Greetings my little Feasty elves, and welcome to the penultimate edition of Friday Feast for 2014. Yes, only one more to go before we take our annual break, but what delights we have for you! This week, everyone’s favourite rural romance author, a super tart and a book snippet you will adore.
But first, Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news… My putter is broken. It looks perfectly intact but clearly it has developed a major fault because it refuses to tap balls into holes. I think Santa should bring me a new one for Christmas. One of those flash custom-made Scotty Cameron ones. In Sydney Swans colours. That’ll solve it, surely…
Now to my delicious guest, rural romance star and good buddy Rachael Johns. Rach, as you all know, has this year been delighting readers with the latest in her Bunyip Bay series Outback Ghost, but did you know she also has some fabulous novellas out? The first in the Wildwood Point series was The Kissing Season but now there’s a follow up, and just in time for Christmas too.
When Zoe Bennett’s boyfriend cheats on her, leaving her homeless, jobless and practically broke, she returns to the only place she’s ever felt safe and at home – Wildwood Point. She hopes to heal her heart and find a job to get herself back on her feet – but she has forgotten how small Wildwood Point is.
Until a couple of months ago Shaun Elliot’s life was sweet – a job he loved and big plans for the future. Until, that is, his long-time girlfriend turned down his romantic New Year’s Eve marriage proposal in front of all their family and friends. Angry, hurt and feeling like he is the laughing stock of small town Wildwood Point, Shaun has sworn off relationships while he works out what to do with himself and his life.
The last thing he needs is to find his high school sweetheart stranded on the side of the road. She broke his heart when she left him seven years ago, but he’s never been the type to ignore someone who needs help…
All loaded up? Excellent. Now enjoy a tasty time with Rach.
The Season To Be Sweet
We all know I am a massive fan of Cathryn and in awe of her marvelous cooking (and all the fab guests on Friday Feast), so whenever she asks me if I want to come on her blog and share a recipe, I tremble. But like many people, I don’t know how to say “no,” so here I am!
As Cathryn mentioned I’ve got a new novella out now called THE NEXT SEASON, and surprise surprise, this little story features a chocolate café and therefore I name a lot of lovely cakes and treats.
Here’s a little snippet from the story about one of these desserts:
‘Hi, ladies. What can I get for you?’
None of the four women at the table even glanced her way. They were engrossed in conversation.
‘I shouldn’t have come,’ said an immaculately groomed bottle-blonde before covering her face with her hands. ‘This is so awkward.’
‘Don’t be silly,’ said her red-headed, big-busted friend. ‘This is your town as much as his now and you both need to learn to live in it separately.’
The penny dropped and Zoe only just managed to cover her gasp. The blonde was Melissa? Her grip tightened on her order pad while the conversation continued before her as if she were invisible.
‘Yes, but it’s his sister’s café,’ Melissa whined. ‘Surely there are boundaries.’
Yes, girlfriend, there are. Zoe’s jaw clenched as she tapped her shoes against the floor and contemplated the things she’d like to do to Shaun’s ex. Perhaps Melissa would order a molten lava cake too and then Zoe could accidentally drop the hot dessert in her lap, leaving a nasty stain on her white skirt. She’d felt so angry when he’d told her about Melissa. Maybe she had no right to feel this way—she’d turned down his proposal once too—but that was different. They’d only been eighteen years old for crying out loud. Every one knew marriages between people so young never lasted so she’d probably done him a favour. But it sounded like this Melissa had totally strung him along. And now here she was, flaunting herself in his face. Not even the decency to keep away.
Zoe found herself turning to look at him and her heart cramped at the expression on his face. Melissa being here must be simply awful for him. She looked back to her customers and cleared her throat. ‘Are you ladies ready to place your order?’
All four heads snapped up to look at her as if they’d only just realised she were there. She smiled down tightly at them, a little shaky about being rude, but knowing—considering who sat at this table—that her boss would likely be lenient if they complained.
‘I’m sorry,’ Melissa gushed, then after another quick glance in Shaun’s direction, she asked, ‘What do you recommend?’
‘The molten lava cake,’ Zoe retorted without having to think twice. She wouldn’t really dump it in Melissa’s lap, but…
Now unfortunately I have NO idea how to cook one of those delicious-sounding creations but would love for someone to cook for me.
So, I’m going to be a little contrary and not share you a recipe that would complement the story, but rather something I experimented with a few weeks back. I’ve got very fussy eaters and so meals are usually boring and bland in our house, but every now and then I decide to surprise everyone with something different, fully expecting that no one (aside from hubby and I) will actually eat it.
The recipe I want to share today, was tweeted by my friend author Jen Tucker on Twitter a few weeks back and although I cannot find the link or what it was called, I do remember how I made it and how good it tasted. I also remembered it was easy and didn’t take long and that’s what I like in a recipe because that means more time for writing AND reading!
So here goes!! I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.
Sweet Potato, Bacon and Maple Syrup Flan
What you’ll need:
*2 large sweet potatoes or 1 sweet potato and half a butternut pumpkin.
*6 rashers of bacon
*2 tablespoons caster sugar
*2 large onions
*a handful of grated cheese
*Cream to paint over pastry
*2 cups of plain flour
*2-3 tablespoons of iced water
What I did:
1. Chop up the potatoes and pumpkin into 1cm-ish cubes, toss in oil and then drizzle maple syrup over the top and put in a hot oven to roast until tender. I’m not going to tell you how long or give you an exact temperature, because I’m the world’s worst roaster and I’m sure most of you will do a much better job than me.
2. While potatoes are roasting, make the short-crust pastry – I think homemade is best for this recipe and trust me, if I can make it, so can you. I used Donna Hay’s recipe, which you can find here: Donna Hay: Basic Shortcrust Pastry
3. While pastry is in the fridge (according to above recipe) and potatoes roasting, slice the onions, add a pinch of salt and cook them until tender. Take off heat and stir in sugar.
4. Slice up bacon and fry in a pan.
5. When the potatoes are roasted and the onions and bacon ready, roll out the pastry to a large round about 5mm in depth. Lay pastry in a pie flan/tin and then layer in the filling – potatoes, bacon, onion, cheese, and repeat.
6. Fold up the pastry at the edges (see picture) and then brush cream over the top.
7. Bake in a moderate oven for 40 minutes or until pastry is cooked and golden.
8. Serve warm and enjoy!
Oh, I will enjoy, Rach, because that sounds amazing. And we can all kid ourselves that it’s marvellously healthy because of the veg. What a win!
Hmm. I’m wondering what it’d be like with fetta… might have to test this out.
Okay, my scrumptious Feasty elves, what’s your favourite tart or flan? Are you a sweet or a savoury person? Maybe you get wobbly legs at the sight of a beautiful quiche Lorraine or perhaps a tangy lemon tart is more your go.
Me, I love a good frittata. They’re easy to make, make great leftovers or picnic food and, as long as you have eggs, you can stuff them full of whatever happens to be in your fridge. Although now that I’ve mentioned quiche Lorraine I have a terrible craving for that… In fact, I might make one for dinner.
So come along, share your tarty love. We’d love to hear all your clever suggestions!