Feeling a bit puffed up and pleased here on Friday Feast this week. A huge crop of talented debut Australian authors is hitting the reading market and many of them are booked in for Friday Feast sessions. Wonderful authors with even more wonderful books, and an overload of food and travel fun – what a year 2013 is going to be!
Today I’m delighted to introduce contemporary romance author Louise Reynolds, and not just because I know she’s a dedicated foodie who knows all the best providores in Melbourne. No, this talented lady also writes rich romances about modern women finding love with their perfect hero. And she’s a lovely person too. In other words, the total package!
Louise’s debut release is Her Italian Aristocrat, and who doesn’t want one of those!
On a mission to buy a prestigious shoe company, Australian career girl, Gemma Parkinson, arrives in Italy determined to succeed. But when she falls ill, effortlessly handsome local aristocrat, Luca Andretti, is on hand. Suspicious about Gemma’s presence in his town, he offers to let her recuperate in his amazing palazzo. Surrounded by the lavish trappings of the rich – servants, designer clothes, fine food and wine – Gemma is completely out of her depth.
Intent on saving the town’s local industry, Brunelli Shoes, from foreign take-over, Luca throws every obstacle he can in Gemma’s path. Headstrong, savvy and equally determined to successfully wrestle the company away from him, Gemma fights Luca all the way.
But Luca’s life of privilege masks a private world of pain and Gemma has demons of her own. As they come to understand one another, their growing attraction starts getting in the way.
This moving love story involving two people from very different backgrounds is a delightful, contemporary romance in a gorgeous Italian setting.
Ahh, I was sold at the name Luca. So strong, so sexy, so dreamy. Sigh. A little clickety-clicking and Luca could be all yours. Buy the ebook direct from the publisher, Destiny Romance, or from iTunes, Amazon Kindle, Kobo or Google Play.
And so we travel from glamorous Italy to the far, far more glam Australian outback, where Louise’s next novel is set. Enjoy!
My Outback Kitchen Rules
Just because we’re sleeping on the ground, digging our own toilet and spending most of the day walking around in our underwear, my nearest and dearest and I have never seen the need to compromise on food when we’re bush camping. The thought of dehydrated or canned food (unless it’s the very excellent Watties baked beans) revolts me. And don’t start me on people who pre-cook, cryovac and label every meal and pack them in sterile conditions in the camping fridge or freezer in the precise order they’re going to eat them. (‘Oh look, dear, it’s Tuesday so we must be having the mango chicken and rice’).
I have a perfectly lovely kitchen at home but when ‘outback’ I come over all pioneer woman; gathering fuel and sorting timber into kindling and logs so the heat can be adjusted throughout cooking. And I want to cook by gaslight. No sensible cooking in broad daylight for us. It’s not nearly as much fun if you can’t peer at the chopping board and wonder is it mushroom or is it moth?
You will never have more time and leisure to prepare a meal than you have on a holiday like this. If you’ve travelled through the Mallee, it’s likely you’ve visited a local butcher and bought some local saltbush lamb and country bacon, thick cut and with plenty of oink. You’ll have t-bone steaks with a thick layer of creamy fat just begging to be barbecued over coals and served with slightly ashy jacket potatoes and salad.
I’ve just finished a book set in the outback so I decided to share two of my favourite meals.
Darling River French Toast
with Bacon and Maple Syrup
Throw a handful of twigs onto the smouldering ashes of last night’s fire. When the flame appears load heavier kindling on top and place the kettle next to it. Feed more wood on the fire and when the kettle boils make a cup of tea. Sit back, relax and look at birds.
When the fire has settled down, place the hotplate over it. Scrape off the remains of last night’s barbecue and pour on some water so it spits and hisses. Drizzle on a little oil and fling some bacon rashers onto the hotplate. Pour another cup of tea. As the bacon cooks, make a huge fuss of turning it using an old fork with a bent tine.
Crack two eggs into a battered enamel dish and chuck the shells on the fire. Whisk with the fork and add a little milk. Soak the bread slices in the egg mix and slap onto the hotplate next to the bacon. Make them nice and brown and crispy.
When ready, serve with liberal amounts of maple syrup and a can of aeroguard.
Back o’ Bourke Beef Stew
Cut good quality oyster blade steak into large cubes, dredge in flour and brown in a camp oven. Remove. Add sliced onions and brown. Add sliced kidneys (that’s kidneys, not echidna) and pour in a bottle of beer. Mix well, season and cover. Hang on a tripod over coals and cook for 2 hours. Half an hour before serving throw in mushrooms. Serve with potatoes mashed with plenty of butter and milk.
Oh, Louise, you made me laugh with this. LOVE the style of your camping!
Now, Feasters, when you’ve stopped laughing and drooling, have a ponder about this: Where’s the most unusual place you’ve prepared a meal? Think hard, because your answer could earn your very own Luca. Yes, my feasty lovelies, Louise is generously offering one commenter a Kindle copy of Her Italian Aristocrat, so prime your typing fingers and get to it.
Giveaway closes midnight AEST, Tuesday 12th February 2013. Open internationally. Just in time for Valentine’s Day!
This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Bec who has won herself Luca! (Well, a kindle copy of Her Italian Aristocrat with lovely Luca burning up the pages, which is close enough)