Cooking The Books – Carla Caruso

Chef with cookbookNow here’s a tantalising proposition. Imagine waking up one day with wrinkle free skin, a wiser head and the ability to make at least 10% of your decisions using more than your libido. Okay, so that’s my fantasy. Today’s guest, Carla Caruso, has written a gorgeously funny story about revisiting the past and it’s been receiving rave reviews everywhere.

Carla has dropped in to tell us about Second Chance and she’s giving away a Kindle copy to one lucky commenter!

Carla Caruso - author picFood fads today seem to whir by faster than Zara putting out new collections. From “dude food” (think burgers, buffalo wings and other American junk food) to street van food and trendy Mexican, it can be hard for us civilians – and our taste buds – to keep up.

You don’t want to be the one suggesting a degustation dinner for a double date (so last year) or a low-carb bite with a mate (now carbs are apparently healthy again). Whew! Did I mention it was difficult to keep up? I blame all those reality cooking shows for making dining out so fraught with fashion faux pas.

One era when food trends seemed to move at a blissfully slower pace? The nineties! My latest release from Destiny Romance, Second Chance, is about a feisty heroine, Flora, who accidentally time-travels back to the summer of ’98 when her phone malfunctions. Along with hoping to reunite with a former love, she also finds she’s quickly back to a ‘90s-esque diet of focaccias and cappuccinos.

Focaccias… remember them?

Herald Sun cheekily dubbed the Italian baked sandwiches “a leaden carb-laden doorstop, beaten into submission by an overworked sandwich press, that was served up in city centres around the land as the height of ‘90s urban sophistication. Filled with some chargrilled vegetables and washed down with a choc-dusted cappuccino and you have the let’s-catch-up lunch of the café set, circa 1992.”

Second ChanceMy heroine, Flora, refers to the café worker, who serves her focaccia, as the bread equivalent of the “Soup Nazi” in ‘90s sitcom Seinfeld

Personally, I remember spending many a weekend with my older sister, chowing down on a chicken and avocado focaccia at Scoozi Café on hip Rundle Street. Could there be a better combo than chicken and avocado? I think not! And, hey, we have the focaccia to thank for being a launching pad for things like Turkish bread, ciabatta and sourdough locally.

Salivating yet? Well, in doing a quick internet search, I actually discovered a Melbourne eatery, Fugazza, that has, in fact, brought the focaccia back. Using artisan sourdough bread, these are baked, not pressed, creating a beautifully light, crisp crust, and filled with yummy ingredients such as taleggio and stracchino cheeses, porcini mushrooms and traditionally prepared small goods. Divine!

Of course, Melbournites probably know about this hotspot already and think I’m so 2011. But being from Adelaide, I’m half-tempted to jump on a plane and follow the tantalising scent of baking to this nostalgia-inducing eatery. Meet you there (wink)!

Find out more about Carla at

Carla Caruso was born in Adelaide, grew up amid a boisterous extended Italian family – yet somehow managed to become a bookworm…
Carla always wanted to be a novelist, annoying the kindergarten teachers by dictating long, detailed stories to them. It just took her a while to realise her childhood dream – journalism seemed a more practical course. Her media career has included stints as a newspaper and magazine journalist, government PR and fashion stylist. These days, she works as a freelance journalist and copywriter. She began seriously writing fiction three years ago when she went freelance full-time.
The romance genre appeals as she is a sucker for rom-coms (especially if Channing Tatum is in the mix) and likes to think her Italian ancestry means she lives with passion. Hobbies include watching trashy TV shows, fashion (her mum named her after Carla Zampatti!), astrology and running. She lives in Adelaide.

Website       Author Page          Twitter

You can also purchase SECOND CHANCE at:



Google Play



18 comments on “Cooking The Books – Carla Caruso

  1. Hi Carla, I LOVE second chance stories. All the best with it, and I so love that picture of you too.

    • LOL, I love second chances, full stop! Getting to fix up all the mayhem is very attractive. Thanks for stopping in, Jenn,

  2. Second Chance sounds great, Carla. A really enjoyable post, Louise and Carla. I do so like bread, cheese, the chicken and avocado combination. And bread… Thank goodness it’s time for breakfast!

  3. Chicken and avocado…ahh those were the days. Used to see that combo on so many menus. That and deep fried camembert with cranberry or plum sauce. Mind you, I shouldn’t laugh too hard. I’ve been guilty of cooking both up!

    Thanks for that nostalgic trip, Carla. Was rather fun! Wishing you all the best with Second Chance.

  4. Oh Yummm! I’ll have to find someone to do lunch with at Fugazza now. Long live the Melbourne Cafe. Where on earth would everyone go once they’d dropped the kids at school. Mine have grown up now, but I still meet one school mum for coffee and perhaps an avocado and tomato on sourdough toast, for breakfast, once a week. Second chance sounds lovely Carla.

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