Tonight I’m very excited to have a a non-fiction author in my virtual kitchen. The lovely journalist, TV producer and author Justine Ford. Justine has brought her teapot with her, and her favourite tea and I just happen to have some Vitawheats and vegemite, so we are set for a good old feast.
Justine wrote Missing You: Australia’s Most Mysterious Unsolved Missing Persons Cases which was published in 2012, and last year her book, One Piece of the Puzzle: Australia’s Most Chilling Homicide Investigations, was released by Five Mile Press and she has two more True Crime books on the way. Justine also used to be a presenter on TV’s Australia’s Most Wanted so she’s used to the dark side and writes about the darkness with intelligence and compassion. As a sometime sissy girl I cried when I read her first book, but if you like True Australian Crime, Justine’s books are a good place to start!
What are your memories of your mothers cooking as a child?
Mum loved to throw a pizza sub in the oven, followed by a slice of Sara Lee Danish with custard for ‘sweets,’ and a long, tall glass of green fizzy.
What was your favourite dish as a child?
Anything made with mince! Was it because it required less chewing? I don’t know. But growing up, I spent a lot of time at my nan’s, and couldn’t get enough of her comforting savoury mince dishes.
Do you like to cook?
No! It requires an abnormal amount of concentration on my part. I am very fortunate, however, that my husband loves to cook amazing, healthy meals. He even did a three year part-time chef’s course just for fun, so he fires up the pots and pans most nights.
Who do you enjoy cooking for? If you don’t enjoy cooking, then what do you like to eat?
At home I enjoy curries, roasts, fish, stirfries, casseroles, steak, pasta – all the good stuff! And I do enjoy a nice glass of white wine. Eating out, Malaysian food is a favourite.
What are some of your favourite books about food?
I loved ‘The Beauty of Humanity Movement’ by Camilla Gibb. The cover describes it as, ‘A novel of contemporary Vietnam: life, love and pho.’
‘The School of Essential Ingredients’ by Erica Bauermeister also charmed me. It’s about eight people whose lives are transformed through a cooking course.
Is the food in your stories important?
Food in my stories is only important when it is a clue to a real-life murder or someone’s disappearance. In ‘One Piece of the Puzzle,’ I reveal how a Chinese takeaway meal was the crucial piece of evidence in the murder of a Sydney mum. You’d be surprised…
Your favourite snack?
I don’t have a sweet tooth so I’m pretty happy with a couple of Vita Weats with Vegemite. A cup of Dilmah leaf tea is an essential part of any snack for me; I start the day with Dilmah and I write with Dilmah.
What’s your latest book?
My latest book is called ‘One Piece of the Puzzle,’ and it’s about some of Australia’s most chilling homicide investigations. I reveal information that has never before been published and ask the readers to play armchair detectives.
What do you love most about this book?
I love that the book gives readers the opportunity to come forward with information about unsolved murders, missing persons’ cases, and John and Jane Does. I maintain that even the smallest piece of information could be all that police need to crack a case.
Where can readers find it?
Share one of your favourite recipes – anything you like, cake, martini, Peking Duck, cheese on toast …
I really am an awful cook but I make a killer cuppa!
Justine’s Killer Tea
Warm the pot
Put about 3 teaspoons of tea in a small to medium sized pot. The tea must be Dilmah – it’s super fresh and tastes like real tea.
Pour boiling water over the tea.
Cover the pot with your favourite tea cosy and let it sit for five minutes.
Pour into a cup, not a mug (it tastes better), and add milk or sugar as desired.
Settle in with a good read and enjoy!