• Blog

    Taste of Tuesday with Valentine Kisses author Ann B Harrison

    Taste of Tuesday
    Ann talks Valentine Kisses and Keto cookies
    Valentine Kisses - Cover
    ​I love cooking and it may come as no surprise that I include this in some of my stories. We’re off to America for a family holiday in May so most of the recipes I’m trying are either sugarless or keto. If I can drop another 3 kilos, I’ll be happy. That way I can eat my way around America and not fret over the extra weight I know I’m going to put on.

    Valentine Kisses is the second in the Moore Sisters of Montana and features a hot fireman and a celebrity chef. Bella Moore thought she had everything she ever wanted. The host of a hit reality show, she’s at the top of her career. So when her show goes on hiatus for six months and she finally has downtime, she decides to return to her roots and visit her sister in Cherry Lake. What she doesn’t expect is to love the town and the temporary chef position she’s taken on at the Lake Hotel.

    Jake Woods is focused on his son and his job as the local fire chief. Things are moving along nicely until the new chef at the Lake Hotel almost burns the place down. Jake knows that Bella inherited a mess from the chef before her and he’s keen to help her.

    After weeks of working together in tight quarters, Jake and Bella can’t ignore the sparks between them. But Bella’s stay in Cherry Lake is only temporary and Jake still hasn’t recovered from losing his wife a few years ago. They’ll have to decide whether or not the flame between them can survive without the heat of the kitchen.

    I’ve signed an agreement with an LA producer who is keen on getting Valentine Kisses made into film which will be incredible exciting. To keep up with progress, you can sign up to my newsletter here www.annbharrison.net and follow the journey with me.
    For those that love to cook, here is my latest ‘go to’ for something sweet and diet friendly. Be sure to double the recipe. The first time I made them my daughters attacked them like a flock of hungry seagulls and the grandkids took a bag each to school for snacks. I guess that makes them a family favorite already!

    Keto Peanut Butter Cookies
    1 cup salted peanut butter
    6 ( only used 3) Tbsp sweetener like Stevia
    ¼ cup toasted almond flour. (I use a mix of almond and coconut and toasted it in a dry pan)
    1 large egg.
    Mix all together. It will be thick and dense.
    Scoop onto baking sheet and press down with a fork in both directions giving it a criss-cross pattern. Bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes. When you take them out of the oven, leave to cool on the baking sheet. They’re very soft but firm up when cool.

    About Ann
    Anne B Harrison
    Best-selling author, Ann B Harrison has the perfect backdrop for her imagination to run wild, the lush wine growing region of the Hunter Valley in Australia. She alternates her time between writing western romances, romantic suspense and walking her dog, Chilli.
    Two kinds of hero make Ann to a mass of nerves. The hot cowboy with a slow sexy drawl (she used to live out in the desert where they were more common than where she lives now) and a man in a kilt. Imagine Jamie Fraser and you’ll understand why. She can’t wait to visit Scotland where she can get her fill of the tartan clad hotties for, um, research purposes, of course.
    In the meantime, her dear husband puts up with her talking to her characters and getting lost in worlds only she can imagine as she battles to bring stories to the page for everyone to enjoy.

    You can find Ann on Facebook here – https://bit.ly/2UUWaZW
    Her website – www.annbharrison.net
    Amazon page – https://amzn.to/2sX4wF5

  • Blog

    Today we welcome Louise Reynolds author of Miss Valentine’s Love Emporium for a Taste of Tuesday blog post


    Taste of Tuesday

    Miss Valentine's Love Emporium - CoverThanks for your welcome, Monique. It’s lovely to be here.

    When my thoughts turn to Valentine’s Day the first thing I think of is roses. But food always figures highly. Magazines are full of what to cook, more pink recipes than you can shake a stick at, and suggestions for the most romantic restaurants to dine at.

    There’s no doubt that food and sex, and by extension love, are inextricably linked. The experience of falling in love is tactile, using all the senses. Our scent receptors are as open to pheromones as to the aroma of beautifully cooked food. Both make our mouths water. And it’s unsurprising that we describe desirable physical characteristics in terms of food: peach or strawberry coloured lips, chestnut coloured hair, almond shaped eyes and cheeks like apples.

    On Valentine’s Day I enjoy cooking something special at home rather than dining out. I’ll push beyond my usual efforts, choose a special recipe or two and use the best ingredients I can find. I’ll pull out my best china and linen, light candles and make sure the table looks pretty. All of this shows care and love.

