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  • Blog

    Taste of Tuesday with Imelda Evans author of Rules are for Breaking

    1/28/2013

    Imelda Evans1. Do you prefer sweet or savoury foods (ie cheese or chocolate)?
    I am more of a savoury-toothed tiger, ESPECIALLY if the savoury food in question is cheese. Squoodgy camembert, crumbly chedder, glowering Stilton – the stuff that dreams are made of!

    2. Red wine or white? (wine obviously)

    Do I have to choose? Red, if I have to. Goes better with cheese! And steak. Even salmon, oddly enough.

    3. Do you have a favourite food memory?
    Many! But one was definitely the first time I went to a very flash restaurant. I had been inveigled into going by a persuasive friend who offered to pay for the Dom Perignon. We were both students and emphatically could not afford it, but we blew the dough and had a whale of a time. My favourite part of the meal was having steak tartare, mixed at the table by a gloriously flattering waiter who buttered us up by saying that it wasn’t often that he had lady gourmets in the restaurant.

    We knew it was a line, but we were having so much fun that we didn’t care!

    4. Does food feature in your novel(s)?
    I doubt I could write a story that doesn’t feature food in some way or another.
    It’s too much a part of life. The heroine in Rules are for Breaking, Jo, isn’t much of a cook, so she
    is very susceptible to being wooed with food and Declan (the hero) takes full advantage of that weakness!

    5. What recipe are you sharing with us and why?
    I’m giving you my recipe for gluten-free brownies because, although I generally prefer savoury, it’s great to have something sweet around for visitors. This recipe makes two pans worth, but don’t let that put you off as they freeze really well and are delicious.

    Gluten-free brownies
    Ingredients
    375gr unsalted butter
    375gr good quality dark chocolate*
    6 large eggs
    1 Tbsp vanilla essence (yes, tablespoon. Big recipe)
    500gr caster sugar (or normal white sugar is fine)
    225gr gluten-free all-purpose flour (or regular plain flour for non-gluten-free)
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 bag white choc chips (choc bits) (approx 250gr)

    Method
    Preheat the oven to 180C and get out two slice pans. If you don’t have any, you can use a roasting tin. Line both base and sides with baking paper, leaving an overhang on both sides.

    Melt the butter in a large pyrex bowl (or similar – do not use plastic for this, the butter will destroy it) in the microwave. While it is melting, break or chop up the chocolate. When it is melted, stir in the chocolate until it is melted. (You can also do this over simmering water in a pan if you like.)

    Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla together in another bowl. (You can use a hand whisk. It’s not hard.) Then beat this mixture into the chocolate mixture. This will take a little work as the mixture is big now, but you can still do it by hand!

    If you did the butter and chocolate mixture on the stove, let it cool a bit before adding the eggs and sugar. If you did it in the microwave, it will have cooled down as the chocolate melted, so you don’t need to wait – an advantage of the microwave method!

    Measure the flour and salt into a sieve and sift over the chocolate mixture, then beat it in. When the mixture is combined, stir through the choc chips.

    Pour into your prepared (lined) pan. You will probably need to spread it out, as it is a dense, slow-flowing mixture. Don’t worry too much about pushing it into the corners, though. It will settle itself.

    Bake for 25 minutes. When it is ready, the top will be pale brown and cracking, but the insides will still be gooey. I found 25 minutes was exactly right. Don’t overcook them. You don’t want them to be dry. If you think they’re really undercooked, give them another five minutes and look again.

    These are much easier to cut if you let them cool completely before cutting. I usually make them the day before, but if I am running late, I wait until the pan is cool enough then stick the whole thing in the freezer to get cold before cutting. You can lift the uncut brownie out of the pan before putting it in the freezer, but if it is still hot, it will probably crack.

    These are magnificent warm, with cream, for desert, at room temperature for a soft, chewy afternoon tea, or chilled or even frozen for lunchboxes. The flavour and texture varies according to the temperature and experimenting is fun!

