FRIDAY FEAST with Jaye Ford

I’m always thrilled to have guests on Friday Feast but I’m especially excited today to host Australian suspense author Jaye Ford. Jaye’s debut thriller, Beyond Fear, was one of my best reads of 2011.

There’s something very special about a book that creates both an emotional and physical response in a reader, so it’s no surprise that Beyond Fear became Australia’s highest selling debut crime novel in 2011. I’d like to say I played a little part in that success because I raved about that book to everyone I knew. The last novel to make me that heart-thumpingly anxious for its characters was Mo Hayder’s The Treatment, but Beyond Fear even out-thrilled that excellent book (and that’s saying something because I’m a huge Mo Hayder fan). As for its page-turner qualities, don’t get me started. I was in awe!

The wonderful news is that Jaye’s second book recently released and it’s amassing fantastic reviews. Check it out.

SCARED YET?

 

When Livia Prescott fights off a terrifying assault in a deserted car park, the media hail her bravery. And after a difficult year – watching her father fade away, her business struggle and her marriage fall apart – it feels good to strike back for once.

But as the police widen their search for her attacker, menacing notes start arriving. And brave is not what she feels any longer …

Someone has decided to rip her life apart, then kick her when she’s down. But is it a stranger or someone much closer to home? In fact, is there anyone she can now trust?

When her family and friends are drawn into the stalker’s focus – with horrifying consequences – the choice becomes simple. Fight back, or lose the people she loves the most …

 

Scared Yet? can be purchased right now at your local bookstore, ordered online (eg Booktopia), or as an ebook from your preferred retailer (eg Amazon, Kobo, Borders). So if you like writing that takes you into a character’s world and races you along with them with heart-whumping intensity, then try Jaye’s books. I swear you’ll be in for a hell of a ride.

And now here’s Jaye!

My Winter Obsession

Cathryn asked me to write for Food Feast back in April and apologised she couldn’t fit me in until July. I cheered, knowing July was perfect timing for a rave about my cold weather obsession: Soup.

I love it. Eating it, cooking it, preparing it, reading about it. I’ve got cookbooks dedicated to it and purpose-bought crockery. My kids give me soup-related gifts. My husband occasionally asks if we can have something solid for dinner.

I trace it back to the veggie soup my mum used to make when we were kids. She’d put a huge pot on the stove, add lamb shanks and veggies, beans and barley and for days produce fabulously hearty meals for everyone who came through the door. On one occasion, with a tribe of visiting teenagers slurping around the table, someone asked, ‘Which is the barley?’ My sister answered, ‘They’re the bits that look like little bums.’ She was right, they do.

I made soup from scratch for the first time when I was at college in freezing Bathurst. It didn’t look exactly like Mum’s but it was delicious and warming and gobbled up by everyone in the share house – and it felt like home.

These days my annual craving starts like a switch being flipped sometime around the end of autumn. One day I’m eating a sandwich for lunch, the next I’m fixated on soup: chunky meat and beans; smooth, creamy vegetable; hot, spicy Asian flavours; salty broth with luscious noodles. My office has something to do with it. It’s under our house, half set into the side of a hill and man, it gets cold down there. Nothing better than taking a break, wrapping chilled fingers around a hot mug and being warmed inside and out.

When I’m not writing, I love piling up the kitchen bench with fresh veggies and working my way through them with a peeler and sharp knife. It’s one of those mindless, manual jobs that are so useful to the writing process. I have two approaches. One is to use it as a yogic exercise to still and rest my brain while my hands are busy. The other is to let my mind wander about while I’m focused on the chopping. I find a big, fat pumpkin works wonders on a plot hole – and it makes great soup, too (Thai; roasted; with bacon; topped with shaved Parmesan).

At times, I make huge batches and freeze them for later: family-sized containers for when I’m busy or away, single serves for my lunches. My mum has been unwell this year and when she hasn’t been able to face food, she’s managed to get by on my pumpkin soup and chicken and vegetable broth.

I’d like to take a moment here to declare I’m not a ‘soupist’ – I can make great soup but it doesn’t stop me opening a can or ordering a take-away. I love good old Big Red tomato – comfort food like my mum used to ‘make’. This winter, I’ve had a thing for Campbells Chicken and Corn. Last week, I had a spin out in the supermarket when I discovered there was a two-for-one sale on C & C and there were none left! Our local noodle place also does a delicious veggie and wonton broth that I get a hankering for on cold Friday nights when I can’t be bothered turning the stove on.

I don’t have a favourite, I like variety too much for that, but I’m going to finish my rave with one of my best recipes. This soup is rich in flavour and wonderfully thick and hearty. It also cooks in under half an hour and can be made from the contents of my pantry and freezer – features that are also useful to the writing process!

Bacon, Bean and Noodle Soup

1 tbls olive oil

250g bacon, chopped

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes

1 x 400g can borlotti beans

1 litre chicken stock

¼ cup tomato paste

2 zucchini, diced

100g spaghetti, broken into 3cm pieces (flat rice noodles, for gluten intolerant)

4 basil leaves, roughly torn.

Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium, add bacon, onion and garlic and cook for 3 mins. Add tomatoes, cook for 2 mins. Add beans, stock, tomato paste and zucchini and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low then add spaghetti and cook for 10 mins. Remove from heat and add basil and season to taste.

If it’s not all gone in the first sitting, it makes great leftovers. The pasta absorbs the liquid and thickens enough to eat off toast – if you can get to it before the kids.

