Posts Tagged ‘potato recipes’

Welcome to Friday Feast, where food and fiction unites in one mouth-watering place!

And we’re going to be getting very mouth-watery soon with a Feast first-timer. But I’m sure you’re anxious for the latest instalment of Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf, and I wouldn’t want to deprive you. Last week I only lost one ball to a dam. A miracle! Next week I’m aiming for none. Can such a feat be achieved? Stay tuned!author JM Bray

Now on to my guest, a man set to break Feasty tradition. No, not because he’s a he – although this is unusual – but because he’s… American. Yes, today’s guest, J.M. Bray hails from Southern California.

I know, I know. Friday Feast is usually restricted to my enormously talented and glamorous Australian compatriots, but  J.M. asked nicely if he could and I said yes. ‘Tis good to have variety, plus J.M. is a member of the Romance Writers of Australia and is published by Australian publisher Escape. And he plays guitar and races a Porche, which, let’s face it, sounds pretty damn cool, so I think we can kind of claim him for today.

J.M.’s debut release is a new adult romantic fantasy novel called Tearing The Shroud and it looks a brilliant read. Take a peek.




Cover of Tearing The Shroud by JM BrayFall in love, be possessed, hunt a sorcerer and save the world — and Vincent thought calculus was tough.

1984 — Vincent expected college to be about freedom and girls, but then the nightmares of sorcery, monsters and other worlds began. Not even the surprising attention from his dream girl, Julie, could shake them.

Before he’s even nailed his second date with Julie, he’s possessed by Coleman, a warrior from another realm. Coleman is hell bent on defeating the monstrous Kafla who threatens to tear into Vincent’s reality, changing both his and Coleman’s worlds forever. They have one chance to stop them: Vincent must allow Coleman to share his body and wage war against the sorcerer.

Now it’s up to them, the women they love, and Vincent’s rag-tag bunch of role- playing and gaming friends to save the world, or see 1984 descend into the apocalypse.


See? Told you it sounded fantastic. It’s available now for immediate download to your e-reader, tablet, computer and phone.  Buy from Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, BigW ebooks, Google Play and JB Hi-Fi, or your favourite ebook retailer.

Loaded up? Excellent. Now enjoy this man-in-the-kitchen moment!


On Grandmother’s Stepstool


The earliest memory I have of a cooking is being on a stool next to my grandmother. We lived in a small house behind her home and every morning until I was five, I’d toddle down to her back porch where she waited for me. I can still here her say, “Come on, honey, help grandma cook.” Her heavy, white porcelain, gas stove with cast iron skillets and big pots bubbled and sizzled magically. I would watch as she fried bacon, then used the dripping to fry eggs, the centers soft and the edges a crispy dark brown from the bacon fat.

Photo of JM Bray Teaching his 2 year old grandson some kitchen skills

Teaching my 2 year old grandson some kitchen skills

My very first experience as a “cook” was near that time, stirring the white, sausage gravy. Yes, sausage, bacon, fried potatoes, eggs, fluffy biscuits (scones), coffee and juice was the normal breakfast. She was from the south, of Irish descent, born in 1898, five foot two inches tall and not a thin woman…which isn’t surprising given the food she made. Based on the time frame, I was about four. I’d stir the white gravy, with a spiraled whisk, careful to keep it from sticking as it thickened to a creamy consistency, later to be slathered over buttered biscuits.

Through years, she taught me how to bake bread (which she did twice a week until her death at age 81,) flip eggs without breaking them, make gravy and cook my favorite…potato soup. I once ate so much of it as a young teen that when I tried to stand afterward, I ended up on the kitchen floor. I learned my love for cooking at her side. I am the cook in our family and every time I lift a ladle or toss a spice in without measuring it, she is with me.

Today’s recipe is of that same soup…though I’ve made a slight improvement on her recipe. I think she’d approve. This soup, made by my protagonist for his girlfriend and her family, appears in Mending the Shroud, book two of the Shroud Trilogy. It will release mid-year through Escape Publishing. Consider this a preview.

