Tag Archives: Blackwattle Lake

FRIDAY FEAST with Pamela Cook

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And another joyous Friday arrives, the last before the silly season begins in earnest. Isn’t it amazing how fast this year has gone? I feel like I say that every year but for some reason 2013 feels especially speedy. Still, it’s nice to get all Christmassy as today’s guest is about to. But first, news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf WeeklyPamela Cook author

In an about turn, I played okay and didn’t lose a single ball in the water or have an embarrassing airy. In fact, my score was so okay that I dropped half a stroke off my handicap. I tell you, those golfing gods move in very mysterious ways. Rotten teases.

Enough of that. Time to raise your glasses to my rural romance writing guest Pamela Cook. Pamela’s debut novel Blackwattle Lake scored rave reviews and now her next novel has hit the shelves. Essie’s Way is guaranteed to be another booming success. Check it out…




Cover of Essie's Way by Pamela CookA captivating story of family, love and following your heart, from the author of Blackwattle Lake.

Miranda McIntyre thinks she has it all sorted. She s a successful lawyer, she s planning her wedding and ticking off all the right boxes. When searching for something old to go with her wedding dress she remembers an antique necklace from her childhood, but her mother denies any knowledge of it. Miranda is sure it exists. Trying to find the necklace, she discovers evidence that perhaps the grandmother she thought was dead is still alive.

Ignoring the creeping uncertainty about her impending marriage, and the worry that she is not living the life she really wants, Miranda takes off on a road trip in search of answers to the family mystery but also in search of herself.

Ultimately, she will find that looking back can lead you home.


Doesn’t that sound lovely? Nothing quite like a finding yourself story and you can have this one in your hot little mitt with just a few clickety-clicks. For the paperback, try Booktopia, Bookworld, QBD The Bookstore, Angus & Robertson, your local chainstore or independent book retailer. If ebooks are your go, Essie’s Way is available for immediate download from Kobo, iTunes, Amazon (for Kindle), Google Play, JB Hi-Fi, BigW ebooks or your favourite e-tailer.

Loaded up? Excellent. Time to get Christmassy!


In The Spirit!

Hi Cathryn

Lovely to be visiting the Friday Feast again especially as Christmas approaches and we all start to think about what we’ll be eating and drinking over the festive season.

This year my family and I are doing something verrrryyyy special – heading to Austria for a white Christmas and a 2 week ski trip. Prior to arriving in Kaprun, the village where we’ll be staying, we’ll be checking out the Christmas cheer in London and Paris. My husband and I had a white Christmas many years ago and I’m really looking forward to having such an amazing experience with my three daughters. We’ll also be sharing it with close friends who are currently living in the middle east and joining us in Kaprun.

An Austrian Christmas market stall

So to get in the mood I thought I’d do a little research into what traditional Christmas fare is in Austria. Here’s what I discovered:

  • During Christmas, people head to traditional Austrian Christmas markets which are present in almost every single town, large or small. Vienna, Austria’s capital, conducts around 25 markets along with small huts to provide shoppers with presents, food and, the soul of the festival, sweet wines. Other stands provide decorations, art and craft, toys and jewelry etc.

Can’t wait to check out the markets and do a little wine tasting!

  • A traditional Austrian Christmas dinner includes “Gebackenerkarpfen” or fried carp, “Sachertorte” or the chocolate and apricot cake, chocolate frosting served along with Christmas cookies.

Not sure about the fried carp but the chocolate torte and the cookies sound pretty delicious.

  • A traditional Christmas feast includes goose and ham served with gluhwein and rum punch

I’ve never had goose – nor cooked it – but I’m willing to give it a try. And the gluhwein sounds like the perfect beverage to wash it down.

I’ve certainly drunk a few glühwein’s in my day but I’ve never made it so I looked up a recipe to take with me – apparently it’s all in the mixing!



The secret to getting a great Glühwein is the right mixture of red wine, cinnamon stick, sugar, oranges and cloves.

Ingredients (serves 10):Gluhwein

2 bottles of good quality red wine

2 cups of water

6 cloves

2 cinnamon sticks

2 oranges – cut into bite-size pieces

oranges for decoration

How to make it:

Put all ingredients in a pot and bring it close to boil. For additional taste, cut 2 oranges into bite-size pieces and add to the wine. Let simmer. Remove clove and cinnamon stick before serving it into lightly pre-warmed glasses. Decorate glasses with an orange slice.


