I’m an obsessive, completely self-taught amateur baker, confectioner, cook, bread maker and pastaia (fresh pasta maker). I’ve been cooking, baking and making pasta for around 30 years now (yes, I’m pushing 50!) and throughout have kept recipe ideas and sketches in notebooks. I have lots of my own recipes and a surprising amount of experience for someone who doesn’t make a living out of it.
I started this blog (and my Instagram account really to provide evidence of my food in order to apply to the Great British Bake Off. Clearly I’ve failed miserably at my attempt to get on it but I’ve learnt a lot and made a lot of lovely social media friends in the process). Around this obsession food I manage to shoehorn in working as a designer/web developer/copywriter at a departmental unit of the University of Nottingham and also looking after my family.
What I like cooking – and investigating
I enjoy food that allows me to be creative. Switching up ingredients, plating or arranging a dish differently, decorating, creating complex bread shapes, playing with coloured pasta and shapes, adding infographics or an illustration or even making my own tools or props.
The science of cooking also interests me, especially the chemistry behind confectionery as there is so much. I’m no scientist and much is initially over my head and is a challenge for me to comprehend each new area I read up on. It’s proving fun investigating and pushing my understanding as I go.
My food tastes
I am a complete Italophile and adore Italian food (prompted by there being Italian in my Dad’s half of the family). Especially making pasta, including artisan handmade shapes and flavoured, coloured pastas. I have been making my own pasta and bread for around 30 years now, but there is always plenty more to learn which is a complete joy. Other cuisines I really admire and cook often are Thai, Mexican, Spanish, Indian (especially Southern Indian), Japanese and other Asian cuisines. I have been lucky enough to travel to Thailand, Mexico and Spain amongst this list, which has also influenced my tastes. I think really I pick up on the most flavourful, spice-laden national cuisines – I adore hot and spicy!
This does not mean I do not love my own home food – I think British food rather unfairly got a bad reputation because of the years of austerity and ‘making do’ during WWII and while rationing persisted for a decade after. That’s some while ago and it’s still a perpetuating myth. It’s a melting pot of hundreds of years of good cooking with excellent produce (the UK is a bounty for home produced, reared and caught food) and the influence of many other cultures. The current UK food scene must be one of the most dynamic and exciting in the world at the moment. I’m sorry for all those who continue to narrowmindedly snear at it, as you are indeed missing out.
You can connect with me on Twitter and Instagram as well as via this blog. I love to interact with people (I’m a bit chatty) so please leave me a comment. Should you want to use a recipe, a photo, an illustration then please get in touch. I’m happy to discuss working with you, devising a recipe for you, to illustrate or to collaborate.
[Updated October 2017]