Oh, I do adore Friday Feast. Sometimes it’s like owning a bookshop with a bakery and café attached. All those great stories! All that delicious food! Hmm, maybe I should hunt down a wine writer so we can make this place truly perfect…
Speaking of perfect (sigh, love a good segue nearly as much as the Feast itself), today I welcome back a wonderful Australian author who’s had the perfect start to her writing career. Not only was Loretta Hill’s debut novel, The Girl In Steel-Capped Boots, a rip-roaring chart-busting success, so is her second novel, The Girl In The Hard Hat, which released last month. No wonder given these rave quotes:
This is the sort of book that I would recommend to everyone I know, especially if they liked The Girl In Steel-Capped Boots. And if you haven’t read that one then… you definitely need to! Bree at One Girl… 2 many books!
Well written, witty and entertaining, The Girl in The Hard Hat is an engaging contemporary romance in an unique Australian setting that I can’t wait to visit again. Shellyrae at Book’d Out
Check it out.
a. One hard hat
b. Three hundred and fifty sulky FIFO workers
c. A tropical cyclone
Wendy Hopkins arrives in the Pilbara to search for the father who abandoned her at birth.
Getting mixed up in construction site politics at the Iron Ore wharf just out of town was not high on her ‘to do’ list.
But when she takes a job as their new Safety Manager she becomes the most hated person in the area. Nicknamed ‘The Sergeant’, she is the butt of every joke and the prime target of notorious womanizer, Gavin Jones.
Giving up is not an option, though.
For, as it turns out, only Wendy can save these workers from the coming storm, find a man who wants to stay buried and … put a bad boy firmly in his place.
From the author of The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots comes another funny and deliciously romantic tale of a woman in a man’s world.
The Girl In The Hard Hat is available now from your local book or chain store. You can also order online from Dymocks, Booktopia and Bookworld, or download the ebook from Kobo, Google Play, Amazon Kindle or iTunes.
Now here’s Loretta!
Spoon Lickin’ Good
When Cathryn first asked me to write a blog for Friday feast, I knew exactly what I was going to write about, Chocolate Cake! Any time of year, any time of day, chocolate cake is by far my favourite comfort food. I also have four kids. So baking a cake always makes a great activity in which they can get involved. I measure out all the ingredients and put them on the counter so that they can tip them into a giant mixing bowl. It makes them feel so important – like they’ve really baked this cake all by themselves. After the ingredients are in, they take it in turns stirring – because you know, a good stir is essential to a good cake. But that’s not the best part. The best part is licking the bowl and the spoon afterwards which unfortunately usually doesn’t take nearly long enough. You see, after that, the questions start.
“Is it ready yet?”
“Can we eat it now?”
“I think it’s cooked mummy!”
Baking in the oven for half an hour is a very difficult concept for a five year old to grasp. Let alone, a three and one year old. My youngest luckily is 3months, so he is content to just watch, gurgle and wave chubby fists. All the same, I hear myself repeating the same phrase over and over, “Not yet. But soon.” Then at last the cake is out and cooling on a rack. They take it in turns sniffing it as if by sucking in the chocolaty steam they can somehow experience coco nirvana. They’re not half wrong. I say, “Back away everyone. It needs some time before we can ice it.” To stall them, I have the ingredients for the icing there so that we can make it. Again using the electric mixer is a very big deal. And when the last spindle has been licked clean the cake looks cool enough to ice. I layer it on with a big plastic spatula. Yumo! The icing is the best part of cake. Thick and buttery. My mouth is watering. But it’s not my turn yet. I cut all the kids a slice each. We put them on plastic plates and take them outside so they can spill as many crumbs as they like. Michael is asleep now, so he gets wheeled into the bedroom. The other kids park themselves on the garden chairs and don’t move until their faces are covered in chocolate. It’s clean up time. Off to the bathroom to wash up. When they are relatively presentable again and run off to play I creep back to the kitchen and put the kettle on. I then cut myself a very generous slice. With coffee in one hand and cake in the other hand, I shuffle over to my computer. It has been winking at me on the dining table to no avail all afternoon. Hero and heroine have been waiting for their next move. The kids are quietly watching a dvd now. As sweet chocolately goodness infuses my senses, I begin to type.
Here’s a great recipe for a very simple but delicious chocolate cake that I make all the time!
1 cup self raising flour
3 tablespoons cocoa
½ cup of caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup of sifted icing sugar
1 teaspoon of sifted cocoa
A tablespoon of milk
2 teaspoons of softened butter
- Grease and line one 20cm deep cake tin
- Combine flour, cocoa, sugar, vanilla essence and melted butter
- Add eggs and mix for one minute
- Pour into cake tin and cook for 25-35minutes at 160 degrees C
- Icing: Mix icing sugar ingredients together and beat with electric mixer to make fluffy.
Tip : Don’t over cook. Test often with a knife after 25 mins
Ahh, Loretta, you have no idea how tempted I am to dash from the calorific desert that is my office to the kitchen and start baking. As you so perfectly describe, there’s nothing like a chocolate hit to fire up the muse. Thanks so much. These tried and true Friday Feast recipes are like having a precious family cookbook on hand, except in this case, the ‘book’ is full of others’ favourite recipes and made all the more special for it.
Okay, Feasters, what food fires up your imagination? I’ve considered this deeply and think that perhaps it’s good old Vita Brits (or Fart Bricks as my other half so charmingly calls them). A bit dull I’ll concede, but as that’s my usual breakfast fare and given that after breakfast is when I start writing, there has to be some sort of correlation, surely? Mind you, I do have a habit of succumbing to episodes of mad scribbling after a couple of glasses of red wine too, but that’s another tale…