FRIDAY FEAST with Barbara Hannay

Super excited this week, Feasters, oh yes I am! Because best-selling and award-winning Australian author Barbara Hannay is delighting us with her presence.

Barbara is author of more than forty novels published in twenty-six languages worldwide. She’s been a RITA winner and multiple finalist (that’s the romance world’s equivalent of an Oscar), a Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year winner and finalist, and an Australian Romance Readers Award finalist. If that isn’t enough to make your jaw drop, she also lives in gorgeous tropical north Queensland!

Now she has a wonderful new rural romance to add to her collection, and it’s a cracker!




Three women … two families … one secret …

When Zoe, restless black sheep of the Porter family, discovers that her biological father is a North Queensland cattleman, Peter Fairburn, her deep desire to meet him takes her from inner city Brisbane to a job as a stockcamp cook.

Zoe’s mother, Claire, is wrestling with guilt and shock over Zoe’s discovery. She swears Zoe to secrecy, fearing that the truth could ruin the career of her high profile politician husband. When she is forced to confront her past, Claire also reassesses her marriage.

Virginia Fairburn is happily married to Peter, but she’s always lived with the shadow of the other woman her husband loved and lost.

On the muster at Mullinjim, Zoe meets brooding cattleman Mac McKinnon, who knows from painful experience that city girls can’t cope in the bush. Every instinct tells Mac that Zoe is hiding something. As the pressure to reveal her mother’s secret builds, Zoe fears she must confide in him or burst.

The truth has the potential to destroy two families. Or can it clear the way for new beginnings?


Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? If you have taste for more you can read an extract on Barbara’s Website. Better still, zip down to your local bookstore and buy a copy. Or you could order online right now from Booktopia. For ebook lovers, there are Amazon, Google Play, Kobobooks and many other retailers. So hop to it!

And now here’s Barbara!



Like most households, I guess, we’re pretty interested in food, but since we moved to the country, that interest has progressed from the mere consumption of food to producing it – in very modest amounts, mind you.

Those you who are “real” farmers will have to forgive me for getting excited about picking our own fruit and vegies (and sometimes putting them in jars), or turning our own pigs into sausages and bacon. Yes, I’ll admit there’s a novelty element, but we’re also big believers in eating fresh, unprocessed food and we also support the idea of low food mileage, so we’re lucky that we now live in a very fertile area with great farmers’ markets and lots of truly wonderful local produce.

Needless to say, we’re huge fans of the ABC’s River Cottage program.

If I wasn’t so busy writing, I’d probably throw myself into this way of life totally, but I have this thing hanging over my head called a deadline, and it’s a bit like the magic pudding – knock one off and there’s another one looming.

Each year, while I’m away at the Romance Writer’s Conference, my husband holds a huge (Secret Men’s Business) feast at out place. A host of his mates from Townsville, plus our sons and some of their friends, and now also our son in law and his friends come – some of them flying quite a distance.

The men take their cooking very seriously and they’ve built an Argentian asado style barbecue for cooking whole beasts (or parts thereof), as well as a smoking box. They’ve also invented their own water powered sausage maker – and one friend has taken one of our hams back to hang in his wine cellar in Townsville so it will cure slowly at the right temperature like those amazing Spanish hams.

When it comes to sharing recipes, however, I think the recipe that gets the best reception from my friends and family is this Greek Lemon Cake (which actually came via my daughter, via a distant family cousin.) Why eat all that meat when you can have cake? 🙂

This cake is easy and delicious. You can serve it for morning tea or for dessert, and if you grow your own lemons, all the better.

Greek Lemon Cake

125 g butter

1 cup caster sugar

4 eggs

1 cup coconut

1 cup SR flour


1 lemon (juice and grated rind)

1 cup sugar

½ cup water

Preheat oven 160 º-180º C. Greaseproof a round 20 cm cake time. Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time with a wooden spoon. Stir in coconut and flour. Bake in oven 45 mins to 1 hour.

Make the syrup after the cake is cooked. Combine the sugar, water, lemon juice and rind on stovetop and bring to boil. Let cake stand for 15 mins and then gently spoon syrup over cake while syrup is still hot. Spoon syrup little by little to prevent cake from collapsing.


