There are 10 questions to let you know a little bit more about me. It is meant to be a food blogger quiz, hence the foodie nature and while I may not identify as a food blogger, I do love food so they are quite appropriate questions really. So here goes:
1. What, or who inspired you to start a blog?
I started a travel blog in 2009 when I was heading off around South America to keep my family and friends (but mainly my Mum who is a worrier) in the loop of what we were doing. I really enjoyed the experience, it was a long time since I'd done much non-work related writing, but when I got back I didn't think of turning into an every day blog.
Then one day I had one of those great days where I was in a super awesome mood for no reason at all. As I drove home that night there was a story on the radio about depressive thought cycles and it occurred to me, if you can have a depressive thought cycle, can you have a happy thought cycle? Was there a way that I could focus on positive things and continue this great mood. So I decided to start a blog where I would post happy things every day. I did the every day post thing for a year and proved that you can do it, even on really bad days there is some positive to be found. I don't post every day now but I love that I pay attention to happy stuff because it occurs to me that I can blog about it. I think it has made me happier and it has definitely made me pay more attention to the good stuff that can go unnoticed.
2. Who is your foodie inspiration?
This one is all about context. In the world view, I think Jamie Oliver is completely inspirational about how he believes everyone should be able to cook and eat well. Also about how much he believes in food and family, very much my thoughts too. I also love Maggie Beer and how cooking for her is about creating great flavours to give people enjoyment. Cooking to feed people and make them happy is what I enjoy.
In real life my inspiration would be Mum and S. Mum taught me to cook (more on that in a minute) and I think I cook my best when we are working together. S comes up with the amazing combos and ideas that I then try to turn into a meal. He makes me think outside the box and best of all will try my weird and wonderful experiments quite happily.
My recipe folder. Full of copied out recipes from other people or the internet, or cut outs from magazines etc. It is pulled out and used more than anything else. (and you can even see that it is slightly starting to fall apart.
4.Tell us all about the best thing you have ever eaten in another country, where was it, what was it?
Such a tricky one because I love food and travel and so have eaten some amazing things in amazing places. I'm going to say guinea pig in Peru, because it was an all round great day/night. We had just returned from our trek to Machu Picchu. I was still on a high from the achievement of seeing a place I had been longing to visit since I was a little kid, but had also had a proper night's sleep in a real bed, a hot shower and a lazy day wandering Cuzco, a city I love. We decided that we wanted to try guinea pig, but we also wanted something fancy after our days of camping. So we headed to a posh restaurant, drank pisco sours (national cocktail of Peru) and ate massive, delicious guinea pig with roast potatoes. It is slightly gamey, I would probably compare the flavour to quail although it was much more meaty. They had marinated it in garlic and rosemary and it was so flavourful and juicy that we ended up with grease covered hands to the wrists. Adding to the experience was sitting in the fancy restaurant, with starched white napkins, in our backpacking clothes while eating our meal with our hands (as is customary). It was a great night.
I should add that photo is just one person's serve, we each had the same! Luckily we were hungry after all that hiking. And by that stage of the night we were on to pisco-politans - a cosmopolitan made with pisco.
5. Another food blogger's table you'd like to eat at is?
I am so inspired by all the food bloggers I read, really if you love food enough to discuss it, photograph it and blog it then I would totally love to eat at your table.
6. What is the one kitchen gadget you would ask Santa for this year (money no object of course)?
Easy one - a thermomix! At first I thought they sounded too good to be true and as a fan of slow cooking from scratch I doubted the quality that would result. But with chef after fussy chef reporting the wonder that is a thermomix, I think I would love one.
7. Who taught you how to cook?
Mum. From the time I was tiny I would sit at the kitchen bench and "help". I learned as much by doing as by watching. We were always given sharp knives and proper food so learned how to be careful as well as how to construct a recipe. Mum and I also talk food all the time, working out what flavours go together and how we can make new dishes. I love cooking with and for Mum.
However, Dad deserves an honourable mention for teaching me how to make apple turnovers which became a Saturday night ritual for most of my teenage and early 20's years. Dad was also the instigator of other such delights as ridiculously indulgent french toast (which I will do a post on over Christmas) and the full breakfast fry up.
8. I'm coming to you for dinner, what's your signature dish?
My fail safe recipe is a Donna Hay recipe where you top a thick slice of eggplant with basil, slices of tomato and a chicken breast then sprinkle with mozzarella. It gets baked for 20 minutes, works perfectly every time and requires no effort or unsociable cooking activity. But I like to experiment and create a menu that reflects the season and those eating while also letting me socialise and not be tied to the kitchen all night. So dinner would probably be an antipasto entree, a nice main with several sides for choice and a decadent dessert.
Somehow along the way though I've become known as the jelly shot queen. I'm not entirely sure I'm comfortable with my culinary legacy being in alcoholic jelly, but oh well, at least it is memorable.
9. What is your guilty food pleasure?
Oh, so many. Hot chips with vinegar. Melted dark chocolate. Cheese. Red wine and chocolate. Coke. Cake for breakfast (I should be specific here, only the family secret recipe chocolate cake or guglhupf). And of course there is my desk drawer of chocolate. Hmmm, I did mention chocolate didn't I?
10. Reveal something about yourself that others would be surprised to learn?
I am not perpetually happy! I'm a bit of a stress head at times, am usually way over-committed and trying to figure out how to fit everything into my life. This blog is really my "Little Book of Calm" (Black Books reference for anyone who knows it).
Now I have to tag 5 other bloggers. This is tricky. It is a foodie questionnaire, but I'm tagging some non-foodie bloggers, hope you guys enjoy!
Hannah @ Wayfaring Chocolate
Leaf @ The Indolent Cook
Shellie @ Iron Chef Shellie
Heidi @ Applies Under My Bed
Z @ Lovely Jublies