I'm so excited to bring this feature back, it’s FAF – Favourite Author, where I will introduce some of my most favourite artists. Authors are my Rockstars and I go quite fangrrl!
Please meet the fabulous Jane Kent. She is a wonderful person who writes some fantastic adventure!
So let's get to know this fabulous lady a little better . . .
Thank you so much for inviting me to be your guest today on Favouite Author Friday, Venus. I’m honoured to be here.
Are you usually late, early or right on time?
Generally, I am a few minutes early or right on time. I hate waiting, so try not to be too early, and I don’t want to keep anyone else waiting, so try not to be late.
Have you ever been pulled over by a cop?
Ummm, well…I kind of have a lead foot, so, um, yes. My brain is often with my characters, so if there’s a straight stretch of highway and no other cars in sight… I must admit though, I’ve been very lucky; no tickets and no demerits. The last time I was stopped, which was several years ago, I was just given a warning despite the fact that I was not paying attention to the speedometer and going pretty fast. I’m not sure why except that I think the cop was surprised that someone my age (never mind what that is!) was driving so fast. Maybe my birthday was the same day as his mother’s?
What is your perfect pizza?
Me: Ohhh, no, no, no, I never eat pizza...
Hips: Liar, liar, pants on fire…
My perfect pizza used to be double cheese and loaded with absolutely everything…until I went to Italy and had the real thing in Naples. Now my perfect pizza is Pizza Margherita; thin, crispy crust with tomato sauce (more like crushed tomatoes than sauce as we know it), mozzarella and fresh basil leaves (dots of pesto work too!). The secret is fresh, top grade ingredients. That’s it! Simple and so yummy!
Pizza Margherita (from Epicurious)
· 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoon)
· 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for dusting
· 3/4 cup warm water, divided
· 1 teaspoon salt
· 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
· 1 (14-to 15-ounces) can whole tomatoes in juice (Italian San Marzano DOP tomatoes best for this, but they can be expensive. DOP designates the region of Italy where they’re grown, ie: near Naples)
· 2 large garlic cloves, smashed
· 2 tablespoons olive oil
· 4 basil leaves plus more for sprinkling
· 1 plus more for sprinkling
· 1/4 teaspoon sugar
· 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
· a pizza stone
1. Stir together yeast, 1 tablespoon flour, and 1/4 cup warm water in a large bowl and let stand until surface appears creamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn't appear creamy, discard and start over with new yeast.)
2. Add 1 1/4 cups flour, remaining 1/2 cup water, salt, and oil and stir until smooth. Stir in enough flour (1/4 to 1/3 cup) for dough to begin to pull away from side of bowl. (Dough will be slightly wet.)
3. Knead on a floured surface, lightly reflouring when dough becomes too sticky, until smooth, soft, and elastic, about 8 minutes. Form into a ball, put in a bowl, and dust with flour. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and let rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled, about 1 1/4 hours.
1. Pulse tomatoes with juice in a blender briefly to make a chunky purée.
2. Cook garlic in oil in a small heavy saucepan over medium-low heat until fragrant and pale golden, about 2 minutes. Add tomato purée, basil, sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to about 3/4 cup, about 40 minutes. Season with salt and cool.
1. At least 45 minutes before baking pizza, put stone on oven rack in lower third of electric oven (or on floor of gas oven) and preheat oven to 500°F.
1. Do not punch down. Dust dough with flour, then transfer to a parchment-lined pizza peel or large baking sheet. Pat out dough evenly with your fingers and stretch into a 14-inch round, reflouring fingers if necessary.
1. Spread sauce over dough, leaving a 1-inch border (there may be some sauce left over). Arrange cheese on top, leaving a 2- to 3-inch border. If using pesto, dot on pizza.
2. Slide pizza on parchment onto pizza stone. Bake until dough is crisp and browned and cheese is golden and bubbling in spots, 13 to 16 minutes. Using peel or baking sheet, transfer pizza to a cutting board. Cool 5 minutes. Sprinkle with some basil leaves before slicing.
•Dough can be allowed to rise slowly in the refrigerator (instead of in a warm place) for 1 day. Bring to room temperature before shaping.
•Tomato sauce can be made 5 days ahead and chilled.
•Tomato sauce can be made 5 days ahead and chilled.
What is your favourite book?
Oh, unfair question…how can I choose just one? I can’t even choose one genre! My “keeper” shelves (and I do mean shelves in the plural) are jammed packed with a bit of everything.
What is your favourite flower and why?
Pansies. I love pansies. They have such velvety soft petals and they look like they have little faces.
Please connect with Jane Kent and be sure to check out her wonderful book Don't Stop Running.
Universal link - goes to page with choice of all online stores that book is available