Thanks, Barbara. I am in awe of your barbecue. What a unit! I bet those boys have a ball with their Secret Men’s Business weekends. Oh, to be a fly on the…er…paving.

And now, my Feasty lovelies, Barbara has very generously offered a signed copy of Zoe’s Muster to one lucky commenter.

All you have to do is reveal your favourite TV cooking program or what you’d most like to grow yourself and you could win!

But get in quick. Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday, 7th August 2012 AEST. Australian addresses only, sorry.

If you’d like to learn more about Barbara and her award-winning novels, please visit her website. You can also connect via Twitter and Facebook.

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Gemma, who has won a copy of Zoe’s Muster. Congratulations! And thanks to everyone who joined in the Friday Feast fun.

0 thoughts on “FRIDAY FEAST with Barbara Hannay

  1. AvatarRaelene Hall

    FAVOURITE TV COOKING SHOW??? Off with your heads ladies. I am so anti cooking it isn’t funny. Have so many better things to do with my time. Cooking and I don’t gel at all. Cremated vegies -yep no worries, rock cakes -yep they are rock like, pancakes -yep, well it was a cake but it looks more like a cake! What I’d most like to grow myself -a chef!!

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      So…you don’t even like to watch, Raelene? Not even a little bit? He he. That’s okay. Not everyone loves their kitchen.

      As for growing your own chef, better check the seed packet carefully. You could end up with a Gordon Ramsey running rampant. Scary!

      Having said that, I have his Just Desserts cookbook and it’s amazing. The recipe timings are completely up the spout but the flavours are beautiful. Highly recommended.

  2. AvatarGemma

    What I would most like to grow is some scrumptious summer tropical fruit. Living in a cold and frosty part of Australia means that we are limited by what we can grow. I’d love to be able to have an orchard full of mangos, pineapple, bananas and passionfruit. The taste and smells of these in summer are just divine. At least the fruit shop in town stocks everything 🙂

  3. AvatarBarbara Hannay

    OK… will try to continue… something went wrong there… Raelene, I do hear you on the no-go cooking front. I mainly like cooking in between-book bursts. A lot of the time my poor DH has to cook while I’m glued to the computer. Luckily he’s a great cook.

  4. AvatarBarbara Hannay

    Those tropical fruits are delicious, aren’t they Gemma? While we live in the tropics, we’re also up in the mountains, so we’re having fun growing tropical peaches and plums.
    But there’s probably nothing better than the first mango of summer.

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      Speaking about tropical fruit…

      I have a thing about rosellas since my north Queensland mother-in-law introduced me to them. Just thinking about home made rosella jam makes my mouth water. I bought a commercially made one a while back and it was horrid. They’d cut the rosella with so much plum it didn’t taste anything like the real thing.

  5. AvatarWanda Wehrmann

    My favourite TV cooking show would definitely have to be Jaimie Oliver. Who ever cooks with that much passion is a delight to watch (even if I’ll never cook that kind of food – cos lets face it, I’m a meat and 4 veg person..). But I also luurve Nigella’s Kitchen, and I can feel the weight piling itself on my hips just thinking about all the yummy things she prepares.
    What I’d most like to grow myself? Easy. A cake tree. But seeing as that is impossible due to being imaginary, my next best choice is watermelons.
    After all the precious water we pour on them, all it grows is false hope. The runners spread their tendrils far and wide and fill with swelling fruit. But when we leave them so long that the outside is starting to rot, we cut them open to find the insides pristine white and hard as a rock. Pah!

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      I’m a Jamie fan, too, Wanda. He makes you want to cook!

      Love the idea of a cake tree. Although my bum wouldn’t. Sigh. Thanks so much for dropping by.

  6. AvatarBarbara Hannay

    The launch was wonderful, Cathryn — a lovely big gathering of family, old friends and new. Some travelled quite a long way and they bought lots of books, bless them. A really lovely night, thanks.

  7. Avatarmelissa

    Hi Cathryn and Barbara,

    cooking shows?? What cooking shows?? Maybe in another life will have children who will eat anything put in front of them and then just maybe can watch cooking shows without the background noise of ‘yuck, ew gross, I’m not eating THAT!”and try some new recipes. But I would like to grow another lemonade lemon tree – the lemons make the best lemonade and are not as tart as other varieties.

