FRIDAY FEAST with Rachael Johns

Friday, Friday tra-la-la-la-la!

Actually, thanks to my darling Sydney Swans succumbing to Fremantle in the AFL Preliminary Final, I’m not feeling all that chirpy. A bit heart-sore, in fact.Author Rachael Johns It would have been so great to make the Grand Final again but my boys should be commended for the amazing effort they put in despite being decimated by injury. Never fear though, we’ll be back even better harder next year.

Speaking of people who should be commended (oh, I kill myself with these segues!), today on Friday Feast I’m thrilled to host my most excellent clever-trousers writing buddy Rachael Johns.

Rach has shot to rural romance writing superstardom thanks to her brilliant books Jilted and Man Drought, and now she has a new one out. Outback Dreams is the first in a loosely related trilogy set in Bunyip Bay and believe me, it’s a cracker.  Plus it has a bonus rural hunk on the cover. Should be more of it!




Outback Dreams by Rachael JohnsFaith and Monty are both looking for love…but they’re looking in the wrong direction.

Faith Forrester is at a crossroads. Single, thirty and living on a farm in a small Western Australian town, she’s sick of being treated like a kitchen slave by her brother and father. Ten years ago, her mother died of breast cancer, and Faith has been treading water ever since. She wants to get her hands dirty on the family farm. She wants to prove to herself that she’s done something worthwhile with her life. And she wants to find a man…??

For as long as he can remember, Daniel ‘Monty’ Montgomery has been Faith’s best friend. When he was ten, his parents sold the family property and moved to Perth, and ever since, Monty’s dreamed of having his own farm. So for the last ten years, he’s been back on the land, working odd jobs and saving every dollar to put toward his dream. Now he finally has the deposit. But there’s still something missing…??

So when Faith embarks on a mission to raise money for a charity close to her heart, and Monty’s dream property comes on the market, things seem like they are falling into place for them both. Until a drunken night out ends with them sleeping together. Suddenly, the best friends are faced with a new load of challenges…

Monty and Faith are both ready to find a life partner and settle down, but have they both been looking in all the wrong places?


Don’t you just LOVE a friends to lovers story? You can own your copy now with just a couple of clicks. Visit that most excellent Platinum ARRC sponsor Booktopia and buy away or try your local bookseller or chain store. You can also purchase Outback Dreams from Kobo. Amazon (for Kindle), Google Play, JB Hi-Fi and iTunes.

Done? Excellent. Now get ready for some crunchy fun with Rachael.




It’s so great to be back on my fab friend Cathryn’s AWESOME Friday Feast. I do feel like a bit of a fraud compared to some of the authors who come on here and offer really complicated gourmet recipes. I’m a simple girl at heart and lately that’s been transferring to my cooking. In fact, if I can get away with NOT cooking, I will. Maybe that’s cos my fussy kids have taken the joy out of it, but there is ONE thing I do enjoy doing in the kitchen and that is BAKING cookies and cakes!

Like Faith, the heroine of my latest release, OUTBACK DREAMS, I am a comfort baker. If I’m in a bad mood or sad about something, there is nothing that can fix my emotions faster or better than baking a cake. In OUTBACK DREAMS Faith has a LOT to get grumpy about – mostly men, aren’t they always the problem? – and she does a LOT of baking. There are references to a number of slices, cakes and biscuits throughout the book but one thing that really gets the hero’s heart racing is her famous Custard and White Chocolate Cookies.


‘Damn straight,’ he replied, trying to ignore his body’s reaction to yet another physical interaction, which was all about her.

Come on, she barely touched you.

‘Anyway, right now my stomach is crying neglect. Do you have any of your famous custard and white choc-chip cookies in that esky?’

‘I can’t believe you’re hungry already. We’ve barely been on the road half an hour.’ But she was already unclicking her seatbelt. ‘Pull over.’

While Faith retrieved the snacks, Monty drummed his fingers on the steering wheel and brainstormed safe topics of conversation. He’d never had to think about such things with Faith before; come to think of it, he’d never had to with any woman.

