Write a review for your chance to win

Thank you to all the wonderful readers who have bought The Cake Maker’s Wish so far. Your support means we need to print more copies! YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME!

If you’ve read the book already, remember that just by writing a review for Goodreads or Amazon (and posting it to Facebook or Insta and tagging me so I can find it), you’ll go into the draw to win an indulgence pack including Ruby Olive jewellery, Fresh Chai Co chocolate chai, a block of chocolate and a signed backlist book. Winner drawn 2 July!

Thank you so much for your support 🙂

(Australian postal addresses only.)

Tuscan White Bean Soup — Recipe from Three Gold Coins

This is one of my favourite recipes that I developed while researching and writing Three Gold Coins. Perfect for these cooling nights!

Tuscan White Bean Soup

Ingredients

1 large leek (or 2 small ones)

2 garlic cloves

1 potato (I use Dutch Cream potatoes all the time, just because I love them the best)

1 parsnip

Half a head of cauliflower

1 carrot (optional… it will change the colour of your soup, but it’s a good way to use up vegetables in your crisper!)

2 cans of cannellini beans

4 cups stock (I use lamb bone broth)

Salt and pepper to taste

The leaves of a few sprigs of fresh thyme (just pick them, wash them and use your fingers to strip the sprigs)

2 Tbs lemon juice

Method

Chop all your vegetables.

  1. Fry your leek and garlic in olive oil under fragrant.
  2. Add the rest of the your chopped vegetables and mix thoroughly, allowing to cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add water just to the top of the vegetables and simmer for ten minutes.
  4. Add your stock and cook for ??
  5. Allow liquid to reduce a little if it seems to watery, otherwise proceed to blending.
  6. Blend half your soup until creamy then return to the pot. (Or blend three quarters, or even the whole lot. It depends how you like your soup.)
  7. Add your salt, pepper, thyme and lemon juice and heat through.
  8. Serve with sprigs of thyme for garnish and a side of crusty bread

Zucchini Rosemary Bread — Recipes inspired by Three Gold Coins

Continuing with food inspired by Italy (where I ate a lot of food in research for Three Gold Coins), here is my recipe for Zucchini Rosemary Bread. Enjoy!

 

Zucchini Rosemary Bread

(GF and optional DF)

 

Ingredients

1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

2/3 cup oil (melted ghee or coconut oil or olive oil)

3/4 cup honey

4 eggs

1 cup of milk or nut milk

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp vanilla bean powder (or extract)

1 tsp Himalayan or Celtic sea salt

1 tsp nutmeg

3 cups grated zucchini

1 cup brown rice flour

1 cup white rice flour

1/2 cup gf rolled oats

1/2 arrowroot flour

2 sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped.

 

Method

 

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line two loaf tins with baking (parchment) paper.
  2. While the oven is heating, lay out your walnuts on a baking sheet and let them toast gently till fragrant.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients down to the milk and whisk till combined.
  4. Add your dry ingredients one at a time, stirring as you go till everything is well combined. (Add extra rice flour if it looks too wet.)
  5. Divide the mixture between the two loaf tins and place side by side on a top shelf of the oven.
  6. Cook for 30-40 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool on a cooling rack before cutting. Serve with butter.

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.

Tuscan White Bean Soup

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It’s been really cold (relative for the Sunshine Coast) and wet here lately so yesterday I made my first warming soup for the season and boy was it good! So I thought I’d share it with you.

This is my Tuscan-inspired white bean soup and I am declaring it my best soup ever! The lemon and thyme together just bring this soup to a whole new level. Enjoy! xx

 

Ingredients

1 large leek (or 2 small ones)

2 garlic cloves

1 potato (I use Dutch Cream potatoes all the time, just because I love them the best)

1 parsnip

Half a head of cauliflower

1 carrot (optional… it will change the colour of your soup, but it’s a good way to use up vegetables in your crisper!)

2 cans of cannellini beans (drained of juice)

4 cups stock (I use lamb bone broth)

Salt and pepper to taste

The leaves of a few sprigs of fresh thyme (just pick them, wash them and use your fingers to strip the sprigs)

2 Tbs lemon juice

Pecorino cheese (optional)

Method

Chop all your vegetables.

  1. Fry your leek and garlic in olive oil under fragrant.
  2. Add the rest of the your chopped vegetables and mix thoroughly, allowing to cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add water just to the top of the vegetables and simmer for ten minutes.
  4. Add your stock and cook for up to 30 minutes, until all vegetables are well cooked.
  5. Allow liquid to reduce a little if it seems to watery, otherwise proceed to blending.
  6. Blend half your soup until creamy then return to the pot. (Or blend three quarters, or even the whole lot. It depends how you like your soup.)
  7. Add your salt, pepper, thyme and lemon juice and heat through.
  8. Serve with sprigs of thyme for garnish and a side of crusty bread, and grated pecorino cheese if using.

Win The Beekeeper’s Secret

Quick competition!

I have TWO copies of The Beekeeper’s Secret paperback edition to give away, anywhere in the world! Just like this post (share if you like) and say “me please!” (Or similar) in the comments. Competition drawn on Wednesday at 7pm AEST. Good luck!

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Josephine Moon’s Rose Iced Chai

If you’ve read The Tea Chest, you’ll know that I love chai!

