and for this one, I’ve left behind the familiar coastal settings of all my Australian set books and headed across the Pacific to Montana. While I’ve been to the US, I’ve never been to Montana, so it was right to the internet to do research on some of the most amazing people around: smokejumpers. Here in Australia, we’re pretty familiar with the incredibly brave men and women who fight our Aussie bushfires. In the States, these smokejumpers JUMP OUT OF PLANES and then fight fires in inaccessable parts of the Rocky Mountains. I thought that was pretty intense and was so excited to be asked to write a book in the Firefights of Montana series for Tule Publishing.

Here’s a little tease for you all!

Extract from FLAME: Firefighers of Montana Series, Tule Publishing

 

Cady Adams surveyed her shop with a ridiculous sense of exhausted satisfaction. Cady’s Cakes look as sweet as the cookies and cakes and muffins she baked. As tantalizing as sugary icing and donuts, as tempting as the chocolate and mint slices she stacked neatly in her display cabinets. Its white painted bentwood chairs and wooden tables, photographs of the Montana sky framed in rows on each wall, its pale pink painted walls and its high ceilings were exactly as she’d imagined, but only better because it was real and it was hers. Her cake shop was light and big and the counter with glass display cabinets on top ran down one side, the cash register at the counter dogleg at the front. She’d painted the chairs, sewn the pink gingham curtains and hung them, and decorated the place all by herself and she still shimmered with delight every morning when she came down the stairs of her apartment above, turned left on the sidewalk and slipped her key into the front door lock and flicked on the lights. Even when she was tired. Even when snow was piled up on the footpath and she had to jump over it to push open the half frozen front door. None of that got in the way because Cady’s Cakes was hers.

Flame by Victoria PurmanEvery day, she was her own boss. Every day, she was in control of her own destiny, her own career, her own choices, her own life. All of that had become super important to her after what had happened in her life. She knew that if her Mom and Gran were still alive today, they’d be so proud of her. Even in Glacier Creek, Montana, her customers expected nothing but the freshest cakes and the hottest coffee—every day except Sunday—when she had her one and only sleep in day of the week, and she made sure she lived up to the expectations of her customers.  

That getting up before the birds thing she had going on? Early nights were a small price to pay for this freedom, this independence, this strength in herself that having her own business gave her.

So, when Dex McCoy drove slowly down Main Street on Saturday morning, Cady was already wide awake and alert to everything happening in her shop and in the street out front. She’d just served a crew of smokejumpers from Kalispell Forest Service Station, a bunch of guys who were regulars (black coffee and sugared donuts) when she saw him.

She had some kind of sixth sense when it came to that man. The connection was made the day after his mom’s funeral, their senior year at high school. He’d looked so wounded, so hurt and so angry. Until he’d seen her, until he’d let her wrap her arms around him because she couldn’t say anything meaningful enough to take away his pain.

He’d left Montana soon after, still wounded and hurt and angry and they hadn’t really spoken again until four years ago at The Drop Zone, the bar in Kalispell where all the smokejumpers hung out. She tried to push the memory of that night aside.

Cady tried to shake off the awareness of him but it was stuck in her head like a sliver of sliced almond in between her teeth. Her attention caught like a falcon seeing a mouse scamper in the grass a hundred feet below its extended wings. She looked outside, past the display of cupcakes on top of her glass counter, and the heads of her customers, and saw him in his truck, driving slowly past.

Without realising it, Cady let out the breath she’d been holding for three months, since Dex had driven off to Missoula to smoke jump with another crew. There was absolutely no reason she should have been scared for him. She was born and bred in Glacier Creek and her best customers were the smokejumpers who parachuted out of DC-3s to tackle wildfires in the Montana mountains before they became truly wild and even more dangerous. She knew those men and women were highly trained, extremely skilled, strong as oxes and fit. 

