Firstly I would like to thank Katie and Tanna for the award. Both are inspirational bakers. Katie is constantly coming up with brilliant ideas such as her recently carrot cake rolls and bakes wonderful sky high layer cakes. Tanna makes lots of wonderful food but I am constantly amazed by her bread baking. She bakes many intimidating loaves, including sourdough and posts lots of helpful and gorgeous photos.
10 Things that Make Me Happy:
Firstly, I found it difficult to choose just 10 things that made me happy. It didn’t seem such a bad thing to have many ways to make me smile and laugh. In the past I have written about my home, my family and my favourite foods, so instead of repeating these I decided to find little stabs of happiness that I could illustrate with photos. I have decided to be unusually succinct and let the photos (both new and archival) do the talking instead.
The Sea (Photo: Phuket, Thailand)
My Family Heritage (Photo: Menlo Castle, near Galway, Ireland)
The Blogosphere (Photo: my laptop)
A Comfortable Chair (Photo: Coburg, Melbourne)
Bookshops (Photo: Shakespeare and Company, Paris, France)
Attention to Detail (Photo: dish given to me by my Mother-in-Law)
Pottering in the Kitchen (Photo: my kitchen)
Old Buildings (Photo: Coburg, Melbourne)
Time with Sylvia (Photo: Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France)
Windmills (Photo: my backyard)
10 Bloggers Who Brighten My Day
After recently getting together a Kudos page I felt a wee bit guilty at how slack I have been in passing on awards when other bloggers have been so generous. I have avoided it because it is hard to narrow down a shortlist when there are so many wonderful blogs I love reading. However I have decided I should start to pass on awards as it is a great way of helping you and other readers to discover other blogs and to return some of the appreciation that has been sent my way.
Despite my resolve, I still found it hard to choose only 10 bloggers. Many cheer me up when I see in my blog reader that they have a new post. So I decided I needed a theme. Now that I have been blogging for almost 3 years one aspect of blogging that interests me is those blogs with a story arc. Mine is one with all the changes in my life. So I thought I would focus on some who have let us into their life.
I have tried to stick to bloggers who are still active but it seems that most bloggers tail off with their blogging after some time so some of these now post less regularly than they have in the past.
Diet, Dessert and Dogs: Ricki has always been a great raconteur with tales of her life in Toronto and a source of interesting vegetarian/vegan/gluten free recipes. Since she has started her blog, her desserts have become even more impressive because she makes them in spite of dietary restrictions. I have learnt a lot about candida by watching how Ricki copes with it. You might call her the Anti-Candida-Diet Queen!
Allotment 2 Kitchen: Mangocheeks has shared her joys and sorrows of having an allotment in Scotland. I have loved watching how her cooking is influenced by the food she grows and what she learns through gardening. She has recently shown her resilience in dealing with her allotment being trashed.
Tinned Tomatoes: Jacqueline (whom I first knew as Holler) was one of the first Scottish vegetarian bloggers I discovered. Since then she has married Graham and recently had a wee baby called Cooper. Despite this she is still co-hosting the No Croutons Required event and posting recipes to make you drool.
Lisa Dempster : Lisa is a Melbourne writer and a vegan who posts about writing and food. I love her local focus and eclectic posts. It has been great to see her writing career develop with the publication of her travel memoir, Neon Pilgrim (which I encourage you to read – even my mum loved it) and her recent appointment as Director of the Emerging Writers Festival.
Munchkin Mail: Lysy started her blog when her sister and family moved to New Zeland but it developed into much more than that. She has shared lots of interesting vegetarian recipes that are influenced by her love of history and Jewish family heritage. Her sister has returned to the UK now but I keep hoping for a follow up to her great cookie research project.
In the mood for noodles: Kristy and Toby are a vegan couple living in Melbourne. Their blog grew out of Kristy’s solo blog (Kblog) and their blog journey has seen their wedding, their adoption of their cat, lots of great novelty cakes, travel and most recently Kristy’s diagnosis as a celiac. I have been won over by their local knowledge and great recipes.
