Tag Archives: Australian humour

FRIDAY FEAST with Margareta Osborn

11 Replies

Greetings, lovely people, and welcome to another scintillating edition of Friday Feast. This week we’re coming up roses with one of Australia’s favourite rural romance authors, plus a recipe for the cake everyone adores, chocolate!

First, news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. Or not. Thanks to a weekend of fun and fiction at the Australian Romance Readers Convention in Canberra I didn’t play. I did, however, score a blow-up horse, duly christened Hot Chocolate by the QT barflies. See? There’s always a silver lining!

Photo of Margareta OsbornBut on to rosier things…

With her debut novel Bella’s Run fifth generation farmer Margareta Osborn quickly established herself as one of Australia’s star rural romance authors. She soon followed that success up with Hope’s Road and Mountain Ash. Then a couple of years ago came the ebook novella A Bush Christmas and it was an instant hit.

Margareta has now taken this story and transformed it into a full-length novel, carrying on the lives of the characters her readers had come to love so much. The result is Rose River, set in the East Gippsland mountains, an area Margareta knows well. Check it out…

ROSE RIVER

Rose River by Margareta OsbornAdapted from Margareta Osborn’s bestselling ebook novella A Bush Christmas, Rose River is a gloriously funny romantic comedy set in the beautiful Australian outback.

Take one city girl – and drop her into the back of beyond…

Housesitting in rural Burdekin’s Gap, high up in the East Gippsland mountains, is not an obvious career move for a PR executive like Jaime Hanrahan. But, hey, retrenchment is a kicker.

Plus she’s determined not to spend Christmas in Melbourne with her friends, who still have company cars and six-figure salaries, or with her mother, Blanche, who has remarried too soon after her father’s death.

However, it turns out that Burdekin’s Gap is a little more remote than Jaime had anticipated, the house is in the middle of a cattle station, and the handsome manager, Stirling McEvoy, doesn’t appreciate a new farmhand in Jimmy Choos and Sass & Bide cut-offs.

Soon Jaime is fending off stampeding cows, town ladies wielding clipboards, sheep who think they are goats, nude sportsmen and one very neurotic cat. So why does she feel like she’s falling in love… with the life, with the breathtaking landscape, and with one infuriating cowboy…

Doesn’t that sound fun? And a copy could be yours with just a few clicks. Visit Booktopia, Angus & Robertson, Bookworld, Boomerang Books, Collins Booksellers, Fishpond, iBooks, Kobo, Amazon.au, Amazon.com, Amazon.uk, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi, or your favourite bookstore.

All set? Lovely. Now you can have chocolate.

The Chocolate Read

My latest novel, ROSE RIVER, started out as a little ebook called A BUSH CHRISTMAS. This novella (a short book) hit #1 on iTunes, and was a finalist in the Romantic Novella of the Year A Bush Christmas by Margareta OsbornAward with Romance Writers of Australia. It was a huge success, and I was simply delighted!  Then, the emails and messages started hitting my inbox, arriving by the truckload, from readers around the country with a singular request, ‘We want the rest of Jaime and Stirling’s story!’

Seriously, what could I do … ? And to be honest, I was curious myself. What was going to happen next in the mountains around Burdekin’s Gap?

ROSE RIVER is the outcome.

When I sat down to write more of Jaime and Stirling’s story at Polly’s Plains, a cattle station in the high country of East Gippsland, our family had just lost a friend. In my sadness, I was looking for something to read. I wanted a novel that was light hearted and fun, a book where I could simply sit back and be entertained. A distraction was what I needed, an escape. I was searching for a story that was like chocolate, an endorphin to sweeten and warm my saddened heart and mind. I couldn’t find it. So, with ROSE RIVER’s deadline looming, I sat down wrote the book I was looking for instead.

ROSE RIVERPink iced chocolate cake is a laugh-out-loud, heart-warming story about the thrills and spills of life on the land. It brims with humour, abounds with deep affection for unique and colourful country communities and draws on my passion for the spectacular beauty of the bush where I have lived and worked all my life.

And while I wrote I ate chocolate – Chocolate cake to be precise. And you are very special because I’m going to share with you my precious chocolate cake recipe (a HUGE cake), which can be used as the basis for a marble cake as well. It’s a recipe I’ve tweaked and played with for years until it’s nigh on darn perfect. It’s yummy, moist and there’s lots of it.

So now you’ve got it all. ROSE RIVER, the “chocolate read” …  accompanied by the chocolate cake. My middle son is aghast, ‘Mum, you can’t share that recipe with anyone! It’s your special cake!’

