Tag Archives: Christmas cake

FRIDAY FEAST with Lisa Heidke

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Hello, lovely readers, and welcome to another delicious edition of Friday Feast. This week we’re playing in the snow with one of Australia’s best popular women’s fiction authors, seriously overdosing on sugar, and giving away a book!

But first, the rollercoaster ride that is Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. I’m on the improve! There are signs of life! I even managed not to dunk my ball straight into the dam off the 15th Author Lisa Heidketee two times in a row. Tis a miracle! It has to be the weather. The days have been glorious here lately and I think it’s tricked my feeble golfing brain into thinking it’s spring and therefore time to play better. Perhaps a dodgy theory but let the sun shine on, I say!

Now to our fab guest. Many of you will know Lisa Heidke from her novels It Started With a Kiss, Stella Makes Good, Claudia’s Big Break, What Kate Did Next and Lucy Springer Gets Even. Lisa’s books cover all the feel-good bases with plenty of love, drama and fun, but most of all they’re entertaining.

Her latest release is The Callahan Split and it looks a cracker.

THE CALLAHAN SPLIT

The Callahan Split by Lisa HeidkeIn tennis, as in life, nothing ever goes truly to plan.

Samantha and Annie Callahan are successful doubles champions — the toast of the Olympics, Wimbledon, and Flushing Meadow. But their winning partnership spirals out of control when Annie’s new boyfriend announces their engagement at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Bear, the sisters’ coach, guides Annie as much as she’ll allow. But when she insists on dropping Samantha in favour of a singles career, her game and rankings plummet.

Samantha is left floundering. Disillusioned, her only sweet spot is the growing passion between her and Bear. Amidst rising anger and betrayal, Samantha completely changes both their destinies when she does the unthinkable after a devastating Wimbledon loss.

The sisters are driven to create new lives by confronting the past and taking control of the present. But can Samantha and Annie both win?

I adore the sound of this book. Clashing tennis sisters? Wheee! I’m sure you’ll love it too. The Callahan Split can be yours with just a few clickety-clicks. Try Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, or Kobo.

Now prepare thee for a grand slam sugar hit with Lisa!

Christmas in July

I’ve just returned from a magical few days in Leura, NSW, where not only was I celebrating Christmas in July with friends, but it actually snowed!

Yippee. And I have photographic evidence to prove it!

Lisa Heidke in the snow

It was a stroke of luck, really. Even though snow had been predicted, I didn’t believe it.  But indeed it did.

Snow at Leura

After we played in the snow and built some daggy snowmen, we lit the fire and it was time to get down to some Christmas business!

Leura

Lots of champagne, yummy food and way too much dessert.

My contribution was this magnificent Yule Log!

Lisa’s White Christmas Yule Log

(not for the faint hearted)

Lisa Heidke's Yule Log

Ingredients

125g caster sugar, plus extra to dust

3 large eggs

100g plain flour

25g cocoa powder, plus extra to dust

For the filling

300ml double cream, whipped

For the white chocolate fudge icing

110g (4oz) butter

90g (3 1/4oz) 70% white chocolate

425g (14oz) icing sugar

½ tsp vanilla extract

175ml (6fl oz) milk

Extras

Whipped cream

Reindeer Droppings (chocolate drops)

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C. (fan 180°C) Line a 33 x 23cm (13 x 9in) Swiss roll tin with nonstick baking paper.

Whisk the sugar and eggs with an electric whisk for 10 minutes, until pale and thick. Sift the flour and cocoa into the mixture, plus 1 tbsp of lukewarm water. Fold into the mixture until evenly mixed.

Pour the mixture into the tin. Bake in the centre of the oven for 10-12 minutes until risen and just firm.

Meanwhile, lay out a clean, damp tea towel. Place a piece of nonstick baking paper larger than the sponge on top and dust with icing sugar. Turn the sponge onto the paper and peel the paper off the base.

