FRIDAY FEAST with Annie West

40 Replies

What a magnificent Friday! And made all the better with a fabulous guest, some feasting, a fantastic book giveaway.

But before we get onto that… DID YOU SEE MY DARLING SWANNIES? Yes, my beloved footy team, the Sydney Swans, is into the AFL Preliminary Final. One step from the Grand Final and premiership victory. Oh, the thrill!

Which kind of makes up for my rather lacklustre golf. I say lacklustre because that’s how it felt to me, but somehow, thanks to that newfangled handicapping system Golf Australia has implemented, I played well enough last week to knock 0.2 of a stroke off my handicap. Weird. Very weird indeed. I am, as we like to say here in the Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf house, bumfuggled.

I’m super excited this week because I’m hosting a very lovely lady on Friday Feast. Annie West is a USA Today best-selling author of many hugely popular and sexy books. She is queen of the alpha male, writing sumptuous romances populated with handsome jet-setting billionaires and feisty heroines who prove more than a match for them.

I’ve just finished reading Annie’s latest, Damaso Claims His Heir, and it was a cracking read. Alpha heroes normally make me want to kick them in the shins, but Damaso was so undone by the heroine, Princess Marisa, that I nearly felt sorry for him. The dialogue was slick, the settings wonderful and the story full of intense, heartfelt emotion. I honestly loved this book and I’m sure you will too.


Damaso Claims His Heir by Annie WestWhen opposites attract!

Damaso Pires should have known better than to get involved with Marisa—the scandalous princess of Bengaria! Yet soon he sees her true beauty and flawless virtue, which touches a place in him he thought ruthlessly destroyed by his childhood on the streets of Brazil.

But their brief affair becomes permanent when Marisa reveals she’s pregnant.

Damaso knows the sting of illegitimacy and, having fought tooth and nail to claw his way up to the dizzying heights of international success and financial infamy, he won’t let his child slip from his grasp. There’s only one way to claim his heir, and that’s marriage!

Doesn’t that sound fun? Probably because it is! You can indulge in a bit of loving with your own sexy Brazilian billionaire with just a few clicks. Buy Damaso from Booktopia, Bookworld, Bookdepository, Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, Barnes & Noble, JB Hi-Fi and direct from the publisher Mills & Boon.

Now please give a warm welcome to Annie.

The Tartiest of Tarts

Hi Cathryn! Thanks for having me to visit, especially now, in your launch month. I had the most fabulous time reading your French Prize. Sigh. Loved the story and that includes the setting, the gorgeous, enigmatic Raimond, the danger, the quest, the history, the intelligent heroine, the food… I’m on tenterhooks now waiting for your next.

In the meantime, here’s my contribution to the Feast series. Coincidentally it fits your French theme!

Sweetness seems to be ‘in’. Everywhere I look people are drooling over sexy men argh, no, wrong Facebook posts – over chocolate. Photos of chocolate desserts, melted chocolate for dipping fruit, choc biscuits or truffles with champagne. Friends send chocolate as a thank you or a ‘thinking of you’ gift (hey, I have some great friends), and guests who visit for a meal usually bring something sweet for afters (they’re well-trained – what can I say?).

Don’t get me wrong, I love nice chocolate. A super-dooper, industrial-sized block of finest Lindt once powered the final part of one of my books (thanks, Ms V!). I’ll happily indulge in a sweetness binge with the right goodies. But there are times when even chocolate won’t do it.

Yes, I admit it – I love tart things. Even my favourite home-made jam is plum rather than strawberry. Yum as strawberry can be, it’s just…well…sweet. But get a good bucketload of plums or – sigh – raspberries, and there’s a hint of tartness to offset the sweet. That’s what I crave: something with taste as well as sugar. Yu-um.

So, in hopes that there’s someone out there like me, who adores something tart once in a while, I’m sharing my all-time favourite dessert: Tarte au Citron. Sigh. Forgive me as I pause for a moment, remembering. I made this recently and the memory is making me salivate. I’d actually planned to write today about a delicious Brazilian meal I researched when writing my current release (set in Brazil in case you’re wondering), but I got side-tracked by that Tarte au Citron. It tasted so good I just had to share it instead.

