Cake and Cover Competition

This week, The Cake Maker’s Wish finally made it out into the world after I began working on it five years ago! I had a wonderful time launching it online last Sunday afternoon. If you’d like to see the video, you’ll find it on Facebook here.

Now… for your chance to win a gorgeous prize pack!

Once you have your copy of The Cake Maker’s Wish, simply take a photo of it with some cake (any cake!) and post it to Facebook or Instagram, tagging me so I know it’s there, and using the hashtag #cakeandcover

Here’s an example:

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The winner will be chosen from a shortlist and win this wonderful prize pack, including a brooch and matching earring set from Ruby Olive, a copy of The Beekeeper’s Secret (for you to enjoy or pass on to a friend), my favourite brand of chai (and this one is chocolate chai!), and Lindt chocolate.

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The winner will be chosen on 2 July. I can’t wait to see your entries 🙂

Happy reading and caking!

Jo x

Mini Meringue Bites

These meringue bites are so simple (and inexpensive), they’ll become your go-to treat for any last-minute guests dropping in for coffee, or maybe use them as additional birthday party treats.

This is another recipe from The Cake Maker’s Wish. My cake maker, Olivia, gets to have fun creating a wedding cake for a celebrity couple and adds meringues as embellishments to her design, which is another great use for these mini meringues.

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The basic meringue recipe is simple but it’s also flexible as you can change the colour (pink, blue, white, caramel or rainbow unicorn!) or flavour (think vanilla, chocolate, coffee, rose or orange blossom) to suit your taste or needs. Glam them up or keep them simple. They can go as far as your imagination desires.

This one can also be gluten free. (In theory, cream of tartar is gluten free but if you have any concerns about it being processed in the same facility as grains then check with the manufacturer.)

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites, room temperature… free range, please… I love my chooks 🙂
  • 1 cup of castor sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • Add colours or flavours of your choice (e.g. vanilla, rosewater, orange blossom water, coffee, chocolate powder, strawberry powder, jam etc.). Add these to the desired taste or effect but most flavourings only require about half a teaspoon.

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 120C.
  2. Beat your egg whites and cream of tartar until they are beginning to hold shape.
  3. Add in your sugar a little at a time, mixing well between additions until the sugar is completely mixed through and the meringue is white, fluffy and holds stiff peaks.
  4. Add your vanilla and/or flavourings or colourings of choice and beat through.
  5. Pipe your mini meringues onto baking trays lined with paper. Bite-sized pieces could be the size of a twenty-cent coin.
  6. Place the trays in the oven and reduce the heat to 90C and bake for around an hour and a half. You want them to cook slowly so that they harden into bites.

Tip

Have fun with these! You could try splitting the meringue into two halves and colouring them differently, then putting both colours into a bag and piping them in a swirl to show both colours.

Why Do You Want to Read ‘The Gift of Life’?

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Recently, I offered my mailing list subscribers the chance to win a copy of The Gift of Life. All they had to do was tell me in 25 words or less why they wanted to read it. I hadn’t expected to be so delighted by reading their responses, and thought I’d share some with you. Maybe you’ll find a good reason in there to add The Gift of Life to your reading collection when it is released into the world next week on 2 April.

The winner of the competition was April Nisbet, who shared “your books are medicine for my soul. I can always connect to your characters, I feel their passions and their fears from page 1.  ”

April also sent me another email telling me how The Tea Chest inspired a total life turnaround for her, fuelling her passion to begin working with tea. She even took her copy of The Tea Chest to Darjeeling for research (see photo), and will be completing her tea blending certificate later this year. April is actually the third person who has shared that The Tea Chest had this affect on her. I can’t tell you what a privilege it is to be a writer and have people not only enjoy my books but actually find meaning in their own life because of them.

Thank you to everyone who entered this competition. There were so many wonderful entries and it was such a joy to read them.

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I have had a transplant and hope to see the emotions of the situation of donor & recipient expressed realistically, sensitively & positively. (Karen K)

I have always wondered if there was a spiritual connection between the donor and recipient of a heart transplant (Delores B)

…life is a precious gift (Sue E)

I often replace your books with my daily meditation practice (April N)

I have been involved in many organ donations aka “the gift of life” as a nurse in ICU (Karen J)

Just read “The Chocolate Promise” for the fourth time. Totally LOVE all four novels so far and can’t wait to read “The Gift of Life”!!! (Ainslie H)

Love all your other books and know I will love this one just as much.  (Corinna)

…sometimes I need a reminder to appreciate all I have and the people in my life (Liz H)

I am waiting for a heart/lung transplant (Heidi D)

Love, love, love all your books. (Chrissy B)

Josephine is my favourite and she is yet to write a book I don’t adore. (Bryannan K)

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If you’re feeling inspired to read The Gift of Life, you’ll be able to get a copy of the book from anywhere good books are sold, Big W, airports, K-Mart, and Target. Or you can buy online at

Booktopia

Get it on audio here (Audible)

Get it at Amazon here

Book Depository (with FREE international shipping)

 

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

FREE copy of The Tea Chest, released into the wild

A book in the wild
A book in the wild

This morning I released a FREE copy of my novel The Tea Chest into the wild!

If it hasn’t been claimed yet, you will find it at Cafe Doonan (Eumundi-Noosa Rd, Doonan), where it is waiting for you to

TAKE

READ

RELEASE

If you come across one of my book’s in the wild, it would be wonderful if you could drop me a line/photo from wherever you found it, and keep a record on the back page of its journey through the country (or world). But if you’d just like to read it and pay it forward, that’s great too.

It’s my gift to you for an unexpected moment of joy in your day.

xx