    Food abounds in my sweet Valentine’s Day novella, Miss Valentine’s Love Emporium. Lexie Valentine has been taken in and protected by the small town of Carter’s Crossing and on this special day each year she expresses her love for the townspeople by throwing a huge party in the vacant emporium she rents as a pop-up. In doing this she demonstrates her belief in love in the face of a traumatic past experience.
    Ethan Taylor is a world-weary big city divorce lawyer with a jaded view of love but he has been roped into taking his elderly grandmother to Lexie’s party. He arrives at the party, carrying his grandmother’s contribution:

    “At one end of the counter two tall stacks of mismatched floral plates were flanked by small buckets of cutlery, the old fashioned kind with bone handles buffed shiny with age. Piles of old linen napkins in cream and pastel shades, carefully starched and ironed, sat beside them. He placed the pavlova on the counter together with the other offerings. He’d forgotten the largesse of a country gathering. Not for them the large white platters holding wispy herbal fronds and miniscule pieces of food that he was served at smart city functions. The counter groaned with plates loaded with cakes and sandwiches, fruit platters and cheese boards.”

    May Valentine’s Day bring you flowers and delicious food but most of all love and happiness!
    You can follow Lexie and Ethan on their journey by selecting your favourite retailer here: https://books2read.com/u/49P6gM

    Louise ReynoldsAuthor bio
    Louise Reynolds is an author of contemporary romantic fiction.
    On receiving her library card at the age of six she borrowed her first book, an illustrated story about onions. Over the years she progressed from vegetables to romance. It was a logical step to take her love of romance novels to the next stage and tell her own stories.
    Set in both the city and Australia’s outback, her books have been described as warm and witty feel-good reads.

    Let’s connect on social media:

  • Blog

    Let’s talk Australia Day this Taste of Tuesday – or Australian supermarket treats


    Arnotts Tim TamsIf you’re not from Australia you may not be aware that January 26th is Australia Day. Australia day is to Australians what 4th of July is to Americans, or that’s the closest approximation I can make.

    Truthfully it marks the day Captain Cook landed in Australia, (This wasn’t such a great day for the indigenous Australians who were already living here because no one bothered to ask them if it would be okay if the English took over their country. No treaties were signed, no recompense was made. Until the white man came there was no disease here, they brought that with them. I digress).

    Australia Day is a hot day where people host bbq’s (cook outs), go to beachside picnics and enjoy the end of summer. (School goes back this same week but summer doesn’t officially end until the end of February but we all know that when school goes back it feels like an ending). Lots of citizenship ceremonies are held on Australia Day and the Australian of the Year is also announced.

    It’s a day when most Australian’s feel pretty bloody lucky to live in this country of ours.

    There are lots of things that people love about their home country, wherever it is, and food is a big one. So I’m going to share with you some classic Australian foods.

    That photo up the top is of Tim Tams. These are biscuits/cookies with a chocolate cream in the middle and then redipped in chocolate. They’re pretty wonderful. People who move abroad get homesick for the Tim Tam. A great way to enjoy them is to bite the end of and then suck your coffee or better yet your Irish coffee through the Tim Tam. This is known as a Tim Tam Explosion. You’ll thank me later.

    Most foreigners know of and fear our beloved Vegemite. A thick salty spread that is the by-product of beer manufacturing it is a truly acquired taste. You need to have it on toast with butter and then smeared sparingly on top, if you wish to adjust to this salty treat. The truth is Australians (who drink like fsh) have some of the highest Vitamin B levels in the world thanks to Vegemite.

    The Australian meat pie is another iconic choice. I shared a recipe for one last year around this time so you can make your own if you like.
    Of course the frozen foods section of our supermarkets have a lot of shelf space dedicated to the pie so if you find yourself down under you’ll be spoilt for choice. Perhaps you fancy a kangaroo pie just for something different.

    Tumblr now has whole sections asking if certain Australian foods ( and wildlife and language) are actually real. Well we really do have a very delicious ice-cream called a Golden Gaytime. These were the sorts of ice-creams that as a kid they were so expensive your parents never let you have one. You had a Paddle Pop or an icy-pole and your mum got a Gaytime.

    Here’s a sneak peek of the iconic TV commercial that states quite rightly “It’s so hard to have a Gaytime on your own.”