Just goes to show what I think of you guys, right?

Enjoy!

ROSE RIVER CHOCOLATE CAKE

Rose River chocolate cake250gm Butter

2 Cups Caster Sugar (I never said it was healthy 🙂 )

2 ½ cups of S.R. Flour

1 teaspoon of Bi-Carb soda

4 tablespoons of Cocoa

2 cups of milk

4 Large eggs

Vanilla

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time until combined,

(If using a small mixing bowl, change to larger one now.)

Add sifted dry ingredients alternating with milk, until all ingredients are combined.

Grease a large lamington slab pan, or large sized spring-form cake tin. You can also use a smaller round/square cake-tin and a loaf tin.  The mixture goes a long way. Great for making one cake for now and freezing the other for emergency smoko rations 🙂

 

And how grateful we are, Margareta! Thank you for sharing such a beloved recipe. It’s always such a joy to feature tried ‘n true country cooking on Friday Feast. You can’t go wrong with the cooking and the flavours are complete crowd-pleasers. Great stuff.

I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing you all the very best with Rose River, which will no doubt be another runaway hit for you.

if you’d like to learn more about Margareta and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter using @margaretaosborn

THIS WRITING LIFE: A Country Adventure

8 Replies

A belated happy New Year to you!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. We spent ours in north Queensland with my parents-in-law and after over 4,500 kilometres on the road, travelling there and back and bits in between, we’re now home.

For a couple of reasons I thought it would be fun to share some of the photos from our country adventure. There are some lovely images of rural life that I thought you might appreciate, plus for me it’s nice to have these pictures in one place where I can look back on them for inspiration.

Enjoy!

*

After driving 2,000 kms what does my other half decide to do the following day? Go for another drive, of course, out to Strathmore Station and the Bowen River pub. Great fun. Even a flat tyre didn’t put a dampener on it. But I can say that because it wasn’t me who took care of it!

Brahman cowYoung cattle in the shadeCattle traffic on the Bowen River bridgeCrocodile warning signBowen River HotelBowen River Hotel front barSign instructing trucks to dump their dust Sorting out the flat tyreMy parents-in-law own a livestock transport company. Here’s me tooling around with one of their cattle trucks. They have lots of these. This truck is only a B-double but they run up to triple road trains which are 53 metres long.

Me on a truckThese two pulled up in the drive on Christmas Eve. I was so excited. Thought I was being brought a horse for Christmas!

Horse in the front driveA family friend invited me join him while he dropped hay to his cattle. Naturally I said yes! These are Brahman-Droughtmaster crosses. Aren’t the little ones cute?

Hay for cattleCalves Little floppy eared calvesCow and calf contentedly eatingSpotted this little fellow on a garden tap.

Green frogPlayed a bit of golf while I was away. Things are a bit less formal out in the country…

A spot of country golfingI have a thing for curlews. Their call is wonderfully eerie and sometimes they stand stock-still and use their camouflage to do a Jedi mind trick. We are not the curlews you are looking for

A pair of curlewsSome country humour. The street sign is from the Australian hotel in Townsville. The Brandon Tavern’s “crashed” plane’s tail reads: Fly On In For A Coldie.

Aussie humourWe saw quite a lot of cattle being driven on the stock routes on the way up and back. Although none of my photos show it, there is a shocking drought in parts of Queensland and NSW right now with farmers in terrible straits. In places they haven’t seen rain for more than two years. Some have sent their breeders to graze the stock routes because they have zero feed. Please let it rain for these people soon. The devastation is heartbreaking. (Apologies for the poor quality photos. Our windscreen was a tad bug-splattered!)

Cattle near Rolleston, QueenslandDrover on horsebackWe had a lightning trip to Lightning Ridge on the way up. I wanted to buy myself a black opal. Champagne tastes on beer money, unfortunately… This is the big welcome sign on the Castlereagh Highway. You have to turn off and drive 5kms or so to reach the town. It’s worth doing. Everyone was very friendly and the opals are beautiful.

Me at the big Lightning Ridge signWe experienced a few Dorothea Mackellar moments on the drive home. Hit a dust storm between St George and Dirranbandi only to encounter flogging rain 5 kilometres later.

From one extreme to anotherI really adore it when a country town teams together to create something special. Gulargambone on the Castlereagh River in central NSW (population 500 but “flying ahead”) has played with their name to create a galah theme. There are murals and smile-inducing galah artwork in and outside town. Love it.

Some of the Gulargambone galah art

What did you do over the Christmas-New Year break? Travel or relax at home? Whatever you did, I hope it left you happy and ready for a rip-roaring  2015!