FRIDAY FEAST with Mandy Magro

Happy Friday, Feasters, and what a wonderful day it is, not least because this weekend means EUROVISION. Oh yes, well may you laugh, but you can take your Idols and The Voices and X’s Got Talent and all those other amateur productions, and plonk them right in the bin of television obscurity where they belong. Because there’s only one song contest which matters – the absolute kitschy glory of Eurovision.

SBS Television’s broadcast begins tonight at 7-30. Be there!

(Oh, and foodie sorts, if you check this month’s SBS Feast magazine, there’s even a feature on Eurovision party food. Rah!)

It’s also a wonderful day for another reason and that’s because my Friday Feast guest today is delightful rural romance author Mandy Magro. Mandy hails from north Queensland way, from the country town of Dimbulah, where she and her husband Drew run their tropical fruit farm.

Mandy’s debut release, Rosalee Station was a big hit, its cover tagged with an endorsement from Fiona Palmer no less, and fans have been eagerly awaiting her next book. Now it’s here! Yes, Jacaranda hit the shelves just a few days ago. Here’s a sample.



At nineteen, Molly Jones has the world at her feet. Then one drunken night she falls into bed with Mark, a cowboy just passing through. By the time Molly realises she’s pregnant, Mark is long gone.

Now, at twenty-six, Molly’s life is almost perfect. She’s the devoted mother of Rose, and a renowned horse trainer. She lives amid the beauty of Jacaranda Farm, surrounded by family and friends – none closer than hunky stockman Heath. But she’s still looking for the love of her life, and a father for Rose.

When Mark stumbles back into her world, as charming as ever, Molly begins to hope for a future she’d long ago relinquished. But how will Mark react when he learns he’s a father? And could the man of Molly’s dreams be closer to home than she thinks?


How gorgeous is that cover? Mind you, I’m biased toward anything with a horse on it, but there’s no question Jacaranda is super pretty. I bet it flies off the shelves. If you want to score a copy right now, why not rush down to your local bookseller or, if you don’t feel like venturing outside, click your mouse right here. You can also download Jacaranda as an ebook from Amazon Kindle, Kobo and many other ebook retailers.

Anyway, enough of me, it’s Mandy you’ve come to read. So without further ado, here she is.

Food, Food, Glorious Food

Thank you for inviting me onto your yummy weekly blog, Cathryn. I am so thrilled to be here!

Can I begin by saying, Ahhhh food, glorious food! I love it, all of it, everything from Thai, Italian, Greek, Turkish and Indian through to melt in your mouth steak and chips down the local pub. I love travelling round the world for it, growing it, shopping for it, cooking it and eating it. I am an absolute foodie. I would much prefer to spend a day at food markets then in dress shops so that says it all – I can hear some women gasping from here.

Food brings people together, whether it’s in celebration of a wedding, a casual night out at your favourite restaurant, right down to the Aussie tradition of a backyard barbeque. It can even cross the boundaries of language, my experiences when travelling through parts of Asia perfect proof of that. I visited some remote villages where they didn’t speak a word of English but we could laugh and connect over meals. It was wonderful, food is wonderful. What would we do with all our spare time if we didn’t eat? I couldn’t imagine it!

I would like to share with you a recipe that has been passed onto me by my English mother-in-law. It is tradition for them to have this dessert every Christmas after devouring a lavish roast goose with all the trimmings, add in the crackling of the fire and the feathery snow falling outside and it is magical. Chocolate Orange Cheesecake is now one of my all time favourite desserts and there is certainly not a crumb left when I take it to family gatherings. It might be a little on the fattening side but who cares if it tastes good, right?

 Shazza’s Chocolate Orange Cheesecake

100g softened butter

250g digestive biscuits (UK brand but can get these from Coles)

50g Demerara sugar

500g of Philly cheese

2 oranges

250mls single cream

15g gelatine

50g dark chocolate

1. Leave the butter at room temperature (or melt it in the microwave slightly). Blend the biscuits until fine in a food processor then mix in the butter. Push this into a round spring form tin and place this in the fridge while you prepare the filling so it can harden a little.

2. In the food processor place the Philly cheese, cream, rind from 1 orange and juice from both. Turn processor on high and mix until the filling is looking creamy. Then, add the gelatine which has been mixed with a little water (according to the container’s instructions) and stir this through. Pour the mixture on top of the biscuit base.

