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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 Heather Garside

My guest today is Australian rural romance writer Heather Garside. Heather has brought a plate of muffins and the only thing to drink with muffins is tea, and I’m pouring as I write. Heather has a new book out, Tracks of the Heart, published by Clan Destine Press.

Heather

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

I grew up on an isolated cattle property and as we only had a 32 volt lighting plant, we had kerosene fridges. (This all makes me sound very old!) Therefore our food was mostly very plain but I used to love mum’s puddings – anything from plum and rice puddings to tarts and jam roly-polys etc., served with homemade egg custard.

What was your favourite dish as a child?

I remember the first time I tasted a cheesecake my cousin had made. It was so delicious and rated as my favourite food for many years.

Do you like to cook?

Yes, within limits!

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

These days I’m usually just cooking for hubby and me. I try to eat very little sugar and usually no white flours, although I do have some honey. In the winter time I love lamb roasts or lamb shanks with vegetables; hearty and warming food.

Is the food in your stories important?

Food is usually incidental rather than a feature in my books.

Your favourite snack?

I indulge my sweet tooth with homemade muffins, made with brown rice and buckwheat flours, and using honey to sweeten them.

What’s your latest book?

Breakaway Creek is my latest full-length novel but I have just released Tracks of the Heart, a collection of three rural romance short stories.

Tracks of the Heart

What do you love most about this book?

In Breakaway Creek I love the story of Alex and Emma, a couple from the 1890s who must fight the prejudices of the time to be together.

Where can readers find it?

At Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, Booktopia and other online bookshops.

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

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Apple Currant & Spice Muffins

(This is a large recipe but I freeze and thaw in the microwave as needed)
1 cup almond meal
1 cup buckwheat flour
2 cups brown rice flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
4 teaspoons mixed spice
1 tin apples (or use fresh chopped apple)
1 ½ cups currants
1 cup grapeseed oil
1 cup honey
2 teas vanilla (optional)
1 ½ cups milk or rice milk
4 eggs
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl, add apple and currants. In another bowl, combine beaten eggs, milk, oil honey & vanilla. Add to flour mixture and stir thoroughly. Spoon into muffin trays and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown. Makes about 30 medium-sized muffins.

In the Kitchen with Rachel Amphlett

After getting up at 4.30 am for the World Cup final I have my head on the virtual kitchen table this morning, but my guest, Rachel Amphlett, is here, bright and sparky with her new book and a bowl of chick pea curry.

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

My brother and I arguing over whose turn it was to lick the bowl out if mum was baking cakes!

What was your favourite dish as a child?

My aunt’s pasta bake. I don’t know how she made it, but whenever I tried, it never tasted as good!

Do you like to cook?

I have favourite things I like to cook, but my other half is the cook in the family – he trained at catering college and then ran pubs in the UK for 20 years, so he’s much better than me!

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

My forte is the healthy weekend brunch. I make toast, then add avocado, smoked salmon, baked tomatoes with basil, baked beans, haloumi, and asparagus.

What are some of your favourite books about food?

I love all of Peter Mayle’s books, such as A Year in Provence and A Good Year, as well as Carol Drinkwater’s The Olive Farm series. They manage to conjure up such great images of life in the French countryside.

Is the food in your stories important?

Yes, especially if my characters are relaxing or shoring up their energy levels!

Your favourite snack?

Avocado on toast with cracked black pepper and sea salt.

Before Nightfall eBook cover small

What’s your latest book?

Before Nightfall. It’s a romantic suspense set in Istanbul. What’s great is that readers of my usual thrillers are telling me they’re enjoying the story too.

What do you love most about this book?

I was terrified before it was released, because it’s different to my Dan Taylor series of thrillers in that there’s less shooting and explosions – I really had to take a deep breath on release day and keep my fingers crossed.
Luckily it’s had a great reception so my confidence in my writing has grown. I’m sure the nerves will be back next time though – they’re never far away!

Where can readers find it?

There are about 40 outlets online where readers can buy either the eBook or paperback format, and Angus & Robertson stores here in Brisbane also stock it.

