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Archive for March, 2010

Yummy Date & Orange Scones

Our local reality show, Nestle Hottest Home Baker has captured my attention, and I sit glued to the set each week to watch the on screen action. My favorite baker has been voted off the show, so I’ve had to shift my allegiance. I chose one of the contestant’s recipes to make for my March test recipe. They turned out really well and were delicious.


Scone Ingredients

1 cup dates chopped
Zest of 2 oranges
Juice of 2 oranges
1 Cinnamon Stick
A little sugar

Place these ingredients into a pot, melt and cook until it goes thick and caramelises. Note – my oranges didn’t have much juice, so I used some orange juice we had in the fridge. I added a little at a time until the dates sucked it up and I had a lovely thick mixture. Cool mixture.

4 cups self-raising flour
300ml cream (half a pint)
¼ cup sugar
1 can lemonade (Sprite)
½ tsp salt
Cinnamon sugar (make your own by mixing a few teaspoons of sugar with a little cinnamon)

Place flour and salt in a bowl. Add the date mixture and mix. Pour in cream and lemonade. Mix all ingredients into a smooth dough in a bowl. Tip out onto floured bench and cut out or shape. I just used a sharp knife and cut rough squares. Place scones just touching each other on tray. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake at 220 degrees Celsius (425 degrees Fahrenheit) for 15-20 mins until starting to colour pale golden. Place on a tea towel on a wire rack.

Shelley’s notes: I used a fan bake oven, which cooks quicker. My scones were ready after ten minutes of cooking. My mix was quite damp and sticky. I sprinkled just enough flour on it for me to pat it into shape and cut into smaller squares.

The recipe is a hybrid of Chelsea Sugar & Good Taste Australia & Courtney from Nestle Hottest Home Baker.

Date & Orange Scones

This is the final product. I ate them warm with raspberry jam or a little butter. You could use jam and whipped cream as a topping or your favorite jam or jelly. I froze the leftovers, and they tasted just as good heated a little in the microwave after I’d thawed them out. My March recipe was a big success.

The Wonder Grain

Thursday Thirteen

I entered a competition a few weeks ago and yesterday, I received a box of rice and rice products worth $100. It was a real surprise, and now our pantry is full of rice. It’s just as well I like rice. :grin:

Thirteen Things About Rice

1. Rice is a staple food for more than half the world’s population.

2. Rice belongs to the grass family and produces seeds (the rice grains) on long stalks.

3. Rice is either short, medium or long grain. Short grain rice is more moist and sticky, due to higher starch content. Long grain rice is lighter and drier and the grains separate easier.

4. Rice is high in complex carbs. It has almost no fat. It has zero cholesterol and a low sodium content. It also provides protein and is a good source of vitamins and minerals. It’s gluten free and is easy to digest.

5. More than 40,000 varieties of cultivated rice exist.

6. Arborio rice is a short-grain rice grown in Italy. It absorbs flavor well and is used in making risotto. It can, however, be used in soups, rice puddings and paella dishes.

7. Basmati rice is my favorite. It’s a long-grain rice that comes from India and Pakistan. It’s name comes from the Hindi word for fragrant. It has a nutty scent and is perfect with curries.

8. Sushi rice has been grown in Japan for more than 2000 years. It’s sticky and holds its shape due to the high starch content.

9. Jasmine rice is mild and fragrant and is popular in Thailand and China.

10. At a wedding, the throwing of rice originally symbolized fertility. These days it symbolizes prosperity.

11. In China, young girls who are picky eaters are warned that every grain of rice they leave in their bowls represents a pock mark on the face of their future husband.

12. Rice writing originated in Turkey where it was believed that a grain of rice with an inscribed message led to good luck.

13. When hubby and I did an overland trip from London to Kathmandu, I had a stomach upset in Turkey and was toilet-bound for a couple of days. I still wasn’t very well when we traveled through Iran. At first, I ate rice because it was easy to keep inside me. We had problems finding vegetarian food so then I ate rice because I was hungry. It got to the stage where I didn’t want to see another single grain, let alone eat one! I still remember eating a delicious cheese omelette in an Esfahan hotel where we were staying. It was the best omelette ever.

Source: Taste Magazine – January/February 2010

Visit the Thursday Thirteen Hub.

Alice Visits Sloan and Thinks She’s Found a Rabbit Hole

Alice from Fancy Free is on tour again. I’m visiting Smexy Books today where I’m talking about Fancy Free and doing a giveaway.

I’m also blogging at The Romance Studio today.

Fancy Free

Warning: Condoms were tested and a few harmed during the writing of this story.

It’s not every day a girl inherits a condom company, and to say accountant Alice Beasley is astonished and out of her depth is putting it mildly. For an almost virgin, she needs a quick education in all things condom because her inheritance is in danger. Someone is intent on sabotage and playing nasty, trying to destroy her new company.

Alice is suddenly getting down and dirty with charismatic James, the factory manager, all in the name of business, testing new condom designs. The sex is hot. Mind-blowing. It’s a dark thrill and an erotic journey. Yeah, it’s a hard job, but a girl’s got to do what a girl’s gotta do.

The testing turns personal. Alice wants James. She craves his talented touch and sultry kisses, she desires passion and physical pleasure on a permanent basis but first she must convince bad-boy James to give up his fancy-free ways…

New Sale: Tiger By The Tail

I’ve just sold book number nine in my Middlemarch Mates series. That’s right. Another story about the black leopards who live in Middlemarch, but as the title suggests, this particular book is about tigers. Tiger By The Tail is Ambar’s story and it’s a menage a trois with two men and one woman.

