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For One Night Only

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For One Night Only

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For One Night Only

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For One Night Only

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For One Night Only

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The Fragment of Dreams

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In the Kitchen with Sasha Cottman

Before I introduce this morning’s visitor to the virtual kitchen I’d like to announce that this is the second to last post from the VK. It’s been very interesting and has attracted eyeballs for all the guest authors and myself. There’s been some great recipes and at the close of the series I’ll announce my favourite three recipes and those lucky souls will win a copy of my latest book, For One Night Only.

Sasha Cottman with a plate of curried prawns, (and a minimalist recipe for said prawns) joins me today. Sasha writes Regency romance, a genre that never seems to fall out of favour, and on her blog she’s constructed a Regency period kitchen where she reconstructs the food of that era.

sasha cottman author pic

What was your favourite dish as a child?

I can’t remember ever having a favourite dish as a child. My favourite food was the egg and lettuce sandwiches the school canteen sold. I think I ate egg and lettuce sandwiches every day for six years at high school.

Do you like to cook?

I like to cook if I have time (and a glass of chardonnay) but most days it is a case of how fast I can get a hot meal prepared and served when I get home from work.

What do you like to eat?

My favourite food these days is sushi. We have a great Japanese restaurant in the village near my house and it has a sushi boat. Sitting at the bar choosing the fresh sushi and sashimi as it floats past on the little boats is my idea of heaven. Of course I enjoy a great pasta dish, angel hair pasta is brilliant.

What are some of your favourite books about food?

I like cook books, but I have thrown out quite a few in the past few years as I wasn’t using them. I have quite a few of the Jamie Oliver cookbooks and like his approach to food. He believes in waste not want not, as well as putting a healthy meal on the table for your family each night. I am looking to buy his new 15- minute meals cook book and try some more of his recipes.

Is the food in your stories important?

I am surprised to read how much food actually creeps into my books. My new book has roasted potato, ginger sweets, and chicken. The Regency period has lots of great recipes. I cook Regency recipes and share the, sometimes mixed results on my website.

An Unsuitable Match Hi Res Cover Pic

What’s your latest book?

My new release is An Unsuitable Match, the next in the Duke of Strathmore series, released by Destiny Romance. The book is a Regency Historical Romance.

What do you love most about this book?

Being able to take two secondary characters from my first book and give them their own story has been an amazing experience. Working to weave the two stories together, while making them stand alone books has been a challenge. I love a book series and to now have my own series is fantastic.

Where can readers find it?

An Unsuitable Match is available from all good e-book stores.

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Six Minute Curried Prawns.

• 300g of peeled garlic prawns
• 1 packet of pre-cut Asian greens (most supermarkets have these in the fresh produce section).
• 1 jar of Thai Green Curry paste
• 1 medium can of coconut cream (or coconut milk).
• 90 second packet brown rice (serves 2-3).

Cut the packet of brown rice open and put it in the microwave, set the timer, but don’t turn it on.
Put a little oil in a frying pan and heat it. Put two heaped teaspoons of curry paste in the pan. Add the prawns and cook them for a minute.
Cook the rice in the microwave.
Add the Asian greens to the frying pan and stir them through. After 2 minutes add the coconut cream and stir through.
Cook the greens and prawns on a medium heat for another 1 minute.
Serve them over the rice. Enjoy.

In the Kitchen with Steve P. Vincent

I’m thrilled to have, as my morning companion in the Virtual Kitchen, Steve P. Vincent, thriller writer and stablemate from Momentum Books – ‘genre fiction providers to the stars’.

Steve has a plate of gumbo and a generous impulse in his heart, but I’ve never eaten gumbo before and I’m taking a little time to make it’s acquaintance. The southern states of American food are an unknown. I’m much more familiar with Mexican, Tex Mex, Californian and West Coast foods, but I think I’ll have to move my wagons down south.

Steve’s new book, The Foundation, a political thriller where the US and China are manipulated to the brink of global war, is described in Amazon reviews as a ‘thrilling read’, ‘fast paced’ and ‘scary’.

steve.photo

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

My mum is a great cook. Her cooking is this wild mix of traditional British/Australian fare with some European flair. She always worked long hours, so she mastered throwing together good food quickly. Mum really did beat Jamie Oliver to the 15 minute meal thing. She’s been doing it for years. Unfortunately, Jamie cashed in first.

What was your favourite dish as a child?

Mum’s comfort food was pretty impressive. Lasagna, soups, stews, pudding, pie. A lot of people can do this stuff, but she had it perfected. Top of the list was probably osso bucco. I was always pretty mad for pasta as well, though at one point I did go through a phase of only eating bolognese sauce, though.
My least favourite dish was paella. As a kid I hated the Sundays when she’d cook it all day. I hated the smell. I hated the taste. I didn’t particularly like seafood very much. Now that I can’t get enough of the stuff she never cooks it anymore!

