Tag Archives: Cheryl Adnams

FRIDAY FEAST with Cheryl Adnams

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Greetings gorgeous people, and welcome to another delectable edition of Friday Feast. This week we go a-tippling through one of Australia’s most loved wine regions with a rural romance author who certainly knows – and loves – her stuff.

But first, the hell that is currently Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. The winter of my golfing discontent continues, with no sign of spring. To make matters worse, I have developed a phobia for the 15th, a nasty hole with a dam right in front of the tee that has become a death trap for any ball I hit. It wouldn’t be so bad if it were a large water hazard, but in the context of things it’s a mere puddle. A puddle that, to my ongoing humiliation, I can’t seem to cross. I’m starting to wonder if I just wouldn’t be better skipping the hole all together. Given the balls it’s costing me, it’d certainly be a cheaper option!

Author Cheryl AdnamsEnough of my sooky lamentation, it’s time for our guest, who I promise will be far more entertaining than me.

I’m delighted to welcome Cheryl Adnams for her debut Friday Feast appearance. Cheryl’s a fellow South Australian who, after having lived and worked in the US and Canada, and for a tour company in Europe, now calls Adelaide home. As all good folk do, she has a deep love for South Australia’s McLaren Vale wine region and is the perfect setting for her Muller’s Field rural romance series.

The first book in the series is Bet On It. Take a look!

BET ON IT

Bet On It by Cheryl AdnamsA sizzling rural romance set in the McLaren Vale, with a girl who’s ready for a change and the three brothers who are determined to win her over.

Her job is gone and her boyfriend has moved interstate. Gabby is in need of a change of scenery, and the Muller’s Field winery in McLaren Vale might just be the right place. The three Muller brothers who run the winery are dangerously good-looking and Gabby senses they are just as much trouble.

Seth Muller isn’t sure it’s a good idea to make a bet with his brothers on who can seduce Gabby first. But Gabby is too gorgeous and too wonderful to give up without a fight. But what happens when he begins to fall harder than he’s ever done before? Will a silly brotherly bet ruin their chance for love?

Chasing the Flames by Cheryl AdnamsDeep sigh. A rural romance set in a vineyard. Hard to pass that up and you most certainly don’t have to. In fact, Bet On It could be yours with just a few clickety-clicks and while you’re there why not grab book two in the Muller’s Field series, Chasing the Flames. Try those most excellent folk at Booktopia. You can also buy from Amazon.au, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi or your favourite ebook retailer.

Without further ado – because I know you’re hanging out for a slurp of McLaren Vale deliciousness –  here’s Cheryl.

Plotting the Platter (or as I like to call it – ‘Dinner’)

Thanks for having me over to Friday Feasts Cathryn. I love seeing all the gourmet delights our wonderful Aussie authors share. What a great combo of food and fiction.

Firstly, I would like to say I can cook and I used to love baking as a kid but I live alone so that is just too dangerous on my waistline these days.

What I have become an expert at recently though is cheese platters. Not difficult, I hear you say. But I have learned there is actually an art to pairing the right cheese, crackers, fruits and wine to give you the taste explosion that causes audible ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’.

My Muller’s Field series of books ‘Bet On It’, ‘Chasing the Flames’ and hopefully the soon to be released final installment ‘Handpicked’, are based around a fictional winery in McLaren Vale. The winery is run by three gorgeous brothers and their widower father. Who doesn’t love a sexy wine baron, right? But the three brothers face some obstacles on their way to finding love including tenacious ex-boyfriends, scheming ex-wives, lycra-clad cyclists and deadly bushfires and many other surprises along the way. Intrigued? I hope so.

So in the name of research I dragged myself kicking and screaming (as if) down to McLaren Vale to study all things wine and food in the region so that my hunky wine barons sounded like they actually knew what they were talking about.

A mere 45 minutes from my house, nestled between the sea and the hills, are around 80 cellar doors and a multitude of restaurants and foodie experiences. Naturally I have had to try as many as possible – again, all in the name of research.

So here are a few of my favourite cellar doors and food experiences in McLaren Vale, many of which are mentioned in the Muller’s Field books. And I have provided a list of options to make a cheese platter that is bound to impress at your next dinner party.

Favourite cellar doors in no particular order:

Yangarra Estate Vineyard

Much of my research was done here where I joined the harvest for a day in 2014. I handpicked and foot-stomped Grenache grapes and then a year later returned to bottle and label that wine. The Grenache is drinkable immediately and gorgeous. I can also recommend the Roussane and the GSM.

Picking grapes at Yangarra

Stomping grapes

bottling winePrimo Estate

There is not one wine on the Primo Estate list that I do not love. You can choose from a wide variety of blends made from grapes grown in Italy or you can try the exclusive range of Joseph wines handcrafted in small quantities. Picking a favourite wine at Primo would be like choosing a favourite child, but the La Biondina Colombard is a fresh white for summer and the Merlesco Merlot is unusually served cool. Love the Primo Secco prosecco as well.

