FRIDAY FEAST with Juanita Kees

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Did you have a romantic Valentine’s Day? Flop about slurping champagne while twiddling the stem of one of the two dozen lush red roses your beloved devotedly delivered your way? Scoffed peeled grapes while Super Sven the Sexy Swedish masseuse rubbed your feet and told you how beautiful you are? Ate grilled lobster freshly plucked from the ocean just for you by a muscled, bare-chested diver who then hand fed you exquisite chocolates specially flown in from Belgium for dessert? No? Me neither. Ahh, well, we can dream…

Speaking of fantasies, today on Friday Feast we have firemen! Oh, hang on, no we don’t. They went by the wayside. A shame, but never fear! To make up for our missing hunks we have Australian author and professional writing services provider Juanita Kees. And what a good egg she is too. I know this because I’ve met her, plus she does an amazing job promo-ing Friday Feast each week on the Romance Writers of Australia blog. Honestly, I’d shower her in pink marshmallows if I could. Instead I shall return the promo favour by mercilessly plugging her brilliant, drama-laden, emotional and deeply romantic page-turner of a debut release, Fly Away Peta.




Fly Away Peta_150dpi_eBookThe time has come to face her worst fear and the clock is ticking…

Peta Johnson will go to extreme lengths to protect her daughter Bella. When Bella is kidnapped, the search for her takes Peta back to the small Western Australian country town of Williams, a place she’d vowed never to return to. The town where her dreams were shattered and her nightmare began. Back to the place she’d been destined to meet two very powerful, yet very different men. One would break her heart; the other would destroy her soul. Both would change her life forever.

The search for Bella brings them together. Secrets and lies keep them apart. Can Peta and Jaime renew their love in the face of danger or will he let her fly away…again.


You want this book, oh yes you do!!!! And it can be yours in either paperback or ebook with a few clicks. Try Amazon US, Amazon UK, Bookdepository, Barnes and Noble or direct from the publisher, Eternal Press.

And now here’s Juanita…

Here’s one you can’t fudge!


Hello everyone and welcome to sunny Western Australia. Firstly, a huge thank you to Cathryn for being brave enough to invite me into the kitchen at Friday Feast. It’s okay, I brought my own fire-fighting equipment.

I think it’s fair to say my husband didn’t marry me for my cooking skills. I have a reputation for killing casseroles and murdering meat. So if it doesn’t come pre-prepared or out of a can, I leave the cooking in the much safer and skilled hands of hubby. He grew up working in the family takeaway and can make chicken giblets look and taste good.

Sadly my manageable repertoire consists of mac ‘n cheese, bangers and Deb’s Instant Mash, and instant noodles.  I can burn water, which is why hubby very kindly invested in a water cooler that also has a heating function and keeps the water at the perfect temperature for a cup of tea.

What I do have, is a fabulous Fudge for Dummies recipe. It’s juanitaproof. The beauty of this recipe is you can undercook it for a softer fudge, overcook it for a harder, darker fudge or stop the process in between to get it just right. The secret is to keep an eye on the colour during the cooking process. Oh, and a nice deep dish – it’s quite difficult to remove from the roof and floor of your microwave. I found out the hard way…

Here goes:

Easy Fudge

1 x 500g packet castor sugar

125g hard butter or margarine (but butter is better!)

1 x 397g can full-cream condensed milk

5ml vanilla essence

Place all ingredients except the vanilla essence in a heat-resistant bowl (it should be large enough to prevent the mixture from boiling over)

Microwave on full power for 4 minutes. Remove from oven and stir well until all the sugar dissolves.

Microwave on full power for 6-8 minutes. Keep an eye on the colour:

  • light and creamy = soft, toffee-like fudge; (6 mins)
  • thicker and darker = firm fudge; (7-8 mins)
  • dark caramel colour = hard fudge; (8-9 mins)
  • dark brown or black like treacle = burnt fudge, throw away bowl, have a glass of wine and try again later

Remove from oven (always a good idea!), add vanilla essence while it’s still bubbling and beat for a few seconds with a wooden spoon until thick and creamy.

Pour into a greased square dish and allow to cool slightly before cutting into squares.

Tip: Don’t wait too long to score and cut it otherwise it will crack and you’ll have chunks instead of slices.

Lastly – enjoy! And make good friends with your dentist 🙂


  1. Coconut Fudge: Add 40g dessicated coconut together with vanilla essence and proceed as described.
  2. Chocolate Fudge: Add 10g cocoa before the first microwave cycle
  3. Caramel Nut Fudge: Instead of vanilla essence use 60ml chopped nuts and 5ml caramel essence after second micro cycle
  4. Try other flavours too – peppermint, rum, Kahlua etc. all work well

Cooking times may vary depending on the strength of your microwave. These times are based on a 900 watt oven.


A Juanitaproof recipe? Well, in that case I’ll have to give it a try. Maybe with those other flavours…perhaps Irish cream fudge. Hmm. Can nearly taste that one. Although given that on Monday I managed to explode a bowl of curry in our serviced apartment’s super powerful microwave, maybe I should rethink this.

So, Feasters, do you have a Juanitaproof type recipe? I have a few, mainly savoury recipes that I could make in my sleep, but some cakes too. Experimenting is huge fun but there are days when you just don’t want to think, or risk anything going wrong. Like me today. Two days of house unpacking and organising and general knackeredness tend to have that effect!