She returned moments later with a large Tupperware container and as she peeled back the lid, the familiar aroma filled the cab.

‘Here you go.’ She handed him a cookie and he took the first bite before pulling out onto the road. After he’d finished the mouthful, he said, ‘How are the catering plans coming along for the ball?’

He heard the roll of her eyes in her response. ‘The catering plans?’ She laughed. ‘It’s not all about the food you know.


So, today, I’d like to share with you Faith’s incredibly easy but amazingly tasty recipe. The dough and the finished product are of equal brilliance and one batch will never be enough.


 Custard and White Chocolate Cookies


140g butter, softened

175g caster sugar

1 egg

½ tsp vanilla extract

225g self-raising flour

85g custard powder

85g white choc-chips


Heat oven to 180C/160C fan. Line two baking trays with baking paper.

  1. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowel until light and fluffy – I use an electric mixer, cos who wants wooden spoon hand sprain?
  2. Add the lightly whisked egg and vanilla and mix well.
  3. Sift in the flour and custard powder and mix until a dough is formed.
  4. Throw in the choc chips and worked together by hand.
  5. Form the dough into small balls, place them on the baking tray and then press down lightly. Be sure to leave a gap because they grow J
  6. Bake for 10-15 mins until golden. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
  7. Try not to scoff the whole batch in one go!

I hope some of you will have a go at this splendidly easy and delicious recipe!! In the meantime, do tell me what YOUR favourite cookie is!


Thanks, Rach. Those biscuits (sorry, the Aussie snob in me can’t bring myself to call them cookies) sound completely delish. Just imagine, if I stuffed them with red Smarties, they’d be celebratory Sydney Swans biccies!

Now listen-up, Feasters. Because Rachael is kind and generous and lovely, she’s offering a print copy of Outback Dreams to one lucky commenter. All you have to do is share your favourite biscuit and we’ll put you in the draw.

Maybe you’re an ANZAC biscuit fiend. Perhaps Tim-Tams are your go. Or maybe you’re a secret Iced Vo-Vo connoisseur.  Simply share your biccie (or cookie!) love and you could win.

But get in fast. Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday, 1st October 2013 AEST. Open to Australian postal addresses only.

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


0 thoughts on “FRIDAY FEAST with Rachael Johns

  1. Avatarchristinestinson

    Cathryn, I reckon crazens would go well in those biscuits to make Swannies munchies, too. Great post, Cathryn and Rachael. The favourite biscuits in my household (and in my critique group, too!) are Nan’s peanut biscuits, which she taught me to make when I was five. Mix a small cup of sugar, one egg, pinch salt and 125gr melted butter together well, add 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder and large cup self raising flour, mix again, then add one cup raw peanuts, stir. Place dessertspoonfuls onto lined baking trays, bake at 170 degrees until golden (about 20-30 minutes, depending on your oven). Congratulations on Outback Dreams, Rachael, sounds great – another one for the TBR pile.

      1. AvatarCathryn Hein

        Craisins! What a perfect idea, Christine. And is just so happens that I have some in my fridge.

        Ooh, I like the sound of those peanut biscuits. My mother in-law makes cracking ones but your Nan’s is a very different recipe and sound completely delish. I see a baking session on the horizon!

  2. AvatarMelissa

    Rachael & Christine, your biccies sound amazing – I might be having a biscuit feast this weekend – maybe for GRAND FINAL day tomorrow (woohoo, go hawks!!!!).
    My personal favourites are ANZAC’s – they are tasty, super simple to bake & last for days!! Not only that, they are something that i’ve made with my little brother on more than one occasion and since he’s turned 12 today, I think that those baking sessions will quickly stop for fear of embarrassment!!!

      1. AvatarCathryn Hein

        Sounds like we’ll all be having a biccie fest, Melissa. Very hard to go past ANZACs. They’re so moreish.

        (Think I’m with you on the Hawks front. I was contemplating going for Freo but after they thwarted my Swannie dream of back to back Premierships, I’m not feeling very enamoured with them.)