    This recipe is based on one in Nigella Lawson’s Domestic Goddess Cookbook, adjusted to be nut and
    gluten-free.
    Gluten-Free Brownies
    Gluten-Free Brownies on a plate

    Rules are for Breaking - Imelda Evans - Cover
    Links are as follows:

    Destiny Site:
    http://www.destinyromance.com/products/9781742538020/rules-are-breaking
    Amazon:
    http://www.amazon.com/Rules-Are-For-Breaking-ebook/dp/B009HLTXWO
    Kobo:
    http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Rules-Are-For-Breaking/book-VNs_BPsCAk-Yr0zyIPe9VQ/page1.html
    iTunes:
    https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/rules-are-for-breaking/id566176308?mt=11
    Google Play:
    https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Imelda_Evans_Rules_Are_For_Breaking?id=aoYO5vO2GzcC&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsImJvb2stYW9ZTzV2TzJHemNDIl0.

    This is my excerpt. It’s not food-related, sadly. Those bits didn’t excerpt very well. This is the first time that Jo sees Declan – only she doesn’t know it is Declan at the time…

    In reply, Kate grabbed her hand and spun her around so that she was looking out of the large front window of the gallery.
    ‘Okay, Jo, if you’re so over men, tell me what you see.’
    Parked in the space right outside the window was a hulking four-wheel drive, but Jo knew that the car wasn’t what Kate was asking her to look at. No, Kate was talking about the man who was standing with his back to them, reaching into the back seat. His rear view was certainly worth looking at. From their seated position, they had a direct line of sight to his bum – and it was a bum of superlative cuteness. He was leaning forward just enough for the fabric of his faded jeans to mould over the sweetest, roundest butt cheeks Jo had seen in a long time.
    Jo felt her breath shorten as she ogled the hard muscle of his behind. Then her eyes strayed to where the worn fabric stretched over a thigh that looked firm enough to bounce golf balls off, and she felt her fingers twitch involuntarily with the urge to test that hardness first-hand.

    Then he straightened up, and gave her the full benefit of his upper body. If she had had any doubts before, they were put to rest now. This was a man who had either been unfairly blessed in the muscle department, or who worked out. A lot. He wasn’t excessively tall – only a couple of centimetres taller than she was. But since she stood just shy of six foot herself, that was enough. Any more height might have diluted the effect of the broad shoulders, the muscular upper arms, the perfect inverted triangle of his back… Jo stopped her mental checklist.

    Forget about Declan. This guy was her type. The type it never worked with, true; the type she had nothing in common with, but who never failed to raise her blood pressure and make her rush in where sense and experience should tell her to run in the other direction. Against her better judgement, Jo found herself licking her lips and, before she could stop herself, she let out a heartfelt ‘Phwoar!’

    2012 Finalist Autralian Romance Readers AwardsImelda is an ARRA Finalist for 2012.

    Comment

    Imelda Evans
    1/28/2013 12:23:02 pm

    Thank you for having me, Monique! Nothing I like better than talking books and food!

  • Blog

    Taste of Tuesday with author Patsy Collins

    1/15/2013

    A Year And A Day - Patsy Collins - Copy1. Do you prefer sweet or savoury foods (ie cheese or chocolate)?
    What d’you mean by ‘or’? I’m having both.

    2. Red wine or white? (wine obviously)
    See above.

    3. Do you have a favourite food memory?
    It has to be the fabulous chocolate cake we had for our wedding (July 2012).

    4. Does food feature in your novel(s)?
    Absolutely. It features in all the ones I’ve written so far and is likely to be in all future ones. That’s not just because it’s my favourite part of the research either.

    The things we eat say quite a bit about us, don’t they? How much we
    eat, where we get it, how we prepare it (or have someone prepare it for us) any allergies, foods we avoid for cultural/emotional/religious reasons and who we share our food with all reveal aspects of our character.