This is perfect for a sultry summer’s day. It’s a chilly iced tea that’s full to the brim with deliciousness.

 

2 heaped dessert spoons loose leaf Masala chai (or good quality teabags) (or use a spice chai with no black tea if you are caffeine free)
Sweetener (e.g. sugar or honey), if you choose
2 Tbs dried rose flowers (or petals), plus extra for serving
3 tsp rosewater
Fresh lime, optional (some people are not a fan of lime juice but I love it!)
Plenty of ice

  1. Brew your chai: two heaped dessert spoons to one litre of water. Pour into a glass jug (or similar) that can go into the fridge.
  2. Add your sweetener of choice (if using) and stir until dissolved. Allow it to cool until warm.
  3. Add your dried rose flowers or petals and allow to steep in the fridge, 2-4 hours, then remove flowers/petals.
  4. Add the rose water.
  5. Now taste the brew. It will likely be very strong—it’s supposed to be! This will become your base brew.
  6. Mix half quantity of brew to half quantity of water as a guide (but feel free to adjust to your taste).
  7. Add freshly squeezed lime juice to taste (if using) and plenty of ice.
  8. Top with either fresh (spray free!) rose petals from your garden or more dried flowers.
  9. Enjoy!

Tip: Use sparkling water here for extra pizazz.
Note: You can buy edible rose flowers and petals online or in many organic/wholefood shops or from spice merchants. Rosewater can be bought off the shelf in your supermarket.

The Bees Behind the Book

 

Autan

‘You could come and see my bees if you like. I’d be happy to show you around the hives.’

The beekeeper was standing at my local market stall, his pyramids of honey for sale around him. We’d been talking for about a minute and a half when he made his offer, one I think he actually regretted the moment it came out of his mouth. But all I could think was it’s a sign!

When I begin research on a book, I look for signs. Signs that I’m going the right way. Signs that the universe/muse/creative spirit (whatever you like to call it) is onboard with what I’m doing and will support the direction my work is going.

I’d previously been researching coffee for my third foodie fiction novel, but although I was really intellectually interested in the history of coffee, particularly, I knew I didn’t have enough fire in the belly to sustain it over the course of a couple of years to get a whole novel out. So I let it go and started looking for something else, and everywhere I went I saw bees. I started reading about them in books and online and watching loads of YouTube videos on bee handling. And then I met the beekeeper and he offered to take me to his hives, which was so random that I knew I was definitely on the right path.

I took the beekeeper’s number but later thought, hmm, as nice as that offer was, maybe I shouldn’t actually be heading out into the bush with a complete stranger!

But the universe wasn’t done with me yet. I continued my research and went to the Ginger Factory’s Super Bee Show here on the Sunshine Coast. Gayle Currie, head beekeeper, conducted the show and her knowledge and enthusiasm was addictive. We got talking over a number of weeks and then she too invited me to see her bees.

What I learned while researching and writing this book is that there is no ‘one’ way to handle and keep bees. Beekeepers all do things differently (much like horse people or dog people do, I suppose). And there’s a huge range of humane, ethical and holistic ways to do this (or not). Something I loved so much about Gayle was her very obvious and real love for her bees, her exceptional reverence and respect for them, and her very ‘feminine’ way of handling them. Those values and details carried through to Maria, my main character, who treats her bees as family.

Until I started researching bees, I didn’t even realise that we had an array of native bees in Australia. I always thought bees were great, but I had no idea just how outstanding they are and how much humans depend on them and how much we need to be urgently acting to save them right now. I do hope my book inspires others to love bees, just as I fell in love with them when researching.

___________________

This post is currently featured as a guest post on ‘Love That Book’, a blog by Melissa Sargent.

Pic credit “Autan” from Flickr.

 

Kunara — a health foodie’s dream

Dear friends,

As Australia’s first foodie fiction author, I take my position seriously and therefore I have decided to make the ultimate sacrifice for you and eat my way around the Sunshine Coast in order to let you know what’s out there. No, please, no need to thank me. It’s my service to you 😉 To keep my spirits boosted during this obviously arduous task, I’ve enlisted the assistance of my friend, Kitchen Coach Ashley Jubinville (of the amazing “bee cake” fame). Together, we will eat on your behalf.

The obvious place to start is at Kunara, the organic superstore that is fast becoming the power centre of what the Sunshine Coast does best: health. Not only is there the organic supermarket itself, but organic cotton clothing, an organic hair salon and day spa, a holistic vet, holistic doctors, organic garden centre, organic butcher and more on the way.

In the cafe you’ll find everything a food sensitive soul would want: coconut milk cappuccinos, paleo chocolate desserts, golden turmeric mylk, vegan pastries and more.

One of the most delightful things about Kunara’s cafe is the outdoor seating that is situated within their garden shop, with the sound of the natural (and spectacular) water feature nearby. It’s a tranquil little space and we both agree it’s rather special. The other thing we particularly loved today was the gluten free spinach and feta roll. Wow! (If you’re not gluten free you won’t understand how exciting this is. For me, I’ve been gluten free for twenty-five years and this is the first one of these I’ve seen in that time. Trust me, it’s a big deal.) Ashley and I are strictly gluten free and to stumble across one of these was a first for both of us. And it didn’t disappoint. Go get one!

And for a bit of trivia, Kunara even features in The Beekeeper’s Secret.

Until next time,

Jo x