  3. AvatarKylie Leusciatti

    Melting moments!!! My nannas recipe as all the others I tried just don’t make the grade! Oh with lemon icing jammed in between them of course! Yummmm now I am drooling. I guess it is going to be a cooking day now thanks for for that!

  4. AvatarAlissa Callen

    These look so yum Rach:):) And have just been added to my ‘school holiday’ cooking list for all the little (and not so little) locusts who keep stripping my kitchen pantry bare. I love chocolate chip cookies made out of condensed milk – the trouble is the dough just tastes so good!

  5. AvatarSue Stirrat

    Just bought a copy of Outback Dreams (but would loveee a singed copy) have enjoyed reading all of your past stories also Rachel. My favorite home cooked biscuist are Cornflake Biscuits but can’t say no to a Tim Tam either 🙂

      1. AvatarCathryn Hein

        Oh, you have some faaaaaaabulous reading ahead, Sue! I’ve just finished Outback Dreams myself. Beautiful story, but then I expect nothing else from Rach.

        What a blast from the past. Haven’t had a Cornflake biscuit in ages. No idea why not when they’re so tasty.

        Thanks for dropping by. Good luck in the draw.

  6. AvatarPatricia Franks

    I’m a biscaholic. (The one food that ruins any diet I try.) Can’t name a favourite because I love them all. I also don’t call them cookies. Mmmmm bikkies.

      1. AvatarCathryn Hein

        Ha! I’m with you on the anti-cookie front, Patricia. Biccies rule!

        If you have biscuits with either fibre-y things, like the oats in ANZAC biscuits, or fruit, then they can only be healthy and a most excellent diet food.

  7. AvatarPaula Beavan

    All I can say is RUDE, today I’ve began a paleo diet. But I have to come and visit Friday Feast anyway. But, when I did make bickies, I loved those easy and yummy jam drop ones. Easy, GF but so nice. Friday’s are definitely my favourite day, Friday Feast, Phryne in the telly and Dave home. Perfect 🙂

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      What are you doing starting a diet on a Saturday, Paula???? Surely weekends are for indulgence and choccie biscuit eating!

      Isn’t Phryne fabulous? Love that show. She has the best hats.

      1. AvatarPaula Beavan

        Rachael?? You don’t know who Phryne is??? Phryne Fisher is Kerry Greenwoods 1928 super private detective! Series 2 is airing on the ABC on Friday nights at 8.30. Awesome stuff. Jam Drops, 11/2 cups GF plain flour, 150g unsalted butter, 1/3 cup castor sugar, 1tsp vanilla essence, jam. oven 180/160. cream butter, sugar & vanilla, add flour & combine, roll into little balls, squash to a disc, push a small well into the centre and put a blob of jam, back for 12 – 15 minutes. Delish 🙂

  8. Avatarsandie

    Jam Drops and we have also converted it a bit and use nutella in mid or lemon curd and add coconut yummo good wholesome yumminess lol

  9. AvatarJuanita Kees

    Anything from the Uncle Billy’s Gourmet Cookie Dough range and of course, Tim Tams. Good luck with Outback Dreams, Rach! I’m stocked up on Tim Tams ready to read 🙂

  10. AvatarKerrie Paterson

    Oh those biccies look very moreish! I love a choc-chip biccy or a nice chewy Anzac. Jam drops bring back memories of my Nan.

    Looking forward to reading Outback Dreams (and staring at the cover!) I’m saving it as my reward for when I finish this draft of my WIP.

    And Cathryn, bad luck for the Swannies 🙁

  11. AvatarTeddyree

    I really enjoyed Outback Dreams, exciting that we get to revisit Bunyip Bay. Thanks for sharing the recipe, I had good intentions of making them this weekend but realised I didn’t have custard powder, want them so badly I might even run to the corner store lol

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      Wasn’t it a gorgeous book, Teddyree? Such a warm and fun read. And there are more Bunyip Bay books to come. Rah!

      Thanks so much for dropping by. Hope those biccies turned out yum.

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