Remember Toblerone brownies, Feasters? Well, she’s baaaaack! Yes, three time Australian Romance Reader Award finalist and paranormal and fantasy romance author Shona Husk is 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.
Caspian 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 Devastated over his ex-wife’s infidelity, Caspian has withdrawn from human contact except when working as an antiques dealer.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
½ cup quinoa
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup raw sugar
1tsp baking powder
1tsp baking soda
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.