Thursday, 8 December 2011

Food Bloggers Unplugged.

Susan from A Little Bit Of Heaven On A Plate started this series in November to have a bit of fun and get to know some of the people behind the food blogs better.

I have be kindly tagged by C from Cakes, Crumbs and Cooking and the lovely Little Macaroon.

I have to answer ten questions and they don't look easy!!!  Here goes - 

1. What, or who inspired you to start a blog?
To be honest, I really can't remember what went through my mind and made me start one.   I think I just wanted to keep a kind of journal of my boys growing up and helping us in the kitchen.  It was supposed to be just for me to look at and was probably born of my compulsive need to record photos of them along with my obsession with food.  I had no idea then what a wonderful community it is.  I certainly had never heard of all the challenges there are.  Nowadays this blog is really a vehicle for me to be involved in the challenges - making the same thing as other people (sometimes something I wouldn't have thought of making if left to my own devices) and having people to share our chat about the recipe and how it went. I notice, however, that my second ever post was a restaurant review - not sure why I wanted to do that.  I LOVE reading reviews in the weekend papers but can't think why I wanted to start doing my own.  I'm certainly not a writer.  I would like to improve my writing, photography and cooking skills but am happy to do that over the long term as the main priority for my time just now is my boys (then my dog, Bob, then my husband (Sshhhh - don't let on he came after Bob!) and then I suppose work has to be prioritised to some extent).

2. Who is your foodie inspiration?
Hmmm.  I think my love of food ultimately stems from my parents.  They are not hugely into cooking but they can both cook and both fed me very well as a child.  They do LOVE their food and sharing food has always been central to our family life.  My Grandma inspired me greatly.  She grew huge amounts of her own fruit, vegetables, herbs, cut flowers until she was well into her 80s.  She made huge stores of chutneys.  We used to bake together but my favourite memories are of just spending time with her and my Granda in their garden eating strawberries or peas or whatever straight from the plant.  I'm sorry my own children don't really have that.  I think I'll have to make more effort for next year.  Maybe I could grow some peas in a container?  They were my favourite.
And, of course, my favourite food writer is Nigel Slater.  He speaks to me.

3. Your greasiest, batter - splattered food/drink book is?
I have an old jotter from my Mum's school cookery class.  I don't make much out of it but it does contain my favourite truffle recipe.  It is a mess.  I also have my Grandma's old book where she noted down recipes - well, I think my Dad must have it somewhere.  I'll need to ask him for it.  I would like to recreate my Grandma's chutney next year when the gooseberry season comes round.
I also have a very old book called Cookery In Colour which belongs to my Mum and has the recipe we use for Christmas cake.  I made my cake from it last month and am feeding it sherry.
Of the books which actually belong to me, I think Nigel Slater's Appetite is the most used.

4. Tell us all about the best thing you have ever eaten in another country, where was it, what was it?
I am not a particularly well travelled person.  The main reason is that I have always had a dog or dogs so we tend to holiday in Scotland.  I have been abroad a few times when in between dogs or only for a weekend when my Mum and Dad could keep the dog.  Does England count as another country?  If so, we had a meal at Gordon Ramsay's at Hospital Road.  It was a special treat to us both for our 30th birthdays from family and friends who clubbed together.  It was very special.  We were allowed into the kitchen where we chatted to Mark Askew, his executive chef, while watching Claire Smyth do her thing at the pass.  I must say the service was outstanding.  Jean-Claude Breton welcomed us and immediately made us feel at ease.  We didn't feel at all intimidated and were made to feel very comfortable.  A really special one-off meal.  Notice I haven't mentioned the food much.  It was outstanding but meals are particularly special to me because of the occasion and who I share them with.  That weekend was when my second son was about 9 months old and so having time to have a meal just Stephen and myself was one of the most amazing parts of it.  

Another memorable meal was pork, black beans and rice in Cuba.  A really simple, almost peasant meal but it was our honeymoon so, again, filled with wonderful memories.

5. Another food bloggers table you'd like to eat at is?
Well, Little Macaroon's.  I have already had the pleasure of eating at her table several times but she has been away for nearly two years and we miss her.  She likes the same sort of food as I do and she is very much about family times.  She would have our two families eating together with the children sharing what we were eating.  In fact, before she left she set up a "supper club" and invited ourselves and other friends round for a meal where we all contributed something.  It was great fun.  It would have continued if they hadn't gone away.  I wish I could remember how she had worded her philosophy behind it.  Oh actually - I have just managed to find the original message on facebook.  Hmm should I quote her or is that a bit cheeky? Okay, here's what she said (hope you don't mind Macaroon, but I love this and it sums up what I'm trying to say in the whole waffly paragraph), "It’s about wanting our kids to grow up with fuzzy memories of homes always filled with colourful, merry, creative and interesting people."  

