Saturday, 25 October 2014

Get Wicked!

Happy almost Halloweeeeen!

Hope you're all enjoying the fabulousness that is the Entangled Get Wicked Blog Hop. Because I'm all about treats, rather than tricks, I thought I'd share my (world famous in my street) Halloween mallow ghosts. This is about getting wicked as well as trick or treating, and there is nothing more deliciously wicked than the taste of sugar whipped into airy peaky perfection. Personally I would serve the adult version of these with cream too - ideally chocolate cream. Oh. Yes.
 


You will need:



  1. Remember that moisture is not your friend when you are making these puppies. So don't make meringues on humid or rainy days.  Preheat oven to 120°C/248°F. Measure and prepare all your ingredients.
  2. Line 2 large baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Have all the required utensils on hand. An electric stand mixer or electric hand beaters with a whisk attachment or a hand balloon whisk can be used to whisk the egg whites. they will all give good results but the texture of the meringue mixture will be slightly different with each.
  3. Place the egg whites and salt in a large, clean, dry mixing bowl. Make sure your egg whites, bowl and whisk attachment/s are free of any water, or fat such as butter, oil or egg yolks, as this will inhibit the egg whites from incorporating air and producing a good volume. It is best to use a stainless steel, glass, ceramic or copper bowl and whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form.
  4. Add the sugar, a spoonful at a time, whisking until just combined. The sugar should be added gradually but there is no need to whisk well after each addition. If the sugar is added too slowly, the resulting mixture will be fluffy and not smooth and will give the final meringues an open texture.
  5. After the last of the sugar has been, added, continue to whisk for a further 2-3 minutes or until the mixture is very thick and glossy, all the sugar has dissolved and a long trailing peak forms when the whisk is lifted. The best way to test if all the sugar has dissolved is to rub a little of the mixture between your thumb and forefinger.
  6. If it is smooth, all the sugar has dissolved. Keep a close eye on the mixture and stop beating as soon as it reaches this stage. If the mixture is overbeaten, the meringues will collapse during cooking and beads of sugar will form on their surface.
  7. Use teaspoons to spoon the mixture onto the lined trays to form the meringues. As a guide, each meringue will be about 2 level tablespoon measures of mixture.
  8. Place the meringues into the oven and reduce the temperature to 90°C/194°F. When you place the meringues in the oven, the initial slightly higher temperature sets their outsides. The lower temperature then dries the meringues rather than bakes them. Leave the oven on for 1 1/2 hours or until the meringues are crisp and sound hollow when tapped on the base. Turn the oven off and allow the meringues to cool in the oven - this will take 3-4 hours.
  9. Paint the "ghost eyes" on with black food coloring or color paste.
  10. Store your "ghosts" in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
Thanks for coming to visit. As a special treat to Blog Hoppers, I'm giving away an ARC of my upcoming Christmas title Red Hot Christmas! Just let me know which of my Entangled titles has been translated into greek...you can check on my website

To head back to the Blog Hop, just click on the linky link below. 



Monday, 8 September 2014

Shout outs and giveaways!

A big shout out for my girlfriend Carmen's latest release. Let's kick of her Brazilian Tycoon tour with a bang!

Passion was never in the bargain
Addison Reed lost her fiancĂ©, but she’ll do whatever it takes to protect his legacy. When the gorgeous and arrogant landowner, Brazilian billionaire Bruno Duarte, who is thwarting her at every turn, refuses to meet with her, she puts her plan into action.
He will listen to her
Bruno’s plan was simple: return to Brazil and marry to fulfill his father’s dying wish. But when his engagement crumbles, and he’s then stranded with an idealistic woman hell-bent on saving a tribe of people on his land, he sees the perfect solution. If his feisty and passionate abductor agrees to a bogus marriage, he’ll relocate the tribe.
With the Brazilian heat rivaling the growing heat of their desire, will Bruno and Addison abandon their respective plans and give in to each other, or will their differences tear them apart?

GIVEAWAY TIME Enter for a chance to win a $50 Gift Card (Amazon, B&N, or iTunes. You choose!)

Enter here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/5440a354145
Buy the book:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1vSLZXf
B&N: http://bit.ly/1t3F4XR
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1yH3beB
Add to goodreads: http://bit.ly/1kI45X0

What are you waiting for? Good luck, happy reading and happy gift card winning!
x Michele

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Conference season

Many of you will have been to RWA in the states lately - sounds like a blast - and downunder our conference season is starting too. Sydney, Australia is just about to kick off their extravaganza and New Zealand's conference happens just after. 
It's a great way to catch up with writers and readers and for someone like me who has been hiding at home for the last TWO YEARS looking after small people, it's a reason to get out of the house and see grownups. Yeay daddy day care. (Can you tell I really dont get out enough?)
If you're going to be there and see me wandering looking like a lost puppy, do stop me and say hi. Promise that I'll shake myself out of my baby haze and provide scintillating conversation. Okay, maybe not scintillating, I don't want to over promise. But I'll happily chat about the glory of being surrounded by such a great group of romance writers and I cant wait to hear what everyone has been writing and reading.
Have a great one,
x Michele

Monday, 16 June 2014

When all else fails - make cake




We had an epic storm here this week and power was out. So no computers and by the time power came back on I had run out of child free time. Instead of writing, I therefore made cake.
A while back I offered to make a birthday cake for a friend's daughter's birthday party. It turned into a bit of an epic cakeathon and a lovely mermaid was the result. (You can see her on my facebook page)  But that turned into me saying yes to another cake for another birthday party, and thus, my weekend was full. Full of gold coins, bounty, pirates and general chocolate treasure!
Given that loads of people ate it with happy munchiness, asked me to and it was relatively straight forward, I thought I'd share the step by step of it here. Hope you enjoy!

