Cooking The Books – Emmie Dark

Chef with cookbookIt’s the last post of 2013 on Cooking The Books and I can think of no better way to end the year than with the lovely Emmie Dark and her new erotic romance novella, Charmed. This gorgeous story combines all kinds of hocus-pocus with some very hot moments. Now, having been brought up in an era when bibulous TV cooks like Graham Kerr and Keith Floyd publicly and devotedly exceeded their recommended two glasses a day, all the while whipping up a perfect soufflé, Emmie’s post is right up my alley. Take it away, Emmie!

I know it’s traditional on Cooking the Books to talk about food and/or provide a recipe. But at this point in the year, who wants to be Emmie Darkexperimenting with baking? We’ve all got our favourites, and the things the family demand to be made, so I thought it might be nice to instead focus on one very important part of the cooking process: the wine you drink while you’re cooking.

Sure, there’s all kinds of guides and information out there on food and wine matching. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking the wine you drink when you’re in the kitchen, stuffing the turkey, slicing the carrots, and whipping the cream.

For me, the very best kind of tipple for kitchen adventures is champagne – or “sparkling wine”, as we are more properly supposed to say when it doesn’t come from France! I do love the French stuff, I must say, but I’m equally happy with some of the premium Australian and NZ versions.

Emmie with champagne

Bubbles is a celebration drink to me, and when I’m in the kitchen working on a festive meal for my near and dear, that’s definitely cause for celebration.

Australian Christmas being summer also calls for chilled, bubbly drinks. A beautiful tall glass of cold champagne is perfect when you’re working up a thirst slaving over a hot oven while everyone else is playing with their presents.


I have to admit, I have been indulging in more than my fair share of bubbles this season already. But there has been a lot to celebrate! Not the least of which is the release this week of “Charmed”, my new Destiny Romance novella. I might also advise you to keep a cool drink handy when you’re reading it – it might just get you a little steamed up!

Have a very merry Christmas and hope you get to enjoy your favourite beverage while you’re cooking. Let me know if you’re a champagne drinker, like me – or do you have another preference?

Emmie, you know I love a glass of wine but what about our readers? Whatever is in the glass you raise this holiday season, may it bring you happiness, good cheer and a very happy 2014.

Charmed coverBook Blurb:

When a handsome and charming stranger reluctantly enters the magic shop where perky Melanie Cooke works as a psychic, she fully expects to give him a standard reading and send him on his way. But for the first time in her life, her powers fail her and the reading goes horribly awry.

Michael Harrison was dubious about the idea of seeing a psychic, but given the attraction between them, he’s prepared to put first impressions aside. Yet as he and Melanie get to know each other, Michael is forced to confront his past, and to face the fact that Melanie may be more than she seems.

Will fear and suspicion ruin all or will the magic and power of love keep them together?

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Cooking The Books – Emmie Dark

Chef with cookbookWe’re turning up the heat again with multi-published Harlequin and Destiny Romance author, Emmie Dark. As a foodie Emmie leaves no stone unturned in her quest for the newest gastronomic tastes and culinary hotspots of Melbourne. Happily she likes my company as we chomp and sip our way around inner Melbourne talking writing, romance and food.

Emmie’s latest release from Destiny Romance is Spellbound a steamy erotic romance novella. I think the cover says it all!


by Emmie Dark

I’d always thought that I could handle spicy food. Wasabi on my sashimi? Yes, please. A little fresh chilli sprinkled on top of my tom yum soup? Sure! Pizza with hot salami? Bring it on! And I’d always been a little disparaging of those people who couldn’t handle the heat—I was secretly proud to be made of tougher stuff.

That is, until I travelled to Malaysia a few years ago for work. I was running workshops for a group of locals there, and the first thing I learned is that morning tea is not a biscuit and a cup of tea. Nor is lunch a sandwich eaten while you work. In Malaysia—especially in Penang, so famous for its cuisine—food is something to stop for, to savour and appreciate.Spellbound cover

Morning tea on my first day was hot food—a selection of noodles, soup, and some absolutely delicious deep-fried little morsels served with sweet chilli sauce.

One of the delegates asked me, “Do you like spicy food?”

“Sure do!” I confidently replied.

He dished me a small plate of noodles. Bringing a forkful of them to my mouth, I still can’t tell you what made me hesitate. But I paused.

“Just how spicy are they?” I asked, suddenly suspicious. Maybe it was something in the steam rising from them that gave it away—something already tickling my nose.

The woman next to me swallowed her mouthful. “Pretty mild,” she said with a shrug.

“Okay.” I munched on the whole forkful. The flavour was salty, with the freshness of coriander, and a good dose of chilli. Actually, I realised as I chewed, a lot of chilli. LOTS of chilli. A HUGE amount of chilli! With a heat that just seemed to grow and expand to fill my mouth, my throat, my whole head . . .

I coughed. Kind of choked. Managed to swallow. But swallowing the noodles did nothing to calm the raging fire in my mouth. The oil from the dish had coated every tooth, every part of my tongue, and I could hardly breathe.

Tears stung my eyes and I could feel myself break out in a sweat.  “That’s mild?” I managed to say.

They laughed. And brought me water, bless them. And once I’d recovered my voice, we had a lively debate about what “spicy” actually meant. To them, the noodles were mild. For the rest of the week, I was their pet project. “Try this!” they’d encourage. “Tell us if you think it’s spicy!” I was a bit of a joke, actually, with my seeming inability to handle what they considered the mildest of spicy dishes.

Emmie DarkEver since, I’m not quite as boastful about my ability to handle hot food. I still love it, though. And I’m much more patient with those people who don’t like spice at all, even I do think they might be missing out.

Emmie’s first book with Destiny Romance, Spellbound, is out now. A steamy tale about love and magic gone wrong, it’s definitely one for lovers of hot spice!


Find out more about Emmie at

Spellbound is available from: