Word of Mouth TV appearance, and WIN a huge book pack!

I am delighted to be a featured author on Australia’s first online television series about food and books, Word of Mouth TV, hosted by Kate Forsyth and SL Mills!

Click HERE to watch!

Screen Shot 2018-11-18 at 7.38.46 pmKate, Sarah and I talk about the inspiration behind Three Gold Coins, the biggest challenges in writing the darker, difficult themes inside the story, and the absolute joys of Italian food and romantic heroes!

Kate serves up my scrumptious Tuscan white bean soup, we drink vino and I share the rather amazing moment that led to my big breakthrough into a writing career.

The whole episode is shot in Kate’s fabulous home in Sydney and we had a very long Italian feast indeed. (It is quite dark when we finish!)

You can also win a huge pack of my books, plus a copy of Matt Moran’s cookbook too.

Screen Shot 2018-11-18 at 7.43.33 pm Click HERE to find out how to win this bunch of delicious books.

Best of luck!

Blossom Water Amaretti: recipe from Three Gold Coins

Like all my books, Three Gold Coins is full of food. One of those foods is the delectable amaretti.

If like me you are gluten free, the amaretti biscuit seems to be heaven sent! It’s also a great one if you’re time poor or not very confident in the kitchen. It’s sweet and chewy, freezes well and is just perfect to accompany coffee and tea.

Here is my recipe for amaretti–so easy, so versatile, so yummy! Enjoy!

Ingredients

4 egg whites

350g caster sugar

300g blanched almond meal

50g almond meal (not blanched) **
(**Note: alternatively, use 350g of blanched almond meal in total.)

30mLs orange blossom water

Method

Preheat your oven to 170 C.

Beat your egg whites with an electric beater until stiff.

Use a silicone spatula to fold in the dry ingredients, as well as the blossom water, until smooth.

Place small dollops of the dough onto two pre-greased and/or lined baking trays, leaving about a centimetre between biscuits.

Place a slivered almond in the centre of each biscuit.

Cook until golden brown, approximately 20 minutes.

Pre-order, Booktopia

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Have you pre-ordered your copy of Three Gold Coins? The good news is that I’m heading to Sydney to the wonderful people at Booktopia on 14 March to sign copies, so you could nab yourself one endorsed with love from me!

Three good reasons to pre-order your copy:

  1. Every pre-order helps the author by contributing to the first week’s sales figures, thereby helping the book rise up the best seller rankings and making it more visible to others.
  2. The second the book is released, the Booktopia crew will pack it up and post it to you without you even having to drive anywhere.
  3. No chance of forgetting or missing out!

 

I can’t wait till you get this book into your hands.

Here’s what some early readers have said about Three Gold Coins:

Thank you!

My First ‘Food in Story’ Writing Workshop

Food in Story, Writing Workshop:

 

 

Are you writing a novel? Writing memoir? Writing for blogs or social media?

Food connects us all.

Everyone has stories in their memory and in their heart that include food. Days spent in the kitchen with your mother or grandmother making biscuits. Afternoons wandering the apple orchard, picking fruit with your brothers and sisters. Maybe brewing some cheeky cider with your dad in the back shed. The first time you tasted seafood. The warm, hearty stews that kept you going through a difficult winter. The endless lasagnes left on your doorstep after a bereavement. Every day, we eat. Every day, we create more memories.

Perhaps you would like to take some of those memories and get them onto paper. Maybe you would like to channel your passion for food into writing for magazines. Maybe you would like to know how to enhance your fiction writing with the joy of food.

This workshop is for you.

Join with me to discover diverse ways to use food in story. This one-day course gives you a raft of new writing tools to approach food in your writing with more fun, depth and elegance. Bring your pages to life with mouthwatering descriptions and tantalising facts to hook your reader and keep them reading till the very last bite.

To find out more about the workshop, go to my WORKSHOPS page.