    5. What recipe are you sharing with us and why?
    Rather rashly I thought I’d have a bash at making apricot florentines. I love them and they’re made by Daphne, one of my main characters, for a party at an Italian restaurant. Unlike her I’m not a chef

    Apricot Florentines
    Melt 1 oz butter in a pan. Stir in 1/2 oz of plain flour. Keeping on a gentle heat stir in 2 1\2 fl oz of single cream. Once you’ve got a kind of gloopy sauce, add 3 oz of soft brown sugar, about 20 chopped dried apricots and 4 oz flaked almonds (other dried fruit or nuts could be used if you prefer)

    Spoon this onto a greaseproof paper covered tray and bash flat (Flatter than mine – I thought they’d spread out more on their own) Cook in a hot oven until golden (about 10 mins) Leave on the tray for a few minutes, then slide the paper onto a cool surface.

    Once the florentines are cool you can decorate with white or dark chocolate. Or maybe some of each.

    Apricot Florentines

    Excerpt – A Year and A Day

    The waiter appeared to ask if they’d like to see the dessert menu. Luigi’s, “but of course,” soon made Stella forget about past irritations and concentrate instead on forthcoming pleasure.
    “I’m going for the mango creme brulee. Creamy and toffee-ey and almost one of my five a day.”
    “You eat five desserts a day?” Luigi asked.
    She’d started explaining the government’s healthy eating advice before she saw he was teasing her.
    When the waiter offered coffee Luigi further went up in Stella’s estimation by saying, “Please and my friend will require plenty of cream and chocolates with hers.”

    blog link

    http://patsy-collins.blogspot.co.uk/
    facebook –
    http://www.facebook.com/PatsyCollins.writer

    You can find A Year and a Day at
    UK
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Year-Day-ebook/dp/B00B0OWHQU/ref=la_B004O08LRQ_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1358154877&sr=1-9
    US
    http://www.amazon.com/A-Year-Day-ebook/dp/B00B0OWHQU/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1358281423&sr=1-3&keywords=Patsy+Collins

    Comments

    patsy
    1/15/2013 06:39:14 pm

    Thanks so much for inviting me over, Monique!

    Susan
    1/17/2013 02:56:47 am

    Apricots and almonds are my favourites, oh Patsy I’m going to make these soon…
    Reply
    Patsy
    1/18/2013 01:24:45 am

    You won’t be disappointed!

  • Blog

    Taste of Tuesday with Francine LaSala

    1/7/2013

    Francine LaSala1. Do you prefer sweet or savoury foods (ie cheese or
    chocolate)?
    I’m going to have to savory for the most part, with the occasional sweet tossed in.

    2. Red or white? (wine obviously)
    Sort of in love with both, but it really depends on the time of year (I’m more about the red in the wintertime) and what I’m eating…or if I’m eating. Because if I’m meeting a friend out for a glass of wine, white for sure. Sancerre at the top of the list, Chardonnay as a last resort.

    3. Do you have a favourite food memory?
    How Proustian! I do tend to connect food with pleasure a lot so this was tough. Probably at the top of my list was on my honeymoon. My husband and I went to the Caribbean and one of the stops was St. Barts. If you know anything about St. Barts, you know you’re not getting a cheeseburger in paradise” for less than 40 bucks a pop, so we decided to splurge on something special instead. We had lunch at a small cafe right on the dock. A crisp bottle of Sancerre (naturally!), a yummy green salad, and a small platter of grilled sardines, which, from that part of the world, are just to die for. That silly, decadent “snack” of a meal cost us over 200 euro, but we’ve never regretted it!

    4. Does food feature in your novel(s)?
    In the excerpt I’m sharing, a luscious food brings back a wonderful memory. I haven’t done as much of this
    incorporating food with fiction as I’d like, which is odd because I’m a real foodie. And others have done it so well, especially Eileen Goudge. Maybe for the next book!

