This debut young adult fantasy takes the reader on an epic journey. Imagine if giant moa still walked the earth and Aotearoa was ruled by a succession of high priestesses…
What if the magic book that held that whole world in balance was ripped in two and a coven of dark witches plotted to destroy the light forever? This is the world where Flynn Hawthorn lives. She is the ninth daughter of the ninth daughter, living under a curse. Her birth fulfills an ancient prophecy. She is destined to inherit the wand of the High Priestess and save her people by reuniting the separated halves of The Book of Shadow and Light.
But in a land filled with magick, Flynn is forced to live her life as a Watcher—born into magick, but unable to wield it. As the threat from the Shadow Coven of Southeil grows, Flynn must pretend—with the help of her best friend, Hazel—that she actually has magick. Hazel would do anything for Flynn, but the game they are playing may cost them their lives…
Join Flynn and Hazel on their adventure. Get your copy of An Average Curse (The Chronicles of Hawthorn, Book 1) BELOW:
Take a deep breath, YOU can make this stew. It is quite simple, it just takes time — about two and a half hours prep and about 90 minutes of cooking time (See my TIPS for time-saving secrets!). This is a great opportunity to enlist a kitchen helper. You can prep all the veg while your helper cubes and browns the lamb. Even if you’re not a fan of lamb, this flavor is amazing and worth the effort. I serve this with crusty bread and a BIG spoon. If you’d rather watch the video – CLICK HERE.
Here’s the RECIPE:
2 lbs Boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
(I use leg of lamb and throw the bone into the stew for extra flavor)
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Ground black pepper
1/2 cup Flour
1/4 cup Butter (I use a combo of butter and grapeseed oil)
2 cups Water (I use a combo of water and chicken stock)
8 oz. can Tomato sauce
2 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley, chopped (I use at least 4 Tbsp.)
2 Teaspoons Fresh Thyme, stripped from the stem (I use at least 3 tsp.; use less if using dried)
(I’m crazy for spices!)
6 Carrots peeled and cut into 2-inch lengths (I use a bag of peeled/washed baby carrots)
1/2 lb Pearl Onions, peeled (you can buy these frozen and pre-peeled – or see the SECRET below)
3 cups Turnips, peeled and cubed (approx. 2 large)
12 New potatoes, small – with a strip peeled around the middle (12 – HAH! I add way more potatoes)
1 package (10 oz.) frozen Peas (I leave these on the counter while prepping, so they thaw)
OPTIONAL – 2 teaspoons fresh mint, finely chopped
ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS FOR THICKENING GRAVY
1/4 to 1 cup water (or stock)
3 Tablespoons Flour
- Once your kitchen helper finishes cubing the meat, it’s time to coat and brown. Take a large plastic bag (ziploc) and mix the salt, pepper and flour. Toss in the lamb chunks about 10 at a time and shake to coat. Meanwhile heat the butter and/or oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. When the pot is hot, brown the lamb about 10 pieces at a time. When each batch of meat is browned remove to a plate. Repeat until all meat is browned; set plate aside.
- When all lamb is browned I take a minute to deglaze the pan with a little red wine. Which simply means – pour a 1/2 cup (or so) of red wine into the hot pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape the delicious browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Then you can return all of lamb to the pan and add 2 cups of water (or stock), tomato sauce, parsley, thyme – salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, slowly simmer in a covered pot until lamb is tender — about 45 minutes.
- Add carrots and turnips and simmer for another 15 minutes.
- Add pearl onions, and potatoes and simmer for another 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender when pricked with a fork.
- To add or thicken the gravy, take a small bowl and add cold water and flour; mix until smooth. Stir into stew and bring stew to a boil, again.
- Add the frozen peas (reduce heat) and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Makes approx. 6 servings
- Serve with some crusty bread or a biscuit
A hearty and delicious meal!
SECRET TO PEELING PEARL ONIONS:
- Prepare and ice bath (bowl of water and ice)
- Boil a small pan of water.
- Drop the pearl onions into the boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute (max).
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to an ice bath.
- With a paring knife, cut off the root end and pinch the skin at the opposite end.
- The perfect little pearl onion should pop right out.
- Here’s a link if you prefer a video: Peeling Pearl Onions
- You can prep all the veg while the lamb simmers (this will save about 45 min).
- Use fresh herbs, if you can.
- Add 2 teaspoons of finely chopped fresh mint when you add the frozen peas. It’s a nice twist on the flavor.
- Don’t rush :-) the process and the smells are part of the fun!
Email me pics of your St. Patty’s or Ostara celebrations!!
I promise, YOU can make these truffles. They are CRAZY delicious and easy to customize (I’ll list my secrets!). I packaged mine in some inexpensive “fake book” boxes from Michael’s that I picked up on sale.
Here’s the RECIPE:
12 oz semisweet chocolate pieces
1/4 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream
1/4 cup Heavy Cream
2 egg yolks
1 Tablespoon Butter (OPTIONAL)
(OK, I didn’t say they were lo-cal!)
- Melt chocolate pieces in a double-boiler. (You can use a microwave – but mine tried to kill me on Friday, so I went old school)
- Add Bailey’s and heavy cream. Whisk slowly and keep heat low. If it’s too hot the yolks will curdle in the next step.
- Whisk in the yolks one at a time, mixture will thicken.
- Whisk in the butter. (I skipped the butter and mine were fine, up to you)
- Refrigerate 4-5 hours or overnight. (Overnight is best for the impatient, like me)
- Scoop out with a small spoon (teaspoon or smaller), roll quickly in your palms to get a nice ball.
*This is messy, you will get chocolatey—so make them with someone you like to lick!
- Finish with a roll in one of your toppings (List below)
- Place in a Petit Four paper cup. (I use these because I got a pack at a garage sale, and they’re smaller than candy cups. I doubled this recipe and made 60 truffles!)
Close up of the lime zest/chili power & the crushed peanut/Himalayan salt
Use your imagination – Here’s what I tried:
- Lime zest and chili powder – grate the lime peel onto a paper plate and spread it out. Sprinkle desired amount of chili powder evenly over the lime zest.
- Pink Himalayan Salt – salt is SALTY, so use sparingly. I did I light dip on the tops only of my crushed peanut covered truffles.
- Crumbled peanuts – you can smash up any kind of nut you like :-)
- Cocoa Powder (the unsweetened kind or raw Cacao nib powder, if that’s your thing)
- Powdered sugar – pretty granulated colored sugar is nice, too.
- Indian (kinda chai-like) spice – I used cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, ginger and a little clove.
- I also took some smoked habanero almonds and wrapped the truffle chocolate around them. YUM!
- Get everything lined up before you start rolling the truffle balls in your hands.
- Put all your topping options in little bowls or paper plates.
- Line up all your paper petit four cups.
- I used the re-usable silicon mini cups (similar to these) from Cost Plus World Market for the one’s I kept for the family – and I made those a little bigger!!
- Work fast and put the chocolate mixture back in the fridge if it starts to go mushy on you!
Email me pics of your treats and I’ll post them on my FB page!!