    Have a lovely weekend,


    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      Oh, children. When my niece and nephew visit I never know what to cook. My paranoia wasn’t helped by my youngest once declaring one of my meals as the “worst dinner evah!” Talk about deflating!

      Thanks for popping by Friday Feast, Melissa.

  8. AvatarRosalie

    Hi Cathryn and Barbara
    I love growing and preserving my own food. I can’t imagine facing Summer without a crop of tomatoes. Tonight I cooked a bolognaise using my own tomato concentrate. Feels so good.
    I’m a real devotee of the Gourmet Farmer. Being set in Tasmania just adds to the draw of this show for me.

  9. AvatarHelene Young

    Oh yes, I’ve eaten Barb’s lemon cake and it’s divine!!

    And rosella jam is one of my favourites, Cathryn. I had a wonderful aunt who made it every year and we fought over who had the biggest spoonful on our toast!

    I have to agree that one of the delights of NQ is mango season and I cannot get enough of them!

    I used to love the cooking programme with a couple of surfer boys wandering around Australia – Curtis went on to better things and I don’t know what happened to his mate… sigh…

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      I’m going to have to make Barb’s cake so I can say I’ve eaten it too!

      Curtis and Ben were fun. I think Ben has his own show now…hmm. Would have to check. I used to see him on ‘The Best’ but that was donkey’s ago. Also used to have a great column in Delicious magazine too.

  10. AvatarJuanita Kees

    Hi Barbara and Cathryn 🙂

    DH is a huge fan of Master Chef and Ready Steady Cook. Since he’s in charge of the remote and the cook in the house, I cut him some slack on that one 😉

    One thing I do love to make is his mum’s sweet chilli chutney made with homegrown chilli and garlic, and apricot jam from Gin Gin in WA. Super delicious with steamed Lap Chong and rice.

  11. AvatarBarbara Hannay

    Oh, I do remember those days, Melissa. I had four kids and there were times I was happy to get any kind of meal onto the table. Young son was a budding entrepreneur and set up a lemonade stall on our footpath. I think he sold one drink to a kind neighbour. 🙂

  12. AvatarBarbara Hannay

    Rosalie, my brand new son-in-law is a huge fan of Gourmet Farmer. Daughter and he honeymooned in Tassie and they were thrilled to actually meet the Gourmet farmer guy at a market.

  13. AvatarBarbara Hannay

    Helene, I am going to have to give rosella jam another try. I don’t have good memories but so many people love it, I’m sure it deserves a better effort from me. ::)

  14. AvatarNatalie Moress

    Love that cake recipe – simple and delicious! I’m not mentioning that Argentinian BBQ to my hubby, tho, the slabs of meat I end up with when we have our cattle done are quite big enough now, without letting him think we could leave them whole!
    I grow a few bits and pieces on our free range egg farm, but what I long for is fresh raspberries. I’ve got one sad little vine, but I think Qld might be too hot. Fingers crossed.
    I am sooooo jealous of your smokehouse, btw!

  15. AvatarBarbara Hannay

    We have the wild raspberries here on the Tablelands, Natalie. They’re actually quite nice, but a bit of a weed. I’m tempted to leave a corner just for them.

  16. AvatarSerena Tatti

    Oh I just LOVE cooking shows. I don’t watch any at the moment because I am flat out with work (no complaints, mere statement of fact) and other stuff. I always loved watching the original Iron Chef on SBS. It was amazing! And so comical in some ways… don’t tell them I said that.

    Great recipe Barbara. I love lemon anything and coconut too. I’ve heard of this cake so I’m going to have to try it.

    Thanks for having Barbara as your guest blogger, Cathryn!

    1. AvatarBarbara Hannay

      My son was a chef for several years and he adored the original Iron Chef, Serena.
      Anyone reading between the lines of my comments can probably tell that I’m more of an on-again-off-again cook, depending on how busy I am with writing.:)
      Which is why I mention my family instead. 🙂 I’m so pleased the whole family loves to cook.