Do you like to cook?

I do. Unfortunately my wife thinks what I cook is rubbish. Given she’s vegetarian, it’s probably not a surprise that she doesn’t find my repertoire of griddle cooked meat very accessible. I can make a passable effort at vegetarian food, but generally she cooks and I clean up. It works for us.
I do venture into the kitchen on the odd occasion, though. Lately I’ve been smashing out some Cambodian food since we spent a couple of weeks there in January, including a cooking class! Fresh spring rolls, fish amok, spicy mango salad…heaven on a plate.

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

I like cooking for my wife, from time to time. It’s a lot of fun seeing her gears grind while I measure out ingredients into individual bowls, creating far more washing up than necessary. A more common occurrence is getting my caveman on and putting on a BBQ for a group of friends.
Eating? Now you’re talking! Cheese is my nickname. Beyond that, I’m also a huge fan of grazing. Tapas, mini food – it all just feels a little bit more awesome the tinier it is. My friend Kylie is the champion of this movement amongst my friends, and we’re all the richer for it. I’ll give anything a go, though. Except cucumber. Vile substance.

What are some of your favourite books about food?

River Cottage Veg by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a favourite cookbook in our house. It proves that vegetarian food doesn’t have to suck.
One of my favourite scenes involving food is from Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, when the man and boy are on the verge of starvation and come across the doomsday bunker full of tinned awesomeness. Who knew an author could make SPAM and tinned peaches sound so appealing?
And Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss. Classic. A staple of my childhood that I’ll be glad to pass on to my niece when I can. She’s ace.

Your favourite snack?

Cold cuts straight from the fridge. Yeah, I put the awe in awesome. Beyond that? Fresh fruit, dark chocolate and savoury things.

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What’s your latest book?

The Foundation. It’s a political thriller about a think tank with some pretty crazy plans to start a war between the United States and China and to take over America. It’s really the most fun you can have with your pants on.

What foods do the characters eat?

I had to think long and hard about this one. There’s definitely a lot of drinking… One character is a recovering alcoholic and another has a passing obsession with whisky, but nobody seems to do much eating. Maybe beer nuts?
In fact, I did a search on the manuscript for ‘eating’. It turned up eight results: seven ‘beating’ and one ‘eating’. I guess food isn’t on your mind when you’re in the middle of all those explosions and all that intrigue!

What do you love most about this book?

I love a few things about it.
Firstly, the pace of it. It was fast when I submitted it, but my editor has helped to turn it from a Volvo into a Lamborghini. It was a lot of fun to write in such a rhythm. I’m about a quarter finished on the sequel, and it’s even better.
Secondly, I love that the characters have such fun arcs. A lot of thrillers have cardboard cutouts. My point of view goodies (Jack, Ernest) and baddies (Chen, Michelle) all have their own story, personality, joy and despair.
Finally, in terms of themes, I achieved what I wanted to, which was to tackle the consequences of the shift in political power away from elected representatives and towards think tanks, media barons and multinational corporations.

Where can readers find it?

The Foundation was released on September 11 where all good ebooks are sold.

Amazon, iBooks, Momentum and other e platforms

Gumbo

Recipe: Gumbo!

Ingredients – ‘Rub’ for seafood
-2 tsp paprika, salt, garlic powder

-1 tsp black pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper, oregano, thyme

Ingredients – Gumbo

-500g salmon (plus whatever other seafood you like… prawns, crab…)
-500g okra (chopped with tip and head removed)
-2 medium tomatos (chopped)
-2 celery sticks (chopped)
-1 small green capsicum (chopped)
-1 large onion (diced)
-2 cloves garlic
-1 litre stock (I use vegetable)
-2 cups white rice
-Chilli sauce
-Bay leaves
-Salt
-Pepper
-Cayenne pepper
-Oil

Steps:

Get oil hot at medium heat
1. Add okra, salt, cayenne pepper
2. Stir constantly for about 10 minutes
3. Add onion, tomato, capsicum, celery, more salt, more cayenne pepper
4. Stir pretty often for 20 minutes
5. Season any fish
6. Add fish, garlic and a few bay leaves
7. Stir it around a bit for 2 minutes
8. Add stock, bring to boil, then simmer
9. Stir occasionally and simmer for about 15 minutes
10. Season any prawns and other seafood then add to pan, cook for another 5 mins (skip step if only using fish)
11. Stir in chilli sauce, remove bay leaves, serve with rice.

