I’m in the Virtual Kitchen tonight with Australian author Lisa Heidke and we’re eating one of my favourite meals, Spaghetti Vongole, with a bottle of something chilly and white. Lisa is the popular author of four books, all published with Allen and Unwin and she teaches at the Sydney Writers Centre.
What are your memories of your mothers cooking as a child?
Mum worked full time so I recall having lots of pressure cooked casseroles and stews Monday through to Thursday. Fridays, we usually ate fish. She made great trifles, pavlovas and golden syrup dumplings!
Mum also went through a bread making stage but gave up because the bread rolls were always rock hard and my brother, sister and I would use them as weapons between ourselves. They were effective and hurt like hell. I still have the scars.
What was your favourite dish as a child?
Definitely a prawn cocktail which I generally only got on special occasions like Christmas and birthdays.
Do you like to cook?
Honestly? Not overly.
Who do you enjoy cooking for? If you don’t enjoy cooking, then what do you like to eat?
I do like to eat! All seafood, pastas, salads. Japanese. Basically, I’ll eat anything but am not a fan of offal – haggis, chopped liver, heart, brains, tongue, tripe…you get the idea.
Is the food in your stories important?
No…unless the food’s been poisoned but so far poison hasn’t played a significant plot line.
Writing this blog has made me realise that none of the characters in my five books are gourmet chefs. They buy take-away and seem to consistently eat sushi, spaghetti, lasagne and other pastas.
Not creative at all. Isn’t that terrible?
Your favourite snack?
Sushi. Avocado on sourdough. Vegemite and tomato on sourdough.
What’s your latest book?
Stella Makes Good (Allen &Unwin)
What foods do the characters eat?
Barbeques, Japanese, pasta… I really need to step up re the food in my books!
What do you love most about this book?
I love that it is essentially about the importance of female friendship, warts and all.
At a swingers party, Stella and friends see someone who shouldn’t be there (they shouldn’t be there either!) and the story quickly develops into a conversation about whether or not they should reveal what they saw because the revelation will have dire consequences for all. Stella Makes Good is about the games we play, the secrets we keep and how to navigate the unpredictable nature of life.
Where can readers find it?
Bookshops, Booktopia and other online bookshops as well as Amazon.com
Share one of your favourite recipes – anything you like, cake, martini, Peking Duck, cheese on toast …
Ingredients: 1 kilo pipis
4 whole red chillies
4 garlic cloves
1 cup parsley
500 gm spaghetti
Wine or water…depending on your preference
1. Boil enough water for the spaghetti
2. Finely chop garlic and thinly chop chillies
3. Roughly chop parsley
4. Cook pasta according to instructions
5. While pasta is cooking, sauté garlic, chilli, parsley and pipis in deep frypan for two minutes
6. Add a couple of tablespoons (or white wine) to the frypan and cover.
7. Steam pipis for approximately five minutes until all have opened.
8. Drain pasta and add to frypan…toss through…
9. Sprinkle parsley on top
10. Enjoy with a glass or two of chilled white wine.