In the Comments section post a fond memory of you have of a family recipe or cooking with grandma. We’ll roll the dice among the entrants and the winner will receive an ebook (.mobi or .epub) of my romantic fantasy novel, Tearing the Shroud.


 Potato Soup


Ingredients for potato soup

8 large-ish russet potatoes (about fist sized) peeled and cubed

1 medium onion chopped

1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)

1 12 oz. can of evaporated milk




Serves 6-8 as a full meal.

chopped onions

Chop the onions and put them in a large pot with the stick of butter on a low-medium heat to cook until transparent or slightly golden.

cooking the onions

While that’s cooking, peel the potatoes and cube them to about 3/4 inch.

chopped potatoes

When the onions are ready add the potatoes to the pot and stir carefully, coating them with the onion butter mixture. Add just enough water to come ¾ of the way up the potatoes.

Adding the potatoes to the pot

Bring to a light boil, cover and let cook until the potatoes break apart when poked with a fork. Check occasionally to make sure you don’t run out of water.

(This is the change from grandma. who boiled the potatoes and onion in a lot of water, poured it off, then added the butter. Which I think tosses away some of the potato-y-goodness)

Add the can of milk and mash with a hand potato masher…DO NOT MIX with a mixer or immersion blender. It breaks up the potato too much and makes it too starchy. You want the soup to have texture with little pieces of potato.

Potato soup 

If you need to thin the soup, use milk or half and half, not water.

Salt and pepper to taste. It takes much more salt than you’d think, so don’t be shy.

As you can see, this is not a health conscious recipe, but is it ever good! It is, however economical. For less than five dollars, you can serve a hearty meal for 6-8 people. This soup also works wonderfully as a starter for large dinners or banquets. When I’ve done this, I just multiply the ingredients for my crowd and garnish with a sprinkle of chopped chives just before bringing to the table.




I think we will enjoy, J.M. What a handy recipe. With that creamy, buttery spudly goodness I’m thinking it’ll taste awesome too.

So Feasters, we have another giveaway!

Share a fond memory of cooking with your grandma or a treasured family recipe and you’ll go into the draw to win an e-book copy of J.M.’s fab novel, Tearing The Shroud.

I have lots of wonderful memories of cooking with my Nanny. Mum used to go off to netball on Saturdays and I would spend the afternoon with my grandparents. During those hours Nanny taught me to bake and sew and do all sorts of house-wifely things. They were lovely times that I’ll always treasure.

What about you? Any sweet memories you can make us dewy-eyed with?

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 4th March 2014. Open internationally. Rah!

If you’d like to learn more about J.M. and his books, please visit his website. You can also connect via Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, and also through his blog.


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We’re baaaaaack!

Welcome to the first instalment of Friday Feast for 2014. And what a cracking year it’s going to be. Already slots are filling up fast, with a fantastic line-up of authors for your delectation.

How has your summer been so far? Stinking hot no doubt. It’s been a blistery one, that’s for sure. Never fear. You can be super cool with Friday Feast.

And now, because I just know you’re hanging out for Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news, here’s a quick update: After three-putting 8 out of 18 holes the week before last and too many again last week, I fear my putter has developed yet another fault. Or my brain has. I suspect the latter. Sigh. But at least my new bright purple golfing outfit looks totally groovin’, even if it does make me resemble a grape-flavoured jube.Austrlalian author Victoria Purman

Speaking of groovin’, my guest today hails from my home state of South Australia, which naturally means she’s super talented as well as nice. Victoria Purman hit the charts with her debut novel Nobody But Him. Now she has a new romance on the shelves with the second in her Boys of Summer series.

Take a look at the utterly gorgeous Someone Like You.




Cover of Someone Like You by Victoria PurmanWhen Lizzie Blake knocks on the door of Dan McSwaine’s beach house at Middle Point, she barely recognises the man who answers. What ever happened to the guy who swaggered into her home town with a grin and left wither heart in his back pocket? Lizzie wonders if he’ll ever be that man again – and if she should risk everything she’s built her life on to help him.