So why had her heart been in her mouth the whole damn time he’d been away? Why had she dreamt about him, so vividly, over and over? Why had a tall, scarred smokejumper called Dex McCoy, a man who continued to cross The Drop Zone with a whiskey in his hand rather than say hello to her, got inside her head like he had? She huffed. It was inexplicable. How could she be so worried about a man who – not once, ever – had come into Cady’s Cakes and bought one single damn thing?

 

Thrilled by that teaser? Of course you are! But imagine how even more thrilled you’d be knowing that Flame will whiz straight into your ereader on release day if you pre-order it right now. Clickety-click on Amazon or iBooks. Go on. Everyone needs a sexy smoke jumper in their life!

 

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FRIDAY FEAST with Victoria Purman

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Ciao, to another magnifico Friday Feast! This week we’re going postal. Oops, sorry. I mean COASTAL! And a little bit Italian. Read on…

But before that, because I know you’re hanging out for it, news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. Last weekend saw the final round of the Club Championships in which I did not (read that: NOT) embarrass myself… much. Well, I did a little on the 3rd. And quite badly on the 11th but the rest wasn’t too cringeworthy. Overall it was a mighty 3rd placing, but only because the lady running 3rd had to retire.

On to far more interesting things. Today’s guest has fairly body surfed her way onto to the best-seller lists. South Australian romance author Victoria Purman has rapidly become one of Australia’s favourite coastal romance novelists, and with good reason. Her stories are warm, romantic and filled with humour as well as drama. Victoria’s latest, Our Kind of Love, sees the conclusion to her popular Boys of Summer series that started with Nobody But Him and continued with Someone Like You.

Reviews are pouring in and they’re all wonderful. You won’t want to miss this.

OUR KIND OF LOVE

Our Kind of Love by Victoria PurmanThe best thing to happen to her… or her biggest mistake?

Anna is… unexpected… unbelievable… unstoppable.  And unavailable. Will what happened in Middle Point stay there?

Dr Anna Morelli rarely makes mistakes. But this one is big, bordering on huge. Somewhere between sunset and sunrise at the simple beachside wedding of two old friends, she’s cried in the ladies bathroom, danced to too many ABBA songs and survived the best, knock-your-socks-off one night stand in recorded history. Has she gone crazy? She’s supposed to be running from the disasters in her life, not creating more.

Award winning journalist Joe Blake is back in Middle Point to lick his wounds after being dumped by his wife and sacked from his Sydney job on the same day. But after one incredible night with Anna, he finds he’ll need all his investigative skills to figure out why she won’t give in to their sizzling chemistry.

I so love a second chance story and this sounds adorable, and a little sexy. Definitely one you’ll want in your spring and summer reading collection. It can be yours right now with just a couple of clicks. Try that excellent bookstore Booktopia, or clickety-click your way to Bookworld or Angus & Robertson, your favourite local bookshop or chainstore, or direct from the publisher Harlequin. For the ebook, click on Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play or JB Hi-Fi.

Now say ciao, bella to Victoria.

Confession Is Good For The Foodie Soul

Dear Friday Feast Fan,

I have a confession to make.

I’m scared. Terrified. I can barely type for the nerves.

And why? When Cathryn asked me to return to Friday Feast I immediately said, ‘Hell yeah!” because she is lovely, fun, a gorgeous writer and a fellow South Australian (even if she is, inexplicably, a Sydney Swans fan).

Then the panic set in. OH, THE PRESSURE! I’ve been watching everyone else’s Friday Feasts and drooling, in the same way I do when I watch cooking shows, in the that-looks-fantastic-and-I-know-I’ll never-ever-cook-that-in-my-real-life kind of way.

You see, the husband and I have three teenage sons and you know what that means? Industrial size catering. Food, and lots of it. They don’t care if it’s not fancy. They will eat almost anything (except son number three who hates parsley and avocado).

