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.