A good friend and super-foodie made this version for me years ago and it’s been my treat of all treats ever since. It’s not some tame little dessert you gobble while chatting and barely notice it going down. Oh no. This is a full-flavoured whack of sensation. You concentrate when you eat this baby because it makes your lips zing. It’s so chock a block full of citrus I think one slice before a voyage would have staved off scurvy for those old time sailors who took a year to circle the globe.

It’s a dessert to be shared with like-minded friends. Make sure you have either good quality cream or ice cream on hand. This is a dessert that needs accompaniment – a little something to complement the tartness of this tart. So here it is, my friend Maurice’s

Tarte au Citron

Tarte au citron


1 ½ cups plain flour

2 tablespoons caster sugar

125 g cold butter, chopped

1 egg yolk, lightly beaten


4 eggs

¾ cup sugar

2/3 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup orange juice

zest of 2 lemons

60 g butter

¼ cup cream

2 extra lemons

Icing sugar (not icing sugar mixture)


Sift flour and sugar. Add butter and egg yolk and mix. Knead to form a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

Roll out the pastry to the size of a fluted, shallow quiche tin that you’ve greased. I find it easiest to roll it out between sheets of plastic.  Prick the pastry with a fork and allow to rest (but I’ve been known to ignore this). Bake blind in a 200 degrees C oven for 10-15 mins or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.


Beat together eggs, sugar, lemon juice, orange juice and zest. Melt the butter with the cream over a low heat. Add egg mixture and continue cooking until it thickens, stirring constantly (do not allow to boil). Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and cool. Pour custard into the pastry and cook on top shelf at 190 degrees C for 20 mins.

Peel and segment the 2 extra lemons (cut off as much pith as possible) and arrange on the top. (Can you see now why this tarte is so tart?). Cover the edge of the pastry with aluminium foil to prevent it burning. Sift icing sugar very generously (seriously – use lots) over the filling. Place under a preheated grill until the top is glazed (the sugar will caramelise).

Remove foil and serve warm with cream or ice cream.

You’ll see from my photo that I had some trouble with my grill last time and the sugar was only just starting to caramelise. If you have a kitchen blowtorch you can use that to finish off and get the scrumptious caramelised top.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. My only gripe is that my family and guests all want to finish it for me.


How could I possibly resist a French lemon tart, Annie! And that one looks and sounds beautiful. I like the addition of orange juice for depth of flavour. I wonder if blood oranges would work. I have a real thing about them at the moment…

Now, my dear Feasters, because Annie is such a sweetheart and because we both think you should all read Damaso and fall in love with him and Marisa as we did, she’s offering a…


Yes, you could win your own hot Brazilian, and we don’t mean waxing. There is zero pain with this alpha male.

So, lovely people, to be in the draw to win a copy of Damaso Claims His Heir, what’s the best recipe a friend has given you?

Mine has to be from my good friend Carol, who shared a beautiful recipe for chicken and pistachio terrine that’s dead easy to make and delicious to eat. I also still have the lemon butter recipe from the mum of a childhood friend in my collection, Mrs White’s peppermint cream chocolates, my aunt’s cream puffs and my mother-in-law’s ANZAC biscuits to name a few.

What about you? What’s the most treasured recipe someone has shared with you? Share with us and you’ll go into the draw.

Giveaway closes midnight AEST, Tuesday 16th September 2014. Open internationally. Rah!

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

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Kim of the potato bake, who has won herself a copy of Annie’s wonderful book and is in for a fabulous reading time. Thanks to everyone who joined in the Friday Feast fun. A delight to hear all your recipes and experiences, as always.

40 thoughts on “FRIDAY FEAST with Annie West

  1. AvatarAnna Campbell

    Oh, Annie, that’s too much goodness for this early in the morning! My teeth are zinging at the mere thought of it!

    Hiya Golf Queen and Sheikh Queen. Although Damaso is just as delicious as your desert kings, Ms. West! Absolutely loved this story. These two are so determined to make it alone and they’re both so in need of what the other one can give them, much as they fight destiny’s pull. Love a romance where the hero and heroine are in the hands of their fate, much against their will!