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

This recipe has been a staple of mine since 2003 and I’ve passed it onto so many people. It’s cheap, quick and easy to make, and healthy. I’m pescatarian (I don’t eat meat, apart from fish) so this ensures I get plenty of protein too:

Chickpea Curry

A one-pot meal (yay! Less washing up!) that you can freeze too. I usually serve it with rice or Turkish bread.
Total prep time 15 mins
Total cooking time 1 hr

You’ll need:
1 large onion, chopped
1 ½ tbsp. olive oil (or any vegetable oil)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground ginger
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 x 400g cans chickpeas
450ml (¾ pint) vegetable stock
Chopped coriander leaves to garnish

1. Fry the onion in the oil until soft. Add the garlic and spices and cook for about 4-5 minutes over a medium heat.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 1 hour.
3. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve.

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In the Kitchen with Kate Belle

I’m having a slice of fruitcake today with Melbourne author, Kate Belle. Kate is the author of The Yearning, released in 2013 to rave reviews, and Being Jade, recently released. She writes regularly about women, relationships, sexuality and books on her blog, The Ecstasy Files. She is also the creator of the Eros in Action writing sex workshop. Kate is published by Simon and Schuster.

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

My mother’s cooking ranged from the banal to the sublime. As I remember my mother was a fairly traditional meat and three veg cook (since having a child of my own I understand why), but she occasionally ventured into the ‘make-your-own’ territory, as was the tradition of the 1970’s.
She once attempted home-made ice cream with sweetened condensed milk – nothing but a sticky mess there – and her wholemeal bread nearly broke our teeth. I hated her watery casseroles, chunks of grey meat floating among globules of oil, the odd sliced carrot or sliver of onion. (It may have contributed to my becoming vegetarian.) But I loved, loved, loved her cheesy lasagne.
Sometimes my dad would take over the kitchen and it became all about the frying pan. On Sunday nights he’d make fritters with left over roast lamb – a family favourite – or fried spam on toast. Yep. Reckon that’s why I’m a vegetarian.

Do you like to cook?

I go through phases where the kitchen is the only place I want to be. If I have the time and feel inclined I can spend all day there, chopping, stirring, measuring, baking. There’s something meditative about it. It puts me in touch with my inner earth mother because I love the idea of home made everything. I have a vegetable garden and like to experiment with pickles and chutneys at the end of growing season. I also believe in putting love into whatever you’re cooking. It definitely makes things taste better.

Who do you enjoy cooking for?

I hate cooking for kids. It’s a thankless task. They just don’t care how hard you tried to find a healthy tasty recipe for them, or how long it took you to make it. If they don’t like the look of it the spoiled brats push it around their plate complaining it ‘smells funny’.
I much prefer cooking for a group of family and friends. I don’t do it so often now, but I used to prepare feasts every Christmas and Easter. I love laying out platters of food on a long table surrounded by people talking and laughing. Cooking for people other than family is so much more satisfying because they are always more appreciative.

What are some of your favourite books about food?

I ADORE Nigella Lawson’s cookbooks. I sometimes take one of them to bed with me and just read. Her sensual descriptions of food are gastronomic poetry. Any cookbook that goes beyond recipes to talk about the soul of the dish is a winner on my shelf. Mary Moody’s Long Table, Bill Granger’s Everyday and the artistic Enchanted Broccoli Tree are among my favourites.

Your favourite snack?

I’m a pastry nut. I can’t walk past a bakery without fiddling with my wallet. Pasties, croissants, anything wrapped in a pastry case. Sadly most bakeries can’t conceive of a pie containing anything but meat. And when they make vegetable pasties they tend to use wholemeal pastry! Why?! They assume all us vegetarians are such health nuts we’ll turn our noses up at their deliciously white flaky pastry. Not true. I want vegetables wrapped in the bad-for-you-but-really-tasty-white-flour-flaky pastry thanks.
That said – when it comes to quick snacks I can’t go past the traditional writers lunch – vegemite toast.

Is the food in your stories important?