Dan can’t normally bear to be more than ten minutes from a hip bar, an imported beer and a group of hot women. So what is he doing holed up in a falling down beach shack at Middle Point? All he knows is that he’s made some crazy decisions since the night a truck slammed into his care and almost killed him. The first one was to think that buying a crumbling piece of coastal real estate was a good idea. The second crazy decision was to try to hide away from the world when a woman like Lizzie Blake is determined to drag him right back into it.


Doesn’t that sound delicious? The perfect summer read. And it can be yours with a quick trip to your local independent bookseller or a trip to your nearest chain store. Or you can just click away at these retailers: For the print and ebook, try direct from the publisher, Harlequin, or Booktopia, Bookworld, and QBD The Bookshop. For the ebook, try Amazon (Kindle), Kobo, JB Hi-Fi, iTunes, Google Play, BigW or your favourite store.

All bookied up? Excellent. Now get cool with Victoria!


Summer Love Is Like No Other Love…

Neither Is The Food


It’s hot where I live.

In South Australia, we’re in the middle of our second heat wave of the summer, during which we’ll have temperatures of 40 degrees and above for ten days or more.  It’s been so hot that we consider 35 a cool change.

Victoria and her mum Emma

Victoria & her mum Emma

When it’s this hot, the last thing I feel like doing is cooking.

Funny that the heat doesn’t seem to dull my hunger, however.

This recipe is one of my summer standbys – handed down to me by my Hungarian mother, Emma.

You might by thinking that this is just a plain and simple potato salad. But the secret of its Hungarian deliciousness is the eggs – lots of eggs – and those delicious Euro-style gherkins.

My Mum serves it with her special-recipe crumbed chicken – which my three teenage boys aka The Hungry Horde – devour like it’s their last day on earth.

I cook up a huge batch of this salad and have it on hand on the fridge to fill the stomachs of The Hungry Horde with a cold chicken or some snags.

Oh, and it’s delicious with a cold beer.

Oma’s European-Style Potato Salad

European style potato salad

2kg potatoes

8 hard-boiled eggs

1 onion, very finely chopped

Finely chopped gherkins (the European kind)

Lovely mayonnaise – I use the whole egg kind

Salt and pepper to taste

Boil your potatoes and let them get cold. Peel them and slice them into a huge bowl.

Wait for your eggs to cool and break them up with a fork. I actually use one of this ginchy egg slicer doohickeys, which is fun as well as fast. Add the eggs to your potatoes, along with the finely chopped onion and gherkins.

Add your mayo a tablespoon at a time so you don’t over-mayo.

Stir. Voila! You have your wonderful, eggy deliciousness!


Oh, yumptious! Thanks, Victoria. I’m a complete sucker for potato salad at the best of times but add some eggs and we’re talking heaven! Perfect for this time of year, when we’re entertaining outdoors, picnicking and barbecuing.

Would you like to win a Kindle copy of Someone Like You? Well, here’s your chance. Reveal your favourite summer salad and you’ll go into the draw. I have a new one I’m rather enamoured of, made with baby spinach, chick peas, red onion, roasted sweet potato and other goodies, and dressed with a yoghurt and pomegranate molasses dressing. It is beautiful!

So what about you? Are you a traditionalist who loves nothing better than a crunchy coleslaw? Maybe you prefer a touch of exotica with some hot and sour Asian noodles to spice things up. Share away and you’ll go into the draw.

Giveaway closes midnight AEST Tuesday 11th February. Open to Australian addresses only.

Don’t have a Kindle e-reader? That’s okay. You can download the reading app to your phone, tablet, laptop or computer and read where you like. It’s easy!

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

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Iris who has won a Kindle copy of Victoria’s latest release Someone Like You. Thanks to everyone for playing along.

