So it’s fitting that I should also host one of Australian rural fiction’s hottest authors. Margareta Osborn rose to prominence with her debut release Bella’s Run and her second release is following rapidly in its best-selling footsteps. As a fifth generation Gippsland farmer, Margareta understands intimately the landscape in which she sets her books. She also understands the pull of the land, how it can burrow into a person’s heart, something she shows beautifully in her new release.
Take a look…
Sixty years ago, heartbroken and betrayed, old Joe McCauley turned his back on his family and their fifth-generation farm, Montmorency Downs. He now spends his days as a recluse, spying upon the land – and the granddaughter – that should by rights have been his.
For Tammy McCauley, Montmorency Downs is the last remaining ties to her family. But land can make or break you – and, with her husband’s latest treachery, how long can she on to it?
Wild-dog trapper, Travis Hunter, is struggling as a single dad, unable to give his son, Billy, the thing he craves most. A complete family.
The, out of the blue, a terrible event forces the three neighbours to confront each other – and the mistakes of their past …
Hope’s Road is available now from all good book retailers. You can also order online from Booktopia, Bookworld, Dymocks and QBD Books. For the ebook try Amazon Kindle, iTunes, Kobobooks or Google Play. Go on. I promise you won’t regret it!
Now please welcome Margareta.
Thank you, Cathryn, for inviting me back on your blog. I’m hoping my ‘Awesome Chocolate Slice’ hit the spot for readers last time (and by the comments left, I think it did), so this time round I thought I’d digress away from sweets to another little beauty of a recipe I have tucked in my cooking files.
But first, let me explain. In my past life I have been (and no, I’m not going to tell you about the time I was a chook stuffer), amongst other things, a vegetable grower. Yep. I have been an unreal cauliflower catcher (Duck!), a discerning green bean taster (light green tasted better, dark green sold better), a shucking corn specialist (I just hate any of those stringy bits left on my cob) and a perfect pea picker (except when those driving the machine fell asleep and drove waaayyyy off course). So, perhaps not perfect, but hey, you can’t be good at everything. Ahem.
Anyway, I have spent hours and hours being a perfect 1950’s type wife (there’s that ‘P’ word again), picking, blanching, bagging and freezing tonnes of beautiful fresh vegies. I do love my greens. Well, when I’m not forced to pick, blanch and bag the darn things anyway. Then, I can assure you, one would prefer to never see another floret in your life!
These days, and seeing I’m now a beef grower, I rarely buy (or blanch) frozen foodstuffs. We kill our own beef, have just gone into stocking a few sheep and the only vegetables I buy are fresh from my local IGA or nearby growers. Of particular interest is The Spud Shed, which lies on the road half way to Melbourne (some three hours away). Whenever a close family member is coming or going to the city, we usually send out the call to grab us a bag or two of potatoes. And have they got spuds galore. Coliban, Sebago, Pontiac, Desiree – it’s a spud woman’s mecca.
And so, why the focus on vegetables and particularly spuds? Because I reckon that’s exactly the type of favourite dish the bushie, Old Joe McCauley, in my latest book HOPE’S ROAD was wishing someone would serve him. I’m hoping Tammy, his niece, got that message loud and clear after the disaster with Meals on Wheels (you’ll have to read the book). Joe’s a three vegies and meat man, for sure. I adore him nearly as much I want to swoon over my Dog Trapper hunky hero, Travis Hunter. Tammy needs to know I am seriously green with jealousy! And those love scenes – Whew-y. Are they hot or what?!
I should get back to the spuds. Deep breaths.
Joe McCauley, my spud man, was the catalyst for writing HOPE’S ROAD. He was the one who kept appearing in my dreams and telling me I had to write this story. Unfortunately I kept pushing him away and it wasn’t until one bright sunny day when I had reason to sit high upon a hill and just be for a while, that I finally gave in and let the man have his way. I mean Joe, not Travis. And with my head, not my body. Oh dear … I’m just digging my own grave, here aren’t I?! Do not tell my husband! (Or Tammy for that matter.) Anyway, moving right along … HOPE’S ROAD is the result of three fabulous people and their lives coming together in a story of love, faith, heritage, and loss. When pitted against adversity – whether in the form of abusive, unfaithful husbands, absent mothers, deep feelings of betrayal and anger, lack of self belief, the perils of the land or the temperament of Mother Nature, Joe along with Tammy and Travis unite to show that no matter what life throws at you, there is always hope.
And now for my Coupe de Grace spud recipe, which I hope you’ll love as much as my new book.
Warm Roasted Potato Salad
As soon as it appears, it just disappears! I was given the recipe by a friend a few years ago so I’m not sure where it came from originally but man, is this one a goody. And I think even Joe would have to agree with that.
1 kg or so of chat potatoes, not peeled; 2 tbsp oil; 1 tub of Basil, Cashew & Parmesan Dip; salt & pepper;1/2 red capsicum diced or cut into fine strips; 1/2 salad onion or a couple of spring onions, finely chopped; 2 tbsp lemon juice; 1 bag of rocket leaves (or I use half bag rocket leaves & half mixed gourmet lettuce).
Dressing: 2 tbsp sour cream; 1 tsp lemon zest finely chopped/grated (or some lemon juice if you don’t have zest – see below).
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Cook potatoes in boiling water until just tender. Drain. Put potatoes into a mixing bowl with the oil, 3/4 of the Basil, Cashew and Parmesan Dip and salt & pepper (to taste). Toss until potatoes nicely coated in mixture. Line an oven tray with baking paper. Place potatoes on tray. Roast for 20 or so minutes or until golden and crisp.
In a separate bowl mix the remaining dip, sour cream and lemon zest. (If you don’t have any zest just add a good dollop of lemon juice.)
Once potatoes are cooked, toss potatoes, their juices and crispy bits with the capsicum, onion and lemon juice. Spread rocket leaves out on a platter, top with potatoes and then the dressing. Serve while warm
Enjoy indeed! That sounds absolutely divine, Margareta. I love a good salad and this one looks a beauty. No wonder it disappears fast with all those fabulous flavours to tempt the tastebuds.
I’m always on the lookout for good spud recipes. They’re such a crowd pleaser and a vege rack staple, on hand when you need to whip up a tasty meal at short notice. One of my favourites is Pete’s Pommy Pommes from my Two Fat Ladies cookbook, where layers of thin potatoes rounds are baked with herbs, garlic and stock until the top layer is chip-crispy and the interior all soft and luscious.
So my lovely Feasters, what’s your favourite spud recipe? No going past the humble chip? Or do you prefer silky smooth mash (mmmm!)? Perhaps, like Margareta you have a special spud recipe, something a little different. If so, please share. We’d love to hear and salivate!