Not Quite Nigella: Lorraine entered my radar when she held fantastic blog events to find great banana cakes and chocolate cakes. She further amused me with her Halloween party ideas and I am now in love with her quirky and creative baking. The photos are just gorgeous and the ideas just keep getting better. But she also amuses and entertains with posts full of stories about Mr NQN, her family and friends and her recent move into a new apartment in Sydney.
Eat Me Delicious: Ashley is another amazing baker with lots of impressive cakes and cookies but she also includes lots of great vegetarian dishes that I want to try. She has recently started posting photos of her cat Abby who is just beautiful. It is a interesting way of offering an insight into her life. I find it reassuring to read her admissions of how long it sometimes takes her to post recipes, due to her busy life as a student. It makes me feel less shamefaced about dredging up recipes that have been lingering in my backlog.
Where’s the Beef?: Cindy and Michael were the first bloggers I stumbled across who were both vegetarian and Melbourne-based. I love hearing about their life and travels through their food. They manage to travel both throughout country Victoria and interstate quite regularly. Their reviews of the vegetarian degustation in Melbourne’s high end restaurants, have made me feel that I can have posh nosh when eating out if only I could organize my life. It has also been interesting to see their journey in learning to cook and bake both vegan and gluten free.
La Tartine Gourmande Bea is not someone whom I exchange comments with, unlike the others in this list, but I wanted to feature her blog because I enjoy it on a number of levels. The photos are gorgeous, I love hearing about her little girl Lulu, her life as a French woman in America is interesting and she has lots of great recipes. I particularly like that many of her baking is gluten free without any overt references to a gf diet. It makes gluten free baking seem so much more normal and interesting. She shares lovely stories about her life and has a cookbook due out next year.
Now the bit that I hate most – the rules! I will comment to these people above to let them know they can participate if they want (though not straight away because I have to get to bed) but I know you are also busy and it is really here for those who are able and willing. No pressure!
1. Copy the award image into a post
2. Then list 10 things that make you happy
3. Tag 10 bloggers who brighten your day
4. Put in a link to their blogs
5. Notify the award receivers
6. Award recipients must link back to sender's blog
Of course there are lots of blogs I love reading that I didn’t list but you also brighten my day and are welcome to join in if you so desire.
No Croutons Required – my soup was a winner!
Lisa and Jacqueline have held their No Croutons Required event to bring together those making vegetarian soups and salads for almost two years now. The event continually inspires me and the most recent challenge was to copy a soup from a favorite restaurant. I made a Parsnip Soup with Walnut Ravioli and Carrot Cream that was inspired by David Bann. It was humbling to have it voted the favourite of the month, so I would like to thank the voters and especially thank Lisa and Jacqueline for their continuing work on this event.
Chocolate Cake Quicklinks
I always enjoy reading others' quicklinks so thought I would include a few of my own that I have come across lately. Strangely enough they were all related to chocolate cake. Coincidence? Surely not!
- With St Patrick’s Day coming up I had hoped I might have time to try a Green Velvet Cake but I suspect I wont find the time. Instead I am sharing this link in the hope that others might be inspired.
- If you like to judge books by their title, surely you would be tempted to read a novel called Chocolate Cake with Hitler
- I am tempted by the idea of a chocolate cake sandwiched together with nutella and blueberry jam. So much nicer than cream (sorry mum)!
- For those with a hygiene fetish, here is the ideal way to ensure that the birthday cake is not a breeding ground of germs once some little gromit has spluttered his or her germs over it in the name of blowing out candles. Someone has invented a plastic shield called the Slobber Stopper. Be very afraid!
- For a long time I have wanted to try Nigella’s coca-cola cake but Mangocheeks takes it one step further and makes Vegan Marshmallow Cocoa and Cola Cakes. Sounds good to me.
Eat. Drink. Blog. Conference Melbourne bloggers have put a lot of work into organizing the first local bloggers conference called Eat. Drink. Blog. on Sunday 21 March next weekend. I put my name down to register and have a place at the conference. Unfortunately it is a day before I go to Sydney for work so I wont be able to go to the dinner, and I am wondering how many people I will know there, but there is an exhibition I hope to be able to see, the program sounds interesting and it will have a few familiar faces so I am looking forward to it. Maybe I will see you there!
That’s all folks! Sorry for the long self-indulgent post. Most recipes on their way soon!