Welcome, welcome to another truly splendiferous Friday Feast. This week: get down and dusty with a duchess, cop these pears, and a rural romance giveaway!
But first, news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. Despite a rather lacklustre performance last weekend in round two of the club championships, I’m still running fourth. A great surprise, believe me. But with two rounds still to play and TWENTY-FIVE strokes to make up before I even come close to the leader, there’s not much chance of a podium finish. Still, in the world of golf anything could happen. The Great Golfing God may shine on me, the leader might get the yips, and pigs might fly. Stay tuned for a miracle. Or not.
I’m thrilled to host contemporary romance author Louise Reynolds this week because not only is she a truly lovely lady who writes wonderful rural stories, she’s also a dedicated foodie. The best of people! Louise’s previous novel Outback Bride was a delight, the story stretching between Melbourne and dusty Jindaburra and featuring a lizard race and even a pony. With her new release, Red Dirt Duchess, she’s gone even further afield, mixing English society with the red soil of outback Australia.
Check it out…
When English society playboy Jonathan Hartley-Huntley is sent to outback Australia after a disastrous affair with his editor, all he wants is to take a few pictures, do a quick interview and get back to his usual life of luxury as soon as possible. Until he meets his host, the irresistible Charlie Hughes, and suddenly the back of beyond is a lot more appealing.
Running the pub is a labour of love for Charlie and she has no desire to ever leave the tiny town of Bindundilly. That is, until Jon discovers an old painting that raises questions about both their lives. Charlie impulsively decides to follow him to London, and as the feelings between them begin to deepen, she starts to wonder if there’s more to life than the pub. But at Jon’s family home, the magnificent Hartley Hall, they become acutely aware of the differences between them, and it soon seems clear they have no future together – especially if Jon’s mother has her way.
Family and tradition threaten the course of true love in this warm and witty novel from the author of Outback Bride and Her Italian Aristocrat.
Now that you’re loaded up with some great Aussie reading, help yourself to the deliciousness that is Louise!
A Fine Pear!
Thanks for having me back on Friday Feast, Cathryn!
One of my favourite things to cook with is pears. This humble, cheap ingredient is incredibly versatile. It turns up in numerous salads, sits proudly on a cheeseboard and has a natural sweetness that works well with so many things from walnuts to pork and duck.
Pears also have a porous flesh which takes up colour beautifully. For many years one of my go to winter desserts has been Marcella Hazan’s Pears Braised in Red Wine and Bay Leaves, where long cooking results in deep ruby coloured pears and a dense delicious syrup. More lately, I’ve been making Saffron Pears.
I could riff endlessly on this recipe. A little amaretti biscuit on the side and a splash of amaretto on the pear at serving time gives it an Italian edge. Strew some pomegranate seeds around the dish and it’s suddenly a vibrant Middle Eastern feast for the eyes. A pool of Crème Anglaise drags it firmly back towards the English Channel.
It’s dead easy and very delicious. If you use good quality saffron your pears will be the colour of a Buddhist’s robes.
Marieke’s Saffron Pears
(recipe Marieke Brugman via Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion).
6 firm Beurre Bosc pears with stalk attached.
2 cups white wine
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean
½ teaspoon saffron threads
Chopped green pistachios
Dissolve sugar in the water and wine over med heat. Add vanilla bean.
Peel the pears leaving stalk attached and cut a slice off the bottom so they will sit upright when serving. Add pears to the syrup with the saffron.
Cook at a bare murmur for about one and a half hours. The saffron will give off its colour and aroma and gradually turn the pears a stunning saffron gold. Turn them over every so often as they bob around in the syrup. Cool in the syrup.
Oh, I ADORE poached pears, Louise, so this sounds perfect. Simple to prepare and glamorous on the plate too. Now there’s a dessert to impress cook and guests alike.
Now, my darling Feasties, because Louise is so lovely and wants to spread her warm Australian stories far and wide, she’s offering a…
Yes, you could win yourself a Kindle ebook copy of Red Dirt Duchess, just by answering a super simple question.
What is your favourite fruit recipe?
Could it be another simple dessert like stewed prunes or a humble apple crumble? Perhaps it’s a recipe for mango fool or a traditional cherry clafoutis. Whatever your favourite, share in the comments and we’ll pop you into the draw to win a Kindle ebook copy of Red Dirt Duchess.
Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 28th October 2014. Open internationally. Rah!
If you’d like to learn more about Louise and her wonderful books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Twitter using @LouiseHReynolds, Facebook and her blog (which also features fab foodie series, Cooking the Books).
This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Cath who has won a Kindle copy of Red Dirt Duchess. What a ball she’s going to have with that! Thanks so much to everyone who joined in the Feasty fun. You all made me so hungry!!