    Cathryn, I loved, loved, loved THE FRENCH PRIZE too. Annie described it perfectly. And man, did it make me want to jump on a plane and go to Provence! You should give away free air tickets with every copy!

  2. AvatarAnnie West

    HI Anna. I LOVE the idea of Cathryn giving away tickets to Provence with each copy of ‘The French Prize’. Cathryn, could you take that up with your publisher? Wouldn’t that be fabbo? Provence would be overrun by a huge gaggle of readers, descending like locusts on quaint little eateries.

    Well, this is definitely a teeth zinging recipe, Anna. In fact, just rereading it has me salivating. If I had nothing else to do this afternoon I’d cook up a nice tarty tart today. Sigh. Sadly I have other things due. But soon.

    I’m glad Damaso and Marisa hit the spot for you. Yes, there’s that feeling that they need each other so much if they could only get past their preconceived ideas. It was fun watching them begin to realise what it was they truly wanted, and watching them struggle against the tide. So satisfying. And I love that Damaso literally sweeps her off her feet at the end!

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      If anyone’s going to Provence, it’s ME! I need a holiday…. Do you think Harlequin would cough for a research trip? But thank you both very much for your lovely words re The French Prize. I’m chuffed! And I’m having a ball with the next one too. About to indulge in a food scene as a break between the action and because I can’t help myself. Some Sicilian deliciousness, mmmmm. Wonder if I could sneak in some tarty tart too?

      Anna, I agree totally about Damaso Claims His Heir. Marisa and Damaso were wonderfully drawn. Their backstories were perfect for one another and you could really feel how it affected their lives and relationships. But the best thing for me was how changed Damaso was by Marisa. She really made him a better man. As for that last scene… that was so brilliant. Felt like cheering out loud for them!

      1. AvatarAnnie West

        Cathryn, I’m sniggering at you asking for a publisher-funded research trip. If you succeed, let me know!

        Love the sound of indulging in some Sicilian food. Did you ever the TV series ‘Sicily Unpacked’? Brilliant. It was Giorgio Locatelli, a chef, and Andrew Graham-Dixon (art historian), travelling together through Sicily looking at art and eating scrumptious food. You have to see it, Cathryn.

        Aw, thanks, Cathryn. What a nice wrap for Damaso and Marisa. They really did make a difference in each other’s lives, didn’t they? I’m so glad you enjoyed the book.

        1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

          Yes! That was a wonderful series, Annie. Beautiful art, fabulous food. Right up my alley! I have two of Georgio’s books (both great reads) and will be hunting through Made In Sicily for inspiration. Wonder if my heroine will go for sardines… My hero, being an adventurous sort (as well as a very good sort!) will eat anything.

          Loved Damaso’s and Marisa’s story. Wonderful, wonderful read.

  3. AvatarKandy Shepherd

    Hi Annie and Cathryn
    Congratulations to both of you on your new releases–I know what I’ll be reading once I get some reading time back in my life!
    Your tarte recipe looks wonderful Annie, I like the addition of the lemon slices on top. My daughter loves lemon so must make it for her.
    I used to be the editor of food magazines and have many, many fabulous recipes that people have shared with me. One, however, stands out as a a favourite family recipe–I’ve been making it for years. It’s a pasta bake. Basically it’s a bolognese sauce mixed through cooked penne, topped with loads of cheese and then baked in the oven. Kids of all ages love it and I have made it over and over and over again!
    Please don’t put me in the draw for a a copy of DAMASO CLAIMS HIS HEIR as I am fortunate enough to already have a copy. I’m looking forward to another passionate, emotional Annie West read!

    1. AvatarAnnie West

      Hi Kandy,

      Obviously it’s a big month for new releases! You had one recently too, didn’t you? Good luck getting back into the reading. I’m so looking forward to doing that myself.

      I hope your daughter enjoys the dessert. It’s a beauty. My family always devour it when I make it. Maybe I should make two at a time and keep one for me.

      Love the sound of your family bake recipe. Anything that suits all ages is a treasure. I’ve got some that I’ve handed on to my daughter and they’re written with titles like Auntie Olives Choc Peanut Butter Balls and Grandma’s Christmas Cake. I love the idea of recipes passed through generations.

