What, or who inspired you to start a blog?
When I first moved to England 6.5 years ago, I had a blog to share photos and stories with my family. I had thought to include food but felt I wasn't qualified to review restaurants or share my recipes...If only I had started then, my food blog would be one of the oldest now. The idea stayed in my mind as something I wanted to do and finally some encouragement at a London Cooking Club event last year got me started...
Who taught you how to cook?
My mum introduced me to food and cooking. She doesn't like to do it everyday but when she is in the mood she is really good and has a lot of knowledge to share. My favourites are her biscuits and gravy (pictured below) and her beef stroganoff...love her omelettes too. I never attempt to cook these dishes as they are so much better when she makes them.
I started cooking once a week when I was about 12. My mum would go play mahjong and I would stay home and make dinner for my dad and sisters. In the beginning, I made ready meals that she would leave for me, but then I started to experiment with adding fresh ingredients or making fresh vegetables to go with. I started reading cookbooks and lots of magazines (Cooking Light was my favourite). Then it just went from there...when I was 14, I basically took over cooking for my family and when I was 16 I started working at a grocery store and doing most of the meal planning, food shopping and cooking. I loved it and the love has just grown...
Who is your foodie inspiration?
It was 10-12 years ago, when I first moved out of my parents house, that my interests went from cooking for family to cooking more complex and exotic dishes. A lot of American TV food personalities from the early 2000's influenced me. I read "Kitchen Confidential" by Anthony Bourdain when it first came out and loved it. Much of the advice he gave in that book has stayed with me...avoiding fish on Mondays and all you can eat sushi always, knowing the chef if you eat mussels, questioning brunch and hollandaise sauce...oh and my favourite knife is a global!! I enjoyed watching Emeril Lagasse in his heyday and was thrilled to visit his restaurant in Las Vegas on my 21st birthday (Emeril's New Orleans Fish House). I also learned a lot of good tips from Rachel Ray's 30 minute meals (probable never aired in the UK).
Your greasiest, batter-splattered food/drink book is?
As I was teaching myself to cook and experimenting with recipes for my family, my mum's copy of "The Joy of Cooking" by Irma S. Rombauer was what I used most. I don't have my own copy so I haven't used it in years, but I think I have read it cover to cover (all 800+ pages) over a dozen times.
What is the one kitchen gadget you would love to have if money were no object?
...and space...space is the biggest problem with having too many gadgets! It would be nice to have a good food processor/mixer, a KitchenAid would be ideal.
Tell us all about the best thing you have ever eaten in another country, where was it, what was it?
I love travelling and eating local when I travel. There is no way I can give one answer to this question so I will name the top three that come to mind first...
- I spent 6 months in Costa Rica and absolutely love "Gallo Pinto" for breakfast... rice, black beans and eggs...simple, delicious and a great way to start the day.
- A great food holiday was my trip to Florence...just about everything there was amazing, but Tagliderini al Tartufo (Pasta with Truffles) was a revelation.
- One of the most amazing meals I've ever had was a Korean "sashimi" feast when I was travelling in Korea on my own...it was the freshest fish I have eaten and it was soooo good (pictured below...some of it anyway).
Another food blogger's table you'd like to eat at is?
Rosana of Hot & Chilli...she's been to my table, now she owes me ;) I have eaten a few of her dishes at London Cooking Club events, but I would love a nice Brazilian Meal cooked in her home!!
I'm coming for dinner, what's your signature dish?
I enjoy introducing friends in the UK to Mexican food as I grew up with it. Here in the UK, Mexican is often a British variation on Tex-Mex, which is very different to what I think of as Mexican food. I have made Mole a few time as many struggle to imagine chocolate in a savoury dish. Enchiladas is another dish I like to share and I am planning to challenge myself and cook some tamales in the near future.
What's your guilty pleasure?
A few sort of strange things that make me really happy...
- pasta with fried eggs (great after a night of drinking before I go to sleep...as long as I don't crack eggs all over the kitchen or melt the spoon in the pasta...both of these have happened before)...lots of fresh cracked pepper, some sea salt, and maybe a bit of Encona...
- green apples with crunchy peanut butter...a great snack, but I know it does sound a bit odd.
- mochi with red bean paste...you get them in packs of eight from asian shops and I end up eating the whole pack in one sitting.
- chips and salsa...that used to be my usual guilty pleasure when I lived in Arizona, but now that it requires me to make salsa from scratch it's a rare treat...
Reveal something about yourself that others would be surprised to learn.
I am not a big fan of chocolate...I think this sets me apart from most people ;)
Finally...tag other food bloggers with these questions... like a hot potato pass it on...
I am tagging 2 bloggers that I know in real life... both love food and have great blogs with fabulous recipes!!
Jo @ Afternoon Tease
Lynne @ Kitchen Gurl