Steve is on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads

In the Kitchen with Iris Blobel

Australian romance writer Iris Blobel is with me today with a bowl of German Marrow Dumpling Soup. Bone marrow is something you don’t see too often in these parts but the only reason for that is squeamishness and a First World lack of familiarity with offal. My parents used to cook brains, tripe, kidneys and all those things that made my sister and I gag and run screaming from the kitchen. I remember my father sucking marrow from bones just to stir us up and lamb shanks were something you gave to the dog. But less of me and more of Iris…

iris blobel

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

I don’t think mum was, possibly still is not that fond of cooking, but boy do I miss her meals. Mum grew up in Germany after the war and was able to create a nice dish with few ingredients… and her cheese cake! Or the “Weincreme Pudding”. Yup, I miss mum’s cooking and always send a big wish list before we come for a visit.

What was your favourite dish as a child?

I’ve never been much of a food lover, but I loved most of mum’s cooking. Yes, I do have to admit, my favourite dish as a child was a Spaghetti Bolognese.

Do you like to cook?

I’ve never been one to enjoy my time in the kitchen, but since I had to change my diet about half a year ago, watching of what I can and what I can’t eat, I have learnt to appreciate the idea of ‘creating’ a nice dinner.

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

I basically cook only for my little family, but I make sure that my two girls get a yummy, but healthy meal. I can still remember the days when I didn’t like something. Mum didn’t make me eat it and I’m really grateful for it. I like my daughters to try the food at least, if they still don’t like it, that’s okay. When we have friends over, we usually opt for the typical Australian barbeque with a few nice salads.

Your favourite snack?

As mentioned above, until I had to change my diet, I often sat in front of the telly with a few biscuits, or a salada with some nutella. Nowadays, it’s mainly sliced apples or when I have the ingredients, I make some waffles – YUM!

FreshBeginnings-IrisBlobel

What’s your latest book?

My latest book is “Fresh Beginnings” the 3rd book in the Beginnings series

What do you love most about this book?

We took our girls to the US last year and travelled through five states in a motorhome. We had so much fun and learnt so much about the country. The book is kind of our travel diary turned into a romance novel. It mentions the little things we came across, like the “PedXing” sign, or the difference in the language, which was even more obvious to me with English as my second language. It was heaps of fun to write.

Where can readers find it?
At Amazon,iBooks and all ebook platforms

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

Aha… the favourite recipe question . I suppose the simple Spaghetti Bolognese recipe won’t do the trick.
My (or I should really say, mum’s) recipe for you all will be for a Marrow Dumpling Soup. It’s definitely one of my favourite meals, especially at the moment during this cold weather. And a nice traditional German dish!

Markkloesschensuppe

Ingredients:

1 piece of Osso Buco Meat (that’s what I’ve found is best to use here in Oz)
Carrots, Celery, and Leek
Salt

Butter
Breadcrumbs
1 – 2 eggs
Parsley
Nutmeg
Flour

Remove the bone marrow from the meat and place it in a separate bowl.
Place the meat, with the carrots, celery, and leek into a pot with water, add some salt and pepper. Let the soup simmer for about an hour.
To finish off the soup, add the dumplings.
Take the bone marrow and place it into a little saucepan with some butter. Melt all until golden brown and then take off the heat.
Add some breadcrumbs until all the melted marrow and butter is soaked up.
Depending on the amount of bone marrow, add one or two eggs and a ladle full of soup. Add some chopped parsley, salt and nutmeg, and mix in some flour until you have a nice mix, not too tight, but just enough to hold it together.
Roll the mix into small dumplings and add to the simmering soup.
The Marrow Dumplings are ready when they “surface”.

Guten Appetit!
I hope it makes sense, but the “hand-me-down” recipes don’t come with exact measurements.

In the Kitchen with Eva Scott

I’m in the kitchen this morning with Eva Scott and a dish of Tiramisu, one of my favourite desserts. It’s a dish that has endless variations depending on the cook and the tastes of those who will eat the finished product. Too sweet and it’s disgusting, not enough sweet and it’s just bitter stodge. The best Tiramisu I have ever had is that made by my sister-in-law in America. I could and did eat bowl after bowl of her semi-sweet Tiramisu and grieved when it was all gone. Eva’s Tiramisu, (recipe below), is made with the hazelnut liquor Frangelico and real hazelnuts and I’ve never met a hazelnut I didn’t like, so I think I’ll be having a go at this recipe. Eva is an Australian author and you an find out more about her and her books on her website. Eva loves to cook and it’s been remarkable to discover while doing this series how many authors don’t like cooking. I do, so Eva is very welcome in the somewhat messy kitchen this morning.

