FRIDAY FEAST with Rachael Johns

We’re baaaaaack!

Welcome to the 2013 series of Friday Feast and what a beauty it’s going to be, chockers with fabulous authors, gourmet adventures, RachaelJohns2great books and mouth-watering recipes. And what better way to start the series than with Booktopia’s 10th favourite Aussie novelist Rachael Johns? Well, I suppose we could have kicked off with me but I’m a tad busy being semi-homeless and sulking over my lack of cooking equipment and cookbook collection, so Rach is your girl.

Rach had a massive hit with her first rural romance, the ARR Award nominated Jilted and is now burning up the charts with her new release, the wonderfully titled (and written!) Man Drought.

Check it out…



0113_ManDrought_C2 (1)Imogen Bates moved to the small rural town of Gibson’s Find to start a new life for herself after the death of her husband. Tired of being haunted by the painful memories of her old life, Imogen set her last remaining hopes on the little town and, in particular, pouring her heart and savings into restoring The Majestic Hotel to its former glory. But while the female-starved town might be glad to see a young woman move in, not everyone is happy about Imogen’s arrival.

Sheep and crop farmer Gibson Black once dreamed of having the kind of family his grandfather reminisces about, but he’s learnt not to dream anymore. Living in the mostly male town suits Gibson down to the ground…and he won’t have anyone — least of all a hot redhead from the city — change a thing.

Imogen has never been one to back down from a challenge, especially when it concerns her last chance at happiness. She’s determined to rebuild the pub and create a future for the little town. But can she create a future for Gibson and herself, too?


Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Well I can assure you this book is all that and more. So why not grab yourself a copy right now? Buy the ebook or paperback from Harlequin Australia or Booktopia, or try Amazon’s Kindle Store, Kobo or Google Play for the straight ebook. While you’re on your buying spree, check out Rach’s other January release, Stand-In Star.

Clickety-clicking all done? Excellent. Now you can play with Rach.


Hold Onto Your Knicker(bockers!)


Hello Feasters! It’s always a pleasure to visit my good buddy Cathryn, but although I LOVE her Friday Feast segments, I must admit when it’s my turn, I get a little fearful. You see, although I once was a rather good baker, I seem to be getting worse and worse. It’s true, with each book I get published, I seem to lose more of my baking abilities, so today, I’m going to share with you the most simple, easiest dessert ever, that also happens to be tasty, but first, I’d like to play the tour guide and take you a country pub near me.

Why? Because my newest release from Harlequin Australian – MAN DROUGHT – happens to be mostly set in a rural watering hole, The Majestic Pub in Gibson’s Find. Note that this pub and town are figments of my vivid imagination, but they take bits from a number of pubs I’ve driven past or visited over the years. For some reason these old buildings fascinate me! One such pub, which was an absolute golden find when we moved to Goomalling a couple of years ago, is THE JENNACUBBINE TAVERN (or Jenna Tavern to locals).


Although located in the Shire of Goomalling, Jenna Tavern is a fair drive from town in a now pretty-much deserted ‘village’. There’s tennis courts, a church, a TINY CWA building and the pub. Jenna Tavern isn’t on a main highway or road but seems to do perfectly well through word of mouth. Unlike the pub in the beginning of MAN DROUGHT, Jenna is well looked after, frequently upgraded and has a friendly staff and a great atmosphere.


Jenna is famous for its steaks. Instead of a traditional menu, visitors are asked to choose from a selection of steaks (including some chicken and fish). They then state how they want it cooked and can even watch this process over an open grill. Once their steak is cooked to their preferred perfection, there’s a buffet of salads and warmer dishes. I was lucky enough to enjoy a meal at Jenna last week for my b’day and I seriously haven’t had a better steak for a long time.


If I had one bone to pick about Jenna Tavern, it would be the desserts. I’m a dessert gal through and through and although full of steak, I couldn’t resist ordering a dessert. Unfortunately this didn’t live up to my expectations, so today (below), I’m going to share with you one of my old favourites. But before I do, I’d love to hear from you (in the comments section) about any fabulous country pubs you’ve visited. One day I might caravan around this beautiful country of ours, visiting the pubs for steak and a beer! What pubs should I put on my must-see list?!

Now, for the dessert I promised. It’s an oldie but a goodie – Who’s for a Knickerbocker Glory? Remember, I said I’m not much of a cook these days, so this is an easy-peasy recipe. But it’s still delicious.

Knickerbocker Glory



  • Some gorgeous sundae glasses. Let’s face it; cooking is a lot about presentation.
  • Vanilla ice-cream
  • Tinned two fruits (or any other fruits you like. If you want to get fancy, go for it)
  • Custard (make your own or buy the easy stuff in a carton)
  • Jelly (prepare a few hours before making Knickerbocker Glory
  • Cream (in a can or fresh – it really doesn’t matter)


Layer above ingredients into a Sundae glass, top with whipped cream and decorate as desired. Personally I’m not a fan of cherries but they do look good on top. As do wafers. Some people apparently include chocolate topping, but I’ve never tried this variation.

However you make it, you’re sure to ENJOY!!


Ooh, simple and seriously yum. Now that’s a recipe to please everyone. Thanks, Rach. I might have to venture down to mighty StandInStar_finalGoomalling after the Romance Writers of Australia conference in August and check this pub out. Those steaks sounds delicious!

So where’s your favourite steakhouse? Or maybe you prefer the good old home barbie? Some of the best steaks I’ve eaten were had in little pubs and RSLs in outback Queensland, but I have to say my Jim can really hit that grill with flair these days and we’ve had some cracking home-cooked steaks. Might be able to have some more if we could just find a home, but one mustn’t whinge. Tis an adventure, this semi-homelessness!