  • Blog

    Taste of Tuesday – an Aussie Meat Pie Recipe


    Four n Twenty Meat PieIn honour of my novella release this week I thought I would share a recipe for an Australian meat pie with you.

    I think most countries or cultures have some form of a pie or pasty be it an empanada , a Cornish pasty or a pot pie.

    In Australia we have local cake shops in every suburb that sell meat pies and sausage rolls. They are the ultimate take-away food. Long before the Colonel, Golden Arches or various pizza chains graced our shores in the 1970’s this was the food we ate. We enjoy them at sporting events in the same way an American might have a hot dog.

    (My dad has a sister who lives in LA. When they come to Australia my mother gets out the good silver and serves up Aussie meat pies to them at the dining room table. It’s the sort of food you dream about when you are far, far away.)

    In Any Way You Slice It, Piper the main character has a chain of food trucks that sell only pies and while she serves a variety of flavours, the classic meat pie is the corner stone of her business.

    This is a family pie that I make in a family sized pie plate but it can also be made as 4 individual pies if you have individual pie plates. This is one of my daughter’s family favourites.

    Australian Meat Pie – serves 4
    1 quantity of shortcrust pastry or one pie shell (I’ll post my recipe soon)
    olive oil
    2 small or 1 large onion diced
    500g beef mince
    1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
    2 tablespoons of soy sauce
    1 beef stock cube
    2 cups hot water
    2 tablespoons cornflour
    2 tablespoons water (extra)
    1 sheet puff pastry
    1 egg yolk.

    1. Heat oil in pan and add onions, cook stirring until soft. Add mice, cook stirring until browned.
    2. Stir in sauces, stock cube and water (I dissolve the stock cube in water first) simmer 15 minutes. Stir in cornflour and extra water. Stir over high heat until it boils and thickens. Cool.
    3. Grease a pie plate with butter or olive oil and roll pastry to fit pie plate. Cover pastry with baking paper, fill with dried beans or pie weights and bake in moderate oven 8 minutes. remove beans and cook a further 8 minutes.
    4. Fill pie shell with meat mixture. Brush edges or pastry with egg yolk and press puff pastry on top. Cut to fit. You can use any scraps to decorate. Brush pie with more egg yolk. Bake in oven 20-25 minutes until golden.


    Don’t forget Any Way You Slice It, An Upper Crust Novella will be out later this week.
    Any Way You Slice It - Upper Crust Novel - Monique McDonell - Original Cover

  • Blog

    Taste of Tuesday – great food themed books


    PastriesToday for Taste of Tuesday (a semi-regular meme here where I usually interview authors about the use of food in their novels) I thought I would instead talk about a few of my favourite books that feature food as a major theme. Today I’m sticking with some older books that have stayed with me over time.

    One of my all time favourites has to be Like Water for Chocolate. Interestingly it is one of the best book to movie adaptations I’ve seen as well. This book is so beautifully written with so much passion and so vivid. The book was written by a first time Mexican novelist Laura Esquivel.

    Part of what appealed to me about the book apart from the language was the way things were described. I actually love reading books from Mexico and from South America because the turn of phrase is so different from the dry Australian way of describing things.

    Here’s an example:

    “She felt so lost and lonely. One last chile in walnut sauce left on the platter after a fancy dinner couldn’t feel any worse than she did.”

    I also love the way the emotions are conveyed through cooking. It adds a whole different layer to the saying we use about the food in our house “you can taste the love.”

    Another classic book I love that has food themes is Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. I know this one was also another excellent movie but you really should read the book. Fannie has a real gift of creating a small town and making it real, even though the characters seem to be so quirky as to be unreal they’re very believable. I’ve read all her books including her most recent one just last week, and I love her writing.

    I love lots of things about this book which is essentially a story about love and friendship with some mystery thrown in. Mostly I love the theme that you can choose your own family and create your own if the one you have is lacking.

    Here is a recipe for fried green tomatoes should the urge hit you.


    Have you got a favourite food themed book that you often think about time and again?

  • Blog

    Taste of Tuesday with Modogomous author Karen. E Martin and a give-away!


    Karen E. MartinToday I’m joined for a holiday-themed Taste of Tuesday by the Karen E. Martin author of the newly released Modogomous.

