Today on Friday Feast I’m delighted to have Australian author Nicole Alexander as my guest.

Nicole Alexander grew up on her family’s agricultural property north-west of Moree in northern NSW. She has spent half her life in the bush with The Correspondence School providing her early education. She has a BA from the University of New England and a Master of Letters in creative writing from Central Queensland University. In the course of her career Nicole has worked both in Australia and abroad in financial services, fashion, corporate publishing and agriculture. A fourth generation grazier Nicole returned to the bush in the late `90s. She is currently the business manager on her family’s agricultural property.

And if that wasn’t enough, she’s also the best-selling author of The Bark Cutters and A Changing Land!

Take it away, Nicole…

I would love to tell you I’m a dab hand in the kitchen. In truth, in between my two ‘day’ jobs (grazier/writer) I don’t have much time for anything else. Cooking for me falls into two distinct categories: a) I’m too tired but we need to eat and b) It’s a special occasion so what can I make. The difficulty of living 100 plus kilometres from a shopping centre means you have to be pretty desperate to make a 200 plus kilometre round trip on a whim. Hmmm, will I make that Moroccan chicken tagine or Singapore laksa tonight? Probably not. Besides which you can’t always be sure the necessary ingredients will be in stock.

The tyranny of distance means two large eskies in the back of the truck during summer are prerequisites if you want anything to arrive home ‘alive’.  These wondrous inventions are filled with the basic necessities (and I do count Vasse Felix wines in that category) particularly as on average I’m a once a fortnight ‘townie’. Any longer and the event becomes a scurvy shop. My last one was in January this year during the floods when it was a serious toss-up between the wine and beer and the bread and oranges. It was a small boat.

My shopping trips are invariably two thirds skewed towards collecting parts for the property. Many a time I’ve arrived home with bearings, tyres, engine oil and gumbo points for the planter only to discover the more ‘specialist’ groceries are still on the supermarket shelf. I do make lists however they don’t always make it to town and I occasionally fall prey to lack of interest once I’ve padded around the machinery shops – fascinating and rolled my trolley over small children whilst looking for the surprise peas. I always remember the peas which is a little strange when my better half doesn’t eat them.

Having said all that I have been known to make a mean Moroccan dessert and I can show you the remains of a traditional Jewish cheesecake that I made for my father’s birthday recently. No we’re not Jewish however I figured how wrong could I go with seven ingredients?


I packet crushed digestive or Maree biscuits

450 grams of cottage cheese

2 beaten eggs

3 tablespoons of cornflour

300 mls of sour cream

130 grams of melted butter

175 grams of caster sugar


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease a 20 cm loose bottom cake tin

Mix the biscuit crumbs with 75 grams of the melted butter and press into the tin to give a 1cm layer over the base. Then refrigerate until needed.

Mix together the cheese, cream, remaining butter and sugar in a large bowl. After beating in the cornflour slowly add the eggs one
at a time and beat until smooth. Turn into the tin and bake for 20 – 25 mins.

Leave to cool in the tin until set and serve with blueberries and dollopy cream

Tip: cheesecakes keep cooking after they’re removed from the oven

A great and tasty recipe however I used all the biscuits as directed and I had a fairly chunky base. But hey, the men loved it!


Thank you to Cathryn for asking me to be her guest this week and for her inspiring ‘Friday Feast’ blog. I look forward to more gourmet moments.

And thanks very much to you also, Nicole. This sounds so easy and delicious, and given how much I love cheese cake I’ll definitely be testing your recipe out. As for that Moroccan dessert you mentioned, you have me intrigued. Maybe I can twist your arm for a reveal of the recipe on another Friday Feast?

Readers, I hope you enjoyed Nicole’s recipe and wonderful description of life in the country. I know I did. You can find more information on Nicole and her books on her website, and don’t forget to zoom on over to Facebook and “like” her facebook page.

But most of all, if you don’t already own any of Nicole’s books, run on down to your local bookshop and grab yourself copies of The Bark Cutters and  A Changing Land. If you love Australian stories I promise you won’t be disappointed.


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