Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mourning Jack - Give Away!

So, in this crazy busy spring, I have another book being released...Mourning  Jack. It's released by Total E Bound on Monday, 14th May. I'm back to my comfort zone with this one. It's contemporary and it has food and horses in it. Ade, the narrator, is a chef. So there's some food pr0n. I just couldn't help myself.

Mourning Jack is all about hurt,healing and moving on. Ade, being a chef, uses his skills in the kitchen to make people happy, to offer them comfort by providing them with good food. One of the dishes he gives Cal is chili con carne. I love chili, it's great on a cold and rainy day. It's hot and  it's satisfying. I don't get to have it very often because my family aren't fans of chili. But, for those who are, here's mine (and Ade's recipe)

1 pound ground beef (80/20)
ground cumin (around a tsp)
chili powder (around a tsp)
14oz can chopped tomatoes - with juice
garlic powder (about half a tsp)
cayenne pepper - if you like to scorch your eyeballs.
oregano - 1 tsp.
one tin pinto beans (optional)

Brown the beef in a pan. When it's browned, stir in the ground cumin, garlic and chili powder. If you're a heat freak, this is also the time to add the cayenne pepper. Let this cook for a minute or two, until you can really smell the spices. Add the tomatoes and juice. Stir, bring to a simmer and then add the oregano and salt to taste. If it's not tomatoey enough for you, feel free to add a squirt of tomato paste. You may need to add a tiny bit of brown sugar to take the acidic edge off the tomatoes. Add the *beans, if you must. Leave to simmer until the meat is tender.

Serve in a nice deep bowl with loads of grated cheese and a dollop of sour cream on top. I also like crumbling tortilla chips over it. Yum.

*My fellow countrymen, for some reason, like to add red kidney beans to their chili. This  is an abomination. Purists say that you shouldn't add beans at all. If you must, use pinto beans. They tend to absorb the flavour of the chili rather than dominate it, like nasty big kidney beans.

What I'd love to know is what recipe do you fall back on when you've had a lousy day?
The winner of the free PDF of 'Mourning Jack' will be the person whose recipe appeals to me the most.

The winner will be announced on Wednesday, May 16th. So get posting! I'm hungry!


  1. OMG, just homemade macaroni and cheese. And I seldom even fix that when I need a boost because it's too much trouble to fix just for myself. LOL...
    Mourning Jack sounds wonderful!

  2. We have one that I call tater tot bake. The best part is the obscenely gooey layer of cheddar cheese that goes over the top.

    Can't wait to read Mourning Jack!

  3. Fishfinger sandwich - there's nothing better! Mourning Jack sounds great and is definitely on my must read list

  4. I am a huge Chili fan.. which is required of all Texas residents (I swear, lol) Anyway, I spent some time growing up in Texas, and chili was a staple at our house... But its not one of my fall back recipes. I have two.. both are super simple, one dish recipes, that are yummy.

    One is what we call "Italian" Chicken. Basically it is 1 glass 9x13 cake dish,
    put in boneless/skinless chicken breasts,
    1-2 Lrg cans of mixed vegetables (sometimes I change it up and use different veggies),
    1-2 bottles of Italian OR Creamy Italian salad dressing (I prefer creamy italian as its less greasy),
    a dash of Kikkoman Reduced Sodium Soy sauce (not much just a little bit of extra flavor.) Then put it in the oven on 350 for about an hour to an hour and 1/2.. I start with frozen chicken breasts so it takes a little longer..

    My second recipe is Taco Casserole
    here's what you need:
    Large Skillet
    1lb Ground beef
    1 bag Doritos(crushed) (dont' skimp and get cheap chips.. the doritos really taste better)
    Shredded cheese (I use "fiesta cheese" from Wal-mart)
    1lrg can of Refried beans
    1-2 packages of taco seasoning

    Brown Burger, drain,
    add taco seasoning and water (as per instructions on seasoning a little extra water doesn't hurt)
    stir in beans and Doritos (you really only need to use about 1/2 to 3/4 of the bag)
    I also stir in about a handful or two of cheese.
    Put down a good layer of cheese over the top, put your heat on low. Its done when the cheese is melted.
    My family loves to add Pace Picante sauce. its all to taste. :)

  5. I'm totally looking forward to the final version of MJ. :D I'm a huge curry person, though people are apparently disturbed by the fact that I throw pineapple into m chicken curry (so. good. :D)

    Also, I love chili. WITH the beans (I usually mix pinto, Red kidney and great northern beans. :p)

  6. For me it's anything salty. :) My top three choices - fried potatoes, omelet with tomatoes and onions or fried bread (put it on frying pan, add oil, salt and garlic). Yum!
    Now I want to try your/Ade's recipe!

