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3 June, 2010

For One Night Only

2 June, 2010

For One Night Only

1 June, 2010

For One Night Only

29 May, 2010

For One Night Only

28 May, 2010

For One Night Only

27 May, 2010

The Fragment of Dreams

27 May, 2010

The Fragment of Dreams

26 May, 2010

The Book of Love

24 May, 2010

The Book of Love

23 May, 2010

The Fragment of Dreams

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In the Kitchen with Helene Young

Tonight Helene and I are sharing a risotto, one of my all time favourite dishes. We’ve got a good bottle of wine and nattering about the old days when we were both wide-eyed, newly plucked, debutante authors at Hachette Australia in 2010. Helene subsequently catapulted into stardom with Penguin Australia and is celebrating the publication of her fifth book, Safe Harbour.

Helene has always cut a rather dashing figure, living in tropical Queensland, piloting planes for a major Australian airline, writing novels and other acts of derring-do and she’s currently living on a catamaran off the coast of Brisbane, I believe, and writing her sixth novel.

Helene-Young-2012-Author-photo-by-Charlotte-Rose-LR-300x200

What are your memories of your mothers cooking as a child?

My mum was a ‘meat and three veg’ kind of cook who had boiling vegetables to mush down to an art form! In hindsight she was way ahead of the pack with the types of food she fed us – it would make today’s nutritionist proud – but I have a life long aversion to overcooked broccoli…

What was your favourite dish as a child?

My favourite dish was lamb chops on the brick bbq at the beach house at Currumbin. The bbq had an old wire fridge shelf as the cooking rack. Every once in a while the whole thing would collapse and Dad would dust the sand off the chops, rebuild the bbq and carry on cooking. We got used to a certain amount of grit with our lamb and rejoiced on the days the structure held together…

LECY

Do you like to cook?

I love cooking. I started work as a Macca’s fries chick when I was fifteen, moved to Kev’s Diner at Coolangatta for my first summer holiday job after I finished school, and later spent a fun twelve months as the night cook at the Spring Hill hotel. Working in a busy commercial kitchen taught me to be vigilant about prep and to clean as I went. I loved it! Small wonder that Darcy, in Safe Harbour is a chef 

Who do you enjoy cooking for?

I love giving dinner parties for friends. We’ve had some memorable occasions including a sit down dinner for thirty in the back yard complete with white linen and crystal glasses. It’s a little more restricted on Roo Bin Esque, but the informality appeals to me. Bowls of food and serve yourself are much more relaxed and friendly.

What are some of your favourite books about food?

I’ve had a Margaret Fulton cookbook for thirty years – the basics never change. I also swear by Stephanie Alexander’s cookbook. Capt G’s idea of recipes is to Google ‘Best Ever …’ He’s had some spectacular successes so I’ve reluctantly given up scoffing…

Is the food in your stories important?

Food always gets a mention. I think if you’re writing stories about fledgling relationships, or families, then eating is central to that. It can add a wonderful erotic tension (and I don’t mean anything kinky like zucchinis or oysters!) as so many people have a first date that involves food – and hot steamy kisses.

Your favourite snack?

Raw almonds.

Safe Harbour Book Cover

What’s your latest book?

Safe Harbour.

What foods do the characters eat?

Fish and chips – because my talented heroine is a chef who’s come home to the fishing village where she grew up to start a restaurant. A girl has to pay the bills some how while she renovates her dream kitchen and what better way to do that than sell fish and chips to the masses?

What do you love most about this book?

Rosie, an aboriginal elder, is one of my all time favourite secondary characters. I cried great buckets of tears for her while I was writing this story and really hope she resonates strongly with readers.

Where can readers find it?

Anywhere that sells good books – and that includes Big W! It’s also available as an e-book with all major retailers.

Share one of your favourite recipes – anything you like, cake, martini, Peking Duck, cheese on toast …

Basic Risotto – courtesy of Jamie Oliver (because he’s a legend at simple food!)

