• 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

    Coastal Christmas Blog Hop – Sunshine, Christmas and Cosmos


    Coastal Christmas Blog Hop Banner
    – CLOSED – The winner of my giveaway is Lesley Walsh – Merry Christmas and congratulations.

    As an Australian, one of the biggest challenges I face in the festive season is the heat.

    I know my Northern hemisphere readers have their own challenges but they don’t have to cook a turkey in a heatwave, they don’t have to panic because they can’t fit everything in the fridge and they certainly don’t have to worry about the roof of their gingerbread house sliding off because the icing has melted.

    One the other hand they don’t eat cherries and mangoes for breakfast, they probably don’t wake to the sound of cicadas singing and their Christmas morning probably doesn’t involve a trip to the beach to test drive new flippers, or a surfboard. Our Christmas traditions are no less important but they are well less known.

    If an American came to Australia they’d likely have a fish out of water Christmas My novella – Snowbound is the story of an Australian girl Zara who finds herself stranded in Colorado for Christmas and she throws herself into all the activities a White Christmas would entail. It’s a really fun read and I’m giving a copy of Snowbound and the Romancing the Holidays 2 Box Set to a lukcy reader randomly chosen…just comment below and tell me your favourite cocktail.

    My own family has a lot of traditions. We put our Christmas tree up the weekend before Christmas because someone (yes-that’s me) insists on having a real tree and if we get it too early t would die before Christmas. We always drive to the local Scout Hall and but our tree from the Scouts. (Two years ago I had the cutest Girl Guide sell me my tree and before she did so she leaned in close to the tree, listened to it’s trunk and said “This tree chooses you!” I feel like that child and I should have been life-long friends.)

    Another thing my family does a lot at Christmas is entertain. We love having people over. We have a huge party the weekend before Christmas for fifty to sixty of our closest friends. I think we’re up to maybe out thirteenth one now. Think lots of kids, an outdoor movie, water pistols and ridiculous amounts of food. (I’m famous for my over catering). I do a baked ham and the classic Australian sausage sizzle, we do spaghetti and meatballs for the kids, my husband makes paella and there’s a make your own ice-cream sundae bar for the kids. It’s big crazy, chaotic fun and we love it.

    Every year I make a signature cocktail. I’ve done a few over the years and the best on yet was a champagne comsopolitan…how could that not be amazing? Champagne and a cosmo in one cup, has to be awesome!

    Here’s my recipe:
    Champagne Cosmopolitan

    250ml (1 cup) cranberry juice
    2 tablespoons Cointreau liqueur
    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    6 sugar cubes
    750ml pink Champagne or sparkling wine, chilled
    Frozen cranberries to decorate (optional)
    Step 1

    Place cranberry juice in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat. Cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until reduced by two-thirds. Remove from heat and set aside for 30 minutes to cool.

    Step 2
    Combine the cranberry juice, Cointreau and lime juice in a small jug. Place a sugar cube in each serving glass. Pour the cranberry mixture over the sugar. Top with Champagne or sparkling wine and serve immediately. Throw a couple of frozen cranberries in each glass to decorate (also helps keep it cool).

    Don’t forget to enter to win the Grand Prize of on the Coastal Christmas Blog Hop and enter my giveaway for a copy of Snowbound and Romancing the Holidays 2 by telling me your fave cocktail!
    Romancing the Holidays Box SetSnowbound - Cover












    Elizabeth Ellen Carter
    12/4/2017 03:23:10 am

    That is definitely a cocktail to try this summer! Thank you Monique!

    Brooke Bumgardner
    12/4/2017 12:02:15 pm

    That cocktail sounds delish! I love raspberry peach bellinis. Also, I love your Girl Guide story.

    12/4/2017 03:42:19 pm

    Love the sound of that cocktail! Always on the lookout for a new recipe to try!

    Mary Preston
    12/4/2017 06:38:17 pm

    Thank you for the delicious sounding recipe.

    12/4/2017 07:32:01 pm

    We enjoy satsuma vodka-tini made with fresh mandarins and cranberries😊
    Monique McDonell
    12/7/2017 03:06:34 pm

    That sounds yummy!

