FRIDAY FEAST with Jenn J McLeod

You know, there’s something thrilling about seeing another author succeed, especially when you know how hard they’ve worked to achieve their goals. I was so delighted when Jenn J McLeod announced that she’d been contracted by Simon and Schuster Australia, and even more excited to discover her debut novel, House For All Seasons, is the Dymocks Pick of the Month in the March issue of the Australian Women’s Weekly. Now how’s that for praise!

And well deserved too from the rave reviews that keep appearing. Here’s a few examples:

From the inside out, this book is beautiful. A story that sweeps you in and holds you there. There’s a little bit of magic in this one. Bree ~ 1girl2manybooks

This book is a must read and is the first on my top ten books list of 2013. I cannot say enough good things about this book, I highly recommend it as a must-add to your personal library. Jennie ~ Daystarz’s Books

Impressive, huh? Now take a closer look…




HFAS front cover working

Four women,

Four lives unravelled.

The truth will bind them forever.

Bequeathed a century-old house, four estranged friends return to their New South Wales hometown, Calingarry Crossing, where each must stay a season at the Dandelion House to fulfil the wishes of their benefactor, Gypsy.

But coming home to the country stirs shameful memories of the past, including the tragic end-of-school muck up day accident twenty years earlier.


Poppy, a tough, ambitions journo still craving her father’s approval;

Sara, a breast cancer survivor afraid to fall in love;

Amber, a spoilt socialite addicted to painkillers and cosmetic procedures;

Caitlin, a third generation doctor frustrated by a controlling family and her flat-lining life.

 At the Dandelion House, the women will discover something about themselves and a secret that ties all four to each other and to the house – forever.


Oooh, intriguing! Nothing like a juicy secret to keep you turning those pages and you can own your own copy right now by clickety-clicking on over to Booktopia (a bookseller I am feeling the luuuuurve for after their sponsorship of ARRC2013). Or try Dymocks or QBD The Bookshop. If ebooks are your thing, then try the Kobo store (which I also luuuurve thanks to Kobo’s ARRC 2013 cocktail party and multiple ereader giveaways), Amazon Kindle or Apple’s iTunes store.

Now that you’re all stocked up, please welcome Jenn!


Come home to Jenn J McLeod’s Friday Feast


Cathryn, your publishing journey inspired me to keep trying. I remember the day you announced online your two-book deal with Penguin. Having submitted a novel myself I was certain I’d be taking this journey with you. But my big announcement would be another twelve months away – also a two-book deal – with the amazing Simon & Schuster.

So now I’m here, right where I want to be, with my debut novel on the shelves and joining you on a Friday Feast. Life’s good. But life’s even better with good food, so let’s talk about that.

Being part of your Friday Feast I can’t help but smile as it combines my two greatest passions—writing and food; I’ve been lucky enough to make a business out of them both.Chicken Asian Salad

I’m so passionate about food I walked away from a well-paid corporate job in Sydney to swap city chaos for a new life in the country as owner of a small café. (I mean, let’s face it, I’d drunk loads of coffee throughout my career. How hard could making one be?)

My tree-change was like coming home. Coming home to the country is also the theme of my Australian small town stories and House For All Seasons is the first of two set in the fictional town of Calingarry Crossing.

House For All Seasons is a story about small-town life, family relationships and country roots that run deep. And yes there’s a cafe in it, even though I have since sold my cafe to focus on my new career as published author *big grin*. I instead spend my days writing contemporary women’s fiction and running Wagtail Cottage— a dog-friendly B&B we purpose-built for people who travel with their pets.

Salmon fillet w cous cousWhile I initially enjoyed the café business, it has ruined eating out for me. (I can’t help but size up a meal when it’s delivered, knowing the cost of producing the dish was a fraction of what you’re paying by a none-too-happy waiter usually.)

On the positive side, having learned so much about cooking I can satisfy my passion for food preparation by providing healthy (garden fresh where possible) evening meals to our B&B guests. Meals such as:

BBQ chicken with Asian-inspired noodle salad

Char-grilled Atlanic salmon fillet on Moroccan-spiced cous cous w/ homemade mango chutney, minted yoghurt and a warm fetta, pistachio & bean salad

But my Friday Feast offering is from our breakfast basket which we stock with homemade jams and goodies including…


Jenn’s Home-Made Muesli


Food for me these days is healthy, fresh and homemade. This recipe is so simple you’ll never buy highly sugared/salted, packet muesli again.

I make a big batch (you might like to halve it, but it does last for ages – I store it in a big ice cream container) as it’s more economical to use both shelves in the oven. So if you have two good-sized roasting trays, use the following big batch quantities:


500 gram pkt of rolled oats, coconut (long thread is best), sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, canola/vege oil, honey, hot water. After cooking add sultanas and toasted almond flakes (optional).