On the occasions when I do prepare something nice, it’s usually a plate of nibbles to share with friends. That’s how we tend to catch up with people these days, shared plates, lovely wine and afternoons watching the sun go down.

So, in honour of my latest heroine, the feisty, Italian-Australian Dr Anna Morelli from ‘Our Kind of Love’ (who, unlike me, is an amazing cook) I’m going to do two Italian-inspired nibbles. Yes, I believe that’s the technical term for them.

They’re damn easy and incredibly tasty. And I know they’ve been around a while, but you may have forgotten how easy and delicious they are.

Tricolore Bites

The Italian flag is red, white and green and so are these delicious morsels.

You’ll need Baby bocconcini (those little white balls which come in brine), fresh basil, cherry tomatoes and toothpicks. Slice the tomatoes and the bocconcini in half, rip a basil leaf from the bunch and slide them all onto the toothpick.

Victoria's Italian Inspired nibbles

Prosciutto and Melon

This one is best done with ripe rockmelon, so buy one a few days before you need it and let it ripen. Grab some thinly-sliced prosciutto from the deli section of your supermarket, cut it into small strips and wrap it around the chunk of rockmelon. Thread through a toothpick to keep it together and make it easier to pick up. The sweet, juicy melon and the salty ham make this a fab combo.

And to wash it all down, I’d go with a South Australian white. This one’s a Sauvignon Blanc from the Adelaide Hills. Because I am a South Aussie, after all.

Buon appetito and happy reading!

 

From one South Aussie to another, that  sounds delizioso, Victoria! And a super easy way to prepare food for when friends come calling. After all, who wants to be stranded in a hot kitchen when there’s company (and wine!) to be enjoyed.

I know it’s looked down upon by some foodies (silly people), but I adore melon and prosciutto. It’s lovely in the summer as a refreshing morsel but also as a tasty feature in a salad. And mozarella, basil and tomato is a classic that is simply too perfect to ever be criticised.

So, my bellissimo little Feasters, what super fast treat do you whip up when friends call? Maybe a simple plate of cheese and salami, or perhaps a quick dip that can be made in seconds. Or are you a kitchen goddess with a pantry full of yumptiousness and a repertoire of gourmet delights to draw on? Share away! We always love to hear your tricks and treats.

If you’d like to learn more about Victoria and her heart-warming books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter using @VictoriaPurman

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Victoria Purman

We’re baaaaaack!

Welcome to the first instalment of Friday Feast for 2014. And what a cracking year it’s going to be. Already slots are filling up fast, with a fantastic line-up of authors for your delectation.

How has your summer been so far? Stinking hot no doubt. It’s been a blistery one, that’s for sure. Never fear. You can be super cool with Friday Feast.

And now, because I just know you’re hanging out for Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news, here’s a quick update: After three-putting 8 out of 18 holes the week before last and too many again last week, I fear my putter has developed yet another fault. Or my brain has. I suspect the latter. Sigh. But at least my new bright purple golfing outfit looks totally groovin’, even if it does make me resemble a grape-flavoured jube.Austrlalian author Victoria Purman

Speaking of groovin’, my guest today hails from my home state of South Australia, which naturally means she’s super talented as well as nice. Victoria Purman hit the charts with her debut novel Nobody But Him. Now she has a new romance on the shelves with the second in her Boys of Summer series.

Take a look at the utterly gorgeous Someone Like You.

 

SOMEONE LIKE YOU

 

Cover of Someone Like You by Victoria PurmanWhen Lizzie Blake knocks on the door of Dan McSwaine’s beach house at Middle Point, she barely recognises the man who answers. What ever happened to the guy who swaggered into her home town with a grin and left wither heart in his back pocket? Lizzie wonders if he’ll ever be that man again – and if she should risk everything she’s built her life on to help him.