Eva Scott

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

Curiously it’s my grandmothers I remember best. Both cooked very traditionally. One Nanna famous for her roast lamb and the other for her dumpling stew.
What was your favourite dish as a child?

Do you like to cook?

Love it. Currently having a romance with Yottam Ottolenghi. http://www.ottolenghi.co.uk/
The flavours from Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking are sublime. A girlfriend who is Moroccan/Israeli put me on to him. Divine! I like experiencing flavour combinations completely new to me.

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

I enjoy cooking for my husband who is an enthusiastic sampler. He’ll give anything a try and offer honest opinion. It’s wonderful having someone who appreciates the food you make.

What are some of your favourite books about food?

Two categories here. Number one = cooking books. Number two = novels about food or with food.
Cooking books include Nigella Lawson’s Kitchen, Yottam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem and Adam Liaw’s Asian After Work. These three are my current go-to in the kitchen.
As to novels I love anything by Barbara O’Neal (The Secret of Everything, Lost Receipe for Happiness) http://www.barbaraoneal.com/ and Isabel Allende’s Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses. http://isabelallende.com/ia/en/home/5

Is the food in your stories important?

So far food has never been central to the plot I have enjoyed researching food for my novels set in Ancient Rome. And the Tiramisu in Marriage Makeover is to die for! I make it for dinner parties and special occasions. It’s got quite a kick.

Your favourite snack?

It’s a revolving door. This week I’m in love with homemade hummus – the spicy kind.

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What’s your latest book?

The Marriage Makeover – Nick and Talia Carmichael were childhood sweethearts. Grief over the death of their baby daughter from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome crushed their marriage. Talia moved to a new city, with a new career and life. Now it’s time to close the door on the past and ask Nick for a divorce.
Nick has other ideas. Once his wife, always his wife. He has no intention of letting Talia off so lightly and proposes terms and conditions to his agreement. It will mean moving back into their marital home, and force her to face long buried grief. Can she do as he asks?
Being with Nick causes her to question everything she thought was true. Has she made a mistake thinking her love for Nick is dead? Can he still love her? More importantly, can he again trust after everything they’ve been through?

What foods do the characters eat?

Talia and her best friend share a delicious Tiramisu made on Frangelico liqueur.

What do you love most about this book?

This is a second chances romance which I adore.

Where can readers find it?

Musa Publishing

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

Talia and her best friend Davan have this for dessert at their favourite restaurant. Tiramisu means “pick me up” which refers to the shot of espresso but I like to add Frangelico to give it a real kick. You can add any liqueur that takes your fancy. Frangelico gives the dish a lovely nutty flavour. Enjoy!
FRANGELICO TIRAMISU

Tiramisu

I like to make this dish in a foil tray (roughly 24cm square-ish). Foil bbq trays are exactly the right depth and there’s no washing up later! Alternatively any dish the same size will do fine.

Ingredients

• 250ml espresso coffee. If you don’t have the real deal you can dissolve 15g of espresso powder into 250ml of boiling water and it will do the trick.
• 250ml of Frangelico. I always find the savoiardi biscuits soak up the liqueur quickly so keep the bottle on hand for top ups.
• 30 savoiardi biscuits. There are two sizes so you may need less if you purchase the large biscuits.

For the filling:

• 2 eggs, separated
• 75g castor sugar
• 60ml Frangelico hazelnut liqueur
• 500g mascarpone
• 100g chopped roasted hazelnuts
• 3 teaspoons of good quality cocoa powder.

Method

1. Combine the cooled coffee and 250ml of Frangelico in a jug
2. Beat the egg whites until frothy. Place the yokes in a separate bowl and beat with the castor sugar and 60ml of Frangelico.
3. Add the mascarpone to the yolk mix, combine well.
4. Carefully fold the frothy egg whites into the mascarpone mix and combine well.
5. Pour half the coffee and Frangelico mix into a wide shallow bowl (or similar dish). Dip the biscuits into the mix ensuring both sides are coated. Do this quickly to ensure the biscuits are damp but not soaking. They do soak up liquid very quickly so don’t leave them sitting in the bowl or you’ll run out of coffee/Frangelico very quickly. Prepare enough biscuits to form one layer and place them in the dish.
6. Place half the mascarpone mix on top of the soaked biscuits, spreading it out for even coverage.
7. Repeat step 5 using the remaining coffee/Frangelico liquid and leftover biscuits.
8. Repeat step 6.
9. Cover the dish with cling film and refrigerate overnight – or for at least 6 hours.
10. Before serving the tiramisu combine the chopped hazelnuts and cocoa. Sprinkle this mixture over the top layer of mascarpone.

**Please note this dish contains raw eggs so may not be suitable for people with compromised or weak immune systems such as small children, the elderly or pregnant women.