  7. My favorite pick-me-up dish is actually a dessert. It's wicked simple to make and always puts a smile on everyone's face. It's also one of my most-requested-to-make recipes:

    Chocolate Squares
    1 package Chocolate cake mix (no pudding in mix)
    1 package Chocolate pudding (the kind you cook – not instant)
    2 cups milk
    1 6 once package chocolate chips
    1 cup chopped nut (optional)

    Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease & flour a 11x15 jellyroll pan.

    In large saucepan, add milk & pudding mix together and cook pudding as directed on package. Once it starts to boil, remove from heat. Add dry cake mix and using electric mixer, mix until well blended, about 2 minutes on medium speed.

    Pour batter into prepared jellyroll pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts, press slightly into batter.

    Bake for 18-20 minutes. Cool. Cut into bars.

  8. I like making soup when it's been a lousy day. I make biscuits or rolls to go with. My roommate has a thing for risotto (which we're actually having tonight).

    Your book sounds interesting, and I love cooking so the chili recipe will definitely get tried ^__^

  9. Bad days are alway made better with cookies, and there's nothing better than chocolate chip cookies.

    Chocolate Chip Cookies
    1 c. butter (two sticks)
    3/4 white sugar
    3/4 brown sugar
    2 eggs
    1 tsp. vanilla
    2 1/4 c. flour
    1 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. baking soda
    1 12oz. package favorite bittersweet chocolate chips

    Combine flour, salt and soda in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, cream together butter and sugar with mixer. With a wooden spoon (DON'T use the mixer!) gently beat in the eggs and vanilla. After well mixed, start adding flour in batches, again mixing with spoon, not mixer. Add in chocolate chips and mix in well.

    Drop small spoonfuls on unbuttered cookie sheet and cook in a 325 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. For soft gooey cookies, cook until edges are golden, but the center is still light.

    Serve hot out of the oven, eating very carefully, with a tall glass of milk.

    Comfort for all ills except stomach aches. :)

  10. I shall add this book to my To Be Purchased Pile for next week. Congrats!

  11. Trying again.

    Confort food = Mac and cheese. The smoked cheese makes it extra-awesome.

    3 cups macaroni, uncooked
    2 eggs
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    1 1/2 cups milk
    salt & pepper
    1 cup smoked cheddar cheese, shredded (a must)
    6-8 oz. velveeta, shredded
    1 cup sharp cheddar
    1 cup colby & monteray jack, shredded (cheese blend)

    Preheat oven to 350
    Cook macaroni until just less than al dente. Be careful no to overcook.
    Drain pasta and set aside.
    In a large bowl, add milk, heavy cream & cheeses (except for the smoked cheddar).
    Stir to combine.
    Add salt & pepper to milk mixture to taste. You can also add in other seasonings like onion, paprika, etc. Yes, I am a southern girl. I don’t measure — you just have to do it until it looks/tastes right.
    Add eggs.
    Stir until well combined.
    Butter a 9 x 9 inch baking dish.
    Add macaroni to the baking dish.
    Pour cheese mixture over macaroni.
    Make sure the cheese distributed well.
    Top with smoked cheddar cheese (I add a little more Colby jack, too). Sprinkle with paprika and/or black pepper, if desired.
    Bake for 35-45 minutes. Do not overbake.
    Cool for about 10-15 minutes or until fully set.

    I just want to be clear — this recipe is not WW-friendly. ;) But it’s good stuff.

  12. My favorite comfort food is popcorn! No recipe, really... just a nice heavy pan, a little butter-flavored oil, and enough popcorn kernels to cover the bottom of the pan in a single layer. Cover and heat on medium-high heat until all the kernels are popped. Sprinkle with fine popcorn salt and enjoy! :)

  13. If you think kidney beans in chili are questionable, you should try eating chili in Indiana. They put elbow macaroni in it here. I am not even kidding.

    My fall back comfort food is potato soup. And it's not so much a recipe as a list of ingredients. Quantities are all based on what I have on hand and how much I feel like chopping.

    You take several potatoes, a couple of carrots, a couple stalks of celery (with leafy green bits if you can-- they add nice flavor), and an onion. Clean, peel, and chop as necessary. Throw it all in the crockpot with a couple cans of chicken broth. Salt and pepper to taste. Set the crockpot to low and let it do it's thing for 6-8 hours. Just before serving, stir in 1 can of evaporated milk (*not* condensed-- very important detail) and a pat of butter.

    I usually serve this with fresh bread. Bread maker FTW! Very comforting on a cold day. Also great for a busy day, since all you have to do it get it started and then leave it be.

  14. Oh, wow. Comfort food that requires a recipe... Weeellllll... I absolutely love my chicken parmesan. It's pretty easy, too.

