Sunday, August 14, 2016

Welcome guest author Barbara Fradkin! #bookgiveaway




Barbara Fradkin is a retired child psychologist with a fascination for why we turn bad. Besides her short stories and easy-read short novels, she is best known for her gritty, psychological Inspector Green series, which has received two Arthur Ellis Best Novel Awards. She is now embarking on a new mystery suspense series featuring former international aid worker Amanda Doucette, who battles her own traumatic past to help people in trouble. Fire in the Stars is available in September through your favourite bookseller as well as online.


Amanda Doucette, the star of my new mystery suspense series, is a former international aid worker who has never settled down long enough or had the patience to learn to cook anything but the basics. In her travels, however, she has sampled cuisine from around the world and loves new experiences in food as much as in life. In FIRE IN THE STARS, the first book chronicling her adventures, she is in Newfoundland trying to help a fellow aid worker who has gone missing with his young son, and in one scene she finds herself in a spectacular lighthouse restaurant in Saint Anthony at the rugged northern tip of the island. She has teamed up with an off-duty RCMP corporal Chris Tymko who is also a friend of the missing man and equally worried about his state of mind.

Against the backdrop of soaring gray cliffs and crashing ocean surf, they share bowls of the Lightkeeper’s Restaurant’s famous seafood chowder. I myself, in the interests of research, sat at their very table by the window, looking out over those same roiling seas and sampling the same chowder. I can attest that it is delicious. Seafood chowder is a mainstay of Newfoundland and east coast cooking, and can be as variable as the ingredients the cook has on hand. It’s hearty, thick, and puts meat on the bones, and as long as you can lay your hands on some seafood – an easy feat in Newfoundland – and have some root vegetables in your pantry, you are good to go.

Below is the variation on the chowder that Amanda would make, if she ever stayed put near a kitchen long enough to prepare it. Maybe some day …


Classic Newfoundland Seafood Chowder

1 lb. cod
1 lb. medium shrimp
½ lb. scallops
Half dozen clams or mussels in the shell for garnish (optional)
1 cup each of carrots, onions, and celery, all diced
3 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
¾ cup butter
¾ cup flour
4 cups seafood or vegetable stock
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups whole milk
1-2 tsp. savory, finely chopped, fresh if possible
Small bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh sprigs of parsley for garnish


1.      Have all ingredients ready at hand, for you’ll be busy. In a LARGE pot, melt ¼ cup butter and sauté celery, carrots and onions together on medium heat for about 7 minutes.  Add pepper and salt.
2.      Add remaining ½ cup butter, melt, and stir in the ¾ cup flour to make a thick paste. Distribute well and cook briefly, stirring to make sure the bottom doesn’t burn or brown. 



3.     Gradually add the 4 cups of stock, stirring well throughout to ensure it blends and doesn’t lump. I used half chicken and half vegetable stock because prepared fish stock is hard to find. If you’re into making your own fish stock, you’re way ahead of Amanda and me.



4.      Bring the mixture to a soft boil, stirring often to prevent sticking. You will think it is much too thick, but it won’t be. Add diced potatoes and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes depending on the size of the potato and carrot chunks. They shouldn’t be completely cooked.

5.      Add cream and milk gradually, stirring gently, and bring to a very soft simmer. Do not boil, because that may curdle the milk. Add bay leaf and savory, cut or cumbled into small bits.
6.      Cut cod into one-inch chunks and scallops if they are large. Add cod, scallops, and shrimps to the pot and return to a gentle simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally but carefully so the cod doesn’t break up. Test and add pepper and salt to taste.

7.      Meanwhile, steam clams in butter and ¼ cup of liquid – I used white wine and some of the broth.
8.      Serve chowder with garnish of parsley and clams, add a buttered roll and a glass of wine, and voila! A full meal!