Dan can’t normally bear to be more than ten minutes from a hip bar, an imported beer and a group of hot women. So what is he doing holed up in a falling down beach shack at Middle Point? All he knows is that he’s made some crazy decisions since the night a truck slammed into his care and almost killed him. The first one was to think that buying a crumbling piece of coastal real estate was a good idea. The second crazy decision was to try to hide away from the world when a woman like Lizzie Blake is determined to drag him right back into it.

 

Doesn’t that sound delicious? The perfect summer read. And it can be yours with a quick trip to your local independent bookseller or a trip to your nearest chain store. Or you can just click away at these retailers: For the print and ebook, try direct from the publisher, Harlequin, or Booktopia, Bookworld, and QBD The Bookshop. For the ebook, try Amazon (Kindle), Kobo, JB Hi-Fi, iTunes, Google Play, BigW or your favourite store.

All bookied up? Excellent. Now get cool with Victoria!

 

Summer Love Is Like No Other Love…

Neither Is The Food

 

It’s hot where I live.

In South Australia, we’re in the middle of our second heat wave of the summer, during which we’ll have temperatures of 40 degrees and above for ten days or more.  It’s been so hot that we consider 35 a cool change.

Victoria and her mum Emma

Victoria & her mum Emma

When it’s this hot, the last thing I feel like doing is cooking.

Funny that the heat doesn’t seem to dull my hunger, however.

This recipe is one of my summer standbys – handed down to me by my Hungarian mother, Emma.

You might by thinking that this is just a plain and simple potato salad. But the secret of its Hungarian deliciousness is the eggs – lots of eggs – and those delicious Euro-style gherkins.

My Mum serves it with her special-recipe crumbed chicken – which my three teenage boys aka The Hungry Horde – devour like it’s their last day on earth.

I cook up a huge batch of this salad and have it on hand on the fridge to fill the stomachs of The Hungry Horde with a cold chicken or some snags.

Oh, and it’s delicious with a cold beer.

Oma’s European-Style Potato Salad

European style potato salad

2kg potatoes

8 hard-boiled eggs

1 onion, very finely chopped

Finely chopped gherkins (the European kind)

Lovely mayonnaise – I use the whole egg kind

Salt and pepper to taste

Boil your potatoes and let them get cold. Peel them and slice them into a huge bowl.

Wait for your eggs to cool and break them up with a fork. I actually use one of this ginchy egg slicer doohickeys, which is fun as well as fast. Add the eggs to your potatoes, along with the finely chopped onion and gherkins.

Add your mayo a tablespoon at a time so you don’t over-mayo.

Stir. Voila! You have your wonderful, eggy deliciousness!

 

Oh, yumptious! Thanks, Victoria. I’m a complete sucker for potato salad at the best of times but add some eggs and we’re talking heaven! Perfect for this time of year, when we’re entertaining outdoors, picnicking and barbecuing.

Would you like to win a Kindle copy of Someone Like You? Well, here’s your chance. Reveal your favourite summer salad and you’ll go into the draw. I have a new one I’m rather enamoured of, made with baby spinach, chick peas, red onion, roasted sweet potato and other goodies, and dressed with a yoghurt and pomegranate molasses dressing. It is beautiful!

So what about you? Are you a traditionalist who loves nothing better than a crunchy coleslaw? Maybe you prefer a touch of exotica with some hot and sour Asian noodles to spice things up. Share away and you’ll go into the draw.

Giveaway closes midnight AEST Tuesday 11th February. Open to Australian addresses only.

Don’t have a Kindle e-reader? That’s okay. You can download the reading app to your phone, tablet, laptop or computer and read where you like. It’s easy!

If you’d like to learn more about Victoria and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter.

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Iris who has won a Kindle copy of Victoria’s latest release Someone Like You. Thanks to everyone for playing along.

