| My heartfelt thanks for all the wonderful emails and messages voicing concerns about the recent bushfires, smoke and Joe's health. By an amazing stroke of luck, Joe was overseas when the bushfires took hold, and there he was forced to stay. He complained so loudly I could hear him from the other side of the planet. But he agreed it would be madness to return while much of Australia was covered in a blanket of choking smoke.|
| It was October, and we imagined the fires would be put out in a couple of weeks. But we were wrong. Weeks turned into months. The new year rolled in and still the fires raged, merging into giant, towering, uncontrollable infernos. |
| Australia had already suffered years of drought, providing fuel for the voracious flames. Unusually high temperatures and strong winds resulted in months of catastrophic fires. Live embers were carried for hundreds of miles to spark new fires. Wildlife and property were decimated. People died.|
| Then, in mid-February, the rains finally arrived. Dry riverbeds became coursing streams. Lakes and reservoirs bubbled and filled. And, one by one, the fires died.|
| Australia heaved a sigh of relief, and Joe came home.|
| I don't think I'll ever forget seeing the acres of silent, blackened stumps lining the road as I drove into the Blue Mountains after the fires. I saw piles of smoking rubble that once had been homes, shops and vehicles. No birds sang.|
| But just two weeks later, miracles happened. |
| Birds returned and brave green leaves sprouted from charred trunks. Nature was fighting back and I don't believe I have ever seen a more beautiful sight. My son-in-law took this photo, and it still brings tears to my eyes.|
Lockdown with Ant Press
| The bushfires are history, but the world has lurched into another crisis, Covid-19. With this in mind, Ant Press is offering FIFTEEN memoirs (including my Box Set) at 99c or 99p. Ant Press hope that they'll take your mind off things if you're stuck at home. Be quick! The offer ends on the 31st March.|
All 99c or 99p until 31st March
That Bear Ate my Pants - FREE!
| "The trouble with volunteering in a South American animal refuge is that everything wants a piece of you," says an author pal of mine, Tony James Slater. He has written a bunch of books including the hilarious bestseller, That Bear Ate my Pants about the time he worked as a volunteer in an Ecuadorian animal refuge. If you'd like a copy of it, ABSOLUTELY FREE, just send me a quick email with BEAR in the title, and I'll automatically include the book in my reply, plus instructions on how to download it. Simples!|
Australia - a land of extremes!
| Can you believe the size of these mushrooms? They were so big that Lola's tennis ball was hidden from view. And these Aussie brussels sprouts are more like cabbages!|
Two Old Fools Down Under
| Thank you so much if you've read the latest book in the Old Fools series. I'd be grateful if you could leave a quick review because that's how we authors get our books noticed. One sentence is enough!|
FREE "How to Write a Bestselling Memoir" has been updated
| If you need a little help getting started with your own memoir, I'd love to offer my little book, How to Write a Bestselling Memoir, free of charge. Here are some of the questions I answer.|
- How do I start?
- How long should a memoir be?
- Should I use a pen name?
- How do I create a page-turner?
- How do I get it published?
| Send me a quick email at TopHen@VictoriaTwead.com and I'll happily send you an ebook or PDF. Just write FREE HOW TO BOOK in the subject box and it'll be sent automatically.|
| If you haven't yet read "Chickens", the first book in the Old Fools series, or you have friends who you think might enjoy it, do let me know!|
Send me your email address or that of your friend(s) and I'd be delighted to send an ebook. I'll send the Kindle edition unless you ask for another format.
Reach me at TopHen@VictoriaTwead.com and just write CHICKENS PLEASE! in the subject box and it'll be sent automatically.
Two Old Fools in the Kitchen, Part 1
| I've been asked many times for a collection of all the recipes in the Old Fools series. Now that Down Under has been launched, I've been working on Two Old Fools in the Kitchen: Spanish and Middle Eastern Recipes. |
| The first cookbook in this new series is almost complete.|
| The recipes aren’t new, I stole them from the first three books of the Old Fools series. I hope, when "Kitchen" is published in paperback, you find it helpful to see the recipes all together in one book. Large print and ebook to follow.|
Grumpy's Garlic Mushrooms
| "Grumpy, the bartender, wiped his hands on his apron and approached our table, flicking off imaginary crumbs from the plastic tablecloth with the back of his hand. He had a splendid moustache which concealed any expression he may have had, and made communication difficult.|
| “Could we see the menu, please?” asked Joe in his best phrase-book Spanish.|
| Grumpy shook his head and snorted. It seemed there was no menu."|
| • 50ml (2 fl oz) extra virgin olive oil|
| • 250g (8oz) fresh mushrooms (sliced) |
| • 4-6 cloves of garlic (chopped or sliced)|
| • 3 tablespoons dry Spanish sherry|
| • 2 tablespoons lemon juice|
| • Large pinch of dried chili flakes|
| • Salt, freshly ground pepper|
| • Chopped parsley to garnish|
| 1. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the mushrooms over a high heat for 2 or 3 minutes. Stir constantly.|
| 2. Lower the heat and add the garlic, lemon juice, sherry, salt and pepper.|
| 3. For a milder flavour you can leave it at that if you like. But if you like a few 'fireworks', now is the time to add the dried chili and paprika as well.|
| 4. Cook for another 5 minutes or so until the garlic and mushrooms have softened, then remove from the heat. |
| 5. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and divide up into pre-heated little dishes.|
| 6. Serve with plenty of fresh, crusty bread to mop up the seriously garlicky juices.|
More books by Victoria Twead