So this Christmas instead of our usual BBQ and a swim in the pool we’ll hopefully be sipping our glühwein while the snow falls outside and a nice fat goose roasts in the oven. I’m also hoping that we’ll come home with all our limbs in fact and while I know the bank balance will be a lot lower (ie nonexistent!) I know it will be the trip of a lifetime.

Merry Christmas everyone!


And a very merry Christmas to you too, Pamela, even though I’m insanely jealous of you right now! I’m not a skier at all, but there’s something completely magical about snow at Christmas. Such a contrast to Australia’s usually blistering days, and perfect for naughty fattening things and cockle-warming drinks.

So, Feasters, let’s get the Christmas spirit moving with your most memorable or favourite Christmas location. Are your fondest memories from big family lunches at grandma’s, and a table groaning with five different roasts even though it was 35 degrees outside? Or was your best Christmas spent snuggled up somewhere exotic with nothing but your beloved as a present?

I’m torn between home Christmases with the family and the enormously raucous Christmas lunch we hosted one year in Aix-en-Provence, France. The food was amazing, way too much wine was drunk and I distinctly remember an unsteady bunch of people dancing on the balcony to Kung Fu Fighting. I still cringe at what the neighbours must have thought…

Go on, share where your fondest Yuletide memories lie and make us all envious. You might even give us ideas!

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


FRIDAY FEAST with Pamela Cook

It’s always a joy to welcome debut authors on Friday Feast, and this week it’s even more special because our guest writes one of the best genres out there: Australian rural fiction!

Okay, so I’m biased but it’s my bloggy sandpit. Personal bias is a perfectly allowable perk.Pam Pic for Cathryn Hein small

Please welcome Pamela Cook, whose debut release Blackwattle Lake has been earning marvellous reviews and with good reason. Have a read of this passage:

‘The smell of hay and horse manure floated in the air like the steam from some organic herbal potion. She hadn’t smelt that for such a long time, that unique mix of animals and earth, a reminder that everything was alive and growing. You could almost hear life bubbling away beneath the ground.’

Isn’t that lovely? But so we should expect good prose from Pamela. She runs writing workshops through her business JustWrite Publishing. And now she’s proven the adage that teaching is the best way of learning with the release of Blackwattle Lake.

Check it out.




BLACKWATTLE_LAKE_Cover smallFor Eve Nicholls, walking up the driveway of her childhood home brings up many emotions, and not all good. The horses that she loved still dot the paddocks but the house is empty, and the silence inside allows her memories to flood back. She’s glad to have her best friend Banjo the kelpie with her . . . and a bottle of bourbon. Her plan is simple: sell the farm, grab the cash and get the hell out.

Despite Eve’s desire to keep a low profile, within days of her return she runs into all the people she hoped to avoid. At the house she is surrounded by memories and worse. But with a lifetime of clutter to sort out, there’s plenty to take her mind off it all. Slowly, she begins to discover the girl she used to be: Angie Flanagan – adventurous, animal-loving, vulnerable. When tragedy strikes, Eve realises that changing her name all those years ago in an attempt to hide from her past has not changed the truth of what happened or who she really is.


How’s that for a cracking sounding read? Why not clickety-click on over to Booktopia right now and buy your copy. Or maybe you prefer ebooks? Then try Amazon Kindle, Kobobooks, iTunes or Google Play.

All set? Excellent. Now give Pamela a big welcome…




Thanks for having me on Friday Feast, Cathryn. It’s lovely to be here and lovely to be where I am actually writing this post – my getaway house at Little Forest in Milton. As you can see from the picture below it has the most exquisite view over the bush and farmlands and right the way out to the ocean.