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

19 thoughts on “FRIDAY FEAST with Juanita Kees

  1. Avatarchristinestinson

    Once again, an enjoyable post – and a great recipe. Thanks, Cathryn and Juanita. I do have a mistake-proof recipe for a ‘chocolate log’. All you need is one packet of plain, chocolate biscuits (like ‘Chocolate Ripple’), one carton of fresh cream (whipped until peaks form), a cup of dry sherry and a serving plate. Place a 4cm wide by about 1 cm thick line of whipped cream down the middle of the plate. Pour sherry into a soup bowl. Dip biscuits one at a time in the sherry, spread one side with cream and stand biscuit upright in the line of cream. Repeat with next biscuit, sandwich together with first. It’s like laying upright bricks. When you’ve made a nice-sized log, cover the lot with the rest of the cream. If you want to be really fancy, crumble a flake over the log. Put it in the fridge overnight and the biscuits turn into cake. Great dessert, no cooking involved.

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      My sister in law has made that, Christine, and I loved it! Dead easy, looks great and tastes delicious. She didn’t put sherry in hers though, but imagine the fun you could have with different liqueur flavours. Maybe with Tia Maria or Cointreau for an adult jaffa type version. Mmmmmm!

  2. AvatarAnneGracie

    Enjoyed the post, Cathryn and Juanita. Christine, I often make chocolate ripple cake when I’m going to a party or barbecue and don’t have time to make the usual things I take. It’s such a quick and easy recipe and people just fall on it with glee. And it turns into a cake quicker than overnight, I know.

    And years ago, when my sister moved up to Queensland she couldn’t find any chocolate ripple biscuits in the shops there, so she used to get people to bring them up to her from the south. I remember as a schoolgirl, going up in the train to visit her with half a dozen packets of chocolate ripple biscuits in my bag.

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      I wonder if it would work with another type of biscuit, Anne, say gingernuts. Or maybe they wouldn’t soften enough… Hmm. I have a great urge to test this theory!

  3. AvatarJuanita Kees

    Ooh! Those both sound like good additions to my recipe folder. Especially yours Christine 🙂 – no baking required and it has sherry in it! The chocolate ripple cake sounds divine, Anne. I love anything chocolate.

  4. Avatarkerriepaterson

    I can second (or third) the ease and popularity of the choc ripple / choc log recipe!

    That fudge recipe sounds like a yummy and easy one to add to my list! I think my son would like that one – and he can make it himself. Unfortunately, I’m still teaching him the fine art of cleaning up after oneself, but nevermind!

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      Ha ha! Seems everyone’s a chocolate ripple fan but I’m guessing there’s a good reason for that: it tastes fantastic!

      Ahh, yes, the art of tidying. It does seem to be harder for some than others (she says, thinking of a certain household male).

      Thanks for dropping by, Kerrie.

  5. AvatarJuanita Kees

    LOL Kerrie, I’m still trying to teach mine to clean up and the eldest (hubby) is on the wrong side of 45 🙂
    The best part of the fudge recipe is cleaning the bowl. You get to scrape all that yummy sugar off the sides after microwaving.

  6. AvatarSuzanne Brandyn

    Enjoyable post, Cath and Juanita.
    As for a receipt, usually when going to a barbeque or party I make Death by Chocolate. I love it and it goes down well. 🙂 I don’t dare make it at home. I’d be eating the entire bowl. It’s addictive. lol

  7. AvatarBec

    A variation of this first recipe is to use a peppermint liquire (or essence if kids are going to eat it) and then crumble a crushed peppermint crisp bar on the top. Or if you like Gingernut snaps you can do the same but use them in place of the chocolate ripple busicutes! My favourite is Cheese Cake Slice which is made with Lattice Buscuites & Philli cream cheese (plus butter? and sugar) the receipe is on the pack but you have to make sure you really cream the butter and sugar together otherwise you get yucky lumps but taste sooooo good

      1. AvatarCathryn Hein

        Oh, yeah, I’m for anything choc-mint too. A while back a girlfriend introduced me to Haig’s peppermint chocolate frogs and I’ve been hooked ever since. Have run out at the moment though. Saaaaadness!

        Bec, that cheesecake slice sounds seriously rich. Must be verra good for us then! Thanks for dropping by and sharing.

  8. AvatarS E Gilchrist (@SEGilchrist1)

    Great post, Juanita and thank you for sharing your fudge recipe and variations. I’m a real sweet tooth and looooooooove fudge. Suz’s Death by Chocolate, sounds wonderful too. For anyone who hasnt read Fly Away Peta, I can recommend it, its a great story with lovely characters who get their second chance at a HEA. 🙂

  9. AvatarCathryn Hein

    Methinks Suz needs to reveal her Death By Chocolate secrets. Really not fair of her to do a drive-by tease like that…

    Fab endorsement of Fly Away Peta, S.E.!

  10. AvatarHelene Young

    Chocolate Ripple? What is this food I’ve never come across before?? Have Chocolate Ripple Biscuits still not made it north of the border except in clandestine smuggling operations???

    I’m on a mission now to find them – off to the shops for me 🙂

    And loved the post, ladies. Fudge is to die for….

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