    Taste of Tuesday Q&A

    Do you prefer sweet or savoury foods (i.e. cheese or chocolate)?
    Savory, all the way. (Sorry, American spelling throughout!) I like sweets, but I’d much rather have the main course than dessert. I’m the same at breakfast. I can’t do sweets for breakfast; it just doesn’t stick with me. I’ll take a plate of bacon and eggs any day over pancakes and syrup. But whatever it is, DO give me coffee with it! Lol…

    Red wine or white? (Wine obviously) White, please! If I’m just having a stand-alone drink, I love nice Riesling. Sweets, I’ll take a Moscato or Gewurztraminer. And with dinner, either a classic Pinot Grigio or a Chardonnay. I like red wines, too, but they give me a headache if I drink them alone. With a meal, though, is just fine. I can always take a good red Zin, a Cabernet Sauvignon, or a Pinot Noir. (Yes, I frickin’ love wine. I’ve been to more wine-tastings than I can count!)

    Do you have a favourite food memory?
    Cooking sessions at my grandmother’s house, twice a year. Once, at the end of summer for canning season, when my Uncle Ray would buy bushels and bushels of tomatoes and make dozens of quarts of the best tomato soup I’ve ever had (you can find a post about that and a recipe here). And then again at Thanksgiving, when the women of the family would gather to make our traditional meal together. The gals do the cooking and the guys do the washing up! We take pictures every year, as it’s such a rare sight to see. 😉

    Does food feature in your novel(s)?
    Indeed! Many of the scenes take place over a shared meal, whether it’s at a Mom-and-Pop type diner, or just a bag of Chinese take-out. One of the characters, Mitch, is quite known for his sweet tooth, too.

    What recipe are you sharing with us and why?
    One of my mom’s classic comfort dishes, “Mary Ellen’s Hamburger Skillet Stew.” This was a staple for us growing up, and a dish mom often made when we were home from college for the winter holidays. To me, this recipe definitely says, “The family is together again!” I hope you enjoy the recipe.

    Mary Ellen’s Hamburger Skillet Stew

    For the meatballs:

    1 lb. ground beef

    1 cup chopped onion

    1 egg

    1 cup fine bread crumbs

    1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

    1 teaspoon salt (or less, if desired))

    1 teaspoon pepper

    1 cup tomato soup (not condensed)*

    Combine ingredients and shape into 16 meatballs. Brown in a deep skillet with the shortening.

    For the skillet:

    2 tablespoons shortening (Crisco)

    1 large onion, diced

    4 carrots, cut into 1 inch slices

    2 potatoes, diced

    2 cups green beans (or other veggies of your choice)

    1 cup water

    1 cup tomato soup (not condensed)*

    Optional: 1 tablespoon flour

    Once meatballs are browned, add the remaining ingredients to the skillet. Simmer for 1 hour, thickening with flour if desired. Serves four…and the meatballs make great sandwiches, too!

    *Traditionally, we used Uncle Ray’s home-canned tomato soup for this recipe.

    Modogamous - Karen E. Martin - CoverModogomous by Karen E. Martin

    Kate Adams has it all figured out. Five years out of college, she’s got a steady job, a home she loves in the big city, and good friends who always keep her laughing: her stylish but nosy roommate Evette, happily-married Cecie, and of course, good old Mitch, her seriously cute co-worker who’s been stuck in the Friend Zone since the day they met.

    Everything is going just fine—until the night Kate crosses the line with Mitch, and the boundaries between friendship and love begin to blur. Things get even more complicated when hunky JP enters the scene. What’s a girl to do? Add to the mix a spunky little pug Kate never expected to fall for, and her neatly-ordered life is starting to look more like a dog’s dinner. Maybe her roommate has the right idea after all: forget the men, and stick with a canine companion instead.

    It’s time for Kate to figure out what she really wants in life. But can she dig her way out of the mess she’s created before she ends up permanently in the doghouse?





    Author Contact Info:

    You can contact the author on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, GoodReads, and on her blogabout writing, publishing, and literature.

    Author Bio:

    Karen E. Martin, M.Ed. is a full-time freelance writer/editor. She has been in the publishing business since 2004, working on books and publications for major and independent publishers, universities, businesses, and private individuals. Prior to entering the field of publishing, Ms. Martin worked as a Senior EFL Fellow (English as a Foreign Language) for the U.S. Department of State in Romania, a Junior EFL Fellow for the U.S. Department of State in Jordan, and a teacher-trainer for the U.S Peace Corps in Mauritania, Jordan, Romania, and Morocco. Ms. Martin served as a Peace Corps volunteer for two years, teaching English in the Errachidia Province of Morocco. This is Ms. Martin’s first novel.

