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

Three Gold Coins: Three Reasons to Pre-Order Now

‘What a gloriously wonderful read, I loved it.’ Cathy Kelly (on The Tea Chest)

One coin for love, one for marriage, one to return to Rome.

Two days ago, Lara Foxleigh tossed three gold euros into the Trevi Fountain. Now, she is caring for a cranky old man and living in a picturesque villa, half a world away from her home and the concerns of her loving family.

Soon, it seems as if those wishes she made in Rome just might be coming true, and she may even be able to help heal a fifteen-year-old tragedy.

Until Lara’s past threatens to destroy everything she loves…

Three Gold Coins is a masterfully written celebration of food, family, triumph over adversity, and love – a deliciously imperfect life.

 

9781925266146

I am delighted to share that pre-orders are now open for Three Gold Coins. Here are three reasons to pre-order:

  1. The moment the book is available, it will come to your door and into your hands to begin reading.
  2. Pre-orders help authors. When you pre-order, each one is counted towards the sales in the first week of publication, which means the book rises up up the bestseller lists and makes it more visible to others who are looking for a good book to read. So, thank you!
  3. You can order in either paperback or digital formats.

To order a physical book, go to: Booktopia.

To order digital copies, go to:

iBooks

Kindle/Amazon

Thank you for your support and happy reading!

 

 

 

 

#1 Thoughts on Writing: Swear Words

I’ve been asked a lot of questions lately on my thoughts on lots of writing topics so it only seems fair that I should share them here with you as well. Today’s topic is about swear words–how to use them, when to use them, how many of them to use, their validity etc.

'I'm telling you, that Darcy is a $%*!@! and he can go and $#*&*&! himself!'

‘I’m telling you, that Darcy is a $%*!@! and he can go and $#*&*&! himself!’

Here are my thoughts on this.

The first time I read a Jane Austen novel, I was utterly blown away by the depth of disgust, contempt, jealousy, rage and hatred she could portray and never a swear word was spoken. I always keep that in the back of my mind when writing and I try to hold myself to higher standards than I set in my real life.

In my life, I swear. But every year I try to stop (clearly, it’s a work in progress) because my feeling is that, basically, it’s lazy and unnecessary. And, also, any moment now my toddler will begin saying the same words back to me. Which is interesting, isn’t it? We all know we shouldn’t swear around children and we’re alarmed when we hear a five-year-old spouting off a litany of words that make us blush. But somehow the rules change as adults?

As I get older, fewer swear words appear in my writing. I will use them sparingly for impact where I feel it’s validated. But I think there are so many more ways to show character other than via swear words. The way they act and, of course, what they think, is arguably more important. As a writer, I feel it’s my job to dig deeper. If I’m relying on lots of swear words then maybe I haven’t gotten down to the true crux of what I’m trying to say. If I see a swear word in my manuscript, then I ask myself if that is really what’s necessary there or whether I just haven’t worked hard enough.

A Writer’s New Year’s Resolutions

Happy new year! Have you made any resolutions yet? I’ve set my three writer’s resolutions. But before I get onto that, let’s check out how I went with 2013’s writing resolutions.

2013 Resolutions: How did I go?

  1. I’m not going to read anything I’m not loving. Okay, I give myself points for thinking about this a lot. Alas, I did read quite a few things that I didn’t absolutely love. This is still a work in progress for me.
  2. I’m going to put my writing first. I think I did a pretty good job at this. It didn’t work every day but on the whole I set boundaries and was pretty strong about keeping them. Well done me!
  3. I’m going to decorate my writing room. Sigh. We moved house in September so (a) I didn’t see any point in putting lots of effort into my last writing room, and (b) I’ve been so flat out since we moved that not a lot of prettying has gone into my new room. I’m calling this a ‘let’s try again’ for 2014.

So, okay, not perfect, but not too bad. Now, to 2014.

  1. Stay calm, and have a cup of tea. I’m a bit of a Nervous Nelly at the best of times, but with my first book coming out in April, there’s a lot going on to push my buttons. Last weekend, The Courier-Mail published a very lovely article, ‘Pick of Books with Success Written All Over Them’, about upcoming books and included little-old-me in their picks for 2014. Whoa, Nelly! Some people would get a lot of confidence from an article like that. Me? I think, Holy Cats, What if I Fail?!?!? So, that brings me back to the staying calm and drinking tea–breathe, Joey, breathe. I need to remember that it’s not just me out there. I have an exceptional, proven publishing team behind me that have made countless good choices in their careers so I need to trust, trust, trust. 1533928_256008861229448_473962003_n1545544_256008901229444_56344808_n
  2. Turn guilt to gratitude. Like most mums out there, I want to believe that I can do it all. Of course, I can’t. I need to ask for help and be grateful when it arrives. When the nanny turns up to look after Flynn for four hours so I can do some work, I’m going to practise being excited about that and not guilty. When the invoice comes to pay that nanny, I’m going to practise feeling blessed, not guilty. And when the cleaner turns up to organise the house back to a level of workable sanity, I’m going to practise feeling thankful that I get to prioritise quality time with my toddler rather than the vacuuming. 1528547_256008884562779_1775505474_n
  3. Protect the creative process. There’s a lot of advice out there to tell aspiring writers to treat your job like any other day job. And there’s something to be said for that. Hours at the keyboard count. It is the only way a book will be written. But, at the same time, writing isn’t a normal job. And as Julia Cameron constantly tells us, we need to stock the well before we can take from it to create something new. I am a workhorse. I am built to work. What I find hard to do is play. But it is only by playing that I can stock the well in order to produce fresh, inspiring content. I might be naturally a Clydesdale in nature, but I need to let my unicorn out to play much more than I do if I want to find the magical moments.

So there are my three resolutions for this year. (Plus, I’ll throw in some room decorating too.) Help keep me honest, please! What are your resolutions for the year? I’d love to hear them 🙂