As many of you may know, our beloved sister hostess SHARON DONOVAN, tragically passed away on 11th April 2012. We who knew her, loved her, and were inspired by her courage and determination to face head on whatever life threw at her. When she could no longer see to paint she turned to writing and showed her amazing talent in the Inspirational Romance and Romantic Suspense genres, and her story 'Charade Of Hearts' was awarded the coveted Predators and Editors Award in January 2011.

This Blog was a source of great delight to her, she was one of the founder hostesses and she contributed to the fun and silliness in her own original way, and was kind enough to let her unique creation, the hunky butler 'Oliver' join us for our Friday romp and prepare 'virtual breakfast' for the guests on the following morning. It's beyond hard to have to go on without her, but we know that she would have been the first to insist that 'the show must go on.' She is, and will always be with us in spirit.
Sharon, dear friend, we will never forget you.
The Author Roast and Toast is part of the legacy you left us. Let's raise a Toast to you as well as all our guests.


Charlene Raddon's ''Pioneer" recipes:

Raspberry-vinegar Lemonade

2 cups cider vinegar
2 cups fresh raspberries

8 cups cold water or unflavored sparkling mineral water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup raspberry vinegar
2 teaspoons lemon extract

To make vinegar:
1. Combine 2 C vinegar and 2 C raspberries in saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, uncovered, 3 min.
2. Remove pan from heat and let sit for several minutes.
3. Cover saucepan with towel. Let mixture cool.
4. Pour mixture into jar. Cover with appropriate lid and seal tightly. Let stand in cool, dark place for 1 week.
5. Pour raspberry vinegar through strainer into second jar. Discard fruit.
6. Store in a cool, dark place. Keeps for up to 6 months. Makes 2 C raspberry vinegar.

To make lemonade:
Combine 8 C cold water, 1 C sugar, 1/2 C raspberry vinegar, and 2 tsp. lemon extract in pitcher. Stir well.
Use leftover raspberry vinegar for salad dressings or to sprinkle on cooked greens or beans. Makes 6-8 servings.

Cooked Greens with Bacon and Vinegar

Wash greens and remove tough stems. Tear into medium-sized pieces. Toss together in bowl.
Cut bacon into 1-inch pieces.
In Dutch oven or saucepan, cook bacon until crisp. Place on paper towel to cool.
Pour bacon fat into coffee can. Scoop 2 tbs of bacon fat into Dutch oven or saucepan.
Add greens to Dutch oven or saucepan. Cook over medium heat 6-8 minutes or until greens have wilted and are tender.
Sprinkle with bacon pieces and 1 tbs. vinegar. Use raspberry vinegar if you have it. Serve immediately.

Venison Stew

1 large onion
2 pounds venison
1 tbs vegetable oil
4 C water
3 beef bouillon cubes
1-1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 medium carrots
1 medium parsnip
1 medium potato
1 cup chopped cabbage
1/3 C flour
1/3 C water

1. Remove skin from onion, chop into small pieces.
2. Cut meat into 1-inch chunks.
3. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
4. Cook meat and onions in oil until meat is browned, stirring occasionally.
5. Stir in 4 cups water, 3 bouillon cubes, marjoram, salt and pepper.
Cook 40 minutes over low heat, partially covered.
While mixture cooks:
6. Peel and slice carrots, 1/2 inch thick.
7. Peel parsnip. Chop into small pieces.
8. Cut potato into 3/4-inch cubes.
9. Chop cabbage
10. Stir in carrots, parsnip, potato, and 1 cup cabbage. Cook 1 hour or until meat and vegetables are tender.
11. In bowl, mix 1/3 C flour and 1/3 C water until smooth. Stir into stew.
12. Cook stew 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Makes 7-8 servings.



 400g walnuts, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
150-200g butter, melted

18 sheets fillo pastry
400ml water
400g sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4-5 tablespoons honey


Select a large oblong roasting tray, approx 35 x 25 cm.
If the fillo pastry is frozen, you will need to thaw it, but keep a clean dry cloth over it as you work to keep it from drying out. Grease the bottom and sides of baking tray.
Mix the walnuts, cinnamon and sugar in a bowl.