Little Forest View

This is where I come to escape the rat race, spend time with my family, relax and write. We’ve had the place for about 12 years now and being only two and a half hours away from the southern suburbs of Sydney where we live it’s not too far to come for a weekend and is our home during school holidays. And it’s not just the human members of the family who enjoy the pace down here. When we come for extended stays we bring our horses, and the dog and cat are regular visitors. Here they are lapping up the morning sunshine:

Dog pic

Cat pic

It’s the perfect place to write and where I found a lot of the inspiration for Blackwattle Lake. We’re about ten kilometres away from Milton which is a great town with some wonderful shopping opportunities! There are wonderful eateries too. Pilgrims, a vegetarian café is an institution and does the best milkshakes on the south coast (but don’t tell anyone!). For a special dinner there’s Bannisters out at Mollymook run by Rick Stein and serving scrumptious seafood. My latest favourite is Cupitts Winery which not only produces great wine but serves the most amazing food (especially the desserts) and is part of the slow food movement so you can while away a good few hours enjoying the view, the food and the company.

Which brings me (finally) to the subject of this post: food and family. The house here at Little Forest has been the site of many a feast. Sometimes we bring visitors from “the big smoke” to share our special part of the world with; other times we enjoy a barbeque with local friends we’ve met. Today as it’s Good Friday there will be a smaller feast, an opportunity for my immediate family – my three daughters, my husband and myself – to relax and enjoy the blessings of  food and family together. Prawns, calamari, fish, crusty bread, fresh salad and to finish it all off Aunty Elsie’s Cheesecake.

I can’t really remember the first time I made this dessert but I do know that it’s been a favourite ever since. It always makes an appearance at Christmas as an alternative to pudding and is often requested for birthdays and other celebrations.

I grew up in a house where good food was taken for granted. My mother was – and still is at 88 – an exceptional cook, especially when it comes to desserts. From Strawberry Sponge to Apple Charlotte, Chocolate Logs to Lemon Meringue Pies, she’s filled many stomachs to bursting point over the years. Sadly, I’m not such a brilliant cook. Having a penchant for all things well done I tend to over-cook just about everything. But so far I have managed to turn out pretty good versions of this cheesecake, if I don’t say so myself! It’s pretty fool proof – if I can do a good job of it anybody can. I use a food processor to do both the pastry and the filling which makes it all fairly simple.


Aunty Elsie’s Cheesecake

 Cheesecake whole


Preheat oven to moderate.


1 cup plain flour

1/2 cup self-raising flour

3 ounces(85 grams)  of butter (softened)

1 whole egg

4 level tablespoons of icing sugar

1-2 desert spoons of water (add one and see if the mixture starts to clump if not add one more)

Mix all the ingredients in the food processor until the pastry forms into a ball or clumps together. Remove and roll into a ball on a floured surface. Wrap in glad wrap and place in the fridge for half an hour. Roll the pastry out on floured surface until it looks large enough to fit the base and sides of the tin. Press into the base and up the sides of a medium sized cheesecake tin. This can be a little tricky – don’t worry if the pastry breaks up just pressed up the sides of the tin making sure there are no cracks. I like to leave the top edge rough or you can smooth off with a knife.


2 packets of cream cheese

¾ cup of caster sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Soften the cream cheese and add to the food processor with the other ingredients. Mix until smooth. Pour into the pastry case.

Bake in a moderate oven for half an hour. If it looks a little underdone cook for another 10 mins.


1 tin blueberries



Separate the berries from the juice, place the juice in a small saucepan with 2 teaspoons of sugar (to taste) and thicken with cornflour. Keep stirring in the cornflour as the mixture simmers so lumps don’t form,

Allow the mixture to cool then gently add the blueberries to the sauce

Pour over the top of the cheesecake while it is still hot.

Cheescake slice

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Aunty Elsie is my mum’s sister, still also going strong at 86. I’m hoping I have the same genes as these two wonderful women and that my cooking skills improve to be as good as theirs.

I hope you enjoy the cheesecake. For me it’s associated with good times, family, smiles and a deliciously full stomach.

Wishing you the same.


Ooh, thanks, Pamela. I love a good cheesecake and this one sounds completely delicious, especially with that blueberry topping.

So, my ever-so-clever Feasters, what’s your favourite cheesecake? Or are you a closet cheesecake loather? As of last week I have a new cheesecake love – Antonio Carluccio’s Ariciolata di Pesche or Peach and Ricotta Crumble, from his Two Greedy Italians cookbook. Not a traditional cheesecake, admittedly, but a bloody good one! Seriously, it’s worth buying the book just for that recipe.

Bum, I just made my sweet tooth throb.

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