FRIDAY FEAST with Karly Lane

Feeling a bit chuffed here in Feastland because today we have another fabulous guest. Not only is Karly Lane a lovely person, she’s a wonderful author, and I know this to be true because 1/. I’ve met her, and 2/. I’ve read (and loved!) her books.

Karly lives on the gorgeous north coast of NSW, where she’s kept super busy looking after her four children and husband, as well as penning her heart-warming novels. When I read North Star on its release I couldn’t put it down. Not only that, the moment I finished it I shot Karly a gushy email to tell her how much I loved it and demanded to know when was her next book coming out. Well, now I have my answer. Karly’s next book releases very shortly – at the same time as Heart of the Valley, in fact – and I cannot wait to get my nose buried in its pages.

Check it out!



When Sarah Murphy returns to Australia she desperately needs a break from her high-powered London life. And though mystified by her grandmother’s dying wish for her ashes to be scattered under ‘the wishing tree’ on the banks of the Negallan River, she sets out to do just that.

While searching for the wishing tree, Sarah stays in the small township of Negallan. It’s there that she finally has some time to relax and unwind, there that she finds herself drawn to a handsome local farmer, and there that she discovers her enquiries about her grandmother are causing disquiet within the powerful local Morgan family.

Will the Morgans prevent Sarah from discovering the truth about her grandmother? And should she risk her glittering career in the UK for a simpler existence in the country, and the possibility of true love? By the bestselling author of North Star, Morgan’s Law takes you on a compelling journey into a young woman’s hopes and dreams.


I’m squirming in excitement already!

Oof, but enough of my fangirldom. Here’s Karly with her gorgeous post and a recipe that makes my stomach rumble. Wonder if I could nip out for a quick countery at lunch…



The humble counter meal at any pub in Australia, I think, is vastly underrated.

Morgan’s Law is basically set in a country pub, so for my career minded-London living Sarah, she has to deal with a huge culture shock when it comes to meal times.

When was the last time you had one? For me, it had been years, until my writing group began holding get togethers once a month at a central point (being that we travel from up to200 kilometresfrom all points of the compass to attend.) In doing so, I’ve rediscovered the humble counter lunch.

The beauty of the pub meal is that in the majority of cases-they’re not only economical, but they’re huge! Having a daughter who is about to back-pack around Australia – having a decent meal – even if it’s for lunch, will at least ensure she won’t starve to death!

The other thing about pub meals is that gone are the days where you only had maybe two choices—a meat pie with chips or a meat pie with vegies (complete with complementary grubs in the broccoli) …now days some of these places are rather suave and sophisticated, and the meals a work of art! So there’s something to suit everyone!

The other thing that I adore about these places are the buildings themselves. Most of these pubs we go to are beautifully restored or preserved buildings, making you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time. I can’t help but conjure up all sorts of wonderful scenes from years gone by…makes me wish I could sneak back in time for a little while and see what these old pubs were like in their heyday!

Ahh, this writer’s life is hard work… the things we do in the name of writing…

Check out my favourite local pubs – they’re gorgeous.

The Star Hotel, Macksville

Federal Hotel, Bellingen

The Heritage Hotel, Gladstone


Something you’ll find as a staple on every pub menu is the good old Chicken Parmigiana, so here’s a recipe to make it at home.


Pre-heat oven to ~250 degrees Celsius

Crumbed Chicken:
2 Chicken Breasts
2 Eggs
Plain Flour
Bread Crumbs
Oil (for frying)

Trim any excess fat and rubbish away from chicken, slice open along the edge length ways (so as to double it’s size) cover with glad wrap/freezer bag/whatever and flatten.

Whisk eggs and milk, coat chicken draining off excess. Coat in flour ensuring it is completely covered. Return to egg mix and then coat in the bread crumbs.

Heat oil and fry. (Making sure the oil is hot before putting the chicken in) Cook until brown. Set aside on some paper towel to drain excess fat.

20ml Oil
1/2 an Onion
1 Clove of Garlic
1 tin (400gm) Crushed Tomatoes
1/2tsp Dried Basil
1 ½ tsp of Brown Sugar
Sal and pepper

Heat oil in frying pan and add onion and garlic; cook until onion has softened stirring occasionally.

