> Skip to content

Q&A  •  21 November 2016


Ask Stephanie

Stephanie Alexander responds to fan Facebook questions. 

In October 2016, Stephanie Alexander offered fans the opportunity to ask her any questions via the Penguin Facebook page. Here are some of the insights gained from The Cook’s Table and Cook’s Companion author.


Leata Nola: What is the best lentil recipe to entice children to eat them?
I have always enjoyed a lentil salad with interesting bits in it, like roasted small pieces of cauliflower, roasted sweet peppers, lots of chopped herbs and toasted pinenuts. Not into lentil burgers myself!

Tweena Ebejer: How did you get your first book published, what advice would you have for someone wanting to publish a cookbook for the first time?
I was approached by the publisher and asked to write the book. A very privileged position to be in. There were hardly any, if any, Australian chefs’ books in 1985. Things are very different now. Competition is fierce and the blog world has changed the market.

Julie Barr: How long did it take for you to put The Cook’s Companion together?  
Four years of dedicated work. Mostly enjoyable, sometimes I felt I would never finish!

Alison Dean: What is your most commonly used vegetable, which is easiest grown, and crops abundantly in your garden?
Silver beet or rainbow chard is prolific, easy-going and can be used steamed, fried or as a stuffing for pasta or frittata, to name just a few uses.

Ronny Blair: I cannot for the life of me make a custard tart. Every time the mix dissolves the pastry. Help!
The pastry needs to be thoroughly cooked before you approach with the custard. Once the baking weights and beans and baking paper have been removed, brush the inside of the tart shell with lightly whisked egg white and bake for a further five minutes. Now lower the temperature and gently pour the custard into the warm shell.

Josephine Samperi: Hi Stephanie, when I increase your pavlova recipe to 6 eggs (with extra sugar too) do I need to increase the cooking time?
Not unless you are basically altering the shape. If the circle is just a little larger in diameter because of extra mix all will be well. The outside should be crisp before the oven is turned off.

Feature Title

The Cook's Table
In The Cook's Table, Stephanie shares 25 of her favourite menus for entertaining family and friends, from special occasions such as Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Mother's Day and Father's Day, to menus inspired by her travels in France, Italy, Turkey and Peru. This must-have guide to entertaining includes 130 new tried and tested recipes.
Read more

More features

See all
Chocolate chiffon tart

Try this irresistible recipe from Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Table.

Barbecued jerk chicken

Try this Jamaican delight from Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Table.

A day in the life of Senior Designer, Olivia Mead

Learn what a day in the life of a senior designer at Penguin Random House looks like.

Tobias Madden shares the inspiration behind his new novel, Wrong Answers Only

We caught up with Tobias Madden to learn about his new novel, Wrong Answers Only. Plus, discover his secrets for tapping into your creativity and his top tips for aspiring authors.

Georgia Harper says she ‘ruined her mum’s fantasy’

Find out why Georgia Harper’s writing routine ruined her mum’s idyllic vision of a writerly life. Plus, learn about her love for Anne Rice and her unlucky skill for attracting strangers’ stories.

Fun Fact: Sarah-Jane Collins wrote much of her debut novel in a bar

Sarah-Jane Collins shares how her background as a reporter inspired her to write her debut novel, Radiant Heat.

Gareth Brown shares how a yearning to travel inspired The Book of Doors

Plus find out why he’d choose to live in Middle Earth and main difference between him and Hugh Jackman.

How the characters from Abbey Lay’s Lead Us Not came to her in an imagined conversation

The debut author also shares the fictional character she’d most like to meet and why she loved Lemony Snicket’s writing as a child.

Ferdia Lennon shares the Plutarch passage that inspired Glorious Exploits

Plus, find out why he taught himself to memorise an entire deck of cards while researching for the novel.

How drama school inspired Chris MacDonald to write The Actor

Plus, learn about which fictional character he’d like to dine with and the musician he always turns to when singing karaoke.

Lottie Hazell shares how she came up with the idea for Piglet

Plus, the cosy fictional world she’d most like to live in.

Jessica Bull shares how she entered Jane Austen’s world while writing her debut novel

She took up a few new hobbies, including horseback riding, sewing and Georgian dance.

Looking for more Q&As?

See all Q&As