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Welcome to Friday Feast!

This week we’re getting magical. Not that we aren’t every week but this week we’re really magical… and ferrety. But more on that in a minute.

First, DID YOU SEE MY DARLING SYDNEY SWANS? Yes, footy is nearly here. My boys were magnificent in their NAB Challenge game last night against GWS which bodes well for the upcoming season, set to kick-off in just 21 sleeps. Not that I’m counting or anything…

Speaking of counting, in Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news, apparently I can’t add up. It turns out that I didn’t lose the Great Murray River Golf Challenge but in fact won it by two strokes. Rah! I think this is my first holiday golfing challenge win ever. I feel a glass of fizz is required to celebrate this milestone.

As should we all raise a glass of fizz to celebrate the release of young adult author Ebony McKenna’s third Ondine novel. Like the author herself, the Ondine series is simply gorgeous. How can you go wrong with a talking ferret called Shambles? Reviews for Ebony’s series have been amazing, like this for The Summer of Shambles: “One of the best and funniest books I have ever read! Don’t be a bampot, give this absolutely fantastic book a read, you won’t regret it.”

This latest instalment in the Ondine series is a cracker. Check it out.

 

ONDINE: THE WINTER OF MAGIC

 

Cover of Ondine: The Winter of Magic by Ebony McKennaThis third enthralling instalment in the young adult fantasy romance series takes a dark turn, as the country of Brugel descends into anarchy. Mutating magic is spreading across Europe. ‘Normals’ are developing supernatural powers at a startling rate and 16-year-old Ondine appears to be at the heart of it.

To unravel the mystery, Ondine and her boyfriend (and part-time ferret) Hamish infiltrate CovenCon, a gathering of hundreds of witches presided over by wanna-be-witch-queen Mrs Howser. There, she tempts Ondine with an intriguing offer – but can Mrs Howser be trusted? It transpires the powerful witch has her claws in the arrogant royal heir Lord Vincent, in a covert bid to control all of Brugel.

As dark magic riots break out in the nation’s capital, Ondine is left with a heart-breaking choice that could tear her apart from her beloved Hamish. Forever.

The Winter of Magic is the third novel in Ebony McKenna’s comedic and wonderfully weird four-part ONDINE series. Fans will devour this spellbinding adventure, which will have readers gasping in shock and laughing with delight. Occasionally at the same time.

 

What a hoot! The Ondine series is truly delightful for young and not-so-young readers alike. And you can own it right now with just a few clickety-clicks! Buy from Amazon for your Kindle, iTunes, Kobo and Nook. Go on. You’ll love this series I promise.

Now that you’re all bookified, come dipping with Ebony…

 

Do You Fondue?

 

I’m so happy to be sharing more foodie goodness with everyone on Friday Feast.

There’s something a bit nerdy about having a fondue kit. It can be one of those ‘great idea at the time’ gadgets that ends up hibernating in the back of the cupboard for years before throwing it out.

Being the proud nerd that I am, I have a fondue kit at home and it gets a fair bit of use.

Not an original from the 70s (I have to wait to inherit that heirloom), but a little ripper all the same. And while fondue is supposed to be about dipping bread into melted cheese during cold European winters, my version is all about dredging fruit into warm coconut-chocolate sauce during summer.

Healthy AND naughty. Because chocolate.

And coconut.

It’s quick, easy to make and only requires three basic ingredients (plus whatever fruit you like to dip).

The best bit is the compliments you’ll get from everyone as the fruit and choc fondue disappear!

As an added bonus, this recipe is dairy free, gluten free and suitable for vegans and celiacs.

 

Coconut Chocolate Fondue

You will need:

Coconut milk or coconut cream.

Cocoa powder

Coconut sugar (or any sugar really, but I’m hooked on Coconut sugar at the moment, and it’s low GI)

Fruits for dipping

Ingredients for Ebony's fondue

Method:

Put a couple of tablespoons of cocoa in a microwave safe bowl.

Pour in enough coconut milk to stir it into a thick paste.

Add a couple of teaspoons of coconut sugar.

Mixing Ebony's fondue

Bung it in the microwave for about a minute. The edges will bubble up but that’s OK.