Add tomatoes, basil and sugar. Bring to the boil then return to a simmer. Once the sauce has reached desired consistency add salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat.

Line baking tray with foil. Place chicken in tray cover the top with sauce then add cheese.

Put in the oven until the cheese is brown.

But if all this is just too hard…why not pay a visit to your local pub and get them to cook it for you!

Thanks so much, Karly. Lovely post and they are indeed gorgeous pubs!

I’ve always been a fan of a good counter meal myself. They’re cheap and, as you say, usually enormous. Very important when you have ravenous men or starving hollow-legged teenagers to feed. But I think it’s also the simple casualness that makes them appealing – that and the sometimes weird and wonderful pubs they’re served in.

I took Jim to see the famous Tantanoola Tiger when we were home over Easter. The ‘Tiger’, which is in fact an Assyrian wolf shot by a local back in the late 1800’s, sits in the dining room of the Tantanoola Hotel behind a glass frame, complete with the gun he was shot with. So you can enjoy your counter meal in this great old pub in the company of a stuffed wild animal.

As to how the ‘Tiger’ came to be roaming around the south east gobbling up sheep, no one really knows. There’s speculation that it swam ashore from a shipwreck, which is kind of amazing, really, and also makes me wonder why the wolf was on the ship in the first place. Ahh, Australian stories. What fun they are!

Now, giveaway time. And we have a fabulous one on offer this week – a Karly Lane goodybag! Karly would love to hear about your favourite counter meal or even your most beloved pub, the more interesting or quirky, the better. So, Feasters, crack those knuckles and get commenting!

And when you’re out and about or even net-surfing, keep your eyes peeled for Morgan’s Law, coming veeeeeery soon to a bookstore near you!

Entries close midnight, Tuesday 24th April 2012 AEST. Australian addresses only.

If you’d like to learn more about Karly and her heart-warming rural stories, please visit her website. You can also connect via Twitter, Facebook and on Goodreads.

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Louise, who has earned herself a Karly Lane goodybag. Thanks to everyone who joined in the pub food fun. I hope to see you back again.

0 thoughts on “FRIDAY FEAST with Karly Lane

  1. Avatarkarlybm

    Thank you Cathryn! and fangirl right back at ya! I can’t wait to read Heart of the Valley! so happy to be sharing release month with you my friend xxx

  2. AvatarLouise Reynolds

    Hi Karly and Cathryn,
    A subject close to my heart. My partner and I are devotees of the country pub and on our travels we’ll always bypass motels in order to stay in an old (preferably verandah-ed) pub. We’ve had some very memorable nights this way. Favourite pub is Shindy’s Inn in Louth on the Darling River. It’s a corrugated shed but it has such a great atmosphere and the new(ish) publicans have done a fantastic job with the “dining room” – a loose description for a large room on the side. They’ve got a battered old bush bike with lantern and canvas water bags hanging on the wall, baskets fixed above the exposed rafters with wool clip hanging loosley out of it, big scrubbed pine tables. But despite these decorating touches it is very much an outback pub.
    Congratulations on the release of Morgan’s Law, Karly. I loved North Star and can’t wait to read your new release!

    1. Avatarkarlybm

      HI Louise! Shindy’s Inn sounds amazing! I’ll have to add it to my must see pub list! I just adore old pubs- there’s something very special about them you just dont get in trendy modern buildings! I hope you enjoy Morgan’s Law! Karlyx

      1. AvatarCathryn Hein

        Just added it to my ‘must see’ list too, Karly. Thanks, Louise. That sounds a fab pub, full of astmosphere. Perfect for enjoying a good counter meal.

        Am laughing at your karlybm persona, Karly. I can’t help reading it as karlybum. Sorry!

      1. AvatarJennie Brumley

        Oh! And the pub in Kilcoy (where the Kilcoy Yowie lives…the one that had his manhood chopped off because it was deemed offensive to female tourists) makes the BEST steak sandwich I’ve ever had!

        1. AvatarKarly Lane

          well I’m glad they make steak sandwiches.. cause sausage sangas would be a tad dodgy there i’d think after that!