Kangarilla Road

I have been a fan of Kangarilla Road wines for years. Again the variety of wines is extensive with all those fabulous names like Primitivo, Terzetto, Montepulciano and my personal favourite the Zinfandel.

For food experiences in the McLaren Vale region you are spoilt for choice. There are still many places on my bucket list but I just keep returning to the following:

1/. The Victory Hotel

Atop Sellicks Hill the hotel has a 180 degree view of sea and vines. The food is sourced locally and is inexpensive. Still the best salt and pepper squid I have ever tasted. If you visit you MUST take a look down in the underground wine cellar. Functions can also be held there. Sitting out on the front lawns of the hotel watching the sunset over the water is a summer must.

2/. Blessed Cheese

The name says it all. Pick up your specially prepared baskets of cheeses, olives, dips, smoked meats and chocolate. Then take a Progressive Picnic following the provided cellar door maps, matching the food to the wine tasting.

There are so many other foodie experiences to choose from. The Star of Greece on the clifftops at Port Willunga, the Willunga Sunday markets, the Fruchoc Shop in the Main Street of McLaren Vale, to name a few.

Now for the platter:

Adelaide Hills Triple cream brie (because if you are going to be bad, be bad x 3)

Quince Paste or Cabernet Paste

Almond Bread brings out the sweetness in the cheese

Nectarine or apple or both adds the health factor but piled on top of the cheese and almond bread makes it a meal in itself

Add a few grapes or dried cranberries and almonds to the side for garnish or eating

Drink with a crisp white wine like a Primo Estate La Biondina Colombard or the Yangarra Estate Roussane or Viogner or go red with the Kangarilla Road Cabernet Sauvignon or Sangiovese.

Cheese platter with Primo Estate La Biondina Colombard

Photographs credit to Belinda Stevens.

Okay readers in the Comments section below, why don’t you share your favourite food and wine pairing. Eg: Port and dark chocolate or bruschetta and Sauvignon Blanc.

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Wonderful, Cheryl! I thoroughly enjoyed that and if it weren’t so early in the morning I’d crack a McLaren Vale shiraz and toast your foodie travelogue excellence. Alas, that shall have to wait until later this evening, but it shall be done!

So, foodie lovelies, what’s your favourite food and wine pairing? Personally, I get terribly excited over a glass or two of dry Provencale-style rosé and goat’s cheese. And  most evenings will find us sharing half a square of good quality chocolate with a glass of something red.

What about you? Perhaps a treacly tokay with a luscious dessert is more your go, or an elegant riesling paired with a delicate white fish fillet. Perhaps you don’t drink wine but love nothing more than a cup of tea and a scone. Whatever your tipple, we’d love to hear your favourite pairing.

If you’d like to learn more about Cheryl and her rural romances, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter using @cadnams

Friday Feast recipe index link.

THIS WRITING LIFE: ARRC Part 2 – The Photos

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I’m sure you’ll see from these photos that everyone who attended the weekend’s Australian Romance Readers Convention in Canberra had an absolute ball.

Victoria Dahl during her keynote speechI think the highlight for me (other than catching up with old friends and meeting new) was Victoria Dahl’s speech on unsympathetic heroines. I’ve never read any of her books but was left so impressed that by the end of her talk I’d bought two of them. Gotta love technology.

The booksigning was, as it always is, loud and enormous fun. I’m very grateful to that most excellent of book sellers, Booktopia, who generously gave away multiple copies of Rocking Horse Hill over the course of the weekend. So many people came up to me to get them signed and have a chat. It really made my convention. There were plenty of delegates with The French Prize too, which they’d received in their welcome bags thanks to Harlequin Australia. All of us came away loaded with excellent reads. I’m looking forward to Yes, Chef by Lisa Joy (thanks to Penguin Australia), The Brewer’s Tale by Karen Brooks and Luna Tango by Alli Sinclair, who also won the ARR Award for Favourite New Romance Author (both titles from Harlequin).

Here are some of my favourite happy snaps from the weekend. There would have been more only it appears I have managed to kill yet another camera. Sigh. Oh well, at least this one was only a cheapie, unlike the last.

Hot Chocolate, the blow-up horse, being given the kiss of life by Cathryn Hein in the QT bar at ARRC 2015

Hot Chocolate being given the kiss of life by me in the QT bar (pic thanks to Amy Andrews)

I arrived in Canberra a day early and after a spot of shopping wandered off to check out the Spirited: Australia’s Horse Story exhibition at the National Museum of Australia. The exhibition was nearing its end and the shop had discounted all its stock. Naturally, with all that lovely horsey stuff on offer, I went on a bit of a spendy-fest and one of the items I came away with was an inflatable horse. I thought I might use him as a prop during the booksigning or simply as a fun toy for my office.

But as I passed the bar on the way back to my room, I found myself waylaid by Anne Gracie and Kelly Hunter. I resisted their entreaties to join them hard. Really hard. These ladies are persuasive though, and it was with great reluctance *cough* that I settled down for a catch-up over a few drinks.

