In Falling for Miss Write, my hero and heroine are both great cooks 🙂 Here are some of their fav recipes!
Barista, chef, and aspiring author, Charlotte Glass is happy and community minded, she loves working with people. Her church and her faith helped her overcome a troubled past. She has found her dream job working at The Noshery.
Here’s a snippet from Falling for Miss Write where the heroine, Charlotte, tells the hero, Felix, a bit about herself…..
“I’m a cook, well, I was a pastry chef but now I just cook.”
“I work in a family-run deli, The Noshery.” She chuckled. “I was tired from the hours of working as a pastry chef and, as much as I loved it, I wanted to find something else. By chance, I heard about the job. I applied and got it. I’ve been there a couple of years and I love it. I cook food, hearty meals, rather than arty, fancy cakes. And now that the owners have lost their daughter—”
A look of horror crossed his face. “She died?”
Charlotte’s hands flew up to her mouth. “I didn’t mean it like that. I meant, their daughter, Lisa, met the man of her dreams and has moved overseas. She lives in New York. Anyway, Robert and Rachel, they’re the owners, needed help and I like it there. I’ve also become a barista so I can help out when needed.”
“You cook for a job and you cook at the church?” The skin on his forehead creased with concern.
She waved his worry away. “I generally only work five days a week, it’s brilliant. The owners are Jewish and close on Saturday, their Sabbath. And they close early on Friday afternoon, which is perfect for me. I work some Sundays, but generally I’m needed only weekdays.” She paused for dramatic effect. “Can you tell I love where I work?”
“Sounds like a dream job.”
“It is. When I’m making coffees, the regulars chat. It’s so easy going, I love it. They think my food is awesome and tastes very Jewish. I don’t know what that means, but as long as they keep buying it, I’ve got a job.”
Charlotte’s Chicken Soup
1 large whole chicken (or 5 chicken frames and 3 drumsticks)
4 carrots, peeled
3 stalks celery, peeled
1 medium parsnip, peeled
1 large onion, left whole but peeled
small bunch of fresh dill
2 large tomatoes, cut in to quarters (this is Joanne’s, I mean Charlotte’s, secret ingredient)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 cube of chicken stock (or 1 heaped teaspoon of chicken stock powder)
Wash the chicken well, inside and out, and place it in a soup pot. Pour enough water in the pot to cover the chicken by 1-inch.
Bring the liquid to a boil, lower the heat, and for the next several minutes, remove any scum that rises to the surface. Add the vegetables, stock, dill, salt and pepper.
Cover the pan partially and simmer the soup for 2-1/2 hours or until the chicken meat is very soft when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Pour the soup through a strainer or colander into a large bowl or a second pot. Set the chicken and vegetables aside.
For best results, refrigerate the strained soup; when it is cold, the fat will rise to the surface and harden and you can scoop it off. (Refrigerate the vegetables and the chicken separately.)
You can serve the soup as plain broth or with the vegetables and chicken in it. You need to chop them in to small pieces before serving.
Optional extras – noodles or matzo balls.
Project Manager Felix Randall has made some bad choices in life, particularly with his last fiancée who left him at the altar for his brother. Now he’s determined to settle down and find a Miss Right who will help him build the same kind of loving, stable relationship his parents have. But with his reputation, no one takes him seriously.
On of their first “dates” Felix helps Charlotte at her Church’s bakeoff.
In typical alpha-Felix style, he takes over…with everything! Here’s a snippet from the book and his recipe for his Middle Eastern stuffed vegetables!
The kitchen smelt heavenly, with the spices of cumin, cinnamon, and turmeric. “That’s right, you need to fry up the spices before adding the meat.” Lorna, who was in her eighties, blushed as he gave her a dazzling smile.
“Thank you, Felix. I’m going to make this at home, it’s not difficult,” she said.
“I’ve printed extra copies of the recipes, so you can take one with you,” he said.
“This music is very nice,” she added.
“They’re a Christian band that is very popular in the States.”
“Well, we all have different tastes in music, but this band has certainly got an upbeat sound to them,” she added.
Unfortunately, Charlotte had been relegated to being the dishwasher, and she stupidly felt left out. On her own, she washed the vegetables, and then the used chopping boards, knives, and eventually the saucepans.
At two thirty in the afternoon, they all stopped, had a cup of tea and a biscuit.
“These are delicious. Who made them?” Felix asked.
“It’s my recipe,” Lorna piped up.
Charlotte leaned back in her chair, tired, hot and cranky. She’d spent the past few hours washing in hot water, and she was feeling sticky and abandoned from everyone else. This was her group, not his.
“Your boyfriend is very nice, helping us,” Lorna said to her.
“He’s not my boyfriend,” she said through gritted teeth. “He’s just a friend.”
Lorna winked at her. “Sure,” she said.
Charlotte rolled her eyes. She’d been with Felix for less than two days, and he’d already taken over, acting as though he belonged there.
Felix brought a chair to her and placed her feet on it. “You rest, I’ll start washing up.”
“Do I look that tired?”
“You do, but you still look gorgeous,” he whispered in her ear.
Felix’s Middle Eastern Stuffed Vegetables
4 large tomatoes
4 bell peppers/capsicums
4 baby eggplants
½ large onion finely cut
0.5kg/ 1 lb ground/mince beef (you can use lamb, chicken or turkey mince)
1 cup rice
½ cup parsley
¼ cup mint, optional
2 teaspoons Baharat
1 chopped tomato
1 tablespoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
4 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 cups water
1 teaspoon Salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ tsp of brown sugar or a splash of lemon juice (removes any bitterness from the tomato sauce)
Cut the “tops” off your veggies! Use a corer or spoon for the vegetables to scoop out the flesh.
Chop the flesh finely and add it to your mixing bowl.
Mix the filling ingredients in a bowl.
Stuff your veggies! Don’t pack it in tightly, just make sure it’s filled all the way.
Place the veggies into a large pot with the open parts facing upwards.
In a separate bowl, mix the tomato paste, garlic, water, salt and pepper.
Pour the sauce over the veggies. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.
Joanne’s 1st secret tip – Baharat is a Middle Eastern spice that is sold in both Middle Eastern and Kosher supermarkets. It’s also sometimes sold in supermarkets (check the spice section or the Kosher section for it). An alternative is ground cumin.
Joanne’s 2nd secret tip – best to use cooked rice for this recipe.
Joanne’s 3rd secret tip – if you buy extra mince, you can make meatballs. Just mix the mince, cooked rice, spices and herbs in to meatballs (the size of a golf ball), and cook with the vegetables.
Joanne’s 4th secret tip – you can make this a vegetarian meal by using only rice (you’ll need 2-3 cups)
Joanne’s 5th secret tip – adding toasted pine nuts or toasted slivered almonds to the filling makes it even more delicious, and works well if making vegetarian.
PS – in case you’re wondering, these are my recipes!!
I spent time writing them down, and ensuring they are suitable for my readers in all countries. If you make any of them, there will be more next week, please let me know what you think.
Happy cooking and Bon Appetit!