This is a real meal in a bowl and can be made with whatever seafood and vegetables are at hand. A real Newfoundlander might add scrunchions, a delicacy of crisply fried, diced salt pork, as a garnish instead of clams and parsley, but if that’s hard to come by elsewhere than The Rock, you can substitute bacon for (almost) as good an effect. Newfoundlanders traditionally added scrunchion toppings to many of their meals, which were variants of bland white fish and bland white potatoes.

This recipe makes a large pot that probably would feed a dozen, and it’s great for leftovers. It can be halved or doubled without problems. It is adapted from The Wicked Scoff, a food blogger originally from Newfoundland and now living in New England.



Fire in the Stars, the first book in the Amanda Doucette mystery suspense series, will be out in Sept.!  To win a copy, please leave a comment. The winner will receive a copy of Fire in the Stars as soon as it's out!

71 comments:

  1. I will have to try this receipe! My Dad is from Nova Scotia (now in Ontario) and loves chowder! Thanks for the chance to win a copy of your book-it sounds great!
    karen(dot)kenyon(at)rogers(dot)com

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    1. I hope you like the chowder, and good luck with the contest, Karen!

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  2. Wonderful chowder recipe; and the book sounds amazing! EMS591@aol.com

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  3. The chowder looks delicious and the mystery intriguing. Thank you for the chance to win. Dmskrug3 (at) hotmail (dot) com

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    1. Good luck, Daniele! Thanks for entering.

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  4. I love eating seafood chowder and this recipe sounds delicious. Congratulations on the new Amanda Doucette series. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of Fire in the Stars. grace dot koshida at gmail dot com

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  5. Chowder sounds wonderful as does your new series/book!

    kpbarnett1941[at]aol.com

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  6. The chowder looks good and so does the book.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

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    1. The chowder is so versatile, Sandy. Great on a cold fall or winter night.

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  7. Sounds great. Always excited for a new to me author.
    skforrest1957@gmail.com

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    1. Great to hear from you, Sharon. I hope you enjoy both the book and the chowder.

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  8. My stomach is growling over this chowder recipe and it's only 8:00 am! I will be looking for this new series in September! bskts4unme(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  9. I love chowder---this recipe is a must try. Thanks for the contest.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

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    1. I hope you love it, and good luck on the contest!

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  10. It sounds like research can be tough! My husband loves chowder; I will try this recipe for him. I would love to read your series. Thanks for the giveaway.
    sallycootie@gmail.com

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    1. Research can be really tough for sure! Beautiful setting. I hope your husband enjoys it.

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  11. looks great. -mollie. iemercedez@aol.com

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  12. There is nothing like a warm bowl of chowder on a gloomy day. Thanks for sharing and best wishes on your new series.

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    1. You're right, it's one of the great comfort foods, and you can dress it up any number of ways. Thanks.

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  13. That recipe sounds terrific. I will definitely try it out. The book sounds great also. Thanks for a chance to win a copy.

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    1. Good luck and thanks for the comments, Elaine!

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  14. The chowder sounds wonderful and the book sounds like a great start to a new series. Thanks for the chance to win. doward1952@yahoo.com

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    1. Thanks, Doward. After writing ten classic detective novels, it's fun to embark on a new series with an adventure thriller element as well as mystery.

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  15. Thank you for the giveaway. As a member of a mystery book club, our group is always looking for new authors and new series. dbahn@iw.net

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    1. Thanks for the comment, Dianne. I hope you'll give me and Amanda a try!

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  16. Thanks for this wonderful feature and giveaway. The recipe looks delectable. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Thanks so much, and I hope you like it. Seafood chowder is remarkably versatile.

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  17. Congratulations on the Amanda Doucette novel which intrigues and interests me greatly. I look forward to enjoying the series. Your novels are enthralling. I, too, was born in Montreal and lived there for many years. Left in the late 70's for other locales. Best wishes. What an appetizing recipe. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Thanks, fellow Montrealer! I don't think we ever lose our love of that infuriating, delightful city. In the second novel in this series (out next fall) the characters spend some time in Montreal. Enjoy!

