Cooking The Books – Jenny Brigalow

Chef with cookbookToday we welcome debut Australian author Jenny Brigalow to Cooking The Books. Jenny lives in country Queensland and writes, amongst other things, wonderful rural romance – my current fave! Today she’s sharing a scene and recipe from her debut release A Man For All Seasons. Welcome, Jenny!

Hello everyone and a big thank you to Louise for her hospitality today. Now, I’m not much of a cook, so it is lovely that Seraphim excels in this arena.  Sure, she can muck out a stable, retrain racehorses, and float on air in a dressage test, but Seraphim kicks booty in the kitchen too. I must confess to a degree of envy.Brigalow

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach – or so it is said. Still, knowing Chad the way I do, I  think he’d have loved Seraphim even if she couldn’t boil an egg.  But, having said that, I suspect that  Seraphim’s culinary prowess certainly did the relationship no harm. It was a wonderful moment for Chad to discover that the melt-in-the-mouth cherry cheesecake had been made by Seraphim’s own fair hands.  No cheesecake in the Outback. Mostly steak and more steak. And just for a bit of variety, steak and eggs.  And when his cook back home shoots himself in the foot,  it seems that  Seraphim  just might be the answer to several prayers.

And here’s that mouth watering moment:

He grinned at her, unbelievably grateful.  Her kindness, to say nothing of her quick wit, had surprised him. He felt a twinge of guilt. He’d fallen into the age old trap of looking only at the surface. Candy to the eye she might be, but beneath the wrapper a treasure trove of undiscovered goodies lay. She was a good person.

He picked up his cutlet and saluted her.  “Second best,” he said.

He was rewarded with a small smile that washed away the accumulated layers of fatigue and set his hormones on fire.

Walter Driscoll guffawed loudly. “Well said, Old Chap!”

Mercifully, conversation resumed and the moment passed. The remaining meal passed without incident.  By the time they reached desert Chad felt he’d had his fill. But when the pert young maid reappeared bearing a black cherry cheese cake, he decided it would be rude to refuse.

 The first mouthful exploded with tangy flavors. The creamy texture melted like candy floss in his mouth.

He felt, rather than saw, her eyes upon him.

Seraphim leaned forward a little in her seat. “Do you like it?”

 Like it? It was, quite simply, a slice of heaven. His thoughts swung briefly back to the menu back home. He swallowed. “It’s beaut.”

Walter Driscoll piped up. “My daughters not just a pretty face. She cooks like the angel she’s named after. Barry’s a lucky man.”

Seraphim blushed softly. “Don’t be silly Daddy, it’s only cheesecake.”

The blush undid him entirely. She was engagingly modest too. What a women.

Now Seraphim is British born and bred and the cheesecake that Chad samples that first night is one of Nigella’s  recipes. It’s decadent, dreamy, delicious and dead easy to make.


Courtesy of Nigella Lawson

  • 125 grams digestive biscuits
  • 75 grams soft butter
  • 300 grams cream cheese
  • 60 grams icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • 250 ml double cream
  • 1 x 284 grams jar black cherry spread (e.g., St Dalfour Rhapsodie de Fruit)


  1. Blitz the biscuits in a food processor until beginning to turn to crumbs, then add the butter and whiz again to make the mixture clump.
  2. Press this mixture into a 20cm springform tin; press a little up the sides to form a slight ridge.
  3. Beat together the cream cheese, icing sugar, vanilla extract and lemon juice in a bowl until smooth.
  4. Lightly whip the double cream, and then fold it into the cream cheese mixture.
  5. Spoon the cheesecake filling on top of the biscuit base and smooth with a spatula. Put it in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight.
  6. When you are ready to serve the cheesecake, unmould it and spread the black cherry over the top.
  7. Additional information – for vegetarians make sure the cream cheese is a brand suitable for vegetarians.

Good food and lashings of love – my  recipe for success.

A Man For All SeasonsA Man For All Seasons

When successful rodeo rider and racehorse trainer Chad Cherub steps off the plane at Heathrow, love is the last thing on his mind. He’s travelled from Australia to do a business deal with the wealthy entrepreneur and racehorse fanatic, Walter Driscoll. However, he soon finds himself distracted by Wally’s gorgeous daughter, Seraphim.

Sweet, spoiled Seraphim, a gifted dressage rider, is also distracted. Engaged to the eminently suitable Barry Wellington-Worth, the arrival of cool, confident Chad forces her to re-examine her life. When she discovers the devastating truth that she does not love Barry, and learns that Chad’s cook has been injured, Seraphim jumps at the chance to take up the position on his remote property and escape the confines of her English life.

In the great dust bowl of the Australian Outback the couple find they have more in common than horses. Their love blooms as they work hard to start a new life together. But Seraphim’s family, and the past, threatens to tear them apart. It is only when the truth is laid bare that the barriers are broken down

Thanks for that delectable recipe and wonderful post, Jenny. You can find out more about Jenny on her website