Food is a great way to round out a character. What they eat, the way they eat, says so much about them. I use food and food preferences to add layers into characterisation. In my new novel, Being Jade, Jade is a whole food, organic nut. She has a verdant vegetable garden where she spends time with her husband, Banjo and her daughters as they grow up. The vegetable garden is very important to Jade because it connects her to the earth. She’s an artist and growing things is the ultimate creative act.
Banjo, on the other hand, grew up in a traditional Irish Catholic family (much like my own) with fairly boring, British style food. Jade’s food preferences reflect the challenges in her relationship with Banjo in that she is always pushing him out of his comfort zone. There’s a great scene after he first discovers she’s sleeping with someone else where she serves him up pasta puttanesca – whore’s pasta.

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What’s your latest book?

Being Jade is a story of the sacrifices people are willing to make to hold on to deep lasting love.

The night Banjo walks away from twenty five years of his wife Jade’s infidelity he is tragically killed. Bewildered Banjo finds himself trapped in a no man’s land between life and death. From this vantage point he watches his small family fall apart and fiercely free spirited Jade descend into depression.

Their daughters, Lissy and Cassandra, discover Jade’s artistic diary chronicling her many affairs, and Lissy embarks on a quest to find the truth about her parent’s marriage and her father’s death. She contacts Jade’s ex-lovers, unaware her father’s spirit watches as they visit. Banjo is taken on a journey of discovery through Jade’s memories as the lovers unveil long hidden secrets about her affairs. All the while tortured by one question: did Jade love him above all the others? Lissy’s questioning leads her to an explosive truth. One that finally sets her family free.

What do you love most about this book?

Two things. It’s a book that will challenge people and make them think about the sacrifices they are willing or unwilling to make for their relationships.
And Banjo. He came into my mind about three years ago, took me by the throat and demanded I write his story. His voice was urgent and clear from the very beginning. Whenever I picked up a pen, or put fingers to keyboard, his words came easily. Sometimes he surprised me with his wisdom and I was completely taken with how much he loved his family and especially his wife, Jade. She’s a feisty woman and not so easy to love, but he did it so completely he inspired me to appreciate my own relationship a lot more. I feel like I’ve coexisted with him for the past twelve months of intensive writing. I experienced a real sense of loss once the manuscript was finally finished.

Where can readers find it?

Being Jade is available in Australia and New Zealand from June 2014 via all the big bookstores, your favourite independent bookseller or from online retailers.

Buy links: iTunes Amazon Booktopia Bookworld S&S:
Share one of your favourite recipes

One of the things I remember best from my mother’s repertoire is her boiled fruit cake. The recipe comes from her 1950’s Home Economics text book – Cookery the Australian Way. My step-kids bought their dad a revised copy in the early days after his marriage break up. He calls it ‘Cooking for Dickheads’ because the instructions and recipes are so simple. And the recipe is still in it.
I make this cake so often I don’t need to refer to the recipe anymore. It makes a great gift, especially at Christmas time. Even people who don’t like fruitcake like this one because it’s not at all dense or heavy. It’s a particular favourite of my sister- and mother-in-laws.

fruitcake 1

SIMPLE BOILED FRUIT CAKE
150g Brown Sugar
125g Butter
250ml (1 cup) Water
500g Mixed dried fruit
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon Bi-Carb Soda
Whack all these ingredients into a saucepan and bring them to boil on the stove top. Let it bubble and froth for a couple of minutes before turning off the heat. Let it sit and cool for a bit.
Turn the oven on to 180 deg and grease a regular size square or log cake tin. Line the base and sides with baking paper.
Beat two large eggs and, when the boiled mixture is cooled, stir into the mixture.
150g Plain flour
150g SR flour
Sift these into the mixture and mix it all in well until you have a thick, sticky, brown batter.
Scrape it into the greased tin, pat it flat as you can and shove it into the oven to cook for 40 – 50 mins (cooking time depends on how hot your oven is. It’s worth a skewer check at 40 mins to see how cooked it is in the centre).
Now for the best bit – Lick the saucepan clean before chucking it in the sink for someone else to wash.
In half an hour your house will smell like a Christmas bakery. Make sure you try a slice while it’s still warm – that’s when it’s at it’s best.
Oh, and you can freeze it for about 3 months. It defrosts as fresh as when you first baked it.

fruitcake 2

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In the Kitchen with Myself

I’m in my virtual kitchen alone tonight, just me, a banana cake, a pot of tea and World Cup soccer to watch. I’ll just pause the replay button while I interview myself ….