Preheat oven at 150 degrees

Boil the kettle

Spray two good-size roasting dishes with spray oil (to minimise sticking.)


Spread the 500 gram pkt of rolled oats over the two sprayed pans.

Add 1½ cups of coconut

1 cup sunflower seeds

¼  cup sesame seeds

Mix well then:

Pour (drizzle) ½ cup of oil

½ cup honey

½ cup of boiling water. Add water slowly, mixing all ingredients. (The hot water will soften the honey to make blending easier.)


Place the roasting pans in the oven and SET THE TIMER for 10 mins.

Check/stir mixture every ten minutes until the entire contents is a golden colour and dry. Depending on your oven it could take about an hour.

(And don’t do what I do; get so caught up in writing you don’t hear the oven timer!!!!!)


Set a timer for each ten minutes rather than rely on your memory.

Once the cooking is complete, stir immediately to both cool and lift baked bits off the pan. (Makes for easier cleaning.)

You can also toast flaked almonds (separately as they don’t take long) and add with your choice of dried fruit. (I use sultanas.)


Oh yum! That sounds delicious, Jenn. Actually your Wagtail Cottage sounds gorgeous and one of these days I plan to visit it in person.

So, my lovely Feasters, what’s your favourite breakfast? Are you a healthy muesli sort or completely naughty and skip it all together? I’m a Vita Brits girl, except on weekends before golf, then it’s a big cooked brekky courtesy of the man of the house. He does a fiiine job too.

If you’d like to learn more about Jenn and House For All Seasons, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter.


0 thoughts on “FRIDAY FEAST with Jenn J McLeod

  1. AvatarJenn J McLeod | Come home to the country...

    Cath, I got goosebumps reading your intro. You are a star 🙂 It’s lovely to be here.

  2. Avatarchristinestinson

    Another good post, thanks Cathryn and Jenn!
    Favourite breakfast: poached eggs. Mum keeps chickens so we always have lovely fresh eggs which poach beautifully without anything in the water (don’t like the taste of vinegar with eggs…)
    Jenn, congratulations again on the release of House for all Seasons – and the great reviews!

    1. AvatarJenn J McLeod

      Hi Chrissy, Thx for dropping by. I love a poached egg, but I do use vinegar. Never tasted it though. The cafe did teach me how to make a perfect poachy. best way to have an egg.

  3. AvatarLouise Reynolds

    Hi Jenn and Cathryn! I love homemade muesli with poached fruit and yoghurt. And perfectly poached fresh eggs, Yum! Favourite breakfast would have to be french toast, maple syrup and bacon. Utterly decadent and you won’t eat again till evening.

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      French toast, syrup and bacon? Ooh la la! Hmm, I think this is something I may have to try.

      Good to see another poached egg fan. Best way to eat them.

    2. AvatarJenn J McLeod

      LOL Lou, we did THE BEST French toast in the cafe. But I only looked at the people who ate it regularly and that was enough to stop me!!!!!!! As dad says, everything in moderation.

  4. Avataranniewest

    Jenn, congratulations on your book. It looks just delectable.

    I’ve got two breakfast indulgences I enjoy for special occasions. One is Eggs Benedict with asparagus and the other: toasted poppy seed bagel with smoked salmon, lettuce with a touch of red onion and black pepper. Breakfast is such a lovely meal.

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      Ooooh, eggs Benedict. I so love that dish!!

      Smoked salmon for breakfast makes me think of my girlfriend when we were hooning around Scandanavia. She went mad for all the pickled fishy things at breakfast. I still don’t know how she faced it. Smoked salmon I can go in the morning (very civilised).Smelly fishy things, definitely not!

    2. AvatarJenn J McLeod

      Hi Annie, thank you for dropping by. I do like my food. Every meal is a bit of an event. that bagel sounds like a nice lunch or dinner too. In fact…… 😉

  5. AvatarJuanita Kees

    Dymocks Pick of the Month!!! Go Jenn! I echo Cathryn’s opening. It is wonderful to see you achieve your dreams. You’ve worked hard, played hard and now it’s time to reap the benefits. I’m definitely going to swing by Wagtail Cottage for a relaxing stay. All the best with House for All Seasons and I look forward to getting my copy autographed at Conference 😀

    PS: Thanks Cathryn, for hosting another foolproof, fireproof recipe. Although with my luck the oats will turn into popcorn! I’ve been banned from the kitchen again this week. I killed a casserole…we’re still trying to bury the remains.

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      Pretty cool about the Dymocks’ pick, isn’t it, Juanita? Fantastic accolade, and in the Women’s Weekly no less!

      As for the killed casserole…not sure I want to think about that. I mean….how???