1.1 litres organic stock, chicken, fish or vegetable as appropriate
1 small knob of butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ head celery, finely chopped
400 g risotto rice
2 wineglasses dry white vermouth or dry white wine
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 knob of butter
90 g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

1.

Heat the stock. In a separate pan, heat the olive oil and butter, add the onions, garlic and celery, and fry very slowly for about 15 minutes without colouring. When the vegetables have softened, add the rice and turn up the heat.

2.

The rice will now begin to lightly fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the vermouth or wine and keep stirring — it will smell fantastic. Any harsh alcohol flavours will evaporate and leave the rice with a tasty essence.


3.

Once the vermouth or wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn down the heat to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding ladles of stock, stirring and almost massaging the creamy starch out of the rice, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes. Taste the rice — is it cooked? Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. Don’t forget to check the seasoning carefully. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, add some boiling water.

4.

Remove from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan. Stir well. Place a lid on the pan and allow it to sit for 2 minutes. This is the most important part of making the perfect risotto, as this is when it becomes outrageously creamy and oozy like it should be.

Eat it as soon as possible, while the risotto retains its beautiful texture.
You can add whatever you want to this – I love mushroom and chicken!

18_01_08_mushroom_risotto

www.heleneyoung.com

In the Kitchen with Lily Malone

Tonight I’m sharing a sausage curry with Lily Malone. We’re drinking Little Creatures beer, eating potato crisps and we’re not shelling peas because we’ve thrown them outside for the chooks. We’re using frozen peas and to hell with the Food police. They’re about as much fun as the Hand Washing police, another division of the Better Use of Writing Time Disciplinary Squadron.

Lily Malone is a sports junkie, both a doer and a watcher, she’s a West Australian, ex-journalist and magazine editor and author of romances, His Brand of Beautiful and The Goodbye Ride and her latest book Fairway to Heaven.

LilyM_lowres

What are your memories of your mothers cooking as a child?

Eek. Sorry mum. But we were very much a meat & 3 vege family. But I do remember mum always cooked sweets (pudding and stuff) while my old man was around. Sweets stopped when err, their marriage stopped.

What was your favourite dish as a child?

I loved, ‘rice a riso’… and especially if it was served with chicken drumsticks.

Do you like to cook?

Yes. But I am lousy at baking. Cannot make a muffin or a cupcake to save my life. Hubby says my muffins are like hockey pucks. (I’ve used that line in a book).

Who do you enjoy cooking for? If you don’t enjoy cooking, then what do you like to eat?

A girlfriend told me once that I make “nanna” food. I like one-pot meals, like casseroles, lasagnes (vego & beef & turkey), shepherds pie, risottos. I have two young kids who are ‘good’ eaters, but even so I have learned that experimenting too much doesn’t achieve much sometimes. I’ll slave away, and they would have been just as happy with spaghetti bog. Osso Bucco is something I’ve enjoyed making for guests; and curries. I do enjoy cooking Indian food.

What are some of your favourite books about food?

Jamie Oliver is a favourite. I have Stephanie Alexander’s Cooking Companion. A huge big bible of a book, and I like that it’s ordered by ingredient. It’s good when I only have a few things in the house… can go look at that book and think, what shall I do with all the lamb’s brains in my fridge today. (Not)

Is the food in your stories important?

Yes. I think most of my books have cooking scenes. Certainly His Brand Of Beautiful, and Fairway To Heaven do. I can’t think off the top of my head about food in The Goodbye Ride, but they do go out to a restaurant and have salt & pepper squid with Smallfry Wines’ Rose. (The wine is as important to me as the food, Philippa!)

Your favourite snack?

Crisps/chips. Plain sea salt variety. Mmmmn, chips. And the packet is gone.

What’s your latest book?

In January I released ‘Fairway To Heaven’ which is my golf book, that I tell everyone really isn’t much about golf! It’s set in Busselton which is on the beach in the south west of West Australia. (Next town up from Margaret River where I live).

Fairway_small

What foods do the characters eat?