    Boneless, skinless chicken breast
    Multiple types of cheese (your preference)
    parmesan cheese (obviously)
    spaghetti sauce
    spices (I use Italian season, lemon pepper seasoning salt, garlic powder, and chopped onion)

    Fry, in a skillet, your chicken, spicing it up as it cooks. (I typically use lots and lots of butter or virgin olive oil, but you can fix it however you want with the seasonings you like).

    Once cooked, pour spaghetti sauce over the chicken, then add the cheese and let melt until it's ooey gooey good. Top with parmesan.

    DELICIOUS. Simple and easy, too.

    Of course, if you're wanting something comforting that isn't food, I have a nifty drink I love. (for anyone over 21, obviously).

    Evening Sapphire (Created by my husband):
    Half Bombay Gin
    Half Blueberry liquor or blue raspberry mix (get the blue mix, not the clear).
    Mix. Drink. Enjoy.

  15. Fresh Rosemary and lemon garlic chicken. yummmm... It's super easy.

    skin chicken
    coat in extra virgin olive oil
    clip rosemary from bush outside and sprinkle over chicken
    sprinkle lemon pepper seasoning (or if u have fresh lemon shred the peel over chicken.)
    add finely chopped garlic
    cover with foil and bake at 425-450 for an hour
    uncover and let cook additional 15 min.

    It goes great with baked wedge potatoes with rosemary and garlic sprinkled on top.

    ...and now I am starving...

  16. It's nice to see a recipe for chilli which says I can leave out the beans. I hate beens - kidney or pinto! But I love chilli. Su I will definitely try your recipe.
    My favorite comfort food is cake. Not very healthy but very comforting!
    125g butter, creamed with 3/4 cup castor sugar.
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    2 eggs
    1/2 cup of milk
    1.1/2 cups SR flour
    Bake in cupcake pans 13-15 mins at 160c fan forced or 180c if not fan forced and ice with buttercream when cool.

    hankts AT internode DOT on DOT net

  17. Hmmm...favorite comfort food. Baked lemon herb chicken breasts. Nothing much is really measured, as I do it to taste, but I attempted some anyway.

    2 Full boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    1 box of mushrooms (sliced)
    1/2 - 3/4 stalk of celery (chopped)
    Butter (1/2 stick)
    Chicken broth (dry sprinkle kind)
    2 Lemons

    Layer of chicken breast
    Generously sprinkle basil, rosemary, ginger, chicken broth, a small amount of water, squeeze some lemon over that. Season each layer to personal taste.
    Add some pats of butter.
    Add chopped celery and mushrooms.
    Another layer of chicken and repeat the above

    Cover with foil and bake at 350 until chicken reaches 165 degrees on a food thermometer.

    Serves 4. I serve the broth in dipping sauce bowls on the side, but the entire meal can be served in bowls.

  18. Ok, so I'm not posting my chili's three bean: black, red and white kidney. Since I want to win...mine is chicken and noodles.

    2 Tones chicken bullion cubes
    2 cans Swanson broth (14.5 oz.)
    2 cans water (refill cans from tap, 14.5 oz.)
    2 cups fresh/frozen carrots (1/2 bag)
    2 cups fresh/frozen green beans (1/2 bag)
    2 cups yolk-free egg noodles
    13 oz. chicken

    Combine ingredients in slow-cooker, except noodles. Cook on high until vegetables thawed. Add noodles 1 hour before serving.

    You can throw the ingredients into a large pan on the stove top if you need comfort food fast. Bring all ingredients but noodles to a boil, cut back to a low boil for 10 minutes or until vegetables are cooked, toss in the noodles, and cook to your preference.

  19. Since you probably don't have a spaetzle maker, I'm not gonna post my recipe for spaetzle with lentils and wieners. Another favorite of ours is goulash with dumplings:

    2 tablespoons sunflower oil
    1 large onions, diced
    1 small carrot, diced
    1/4 small celeriac diced
    2 rashers of bacon, diced
    2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 2 inch cubes
    1/8 teaspoon ground caraway seed
    1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
    1 clove garlic, minced
    5 tablespoons sweet paprika
    2 tablespoons tomato paste
    2 cups beef stock
    2 red peppers, cut into 2 inch pieces
    salt and pepper to taste

    Saute onions, carrots, celeriac and bacon in oil until soft, then add beef and brown. Stir in caraway seed, marjoram, garlic, paprika and tomato paste. Pour beef stock over all, lower heat to low and simmer for 2 1/2 hours. Add red peppers and cook until tender, another 30 minutes. Add the dumplings and cook for another 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

    2 cups of white flour
    4 tsp. baking powder
    1 tsp. salt
    4 tbsp. soft margarine or butter
    1 cup of milk

    Mix all the ingredients and make walnut-sized dumplings with a teaspoon.

