Greetings, lovely people, and welcome to another scintillating edition of Friday Feast. This week we’re coming up roses with one of Australia’s favourite rural romance authors, plus a recipe for the cake everyone adores, chocolate!
First, news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. Or not. Thanks to a weekend of fun and fiction at the Australian Romance Readers Convention in Canberra I didn’t play. I did, however, score a blow-up horse, duly christened Hot Chocolate by the QT barflies. See? There’s always a silver lining!
With her debut novel Bella’s Run fifth generation farmer Margareta Osborn quickly established herself as one of Australia’s star rural romance authors. She soon followed that success up with Hope’s Road and Mountain Ash. Then a couple of years ago came the ebook novella A Bush Christmas and it was an instant hit.
Margareta has now taken this story and transformed it into a full-length novel, carrying on the lives of the characters her readers had come to love so much. The result is Rose River, set in the East Gippsland mountains, an area Margareta knows well. Check it out…
Take one city girl – and drop her into the back of beyond…
Housesitting in rural Burdekin’s Gap, high up in the East Gippsland mountains, is not an obvious career move for a PR executive like Jaime Hanrahan. But, hey, retrenchment is a kicker.
Plus she’s determined not to spend Christmas in Melbourne with her friends, who still have company cars and six-figure salaries, or with her mother, Blanche, who has remarried too soon after her father’s death.
However, it turns out that Burdekin’s Gap is a little more remote than Jaime had anticipated, the house is in the middle of a cattle station, and the handsome manager, Stirling McEvoy, doesn’t appreciate a new farmhand in Jimmy Choos and Sass & Bide cut-offs.
Soon Jaime is fending off stampeding cows, town ladies wielding clipboards, sheep who think they are goats, nude sportsmen and one very neurotic cat. So why does she feel like she’s falling in love… with the life, with the breathtaking landscape, and with one infuriating cowboy…
Doesn’t that sound fun? And a copy could be yours with just a few clicks. Visit Booktopia, Angus & Robertson, Bookworld, Boomerang Books, Collins Booksellers, Fishpond, iBooks, Kobo, Amazon.au, Amazon.com, Amazon.uk, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi, or your favourite bookstore.
All set? Lovely. Now you can have chocolate.
The Chocolate Read
My latest novel, ROSE RIVER, started out as a little ebook called A BUSH CHRISTMAS. This novella (a short book) hit #1 on iTunes, and was a finalist in the Romantic Novella of the Year Award with Romance Writers of Australia. It was a huge success, and I was simply delighted! Then, the emails and messages started hitting my inbox, arriving by the truckload, from readers around the country with a singular request, ‘We want the rest of Jaime and Stirling’s story!’
Seriously, what could I do … ? And to be honest, I was curious myself. What was going to happen next in the mountains around Burdekin’s Gap?
ROSE RIVER is the outcome.
When I sat down to write more of Jaime and Stirling’s story at Polly’s Plains, a cattle station in the high country of East Gippsland, our family had just lost a friend. In my sadness, I was looking for something to read. I wanted a novel that was light hearted and fun, a book where I could simply sit back and be entertained. A distraction was what I needed, an escape. I was searching for a story that was like chocolate, an endorphin to sweeten and warm my saddened heart and mind. I couldn’t find it. So, with ROSE RIVER’s deadline looming, I sat down wrote the book I was looking for instead.
ROSE RIVER is a laugh-out-loud, heart-warming story about the thrills and spills of life on the land. It brims with humour, abounds with deep affection for unique and colourful country communities and draws on my passion for the spectacular beauty of the bush where I have lived and worked all my life.
And while I wrote I ate chocolate – Chocolate cake to be precise. And you are very special because I’m going to share with you my precious chocolate cake recipe (a HUGE cake), which can be used as the basis for a marble cake as well. It’s a recipe I’ve tweaked and played with for years until it’s nigh on darn perfect. It’s yummy, moist and there’s lots of it.
So now you’ve got it all. ROSE RIVER, the “chocolate read” … accompanied by the chocolate cake. My middle son is aghast, ‘Mum, you can’t share that recipe with anyone! It’s your special cake!’
Just goes to show what I think of you guys, right?
ROSE RIVER CHOCOLATE CAKE
2 Cups Caster Sugar (I never said it was healthy 🙂 )
2 ½ cups of S.R. Flour
1 teaspoon of Bi-Carb soda
4 tablespoons of Cocoa
2 cups of milk
4 Large eggs
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time until combined,
(If using a small mixing bowl, change to larger one now.)
Add sifted dry ingredients alternating with milk, until all ingredients are combined.
Grease a large lamington slab pan, or large sized spring-form cake tin. You can also use a smaller round/square cake-tin and a loaf tin. The mixture goes a long way. Great for making one cake for now and freezing the other for emergency smoko rations 🙂
And how grateful we are, Margareta! Thank you for sharing such a beloved recipe. It’s always such a joy to feature tried ‘n true country cooking on Friday Feast. You can’t go wrong with the cooking and the flavours are complete crowd-pleasers. Great stuff.
I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing you all the very best with Rose River, which will no doubt be another runaway hit for you.