    5. What recipe are you sharing with us and why?
    I have never made a chocolate mousse as exquisite as the one Jack whips up for Mina (in my excerpt), but I have made a fair amount of crème brûlée. As it’s still French, I think the Dark Chocolate Crème Brûlée I’m sharing with you here is good substitute! You don’t need a torch to make crème brûlée but I have to say, it’s much more fun with a torch. This one (from Epicurious.com) just calls for broiler in your oven but it’s still fun to make–and much more fun to eat. Especially for romantic dinners. Enjoy! 🙂

    Dark Chocolate Crème Brûlée
    Makes 8 servings

    2 cups whipping cream
    2 cups half and half
    8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
    8 large egg yolks
    1/3 cup plus 8 tablespoons sugar

    Preheat oven to 300°F.

    Bring cream and half and half to boil in heavy large saucepan. Reduce heat to low. Add chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Remove from heat.

    Whisk yolks and 1/3 cup sugar in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in hot chocolate mixture. Strain. Divide custard among eight 3/4-cup custard cups.

    Place cups in large baking pan. Add enough hot water to pan to come halfway up sides of cups. Bake until custards are set, about 50 minutes. Remove from water; chill 2 hours. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

    Preheat broiler.

    Sprinkle each custard with 1 tablespoon sugar. Broil until sugar turns golden, watching closely to avoid burning, about 3 minutes.

    Refrigerate until custards are set, 1 to 2 hours.

    (From www.epicurious.com, first printed in Bon Appétit March 1996)

    The Girl, The Gold Tooth & Everything - Francine LaSala - CoverExcerpt From The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything

    by Francine LaSala

    “Come on, take another bite,” he urged.
    She squished the chocolate around in her mouth as more images started popping up for her. “We were sitting in a cafe. A cafe on the river. A man was…juggling?”
    “Yes…”
    “And then, another man, he drew our picture?”
    Jack now had tears in his eyes. “Hang on, I’ll be right back,” he said, and he jumped up from the table and headed for the basement. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a key. “Keep eating!”

    Mina took the spoon in her hand and stirred the smooth mousse around on her plate. The cafe. The river. The juggler. The painter. All as real for her as the mousse in her bowl. All a part of her, now coming back.