Step one - Make cake ;-)

(I made a banana date cake, less sugar because of the dates and bananas, and because it was for three year olds, I figure less sugar is good. Also. Icing). You could of course use a packet, or buy a sponge. All would be fine.




Step two - Carve. 
I cut the rectangular cake in half, then cut a 45 degree slice out of the "lid", used the cut out part as a wedge and buttercreamed the whole together. If you use sponge, you might need to put toothpicks in to stabilize, but if you're using a heavier cake (like I did) you should be sweet without.







Step three - Ice
You should really do a crumb coat here (a thinish layer of butter cream) to hold all the carved crumbs and make the next layer nice and neat. I was gong to do that, but then I figured, three year olds dont really need all that sugar. So I only did one layer. You can decide which you do - if you're using sponge you probably want to do the two cos sponge will give you more crumage ;-)
I used chocolate buttercream icing. And I made a darker chocolate icing which i layered on with a knife and planed into the other icing to give a woodish effect. Kinda.


Step four - decorate (and ice some more)

I made the silver stud-work with white fondant which I brushed with silver edible chiffon (dust). Then I just pushed edible silver balls in for the studs. I also used white fondant brushed with the silver for the skull (you can see it in the photo at the top of the post). Then I just pushed a bunch of gold chocolate coins and Hersheys kisses into the icing. Made a small piece for the candles, and spread breadcrumbs (you could use biscuit crumbs) over a thin layer of buttercream to act as sand.

Next time I'll have to do a book cake!!! Enjoy and happy reading (and cake eating.) x Michele

Monday, 26 May 2014

New Author Shout out

My buddy Trudi Jaye has her first book hitting the magical e-shelves on May 28th! Go Trudi. So if you like a bit of fantasy and the twisting turns of a Carnival, check her out! You can find the book on Amazon here.

The magical Jolly Carnival is the only life Rilla knows—and it’s falling apart around her. Just as she’s thrust into the role of Ringmaster after her father’s unexpected death, an old family friend turns up to challenge her birthright.
Her rival's sexy son Jack isn’t helping either. Despite being a greenhorn and an outsider, he's intent on charming everyone, convincing them all that Rilla isn’t up to the task of leading them through these tough times.
But Rilla must also contend with another threat—the ongoing sabotage that has been disturbing their delicate magical balance and threatening to destroy the Carnival. All signs are pointing to an insider, making it impossible to know who to trust.
To save her beloved Carnival, Rilla must do everything she can to find the saboteur before they attack again. But if she takes her eye off the battle for Ringmaster—even for a second—she risks losing everything she's trained for her entire life. 

Happy reading.
xMichele

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Mermaids, madness and happy mothers day

So, I thought I'd pop in to wish any of you mother's out there a happy mother's day. Down under it's already Mother's day, and if you read my post over at The Naked Hero this week, you'll know how I've spend my day. I made cake. Lots of cake! Well, I made the cake last night - but the icing extravaganza that this lady mermaid is, she got made today. (You'll have to forgive her hair do, this was prior to transportation and I was trying to keep her red tresses out of the icing.)
Now we've been to the party, Mr two and a half ate his body weight in crackers and cheese, and  I'm ready for a cup of tea and a sit down! Surely that's allowed! I hope you've get to have a wonderful day with your special people, and that someone makes you a cup of tea, coffee, wine or whatever else takes your fancy. Now if I could convince everyone to give me a couple of minutes, I might even get time to read my book!
What did you do this mother's day?
Have a great one, and happy reading.
x Michele

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Sweet or spicy?




I’m making cake. Birthday cake. For a five year old girl no less. It therefore has to be in the form of Ariel the Mermaid…stay with me here, this is still a post about romance writing. It got me thinking of Disney Princess types. The virgin heroine, the quivering at the sight of a super-alpha pageant-beauty. There are a lot of them about, and in the hands of a skilled writer, the virgin heroine is a thing of beauty: able to bring men to their knees with a glance, and hold out for what she wants till she’s 100% she’s going to get it.
But thinking this through reaffirmed my belief that I like sassy heroines who have seen a bit more of life – girls with gumption, chicks with chat. I especially like it when they have a quality vocabulary that has more than a few expletives in it and a smattering of good barbs. The WIP I’ve been working on at the moment though has a heroine who is much softer. Even a little, *gasp*, sweet.
For a while I struggled, trying to get her to talk the way I thought she would, but it all just sounded wrong. She’s a far cry from Disney Princess, but she isn’t the “girls can and should do anything” type I thought I would always write. In frustration I sent her to my CP and asked if she thought she needed a slap. My CP laughed at me and quietly and calmly reminded me that characters are who they are. She even liked her.
So I’ve had to re-evaluate my parameters. I’ve upped her vocabulary, downed her simpering and come to a happy place where she’s still on a mission, and is back in the girls can do anything camp, but she doesn’t need to fight quite so hard to prove it all the time.
With my Ariel Mermaid cake, I think I’ll take the same approach. There will be a doll in the middle, but she’s bound to have a sparkle in her eye, and a damn good retort to anyone who dares question the styling of her icing bikini (okay, maybe that last bit will be me). Some sass with her smile and maybe just a little extra flick to her tail.
So what about you? Do you like your heroines sweet, sassy or somewhere in between. And can you made to like someone you never though you would, just because she’s got a sparkly green tail and a sparkle in her eye? Thanks for stopping by!
X Michele
(image courtesy of sodahead.com)
This post also appears on www.thenakedhero.com