We caught up with Medical authors Annie O’Neil and Susan Carlisle to discuss their new link duet, Miracles in the Making. Read on to find out more about the settings and recipes that inspired the two stories within this miniseries: Risking Her Heart on the Single Dad and The Neonatal Doc’s Baby Surprise.
What do a couple of authors do when asked to write a duet about cutting edge medicine? They think about food! I do anyway and luckily for me, my fellow author, Susan Carlisle, was more than happy to join me. We knew we wanted to write about two doctors from different sides of the planet doing an exchange and Australia (where my brother and his family live) and Atlanta (near where Susan lives) seemed the perfect choices…and not just because I had my heart set on writing about peach pie. And I’m not talking about any old peach pie. I’m talking about in season, tangy fresh, lattice-crusted, made by a mama peach pie. The kind that has as much love as peach juice in it. You see, most of my memories are drawn into sharp focus when I remember the food I ate or cooked or shared (or all three!) because to me, sharing food with others is one of the purest forms of love.
My heroine, Kirri, has kept love at arm’s length for a long time. She’s not much of a cook, either. But when she meets Ty, a man surrounded by family, a love of barbecue, and a way round peach pie she never would’ve believed possible, she can’t help but risk her heart on the single dad – all whilst pursuing her medical innovations at Ty’s clinic. With the help of Susan (who softened the edges of my ‘typical southern gentleman’ into a more realistic southern gentleman), I have created a world I absolutely loved being in. If you enjoy it, too, why not try the recipe below and dip your fork into a slice of homemade peach pie whilst you read it? Then try Susan’s when you read hers! (All of my books have food stains on them…they’re part of the memories, too!)
Here it is: Line a pie dish with shortcrust pastry. Cut and peel six to seven ridiculously juicy peaches into a bowl. Lavish with two tablespoons of lemon juice. Coat it all with half a cup of caster sugar and half a cup of muscovado sugar. Stir in two heaping tablespoons of all-purpose flour (or corn flour if you’re gluten free). Sprinkle a pinch of ground nutmeg and/or cinnamon (after all…you should add the spice to your own life, right?). Pour over the pastry. Top that baby with a lattice crust (there are loads of Youtube videos to help you with that one). Cook at 200C/425F for 15 minutes, then lower to 180c or 375 and cook for another 45 minutes until that bubbly gooey, sticky, sweet smelling magical pie is too good to resist. Happy reading and over to you, Susan!
Annie is so right. Food in my part of the world has a fame all its own. But Australia is known for its wonderful seafood as well. The self-proclaimed shrimpaholic (yes, I made that word up but it’s accurate) that I am, my first thought was of Shrimp-on-the-Barbie when we decided my part of the duet would take place in Sydney, Australia. Australians call them prawns but… There’s nothing better than shrimp hot off the grill and dipped in butter. Nirvana by any standard. Add to the experience a beach on a beautiful day and friends to share it with and life is good.
At least that’s what my character Amanda, a visiting nurse from Atlanta thought when she attended the Harborside Fertility and Neonatal Centre picnic in honor of all the children it had help bring into the world. Dr. Lucius West isn’t as enthusiastic about the event but he’s there anyway. Writing this scene was especially enjoyable because it was winter where I lived and the sky was gray but I was transported to warmth, sand and water, and good food in my mind. Watching Amanda teach Lucius how to lighten up a little bit over food only added to the pleasure.
Here’s a recipe for your own Shrimp-on-the-Barbie moment.
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp
1 tablespoon each of fresh parsley, fresh thyme, cilantro, shallot (minced)
3 large garlic cloves (crushed)
1/2 cup butter (melted)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh)
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Garnish: spinach leaves and lemon slices
Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tails intact. Mince the fresh parsley, thyme, cilantro and shallots. Crush the garlic cloves. Combine the melted butter, olive oil, parsley, thyme, cilantro, lemon juice, cloves, shallots, salt, and black pepper in large bowl. Mix in the shrimp. Marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes or in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Discard the marinade after the 30 minutes, as it will not be safe to reuse due to contact with the raw shrimp. Heat grill. Thread the shrimp on narrow skewers. Grill until just opaque (or pink in color and firm to touch), about 2 minutes per side. Line a platter with fresh spinach leaves. Arrange the skewers on the platter. Garnish with lemon.
Can you say heaven?
If you would like to experience these gastro-moments with Dr. Kirrie West and the love of her life, Dr. Ty Sawyer, and Kirrie’s brother, Dr. Lucius West, and the nurse who showed him how to love, Amanda Longstreet, then join us in our duet Risking Her Heart on the Single Dad and The Neonatal Doc’s Baby Surprise.