Monday 30 April 2007

Why do we need another food blog anyway?

Day two of my blog and I am still excited that I have joined the blogosphere. But I still have reservations about if we need yet another food blog?

I was taken with a comment in an article about blogs in The Age newspaper a few weeks back where one of the analysts commented derogatorily that people just write about what they ate laste night and no one is really interested. (see end of post)

Of course I was black affronted (a lovely Scottish expression I get from my lovely Scottish partner) because I am fascinated by the what-I-ate-last-night blogs. So why have I started a food blog?

The advantages of the internet over cookbooks
Cookbooks are polished and finished. The net is an organic work-in-progress which seems foster cooking by inspiration rather than following a recipe to the letter. (But I will continue to buy cookbooks.)

Plus the immediacy and rough edges of the web also suit me because I never have enough hours in the day and I was told at school that presentation was my weak point.

To express myself
Writing delights and soothes me. So, yes, I anticipate satisfaction at describing the joys and challenges in my cooking. With any luck I will develop my writing skills so you, dear reader, won’t have to put up with mere drivel. But no promises!

A home for my recipes
I need lists, catalogues, databases and systems that bring about order in my chaotic life. Recording my ideas for meals, appeals to me. But, really, it will only add to my miscellany of recipes in jottings, food magazines and cookbooks.

A community of cooks
I love sharing recipes with others. When I couldn’t find a vampire cake to copy and had to create my own on the weekend, I wanted to make it available to all those who were seeking inspiration.

To challenge and inspire myself to try new things and record what I do. It is so easy to get into a rut and I hope the watchful eye of the net will give me the little spur I need on lazy days.

To keep in touch with friends and family
Maybe I am too optimistic but I am so slack at keeping in touch that I hope this will be somewhere people can go and get a glimpse of my life (or at least my meals).

Finally, this blog feels light years away from binding my handwritten recipes with wool in primary school. I hope I still have a long way to go…

What I cooked tonight:
And to prove I have a long way to go, here is my photo of dinner tonight.

It doesn't even have a name but it did make me think maybe I should have named the blog - What's In the Fridge? as that is the way I cook some days when I am tired after work and wet from riding home in the rain.

I found the stew in the freezer which I can't remember exactly what I put in it - tomatoes, pumpkin, peas, spices, vegie sausages and beans or lentils. Served it with brown rice and a salad (lettuce, red & green capsicums, cucumber, dill pickle, mushrooms) and my fave dressing of yoghurt, tahini and lemon juice. Plus my potato bread I made on the ANZAC Day holiday last week. (From the freezer also.)

On the Stereo:
Echoes: the Best of Pink Floyd - Pink Floyd

Update 20/5/07 - Hurrah - I found the article - referred to above - in our piles of papers. It was an article in Insight section of The Age on Saturday 7 April 2007, entitled 'The Blogs that Ate Cyberspace' by Dan Silkstone. The quotes which I refer to were

'Then there are the diarists who post pictures of their cats, details of last night's dinner, and other random thoughts as though they were papal pronouncements....So are many bloggers deluded when they think their lives are interesting or worthy of recording? "Of course they are", Rebecca Blood says.'

I could say many things in reply to this woman but it aint worth chewing up more of cyberspace with them, suffice to say that it is a big busy world out there - if she doesn't read it, it doesn't make it worthless.

Related posts:

Sunday 29 April 2007

A very vampire birthday

Alarm sounds!

Blogosphere to Earth, Blogosphere to Earth! We have an intruder.

Yes, I have arrived in the blogosphere feeling a little tentative and out of my comfort zone! I am here to record and share my veggie food experiences. My experiences so far with the blogging software make me fear it might be a bumpy ride but stick with me and you just might like it. This is the pic that I aim to get on my banner header once I can work out how to function in the blogosphere.

Yesterday I made a cake for my partner (E)'s birthday lunch with my family. When I asked what he wanted he asked for a vampire cake. Sounded easy as I always see scary cakes in books and the net but suddenly all vampire cakes disappeared from sight. Even just a picture of a easy vampire face wasn't easy to find. So I took inspiration from a few images and came up with something I think is a decent stab at it. And my family all thought it looked just like E :-)

My other challenge is that my little niece has been recently diagosed with coeliacs disease so I wanted to try a gluten-free chocolate cake for her (little suspecting she would sleep through the whole birthday cake ritual - bless!).

So the recipe I used was this one (I am still grappling with getting my head around copyright issues with recipes but I am under the impression I can reproduce a recipe or at least my version if I attribute it).

Heavenly Chocolate Cake
Adapted from recipes sent by Beverly Messner to:

1 cup soy flour
¾ cup 100% corn flour (cornstarch)
1 ¼ teaspoon GF baking soda
½ cup cocoa
1 ¼ cups sugar
150g melted butter (1 1/3 sticks or 2/3 cups)
1 tablespoon GF white vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
1 cup evaporated milk
2 eggs
1 mashed banana
2 tablespoons raspberry jam

Grease two 20cm round sandwich cake pans and line bases with baking paper.

Sift flours, soda, cocoa and sugar into a large bowl and add butter, vinegar and milk. Beat with electric beater on low speed 1 minute, add eggs, banana and jam and beat on medium speed for two minutes.

Pour cake mix into prepared pans. Bake in moderate oven for 30 - 45 minutes or until cooked. Stand cakes in pans 5 minutes, turn onto wire rack to cool. Sandwich cakes together with whipped cream.


I decided I wanted to put more batter into one cake tin to make one main high cake and use a smaller (flatter?) cake for decoration. So I used the second cake to cut out scary pointed ears and a couple of bats because vampires always have their spooky assistants. The cake was easy to cut pieces out of and made a nice flat surface for decorating.

Most of the decoration is icing and gluten-free except the evil red gluten eyes (jaffas). I have a trusty fine icing nozzle (and make my own paper icing bags) which is great for doing strands of hair, outlining and filling the eyes and doing the other lines. Apart from my Gluten Free niece, everyone else loved it and the cake tasted great! The bats were useful for putting candles on the cake without ruining the face. The kids loved getting ears, bats or eyes to eat to feel like they had a special part. So all in all a success!

Update August 2009: I made this cake again but with regular low fat milk (instead of evaporated milk) and marmalade (instead of raspberry jam) and it worked well - revised version can be found in post on my Superhero Kapow Cake.
On the Stereo:The Trip - Various Artists: curated by Jarvis Cocker & Steve Mackey