Make an incision line about 1cm from one short edge, being careful not to cut through the cake. This will help you start rolling. Use the paper to roll the sponge tightly. Wrap in the tea towel. Allow to cool, then unroll and spread the cake with whipped cream and roll back up again.

To make the icing, melt the white chocolate and butter in the microwave. In a large bowl combine the icing sugar, vanilla and 120ml (4fl oz) of the milk. Add the melted chocolate mixture and stir well.

Add the remaining milk, a little at a time, until you have the desired consistency. Let the icing stand until spreadable, it will thicken as it cools.

Spread the icing over the Yule log, then whipped cream and sprinkle with reindeer droppings.

Eat, sit back and wait for the sugar coma to hit.

When not gobbling food or playing in the snow, I can be found at my desk or out in the wild promoting my latest book, The Callahan Split, a story about sisters, love, lies and loss.

I loved writing this novel and I really hope readers enjoy reading it. I have 1 print copy to give away.

Do you have a sister? If so, what’s your most memorable experience together? If not, what’s a memorable experience you shared with another family member?

*

Thanks, Lisa. I luuuurve the sound of your cake and the photos are fabulous. What a lovely time you must have had.

So, did you hear that, Feasty people? Lisa is offering a…

GIVEAWAY!

Yes, a paperback copy of Lisa’s brand new release, The Callahan Split could be yours. All you need to do is reveal your most memorable experience shared with a family member.

Hmm. I’m going to have to think hard on this one because there’s been quite a few, but I did go on a hot air balloon ride in Alice Springs with my brother when he was living there that was pretty cool. The scenery was amazing and the ride so peaceful! I managed three trips to “the Alice” while he lived there so managed to do some wonderful touring around the area. Australia’s red heart is a definite must-see.

So what’s your memorable experience? Share away in the comments and feel-good book joy could be yours!

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 4th August 2015. Australian postal addresses only.

If you’d like to learn more about Lisa and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Twitter using @lisaheidke, Goodreads, Instagram, LinkedIn and through her blog.

Friday Feast recipe index link.

FRIDAY FEAST with Michelle Douglas

Oh, it is most certainly the season to be jolly now. And roly-poly from all that Christmassy food and drink. But after being good all year why not cut loose in December? Perhaps even go a little bit fruity?MichelleD

Which is what my Friday Feast guest this week is doing. But lovely Australian romance author Michelle Douglas isn’t swearing. No, no, no! As with all our fabulous Feasty guests, she’s sharing. Wonderful things, like her latest release, The Nanny Who Saved Christmas.

Take a look!

 

THE NANNY WHO SAVED CHRISTMAS

 

9781743068397-1212 SW NANNY WHO SAVED XMAS

This Christmas, Nicola McGillroy will:

1. Be a great nanny to Cade Hindmarsh’s two adorable little girls, and give them the best Christmas they’ve had since their mother left.

2. Enter into the Christmas spirit and forget the fact she should have been planning her own wedding right now.

3. Keep a straight head in her attraction to her gorgeous off-limits boss… Surely this is just a rebound thing and not true love—for both of them?

 

 

Doesn’t that sound gorgeous? A perfect heart-warming Christmas read. And it’s available right now from your local chain store, as well as online in paperback or ebook format from Mills & Boon Australia or Harlequin.com, Booktopia, Amazon, Bookdepository, Barnes and Noble and many other places. So get a clickety-clicking!

All bought? That’s the Christmas spirit. Now as reward you can have Michelle!

 

A Fruity Feast

 

When I confided to an old work colleague that I thought making a fruitcake would be hard, she handed me this recipe and ordered me to give it a go. I did. And now I’ve been making it for… Well, I had to sit down and work it out, but it must be twenty years. Twenty years! It only feels like six or seven…I’d even believe ten, but twenty? Sheesh.

It must be said, though, that at the time I was not an experienced cook. So this particular recipe has, umm…gone through some trial and error.