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Woah, this week has gone fast! Probably because I’m on deadline with my Rocking Horse Hill revisions and I’m nervous about making it. Still, it’s nice to welcome another Friday and a brand-spanking new Friday Feast guest for you to play with. But first, today’s instalment of Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf Weekly. Sadly, the curse has returned in all its let’s-see-how-many-balls-we-can-hit-into-the-water glory. I knew all that good play couldn’t last. It just wasn’t normal!Dakota Harrison author photo

Enough of that depressing talk, it’s time to get breathless with Feast virgin Dakota Harrison. I’ve known Dakota a little while now, and was thrilled to bits when she contracted her first contemporary romance novel, Exhale, to Samhain Publishing. Exhale gained fabulous reviews and now Dakota has followed it up with another romance that is bound to leave you…




Breathless by Dakota HarrisonShe ran half a world away to escape from her past…and found the one man who can heal her heart.

It’s been three years since a seemingly insignificant decision destroyed Emma’s life. Western Colorado is a long way for an Australian girl to run from the suffocating guilt she feels, but it isn’t far enough.

So she’s made herself a promise: No men, no responsibility. Ever again. That was before her pipes burst, and the crusty old plumber she was expecting turns out to be six-foot-two of brooding hard body with a killer smile—which he rarely aims in her direction.

Gabe doesn’t like it. Even through a layer of plaster dust, Emma’s beauty shines through and grabs him hard. Her laugh wraps around his lungs until he forgets how to breathe. But he’s still looking for pieces of the broken heart another woman’s betrayal left in its wake.

Pretty women are trouble, end of story.

Too bad no one told his determinedly matchmaking sister. Her efforts could crash and burn, for all he cares. He’s not interested. Not now, now ever. Now if he could only convince his body.

Intriguing, huh? You can purchase Breathless right now with just a few clicks. Buy direct from the publisher, Samhain, or try KoboAmazon (for Kindle), Booktopia, Barnes & Noble (for Nook), iTunes, BigW ebooks, JB Hi-Fi, Google Play or your favourite ebook store.

All loaded up? Excellent. Now let’s get foody!


Food: An Author’s Bane


Hello Cathryn! Thanks for having me on Friday Feast! Ahh, food. Food and I share a love/hate relationship. You see, I love to cook. Sweet, savory, anything. The problem is, I also love to eat it! I’m an emotional eater, so if I’m stressed, happy, whatever – I eat. Over the years this has resulted in some amazing combinations, and some horrific disasters that sounded good at the time. Anyone for balsamic vinegar ice cream? No. Didn’t think so 😉

I love to cook from scratch, but, as with many others, I have another job, children, and a husband. Sometimes it’s a case of Grab it and Growl, or, use the packet mix!

My husband is a potato fiend. Anything potato and he’s pretty much guaranteed to love it. I have a terrible (or genius!) tendency to toss in whatever I have on hand, and I’m lucky that most of the time it works a treat. It’s only if I’m trying something new, or something that can’t be tampered with, that I use a cookbook.

This is the potato bake I made earlier this week.

Dakota Harrison's potato bake 

And it’s as simple as anything to make, although it takes forever to cook!

Dakota’s Potato Bake

Potatoes – whatever you have on hand. In this 30cm dish I used 10 medium to large.

1 onion – ringed

4 rashers bacon – cut in strips

2 cups milk/cream

1 chicken stock cube

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Salt, pepper, paprika to taste (This is subject to change. Whatever seasoning you have that you like can be substituted.)

1 tablespoon corn flour

1 cup grated cheese

Mix the milk, stock, garlic, seasoning and corn flour in a jug. Set aside.

Slice potatoes thinly, and layer. Add a sprinkling of bacon, onion, and a drizzle of liquid mixture. Rinse and repeat until top layer. Empty all liquid over the top. Cover with aluminium foil. Cook for 30 minutes on 200˚C, then turn back to 160˚C for minimum 2 hours. Remove foil and sprinkle grated cheese over the top in the last 15-20 minutes. Enjoy! 🙂

I mentioned sweets. I can’t make brownies from scratch to save my life, but I LOVE brownies!!! They are my indulgence food. If I’m feeling down, or just need a fast sweet treat, this is what I make. My packet mix of choice? White Wings Choc Chunk Brownie Mix.


They are heavenly. And, as another writing friend showed me, if you add vanilla ice cream to the just-out-of-the-oven slice, it’s positively sinful.