This story actually begins with Jennifer setting up date night for her boyfriend, Jack. So she’s making beef ragout and has the champagne on ice. It’s kind of a last ditch attempt to get some shine back in their relationship which has petered out (for various reasons including physical issues for Jenn) after the birth of their son. She discovers him up to no good in a sand bunker at the local golf course. (He’s a golf pro.) So she gets the hell out of dodge, but not before returning to their home and taking the beef ragout and the bubbles, so at least she can eat it as she cries on the shoulder of her BFF. :)

What do you love most about this book?

It’s raw, and it’s honest. I think it has some funny parts (people say that it does). It’s a very personal story to me, and it touches on something I haven’t seen in romance – a sexual health issue (lichen sclerosis) for the heroine that makes it difficult for her to have sex.

Where can readers find it?

Amazon. iTunes. Nook. It’s an ebook only.

Share one of your favourite recipes – anything you like, cake, martini, Peking Duck, cheese on toast …

My kids love sausages but hubby and I get sick of just having sausage in a bun, or you know, BBQ. So this Sausage Curry recipe goes like this:

packet of sausages (any would do but mine are homemade lamb & venison – made by a friend)
tin of diced tomatoes (small standard tin)
garlic
onion
can of chick peas (drained)
fresh spinach
3/4 cup or a cup frozen peas
1/2 or 3/4 cup or a cup dried fruit (doesn’t really matter)
stock cube (beef/chicken/vege – don’t think it matters)
water
curry powder

First, I boil the sausages for about 3 minutes to get some of the fat out, and then I take the skins off. Then I slice these up in bite-size bits.
Simmer the onion & garlic, when it’s soft, add the curry powder. Then throw in the bite-size sausage. Simmer that about 5 mins.
Add the can of tomatoes & stock cube. Refill approx half the tin with water and throw that in. Give this about 15-20 minutes.
Add the can of chick peas, frozen peas, dried fruit & spinach. Heat that all through till the spinach is cooked, and I call it done!
I use brown rice with this recipe which takes a while to cook (absorption), so basically I have the brown rice on the go most of the cooking time, and it’s done by the time the sausage curry mix is finished.

Curried Sausages

In the Kitchen with Richard Pierce

Tonight is German night with Richard Pierce and a Herringsalat. We’ll be sinking a few Paulaner Weissbier’s too, and maybe some schnapps and tears after we’ve drilled deep into the past of our respective writing lives. Richard and I met when we were both just starting out in 2008, all fresh, naive and hopeful. I read Richards first manuscript, Bee Bones and loved it. It’s still in drawer somewhere but Richard went on to write Dead Men, a novel about Scott of the Antarctic which was greeted by critics with the words, ‘poetic’, ‘thrilling’, ‘engrossing’ and ‘compelling’. Not a bad haul for a debut novel!

rps

What are your memories of your mother’s cooking as a child?

My mother hardly ever cooked. It was my father who did all the cooking, and that ranged from simple food like wonderfully fresh salads to 10-course Chinese banquets. Mum’s preferred kitchen activity was washing up. As a result, the kitchen really was the centre of the household, because we were all in there doing one thing or another. And in the final house we shared as a family, the kitchen had a massive window overlooking the road and the path up to the front door, so we’d often have people dropping in on us while were congregated in the kitchen and doing food things.

What was your favourite dish as a child?

Now that’s a difficult one, because Dad cooked so many wonderful dishes (and lots of horrible ones, too, like tripe). On reflection, I think my favourite would be his chicken fricassee with a hint of lemon and served with magically fluffy rice (which I must admit my mother cooked, always with a tea-towel over the saucepan to take away the moisture). The chicken would just melt in my mouth, and mopping up the rest of the sauce with the rice was just heaven. It reminds me, too, that Dad insisted on buying us children’s wine glasses and allowing us to have a glass of wine with Sunday lunch.
Do you like to cook?
I love cooking, but I don’t do enough of it nowadays, partly because we have no gas in the village I live in, and I dislike cooking with electricity (and my wife won’t let us use bottled gas). Cooking has some great memories for me.

dead-men-richard-pierce-134x200

Who do you enjoy cooking for? If you don’t enjoy cooking, then what do you like to eat?