Now, if you’d like to learn more about Rachael and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via her blog, Twitter and Facebook.


0 thoughts on “FRIDAY FEAST with Rachael Johns

  1. Avatarfitzroylou

    Hi Rach and Cathryn! Country pubs -I love them too. Favourite has do be Shindy’s Inn in Louth, NSW. And the pub at Tilpa (NSW) is pretty special as well. Then there’s the hotel at…oops, could go on all day. Congratulations on Man Drought, Rach. Looking forward to reading it.

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      Ha ha. I know what you mean, Louise. Too many pubs, too little time! Will have to check out these recommendations of yours when we trek out west. Bout time I had a research trip that way.

  2. Avatarchristinestinson

    Hi, Rachel and Cathryn. It’s lunch time and those steaks look really, really good… Is there a story behind ‘Knickerbocker’ as the name for your dessert?

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      I think Knickerbocker is the English name for the dessert, Christine. It’s been around for a while. Ooh, just consulted Google and according to Wikipedia (which may or may not be accurate!) the dessert first appeared in the 1930s. My mum used to make a version when we were kids. Dead simple and super tasty. I recall loving it so much that I taught myself how to make custard then drove everyone mad serving it night after night until I wasn’t allowed any more.

      Love how Friday Feast is so great for dredging up memories. Thanks, Rach!

      1. Avatarchristinestinson

        Yes, thanks, Rachel, and thanks, Cathryn, for the explanation, Looking forward to reading Man Drought – and a country pub research trip sounds like a good idea, too!

    2. AvatarRachael Johns (@RachaelJohns)

      Thanks Cathryn for filling in the Knickerbocker Details. Christine I remember going some place YEARS ago where my grandma ordered one but I never saw nor heard of them again till my kids got an English picture book. Then we googled, got the same link as Cathryn and tried them.

  3. AvatarCarol Warner

    Wow! This brought back memories. I haven’t been to the Jenna Pub in 20 years. Thanks for Man Drought (fabulous book) and your yummy desert. I look forward to reading Stand-In Star.

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      Hi Carol and thanks for dropping by Friday Feast. Love the look of the Jenna Pub. Sounds like one of those really cool local secrets, and the steaks don’t look half bad either!

      Wasn’t Man Drought wonderful? I’m sure you’ll enjoy Stand-In Star too. Rach tells fabulous stories.

  4. AvatarBree

    Yay the Feast is back! My kids would LOVE this… hmm.. maybe if Mr4 eats his dinner! I love country pubs too although now I don’t live in the country! We do like to find new ones to try though! I love a mini road-trip!

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      You must try it, Bree. It’s a guaranteed kid pleaser. I LOVED it when I was a little-un and it’s so, so easy to make.

      Sigh. Speaking of road trips, I’d better log off and go look at this new house that’s come up. It appears I got a tad overexcited and went a bit premature on the house-finding celebrations earlier in the week. That’ll teach me!

  5. AvatarNatasha Devereux

    Hi Rachael & Cathryn, I too have eaten at the Jenna but it was waaaaayyy last century when I lived outside of Toodyay. LOL
    Picture this: 1972 – at the old Broad Arrow Pub – miles back of beyond Kalgoorlie. summer – 107F – middle of the day – and all they had to drink was beer (I am so NOT a beer gal)
    At that time the Broad Arrow was corri metal, wood plank seats and tables – flies – make that HUGE FLIES – and not much else – ohh, hang on…dust…lots of dust. For two young women to walk in was like being them visited by the cast of Priscilla in full drag. The guys just about fell off their seats although that COULD have been due to the platform shoes, micro mini’s and babydoll tops we were wearing.
    All it took was for us to ask if there was anything to eat (the chalk menu said beer – beer – and more beer) and men scattered everywhere – within ten minutes there was damper in the ashes of the overnight fire out back (cos it got beep beep cold out there) then roo steaks sizzling on a gas bbq and one of the native stockmen disappeared and came back with his missus and some of the best bush tucker I’ve ever eaten – they wouldn’t let us pay for the meal so we shouted everyone a beer – This is still my best pub meal ever

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      WHAT a fantastic experience, Natasha! How amazing and fun that must have been. Really great story. Love hearing tales like that. Thanks so much for sharing.

  6. Avatarrachael johns

    Ooh I have heard about Broad Arrow. In fact, I think I might even have mentioned it in MAN DROUGHT – or was that in an earlier draft? I must go there one day!!!

  7. AvatarSuzi Love

    Woo Hoo. So glad the Feast is off and running for 2013.

    The Knickerbocker reminds me of the first time I had desert out in a real restaurant. Banana split served in a glass ice cream boat, drizzled with chocolate sauce, piled high with ice cream, cream, nuts, and cherries.
    I thought I’d died and gone to heaven!

    And Cathryn, you’re so right about the pubs in western Qld serving amazing steaks. There’s a great old one in Longreach where they serve steaks so big that they overhang the plate edges and they give you a separate plate piled high with either veges or chips and salad.

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      Nothing like a good old banana split, Suzi!

      Yeah, that’s one of the things that makes me grin when we eat at country pubs – steaks like they’ve come off a mammoth. As a dedicated carnivore, Jim gets terribly excited.

  8. AvatarJenn J McLeod | Come home to the country...

    Nice one, ladies. I put on 5kg looking at that dessert! As for pubs, one hour up the road is the Ulmarra pub. Wonderful food, massive fireplace and a louncge. I do love the old ladies lounge. My House for all Seasons pub is based on this one. But sadly, Ulmarra went under last week when Graftohns’ Clarance flooded, so not looking real fash right now.