    12/4/2017 07:56:30 pm

    Your recipe sounds amazing, I’ll definitely be trying it out 🙂

    Carla Caruso
    12/4/2017 08:51:16 pm

    Yummo! And such gorgeous book covers 🙂
    Monique McDonell
    12/7/2017 03:06:57 pm

    Thanks Carla.

    Jenn J McLeod
    12/5/2017 01:30:18 am

    Yum. Tipsy just reading that post!

    Robin Thomas
    12/5/2017 01:43:38 am

    That sounds delicious! My favourite cocktail is a Tom Collins – which is an American one made with lime and vodka. And the glass should have a frosted sugar edge.

    Ann-maree Howarth
    12/5/2017 02:20:45 am

    I love Salted Caramel Baileys that you can mostly only get at Christmas time.

    12/5/2017 09:09:48 am

    For Christmas we love Poinsettias. Champagne, Triple Sec and cranberry juice with cranberries in the bottom of the glass.
    Monique McDonell
    12/7/2017 03:07:32 pm


    Lesley Walsh
    12/5/2017 09:39:40 am

    I love Bailey’s and ice
    Monique McDonell
    12/7/2017 03:08:05 pm

    In my new Jewel Sisters series the sisters drink quite a bit of Bailey’s on Ice.
    Monique McDonell
    12/25/2017 07:56:07 pm

    Hi Lesley,

    You’re the winner of my books…email me at mcdonellmonique@gmail.com with your email and I will send them to you.

    Suzanne Cass
    12/6/2017 12:39:35 am

    I love a real Christmas tree for Christmas. There is absolutely nothing compares with the smell of a real tree

    Joye I
    12/7/2017 12:21:01 pm

    I love a good Margarita

    sandy haber
    12/7/2017 02:45:11 pm

    I could use one of those right now — thanks!
    Monique McDonell
    12/7/2017 03:08:42 pm

    I won’t tell anyone.

    Debbie Martin
    12/9/2017 11:25:53 pm

    I love to make mint jelups in silver jelup cups!

    12/10/2017 01:21:58 pm

    Well, I don’t drink alcohol however I do love a cranberry spritzer. Sprite and cranberry juice mixed. It’s lovely.

    Deborah Sisk
    12/11/2017 05:27:24 pm

    Thanks for the chance. The recipe sounds lovely.

    Lori Raines
    12/11/2017 07:05:35 pm

    Thanks for sharing!

    Laura Boon Russell
    12/15/2017 12:47:50 am

    We need to take something to our friends for Christmas. I’ve decided your cocktail is it!

    Kara Vaughan Marks
    12/18/2017 09:41:37 am

    Your cocktail sounds great. I’m a margarita girl, but something different and special is fun for the holidays.

    Nancy Luebke
    12/23/2017 05:10:16 pm

    Sorry, I used to like singapor slings but my health doesn’t allow me to drink those kind of drinks anymore. My splurg now is Root beer or a Strawberry shake. Usually it’s just ice water. Happy Hollidays from Indiana, USA.

  • Blog

    Guest Post by Author Ce Ce Osgood – author of Murder & Margaritas – including a great recipe


    Austin TexasAuthor CeCe Osgood Shares the Secrets of a Scrumptious Margarita
    Thank you Monique for letting me post a little ditty to celebrate my new chick lit cozy mystery series. The first book in the series is MARGARITAS & MURDER: A Sunny Truly Mystery.

    The main character, Sunny, is an apprentice private investigator in Austin, Texas. I chose Austin for the setting of the book because I lived there for many years, and it’s where I tasted my first margarita.

    When I was in college in Austin, my pals and I always enjoyed Friday night gatherings at a Tex-Mex restaurant that served okay food, but fantastic margaritas. They were super limey, ice-cold and refreshingly delicious when served with spicy tamales, sour cream enchiladas or cheesy nachos. But as good as those margaritas were, the best I’ve ever had was just recently at a friend’s house. She often vacations in a lovely town in Central Mexico and brought back a terrific recipe for margaritas.