 

Ahh, soup, it’s a winter favourite for me too. There’s something so very homely and comforting about a big bowl of steamy soup when the wind’s howling outside.

So what’s soup gives you a thrill? I’m a big fan of mouth-numbingly hot and spicy Asian soups, especially in the summer for some reason. I guess because they make me sweat.

Fire away, Feasters. Jaye and I would love to hear your soupy thoughts!

If you’d like to learn more about Jaye and her books, please visit her website or follow her on Facebook. Go on, she’s an awesome writer!!!

0 thoughts on “FRIDAY FEAST with Jaye Ford

  1. AvatarLouise Reynolds

    Hi Jaye (waving). Totally agree that there’s nothing like making soup. I make lots of different types and boy have we needed it in Melbourne this winter. Good old pea and ham, lamb shank and butter bean, velvety vegetable are all standbys. But I most love making a perfect, clear, deeply flavoured chicken stock and serving it with thinly sliced shiitake, tiny soup noodles and a scatter of chervil. Cross cultural I know, but delicious.
    Congratulations on Scared Yet? It’s a fabulous read.

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      You always come up with the best foodie ideas, Louise. That broth sounds wonderful. Simple, clean flavours. Yum!

      I may have to email you for the lamb shank and butter bean recipe. Like Jaye’s mum’s lamb shank and vege soup that sounds like a wonderful winter warmer. LOVE pulses. They’re so satisfying.

    2. Avatarjaye forf

      Yu-um, Louise. Sounds delish! I love a good broth & the mushrooms are a great addition. Anything with lamb shanks is fab too!

  2. AvatarJenn J McLeod ~ Come home to the country...

    I’m a pumpkin girl! Or carrot is good but the horses seem to get all my carrots! There’s always a pumpkin laying around the house in winter. And no, you don;t have to peel a pumpkin to make my pumpkin soup. I blogged one day about the beast ever, no peel way to make pumpkin soup. (just search ‘Pumpkin’ an dyou’ll find it) It is in fact good soup weather today.
    Thanks for another inspriing post, Cath

    1. Avatarjaye forf

      Pumpkin soup with no peeling is a great idea – but what about the yogic meditation? can have that while you’re eating it!

  3. AvatarCathryn Hein

    So I went and checked your pumpkin post out, Jenn, and it’s FABULOUS! What a brilliant idea. I bet that makes the flesh really sweet and tasty.

    Here’s the link if anyone wants to suss it out:

    http://www.jennjmcleod.com/2011/07/12/you-dont-always-want-your-pumpkin-turned-into-a-golden-carriage/

    Delia Smith has a great recipe for pumpkin soup (I think it’s in her Winter Collection cookbook) where she roasts wedges with the skin on until they’re really caramelised. That one’s yum too.

  4. AvatarChristine Stinson

    Some great recipes there! My favourite quick and easy soup is carrot and zucchini. JUst peel and chop a bunch of carrots and zucchini, cover with chicken stock, season with S&P, cook until tender then blend, Delicious – and not terribly fattening, either!

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      Carrot and zucchini? Now that does sound healthy, Christine. Hmm. Wonder if I could try that on my other half. He did survive the parsnip soup experiment so it is possible!

      Thanks so much for dropping by.

    2. Avatarjaye ford

      I’ve just found a yummy zucchini soup – the addition of carrots sounds great. I’ll jave to try it, thanks Chris!

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      Wish I could go to this party, Rach. Six year olds get the best food!!!!

      Are you having saveloys (or, as they were called rather off-puttingly in my family, ‘little boys’) and sauce? They are so baaaaad but so naughtily yum!

    2. Avatarjaye ford

      I’ve been driving all day and the recipes are making me hungry!I love soup but don’t think it’ll work for a kids party! hope it goes well.

  5. Avataranniewest

    Jaye, the new book sounds intriguing! As for soups – absolutely – we love them in our house and I’m pleased to say they kids have learned to make variations of the old favourites too. I can’t name a favourite soup as there are so many but I made a cream of cauliflower soup last week that had the family coming back for more and more (it was a big cauli). It’s usually whatever looks good at the markets that goes into the pot.

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      Oh, cream of cauliflower soup sounds beautiful, Annie! Such a pity my other half can’t stand cauli. I love that vege.

      Lovely to see you here again.

  6. AvatarHelene Young

    Yum! More fabulous recipes. I’m a Leek and Potato soup kind of girl. I can happily eat it warm with crunchy sour dough or cold as the French speciality of Vichyssoise soup. It’s been my ‘go to’ starter in time of dinner party crisis when the numbers grew too big!

    Loved Scared Yet, Jaye 🙂

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      Helene, I had the most amazing potato and leek soup at a inner city Melbourne restaurant a few weeks back. It was served with little pieces of grilled whiting and these incredible ravioli which, when I bit into them, exploded in my mouth with what tasted like mussel essence. One of the best dishes I’ve eaten at a restaurant in ages. Took the humble leek and potato soup to heights I never though possible!

  7. AvatarNatalie Moress

    Yummo! Great recipe, Jaye, thanks. I was brought up on lamb shank soup, too, but a brothy version with whatever veges my Nanna had on hand. I still adore soup, and this week we’ve had chicken noodle, next week I have minestrone planned.
    I’ve added your recipe to my soup repertoire, and your books to my to read list. I’m happy!

  8. AvatarImelda Evans

    I was very tickled by your husband asking for solid food – it gets a bit like that at our house, too! Loved Beyond Fear and am looking forward to reading the new one when I get down to it in the TBR pile!