I was recently tagged by Sadia who writes Baking Elements to take part in the Food bloggers unplugged started by SusanSo, here are my answers, all in the name of a bit of seasonal fun (just like my snowman iced bun)!

1. What, or who inspired you to start a blog?

Before I had children I spent a lot of time talking with friends, often at work, about cooking and food or spent time cooking with friends.  When I was on maternity leave after having my second son I found I didn’t have that opportunity so often and it felt like a bit of a gap.  I was also using other people’s blogs for ideas for meals.  One day I thought “I could do that”.  So I did.

2. Who is your foodie inspiration?

My Grandad was my first inspiration for baking.  He happily played second fiddle to my Nanna, pottering about in the greenhouse and generally getting on with it quietly while she was alive and enchanting everyone that encountered her.  Sadly, she died shortly after he retired.  Over the years he gradually started taking up more and more hobbies and cooking for himself.  His baking was quite extraordinary, so good that you would have thought he had baked for his whole life.  We ate Sunday Tea with him nearly every week and would arrive to find a raised pork pie, a country fruit cake, a homemade loaf or all three!  Like most things he did, his cooking was quite homely but often with a quirky twist.  I hope mine is similar.

3. Your greasiest, batter – splattered food/drink book is?

Although I am most often found baking bread, it is the recipe books I use for making cakes that are the most splattered and battered…I have to follow a recipe.  I was never any good at chemistry.  So, it is probably Nigella Lawson’s Feast – Chocolate Cake Hall of Fame that has the most brown, chocolatey smudges all over it.

Delia’s Complete Cookery Course is also rather worn and even missing half of the index (which can be inconvenient)!  I find the recipes to be so reliable and there’s always a bit of background so you know why you’re doing each step of the recipe.  My Mum and I are going to use the Christmas Turkey recipe from this book this year for the first time.

4. Tell us all about the best thing you have ever eaten in another country, where was it, what was it?

I’ve been very lucky to have been able to travel to many different places through my work and on holiday.  I’ve enjoyed brik in Tunisia, pesto alla genovese in Genova and stunningly fresh calamari in Spain.  Then there was the very lightly seared whole foie gras, just a year after I stopped being vegetarian, that I (and a number of others) would rather forget at a work ‘do’ in Brussels.

One of the most memorable meals was chicken cooked over a wood-fired barbecue at a roadside cafe, on a hairpin bend, somethere in the middle of nowhere on Madeira, on my honeymoon.  I’m not sure if my husband’s gesturing and poor Portuguese was the problem or if he was just being greedy but he somehow managed to order two whole chickens.  I think we gnawed on every last bone.

6. What is the one kitchen gadget you would ask Santa for this year (money no object of course)?

I think I would gather up all the gadgets I have acquired over the years, give them to good new homes, and replace them all with attachments for my KitchenAid which I am unashamedly in love with.  But first, I need to get it serviced as there was an incident with a large amount of bread dough on the wrong setting that needs to be rectified before I can use it again.

7. Who taught you how to cook?

Lots of people really.  My Mum, my Grandad, my home economics teacher, friends and Andrew Whitley, who changed the way I make bread, forever.

8. I’m coming to you for dinner what’s your signature dish?

I’m quite lazy so it would probably be a large hunk of pork shoulder roasted as slowly as possible with not much done to it, some malted bread rolls, warm bramley apple sauce and a side salad.  A glass of rosehip prosecco and pavlova for pudding.

9. What is your guilty food pleasure?

There are a few too many of those to name all of them here but I absolutely can’t refuse a decent sticky toffee pudding or a lump or marzipan if it is put within visual range.

10. Reveal something about yourself that others would be surprised to learn?

Well, I’ve already mentioned it, but I was a vegetarian for around six years.  Then I started working with vets and farmers as part of my job who couldn’t understand it at all and ethically raised meat became a lot easier to get hold of so, after a lot of consideration, I gradually started eating meat again.  I love it but I never forget where it came from.

Finally…tag 5 other food bloggers with these questions…like a hot baked potato…pass it on!

Here are five fellow food bloggers that I’d like to know more about…I hope you find them interesting too!

http://thelittleloaf.wordpress.com who (bizarrely) has also been making little marzipan bees and baguettes recently.

http://www.breadandmilkandblackberries.com/

http://zebbakes.com/ who (also bizarrely) has a bread basket and two tea-towels the same as mine.

http://messybaker.blogspot.com/

and, last but not least,

http://rufusguide.wordpress.com/ – the first foodie blog I ever followed!

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