    Buy Links

    Modogomous now available on Amazon or Smashwords

    About the Giveaway:
    Join the Modogamous Holiday Hop Giveaway to win a fabulous Swag Pack full of prizes! The Swag Pack winner will receive a signed copy of the paperback, tote bag, coffee mug, Christmas ornament, and more! Additional prizes include a copy of the e-book, a signed paperback, and a limited edition, signed art print of the book’s cover art.


  • Blog

    Taste of Tuesday – why chick lit is like French Onion Dip, in a good way!


    French Onion DipI’ve recently returned from the Romance Writers of Australia Conference in Perth. Even though I’m Australian Perth still is a long-haul. (Did you know it was the most isolated city in the world? Probably not.)

    And do you know what is more isolating than being in Perth?

    The answer is -being a chick lit author at a romance conference where ‘everyone’ says chick lit is dead, especially when you don’t believe it is.

    Especially when you must answer the women at the conference, not the publishers or the powers that be, but other authors when they ask you what you write.

    “I write chick lit but that you can’t call it chick lit that you have to call it women’s fiction,” said I.

    And they said “Why?”

    And I said. “Apparently no one reads it anymore. I was told that last year and the year before too.”

    And to a one they say “But I love chick lit.”

    It’s a conundrum to be in a room where you’re being told what you write is out of fashion and yet you’re surrounded by people who say they like it. It’s harder still when you love it yourself.

    Chick lit was like the French onion dip of the conference. It’s not very trendy, you won’t see it on a menu anywhere because it’s been pushed aside by hummus and guacamole and even beetroot dip but still there’s barely a woman who when left alone with some French onions dip and crackers won’t take a bite. Not only that she’ll have another dip. She may even find herself embarrassed by the fact that she ate the whole bowl and loved it.

    She may even find herself grabbing a small tub at the supermarket next time she’s there because she forgot how much she really enjoyed it and how much she had missed it.

    Now she may not serve it up on Saturday night (or in the case of the book, recommend her whole book club reads it) but she will enjoy it.

    I think that’s chick lit right now. It’s not widely available or celebrated but people do like it. It’s not trendy but people still read it.

    You know why that is? To my mind at least, it is because chick lit books are about women trying to find themselves in this crazy world with the help (or hindrance) of friends their friends, family, co-workers and lovers.

    That’s also the story of every woman who was at the Romance Writers of Australia Conference. They were an amazing, wonderful, vibrant group of women who were busy making new friends, building careers while trying to balance family and work. They were trying to find their way, where they fit in and how they could move forward on their journey.

    I didn’t hear anyone talking about their own boyfriends or lovers or needing men to complete them. They were talking about their jobs, balancing that with their families and trying to become their full and happy selves (or happier because there were some gloriously happy people in that room).

    That’s why I believe chick lit (and French onion dip) can both survive because we enjoy them and they are a part of our own stories, even if we may not always admit it.

    (If you would like to come over for a Jatz cracker, some French onion dip and to borrow a book, do let me know!)

    Deborah Nam-Krane
    8/19/2013 08:35:15 pm

    I would totally come over for crackers and dip if you and I lived close by!

    And I think that’s it exactly- chick lit isn’t dead, but it isn’t trendy like it was a few years ago. Oh well. I think the same can be said for certain kinds of mysteries- and yet people still read them.

    Keep writing what works for you- the internet is filled with stories of writers who started writing to be trendy and are miserable.
    Ainslie Paton
    8/19/2013 08:50:20 pm

    Nice one, Mon. Don’t they say, don’t write to where the market is because it will have moved before you get there? Well, that.
    Louise Wise
    8/19/2013 11:49:15 pm

    Grrrr it annoys me when I hear people (usually literary snobs) say chick lit is dead. Of course it isn’t. Give me onion dip over the hummus any day!
    Great post!
    Anne R.Allen
    8/20/2013 02:20:12 am

    Chick lit is alive and kicking her stilettos! It’s just got to be called rom-com now. But with a new Bridget Jones coming out this fall, I think chick lit will be able to speak its name again. Some people do hate it. I’ve got a troll attack on my bestselling chick lit boxed set right now. People keep giving it one stars because they say my heroine is stupid. No. People who don’t understand an unreliable narrator are stupid. And you could say that of every comic heroine from Lucy Ricardo to Bridget Jones. But they’ve knocked me down to three stars, so I guess they think they’ve killed chick lit.
    8/20/2013 08:53:23 am

    I don’t understand why some people see the need to spend their time in destruction when to be productive and creative (like us) is so much more rewarding.
    8/20/2013 08:52:16 am

    I agree you have to write what you enjoy and you have to write the story you want to write and hope it finds it’s audience.

