Mary: I’m excited to have you at my garden, Jan. I’ve been reading over your site, very interesting. Can you tell everyone a bit about yourself? Something they can’t find on your web site, where you grew up, things like that.
Jan: Hi Mary, thanks for having me here today. As for a little bit about me, well, I’m Australian, I currently live on the outskirts of Sydney but grew up in a city called Newcastle. It’s about a three hour drive up the coast from Sydney. Newcastle has lots of beaches, a lovely harbor, it’s more relaxed and easy going than the major city’s of Australia. It has some great pubs and cafés and a very nice atmosphere, I love going back there to visit friends.
Mary: What holiday’s do you celebrate? Can you share your traditions with us?
Jan: I celebrate Christmas and Easter although I don’t make a huge deal out of them. I think a lot of our holiday celebrations are so commercial now and we’ve lost the meaning of how they began. The Christmas message, whether it’s a Christian or a Pagan philosophy that people believe, has gotten lost under the hype of what to buy and how much to spend. So I celebrate by being with family and friends, we still share gifts but don’t go overboard. For Christmas I always go back home to Newcastle and stay for a few weeks, I catch up with everyone that’s important to me.
Mary: What is your favorite childhood tradition or memory that you wished you’d continued to honor, or carry on?
Jan: When I was a child every Christmas Eve the family and a whole lot of friends used to gather together for a dinner and then we would sit and watch Carols by Candlelight which is always televised live from the Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne. I think the carols by candlelight might be an Aussie thing so I’ll explain it because it’s something that happens all over the country throughout the month of December. It’s basically a big concert style sing-a-long of Christmas carols, everyone sits outside, often in a park and has a picnic dinner. As it get’s dark everyone lights a candle and enjoys the festive atmosphere of the concert. It’s always fund and with all the candles burning it’s a beautiful sight.
Mary: Do you have a very Australian holiday—or non-holiday—recipe you can share with us? I love new recipes, especially when they’re from another country. Something will bring a little different culture to my dinner table.
Jan: This is really difficult to answer. Most of our Christmas recipes come from other cultures. Australia is such a multicultural place we’re like a melting pot of a society. So traditional Christmas fair stems from whatever cultural back ground a person has. Because it’s hot in Australia at Christmas we tend to eat a lot of salad, seafood, and roasts are often barbequed rather than cooked on an oven. So I’ve got a prawn recipe (I think in the U.S. they’re referred to as shrimp).
• 24 green king prawns, peeled leaving tails intact, deveined
• 1 1/2 tbs rice vinegar
• 3 tsp sesame seeds
• 1 tsp sesame oil
• 1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
• 1 garlic clove, crushed
• 1 fresh red Birdseye chilli, halved, deseeded, finely chopped
• 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice
• Lemon wedges, to serve
• Summer salad
• 1 carrot, peeled
• 1 Lebanese cucumber
• 1 x 100g pkt baby Asian greens
• 100g bean sprouts
• 1 x 250g punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
• 1/4 cup firmly packed fresh coriander leaves
• 1 1/2 tbs rice vinegar
• 3 tsp fresh lemon juice
• 2 tsp light olive oil
• 1 tsp sesame oil
• 1 1/2 tsp fish sauce
Thread 3 prawns onto each skewer and place in a glass or ceramic dish. Combine the vinegar, sesame seeds, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, chilli and five spice in a small bowl, and spoon over prawns. Turn prawn skewers to coat in the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 20 minutes to develop the flavors.
Meanwhile, to make the salad, use a vegetable peeler to slice the carrot and cucumber lengthways into thin ribbons. Place in a large bowl. Add the baby Asian greens, bean sprouts, tomato and coriander, and gently toss to combine. Place the vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, sesame oil and fish sauce in a screw-top jar and shake until well combined.
Preheat a barbecue or char-grill on medium-high. Add the prawn skewers and cook for 3 minutes each side or until prawns change color. Transfer to serving plates.
Drizzle salad with dressing and toss to combine. Divide salad among serving bowls and serve with prawn skewers.
That recipe sounds delicious! Whew, I need a break, what about you? While I throw a few more logs in the fire-pit to keep us warm why don’t the rest of you help yourselves to some more goodies.
Mary: Okay are we set? I’ve always wanted to travel to Australia, do you travel outside of your country, if so where?
Jan: I haven’t been overseas for a few years now, but have traveled around a few places in America. I’m planning on visiting the states again because I have a brother living over there at the moment who I haven’t seen for quite a few years, but I haven’t set a date as yet. I’d like to go to Europe but haven’t managed to get there yet either. As a kid most of our holidays were within Australia, my parents believe that we should see the country we lived in order to understand who were are as people, so I’ve been pretty well everywhere down here.
Mary: Can you tell all your new fans where to find you? Web site, blog, Facebook, Twitter and anywhere else.
Jan: Oh, I’m everywhere on the net…lol. I have all of the ones you mentioned as well as Goodreads which is an excellent site for booklovers. The addresses are:
So as you can see there’s a social site for everyone. I only go on to the internet once or twice a day, but anyone can contact me through any of the sites and I get an alert. I’d love to hear from anyone interested in my new book Finding Angel and also my upcoming releases, I do like a chat
Mary: Would you share a blurb from your newest book? Also, a buy link if possible.
Christian and Daniel Shore, Steve's two best friends, don’t know about the ledger. They just want Angel. A chance meeting has them taking her home and deciding she is the only woman for them—yes, both of them. Obviously, Angel isn’t the only one with unconventional desires. So who does Angel trust? Two kinky Doms she just met, a cop she doesn’t know anything about, or a nasty crime boss? Trusting all of them may save her life, and falling in love with two Dominant brothers is the icing on the cake.
If you’d like to buy the book you can go to http://www.bookstrand.com/finding-angel
Mary: If there is anything, you’d like to share please do.
Jan: I’d just like to say thanks again for having me here today, I hope everyone who reads Finding Angel enjoys it and I’d love to hear from readers about what they think.
Thank you, Jan for sharing your day with us.