I've been tagged by Snowy of Cookbooks Galore to join in with 'Food Bloggers Unplugged'. I'm always happy to indulge in some musings about my blogging, so here goes...
1. What, or who, inspired you to start a blog?
I was living in Canada at the time and feeling rather detached from my life at 'home' in the UK. This was before I'd even joined Facebook (I can barely remember what my pre-FB life was like..!) Living in North America I was also surrounded by a wealth of culinary excitements, and as several of my foodie friends already had blogs which I enjoyed reading, I thought I'd give it a try too.
2. Who is your foodie inspiration?
I think I have several. I grew up enjoying food so would have to give my parents credit for that! We always ate well, and I have strong memories of coming home from church to the regular 'Sunday Roast'. Many of my Mum's puddings also stick in my mind (Norwegian Cream, Pavlova, Floating Islands... mmmmm!). More recently I'd have to add my husband Rob to my list of inspirations. When we met we were both living alone, and I was subsisting mainly on pasta. Rob however didn't let his single-status stop him eating fabulously and would often cook himself an entire roast dinner. I remember being very impressed by this! In fact he taught me a lot about cooking, and likes to remind me of this quite regularly... My final foodie inspiration has to be my best mate Sarah, who in the last few years has moved out to Canada and set up an extremely successful baking business, Roseberry Farm. She's so dedicated and talented, I'd hate her if she wasn't so nice!
3. Your greasiest, batter-spattered food/drink book is?
How to be a Domestic Goddess, by Nigella Lawson. I managed to get it signed when I went to the launch of 'Feast' in Toronto several years ago. Nigella commented on how lovely it was to see a cookbook that was so well-used, and I think she was impressed with the post-it notes all over it! It's now even more grease-spattered.
4. Tell us about the best thing you've ever eaten in another country; where was it, what was it?
I'm struggling with this one... some awesome burgers and steaks in North America spring to mind, but I think I'd come down to the food we ate when on honeymoon in Tuscany. We were in a self-catering apartment and although we intended to eat out regularly, we actually ended up just cooking very simple pasta and pizza dishes for ourselves every night, just because the fresh produce was so wonderful. I've never had more 'tomatoey' tomatoes, or such lovely huge bunches of fresh basil. Oh yes, and some pretty fabulous Chianti Classico too!
5. Another food-blogger's table you'd like to eat at?
Can I go to several?! I'd go for drinks with Esther at Recipe Rifle. She swears and makes me laugh, and her husband Giles Coren is very funny too. I like the way she even writes about recipes that are crap! I'd move on to Sarah in Melbourne, over at Sarah Cooks. She's the legend who cooked every recipe in Nigella's epic How to Eat in a year. Then for dessert I think it would be over to Maya's at Foodiva's Kitchen. She's a self-confessed dessert-lover so I know we'd eat very well! I know Maya already of course, so she's a very safe choice as I know that the conversation is easy and that the laughs come often. Plus it's not far to drive home afterwards as she lives in Brunei too!
6. What's the kitchen gadget you would ask Santa for this year (money no object of course)?
I'm not sure if this really counts as a 'gadget' but I'd really like a new cooker. After nearly 6 years of living in military quarters I'm sick of the standard-issue rubbish ovens we get given. I hate ceramic hobs, and the oven we have here in Brunei is appalling - far too small to cook anything in, and anything placed too near the bottom just burns. Mind you, our own oven at home in the UK isn't much better. It was in the house when we bought it (in the newly-refitted kitchen) but I think that replacing it will be a top priority when we finally return. I'd like a 6-ring gas hob, and a double-oven please Santa.
7. Who taught you to cook?
When I was a child, my Mum. At school, my cookery teacher Mrs Roberts. In adult life, Rob, although I taught myself to bake (OK, with the help of Nigella!).
8. I'm coming to you for dinner. What's your signature dish?
Usually a roast chicken with all the trimmings.
9. What is your guilty food pleasure?
Olives, gherkins, cheese. Anything tapas-style really; I love to nibble!
10. Reveal something about yourself that others would be surprised to learn.
I'll stick to a foodie theme... There's not many things that I won't eat, but I can't stand parsley. YUK!
I'm not going to tag anyone, but if you have a blog and would like to take part in this, then please consider this your official invitation! Thanks Snowy.