  • Blog

    Taste of Tuesday – with Serena form Alphabet Dating


    Alphabet Dating CoverToday I thought I’d do a twist on my usual Taste of Tuesday feature and interview Serena the main character in Alphabet Dating which will be out next week!
    First of all Serena please tell us a little bit about yourself:
    Ok, Monique. I’m an ex-pat Australian living in New York. I work as a book reviewer though I am also writing my own novel, very slowly. I also have a crazy bunch of friends who came up with a hair-brained scheme they called The Alphabet Dating Plan. It means I have to go on 26 dates in one month, one for every letter of the alphabet!

    1. Do you prefer sweet or savoury foods (i.e. cheese or chocolate)?
    Oh definitely savoury! I mean I won’t say no to a Tim Tam but give me a cheese plate any day.

    2. Red wine or white? (Wine obviously)
    Actually I rather like a nice French champagne.

    3. Do you have a favourite food memory?
    My family and I have lived all over the world so I have lots of amazing food memories but after I had a car accident a few years back I have developed an obsession with soups. I find them nurturing and so comforting.

    4. Does food feature in your novel(s)?
    Food features quite a bit in Alphabet Dating. It’s hard to go on so many dates and not eat! There’s also my obsession with soups and a Thanksgiving feast in the book so plenty for the food lovers.

    5. What recipe are you sharing with us and why?

    I’m sharing a recipe for Carrot Soup. It’s super simple, inexpensive and very yummy.

    Carrot Soup
    1 tablespoon butter
    1 onion diced
    3 rashers of bacon, diced
    1 teaspoon of dill.
    500g carrots, peeled and sliced
    250ml chicken stock or veggie
    100ml cream

    1. Melt butter in saucepan and soften onion slowly.
    2. Add bacon and stir till just cooked.
    3. Add carrots, dill, s &p.
    4. Add stock to cover carrots (if not quite enough add some water). Simmer until carrots soften.
    5. Puree in a blender or with a stick blender.
    6. Stir through cream.
    7. Enjoy!

    Alphabet Dating will be out soon

  • Blog

    Taste of Tuesday with Susan Buchanan


    The Dating Game - Susan Buchanan - Cover1. Do you prefer sweet or savoury foods (i.e. cheese or chocolate)?

    Too difficult to choose. I have a sweet tooth, but if you told me I could never eat cheese again, I would be in floods of tears. One of the things I am missing because of being pregnant is being able to eat Dolcelatte, Cambazola (my favourite) and generally blue cheeses, which I love.
    2. Red wine or white? (Wine obviously) – like both, but in recent years have developed a taste particularly for Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. I can’t see past it!
    3. Do you have a favourite food memory? – Not really just one. I have a least-favourite – which is my foolishly telling my mum I liked Findus Crispy Pancakes and her basically giving them every other meal for 2 years, despite my protests!

    I suppose eating pumpkin ravioli in this amazing restaurant in Verona, chosen by my distributor (I worked for Digital Equipment back then) is very high up the list, as is eating farinata, a precursor to pizza, in Turin are a few of the best ones. My best food memories I suppose are mainly linked to Italian food in Italy!

    4. Does food feature in your novel(s)?
    Oh yes! In Sign of the Times, the novel starts in Italy and I have had many reviews saying the reader loved the description of the food, it was mouth-watering and they were starving after reading it! The Dating Game, by its very nature, sees Gill go on a series of dates, many involving fine dining restaurants. Plus she jets off to Barcelona with her friends, so tapas is covered as well a Catalan food in quite a lot of detail. In, fact, in my new novel, What If, it’s the first time there won’t be so much food detail.

