Cooking The Books – Jennifer St George

Chef with cookbookWelcome to Cooking the Books! Today my guest is contemporary romance author, Jennifer St George. Last time we caught up with Jen we heard about her kitchen woes and how they were  all going to be solved with the aid of a Thermomix. Well, let’s find out how that little experiment has turned out, shall we? But before we do, whatever her shortcomings in the kitchen, Jen sure does know how to deliver a sizzling alpha billionaire hero. The latest book in her fabulous Billionaires series was released this month by Destiny Romance. Here’s Jennifer!

 

Why Can’t my Characters Cook For Me?JSG

 

Cooking. It’s not my forte. I’m a very basic cook and will use any excuse to order take away rather than cook a meal. I’d love to be a great cook, and to that end I purchased a Thermomix, which I talked about during my last visit to Cook the Books.

The Thermomix promises that even the most inexperienced cooks will be able to prepare dishes they never before dreamed were possible. It can chop, whip, mix, emulsify, mill, knead, cook, blend, stir, steam, weigh and heat. I was sold.

So, how’s it going? Well, my young daughter can now cook amazing meals, which is fantastic. She is a natural in the kitchen. She’s whipped up tuna pasta, made her own pesto (and now grows her own basil so she can make it fresh from the garden), has produced almost a hundred batches of Anzac biscuits and lots more. She loves it.

How am I going? Well, I’m disappointed because I still have to shop for ingredients and put them in the right order and the right amount. When they make a machine that does that, then I might look like a good cook. I have made a couple of quite successful soups and salads, but I think you need to want to cook to get the best of the Themomix.

Anyway, because I’m such a rubbish cook I consciously ensure all my heroines are brilliant cooks (yes, living out my fantasies through my fiction). They make fabulous meals. I know about amazing meals because I read all those gourmet magazines and indulge in quite a few restaurant meals…I just can’t replicate these mouth-watering morsels in the kitchen, but I can write about them.

My latest release, Tempted by the Billionaire Tycoon is set in a luxury health retreat. My heroine Poppy effortlessly whips up a meal of carrot and ginger soup followed by chicken with salsa verde and roast courgette and red peppers and finishes the meal with lime and rose sorbet. All organic ingredients and all delicious. Apparently Poppy could have made all these meals in my Thermomix. Shame Poppy is just a figment of my imagination!

TemptedBy_2b[2]

Thanks, Jen. So what about you, dear reader? Are you an old-fashioned cook who eschews modern gadgets in favour of technique? Or will you grab anything going in order to make life easy?

Author Bio:

Jennifer St George is a romance author whose sexy stories feature courageous, career-minded heroines, strong heroes in glamorous international settings. Out in October, Tempted by the Billionaire Tycoon is the second book in Jennifer’s Billionaire Romance series.

You can buy Tempted by the Billionaire Tycoon from:

Amazon

iTunes

Kobo

Penguin

Google

 

Find Jennifer at:

Facebook

Twitter

Blog and Lovecatsdownunder

Web

 

 

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Cooking The Books – Carla Caruso

Chef with cookbook

Welcome to Cooking The Books! Today’s guest is the super-delightful Carla Caruso and she’s talking about a food fashion that’s here to stay.  I’m not sure what we all did before someone decided it would be a great idea to throw a bunch of salt into caramel and see what happens. Turns out it’s pretty terrific. Besides having such excellent taste, Carla writes delicious rom-coms and she’s here today to share a recipe and tell us about her new rom-com mystery series!

 

Carla Caruso - author picSalted caramel. Who bl**dy invented that stuff? Whenever the double-trouble of a flavour is mentioned as part of some grub – from popcorn to ice cream – I have to buy it. (Cripes, I just Googled it and discovered there’s also a salted caramel martini. Talk about dangerous.) Confession: I once ate half a jar of salted caramel sauce while typing away at my computer one night.

I also know Celeste Pretty, the heroine of my new rom-com mystery series, would be a salted caramel fan. (The first book in the series, A Pretty Mess: An Astonvale Novel # 1, is out October 1, by the by!) Celeste is a neat-freak professional organiser – de-cluttering people’s homes and offices for a living – who keeps getting caught up in messy mysteries with a sexy builder (Lenny Muscat).

A Pretty Mess by Carla CarusoShe has a chin-length, honey-brown bob – so has a bit of a caramel look going on! – and wears a tonne of beige, being a classic sort of dresser. Plus, as Nigella Lawson says, having salted caramel ticks off “the holy trinity of sugar, salt and fat” in one go – and Celeste does like to multitask.

Salted caramel really is the perfect pairing. A little like Celeste and Lenny … possibly. Of course, you’ll have to read the series to find out if this is true 😉

I nicked this recipe for Salted Caramel Fudge (http://bit.ly/1qYd47D), below, from Taste.com.au. (Love that site!) After all, Celeste Pretty is just the type to follow a recipe to the letter. This fudge is so moreish, it’s embarrassing how many trips you’ll make to the fridge to indulge…

 

 

INGREDIENTS

395g can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons glucose syrup

1/4 cup golden syrup

125g butter, chopped

180g white chocolate, finely chopped

1 teaspoon sea salt flakes

Salted caramel fudgeStep 1: Grease pan a 4cm deep, 20cm (base) square cake pan. Line base and sides with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang on all sides.

Step 2: Place condensed milk, sugar, glucose syrup, golden syrup and butter in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, without boiling, for 10 minutes or until mixture is glossy and sugar has dissolved.

Step 3: Increase heat to medium-low. Bring to a simmer, stirring. Cook, stirring constantly, for 6 to 8 minutes or until mixture thickens and comes away from side of pan. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate until combined and melted. Spoon into prepared pan. Smooth top. Sprinkle with salt, pressing in with the back of a spoon to secure. Set aside for 30 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 6 hours or until firm.

Step 4: Cut into 2.5 cm pieces. Serve.

 

More on A Pretty Mess: An Astonvale Novel # 1 here: http://bit.ly/1pb3mix

And on moi here: http://bit.ly/1tV82Y3