A bit of oil, an egg, mix her up, and pop it in the oven, and 35 minutes later you have a dessert worth killing for!

Ahh, Dakota, you’re determined to spoil some waistlines with those two. Potato bake and brownies? That’s a way to get you crossed off health foundation’s Christmas card list. But we’re allowed to be naughty now and then. It keeps life interesting!

Now, most excellent Feasters, that potato bake has my mouth watering for spuds. What’s your favourite way to cook them? Are you a lover of the humble deep fried crispy chip? Maybe you’re a creamy bake person too? Perhaps rosti is your go? There’s a recipe in my Two Fat Ladies: Full Throttle cookbook (remember that TV series?) called Pete’s Pommy Pommes that I just adore, made with the simplest of ingredients but packed with flavour. The best kind of dish and well worth the cost of that book.

So share your spudly goodness and please a crowd!

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

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Well, spank me with a dried cow-pat. It appears we’re having a mini rural-fest on Friday Feast.LBP_0058-1 Cropped And rightly so too. It is, after all, the hottest genre around!

So it’s fitting that I should also host one of Australian rural fiction’s hottest authors. Margareta Osborn rose to prominence with her debut release Bella’s Run and her second release is following rapidly in its best-selling footsteps. As a fifth generation Gippsland farmer, Margareta understands intimately the landscape in which she sets her books. She also understands the pull of the land, how it can burrow into a person’s heart, something she shows beautifully in her new release.

Take a look…




HOPE'S ROAD FINAL FRONT COVERIn the rugged and beautiful high country of East Gippsland, HOPE’S ROAD connects three very different properties and three very different lives.

Sixty years ago, heartbroken and betrayed, old Joe McCauley turned his back on his family and their fifth-generation farm, Montmorency Downs. He now spends his days as a recluse, spying upon the land – and the granddaughter – that should by rights have been his.

For Tammy McCauley, Montmorency Downs is the last remaining ties to her family. But land can make or break you – and, with her husband’s latest treachery, how long can she on to it?

Wild-dog trapper, Travis Hunter, is struggling as a single dad, unable to give his son, Billy, the thing he craves most. A complete family.

The, out of the blue, a terrible event forces the three neighbours to confront each other – and the mistakes of their past …


Hope’s Road is available now from all good book retailers. You can also order online from Booktopia, Bookworld, Dymocks and QBD Books. For the ebook try Amazon Kindle, iTunes, Kobobooks or Google Play. Go on. I promise you won’t regret it!

Now please welcome Margareta.


Bush Inspiration


Thank you, Cathryn, for inviting me back on your blog. I’m hoping my ‘Awesome Chocolate Slice’ hit the spot for readers last time (and by the comments left, I think it did), so this time round I thought I’d digress away from sweets to another little beauty of a recipe I have tucked in my cooking files.

But first, let me explain. In my past life I have been (and no, I’m not going to tell you about the time I was a chook stuffer), amongst other things, a vegetable grower. Yep. I have been an unreal cauliflower catcher (Duck!), a discerning green bean taster (light green tasted better, dark green sold better), a shucking corn specialist (I just hate any of those stringy bits left on my cob) and a perfect pea picker (except when those driving the machine fell asleep and drove waaayyyy off course). So, perhaps not perfect, but hey, you can’t be good at everything. Ahem.

Anyway, I have spent hours and hours being a perfect 1950’s type wife (there’s that ‘P’ word again), picking, blanching, bagging and freezing tonnes of beautiful fresh vegies. I do love my greens. Well, when I’m not forced to pick, blanch and bag the darn things anyway. Then, I can assure you, one would prefer to never see another floret in your life!

These days, and seeing I’m now a beef grower, I rarely buy (or blanch) frozen foodstuffs. We kill our own beef, have just gone into stocking a few sheep and the only vegetables I buy are fresh from my local IGA or nearby growers. Of particular interest is The Spud Shed, which lies on the road half way to Melbourne (some three hours away). Whenever a close family member is coming or going to the city, we usually send out the call to grab us a bag or two of potatoes. And have they got spuds galore. Coliban, Sebago, Pontiac, Desiree – it’s a spud woman’s mecca.

