Monday, 4 May 2015

Guest Recipe and Review - RJ Jones


I was lucky enough recently to get my hands on a wonderful book, Out of the Blue, and literally hoovered my way through it, world be blowed, until I'd reached the end.

I love reading about strong, established relationships that get shaken to the core. In Out of the Blue we go through the mill as Cam unravels before Jake's eyes. I felt Jake's frustration and hurt as Cam pushed him away. RJ Jones deftly shows a man unwilling to accept that he needs help initially.

I don't want to give away too much but I strongly recommend Out of the Blue.

After I fangirled over RJ Jones, she very kindly wrote me a guest post to make me hungry.

Mum’s (or Grandma’s) Special Comfort Food

Remember when you were growing up and there’d always be that one dish Mum made that had your mouth watering? For me it was a sweet curry, complete with plump sultana’s that tasted even better the next day.

If you’ve read my story, Out of the Blue you’ll know Cam’s special meal was his grandmother Bessie’s special meat sauce. It took him all day to cook and he would generally only make it when he needed some downtime from the images in his head. Being a firefighter in a busy city such as San Francisco, the images were prevalent, to the point where his boyfriend, Jake always associated the meal with some rough times.

Below is Bessie’s recipe for meat sauce – or what some of us call Bolognaise.

Sauce Ingredients
     ⅓ cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
     Pinch of red pepper flakes
     4 crushed garlic cloves
     ¾ cup chopped onion (optional)
     1 teaspoon fresh chopped oregano, divided, or ½ teaspoon dried
     1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, divided, or ½ tablespoon dried
     1 teaspoon fresh chopped mint, divided
     1 teaspoon sugar
     1 teaspoon salt
     ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
     2 x 800gram cans of whole tomatoes or two quarts of freshly canned tomatoes.
     ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesano Reggiano cheese
     2 tablespoons unsalted butter


Before you begin, pour your two cans of tomatoes into a bowl and crush with your hand. Don’t break them up too small, you want large chunks.
In a large heavy bottomed pot with a lid, on a burner with no flame, pour in olive oil and add red pepper flakes, garlic, onion, most of the oregano, basil and mint (save a little bit of each for the end), sugar, salt and pepper. Turn on the burner and slowly bring up to hot. When the onions and garlic start to cook, stir and heat for five minutes.
Remove the pot from the burner and place a heat diffuser over the burner. Place the pot over the heat diffuser and add the tomatoes. Turn burner to medium high and stir until they start to boil. Then reduce to simmer, partially cover and simmer 90 minutes.
After 90 minutes, remove from heat and add the reserved herbs and Parmesan cheese. Add the butter to round out the flavors.
Mix with browned mince (ground beef) and serve over pasta. Fresh crusty bread is handy to mop up the leftover sauce.

Note: The old saying about the sauce tasting better the next day reheated is true. It gives the flavors a chance to blend and mellow out. If you have time to faff about, I recommend this. At least you’ll have it ready for the next day and won’t have much to do.

Now in saying all this, I hate cooking. Really, it’s one of my pet hates. If you’ve seen some of my posts of Facebook, you’ll know what I mean. I do it because Mother Guilt is a real thing.

Here’s my version:

·         Brown mince.
·         Add ready-made pasta sauce from store and stir ßimportant bit.
·         Add a bit of dried herbs from the panty – preferably basil (I heard it goes well with tomato) and just knowing what it is will make you feel like a ‘foodie.’
·         Check best-before date on dried herbs. They’re already dried, pretty sure they’re fine.
·         Poor over cooked pasta.
·         To make it extra classy, sprinkle some of that parmesan cheese that comes in a shaker tub.
·         Serve with store bought garlic bread.

If anyone tries Bessie’s version, I’d be keen to know how it went and if you think it’s worth the time. And if you live nearby, feel free to drop off a batch or three. J

Blurb: When everything happens Out of the Blue…

Lt Cameron Cooper has been with the San Francisco Fire Department for fifteen years. He’s seen and dealt with a lot of horrifying situations.  He’s always considered himself mentally tough, but when he attends a multi-vehicle accident and sees a dead boy with features remarkably similar to his long-time boyfriend, his mental health takes a hit.

All Jake Montgomery wants is to propose to his boyfriend on their ten-year anniversary. He’s already bought the perfect rings, but when Cameron struggles to look at him after a tragic accident, he has doubts about their future. Cam is withdrawing, and Jake doesn’t know why.

With heated arguments and cold shoulders, Cam and Jake’s life starts to fall apart. Just when Cam thinks he can overcome his issues and finally talk to Jake, memories from Jake’s past threaten to push them apart forever.

Author Bio: I started as a reader and eventually made the progression to reviewing. It wasn’t until two men popped into my thoughts, insisting on telling me their story that I started to write. It started with one scene. A hot and dirty one in the shower.
My initial thought was if I could write their scene then they’d shut up and allow me to concentrate on other aspects of my day. That shower scene was 3000 words long and three hours of work.  But they didn’t shut up.  They told me their entire story and I didn’t sleep for days.  Sometimes I couldn’t keep up with what they were telling me and I had to keep a notebook by my bed.
Whilst I was writing their story a side character decided he needed his story told too. Then other characters followed suit.
You see the problem? If I ever want to sleep again then I need to write.
I’m a wife and a mother to two boys. Even my dog is a boy.
I am surrounded by males.

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