    5. What recipe are you sharing with us and why?
    Chorizo and butifarra negra in a spicy tomato sauce. Rarely do I find that tapas restaurants in the UK equal or are even close to those in Spain, but one of my favourite tapas restaurants, a small chain, does the most amazing version of this. It’s hearty and ideal for a winter’s day. Butifarra negra is the Spanish equivalent of the Scottish black pudding. Not a good idea to have to many of these, as it’s tantamount to a heart attack on a plate, but every so often!

    Chorizo and butifarra negra in a spicy tomato sauce

    100g black pudding (doesn’t really matter whether sliced or not, but probably the non-sliced one works better for this)
    100g good chorizo ( you can buy cheap stuff, but it will taste cheap, nasty and grizzly – pay the extra!)
    tin of tomatoes (chopped or sliced, or even a passata carton)
    1/2-1 red chilli depending on how hot you like it. Don’t slice it, just put it in, as you will be removing it at the

    Mince the black pudding and chorizo up by chopping really finely or passing through a mincer (should you have one – I don’t!) Then fry it in a little olive oil until cooked through. Shouldn’t take long as minced.

    In a separate pan prepare the tomato and chilli- pour your tomatoes in, cutting up any large pieces, add the chilli, bring to the boil and then simmer for around 25 minutes.

    Add the chorizo and black pudding to the sauce and heat through for a further five minutes.

    Remove the intact chilli.

    Serve with good crusty bread and enjoy

    NB: if you leave any of this, there is something seriously wrong with you (unless of course you know in advance you don’t like black pudding!)

    The Dating Game
    Workaholic recruitment consultant, Gill McFadden, is sick of her friends trying to match-make for her. Up until now her love life has been a disaster and she’s going through a drier spell than the Sahara desert.

    She realises she has to act, as work keeps piling up and at this rate she will have retired before she has time for a relationship.

    Seeing an ad on a bus one day, she decides to visit Happy Ever After dating agency. She quickly discovers men are like buses. They all come along at once. Unsure what her type is, Gill decides to keep her options open. Soon she has problems juggling her social life as well as her work diary. Will she ever strike the right balance?

    Before long she is experiencing laughs, lust and… could it be love? But like everything in Gill’s life, nothing is straightforward and she ends up wondering exactly who she can trust.
    As they headed back towards the car park, he kissed behind Gill’s ear and said, ‘We don’t have to go back, you know.’

    Gill stared at him. Being outside had made the alcohol she had drunk treble in effect. Her head was starting to spin, whether from the booze or the company, she couldn’t quite make up her mind.

    ‘How do you mean?’

    ‘I booked a suite, just in case you wanted to stay.’

    ‘You what?’ Gill tried for indignant, but it didn’t quite come out that way, as she was privately a little impressed.

    ‘No pressure. I just took the precaution in case we were having so nice a time, we didn’t want to drive back tonight.
    What do you think?’

    What did she think? She wasn’t sure – although a lie down sounded like a great idea at the moment.
    She really shouldn’t have drunk so much wine.

    You can find Susan and her books at the following places:

    Twitter – @susan_buchanan
    – The Dating Game Amazon UK

    – The Dating Game Amazon US and other .com sites

    Amazon author page

    Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4216164.Susan_Buchanan


    Samantha Stroh bailey
    2/11/2013 10:58:53 pm

    One of the things I love most about Susan’s books are the mouth watering descriptions of food. Amazing interview! You had me at chorizo.

  • Blog

    Taste of Tuesday with author Anne R. Allen


    Food of Love - Anne R Allen - CoverDo you prefer sweet or savoury foods (ie cheese or chocolate)?
    Mostly savoury. Unless it’s chocolate. Dark chocolate. Then stay out of my way.

    2. Red wine or white?
    Yes, thanks. (LOL.)

    3. Do you have a favourite food memory?
    When I was a kid, my mother used to do a lot of entertaining for my father’s colleagues at a prestigious Ivy League University. She made elaborate desserts she’d never serve to the family.

    So I’d hang around hoping somebody wouldn’t take a dessert and I’d help clear the table and scarf the leftovers as soon as I got to the kitchen. My favorite was the chocolate angel pie I’ve got the recipe for here.

    4. Does food feature in your novel(s)?
    Very much. Especially in Food of Love. It’s all about dieting and how women are united by the pressure to diminish ourselves by starvation. (Which creates cravings many researchers believe are one of the major causes of obesity.)

    I have a scene where Princess Regina, a former supermodel married to the ruler of a small European principality, has
    been running from an unknown assassin and is now lying wounded on the edge of a cliff in California. She comes to the realization that the killer may have been hired by her husband.

