Why the “5am Foodie”?
The very short answer is that I generally write my blog entries sometime between 5 and 6 in the morning. You’re probably thinking that I’m an incurable insomniac or completely mad, or something along those lines. Slightly mad maybe, but the answer is much more practical…
The working life of the owner of a catering business is not a 9-5 existence. Some days are very short, some days are very long, and most days start early. Monday through Friday either the man or I start work at 4:30am. After a very busy initial period there’s then a lull while the bread cools and somewhere around 5:15 begins a blissful hour of quiet time. It’s a time when I’m all alone, nobody is making demands on me, and I can hear myself think. And I can write. It can be a godawful time of the morning, especially in the winter when it’s cold and dark, but strangely I don’t mind it a few days a week because of that wonderful period of quiet time. So I am the 5am foodie because that’s the time I have the mental space to think about food, be creative, and to write. At other times during the week I will attempt to write if a) something inspires me and b) I have the time to do it, but twice a week on my early mornings I make a point of writing because I really do enjoy it and I hope you will enjoy my ramblings.
Canadian or British?
Technically I’m both. I grew up in a small town called Powell River on the Canadian west coast, and lived in Vancouver during my university years and beyond. I also did 2 year stint in Japan in the early 90s. I moved to the UK just before the turn of the Millenium and have been here ever since. I would say that at heart I’m Canadian, but also feel a certain affinity with the UK and Europe and I like living here. I don’t sound British, but my kids definitely do!
Very difficult question! Off the top of my head and in no particular order I would say mushrooms, barbecued steak, pasta with a nice ragu, tomatoes (preferably home grown), beets (beetroot) and beet greens, asparagus, marinated artichokes, dark chocolate, baked cheesecake, chocolate chip cookies, apple pie, alfonso mangoes, cherries, blackberries, and parmesan cheese.
Where Do You Get Your Culinary Inspiration From?
I’d say I’m a true omnivore with an international palate. Italian, Middle Eastern, and Southeast Asian food really get me excited. I love Italian cuisine because for me it’s fairly simple food that’s based all around good quality ingredients. The food speaks for itself, rather than being lost in a sauce that has a long list of different ingredients and requires 3 different reductions. And there’s something about the whole Italian attitude to food and the conviviality that goes with it – food is such an ingrained and important part of the culture.
With Middle Eastern food it’s the mix of flavours that I love – hearty tagines and stews with cinnamon and cumin and a bit of sweetness for autumn and winter, and lighter, lemony dishes for spring and summer. I love lemon. Our menus feature a lot of Middle Eastern inspired dishes – partly because this type of cuisine is great for sharing and for buffets, and partly because this type of food lends itself well to both vegetarians and carnivores.
With Southeast Asian food it’s all about the amazingly bold and vibrant flavours, and how all the different flavours come together – the combinations of hot, sweet, sour and salty are fantastic. It’s like this party of flavours going on in your mouth!
Why Do You Give Weight Measures in Your Recipes?
I give weight measures for 2 reasons:
- I live in Europe and recipes here generally give weight measures
- Weight measures tend to be more accurate, and also allow for much easier scaling up or down of recipes
I know Canadian/US recipes tend to give measures in cups or ounces, and if I give a recipe that originally came from there I will include both cups and grams. But if it’s a new recipe or one I got here I’ll give the measures in weight. However, if you’re in a place that uses cups, don’t despair! If you have a kitchen scale, that solves the problem right there. Or, if you want cups you can use one of the many online converters that are out there in cyberspace. I have put a link to one under “Cooking” links. If you can’t find what you need on that site, a quick online search for your ingredient plus the words “gram cup conversion” (e.g. flour gram cup conversion) should give you loads of options.