THIS WRITING LIFE: The Writing Process Blog Chain

Are you old enough to remember chain letters? They were all the rage when I was a kid. Someone would come up with a daft pretence about creating good fortune or happiness or some other such thing, and write a (usually) naff letter to ten friends advising them they’re a recipient of all this good fortune and joy, but only if they send this letter on to ten of their acquaintances.Shocked person exclaiming: You're going to reveal what? How, in those pre-internet days, Australia Post must have loved these! Think of all those stamps that were needed, with demand growing exponentially as long as everyone kept the chain going.

I was never much of a participant. Probably sheer laziness on my part but I also thought they were pretty ridiculous.

NOT something that can be said about today’s post, which is why I’m taking part!

This is a writing process chain letter – or the modern, internet based equivalent – where writers reveal all.

Okay, so not all. But you get the picture.

My participation in this is all thanks to good buddy Rachael Johns who tagged me in her post to play along. Rachael is an English teacher by trade, a mum 24/7, a supermarket owner by day, a chronic arachnophobic, and a superstar of the rural romance genre. Her best-selling novels include Jilted, Man Drought, Outback Dreams and her Christmas novella, The Kissing Season. Keep an eye out for the second release in her Bunyip Bay series, Outback Blaze, coming May 2014!

And now onto my answers to the chain questions…

 

1) What am I working on?

My next rural romance The Falls. This one is set in a lush New South Wales valley whose idyllic facade hides a community simmering with tension. Some of it rather naughty! Lots of fun animals in this tale, including an evil cat, a couple of guinea pigs named Betty and Wilma, a dog named Goldi and an oversexed ram called Merlin. Oh, and we mustn’t forget the sexy farrier hero who bares more than a passing resemblance to a certain hunky Australian actor (makes for excellent research fun) and an emotionally battered heroine trying to find her heart again.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’m a sucker for an emotionally charged romance and try to bring that to all my books. I also can’t help including animals that are characters in their own right. I know I shouldn’t anthropomorphise, but I can’t help it. It’s such a blast to have the animals getting up to all sorts of mischief and I think they also act as a great foil to the romance story.

3) Why do I write what I do?

The answer to that is pretty simple: Because I love these stories and want to read them myself.

4) How does my writing process work?

Messily.

Actually, that’s not quite true. It’s messy at the moment because I’m allowing it to be. My goal is to get basic story of The Falls written as fast as possible and then go back and fix it up. That’s not how I’ve operated for the last few books, though. When I first started out I was a complete fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants author, aka “a pantser”. But as I developed I learned to plot a lot more and concentrate very hard on the quality of writing. Unfortunately, as time went on, this search for perfection left me with an awful lot of hang-ups and my output became slower and slower. I went from taking 3 months to write a 100,000 word novel to 7 months. Finally, at the end of last year, I decided I’d had enough.

In December, while I was waiting for Rocking Horse Hill’s line and copy edits, I thought I’d try a new, just-get-the-words-down process. Thirteen days later I had a 40,000 plus word novella. I’ve NEVER had that level of output before. To be fair, I’d been brewing that story – April’s Rainbow – for a long time. Years, in fact. But the exercise proved I could write fast when I wanted. Most of all it gave me back my passion.

The experiment worked. Since January 6th I’ve polished April’s Rainbow and sent it to my agent, and written nearly 65,000 words on The Falls. Most of them pretty ugly but they’re there and editable, and that’s what matters. Because as (I believe) Nora Roberts once said, you can’t edit a blank page.

So at present, I’d call my process that of a born-again pantser. Long may it reign!

 

In the manner of all good chains, I’ve tagged the following excellent authors to keep the chain going. Check out their blogs on February 10th to read how they’ve answered the same questions.

Karly Lane

Cover of Poppy's Dilemma by Karly LaneKarly Lane lives on the beautiful Mid North Coast of NSW in Australia. A certified small town girl, she is most happy in a little town where everyone knows who your grandparents were. She writes women’s fiction – everything from romantic suspense to family sagas and life in rural Australia. Find out more about Karly and her excellent books (I’m a massive fan), including her latest release Poppy’s Dilemma, on her website.

