Feeling a bit chuffed here in Feastland because today we have another fabulous guest. Not only is Karly Lane a lovely person, she’s a wonderful author, and I know this to be true because 1/. I’ve met her, and 2/. I’ve read (and loved!) her books.

Karly lives on the gorgeous north coast of NSW, where she’s kept super busy looking after her four children and husband, as well as penning her heart-warming novels. When I read North Star on its release I couldn’t put it down. Not only that, the moment I finished it I shot Karly a gushy email to tell her how much I loved it and demanded to know when was her next book coming out. Well, now I have my answer. Karly’s next book releases very shortly – at the same time as Heart of the Valley, in fact – and I cannot wait to get my nose buried in its pages.

Check it out!



When Sarah Murphy returns to Australia she desperately needs a break from her high-powered London life. And though mystified by her grandmother’s dying wish for her ashes to be scattered under ‘the wishing tree’ on the banks of the Negallan River, she sets out to do just that.

While searching for the wishing tree, Sarah stays in the small township of Negallan. It’s there that she finally has some time to relax and unwind, there that she finds herself drawn to a handsome local farmer, and there that she discovers her enquiries about her grandmother are causing disquiet within the powerful local Morgan family.

Will the Morgans prevent Sarah from discovering the truth about her grandmother? And should she risk her glittering career in the UK for a simpler existence in the country, and the possibility of true love? By the bestselling author of North Star, Morgan’s Law takes you on a compelling journey into a young woman’s hopes and dreams.


I’m squirming in excitement already!

Oof, but enough of my fangirldom. Here’s Karly with her gorgeous post and a recipe that makes my stomach rumble. Wonder if I could nip out for a quick countery at lunch…



The humble counter meal at any pub in Australia, I think, is vastly underrated.

Morgan’s Law is basically set in a country pub, so for my career minded-London living Sarah, she has to deal with a huge culture shock when it comes to meal times.

When was the last time you had one? For me, it had been years, until my writing group began holding get togethers once a month at a central point (being that we travel from up to200 kilometresfrom all points of the compass to attend.) In doing so, I’ve rediscovered the humble counter lunch.

The beauty of the pub meal is that in the majority of cases-they’re not only economical, but they’re huge! Having a daughter who is about to back-pack around Australia – having a decent meal – even if it’s for lunch, will at least ensure she won’t starve to death!

The other thing about pub meals is that gone are the days where you only had maybe two choices—a meat pie with chips or a meat pie with vegies (complete with complementary grubs in the broccoli) …now days some of these places are rather suave and sophisticated, and the meals a work of art! So there’s something to suit everyone!

The other thing that I adore about these places are the buildings themselves. Most of these pubs we go to are beautifully restored or preserved buildings, making you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time. I can’t help but conjure up all sorts of wonderful scenes from years gone by…makes me wish I could sneak back in time for a little while and see what these old pubs were like in their heyday!

Ahh, this writer’s life is hard work… the things we do in the name of writing…

Check out my favourite local pubs – they’re gorgeous.

The Star Hotel, Macksville

Federal Hotel, Bellingen

The Heritage Hotel, Gladstone


Something you’ll find as a staple on every pub menu is the good old Chicken Parmigiana, so here’s a recipe to make it at home.


Pre-heat oven to ~250 degrees Celsius

Crumbed Chicken:
2 Chicken Breasts
2 Eggs
Plain Flour
Bread Crumbs
Oil (for frying)

Trim any excess fat and rubbish away from chicken, slice open along the edge length ways (so as to double it’s size) cover with glad wrap/freezer bag/whatever and flatten.

Whisk eggs and milk, coat chicken draining off excess. Coat in flour ensuring it is completely covered. Return to egg mix and then coat in the bread crumbs.

Heat oil and fry. (Making sure the oil is hot before putting the chicken in) Cook until brown. Set aside on some paper towel to drain excess fat.

20ml Oil
1/2 an Onion
1 Clove of Garlic
1 tin (400gm) Crushed Tomatoes
1/2tsp Dried Basil
1 ½ tsp of Brown Sugar
Sal and pepper

Heat oil in frying pan and add onion and garlic; cook until onion has softened stirring occasionally.

Add tomatoes, basil and sugar. Bring to the boil then return to a simmer. Once the sauce has reached desired consistency add salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat.

Line baking tray with foil. Place chicken in tray cover the top with sauce then add cheese.

Put in the oven until the cheese is brown.

But if all this is just too hard…why not pay a visit to your local pub and get them to cook it for you!

Thanks so much, Karly. Lovely post and they are indeed gorgeous pubs!

I’ve always been a fan of a good counter meal myself. They’re cheap and, as you say, usually enormous. Very important when you have ravenous men or starving hollow-legged teenagers to feed. But I think it’s also the simple casualness that makes them appealing – that and the sometimes weird and wonderful pubs they’re served in.

I took Jim to see the famous Tantanoola Tiger when we were home over Easter. The ‘Tiger’, which is in fact an Assyrian wolf shot by a local back in the late 1800’s, sits in the dining room of the Tantanoola Hotel behind a glass frame, complete with the gun he was shot with. So you can enjoy your counter meal in this great old pub in the company of a stuffed wild animal.

As to how the ‘Tiger’ came to be roaming around the south east gobbling up sheep, no one really knows. There’s speculation that it swam ashore from a shipwreck, which is kind of amazing, really, and also makes me wonder why the wolf was on the ship in the first place. Ahh, Australian stories. What fun they are!

Now, giveaway time. And we have a fabulous one on offer this week – a Karly Lane goodybag! Karly would love to hear about your favourite counter meal or even your most beloved pub, the more interesting or quirky, the better. So, Feasters, crack those knuckles and get commenting!

And when you’re out and about or even net-surfing, keep your eyes peeled for Morgan’s Law, coming veeeeeery soon to a bookstore near you!

Entries close midnight, Tuesday 24th April 2012 AEST. Australian addresses only.

If you’d like to learn more about Karly and her heart-warming rural stories, please visit her website. You can also connect via Twitter, Facebook and on Goodreads.

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Louise, who has earned herself a Karly Lane goodybag. Thanks to everyone who joined in the pub food fun. I hope to see you back again.

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