Here’s an unofficial blurb:

One plus one equals three.

Tiger shifter Hari Daya takes one look at Ambar Patel’s photo and is smitten. Further research heightens his fascination. An arranged marriage would work, except the lady isn’t buying and tells him to take a hike.

Ambar is already involved with human Jake Quinn. Casual pleasure and lovin’ works best for her since she dreams of traveling the world and delving into new experiences. The frisson of heat and desire she feels for Hari is unacceptable. There will be no tiger mate for her.

Jake Quinn has no idea either his lover or his new friend are shifters, but there sure as hell is something weird going on in his head. As much as he enjoys sex with Ambar, he’s thinking about Hari too. Suddenly there’s kissing and togetherness way past his comfort zone. The slide into sinful pleasure with both Hari and Ambar is easy—it’s the relationship dynamics that give them headaches and make them wonder if they’re making a huge mistake.

I don’t have a release date as yet, but it should be out in the next few months.

Ginormous Pumpkins

My regular blog readers will probably recall my earlier post about pumpkins. Mr. Munro and I purchased seeds at the Farmers’ market and gave some to my father, some to my brother-in-law and we kept the remaining ones. Our first lot of seeds didn’t germinate. The second lot grew, but they didn’t grow much bigger than bowling balls.

I don’t think my father understood how big these particular pumpkins grow. He certainly didn’t understand our enthusiasm or competitive spirit. He’s definitely changed his tune since then and gleefully rings up to skite about the rapid growth of his pumpkins.

Here are some photos of some of his pumpkins. They’re all too big for me to lift. Both photos were taken about three weeks ago, so they’ve probably grown even bigger.



Aren’t they a gorgeous color?

I’m blogging at The Romance Studio Blue today about the first erotic romance I ever read.

Hey Cutie

Camera Critters

During our last visit to the farm, my father had a hen and several chickens that had hatched recently. They were awfully difficult to photograph and kept moving. This is a closeup of one of the chicks. The white on the right of the photo is the hen’s breast.


To see more animal photos visit Camera Critters.

I Love You

Since I discovered romance when I was about twelve, I’ve been a voracious reader. There’s something about the romantic journey and the growing intimacy between a couple that hooks me, and I’m a real sucker for a happy ending. Some people call romances trite and predictable, but I find the predictability comforting. I like knowing the couple will end up together, and I live for the moment when they admit their love for each other.

I like romances where the couple openly state their love and say the three little words—“I love you.” I’m not as keen on romances where the main couple end up happy-for-now and there’s a hint the relationship might not last. For me, it’s important the couple commit to each other. In all of the books I write, the featured couple admit their love and say, “I love you” because that’s the way I like it.

What about you? Do you need the main couple to state their love or are you fine with merely a happy ending and the implication that they love each other? Are the words important?

Place Names That Roll Off The Tongue

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Interesting New Zealand Place Names

I like place names that roll off the tongue. Here are some from New Zealand that I enjoy saying.

1. Paekakariki – means perching place of the kakariki (green parrot). Pronounced pie-ka-ka-rekey

2. Paraparaumu – translates to scraps from an earth oven. Most people pronounce it Para-para-oo-moo

3. Wainuiomata – translates to faces streaming with water. It’s pronounced Why-nui-O-ma-ta

4. Papamoa – I couldn’t find a translation, but it’s pronounced pa-pa-mower

5. Whakarewarewa – it’s the short version of Te Whakarewarewatanga O Te Ope Taua A Wahiao and means The uprising of the warriors (war party) of Wahiao. Locals call it Whaka.

6. Turangawaewae – translates to a place to stand or footstool. (Two-runga-why-why)

7. Waikanae – translates to waters of the yellow-eyed mullet (fish). It’s pronounced Why-kah-nye

8. Waitakere – the names comes from a Maori chief. It’s pronounced Why-tack-ah-ree

9. Horowhenua – I couldn’t find a translation. It’s pronounced Hor-o-fen-u-a

10. Waimarama – Wai means water, marama has a number of meanings from lunar to deity, so it could be moonlight on the water, but I’m not sure of the translation. Pronounced Why-ma-ra-ma.

11. Wairarapa – translates to glistening waters, and it’s pronounced Whyra-ra-pa.

12. Tuakau – I went to school here and remember seeing parcels addressed to “To-a-cow”. No one is sure of the meaning, but it’s actually pronounced to-a-cow

13. Pukekohe – I lived here for part of my life. The translation is hill of the kohekohe (NZ Mahogany). It’s pronounced Pukee-ko-ee

What is your favorite place name—one that you like because it rolls off the tongue?

The First Romance & Wild Child a Top Ten Seller!

Wild ChildWild Child has hit the top ten seller list at All Romance Ebooks! I’m so excited and glad that my contribution to the 28 Days of Heart series has sold so well. Wild Child is currently at number 8 (I hope I don’t jinx this and wake to find my book has slid out of the top ten!!)

Purchase Wild Child today – it’s not too late to grab my book or one of the others in the 28 Days of Heart series. Remember all proceeds from sales go to the American Heart Association.

I’m blogging at Access Romance today about my introduction to the romance genre and the first romance I read. Here’s the link to Access Romance.

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