Victoria Purman

Cover of Someone Like You by Victoria PurmanWhen Victoria Purman woke up one day and realised she’d spent most of her working life writing for other people, she decided it was finally time to tell stories of her own. Victoria is published by Harlequin Australia and is now thrilled to spend her days creating dialogue and happy-ever-afters for her imaginary characters. Her Boys of Summer series is set on the south coast of her home state of South Australia, somewhere she feels compelled to do a lot of research. Nobody But Him was released in October last year, and Someone Like You is out now. When she’s not writing, Victoria spends time with her husband, three sons, a disobedient dog, her loving, extended family and dear friends. She keeps promising to buy herself surfing lessons. Visit Victoria’s website for more.

Kris Pearson

Cover of Christmas Holiday Husband by Kris PearsonKris lives in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. She’s used this lovely city as the setting for six of her novels.  She writes hot, passionate, contemporary romances full of love and laughter. She has an advertising background and is the current membership secretary for Romance Writers of New Zealand. She writes and gardens, and these days is in business with her husband in the decor field. Check out Kris’s books and much, much more on her website.

FRIDAY FEAST with Victoria Purman

And so our favourite day of the week comes around again. What have you planned for the weekend? I’m feeling a tad bereft because there’s no more footy. Fortunately, I have boxed sets of my beloved Sydney Swans Premiership seasons to see me through the dark times. And lots of books. Lots and lots of books, including the debut release of this week’s Friday Feast guest, Victoria Purman. Austrlalian author Victoria PurmanAnd I tell you, if there was ever a story to put you in the mood for a long Aussie summer it’ll be Nobody But Him.

I met Victoria recently at the Romance Writers of Australia conference in Fremantle and was immediately struck by her professionalism and easy going nature. Then again, she does hail from South Australia, my home state, so these things are to be expected.

Nobody But Him is the first in Victoria’s Boys of Summer trilogy (earworm anyone? Since I typed that all I can hear is Don Henley) and has just hit the shelves. Take a gander at this bronzed Aussie!

 

NOBODY BUT HIM

 

Nobody But Him by Victoria Purman coverShe didn’t expect to run into her first love… or to fall back in love with him!

At eighteen, Julia Jones left for the city with a head full of grand plans for an exciting life that certainly didn’t include her hometown of Middle Point – a main street with a pub – or Ryan Blackburn.

But fifteen years – and a lifetime later – she’s forced to put her big city life on hold when she heads home to finalise her mother’s estate. Which is where she runs smack bang into the town’s new champion… the same Ryan Blackburn.

The sensible thing to do? Stay the hell away from him and head back to Melbourne as fast as her stilettos can carry her. But Julia finds his offer of a helping hand and a hot body too delicious to refuse and dives into a reckless, one-time fling.

What she doesn’t realise is that tomorrow has a way of sneaking up, and that saying goodbye to her home town – and to Ryan – is much harder the second time around.

 

You can own your own copy of Nobody But Him with just a couple of clickety-clicks. Buy direct from the publisher Harlequin or try most excellent Australian bookseller and ARRC sponsor Booktopia. There’s also Bookworld, QBD The Bookshop, Boomerang Books, or your local independent or chain store. For the ebook, try Kobo, JB Hi-Fi, Google Play, Amazon (for Kindle), iTunes and the new BigW ebook store.

Seriously, it makes me proud to see so all the Australian stories dominating our bricks and mortar stores and virtual shelves at the moment. Anyway, enough of me, here’s Victoria!

 

 

Lock, stock and barrel

 

Has anyone else ever wandered the supermarket aisles and become increasingly concerned about the growing profusion of packet mixes and insta-meals?

I get the heebie-jeebies every time I read the back of the label and barely recognize anything that seems like real food.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a working mother of three teenagers and I’m certainly not averse to doing whatever it takes to feed the Hungry Horde.

And I’m not what you might call a health nut, either. Those who know about my consumption of wine and chocolate know this to be true. (To those who don’t know me, I consume a lot of wine and chocolate.)

But I don’t want my kids to be loaded down with salt and preservatives and chemicals when I can make the real thing at home – salt and preservative free – for much less.

Hence my recipe for my weekly, reliable standby: Chicken Stock.

I approach cooking as I do writing a book.

On the surface, it’s all exciting – doing the shopping, looking at the labels and the recipe books, making everything look beautifully plated up and Master Chef-y.

The writing equivalent is spending lots of time online with search engine terms that include “shirtless” and “man”; thinking about your cover; and how famous you’re going to be when it sells squillions.

But when you get down to it, there are some basic you shouldn’t ignore.

No matter what genre you write in, every book needs a solid story at its heart.

I think of my Chicken Stock that way – a solid base of flavour for a zillion meals.

I’m not kidding when I say Chicken Stock is easy. The Hungry Horde doesn’t have time for complicated.

I cook up a batch on the weekend and have it sitting in the fridge so I can scoop out what I need during the week for meals in the slow cooker, casserole dishes, stir-fries or soups.

It’s especially handy for those dreaded days when all you have left in the fridge is a couple of near-dead zucchinis, a floret or two of broccoli and a cauliflower (you know, the one you bought in the vain hope that your kids would actually eat it).

Gather the veggies, chop finely, cook them all up in the stock until tender, give it a whizz and voila – vegetable soup. My kids love it. Even when I tell Boy13 there’s zucchini in it.

 

Victoria’s Chicken Stock

 

  • Chicken carcasses (I use two because they come that way in the supermarket). Don’t worry about trimming off the fat – while important, that comes later.Stock pot with chicken carcases
  • Veggies – celery, carrots, onion, minced garlic
  • Pepper (and salt if you wish)
  • Water

Use a big stock saucepan and place the chicken bones in it.

Raid the fridge for whatever veggies you have. I always keep a few celery leaves and stalks in the freezer (did I mention I hate wasting food?) and pop them in to the saucepan with an onion chopped in half (you don’t even need to peel it), and a roughly chopped carrot. Add some minced garlic (from the jar I have in the fridge), a little pepper, and add water until the chicken bones are covered.

Bring to the boil.

Chicken and vegetables in the stock pot ready for boilingWhen it’s boiling, turn down to simmer and let the magnificent aromas fill the house. I usually leave it for about an hour, so the flavours really intensify.

Let the stock cool, and then strain out all the chicken and the veggies. Pour into a container and chill overnight. This step is really important, as the fat congeals at the top and can be easily scooped off the next day.

Your stock is ready, totally delicious and made from real food.

Make soup! Add to day-old rice in a wok and it will taste delicious! Use a cupful any time a recipe calls for stock cubes or stock powder!

Here’s stir-fry rice I made with the stock. The Hungry Horde loved it.

 Stir fried rice made with Victoria's chicken stock

 

Ahh, Victoria, you’re a woman after my own heart. Actually, can a girl say that or is that a man to woman thing? Hmm. Dunno, but you’re definitely a kindred spirit with all that wine, chocolate and home-made stock. Must be our South Australian genes!

Now, my darling Feasters, don those bikinis and budgie smugglers and channel your favourite summer past-time because Victoria has generously offered a most fabulous giveaway. Reveal what you like to get up to over summer and you could win yourself a copy of Nobody But Him. Perfect relaxation material.

Me? Over summer I play golf and eat lots of seafood washed down with wine, which is probably why my golf game is terrible…

What do you get up to for summer fun? Share and you could win!

Giveaway closes midnight AEST, Tuesday 8th October 2013. Australian postal addresses only.

If you’d like to learn more about Victoria and her books please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter.

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Kerrie who is in for a whole lot of reading fun with Nobody But Him. Thanks to everyone who joined in.