I enjoy cooking for anyone, but especially for my wife. However, I have to say here that it’s easy for us men to enjoy cooking because, gender stereotypes being what they are, we tend to have a choice whereas most women don’t. I wish I had more time to experiment with cooking.

What are some of your favourite books about food?

My absolute favourite book is Cooking in a Bedsitter by Katharine Whitehorn. My mother bought this for me when I went to university, and I lived from it and by it. It’s not just a recipe book, it’s a recipe for living. If you ever get the chance to read it, d. Check out especially the chapter Cooking To Impress and its subsection The Third Paw, which starts “Every dog has four thoughts, one for each paw: food, food, sex, and food.” Brilliant. This is the book that guided me through all my love affairs, and which inspired me beyond the love of cooking my father instilled in me. I have already given one copy of it to my eldest son, when he went to university, and I’ll be repeating that with my three daughters as they move along the path to independence.

Is the food in your stories important?

I think it is. Because it’s always been a part of my life, it forms a backdrop to all the stories I tell. And sometimes it’s the lack of eating/appetite that’s important, which is almost the same thing, because our characters’ (and our) attitudes to food reflect a state of mind. Not wanting to eat can be a symptom of self-neglect, where a revelling in food (and I’m not talking about greed or overeating) can be a reflection of how in touch we are with ourselves and our senses).

Your favourite snack?

Ah, the writer’s staple, the snack. If it’s something I haven’t prepared for myself, it’s houmus and white pitta bread. If It’s something I prepare for myself, then it would be either a cheese and pickle sandwich, or Wurstsalat (smoked pork sausage salad with onions and Emmental cheese, oil, vinegar and salt).

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What’s your latest book?

The most recent book I’ve released is an erotic thriller called The Failed Assassin, which is 90% sex, 5% the Yugoslavian civil war, and 5% food.

What foods do the characters eat?

Most of the book takes place in Italy, so there’s lots of Italian cuisine in there, including antipasti of olives, ham, and bread; Quattro Stagioni and Capricciosa pizze; gorgonzola and peach souffle with balsamic vinegar; tagliatelle with guinea fowl and porcini mushrooms; and of course lots of prosecco, red wine and black, black coffee.

What do you love most about this book?

I love all the food, of course, and its sensuality, and the link to that other primeval force, sex. What I love most is that I feel I’ve defied the conventions of erotica, that I’ve written well about sex, and that I’ve created a strong female character (and I don’t mean in a dominatrix kind of way) who does things the way she wants to, and is not a simpering little female stereotype looking for a knight on a white charger (who just happens to be rich, goodlooking etc etc). I love, without giving you any spoilers, that this is not a conventional story of sex, that its ending will surprise most people, and that I attained my goal of writing a book where the two main protagonists have no names. They could be anyone.

Where can readers find it?

It’s available on all amazon sites, on Kindle and as a paperback. I have also produced a very limited edition of handbound copies, available from my web site.

Share one of your favourite recipes – anything you like, cake, martini, Peking Duck, cheese on toast …

Ok, I’m really good at Crispy Peking Duck, and my fried rice and bacon is a huge favourite with the children, BUT, my favourite of all dishes is one that only one of my family likes, one that takes me back to all the Christmases I was lucky enough to share with my father, and that’s Heringssalat. I have now started making it myself for Christmas, and I don’t use my father’s exact recipe. Here’s mine (and I don’t really do quantities, being the chaotic type):

heringssalat

Sweet pickled herring (not Rollmops, that’s too sour)
Pickled beetroot
Pickled gherkins
Onions
Bozcek (smoked pork belly)
Apples
Soured cream
Chop all the ingredients to roughly the same size and put them in a big bowl. Add some beetroot juice and sour cream. Mix it all up. Add oil, vinegar, salt to taste (you can add pepper, but I never add pepper to anything I cook, unless it’s cayenne for a chilli). Leave to stand for at least two hours before eating (and make sure you mix the ingredients before you eat it).
If you store this salad covered in a cool place, it will keep for at least seven days.

