In 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)
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.
Today 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
Mary Ellen’s Hamburger Skillet Stew
For the meatballs:
Combine ingredients and shape into 16 meatballs. Brown in a deep skillet with the shortening.
For the skillet:
*Traditionally, we used Uncle Ray’s home-canned tomato soup for this recipe.
Modogomous 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.
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.
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.
I’ve recently returned from the Romance Writers of Australia Conference in Perth. Even though I’m Australian Perth still is a long-haul. (Did you know it was the most isolated city in the world? Probably not.)
And do you know what is more isolating than being in Perth?
The answer is -being a chick lit author at a romance conference where ‘everyone’ says chick lit is dead, especially when you don’t believe it is.
Especially when you must answer the women at the conference, not the publishers or the powers that be, but other authors when they ask you what you write.
“I write chick lit but that you can’t call it chick lit that you have to call it women’s fiction,” said I.
And they said “Why?”
And I said. “Apparently no one reads it anymore. I was told that last year and the year before too.”
And to a one they say “But I love chick lit.”
It’s a conundrum to be in a room where you’re being told what you write is out of fashion and yet you’re surrounded by people who say they like it. It’s harder still when you love it yourself.
Chick lit was like the French onion dip of the conference. It’s not very trendy, you won’t see it on a menu anywhere because it’s been pushed aside by hummus and guacamole and even beetroot dip but still there’s barely a woman who when left alone with some French onions dip and crackers won’t take a bite. Not only that she’ll have another dip. She may even find herself embarrassed by the fact that she ate the whole bowl and loved it.
She may even find herself grabbing a small tub at the supermarket next time she’s there because she forgot how much she really enjoyed it and how much she had missed it.
Now she may not serve it up on Saturday night (or in the case of the book, recommend her whole book club reads it) but she will enjoy it.
I think that’s chick lit right now. It’s not widely available or celebrated but people do like it. It’s not trendy but people still read it.
You know why that is? To my mind at least, it is because chick lit books are about women trying to find themselves in this crazy world with the help (or hindrance) of friends their friends, family, co-workers and lovers.
That’s also the story of every woman who was at the Romance Writers of Australia Conference. They were an amazing, wonderful, vibrant group of women who were busy making new friends, building careers while trying to balance family and work. They were trying to find their way, where they fit in and how they could move forward on their journey.
I didn’t hear anyone talking about their own boyfriends or lovers or needing men to complete them. They were talking about their jobs, balancing that with their families and trying to become their full and happy selves (or happier because there were some gloriously happy people in that room).
That’s why I believe chick lit (and French onion dip) can both survive because we enjoy them and they are a part of our own stories, even if we may not always admit it.
(If you would like to come over for a Jatz cracker, some French onion dip and to boorow a book, do let me know!)
1. 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 mnutes.
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
1. Do you prefer sweet or savoury foods (ie cheese or
I'm going to have to savory for the most part, with the occasional sweet tossed in.
2. Red or white? (wine obviously)
Sort of in love with both, but it really depends on the time of year (I'm more about the red in the wintertime) and what I'm eating...or if I'm eating. Because if I'm meeting a friend out for a glass of wine, white for sure. Sancerre at the top of the list, Chardonnay as a last resort.
3. Do you have a favourite food memory?
How Proustian! I do tend to connect food with pleasure a lot so this was tough. Probably at the top of my list was on my honeymoon. My husband and I went to the Caribbean and one of the stops was St. Barts. If you know anything about St. Barts, you know you're not getting a cheeseburger in paradise" for less than 40 bucks a pop, so we decided to splurge on something special instead. We had lunch at a small cafe right on the dock. A crisp bottle of Sancerre (naturally!), a yummy green salad, and a small platter of grilled sardines, which, from that part of the world, are just to die for. That silly, decadent "snack" of a meal cost us over 200 euro, but we've never regretted it!
4. Does food feature in your novel(s)?
In the excerpt I'm sharing, a luscious food brings back a wonderful memory. I haven't done as much of this
incorporating food with fiction as I'd like, which is odd because I'm a real foodie. And others have done it so well, especially Eileen Goudge. Maybe for the next book!
5. What recipe are you sharing with us and why?
I have never made a chocolate mousse as exquisite as the one Jack whips up for Mina (in my excerpt), but I have made a fair amount of crème brûlée. As it's still French, I think the Dark Chocolate Crème Brûlée I'm sharing with you here is good substitute! You don't need a torch to make crème brûlée but I have to say, it's much more fun with a torch. This one (from Epicurious.com) just calls for broiler in your oven but it's still fun to make--and much more fun to eat. Especially for romantic dinners. Enjoy! :-)
Dark Chocolate Crème Brûlée
Makes 8 servings
2 cups whipping cream
2 cups half and half
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 large egg yolks
1/3 cup plus 8 tablespoons sugar
Preheat oven to 300°F.
Bring cream and half and half to boil in heavy large saucepan. Reduce heat to low. Add chocolate and whisk until melted
and smooth. Remove from heat.
Whisk yolks and 1/3 cup sugar in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in hot chocolate mixture. Strain. Divide custard
among eight 3/4-cup custard cups.
Place cups in large baking pan. Add enough hot water to pan to come halfway up sides of cups. Bake until custards
are set, about 50 minutes. Remove from water; chill 2 hours. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Sprinkle each custard with 1 tablespoon sugar. Broil until sugar turns golden, watching closely to avoid burning, about
Refrigerate until custards are set, 1 to 2 hours.
(From www.epicurious.com, first printed in Bon Appétit March 1996)
Excerpt From The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything
by Francine LaSala
“Come on, take another bite,” he urged.
She squished the chocolate around in her mouth as more images started popping up for her. “We were sitting in a cafe. A cafe on the river. A man was...juggling?”