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        Your bake sounds beautiful, Kandy. One that EVERYONE would love. Anything with lashings of cheese gets people excited. And good for the freezer too, I imagine.

        You have a new release as well? I’m off to investigate!

  4. AvatarVanessa Barneveld

    Hi, Cathryn! I totally agree with you — Annie is the queen of alpha heroes. Hers are full of heart.

    Annie, congratulations on the release of Damaso! I have my copy (thank you!) and I can’t wait to read it. I love, love, love lemon tart. This one looks gorgeous.

    I keep hounding Anna Campbell for her top-secret chocolate slice recipe, but she point-blank refuses to divulge it! Thank goodness she sends me some occasionally. 😉 She has, however, freely shared her never-fail roast chook and chocolate mousse recipes.

  5. AvatarAnnie West

    Hi Vanessa. Thanks for the congratulations. It’s exciting to have Damaso out for sale. I’m chuffed you like the stories so much – alphas with heart – it sounds like a good byline!

    How mean of Ms Campbell not to divulge her recipe! I hope you manage to wheedle it out of her one day soon.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Vanessa, I think we should all gang up on Ms Campbell and harass her for that recipe! Very naughty not to share. Although she has shared her roast chook recipe on Friday Feast. It seemed to have involved a lot of wine…

      Alphas with heart is a wonderful description of Annie’s books. Damaso has a huge one!

  6. AvatarEfthalia

    Hello lovely ladies,

    Firstly, congrats on both of your sparkling new releases!

    Drool….mmm….I can almost taste the zinginess in that tarte! Thanks for the recipe. I’m definitely going to have to test drive.

    Plum, plum,
    Yum, yum,
    in my tummy,
    it’s just like honey.


  7. AvatarAnnie West

    Thanks for the congratulations, Efthalia. There’s nothing quite like having a new release, except, of course, hearing from a reader who enjoyed it!

    If you make Maurice’s tart, don’t forget the cream. It needs something on the side. Absolutely yu-um though.

    Smiling at your desire to rhyme. If just the thought of lemon tart does that, imagine what will happen when you actually try some!

      1. AvatarAnnie West

        Efthalia, I’ve wondered about trying it with clotted cream but that might be just too rich. Of course, in the interests of research maybe I should make another soon…

        1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

          A rhyme! Now there’s something to cheer me up early on a Saturday morning. Thanks Efthalia! Must admit, I love plums too. Very YUM!

          Happy cooking, and reading!

  8. AvatarKim

    Congratulations on the new release. The cover is quite different from the US version. Both are nice.
    Friends shared their cheesecake recipe and clams casino recipe with me.

    1. AvatarAnnie West

      Hi Kim,

      Yes, it’s fascinating how the covers differ between territories. It makes it a bit of a lucky dip, waiting to see what comes up.

      Love the idea of a good cheesecake recipe. Clams casino is a new one on me!

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        It is amazing how different they are, Kim. I love this cover and the UK one. The colours and images are really strong and suit the story perfectly.

        I’m going to google clams casino. Love seafood! Oooh, they’re gratineed. YUM!

  9. AvatarHelen

    Hi Annie and Cathryn

    Wow loved that recipe need to try that one my hubby really enjoys anything tart 🙂

    I make a caramel biscuit slice that my aunty taught me how to do and my kids love it and are always asking me to make it is very rich and of course enjoyable

    I highly recommend Damaso and Marisa’s story I loved this one from start to finsh it is a must read congrats Annie on another awesome story 🙂

    Have Fun

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Caramel slice? Now there’s a crowd-pleaser, Helen! Hmm. I think you need to write a book so I can have you on Friday Feast and you can share the recipe!

      Wasn’t Marisa’s and Damaso’s story fabulous? I knew I was going to be in for a great read when you talked about this book at Book Expo, and it was!

    2. AvatarAnnie West

      Hi Helen,

      Snap! I’ve got a caramel recipe, though it’s a caramel chocolate slice, that and auntie gave me and it’s satisfied several generations. How terrific that your kids are enjoying yours. I bet they love it when you cook it.

      Hope your husband enjoys the lemon tart!

      Ah, so glad you had fun with Marisa and Damaso! That makes me smile.

  10. AvatarSharon Archer

    Hi Cathryn and Annie – another delicious Friday Feast!