    Jack raced back into the kitchen, a package under his arm. “What about the painting? Anything coming back to you about that?”
    “It’s not a painting, is it? A caricature. Yes, that’s right.”
    “And….”
    She closed her eyes. She smiled. “We’re wearing formal wear, hanging from the Eiffel Tower like King Kong and Fay Wray… A tuxedo on you. A wedding gown on me. My hair pulled up in bun. A beaded bodice…”
    Jack produced the package, carefully wrapped in brown paper, and tore it open for her. “Is this what you see? Is this what you remember?”
    The drawing was exactly as she had remembered it, in all its comic absurdity. “He made me King Kong,” she pouted.
    “You were a little curt with him. I think he was getting back at you.”
    “Ah,”she said, and she stared at the drawing, the first stirrings of her memory finally returning. She noticed a necklace drawn around her throat and pulled the image toward her to take a closer look.
    “What is it?” Jack asked, and Mina absently clutched at her throat.
    “A pendant,” she said. “A dragonfly?” Jack looked panicked and tried to snatch the drawing back, but she held on to it too tightly. “My necklace?” she asked, the fingers of her other hand at her throat as if the pendant was something she always wore and had suddenly lost without realizing until now. “What happened to my necklace?”
    Jack was silent. He looked away.
    “What?”
    “Sweetie, I’m sorry. I can’t tell you that.”
    “But the dragonfly. It means something. Something important, I’m sure. The other day, in the park. In my notebook. I started sketching a dragonfly. It means something to me.”
    “Dr. Barsheed….”
    “Forget Dr. Barsheed. I need to know. Jack, please. I need to know why.”
    Jack took her face in his hands and kissed her gently. “You’ll figure it out. I know you will. But not now,” he said, and he kissed her again. “Try and stay focused on Paris, on what you remember.”
    Mina sighed. “Our honeymoon. The hotel. La Villa Maillot. The room key with the red tassel. The odd golden wallpaper in the room. The tiny bed…”
    Jack pulled her close and kissed her more passionately now. “Yes, the bed. Let’s hear more about the bed,” he whispered, his hot breath on her neck seeming to melt her clothes away.
    “We spent a lot of time in that bed, didn’t we?” she said, and she pulled him in to a deep sensuous kiss. “We didn’t see much of the city at all, did we?” she said, and then gasped as he ran his lips across her ear, the edge of her chin, the side of her neck.
    “We’re not going to make it to the bed,” he said, and he lifted her off her chair and carried her into the living room, where he lay her gently on the floor. She looked up at him as he kneeled over her, unbuttoning his shirt, then helping her out of hers and her bra.
    He lay down next to her, running his fingertips up and down her exposed torso, gliding across her breasts, gently grazing her nipples. “Oh Mina, you’re so beautiful. Do you know that? Look at this body of yours. Look how amazing you are.”
    He rolled on top of her, kissing her with equal parts tenderness and passion. Hungrily, he peeled off the rest of her clothes and his and she nearly exploded when he entered her. The whole time he lay nearly flat on top of her, their faces, their mouths, never apart. When they finished, Jack brushed the tip of her nose with his soft lips and collapsed next to her.
    “I miss you, Mina. I just love you so much.”
    They lay on the floor, fully entwined, for what could have been minutes or hours more, the warmth of their bodies and their deep affection negating the need for cover of any kind.
    “Let’s finish the wine,” Jack said, and jumped up to retrieve the bottle and glasses.
    “So are you going to tell me about the mums?” he asked when he returned, a playful lilt in his voice.
    “I don’t know why I did that,” she said. “They just made me so angry, all smugly sitting there without my wanting them.”
    “Flowers make you angry.”
    “Apparently,”she said, and sipped from her glass. “But I think it’s just those. Just the mums. I hate mums, don’t I?”
    “You do.”
    “Why? Why do I hate them so much.”
    “I can’t tell you,” he said, and she rolled her eyes, “I can’t tell you because I really don’t know. Never have. Just one of those things.”
    “Huh,”she said.
    “So,”Jack said, and drained his glass. “You want to finish the job?”
    “What do you mean?”
    “Come on, let’s grab our jackets,” he said, and they threw on their coats over their naked bodies.
    The next thing Mina knew, they were outside, garden shovels in their hands.
    “Mums, listen up! You have irritated my wife by your…smug…?” he looked to her for confirmation and she nodded. “Smug commandeering of our garden. Prepare to die!” He dove like a madman into the flower bed and began uprooting the offensive, oppressive red and orange blooms with his shovel.
    Mina began to laugh uncontrollably. “Are you going to make me have all this foul flower blood on my hands alone?” he said, and she kneeled down and joined him, as they dug wildly and laughed raucously.
    Within five minutes’ time, the deed had been done. The patch of flowers was restored to a patch of dirt, and Jack and Mina collapsed on the grass in a fit of giggles.
    “Fuck you, Witmore,” Jack yelped, holding up his shovel for emphasis. “Fuck you and your fucking mums!”
    Mina glanced up and saw Esther’s bedroom curtains rustle shut. For a moment she was embarrassed, but Jack broke that by leaning over and kissing her again. He started to run his hand up and down her body, stopping between her legs, but Mina, knowing Esther was watching, grabbed his hand and held it.
    “Inside,” she said, nodding with her eyes to Esther’s window.
    Jack shook his head. “That nosy old bag spoils all the fun,” he said.
    Mina helped Jack clean up the kitchen and they headed up to their bedroom. They took a shower together to rinse off the guts of the mums and slid into bed.
    They made love twice more before drifting off into a deep sleep.

    Comments

    Jackie Bouchard
    1/8/2013 12:24:24 am

    Great post. I LOVE chocolate creme brulee. I make it for the hubs every Valentine’s Day. (And he loves to play with the torch… We use a torch to brulee them – more fun than the broiler!)
    Reply
    Monique
    1/8/2013 12:44:03 pm

    I love creme brulee so I will definitely give this one a go. I don’t even know why I like it because I generally don’t like custards…

    Thanks to Francine for sharing!

