Happy Friday, Feasters, and what a wonderful day it is, not least because this weekend means EUROVISION. Oh yes, well may you laugh, but you can take your Idols and The Voices and X’s Got Talent and all those other amateur productions, and plonk them right in the bin of television obscurity where they belong. Because there’s only one song contest which matters – the absolute kitschy glory of Eurovision.

SBS Television’s broadcast begins tonight at 7-30. Be there!

(Oh, and foodie sorts, if you check this month’s SBS Feast magazine, there’s even a feature on Eurovision party food. Rah!)

It’s also a wonderful day for another reason and that’s because my Friday Feast guest today is delightful rural romance author Mandy Magro. Mandy hails from north Queensland way, from the country town of Dimbulah, where she and her husband Drew run their tropical fruit farm.

Mandy’s debut release, Rosalee Station was a big hit, its cover tagged with an endorsement from Fiona Palmer no less, and fans have been eagerly awaiting her next book. Now it’s here! Yes, Jacaranda hit the shelves just a few days ago. Here’s a sample.



At nineteen, Molly Jones has the world at her feet. Then one drunken night she falls into bed with Mark, a cowboy just passing through. By the time Molly realises she’s pregnant, Mark is long gone.

Now, at twenty-six, Molly’s life is almost perfect. She’s the devoted mother of Rose, and a renowned horse trainer. She lives amid the beauty of Jacaranda Farm, surrounded by family and friends – none closer than hunky stockman Heath. But she’s still looking for the love of her life, and a father for Rose.

When Mark stumbles back into her world, as charming as ever, Molly begins to hope for a future she’d long ago relinquished. But how will Mark react when he learns he’s a father? And could the man of Molly’s dreams be closer to home than she thinks?


How gorgeous is that cover? Mind you, I’m biased toward anything with a horse on it, but there’s no question Jacaranda is super pretty. I bet it flies off the shelves. If you want to score a copy right now, why not rush down to your local bookseller or, if you don’t feel like venturing outside, click your mouse right here. You can also download Jacaranda as an ebook from Amazon Kindle, Kobo and many other ebook retailers.

Anyway, enough of me, it’s Mandy you’ve come to read. So without further ado, here she is.

Food, Food, Glorious Food

Thank you for inviting me onto your yummy weekly blog, Cathryn. I am so thrilled to be here!

Can I begin by saying, Ahhhh food, glorious food! I love it, all of it, everything from Thai, Italian, Greek, Turkish and Indian through to melt in your mouth steak and chips down the local pub. I love travelling round the world for it, growing it, shopping for it, cooking it and eating it. I am an absolute foodie. I would much prefer to spend a day at food markets then in dress shops so that says it all – I can hear some women gasping from here.

Food brings people together, whether it’s in celebration of a wedding, a casual night out at your favourite restaurant, right down to the Aussie tradition of a backyard barbeque. It can even cross the boundaries of language, my experiences when travelling through parts of Asia perfect proof of that. I visited some remote villages where they didn’t speak a word of English but we could laugh and connect over meals. It was wonderful, food is wonderful. What would we do with all our spare time if we didn’t eat? I couldn’t imagine it!

I would like to share with you a recipe that has been passed onto me by my English mother-in-law. It is tradition for them to have this dessert every Christmas after devouring a lavish roast goose with all the trimmings, add in the crackling of the fire and the feathery snow falling outside and it is magical. Chocolate Orange Cheesecake is now one of my all time favourite desserts and there is certainly not a crumb left when I take it to family gatherings. It might be a little on the fattening side but who cares if it tastes good, right?

 Shazza’s Chocolate Orange Cheesecake

100g softened butter

250g digestive biscuits (UK brand but can get these from Coles)

50g Demerara sugar

500g of Philly cheese

2 oranges

250mls single cream

15g gelatine

50g dark chocolate

1. Leave the butter at room temperature (or melt it in the microwave slightly). Blend the biscuits until fine in a food processor then mix in the butter. Push this into a round spring form tin and place this in the fridge while you prepare the filling so it can harden a little.

2. In the food processor place the Philly cheese, cream, rind from 1 orange and juice from both. Turn processor on high and mix until the filling is looking creamy. Then, add the gelatine which has been mixed with a little water (according to the container’s instructions) and stir this through. Pour the mixture on top of the biscuit base.

3. Melt the chocolate in the microwave, making sure to stir it every 15 seconds so it doesn’t burn. Then, drizzle this over the top of the filling. Grab a fork and swirl the fork ever so lightly through the drizzled chocolate, just over the surface, to give it an artistic design.

4. Pop it in the fridge to set. It takes a few hours for this or preferably overnight.

5. Devour with oohs, mmmms and ahhs!

I hope you all enjoy this recipe and it is one you are proud to share with loved ones.

All this talk about food is making me hungry so I must be off to the fridge. I wonder what deliciousness lies within its clutches today.

Thanks, Cathryn; it’s been so much fun talking with you about food – one of my favourite subjects.

Mandy x


Have a look at that cheesecake. Wow, is all I can say. Just…wow. It’s like a Jaffa except bigger, flatter and so, so much better. Mmm. Wonder if I should make this for the Eurovision final on Sunday?

Thanks so much, Mandy, for that lovely post and even lovelier recipe. And congratulations on the release of Jacaranda. May it fly off the shelves.

So Feasters, what’s the best recipe you’ve filched from someone? I still have the recipe for lemon butter my friend’s mum gave me when I was about 12. Delicious, especially mixed with mascarpone and cream to make lemon icecream. And then there’s my mother in law’s ANZAC biscuits, which are, quite simply, the best. Then there’s my Mum’s pav, my friend’s friend’s spring roll recipe… The list is huge! So what’s yours? We’d love to hear.

Although if you also want to chat about Eurovision party food I’m sure Mandy will be in that too. I certainly won’t object!


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


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