Stir it all together and. Have a taste. Add more coconut milk and sugar so it’s just how you like it. You can microwave it again if the cocoa doesn’t taste “cooked”.

The finished fondue

Pour into a fondue bowl, sprinkle more coconut sugar on the top for decoration.

Light a candle underneath and get ready to dip your favourite fruits in.

The mix will become runnier the longer it sits over the fondue candle, but that’s part of the fun.

Add desiccated coconut to the fondue for more texture if you like.

Perfect for entertaining at a BBQ, date night or Eurovision Song Contest parties.

I’m having some right now as I celebrate the release of the third novel in my ONDINE series, The Winter of Magic.

In a nutshell, it’s about a teenage girl whose pet ferret talks with a Scottish accent. He’s not a real ferret, but a man living in reduced circumstances. Shambles offended a witch and she cursed him a good one!

Thank you once again Cathryn for the opportunity to share the recipe and some weird romance with your readers.

As a special treat, I’m giving away an ebook copy of ALL THREE BOOKS to one lucky commenter.

In the comments, share what fruit you would dunk in that lovely chocky fondue, or share a cheesy fondue story.

Love Ebony

 

Did you hear that, Feasters? A THREE BOOK GIVEAWAY! I’m wriggling in excitement here. How’s that for generosity? But I’d expect that from Ebony. She’s that kind of person.

So, what’s your fondue story? I had a wonderful fondue experience in Lyon, France. Outside it was snowing but we were snuggled up tight in a cosy restaurant with chunks of bread, a bottle of red and an artery-clogging cheese fondue, dipping and laughing. We nearly didn’t feel the cold walking back to our hotel afterwards… nearly.

Have you fondued? Dipped a few strawbs into caramel perhaps? Dribbled chocolate down your front after dipping with too much enthusiasm? Maybe you’ve never fondued but long to? That’s okay. Share your desire (or non-desire) anyway and we’ll put you in the draw to win the first three ebooks in Ebony’s wonderful Ondine series.

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 25th February 2014. Open internationally. Rah!

Don’t have an e-reader? That’s okay, you can easily read ebooks on your computer, phone or tablet via downloadable apps. It’s easy!

If you’d like to learn more about Ebony and her gorgeous books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Twitter and Ebony’s blog.

 

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Heidi who has won the first 3 books in Ebony’s Ondine series. What a great lot of reading! Thanks to everyone who joined in the fun. What wonderful fondue memories we all have!

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Long to feel young at heart, to suffer once again all the agony and ecstasy of freefall teenage love? Don’t mind a super clever and oh-so-gorgeous snuggly ferret? Then Friday Feast has the author for you!

It’s my great pleasure to host Australian author Ebony McKenna on Friday Feast today, a lady who is as cute and adorable as her Ondine series. A series, I should add, as perfect for the old adults among us as it is the young. The Ondine books are simply wonderful; a sparkling combination of magic and romance, from a fantastically imaginative author. Just what you need to escape a miserable winter’s day or to heighten that summer joy.

Plus who can resist a ferret? Those creatures are just made for love!

 

ONDINE: THE SUMMER OF SHAMBLES

 

Cover for Ondine: The Summer of Shambles by Ebony McKennaWhat’s the point in falling in love with a man if he turns back into a ferret when the moon goes down?

Ondine is your classic 15-year-old student looking for fun in her summer holidays.

When she finds out her pet ferret Shambles can talk, and is in fact a gorgeous boy trapped under a witch’s spell, she vows to help him become handsomely human again.

But her plans for an idyllic summer of romance are complicated when an assassination plot is uncovered and a long-lost treasure is discovered. Then things get really tricky when Ondine falls under the spell of Lord Vincent, the devastatingly handsome son of a duke.

Set in the magical and wonderfully weird European country of Brugel, The Summer of Shambles is the first in the four-part ONDINE series.

 

Doesn’t that sound fun? Ondine: The Summer of Shambles is out now in paperback throughout the Commonwealth. Try your local bookstore or most excellent Australian bookseller Booktopia. Ondine can also be purchased from Amazon UK or Bookdepository.