Phillipa.Fioretti

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

My mother was always a good cook. Cautious, yes, in terms of her technique, but very interested in food and cooking and always trying new things. She cooked every night, all her married life, except for some Saturday nights when my father, who was equally interested in food and cooking, declared he would cook. Glory cooking, I call it. Dad would take over the kitchen and there’d be stuff everywhere and he’d be baking some enormous fish or making seventy litres of soup and serve with a flourish. Nobody dared turned their nose up at it. Mum turned out meals night after night and put up with the whinging kids at the table. I look back now and realise I had nothing to whinge about!

What was your favourite dish as a child?

Roast lamb and fruit. I was a fruit fiend.

Do you like to cook?

I love cooking. I find it soothing to be working with my hands and producing something that everyone enjoys, and TELLS you they enjoy. It’s so unlike the book writing activities I pursue all day.

Who do you enjoy cooking for?

I cook best for people I love. Cooking is a real giving thing, it comes from inside and it’s something I do at the end of every day. I cook and then sit down with my husband and kids and share a meal. That evening meal is sacred, it keeps us in touch, even if it’s just a grunt or there’s a fight or whatever.
I have cooked for people when entertaining business types and it felt very different. Particularly as I didn’t care much for these people. Very conflicted over giving them lashings of expensive ingredients. Silly really, but that’s how emotional I get over feeding people.

What are some of your favourite books about food?

I loved the biography of Elizabeth David by Lisa Chaney. Her stories of her Edwardian childhood with nanny and fresh strawberries have stayed with me. Patrick White always does good food in his books. In The Twyborn Affair he has a middle aged woman ‘fork’ some chestnut Mont Blanc into her mouth. I love that image of forking this blousy creamy dessert. And Jane Grigson writes really well about food. Her fruit book is great.

Is the food in your stories important?

Very. People’s food choices tell so much about them, their past and their character. What a character eats is vital to building up a three dimensional person. After all, food takes up so much of our time, I don’t see how you can leave it out of a novel.

Your favourite snack?

Because I sit all day I snack on peppermint tea and plain vita-wheat crackers. If I could snack on whatever I liked it would be a selection of different cakes and tea. Ginger cake, honey cake, spice cake …. a different one each week.

ginger-cake1

What’s your latest book?

For One Night Only

What foods do the characters eat?

Arancini, which are balls of left over risotto, often with a piece of mozzarella placed at the centre and then pan fried. A delicious Italian snack. And I have my guy eat two plates of scrambled eggs. I chose scrambled eggs because it’s comfort food, plain, sustaining and easily available. He’s just been held hostage for a week and needs comfort.

What do you love most about this book?

Ornella, the main female character. She was so much fun to write. I really stretched out and had fun with her.

Where can readers find it?

Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, Momentum and all other digital channels

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

I toss over ripe bananas into the freezer and when I have four I make this moist banana bread. You could ice it to make it a cake, or eat it plain, either way it’s pretty damn fine.
Banana Bread

100 gms butter
100gms brown sugar
1 egg
450 gms mashed banana
45 ml passionfruit yoghurt
5 ml vanilla essence
225 gms plain flour
1 tsp bicarb of soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
100 gm sultanas
75 mls marsala or rum or sweet sherry

Put sultanas and marsala in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn off and let cool while the sultanas plumpen themselves on the spirits.
Preheat oven to 180 fan forced. Grease and line a loaf tin. Beat butter and sugar together until creamy and then add the egg and continue beating until smooth. Add the mashed banana, yoghurt and vanilla essence. Sift together flour, bicarb and cinnamon and gradually beat this into the banana mix. Stir in the sultanas and bake for an hour or until a skewer comes out clean.

014 low fodmap banana bread