  • Blog

    Happy New Year and a ‘Taste of Tuesday’

    12/31/2012

    Sydney Harbour Fireworks over Opera HouseIt’s already January 1st in my corner of the universe and it’s Tuesday.

    This year I’m starting a new weekly post on Tuesday’s called “A Taste of Tuesday”. I’m inviting authors to submit an extract or a taste of their novel, answer a few food related questions and include a recipe – maybe one that relates to their novel or something they eat to get themselves through writer’s block…something related.

    So I thought I’d go first.

    Taste of Tuesday – a food-related author interview

    1. Do you prefer sweet or savoury foods (ie cheese or chocolate)?
    Easy for me I’m a savoury girl all the way. Look for me by the dip or cheese at a party.

    2. Red wine or white? (wine obviously)
    Red baby…though good champagne will never be refused.

    3. Do you have a favourite food memory?
    I have a couple. When I was a child my grandmother made an apple pie she called an Apple Charlotte. It was a pie with a very short crust and also it had chocolate icing..it sounds weird but it was heaven. She used to visit us when Iw as little and bring it to my house just for me on a ferry and two trains. I don’t think it is a coincidence my daughter is called Charlotte.

    My most amazing meal ever taste-wise was in a tiny hold in the wall family restaurant in Assisi, Italy. I ate truffle pasta and it was heavenly.

    4. Does food feature in your novel(s)?
    In Mr Right and Other Mongrels Allegra likes to cook organic, in Hearts Afire the lovely Cassie is a caterer and in my next novel Alphabet Dating Serena has an obsession with soups, so I would have to say – yes!

    5. What recipe are you sharing with us and why?
    I’m cheating. I actually have my own food blog so I’m going to add the link. You can pop on over to see lots of my favourite recipes…for example today I’m making the ribs featured on the site!

    (I’ll come back and do a new post here on Taste of Tuesday when Alphabet Dating is released).
    mysydneykitchen

    Excerpt -Mr Right and Other Mongrels

    My mother, however, was going nowhere. Worse than that she kept leering at Teddy, which simply made me uncomfortable.

    I really didn’t know what was going on with Teddy and me but I surely didn’t want anything going on between Teddy and Moonbeam.

    “Teddy, do you want to help me get some dinner together?”

    “No Allegra, he can stay and keep me company.” She was good.

    “How about we both help Ally out.” What a guy.

    So we piled into my small kitchen with her standing a bit too close to Teddy for my liking.

    “So what are we having?”

    “Potato gnocchi with tomato sauce and a salad.”

    “Cool, what can I do?’

    I had already cooked the potatoes so I put Teddy to work mashing them. And I pulled down a jar of sauce I had made from organic tomatoes earlier in the summer and put it on to simmer.

    Teddy looked at me quizzically “You jar your own sauce?”

    “Uhmm yes”. I was always kind of embarrassed by my love of cooking. It makes me seem like a possessed potential housewife or something. I mean I know you don’t go to a club and discuss organic cooking; it doesn’t get the men flocking. Ultimately though I just like to cook and eat well.

    “Well, Allegra, that being the case I may have to marry you.” He winked just so I’d know he wasn’t serious. “I’ll grow the veggies and you can make the sauce.”

    I noticed Moonbeams dark eyes got a tad darker and flashed a bit wilder.

    “I don’t know that there is room for a veggie patch in my flat or your designer terrace either for that matter,” I laughed.

    “Well, we’ll just have to move to the country.”

    “Sorry can’t leave the shop.”

    “I’m heartbroken,” he feigned distress as he mashed. “I offer to give up my lucrative TV career and to grow veggies and marry you and you won’t leave the bookshop!”

    ***
    You can read more about Allegra and Teddy in Mr Right and Other Mongrels.

    Girl Holding Books Illustration

    Comment

    Anne R. Allen
    1/1/2013 11:03:10 am

    This is such a fun idea for interviews–a creative new twist for getting to know an author and introducing new books. I came over from the Facebook “Official Chick Lit” page. Happy New Year!