Holiday Celebrations

November means…. by Fiona Lowe

The first weekend in November  every year for me means ‘soak the Christmas cake fruit.’ It’s also code for starting to realise that December 25th is not that far away and really, if I want life to be a bit easier come December, I should start planning.

pudding

Last weekend was the first weekend of November but I was in the Victorian high-country visiting Boy Wonder and the following day I was on a plane down to Hobart to help pack up my eldest son who is home for the summer. While I was there, I visited fellow author Melanie Milburne who had already made her Christmas puddings!

So this weekend, I sat down with the scissors christmas fruitand I cut up my Christmas cake fruit. It will now soak in whiskey, rum, brandy, vanilla essence and lemon essence for a month. I’ll bake it early in December.

This recipe of sultanas, raisins, currants, dates, mixed peel, glacé cherries and almonds was given to our family by a friend of my grandmother. The recipe said soak the fruit for three days.

One year, I had soaked the fruit and then I had a car accident. With broken ribs and a broken arm, I couldn’t bake the cake and my mother didn’t have time to do it for me until after it had been soaking for a month. That year, my Christmas cake tasted THE BEST it ever had so now, on Melbourne Cup weekend every year, I cut up the fruit and set it soaking. If you’d like to give it shot, you’ll find the recipe here.

As a family, we also start thinking about the Christmas letter and cards. We go through the year and think about all the dumb stuff we did…I write a very self-deprecating letter 😉 We have a charities card-shop in town  that opens in mid November and again, that is my cue to get organized.

However, I don’t want you to think I am this anal-retentive organized freak 😉 cos really, I’m not. I am rubbish with organising presents and as hard as I try, I usually end up having to buy at least two…for the difficult people… on those last crazy shopping days. Hmm, writing this blog makes me think, what if I make a list now! Thing is DH’s birthday is November 23rd …what WAS his mother thinking…so I don’t do the present list until after that date.

Newborn Baby for ChristmasUSA

Oh, and Christmas books …I read those in December. Lucky for me, Harlequin puts out a bevy of holiday reading!

So what are your prompts for Christmas? Have you got it all done by September? Are you still shopping December 24th? Do you bake a fruit cake or boil a plum pudding a couple of months before? I’d love to hear your stories.

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Foods We Love

Eating my way around France and new books by Fiona Lowe

For those of you who aren’t on Facebook or Twitter, you may not know, but I’ve just spent 3 weeks in France. (Big wave to Fake Frenchie, sorry we didn’t get to the north). The weather was lousy but we accepted that because the country is amazing and we had THE BEST time including a week in Paris and cycling 300 km from Toulouse to the Mediterranean.

I could show you photos of splendid buildings and beautiful scenery but I’ve decided to hit  you with food! The French do food so well and we ate ourselves silly and loved every minute of it. We stumbled on some amazing restaurants with sensational food and lovely wines, but even at an average restaurant, the food was good and the presentation perfect.

So here’s Fiona’s pictorial guide to what she ate in France…..

The real deal!
French Onion Soup; the real deal!
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Gateaux!
coq au vin
Coq au Vin loaded with flavour
dessert
Triple chocolate. C’est magnifique!

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The French LOVE Nutella crepes and I confess to eating one or two wrapped in white paper from a street stall…
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Fromage! France produces more types of cheese than days of the year!
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Sausage!
Cassoulet..the famous dish of beans, sausage and duck from Castlenaudary
Cassoulet..the famous dish of beans, sausage and duck from Castlenaudary
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Lunch on the bike path.
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Chaud Chocolat with style!
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Hearty Alsace Food with BIG German influence
Wine from one of our favourite restaurants on the whole trip in Narbonne. Here I had mussels with aioli cooked on a wood fire. Divine!
Wine from one of our favourite restaurants on the whole trip in Narbonne. Here I had mussels with aioli cooked on a wood fire. Divine!
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Entrecote! My husband ate this wherever he could with or without sauce

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Moet & Chandon. Need I say more!
Need I say more!

So there you have it. Oh, and I will throw in one scenery shot…one of my faves!

The Canal du Midi in autumn and me & my bike.
The Canal du Midi in autumn and me & my bike.

Do you have food memories of a vacation/holiday you’d like to share?

I’ve come home just in time to launch a new medical romance and a short story!

gold coast angels UK

Bundle of Trouble

is a stand-alone book as well asgold coast angels being the third story in the Gold Coast Angels series. Life has dealt both Luke and Chloe a really raw deal and neither believe they can or deserve happiness again. It was a tough story to write but I loved giving two wonderful people the “happy ever after” they deserve! If you live in the USA, you can grab a physical copy from Harlequin.com and you can buy the eBook just about everywhere!  In the UK, it’s on shelf from November 1st and in Australia & NZ Nov 15th or on-line tomorrow! Or you can buy it as a duo with the final story in the series written by the very talented Amy Andrews.

I also have a short story out, One The Road Again. At 12,500 words,  It’s the OnTheRoadAgainCoverEmailperfect length to read just before turning out the light. Loosely based on the big bike ride I did last year, it’s a reunion story between two doctors. You can grab it from Smashwords (all formats), Amazon and hopefully soon from everywhere else for the super price of 99 cents!

For a complete list of my back list books click here

I put out a newsletter with new releases and if you wish to join the list, head over to my website to sign up. I promise I won’t bombard you.

For those of you who celebrate Halloween, have a spooky one!

Fiona xx