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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 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.

themarriagemakeover-200 (2)

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.

In the Kitchen with Justine Ford.

Tonight I’m very excited to have a a non-fiction author in my virtual kitchen. The lovely journalist, TV producer and author Justine Ford. Justine has brought her teapot with her, and her favourite tea and I just happen to have some Vitawheats and vegemite, so we are set for a good old feast.
Justine wrote Missing You: Australia’s Most Mysterious Unsolved Missing Persons Cases which was published in 2012, and last year her book, One Piece of the Puzzle: Australia’s Most Chilling Homicide Investigations, was released by Five Mile Press and she has two more True Crime books on the way. Justine also used to be a presenter on TV’s Australia’s Most Wanted so she’s used to the dark side and writes about the darkness with intelligence and compassion. As a sometime sissy girl I cried when I read her first book, but if you like True Australian Crime, Justine’s books are a good place to start!

Justine Ford

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

Mum loved to throw a pizza sub in the oven, followed by a slice of Sara Lee Danish with custard for ‘sweets,’ and a long, tall glass of green fizzy.

What was your favourite dish as a child?

Anything made with mince! Was it because it required less chewing? I don’t know. But growing up, I spent a lot of time at my nan’s, and couldn’t get enough of her comforting savoury mince dishes.

Do you like to cook?

No! It requires an abnormal amount of concentration on my part. I am very fortunate, however, that my husband loves to cook amazing, healthy meals. He even did a three year part-time chef’s course just for fun, so he fires up the pots and pans most nights.

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

At home I enjoy curries, roasts, fish, stirfries, casseroles, steak, pasta – all the good stuff! And I do enjoy a nice glass of white wine. Eating out, Malaysian food is a favourite.

What are some of your favourite books about food?

I loved ‘The Beauty of Humanity Movement’ by Camilla Gibb. The cover describes it as, ‘A novel of contemporary Vietnam: life, love and pho.’
‘The School of Essential Ingredients’ by Erica Bauermeister also charmed me. It’s about eight people whose lives are transformed through a cooking course.

Is the food in your stories important?

Food in my stories is only important when it is a clue to a real-life murder or someone’s disappearance. In ‘One Piece of the Puzzle,’ I reveal how a Chinese takeaway meal was the crucial piece of evidence in the murder of a Sydney mum. You’d be surprised…

One Piece of the Puzzle_FULL COVER

Your favourite snack?

I don’t have a sweet tooth so I’m pretty happy with a couple of Vita Weats with Vegemite. A cup of Dilmah leaf tea is an essential part of any snack for me; I start the day with Dilmah and I write with Dilmah.

What’s your latest book?

My latest book is called ‘One Piece of the Puzzle,’ and it’s about some of Australia’s most chilling homicide investigations. I reveal information that has never before been published and ask the readers to play armchair detectives.

What do you love most about this book?

I love that the book gives readers the opportunity to come forward with information about unsolved murders, missing persons’ cases, and John and Jane Does. I maintain that even the smallest piece of information could be all that police need to crack a case.

Where can readers find it?

It can be found, or ordered, at all good bookstores, Big W, and online through retailers like Booktopia and Amazon.

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

I really am an awful cook but I make a killer cuppa!

Tea pic

Justine’s Killer Tea

Warm the pot
Put about 3 teaspoons of tea in a small to medium sized pot. The tea must be Dilmah – it’s super fresh and tastes like real tea.
Pour boiling water over the tea.
Cover the pot with your favourite tea cosy and let it sit for five minutes.
Pour into a cup, not a mug (it tastes better), and add milk or sugar as desired.
Settle in with a good read and enjoy!

Website: www.justineford.net
Facebook: Justine Ford’s ‘One Piece of the Puzzle’ and ‘Missing You’ page
Twitter:@JustineFord1

In the Kitchen with Pamela Cook

Pamela Cook has brought a lovely big lemon meringue pie to the Virtual Kitchen this morning. We shall make short work of it. Pamela writes women’s fiction with an Australian country feel, a bit of romance and lots of horses. Her books, Blackwattle Lake and Essie’s Way are published by Hachette Australia and available in bookshops and as ebooks. Pamela is on Twitter and Facebook too, as are we all ….

