Malta: A Childhood Under Siege

I’m very excited to tell all my readers that I’ve just published a book.

No, it’s not a cook book – maybe next time.

Malta: A Childhood Under Siege is a memoir about my mother growing up in Malta during the Second World War, when her father was posted there from Britain with the Royal Engineers. That’s my Mum in the middle in red.

There are of course a few recipes, slotted in between the stories.

The book is available on various platforms which sell books although it’s worth comparing prices between them. More details about the book, and a list of vendors click is available online. If you live in Canberra you can buy it from me or from Paperchain Bookstore in Manuka, The Book Cow in Kingston or the Australian War Memorial shop.

Revamping my book

Last weekend I was interviewed by Melanie Tait on ABC 666 radio, which you can now listen to online.

As I explained in the interview, I started cooking when I was about 11 and have recently written a cook book. However, unless your name’s Jamie Oliver, you own a restaurant or win Master Chef, getting a cook book published is very, very hard. There are so many on the market and unless you’re a “somebody” in the culinary world publishers write back and say “Thank you very much for sending your book. Nice stories, lovely recipes, but we only take on cook books by well-known cooks.”

I started Café Cat in the hope that I might get published on the strength of having lots of subscribers who enjoy the stories, make the recipes and post comments. So please spread the word to anyone you think might enjoy my straightforward, quick and easy approach to eating well.

I have come to realise that my readers enjoy the stories on Café Cat as much if not more than the recipes. So I’m in the process of re-writing my manuscript to expand the stories, making it more a memoir of my life as a diplomat’s wife, with a few recipes thrown in. Then I can stop calling it a cook book and find a publisher. Of course I could self-publish but I’m not a photographer, I’m a cook and a writer. I would really like a publisher to believe in me, take me on and produce something with great professional photos.

I’m currently doing a re-write and dividing the book into six chapters, one for each of the countries where we have lived – Israel, Malaysia, South Africa, Chile, France and Denmark. I am still looking for a good title so if anyone has any bright ideas please let me know in the comment section below. Cooking with Diplomacy? The Ambassador’s Wife? The Unpaid Cook?

If you listen to the interview you will hear two photographs mentioned which I have included below. One is me with Michael Hutchence from INXS when they visited Chile. The other photo is of Matthew and me in Copenhagen with HRH Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary, taken at an engagement party in our house when she was still Mary Donaldson.