  20. I like my chili on top of elbow macaroni, nom, I'm also loving all these recipes. I've been in a cooking funk lately and this might snap me out of it.

    If I've had a lousy day, odds are I don't feel much like cooking. I'd rather get a box of wine and a ridiculously unhealthy amount of Chinese food.

    My favorite comfort food recipe is Loaded Baked Potato soup although I've made it so often that I no longer use a recipe so here is my best guess:

    * 5-6 large potatoes
    * 1 lb bacon (we like bacon a LOT)
    * 1 large onion, chopped
    * 2 cloves garlic (I cheat and use the minced stuff)
    * 4 tbsp butter
    * 2 tbsp flour (might need more)
    * Chicken Stock (get the big container)
    * Half n Half or milk, or both
    * 2 cups cheddar cheese, plus extra for topping
    * Green Onions
    * salt and pepper
    * 16 oz sour cream (get more if you love sour cream on top)

    Peel and chop up the potatoes, toss em in a big old pot and cover them all up completely with the Chicken Stock. Boil until tender.

    While boiling, chop up your bacon into crumbly size and cook in a pan until crispy. Remove the bacon, put it on a plate with a paper towel and let it get degreasified. Leave about 1tbsp of the bacon grease in the pan, toss the onions and garlic in there and cook em till tender.

    When that is done, toss your onion garlic mix into the pot and keep it cooking. After a couple minutes, using a slotted spoon, scoop out a couple spoonfuls of the potato mixture and set it aside in bowl.

    Take a small sauce pan, melt the butter, and add the flour to create a roux. I never remember the butter/flour ratio and just play with it until it looks good. You want it to create a paste, but not get burnt. Once you get the magic roux paste, add about a cup of the half n half or milk. Cook, stirring constantly with a whisk, until it gets nice and thick. Then toss it in with your potato mix.

    Mash that bowl of potato stuff you put off to the side and add it back into the main pot. Add more milk or half n half if you like it rich, until you get the consistency you want. It can be thick or thin, your call, we like it thick. Take about half of your bacon and toss it in there too.

    Once it looks like soup, top it off with your loaded potato fixins, 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese, some chopped green onions, a couple big scoops of sour cream and then take a picture because it's going to look really amazing.

    Stir that all up and it'll be ready to eat in about five minutes.

    Serve it with extra cheddar cheese, bacon crumbles, green onion, and sour cream so you can top it off like a baked potato.

    A big bunch of crusty bread goes well for dipping too.

  21. I don't really cook all that much. But If I'm just damn tired after a lousy day and trying to get my mind off everything a simple brownie or cupcakes recipe is what I fall back to. LOL... not that I follow recipes as I go... I just make them from what I know by heart you know?
    That or diffing out some Ice-cream and making me a Banana sundae~ <3 lol...

    Congrats on another release! Mourning Jack really does sound wonderful!
    Thank you for the contest! :)


  22. My fallback recipe is lemon lentil soup. I could probably dig a recipe out, but I do this from memory.

    In a pressure cooker, I saute an onion until browned, then add cubed and peeled potatoes. (About 3.) I like to brown them a bit. I deglaze the pan with veggie broth then add 1-1/2 c. red lentils and about 6 cups of water. I add about a tsp of oregano and a large bay leaf, then cook the whole lot on the second ring of pressure for 15 minutes. I add lemon and soy sauce to taste, serve with freshly ground pepper.

    This soup has become the go-to comfort food for both my sisters' families as well because it's creamy, thick, reasonable, and contains no fat.

  23. I'm starting with my favorite salad - very easy to make and very much appreciated whenever I have to bring some to an event (because nobody else knows it)

    3 cans corn
    about 500 gr. gouda (a mild but tasty cheese) in slices
    one big onion
    vinegar (not a heavy one like Balsamico, more a sour one - I use Kressi Vollwürziger Essig but I don't assume you get this)

    Cut the cheese and the onions in little pieces and mix it with the corn, add some salt and pepper, vinegar and oil to it and wait a little bit. Then check the taste again and eventually correct the seasoning.

  24. I've had two impartial judges (my husband and son) pick the winners, since they have to eat what I make.

    The winners are:

    Sharon S and her nommy chocolate squares


    the Webb's amazing sounding Loaded Baked Potato soup.

    Ladies, I need your email addresses so I can send you your copies.

    Thank you to everyone who took the trouble to stop by and leave your suggestions and recipes. I'll be trying all of them!


  25. Thank you, Sue! I am so excited. Can't wait to read Mourning Jack. And you'll have to let me know what you think of the chocolate sqaures.