Sunday, 5 November, 9am-4pm, Cooroy (Noosa hinterland, Qld)

To book, follow the link here.

I hope to see you soon!

 

Feel the Love at Goodness Gracious Cafe

20160524_105802LOVE. This is the first word that comes to mind when I think of Goodness Gracious Gluten Free & Organic Cafe in Yandina on the Sunshine Coast. The women who run this charming abode (Jill and Nicky) radiate love.

But I’ll get back to this. For now, I’m going to sidestep a little to a time in my life when I was really sick. Stay with me…

About thirteen years ago, my health was in a terrible mess, diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), Hashimoto’s Disease, hypothyroidism, a host of rheumatological issues and more. It was an intensely frightening time, unable to work to make the money I needed for the many treatments that doctors and natural therapists claimed would help. Unable to afford them, I had to make Big Life Decisions. But one of the easiest decisions I made was that I needed to invest the little amount of money I had into FOOD. It was clear to me that high quality food would be the basis of everything after that.

I started going to the Northey Street City Farm organic markets each week. And then for whatever reason, I found myself drawn to eating at Govinda’s (Hare Krishna) cafe in Brisbane city. Something that deeply impressed me about the Hare Krishna lifestyle was how important food was in their service and spirituality. So much so, I was told, that to be a person elevated to a food prep position was something of an honour, something that had to be earned. To prepare food in a Hare Krishna kitchen included loving and blessing the food before it was eaten.

Call me crazy if you like, but I felt some deep healing on those Sunday evenings spent at Govinda’s.

And this takes me back to Goodness Gracious Cafe. From the moment you pull up on the footpath you are surrounded by love–in the welcoming chalkboard signs; in the organic garden that’s lovingly tended by these women; in the heart-shaped art pieces hanging from the ceiling; in the locally-made handmade artworks for sale; in the groups of women knitting at the tables, with their rows of stitches becoming blankets for the homeless in the local area; and most certainly, most definitely, in the food.

Everything here is baked on site inside this post-war home on stumps–a home that has a fascinating history including being a railway station master’s home and having had a resident spirit called ‘Alfred’ walking the rooms (who was later ‘released’ when his daughter, who’d also lived in the home, happened upon the cafe and took him home with her).

Jill and Nicky and their friendly staff are always there with a warm smile, knowing many of their customers by name. Their gratitude for living their dream is evident, with the cafe and its customers supporting more than half a dozen different charities, both local and overseas. And their gastronomic creations never let you down.

My favourites include the Turkish delight hot chocolate (with real rose water); the chocolate, blueberry and lavender mud cake (seriously, you MUST try this!); the banana pancakes with homemade caramel sauce and banana ‘nice cream’ (dairy free); the chicken crepes and salad; the paleo lemon bar; and, well, pretty much everything else on the menu too.

There is some kind of deep wisdom that tells us that to provide food with love, and to eat food with love, is one of the most powerful things we can do. That’s why so many of our memories involve food with loved ones. That’s why we say ‘you are what you eat’. That’s why we go home for a ‘home cooked meal’. That’s why we make our loved ones soup when they’re ill.

Hippocrates is reported to have said, “Let food be thy medicine.”

Whether it’s intentional or not, the love and care that comes from these women’s hands infuses every mouthful. Just like my time at Govinda’s all those years ago, I come away from Goodness Gracious every time feeling blessed, nurtured and a little bit healed. And I walk away feeling that the world is a good place after all.

 

Goodness Gracious Cafe: 3 Conn St, Yandina. 

Opening Hours

Mon – Fri  8:00am – 4:00pm

Saturday  7:00am – 2:00pm & Sunday  7:00am – 1:00pm

(This post is part of a series of fortnightly reviews by Josephine Moon and Ashley Jubinville of healthy places to eat on the Sunshine Coast.)

 

Husk & Honey (Food Tour of the Sunshine Coast)

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(A guest post today from my friend and tour partner, Ashley Jubinville, Kitchen Coach.)