  3. Avatarbec

    Country pubs are the best – even when we were traveling in the middle of australia you could get the best meals at the little pubs and truck stops. But what i can never understand is why the put the parmi ontop of the chips – it makes your chips soggy and its really hard to cut the parmi when its sitting on the chips? We love making it at home we we make schnizle we always make more than enough for two meals so then we use my left over pasta sauce (because what is better than reheated pasta sauce?) its sooo good. Yep think I will have to go for a pub meal for lunch – only 1/2 hour to go – you girls are making me hungry – good thing i remembered by book to take with me – since i seem to have a lunch break when no-one else goes – but your never alone when your got a good book to read – i’m sure I’m not the only one who sits down for lunch anywhere with just a book for company! I can’t wait for both of your books to come out – their at the top of my coming out next list (thanks to Margareta Osborne for the list on her website)

    1. AvatarKarly Lane

      HI Bec! I agree Margareta was a God send to keep us all in some kind of order! it’s a very useful list! I’d have lunch with you if I was closer although I think a book is excellent company to take to lunch!!! Have a great time!

      1. AvatarCathryn Hein

        Now we’ve asked ourselves that multiple times, too, Bec. Why do places do that? And not just with schnitzels but with steaks and other meals as well. It drives my other half batty because, like you said, it makes his chips soggy. And a man with soggy chips is not a happy sight!

        I had the same urge for a counter meal as you when I loaded Karly’s post this morning. Sadly, I had to make do with a corned beef and salad sandwich. Really, really could have done with a parmagiana though…

        Hope you had a lovely time reading. You’re so right about never being alone when you have a good book.

  4. AvatarHelene Young

    Both your books will be flying off the shelves, ladies! Can’t wait for them to make their way north to Cairns 🙂

    Love country pubs, the atmosphere, the people, the food!! One of my favourites would be the Birdsville Pub, although I haven’t been there since I joined Qlink and headed north.

    I flew a couple of journalists out there a few years ago. They were doing a story about drought and were dutifully driven around the countryside taking snapshots of dry earth and lonely cattle. Later that night I was chatting to the publican who in true laconic Aussie style confided in a loud whisper, ‘Not really a drought out here, luv, we’ve had two inches this year and that’s an inch more than last year… but don’t tell the journos, we’d hate to spoil their trip. Lovely folk.”

    I remember choking on my beer at that point and trying hard not to laugh out loud. The story was a poignant feature article in a major newspaper the next week.

    And another favourite would be the Barron Valley up at Atherton which gets a starring appearance in my next story because where else do people go for a feed and a yarn in a country town!!!

    1. AvatarKarly Lane

      LOL love that Helene- we’d hate the journos to get dissapointed!! heaven forbid! Must make it out that way some time. Thanks for dropping by xxx

  5. AvatarSharon Uthmann

    I love Karly and all of her books and I also love Catherine’s book – am yet to read the second one but I have put in a purchase request!! So thank you both for a wonderful blog post.

    Now I am going to share my two favourite pubs. Both pubs are from my younger years living in Central Qld.

    The Maraboon Tavern in Emerald, Central Qld was my first water hole – . While there is nothing particularly special about the tavern, it was my first taste of a pub and it was in the country!!

    What struck me about the Maraboon Tavern or the “Tav” as the locals called it, was that it was the frist time I have been dancing on a “dance floor” – really just a piece of carpet where the tables had been moved – and had a big screen showing the footy or cricket (depending on the time of year). So you could be dancing to a great song, only to have a roar go up in the pub in reaction to something happening on the big screen – unfortunately not due to my awesome dance moves!!

    There was also a small game arcade so you could play a video game, drink, dance and watch the footy/cricket!

    There was always a good atmosphere in the tav. But nothing beat New Years at the tav – usually a live band playing and people jumping off speakers. Usually there was some sort of fight and you could only tell it was happening when the dance crowd would move with the fists (you were packed in like sardines!!).

    My other favourite pub is the New Royal Hotel in Rubyvale, Central Qld –

    Now I only went to this pub twice in my life and it was for a meal not a drink, but what I loved about this pub was the huge fireplace!! Both times I went was in Winter and in the evening so the atmosphere was magic with the big fire burning.

    1. AvatarKarly Lane

      And Sharon is my favourite librarian! I’m now rethinking the whole well behaved librarian thing though after finding out about your younger pub days!!! I didn’t know you were in Emerald- thats where My kids go to visit their dad…not at the Maraboon though I hope!!!

  6. AvatarCathryn Hein

    Ooh, Sharon, what a lovely person you are putting in a purchase request for Heart of the Valley. Warms the cockles of my heart!!!

    We usually drive through Emerald on our trips to Townsville. I might have to con Jim into stopping now to check this tavern out. Anywhere there’s jumping off speakers has to be fun.

    Thanks for the pub recommendations and for dropping by the blog. Really great to see you here.

  7. AvatarJuanita Kees

    Two things I love here: North Star and anything Parmagiana! I can’t wait for the release of Morgan’s Law, Karly.

    I love country pubs! The atmosphere is so different from city ones. But being a reluctant city girl, my favourite pub is the Burrendah Tavern here in Perth. Their food is excellent and the portions are gi-normous 🙂 Add Friday night karaoke into the mix with Black Russians (the drink, that is…) and it’s an amazing night. My pick on their menu is the Kangaroo steak with prawn topping, served on creamy mash potato…yum!

    PS: I foresee a couple of late nights/early mornings on the horizon with Morgan’s Law AND Heart of the Valley being released around the same time. I couldn’t put North Star or Promises down once I’d picked them up.

    1. AvatarKarly Lane

      LOL I haven’t tried kangaroo yet. I bought some once but it stayed in the freezer for 12 months- couldn’t bring myself to cook it.. maybe one day!

  8. AvatarKerri/Kaz

    Well, I’m off to my fave pub tonight! It’s the Gunya at Belmont. It’s old but quite jazzed up, so doesn’t have all the atmosphere of the country pubs you guys are describing – but then again, I live ‘right’ on the coast – and this one looks out over the water. Divine.

    I go there every Tuesday night for trivia – and my kids laugh that when I walk up to the bar – on any night – the girls ask if I want ‘my usual’. Ha! Honestly didn’t ever see me as being someone with a ‘usual’ at a pub.

    They do great food and always have fabbo specials. My current crush is the vegetarian risotto – so, so yummy. Creamy, cheesey. Sigh… Also do a fabulicious chilli prawn risotto as well which is equally yumbalicious. Prawn skewers, anyone? Prawns wrapped in bacon on skewers and topped with a light garlic sauce. Service on rice with a side salad.

    And Juanita? They do Kerri-oke on Thursday nights – though I usually teach on Thursdays so the general public is spared.

    Tonight is my son’s birthday so we’re all scooting out – wonder what I’ll have? I’ll keep you posted. 🙂

    Good luck with the books both Karly & Cathryn. I’ll be supporting my beautiful fellow Aussie authors (and gorgeous friends!) and buying them – though with this deadline powering down on me, I think they’ll have to wait for a few weeks to be read. Sob…

    Love you both. xxxxx

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      Ooh, I never visited that pub during our time in Newie, Kaz. A bit too far south for us. But anywhere on the water is always fabulous. Although we were never so well known at the Albion, Dockyard or Honeysuckle hotels to just walk up and ask for our usual. That takes serious pub dedication!!

      Thanks for the good wishes and all the best with that deadline. I’m sure you’ll whup its butt!

    2. AvatarKarly Lane

      Hello lovely lady! Hope you had smething yummy when you went out for dinner! I bought ‘Dead Actually’ on the weekend- just have to find time to read it x

  9. AvatarNatalie Moress

    Thanks for that great recipe, Karly. I’m definitely going to try it. We have a really cool local. This area is “Dad and Dave” country, and the Steele Rudd pub in Nobby is full of memorabilia, as well as bits and pieces of farmy stuff dating back to the late 1800’s when the area was settled. There’s even a pic of my husband’s great-great grandfather with his mechanical header, the first in the district.

      1. AvatarCathryn Hein

        Sounds like mine too!

        That’s so cool your local has a pic of your husband’s great-great grandfather, Natalie. Nice to go to a place where you have a connection. Makes it even more special.

  10. AvatarCathryn Hein

    Congratulations to Louise, who has won Karly’s special goodybag.

    Thanks once again for all your wonderful comments. Looking forward to tracking down some of these pubs!

    And thanks to Karly for her lovely post and parmagiana recipe. I’ve had parmagiana on the brain for a week now. Really must satisfy this urge.