    The first thing she told me was to get a top-notch (expensive) tequila because then you wouldn’t get a headache if you over imbibed. (FYI: I was staying at her house that night so no drinking and driving as that is never a good idea.)

    Here is my friend’s recommendation for a great tequila: Gran Centenario Plata. I had never of it before, so the writer in me wanted to do a little research.

    Gran Centenario Plata (owned by Jose Cuervo) is 100% blue agave silver tequila. Growing up in Texas, I’d heard of blue agave, but I couldn’t really tell you what it is.
    A digression: Agave is also the name of a character in Greek mythology and means “illustrious.” She was the daughter of Cadmus, the founder and king of the city Thebes – the major rival of ancient Athens. Agave was a follower of Dionysus, the god of the grape harvest, wine and intoxication.

    Returning to the subject of tequila, I found another factoid. Unlike other plata (silver) tequilas, the Gran Centenario Plata rests for 28 days in French Limousin oak barrels. Intrigued, I looked it up and it turns out that the oak trees come from a region in France called Limousi. Duh. I had imagined something more flamboyant.

    Still, I wondered why the Limousi oak barrel was so important. Then I read that the storage in these oak barrels softens the tang of the alcohol giving it a smooth finish, and it is the smooth finish that makes this tequila so superior. And expensive. I have had my share of cheap tequila burning like a slice of hot pizza in my mouth, so yeah, smooth is better.

    Now, how about that recipe?
    First, of course, is to fill your blender with ice.
    Then pour in:
    6 oz. tequila
    2 oz. triple sec
    The juice of six limes
    Then add Simple Syrup to taste.
    (To make simple syrup: add one cup of sugar and one cup of water in a saucepan. Heat until dissolved.)

    I’ve gotten to where I don’t care much for salt on the rim of my glass, but if you do, sprinkle the salt, kosher for a lighter taste, into a shallow plate.

    Moisten the rim of your glass with a cut lime (or lemon) wedge. Notch the wedge for it to slip easily around the rim. Then turn the glass upside down and dip it into the salt. Sssh, here’s a secret. If you prefer a less salty taste, mix sugar into the plate of salt, say 50-50, and then dip the moistened rim into it.

    This recipe is for lime margaritas. For fruity drinks, simply blend the fruit first, then add the ice and other ingredients and blend until smooth.

    For this Texan, enjoying a scrumptious margarita with spicy cheese nachos topped with thin slices of avocado is divine.
    (There’s a legend in Texas that if you drink too much tequila you might see God. That’s never happened to me, but then I don’t drink more than one or two margaritas. If it does happen to you, do let me know, and please say “howdy” for me.)

    Margaritas & Murder - Cover
    Margaritas & Murder: A Sunny Truly Mystery is FREE on Amazon – Friday Oct. 14 thru Tues. Oct. 18. (Pacific Standard Time USA)





    CeCe Osgood’s debut novel, THE DIVORCED NOT DEAD WORKSHOP, was awarded a Crowned Heart for Excellence by InD’tale magazine. It’s a chick lit romantic comedy about a dating workshop during a cruise to Cabo. www.myBook.to/TDNDW

    Her new work is the Sunny Truly Mystery series. The first book is MARGARITAS & MURDER, which is FREE on Amazon from Friday Oct. 14 thru Tuesday Oct. 18, 2016. (Pacific Standard Time USA).
    The second book in the series, MERLOT & MURDER, is also available on Amazon. www.myBook.to/MerlotCozy
    Find CeCe Osgood here: WEBSITE    FACEBOOK….TWITTER

  • 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 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 – 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.)

  • Blog

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


    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
    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)

    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 Brownies
    Gluten-Free Brownies on a plate

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

    Destiny Site:
    Google Play:

    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.


    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


    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

    facebook –

    You can find A Year and a Day at


    1/15/2013 06:39:14 pm

    Thanks so much for inviting me over, Monique!

    1/17/2013 02:56:47 am

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

    You won’t be disappointed!