Friday, December 2, 2011


Kari over at Bite-Sized Thoughts has tagged me in the Food Bloggers Unplugged concept started by Susan.

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.

3. Your greasiest, batter-splattered food/drink book is?

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


  1. A Black Books reference - you are awesome!

  2. Lovely of you to join in...I loved the reasons for you starting a blog and love how you emphasise the positivity in life...we all need more of that! Never thought I'd fancy guinea pig but the way you describe it here...yum! x

  3. CheezyK - there is always room for some Black Books in everyone's life.

    Susan - such a great idea this list. I ate guinea pig because that is what you do in Peru, but I have to admit it was definitely tasty enough that I would choose to have it again. Still not sure that I could handle it the way the locals eat it - with head and feet on. A tour guide told us the feet are the best bit because they go crispy. Nope, can't deal with that.

  4. Thanks so much for playing! It was fantastic to read more about you - so much of this I didn't know. I didn't even know you had been to South America. And reading your responses, you fit in the 'food blog' category more than I do I think! Your family clearly cares about food, and that is lovely to read.

    I'll look forward to reading what the people you tagged have to say too :)

    PS. On the calm / stress / worrying mothers topic, I bought my Mum the little 'Stay Calm and Carry On' and 'Now Panic and Freak Out' books last Christmas, in preparation for my sister going travelling this year :P

  5. Kari - those books sound awesome - Mum if you are reading this, forget that now!

  6. Thanks for tagging me. I may not be a foodie blogger, but I think it's apparently to all that I do love to eat. Speaking of which, I'd better get an invite to your dinner - that recipe sounds amazing.

  7. Add a drop of lavender to your milk, leave town with an orange, and pretend you're laughing at it.


    I ate all your bees.


    I'm sorry, there must be some mistake. I bought popcorn and a coke and now I have no money?

    :) :) :) :) :)

  8. Z - I think it is a good questionnaire for foodies, so much to think about.

    Hannah - lol!

  9. Not sure yet if I'll participate but thank you for tagging me! I enjoyed reading your answers and I love your happy thought cycle thing. I actually started a blog just before my current food blog, and it was also meant to be about happiness and capturing happy moments in my everyday life. Somehow doing so made me realise I what made me happy very often was food. So I started a food blog instead. :p