3. Melt the chocolate in the microwave, making sure to stir it every 15 seconds so it doesn’t burn. Then, drizzle this over the top of the filling. Grab a fork and swirl the fork ever so lightly through the drizzled chocolate, just over the surface, to give it an artistic design.

4. Pop it in the fridge to set. It takes a few hours for this or preferably overnight.

5. Devour with oohs, mmmms and ahhs!

I hope you all enjoy this recipe and it is one you are proud to share with loved ones.

All this talk about food is making me hungry so I must be off to the fridge. I wonder what deliciousness lies within its clutches today.

Thanks, Cathryn; it’s been so much fun talking with you about food – one of my favourite subjects.

Mandy x


Have a look at that cheesecake. Wow, is all I can say. Just…wow. It’s like a Jaffa except bigger, flatter and so, so much better. Mmm. Wonder if I should make this for the Eurovision final on Sunday?

Thanks so much, Mandy, for that lovely post and even lovelier recipe. And congratulations on the release of Jacaranda. May it fly off the shelves.

So Feasters, what’s the best recipe you’ve filched from someone? I still have the recipe for lemon butter my friend’s mum gave me when I was about 12. Delicious, especially mixed with mascarpone and cream to make lemon icecream. And then there’s my mother in law’s ANZAC biscuits, which are, quite simply, the best. Then there’s my Mum’s pav, my friend’s friend’s spring roll recipe… The list is huge! So what’s yours? We’d love to hear.

Although if you also want to chat about Eurovision party food I’m sure Mandy will be in that too. I certainly won’t object!


If you’d like to learn more about Mandy and her books please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and her blog.


0 thoughts on “FRIDAY FEAST with Mandy Magro

  1. AvatarBec

    Yum that looks really good Mandy! my favourite receipe was not so much pinched but handed down from my aunty – the pav receipe changes sometime but anniversary pav is always made with chocolate rum cream – you whip the cream and mix in greated chocolate – a few rows – enough to make sure its fully mixed in (good stuff like cadbury’s not cooking chocolate) and 10 mls of Bundy Rum (as much as you would like to don’t put in more because it will curdle the cream – just drink it!) and leave the cream overnight – the chocolate “expands” and its just sooo good. Then just before serving full the pav with the cream and top with strawberries and some more grated chocolate. Can’t wait to get a copy of Jaccaranda

    1. AvatarMandy Magro

      OMG Bec….I”m drooling! Pav, cream, chocolate AND rum…an Aussie gals dream! Thanks for popping by and I hope you enjoy Jacaranda. x

  2. AvatarMandy Magro

    Thanks for having me over at your delicious blog, Cathryn. It’s been an absolute pleasure! x

  3. AvatarJuanita Kees

    Yummy cheesecake, Mandy! My mum’s Christmas trifle is to die for – probably because of the amount of brandy that goes into the sponge 😉 Christmas afternoons were pretty mellow after lunch!

    1. AvatarBec

      Yumm trifle – my late aunty used to make the best trifle – it had really solid custard and yummy jelly and not too much soggy cake (don’t like the soggy cake) my sister made a chocolate trifle and we put white chocolate brandy in the cake – yum!

    2. AvatarCathryn Hein

      Mmmm, trifle! Especially the boozy ones. My godmother used to make a beauty but I haven’t tasted one for donkey’s.

      So no post-lunch backyard cricket challenge at your place, Imelda?

      1. AvatarBec

        Got the White chocolate brandy (or was it port?) from Echuca – there is a chocolate shop in the “main”(?) road – the one with all the good bookshops just around the corner from where you catch the paddlesteamers

  4. AvatarCathryn Hein

    Thanks, Bec. Will make a note to go on the hunt next time I’m Echuca way. Lovely place but haven’t been for a couple of years. Must get back for a nosy!

  5. AvatarHelene

    More gorgeous, decadent recipes… Yum!!

    I think the most frequently used ‘borrowed’ recipe at my house is a quiche made with filo pastry which I snaffled from a restaurant called Jo Jo’s in Brisbane. I reckon it’s the caramelised onions and the smear of dijon mustard on the base that make the difference.

    And then there’s Stephanie Alexander’s Twice cooked Goat’s chees souffles! In fact I think most of my recipes have been borrowed…

    Look forward to reading Jacaranda and have put Heart of the Valley down to catch up with this post! Am loving Brooke and Lachlan’s story 🙂