“And then, another man, he drew our picture?”
Jack now had tears in his eyes. “Hang on, I’ll be right back,” he
said, and he jumped up from the table and headed for the basement. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a key. “Keep eating!”
Mina took the spoon in her hand and stirred the smooth mousse around on her plate. The cafe. The river. The juggler. The painter. All as real for her as the mousse in her bowl. All a part of her, now coming back.
Jack raced back into the kitchen, a package under his arm. “What about the painting? Anything coming back to you about that?”
“It’s not a painting, is it? A caricature. Yes, that’s right.”
She closed her eyes. She smiled. “We’re wearing formal wear, hanging from the Eiffel Tower like King Kong and Fay Wray... A tuxedo on you. A wedding gown on me. My hair pulled up in bun. A beaded bodice...”
Jack produced the package, carefully wrapped in brown paper, and tore it open for her. “Is this what you see? Is this what you remember?”
The drawing was exactly as she had remembered it, in all its comic absurdity. “He made me King Kong,” she pouted.
“You were a little curt with him. I think he was getting back at you.”
“Ah,”she said, and she stared at the drawing, the first stirrings of her memory finally returning. She noticed a necklace drawn around her throat and pulled the image toward her to take a closer look.
“What is it?” Jack asked, and Mina absently clutched at her throat.
“A pendant,” she said. “A dragonfly?” Jack looked panicked and tried to snatch the drawing back, but she held on to it too tightly. “My necklace?” she asked, the fingers of her other hand at her throat as if the pendant was something she always wore and had suddenly lost without realizing until now. “What happened to my necklace?”
Jack was silent. He looked away.
“Sweetie, I’m sorry. I can’t tell you that.”
“But the dragonfly. It means something. Something important, I’m sure. The other day, in the park. In my notebook. I started sketching a dragonfly. It means something to me.”
“Forget Dr. Barsheed. I need to know. Jack, please. I need to know why.”
Jack took her face in his hands and kissed her gently. “You’ll figure it out. I know you will. But not now,” he said, and he kissed her again. “Try and stay focused on Paris, on what you remember.”
Mina sighed. “Our honeymoon. The hotel. La Villa Maillot. The room key with the red tassel. The odd golden wallpaper in the room. The tiny bed...”
Jack pulled her close and kissed her more passionately now. “Yes, the bed. Let’s hear more about the bed,” he whispered, his hot breath on her neck seeming to melt her clothes away.
“We spent a lot of time in that bed, didn’t we?” she said, and she pulled him in to a deep sensuous kiss. “We didn’t see much of the city at all, did we?” she said, and then gasped as he ran his lips across her ear, the edge of her chin, the side of her neck.
“We’re not going to make it to the bed,” he said, and he lifted her off her chair and carried her into the living room, where he lay her gently on the floor. She looked up at him as he kneeled over her, unbuttoning his shirt, then helping her out of hers and her bra.
He lay down next to her, running his fingertips up and down her exposed torso, gliding across her breasts, gently grazing her nipples. “Oh Mina, you’re so beautiful. Do you know that? Look at this body of yours. Look how amazing you are.”
He rolled on top of her, kissing her with equal parts tenderness and passion. Hungrily, he peeled off the rest of her clothes and his and she nearly exploded when he entered her. The whole time he lay nearly flat on top of
her, their faces, their mouths, never apart. When they finished, Jack brushed the tip of her nose with his soft lips and collapsed next to her.
“I miss you, Mina. I just love you so much.”
They lay on the floor, fully entwined, for what could have been minutes or hours more, the warmth of their bodies and their deep affection negating the need for cover of any kind.
“Let’s finish the wine,” Jack said, and jumped up to retrieve the bottle and glasses.
“So are you going to tell me about the mums?” he asked when he returned, a playful lilt in his voice.
“I don’t know why I did that,” she said. “They just made me so angry, all smugly sitting there without my wanting them.”
“Flowers make you angry.”
“Apparently,”she said, and sipped from her glass. “But I think it’s just those. Just the mums. I hate mums, don’t I?”
“Why? Why do I hate them so much.”
“I can’t tell you,” he said, and she rolled her eyes, “I can’t tell you because I really don’t know. Never have. Just one of those things.”
“So,”Jack said, and drained his glass. “You want to finish the job?”
“What do you mean?”
“Come on, let’s grab our jackets,” he said, and they threw on their coats over their naked bodies.
The next thing Mina knew, they were outside, garden shovels in their hands.
“Mums, listen up! You have irritated my wife by your...smug...?” he looked to her for confirmation and she nodded. “Smug commandeering of our garden. Prepare to die!” He dove like a madman into the flower bed and began uprooting the offensive, oppressive red and orange blooms with his shovel.
Mina began to laugh uncontrollably. “Are you going to make me have all this foul flower blood on my hands alone?” he said, and she kneeled down and joined him, as they dug wildly and laughed raucously.
Within five minutes’ time, the deed had been done. The patch of flowers was restored to a patch of dirt, and Jack and Mina collapsed on the grass in a fit of giggles.
“Fuck you, Witmore,” Jack yelped, holding up his shovel for emphasis. “Fuck you and your fucking mums!”
Mina glanced up and saw Esther’s bedroom curtains rustle shut. For a moment she was embarrassed, but Jack broke that by leaning over and kissing her again. He started to run his hand up and down her body, stopping between her legs, but Mina, knowing Esther was watching, grabbed his hand and held it.
“Inside,” she said,nodding with her eyes to Esther’s window.
Jack shook his head. “That nosy old bag spoils all the fun,” he said.
Mina helped Jack clean up the kitchen and they headed up to their bedroom. They took a shower together to rinse off the guts of the mums and slid into bed.
They made love twice more before drifting off into a deep sleep.