For ebook lovers in Australia and the UK, try Kobo or Amazon UK (for Kindle). For the US and other non Commonwealth countries, clickety click on over to Amazon.com for the Kindle version. For a full list of links please visit Ebony’s website.

Keep your beady eyes out for more Ondine books, with book two out now in ebook and paperback in selected countries, followed by book three in December and four in March, 2014. Nearly a year of fabulously ferrety fun reading!

Now kick back and enjoy Ebony…

 

CURRY UP!

Curry pies. I am addicted to these things and hardly need encouragement to talk about them. I don’t think I’d survive Melbourne’s winters without at least one a week. Not that I can make them, because that would require a recipe and following it. Yes, I can follow a recipe, but I’m hungry now.

Ebony McKenna's favourite treat, a curry pie

Lucky for me, Melbourne is blessed with pie shops. I have several within driving distance that make extraordinarily good ones. Or at least, they sell them. I don’t know if they individually make them.

Your basic curried beef pie is the traditional meat pie, with added curry powder mixed in. Nothing too hot or outlandish here. Just your regulation pie with the shortcrust pastry on the bottom and flaky pastry on top with poppy seeds. You can never eat them in your hands, as something happens to the curried gravy to make it extra dribbly. You will need a plate and a knife and fork. It’s the civilised pie, if you will.

But keep an eye out for specialty pie shops. There’s a gorgeous pie shop in a place called Brentford Square in Forest Hill. It’s called Paul’s Pies, and they make two kinds of curried pie: Curried beef, with onion and sultanas (which is a very English way to make curry) and the other curried pie, which is Thai chicken.

You heard me. Thai chicken.

Utter, utter heaven.

Another cafe I went to had curry pies with jalapeño peppers. Eating them was the most delightful torture as the pain burned higher and higher with every mouthful. Of course I ate the whole thing.

BUT, my favourite curry of all time is the seasonal bliss of my mother-in-law’s Boxing Day turkey curry. And she is generous enough to share this with you. (Possibly in the hope that one day I’ll do it. But she’s so good at it, really, should I even try?)

Ebony McKenna's mother-in-law's famous turkey curry

(This is a rare photo of the boxing day curry, as its rare that anyone sits still long enough to have a photo taken before devouring it.)

BOXING DAY CURRY

(This amount probably covers 6 people. I just double everything (except the curry powder which I increase to 3 not 4) if having 10 or more. )

Ingredients

Oil to cover base of pan

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 sticks celery, finely chopped

1 green pepper, finely chopped

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into thin slices

1 heaped tablespoon of flour

2 tablespoons curry powder ( I use Keen’s curry powder and Madras curry powder, one tblsp of each)

2 cups of chicken/turkey stock or water with a Chicken Oxo cube

1 kg of turkey meat (either recently cooked, or as leftovers from Christmas Day curry)

2 tablespoons of sultanas

Method:

Lightly fry the onions, celery and green peppers.

Add the apple slices

Combine the flour and curry powder and sprinkle over contents of pan

Stir and cook gently for 2 mins

Blend in the stock and bring to the boil

Reduce heat and simmer for 10 mins

Add the turkey meat and sultanas.

When all combined pour into casserole dish and place in oven for 1 hour at 160C

Serve with steamed rice and seasonal vegetables.

Note: Turkey curry apparently keeps for several days in the refrigerator, but it never lasts that long at our place.

 

Geez, thanks Ebony, I now have a shocking hankering for a big dribbly pie. Something my bum does NOT need right now. I also can’t stop thinking about Bridget Jones and her mother’s (in)famous Turkey Curry Buffet. Although unlike Bridget’s mum’s cooking, I bet your mother-in-law’s curry is delicious. Certainly sounds it. Just the thing to attract any passing Mark Darcys!

Back onto pies…

So Feasters, what’s your favourite bakery treat? Are you a pie person? Maybe sausage rolls tickle your fancy. Perhaps a sneaky cream bun or two… ‘Fess up! I don’t want to be the only one here with a desperate need to raid the pie shop. You need to suffer too!

If you’d like to learn more about Ebony and her WONDERFUL Ondine series, please visit her website. You can also connect via Twitter (highly recommended as Ebony is very witty and informative), Facebook and her blog.

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