Like the quiet little bees that go about their service of pollinating flowers so we can exist – without question or many thanks from us, this little café has been diligently going about “business as usual” in quiet little Nambour for over 4 years! The difference though is that their “business as usual” is really quite extraordinary and so refreshingly authentic.

If the reference was suiting enough already, the café’s name happens to be Husk & Honey AND my café-touring friend Josephine Moon has most recently released her wonderful foodie-fiction book called The Beekeeper’s Secret too (lovingly set on the Sunshine coast)!!! How fitting?! …you probably think I planned that one…. Haha

For those of you diligent foodies out there who are looking for a refreshing break from the stress of finding somewhere that you can eat without concern, the short drive out to the very funky Queen St. in Nambour is highly worth your while. There is not an ounce of gluten to be found anywhere in their kitchen, nor any other grains for that matter, and they make everything from scratch!!! – like everything! Even their tea blends, non-dairy milks, and hot chocolates! I LOVE YOU!

Next time you go, please pass on an extra bit of gratitude on my behalf to the lovely Johnny, Tashi, Sam, & Sarah for me – for their dedication to healthy, homemade goodness, authenticity, and happy service! And for anyone wanting a copy of any of your Josephine Moon books signed by the lovely Jo herself, you MAY just find her writing her next book in the cosy corner of Husk & Honey one day too!

Keep up the great work, smiles, and AWESOME food Husk & Honey – we need more like you to lead the way and help inspire people with what is possible. For all you Sunshine Coasters, lets ‘vote’ wisely with where we choose to spend our dollars – for the future of our food supply like the good bees we can bee!

How to Keep Writing (When Life Gets in the Way)

I’m far from an expert at this, but I’ve had to learn really fast how to deal with high levels of writing commitments (i.e. publishing contracts with deadlines and money and stuff) with a baby/toddler in tow). And right now, I’m in the middle of my structural edit for my second novel, with a deadline this month so it can move through editing and onto the printers in time to hit the shelves in April next year (yay!).

And, timing of all timings, our household has been hit with one nasty virus after another–I’m talking flu, gastro, and now my toddler has a strain of a particularly nasty chest virus that’s knocked him down for more than a week. And when your very young child is sick, there’s not a lot you can do other than drop everything and look after them. They can’t go to daycare (if that’s what they do) and no one else (even the most doting aunties and grandparents) will want to look after your germ-infested, dripping, feverish, sneezing, snotting, wailing darling child. Quite reasonably.

Act like a squirrel: prepare, prepare, prepare
Act like a squirrel: prepare, prepare, prepare

Add to this the extra effort required with washing, sterilising and disinfecting, trips to the doctor, late-night runs to the pharmacy, the emotional stress of watching your little darling crying with fever or pain, or simply because they can’t breathe well enough to actually get any sleep, their rabid wrestling when you try to administer medication five times a day, and their likely constant need for affection and comfort, and you’ve got yourself a pretty intense time, and not a lot of mental space.

And then there’s the stress that your work is falling way behind.

So here’s what I’ve learnt to do: act like a squirrel. Be singled-minded about preparing for the future. Give up any idea of getting any serious work done and simply nest. Shop for food. Cook food. Freeze food. Plan meals. Do tidying and cleaning where possible. Wash clothes. Order supplies. Pay bills. Make phone calls. Send emails. Essentially, pretend you are leaving home soon to go away for a two-week holiday. You can do these things in little snatches of time between nursing, and they don’t take much mental power. And then the very second that the crisis has passed, you are set to go. Leave all that domestic chaos behind and sink blissfully into the newfound time and freedom you have so efficiently created while nesting alongside your sick child (or sick dog, or couch-surfing nephew, or whatever else turned up unexpectedly at your door). Right now, my freezer is filling and I’m on top of the washing. I’m just waiting for the season to pass so I can dive back into my book and enjoy all those nuts I squirrelled away during the storm of relentless ills.