    There was no getting around it now. She was married to a monster.

    The horror of it, and the enormity of the lie she’d been living all these years fell upon Regina like a weight, pressing her deeper into the cold earth. All that irrational hate. Why did Max hate her? Because she was a woman? Because she had
    desired him? Because she was fat?

    That was it.

    Of course. She was fat. Everyone hated a fat woman. All that uncontrolled female flesh, hanging out for all to see. Fat was the worst shame of all. It proclaimed its own guilt, its own wicked self-pleasuring.

    To be fat was the ultimate sin of the flesh in the contemporary world, worse than drug addiction, illicit sex, thievery, or the occasional hacking to death of an ex-wife and her lover. One had only to glance at the tabloids. Any retired actress or model could be pilloried mercilessly for the sin of fat. It was the irredeemable scandal, the most humiliating possible disgrace. Better to be dead.

    To be dead. She rolled over on her side and looked out at the ocean, listening to it roar. A few more rolls, and she’d be over the side. Part of that ocean. One with the universe. Gone. No longer a hungry, lustful, useless fat woman.

    Why not? The funeral was already planned. The Vice President of the United States would be there.

    And as she stared down over the cliff, and the roar of the sea grew louder, she felt strangely light and free. She made one more roll toward the edge and looked down at the dark water and frothy waves. Like chocolate and whipped cream. Like Leona’s Chocolate Angel Pie.


    It had been so long since Regina had let herself eat real chocolate, and she’d left the clinic before getting Nigel’s Cadbury bar. How long before that had she been surviving on boring, fat-free food, carefully prepared by the well-meaning Titiana? Months? Years? But even with the hunger, the boredom, and the weary hours spent in the exercise room, she kept getting fatter, her glacial metabolism programmed to survive on nothing from the years of anorexia. What did she have to look forward to if she lived, but more suffering, more fat, and more of the endless humiliation in the

    She wasn’t sure she believed in heaven, but if there was one, she knew they would have chocolate there.

    5. What recipe are you sharing with us and why?
    Regina has a recurring fantasy about the Chocolate Angel Pie made in a bakery in Boston by her friend’s mom, Leona. This is the recipe, with a little Amaretto added. (Because Regina tends to drink it by the tumblerful.)

    Amaretto Chocolate Angel Pie

    2 egg whites (I use the EggBeaters kind in the little carton. Never been good at separating
    1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
    1/4 cup sugar

    1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
    2 Tbsp Amaretto
    2 Tbsp strong dark-roast coffee (or 4 if you want to skip the Amaretto.)
    2 cups heavy whipping cream

    Place egg whites in a small bowl and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Add cream of tartar and beat on
    medium speed until you get soft peaks. Gradually beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, on high until soft glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved. Spread evenly into a well-greased 9-in. pie pan. Bake at 275° for 50 minutes. Cool on
    a wire rack.

    For the filling, melt chocolate in microwave; stir until smooth. Stir in Amaretto, coffee and vanilla. Cool to room temperature.

    In a chilled small bowl, beat cream into soft peaks. Fold (a little over) half into chocolate mixture. Pour into the
    meringue shell. Refrigerate, for several hours before serving. Top with reserved whipped cream. Yield: 6-8

    Anne R. Allen is a former actress and stage director who lives on the Central Coast of California. She’s the author of six romantic-comedy mysteries, including FOOD OF LOVE. Her newest is NO PLACE LIKE HOME.

    Until the end of February 2013, her mystery, SHERWOOD, LTD is FREE on KOBOand Smashwords. It is also available in paperback from Amazon.

    It’s inspired by Anne’s own misadventures with her first publishers, an outlaw band of Englishmen following their own self-styled Robin Hood.

    She has written a guidebook for authors with Catherine Ryan Hyde (author of the iconic novel Pay it Forward.) HOW
    She shares an award-winning blog with NYT bestselling author Ruth Harris at Anne R. Allen’s Blog…with Ruth Harris

    Anne’s Author page at Amazon.com


    Anne R. Allen
    2/5/2013 11:04:23 am

    Thanks so much for hosting me for your Taste of Tuesday! You can’t really get drunk on the chocolate amaretto pie, but I have friends who claim it makes them giddy. (Leave out the amaretto for your teetotalling friends.)