6. What is the one kitchen gadget you would ask Santa for this year (money no object of course)?
I would like a meat thermometer and digital scales.  My analogue scales were a wedding present and I love them but the kids have been playing with them and I can no longer get them to weigh anything under 100g with any kind of accuracy.  In fact, I don't know if they weight anything at all with accuracy.  I'm happy enough just guessing, though, just now.  

7. Who taught you how to cook?
My Mum.  I can make a lot of good basics - bolognaise, chilli, lentil soup, broth, mince and tatties.

8. I'm coming to you for dinner what's your signature dish?
No idea.  I'll probably panic a little but go for something really easy - something made ahead and then just brought out of the oven to the table so I don't have to stress about cooking while you are here.  I might make a lovely oxtail stew.  Not if you're vegetarian, of course.  Hmm what would I make if you are vegetarian?  Probably something from Shaheen's lovely blog. You see, I am not having people around often enough to have tried and tested signature dishes.  I have my Mum and Dad round from time to time but I tend to experiment on them and make something different every time.

9. What is your guilty food pleasure?
I have plenty of these.  Not sure I have any particularly interesting ones.  I suppose a mince pie from the baker's (a Scotch pie) is something I love and only have every now and then as it is a health disaster.  A buttery (or rowie or Aberdeen roll) is the same.  Aberdonians LOVE them but they will kill your arteries, I'm afraid.  Worth it, though!

Here's a photo from

10. Reveal something about yourself that others would be surprised to learn?
I'm diabetic.  I'm insulin dependent and was diagnosed when I was 17.  I do not eat any differently to anyone else.  I choose to adjust my insulin to accommodate my eating.  I do, however, have to take quite a bit of effort over that to ensure I am not damaging my health and I don't think it would necessarily suit everyone.  If you are an insulin dependent diabetic and are interested, ask your diabetes doctor about the possibility of getting on a course called DAFNE - dose adjustment for normal eating. 

Wow, that was quite hard going.  I hope I haven't bored you all to death.  If so, you can blame C and Macaroon. ;-)

Now, I have to tag 5 other people to do this.  If I tag you, please take part if you want to but don't worry if you don't - there is no pressure associated with this at all. And sorry if you have already been tagged.  We're all a little inbred round these parts. ;-)

Chris from Mince and Skirlie
Kelly-Jane from Cooking The Books
Maria at The Goddess's Kitchen


  1. aww we'll HAVE to revisit the concept of hygge in 2012... I can't WAIT! Lovely, lovely, missing you tonnes.

  2. Rowies! I remember getting given them on a family holiday to Ellon, and being slightly shocked. And I'm with you on meat pies - a good one is fantastic, but definitely a guilty pleasure :o)

  3. Thanks a million for thinking of me - really appreciate it.

    Can't believe you looked that good with a 9 month old - I think I was fat and frumpy for at least two years!!!

  4. Thanks for taking part, it's really interesting to find out more about you!

    I don't know how you manage without accurate scales though, I love my digital scales and use them pretty much every day. I think they were about £10 and worth every penny to me!

  5. I really enjoyed reading all the things you have written, but the Grandma's chutney recipe story touched me, to think anyone made just one of my creations (after I've gone to wherever?) is the utmost testament for me. Thank you (gorgeous boys too) x

  6. Thanks you :) Chasing my own tail atm! x

  7. always lovely to learn more about you.
    Wishing you a Happy New Year.

  8. Macaroon - can't wait!

    Ruth - hee hee they are a bit shocking! Perfectly acceptable fare for a farmer using lots of calories out in the cold fields. Not so great for the rest of us. :-(

    BVG - aw thank you. I'm piling on the pounds just now. Might need to make a renewed effort in the new year. Do I seem a little lacking in enthusiasm for that???

    C - My lovely husband got me electronic scales for Christmas. And he hasn't even read this blog post!

    Susan - thanks. Yes, it's a shame I can't tell my Grandma how much she inspired me.

    K-J - Know the feeling!

    Shaheen - Happy New Year to you too. xx