web site – www.tettig.com
twitter – www.twitter.com/tettig
facebook – www.facebook.com/richpierce
youtube – www.youtube.com/dicktettig

Thanks for coming over, here’s a dozen fresh eggs to take home

In the Kitchen with Jenn McLeod

Tonight I’ve thrown out the peas and I’m on the kitchen floor with Simon and Schuster’s resident sweetie, Jenn McLeod, an electric frypan and a bottle of expensive champagne. We’re talking cheese, we’re talking butter and we don’t care. Bring on the cheese pastries for dessert, (with the sweet cherries for me).

Jenn’s first book, House for All Seasons was big hit in 2013 and her next book, Simmering Season is due to be published on April 1 this year. Jenn has two more books contracted to Simon and Schuster for release in 2015 and 2016, so she’s a very busy woman and I’m thrilled to have her as my guest tonight.

Jenn J McLeod_Portrait_1_web

What are your memories of your mothers cooking as a child?

I actually include my favourite memory in book three (Season of Shadow and Light, April 2015).
My characters have a Sunday night picnic: on the floor, tablecloth spread, electric frypan pugged in, giant tub of butter and Kraft cheese. We would make pan-fried cheese sandwiches with lashing of butter on the OUTSIDE of the bread so the toast goes golden brown. Then we would see who could make the longest string of melted cheese.

What was your favourite dish as a child?
See above!

Do you like to cook?

When I wasn’t writing I LOVED throwing dinner parties. Now, I’d rather be writing. I think the only reason I eat some nights is so I can have a wine at the end of a good writing day.
Is that bad? ;)

Jenn's cookbooks

Jenn’s cookbooks

Who do you enjoy cooking for? If you don’t enjoy cooking, then what do you like to eat?

Food/meals used to be an event. I loved the whole presentation thing (and this was well before Masterchef and MKR!) Then I did the big sea change and bought a small-town café. I’ve NEVER worked so hard in my life or seen so much food. And I NEVER want to cook for others again.

What are some of your favourite books about food?

Would you like some? I have a huge cupboard FULL and I am trying to downsize at the moment. You cannot go past the old Women’s Weekly books though.

Is the food in your stories important?

Food features in my stories. I love describing food. I had a café in House for all Seasons (of course) and in Simmering Season I have a pub with a cook!

simmering-season_jacket

Your favourite snack?
Pringles. I am not a sweet girl at all!

What’s your latest book?

Simmering Season – I gave it a cooking reference in the title just for you, Phillipa. Well, that may be a little fib, but I do make fun of my poor Maggie, when the old barmaid gives her a lecture about leaving her life in a simmer and all her juices drying up!

What foods do the characters eat?

Yummy things. Mostly they drink. Is that bad? Seriously, I had to curb my characters in a recent read through. Perhaps I force them to drink by throwing so many troubles their way!

What do you love most about this book?

I love the premise.
A sweltering small town during storm season, A school reunion that brings home more than memories (in the form of a schoolgirl crush), And an unexpected houseguest who blows the lid off a lifetime of secrets for local publican—Maggie Lindeman.

Where can readers find it?

My first answer is always the local bookstore – they need our support. Also available online at e-tailers like Booktopia and in the large chain stores also like Big W. Of course, readers can download to various devices. This link will help.

Share one of your favourite recipes – anything you like, cake, martini, Peking Duck, cheese on toast …

OMGosh! You mentioned cheese on toast! Sadly, my hips will not tolerate such treats these days. I think my favourite food is the meal the person I love puts in front of me so I can keep writing!
That IS bad!

Roasted-Garlic-Gruyere-Cheese-Toasties-

Website: www.jennjmcleod.com
Facebook: /JennJMcLeod.Books
Twitter: @jennjmcleod

Thanks for coming over, here’s a dozen fresh eggs to take home …