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  18. Always love to read new authors. Thanks for the chance.
    judytucker1947@gmail.com

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    1. Thanks, Judy. I hope you enjoy the book and the recipe!

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  19. Sounds yummy! Will have to try this one this winter!

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    1. Winter is the perfect time! It's a warm, rich concoction.

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  20. I would love to read a mystery taking place in New Foundland, and your chowder looks amazing. I'm also adding your Inspector Green books to my TBR list. Thanks for the recipe and giveaway! bobandcelia@sbcglobal.net

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    1. Thanks so much, Celia! Newfoundland is truly an unspoiled, magical place, and I warn you, after you read the book, you'll want to visit! Enjoy!

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  21. The book sounds really good; going on my TBR list. Dianne
    jademoss17@gmail.com

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  22. Great recipe! Parkeremma2003 at yahoo dot com

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  23. Pat D (patdupuy@yahoo.com)August 14, 2016 at 2:01 PM

    Oh yum. . . I love seafood chowders and soups. I made a simple version of oyster stew many years ago when we lived in New Orleans. And I loved seafood chowders in Ireland and Scotland when we visited. This new series sounds wonderful.

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    1. Newfoundland has a strong Irish heritage, as well as Dorset, Cornwall, Devonshire, Wales, and all the west coastal fishing areas of the British Isles.

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  24. No shellfish for me but, I'd love to read your book.
    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

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    1. Sorry about the seafood, Linda, but good luck with the book contest!

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  25. I am always looking for new authors to read. Thank you for the giveaway! crossxjo @hotmail. com

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  26. I love starting out with the first book in a series. This sounds like one I'm going to enjoy! Thank you!
    mittens0831 at aol dot com

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    1. Good luck with the contest, Carol, and thanks for entering!

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  27. The chowder sounds so yummy and I would love to read your book. brichardson0056@yahoo.com

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Becky, and good luck with the contest!

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  28. Fist have to say love your Nova Scotia pup. One of those breeds I have feel in love with. Although my Tyler would probably not approve, lol. I spent 2 months after graduation touring Newfoundland with my older brother and his band. I loved it. I was, however a bit shocked at how rapid the seasons changed during those 2 months. sounds like a new an interesting book to put on my tbr list!kayt18(at)comcast(dot)net

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    1. That pup is my fourth duck toller, so needless to say, I love the breed too. The reason he's in my picture is that Amanda Doucette also has a duck toller who goes with her everywhere. Newfoundland is a rugged land, that's for sure. Good luck with the contest, Kay!

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  29. Looking forward to reading "Fire In The Stars". It sounds amazing as does the recipe.
    diannekc8(at)gmail.com

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  30. We are currently in Nova Scotia and tonight ate chowder that seemed to have very similar ingredients. It was delicious and I am happy to now have your recipe. Looking forward as well to "Fire in the Stars." Nancy R jw.nl.reid@sympatico.ca

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    1. Lovely coincidence! I agree, I think all maritime cultures have a version depending on climate and availability of ingredients. Enjoy!

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  31. I love clam chowder, and I love a good mystery. Both look very good.

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  32. Love chowder zeta(at)iwon(dot)com

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  33. I love creamy clam chowder! Thanks for the recipe! I will have to pin that!

    ElaineE246(at)msn(dot)com

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  34. I love finding new cozy mysteries to read! Thanks for offering this giveaway!! lindaherold999@gmail.com

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  35. I also love finding new cozy mysteries, but I'm pretty picky, so I rarely do find one.

    I rarely get much chowder here in south central Wisconsin, either.

    So, that's two rare things. I'd love to win the book giveaway in any event?

    Thanks,
    Diana

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  36. We don't get much seafood chowder, I should have said, in my previous comment, above.

    But, there's corn chowder, potato chowder . . . perhaps others also?

    Thanks.

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