The crowd soon grew (must have been our magnetism) and somehow the blow-up horse was dragged out for a show-and-tell. After a bit of encouragement, I agreed to inflate him. What an effort! It was a close run thing but I eventually managed to get him blown up without passing out. He then needed to be christened, and while a few names were bandied about I believe it was Amy Andrews who came up with Hot Chocolate. And thus Hot Chocolate he became.

Anne Gracie with Cathryn Hein admiring Hot Chocolate the blow-up horse in the QT bar at ARRC 2015

Anne Gracie with me, admiring Hot Chocolate the blow-up horse in the QT bar at ARRC 2015 (pic thanks to Amy Andrews)

I’m proud to say that Hot Chocolate even scored a mention in Helene Young’s wonderful opening keynote speech, and was much-admired by many over the weekend.

My shy roomie at ARRC 2015, Rachael Johns

Rach was feeling a bit camera shy…

My ARRC roomie was good buddy and rural romance star Rachael Johns. She took a bit of prodding to get up on Friday morning. Rach blames the 3 hour time difference from WA to the ACT but I don’t know…

As mentioned, Helene Young (whose novel Safe Harbour also won Australia’s Favourite Romantic Suspense award) gave a wonderful opening keynote speech, in which she talked about her reading and writing journey. Helene was followed by book launches for Rachael Johns (The Road to Hope) and Shannon Curtis (Tribal Law). All proceeds from Tribal Law’s sales go to ARRA so if you haven’t yet nabbed a copy, go get! You’ll find across all major ebook platforms, including amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Smashwords or your favourite retailer. Or order the paperback from Booktopia.

Dangerous Liaisons panel at ARRC 2015. L-R: Cathryn Hein, Shannon Curtis, Helene Young and Bronwyn Parry

L-R: (a grumpy-looking) me, Shannon Curtis, Helene Young and Bronwyn Parry (thanks to DB Tait for the pic)

The rest of my morning was taken up by the Red Dust Heroes panel with Rachael Johns, Lisa Ireland, Alissa Callen and myself, and superbly moderated by Jeanie Misko, followed by the Dangerous Liaisons panel where I was joined by Bronwyn Parry, Helene Young, Shannon Curtis and moderator with the mostest, Amanda Knight.

Saturday night was awards night, and what fun was had! The theme was roaring 20s (or something like that!) so there were lots of flappers.

Rach and me getting ready for the ARR Awards dinner at ARRC

Me and Rachael Johns getting ready for the awards dinner. A couple of glammypuss flappers!

Me with Red Sand Sunrise author and all-round gorgeous person Fiona McArthur showing off our sexy flapper outfits

Me with Red Sand Sunrise author and all-round gorgeous person Fiona McArthur, showing off our matching sexy flapper outfits.

Some of the crowd at the awards dinner.

Great crowd at the awards dinner!

Fiona Lowe, Shona Husk, Delwyn Jenkins and Cheryl Adnams all dressed up for the ARRC 2015 dinner

L-R: Fiona Lowe, Shona Husk, Delwyn Jenkins and Cheryl Adnams.

Kylie Scott (deserving winner of Australia’s Favourite Romance Author and more) sponsored a photo booth at the dinner where a lot of fun was had. Here’s my collection.

Pictures from the ARRC dinner photobooth

Another highlight of ARRC was the booksigning. This is such a great event and very well attended.

The booksigning room

Alyssa Montgomery, me and Trish Morey

Alyssa Montgomery, me and Trish Morey

Cathryn Hein and her blow-up horse at the ARRC 2015 booksigning

Me and Hot Chocolate the blow-up wonderhorse.

Sunday was another full-on but fun day. As mentioned, Victoria Dahl gave a great speech and there were plenty of fascinating panels to keep us perky after a big night.

Anna Campbell, Christina Brooke and me enjoying the romantic destinations panel

Anna Campbell, Christina Brooke and me enjoying the Romantic Destinations panel.

L-R: Kate Cuthbert (moderator), Margareta Osborn,  Cheryl Adnams, Barbara Hannay and Victoria Dahl.

L-R: Kate Cuthbert (moderator), Margareta Osborn, Cheryl Adnams, Barbara Hannay and Victoria Dahl on the Small Town Seduction panel.

Reader Jeanie Misko  enjoying the Changing Lanes panel at ARRC 2015, featuring Trish Morey and Fiona McArthur (plus Amy Andrews and Fiona Lowe out of shot).

Reader (and our fab Red Dust Heroes panel moderator) Jeanie Misko enjoying the Changing Lanes panel, with authors Trish Morey and Fiona McArthur in the background.

Overall, a wonderful time was had at ARRC 2015. Everyone left Canberra feeling fab except for poor Hot Chocolate, who was feeling very flat that it was all over.

Hot Chocolate the blow-up wonderhorse felt very flat that ARRC was over.

Never mind. We’ll resurrect him again in 2017!

If you’re after a romantic read that won’t let you down and would like a list of all the 2014 ARR Award winners, you’ll find them all on the ARRA blog.