Error #1: Look at the size of that ingredient list. There’s a kilo of fruit there for a start. How on earth did I think I was ever going to fit all of that in a normal sized mixing bowl? The first time I made this I had to transfer the mixture halfway through to the stockpot I use for making soup. It’s the only thing I had that was big enough (other than the blanket box and even I wasn’t that inexperienced).Fruit

Oh, and the painstakingly prepared cake tin? Yep, it was washed up and put back in the cupboard. That first year my Christmas cake was baked in a very large glass casserole dish. Until a couple of years ago I continued to employ the stockpot for mixing—after all, it had deputised most ably—but I did go out and buy a big cake tin for the next year.

Error #2: The first time I made this the DH and I had friends over that evening. With much expectation in my heart, I served us all up a slice (with the appropriate amount of fanfare, of course). Cue disappointment. It was bleh. I couldn’t believe I’d gone to so much trouble for this! Still, I cut it up into four manageable-sized portions and stored it in the pantry in trusty Tupperware containers. OMG! Storing this for a fortnight (though a month is better) makes so much difference. Really truly. It went from bleh to stunning. Really truly. I’m not joking. I couldn’t believe it.

Error #3: A few years ago I absent-mindedly misread the recipe. I put in 2 ½ cups of brown sugar (the flour amount) instead of 1 2/3 cups. I’d become blasé. After all, I’d been making this cake for 6 or 7 (or 15!) years by now and I was an old hand, wasn’t I? But guess what? It still tasted great. Thank heavens as this is one of the DH’s all-time favourite things in the world. He looks forward to the annual Christmas cake with the fervour of every ding-dong merrily on high you’ve ever heard. For him, Christmas is this Christmas cake.

The recipe makes four more than adequate sized squares. My DH hates sharing this with anyone. So he gets to decide the fate of 2 squares, and I decide the fate of the other two. 🙂

Oh, and something else I’ve learned along the way. Very few things beat nibbling homemade fruitcake late on Christmas night with a glass of red in hand (or whatever happens to be your poison) whilst congratulating yourself on getting through yet another crazy Christmas. Merry Christmas everyone!

 

Rich Fruit Cake

 

Fruitcake

1kg fruit

1 cup chopped pecans (the recipe asks for brazil nuts, but I couldn’t find them the first year so I substituted pecans and they’ve done so well I haven’t looked back)

¾ cup of brandy or orange juice (I ALWAYS use brandy J)

250g butter, softened

2 tsp vanilla essence

1 2/3 cups dark brown sugar, firmly packed

5 eggs

2 tsp grated orange rind

¼ cup of orange juice

2 Tbsp strawberry jam

2 ½ cups of plain flour

1 tsp each of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger

¼ cup of brandy or apple juice extra (I ALWAYS use brandy J)

Combine fruit and nuts in a bowl, pour brandy over top, cover and stand overnight.

Grease a deep 20cm square cake pan and line with 3 layers of greaseproof paper. Bring paper about 5cm above top edges of the pan.

Beat butter, essence and sugar in a bowl with electric mixer until combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating only until combined between each addition.

Stir in rind, juice and jam, and then stir in sifted dry ingredients in 2 batches.

Stir in fruit mixture and mix well.

Spread mixture evenly into prepared cake tin. Bake in slow oven (150C) for approximately 3 hours (test with a skewer—it’s cooked if it comes out clean). Brush top of cake evenly with extra brandy. Cover with foil and let cool in pan overnight.

 

Thanks, Michelle, and wow. How easy does that sound? A perfect cake for the Christmas rush while keeping nicely in the seasonal spirit.

So what keeps you in the seasonal spirit? For me it’s cherries and fruit mince tarts, and that sweet moment in a shop when I catch a little-un fretfully asking mum or dad whether Santa will make it to their house and I just can’t help thinking how cute it all is. What about you? Is it that first sip of totally inappropriate for the weather eggnog? The dreaded work Christmas party? That glittery angel on the Christmas tree or spotting a beautifully made Nativity? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

If you’d like to learn more about Michelle and her many wonderful romances, please visit her website.