Pam-4

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

I have a couple of clear food memories from my childhood. We had an enormous mulberry tree in our backyard and every year when the berries were ripe Mum would make pies for everyone in the neighbourhood and I had the pleasure of delivering them. Not so pleasurable was the tripe she also cooked for the neighbours and had me deliver. I still remember the sickly smell wafting from the bowl of white, blubbery flesh.

What was your favourite dish as a child?

I love any sort of dessert but my favourite as a kid would probably be Golden Syrup Pudding with custard. I try and make one every year to relive the memories but it never seems to taste quite the way my mum’s did.

Do you like to cook?

I used to love cooking but lately I’ve been finding it a chore. It’s hard catering to different tastes in the family and the meal planning side of it really frustrates me.

What are some of your favourite books about food?

I love Jamie Oliver’s recipes – they’re hearty and easy to follow. And I’ve made a few things from Julie Goodwin’s first cook book. Apart from recipe books I don’t tend to read books centred on food but I did love the movie Chocolate – and it wasn’t just because of Johnny Depp.

Is the food in your stories important?

It hasn’t been so much in my first two books but I’m currently in the middle of writing my third novel and have written a couple of scenes that revolve around meals. My main character doesn’t have a family of her own and finds herself drawn to a family she meets in town who frequently get together and share good food.

Your favourite snack?

Coffee and snacks are great procrastination tools. Lately I’ve been indulging in the occasional Tim Tam and I do love a slice of raisin toast dripping with butter.

Essie's Way front cover copy

What’s your latest book?

My most recent book is Essie’s Way. It’s rural fiction with romantic elements set on the south coast of NSW.

What foods do the characters eat?

There are a couple of scenes involving coffee. And since my main character, Miranda, is soon to be married and watching her waistline she opts for a Caesar Salad when she lunches with her mother in the Queen Victoria Building in the first chapter. Considering the outcome of the lunch she might have been better taking a comfort food option!

What do you love most about this book?

This book has two main characters – Miranda and an older woman called Esther (the Essie of the title). It switches perspective and also takes the reader back in time to Esther’s youth via her diaries. I loved playing around with all these different elements of the story.

Where can readers find it?

Essie’s Way (published in December 2013) and my first novel Blackwattle Lake (published in December 2012) are available through Big W and local Bookstores. If you can’t see them on the shelf just ask. They’re also available through Booktopia and other online retailers, both in hard copy and ebook.

My Mum’s Lemon Meringue Pie

Pastry
2 cups plain flour
pinch salt
1 tablespoon icing sugar
185 g butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 to 2 tablespoons water.

Filling
4 tablespoons plain flour
4 tablespoons cornflour
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
¾ cup lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1 ¼ cups water
90g butter
4 egg yolks.

Meringue
4 egg whites
2 tablespoons water
pinch salt
¾ cup caster sugar

1. Sift flour, salt and icing sugar into a bowl, chop butter roughly, add to dry ingredients, rub in until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add lemon juice and enough water to mix to a firm dough. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Roll pastry on lightly floured surface to fit a 23cm pie plate. Use rolling pin to lift pastry onto pie plate
2. Trim and decorate edges. Prick base and sides of pastry with a fork. Bake in moderately hot oven 10-15 mins. Allow to cool.
3. Combine sifted flours, lemon rind, juice, and sugar in a saucepan. Add water, blend until smooth, stir over heat until mixture boils and thickens. This is important, the mixture must boil. Reduce heat, stir a further two minutes. Remove from heat, stir in butter and lightly beaten egg yolk, stir until butter has melted. Cool.
4. Spread cold lemon filling evenly into pastry case. Combine egg whites, water and salt in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beat well until sugar has dissolved. Spoon on top of lemon filling, spreading meringue to edges of pie to seal. Make peaks in meringue with a knife. Bake in moderate oven 5-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool then refrigerate.

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