Taking one sheet of fillo at a time, brush the melted butter very thinly all over the top of the pastry.
Lay in the baking tray, if it is too wide or long, hang it over the sides for now.
Repeat with the fillo until there are five sheets of pastry in the tray.
Spread half the walnut filling evenly over the pastry.
Add three more sheets of filo pastry, brushing each layer with melted butter before adding to the tray.
Spread the remainder of the walnut mixture over the pastry.
If there is any excess pastry up the sides of the tray or hanging over the tray, fold them in over the walnut filling.
If the pastry is a lot larger than the tray, cut the sheets of pastry down to just a tiny bit wider and longer than the tray (to allow for shrinkage when cooking).
Finish by adding about 8 or 10 more sheets of fillo on top, buttering each sheet every time. If the pastry sheets are a bit too big, just fold them back over themselves each time.
With a sharp knife, carefully cut small diamond or square shapes, only cutting through the top few layers. This will make it much easier to slice once cooked.
Take a cup of cold water and using your fingers, sprinkle a little water over the top of the baklava. This will help prevent the cut pastry from curling up whilst cooking.
Place the baking tray in a preheated oven, 180 C, for 30 to 45 minutes, until golden. I would suggest that you start checking on it after 25 minutes as I do find the time can vary greatly in different ovens.
In the meanwhile, boil all the syrup ingredients except the honey in a saucepan for about 5 minutes.
Add the honey and simmer for another 5 minutes until thickened slightly.
Remove the cinnamon sticks.
When the baklava is ready, remove from the oven and whilst still hot, pour the syrup all over the top of the pastry whilst still in the baking tray.

Cut the slices through to the bottom.
Leave to cool completely in the tray, soaking in the aromatic syrup.
Remove the slices one at a time from the tray.
Baklava will keep for 2-3 days, at room temperature.
An alternative filling could include a mixture of walnuts and pistachios.









1280g potatoes
640g minced meat - lamb, beef or a mixture of both
3 tablespoons butter
480g tinned tomatoes or 1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup grated cheese - cheddar, parmesan or kefalotiri
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
oil for frying
salt, pepper
approx 8 tablespoons ground french toast (friganies), or dried breadcrumbs

Bechamel Sauce
125g butter
4 heaped tablespoons plain flour
1 litre milk, (warmed, but not boiling)
2 egg yolks
salt, pepper
1/2 cup grated cheese, cheddar, parmesan or kefalotiri


Peel the potatoes, wash well and slice into 1/4 inch round slices.
Fry the potatoes both sides.
Remove from pan and place on absorbent paper to soak up any excess oil.
Melt the butter in a saucepan and saute the chopped onion, fry the ground meat (lamb or beef) until browned.
Add the finely chopped tomatoes (or paste), salt, pepper and parsley.
Cover and simmer until most of the juices are dried up.
Remove from the heat and add 1/3 of the cheese and 3-4 tablespoons of the french toast or breadcrumbs.
In a greased baking tray, sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of the french toast on the bottom of the tray.
Place half the potatoes in a layer on the bottom of the baking tray.
Sprinkle 1/3 of the grated cheese over the potatoes.
Pour all the mince meat sauce over the potatoes and spread evenly.
Finish with the rest of the potatoes in a layer over the meat sauce.

To make the bechamel sauce
Melt the butter in a saucepan.
Stir in the flour and mix over a gentle heat until it turns slightly yellow and starts to bubble.
Remove from the heat and slowly add a little milk and mix in well.
Gradually add the rest of the milk, stir over a gentle heat until the sauce boils and thickens.
(You may need a hand whisk to use whilst the sauce is slowly thickening, to prevent the sauce going lumpy.)
If you get lots of lumps in the sauce, don't worry. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Use an electric mixer to beat the sauce for a couple of minutes and you will get rid of all the lumps. Season with salt and pepper.
Stir in the cheese

Leave it to cool for a few minutes, then stir the egg yolks through the sauce until completely mixed in.
Pour the bechamel sauce evenly over the potatoes.
Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the sauce and then about 2 tablespoons of the ground french toast or breadcrumbs on top.

Bake in a medium oven (180C) for approximately 30-40 minutes, or until it reaches a nice golden colour.
Remove from the oven and leave it to stand for 5-10 minutes to set before cutting into portions.
Serve with fresh crusty bread and a crisp green salad.

Kali Orexi - Bon Appetit

Red Gypsy Recipe

1 oz Vodka
7 oz Whiskey
4 oz Cream Soda
served in a highball glass

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