And so, why the focus on vegetables and particularly spuds? Because I reckon that’s exactly the type of favourite dish the bushie, Old Joe McCauley, in my latest book HOPE’S ROAD was wishing someone would serve him. I’m hoping Tammy, his niece, got that message loud and clear after the disaster with Meals on Wheels (you’ll have to read the book). Joe’s a three vegies and meat man, for sure. I adore him nearly as much I want to swoon over my Dog Trapper hunky hero, Travis Hunter. Tammy needs to know I am seriously green with jealousy! And those love scenes – Whew-y. Are they hot or what?!

I should get back to the spuds. Deep breaths.

Joe McCauley, my spud man, was the catalyst for writing HOPE’S ROAD. He was the one who kept appearing in my dreams and telling me I had to write this story. Unfortunately I kept pushing him away and it wasn’t until one bright sunny day when I had reason to sit high upon a hill and just be for a while, that I finally gave in and let the man have his way. I mean Joe, not Travis. And with my head, not my body. Oh dear … I’m just digging my own grave, here aren’t I?! Do not tell my husband! (Or Tammy for that matter.) Anyway, moving right along … HOPE’S ROAD is the result of three fabulous people and their lives coming together in a story of love, faith, heritage, and loss. When pitted against adversity – whether in the form of abusive, unfaithful husbands, absent mothers, deep feelings of betrayal and anger, lack of self belief, the perils of the land or the temperament of Mother Nature, Joe along with Tammy and Travis unite to show that no matter what life throws at you, there is always hope.

And now for my Coupe de Grace spud recipe, which I hope you’ll love as much as my new book.


Warm Roasted Potato Salad

As soon as it appears, it just disappears!  I was given the recipe by a friend a few years ago so I’m not sure where it came from originally but man, is this one a goody. And I think even Joe would have to agree with that.


1 kg or so of chat potatoes, not peeled; 2 tbsp oil; 1 tub of Basil, Cashew & Parmesan Dip; salt & pepper;1/2 red capsicum diced or cut into fine strips; 1/2 salad onion or a couple of spring onions, finely chopped; 2 tbsp lemon juice; 1 bag of rocket leaves (or I use half bag rocket leaves & half mixed gourmet lettuce).

Dressing: 2 tbsp sour cream; 1 tsp lemon zest finely chopped/grated (or some lemon juice if you don’t have zest – see below).

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Cook potatoes in boiling water until just tender. Drain. Put potatoes into a mixing bowl with the oil, 3/4 of the Basil, Cashew and Parmesan Dip and salt & pepper (to taste). Toss until potatoes nicely coated in mixture. Line an oven tray with baking paper. Place potatoes on tray. Roast for 20 or so minutes or until golden and crisp.

In a separate bowl mix the remaining dip, sour cream and lemon zest. (If you don’t have any zest just add a good dollop of lemon juice.)

Once potatoes are cooked, toss potatoes, their juices and crispy bits with the capsicum, onion and lemon juice. Spread rocket leaves out on a platter, top with potatoes and then the dressing. Serve while warm



Enjoy indeed! That sounds absolutely divine, Margareta. I love a good salad and this one looks a beauty. No wonder it disappears fast with all those fabulous flavours to tempt the tastebuds.

I’m always on the lookout for good spud recipes. They’re such a crowd pleaser and a vege rack staple, on hand when you need to whip up a tasty meal at short notice. One of my favourites is Pete’s Pommy Pommes from my Two Fat Ladies cookbook, where layers of thin potatoes rounds are baked with herbs, garlic and stock until the top layer is chip-crispy and the interior all soft and luscious.

So my lovely Feasters, what’s your favourite spud recipe? No going past the humble chip? Or do you prefer silky smooth mash (mmmm!)? Perhaps, like Margareta you have a special spud recipe, something a little different. If so, please share. We’d love to hear and salivate!

If you’d like to learn more about Margareta and her best-selling rural fiction, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter.

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