Greetings, food ‘n fiction fans, and welcome to another delicious edition of Friday Feast. This week: buttery goodness, a treasure or two, plus a wonderful giveaway!
First, the ridiculousness that is Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. I’m still in Mount Gambier and have been a touch too busy dealing with Mum’s move into full-time care to play much golf, but I did head out for a few smacks on the practice fairway with Dad. Dad, bless him, had an air swing for his first shot which reminded me yet again about why I can’t play either. We also managed a round at the very picturesque Casterton Golf Club where Dad was so enamoured of all the gorgeous manna gums he kept hitting his ball at them. Playing with borrowed clubs, I wasn’t much better but at least I had an excuse for my wayward shots!
With that out the way, it’s on to our guest and it’s my pleasure to welcome back rural romance author Jennie Jones whose Swallows Fall series has been delighting readers since her first book, The House on Burra Burra Lane, hit the shelves in mid 2013.
Jennie has two new additions in the series coming this year. The House at the End of the Street will be out in August, but today we’re very honoured to be hosting Jennie on release day for The Turnaround Treasure Shop. Rah! And you’ll be cheering even louder in a minute when you see what Jennie has in store for us. In the meantime, check out the cover and blurb for The Turnaround Treasure Shop. It’s gorgeous!
Fatalistic, long divorced and doing her best to give her children a good life, Lily Johnson works two jobs in her hometown of Swallow’s Fall, saving every spare cent for the day she can lease the empty corner shop on Main Street. She longs to open it as Turnaround Treasures, a second-hand shop bursting with rescued country curios—but there aren’t enough spare cents and Lily’s dream is slipping away.
Ex-Navy diver Nick Barton arrived in Swallow’s Fall a year ago to quietly reunite himself with civvy life. Recognising an instant attraction to Lily, Nick backed away fast. Given his track record of an unhappy ex-wife and the baggage that comes with a Special Forces career, Nick doesn’t think he stands a chance with shy, reserved Lily. He can’t be with her – but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t see her.
Lily has spent her whole life cheerfully giving to others. When Nick offers her the ultimate chance for a turnaround, will Lily’s fear of being ‘second hand’ ruin the opportunity of forever love for both of them?
Doesn’t that sound fun? And because today is the official release day, you can own a copy of The Turnaround Treasure Shop with a simple clickety-click. Buy now from Amazon.com, Amazon.au, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, JB H-Fi or your favourite ebook retailer.
Loaded up? Good. Now sit back and enjoy. This is lovely!
Shortbread, Sherry & Chic Afternoons
It’s so lovely to be welcomed back to Cathryn’s Friday Feast. Hope you’ve got your rolling pin floured and ready to go, Cathryn. This is a shortbread recipe handed to me just after I got married. I copied it (in my terrible handwriting) into a Recipe Notebook I bought from the kitchen and garden courtyard shop at Hever Castle – the childhood home of Ann Boleyn. It was a pleasant purchase after a wonderful tour of that exception property ending with a good look at implements of torture commonly used in the sixteenth century – which were not pleasant! Hence the trip to the courtyard shop to re-charge.
I’m partial to shortbread, sherry and chic afternoons although they don’t happen as frequently as I’d like. Sipping a sherry mid-afternoon seems such a contemplative, relaxing way to behave. Sipping sherry makes me think of my Nan. She always had a bottle in the sideboard and when I was old enough to move from Babycham to real alcohol, I did enjoy a sherry or two and still do.
In The Turnaround Treasure Shop (a shorter length novel in my Swallow’s Fall series), my heroine is mid-thirties, long-divorced and doing her best to look after her two teenage children, work two jobs in the remote Snowy Mountains town of Swallow’s Fall and save for her dream. She taught herself how to turn shabby old country curios into sparkling new I-want-one wares and longs to open the empty shop on Main Street. So I thought it would be great to have a Friday Feast full of old-fashioned afternoon delights.
Here’s my Delicate Shortbread recipe – the biscuits will be thin and crunchy to the bite but still have that buttery melt-in-your-mouth shortbread-gorgeousness – and beware, the pastry is so delicate that when you roll it out, you won’t be able to pick up the pastry to turn it once it starts to get thin.
Makes 30 biscuits
Oven temp: 150C
Two large baking trays greased with butter or lined with baking paper (better result with baking paper)
100 gm icing sugar
200 gm unsalted butter, softened
200 gm plain flour (can use wholemeal flour if preferred)
100 gm cornflour
(Optional: 50 gm of finely chopped crystallised ginger, or finely grated zest of one large lemon)
Castor sugar for sprinkling
Cream butter and icing sugar very well using a mixer.
Add sifted flour and cornflour and fold with a metal spoon. (At this point, also add crystallised ginger or lemon zest if using.)
The metal spoon will only do so much, so get in with your hand and knead in the bowl until all the flour has been mixed, then take half the pastry and roll out on a very well-floured surface to ½ centimetre thickness. (This pastry is soft and will be difficult to move or turn while rolling.) Use a sprinkle of flour when needed – especially on your rolling pin.
Cut into preferred shapes – scone cutters are perfect, as are star and heart cookie cutters.
Use metal baking spatula to slide off the floured surface and onto your prepared baking sheet.
Repeat with the other half of pastry.
Bake in oven for 30 minutes, but keep a careful watch after 25 minutes to ensure they don’t brown too much. They should be golden in colour.
Remove from oven and transfer to wire cooling racks.
Sprinkle with castor sugar while warm.
Enjoy with sherry, champagne, tea or coffee!
Oh, I will most definitely enjoy, Jennie! Luuuuurve shortbread. The more buttery the better and this recipe looks gorgeous. Thanks so much for sharing.
Now, my Feasty friends, because Jennie is so nice she’s offering you a…
Here’s what Jennie has to say:
“As today is the release of the fourth book in my Swallow’s Fall series, The Turnaround Treasure Shop, I’m delighted to offer one reader an eBook copy. Simply comment on this question: Do you ever have a hankering for something old-fashioned?”
Well that’s an easy-peasy question for me to answer. I do LOTS of hankering for old-fashioned things, especially when it comes to food. Corned beef, pea and ham soup, a good old cream sponge or pavlova. The list is huge. Not so much for other things though. I’m quite partial to the luxuries of modern life!
What about you? Do you hanker for old-fashioned things? It can be anything, your choice, and if you share we’ll pop you into the draw to win an ebook copy of Jennie’s gorgeous new release, The Turnaround Treasure Shop.
Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 26th May 2015. Open internationally. Rah!