    Annie, your tart looks absolutely divine! And what a way to stave off scurvy with all that citrus! 😉 I’ve just finished DAMASO CLAIMS HIS HEIR and it is a fabulous read! I adored Marisa and her principles and her wanting to be more than a royal title. And Damaso is a wonderful, sigh-worth hero! Gorgeous, inside and out!

    Cathryn, your clever Swannies are going great guns! I hope they do well next week against the Kangaroos!

  11. AvatarAnnie West

    Sharon, one can’t be too careful in warding off scurvy. I’m feeling the need to make another one, maybe next weekend.

    Hey, I’m so chuffed you enjoyed Damaso and Marisa! I so enjoyed writing their story, but I fear I’m just a tad biased. Thanks for letting me know.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Ha ha ha! Ah, there is nothing like a delicious food that also has medical benefit. My reason for enjoying gin and tonics. Insurance against malaria.

      My Swannies are indeedy sitting in a wonderful spot right now, Sharon. But those RooBoys are on fire so I don’t think next week is going to be easy. Fingers crossed for a triumph and a Grand Final berth!

  12. AvatarLouise Reynolds

    Hi ladies,

    So many wonderful books on release! Damasco sounds fabulous – the right kind of alpha. Annie, I’ve never forgotten your workshop on alphas (with the wonderful Anna Campbell) years ago – a real light bulb moment. Still have the notes, still use them.
    I use a cured salmon recipe that turned up every year at a good friend’s party. You could always count on John V to bring this along and I finally asked for the recipe. Dead easy and it came with lots of tips like, when you coat the finished salmon with herbs, smear it first with a little Dijon to make them stick, use a ham slicer for really thin slices, can wrap and freeze, etc. Love recipes that come with these little trucs.

    1. AvatarAnnie West

      Hi Louise,

      I’m thrilled that you still use your notes from that alpha hero workshop we gave. I’m wondering what we said! It was a few years ago now, wasn’t it? Seriously chuffed at the thought it was helpful.

      Yes, I love recipes from friends, especially the ones that include tips you don’t get in the recipe books. That salmon sounds seriously delicious. I wonder if you’ll be making it some time when I’m in the vicinity.

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        I was thinking the same thing, Annie. Home cured salmon? I’m in!

        Louise, that’s wonderful about Annie’s workshop. I’ll have to keep an eye out for when she runs another so I can check it out. I’m not normally a big fan of those overbearing alpha types, but Damaso was amazing. A lot to be learned there.

        Lovely to see you here as always.

  13. AvatarKim

    Would have to be the old potato bake cant go wrong with potatoes sliced onions and bacon then salt pepper and garlic, layer them until the top the pour a carton of fresh cream into and cover with cheese bake until golden brown ontop, soooooooooooo yumm

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Oh, stop it! You’re making me want to make it right now. But I so agree, Kim. Potato bake is so, so beautiful to eat and look at. I had one of the best on a dairy farm at Murray Bridge. Still kicking myself for not asking for the recipe. I suspect it was the straight-from-the-cow fresh cream that did it.

      Thanks for joining in the fun!

    2. AvatarAnnie West

      Kim, I have one of those recipes handed down to me too. Marvellous. I love a recipe that can’t go wrong! Thanks for sharing.

  14. AvatarS E Gilchrist

    I loved the sound of both your new book Annie & this pie. My all time favourite is my mother’s home made lemon meringue pie with sweet and tangy. All the best for great sales!

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Anything sweet and tangy is good, SE, I reckon. There’s something about that combination… and being Mum’s recipe it’s bound to be a beauty!

      Damaso was a wonderful read. Loved it. Definitely one for your To-Be-Read pile.

    2. AvatarAnnie West

      SE, home made lemon meringue pie sounds absolutely fantastic. My mum isn’t a meringue eater so it’s not something I grew up with. I’m used to the bought ones so I know how lucky you are.

      Thanks for the good wishes on the book. Here’s hoping people like it!

  15. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

    The Damaso giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Kim of the potato bake, who has won herself a copy of Annie’s wonderful book.
    Thanks to everyone who joined in the Friday Feast fun. A delight to hear all your recipes and experiences, as always.

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