Monday, August 16, 2010

But first, a word from our sponsor...

Hi. I'm Jo. Better known in the www as Empress Jo. That's me, to the right. There is a story behind the regal-sounding pseudonym, but maybe I'll post about that later. So, a bit about me. I've just turned 30. I live in Perth. I recently married, and, for the purposes of anonymity, I'll call my husband Emperor D. I work in communucations for an Australian government agency. Basically, I'm in PR/marketing. I love to write, so I like the industry I work in - I just don't get much of a chance to do it where I currently work.

I've always been fascinated by food. But it's only really been since the advent of Masterchef that I've taken a real interest in it. When Emperor D and I first moved in together about ten years ago, I had one display book of recipes; hand-me-down classics and childhood favourites from my mum that I’d cut out and stuck on blank paper. That gradually grew to two, but in the last two years, it's exploded. I now have five 'volumes' of display books full of recipes that I've tried and loved, tried and hated, haven't tried yet, and probably will never try. These come from all sorts of places - newspapers, things I've randomly written down - but most are from delicious, which I consider to be the king of foodie magazines. Along with my own recipe books, my collection of cookbooks has grown too; first it was a couple of the Family Circle ones, then I expanded into Donna Hay – Modern Classics  Books 1 and 2 are great investments, btw - but lately, I've gone hard core, acquiring Larousse Gastronomique  (a bargain at 50% off!), and it's Italian cousin, The Silver Spoon.

It's the same for kitchen gadgets. I started with the stock-standard appliances and utensils, but along the way I've managed to accumulate a ravioli cutter, a slow cooker, a cafe press (in addition to a toasted sandwich maker), a George Foreman grill, a mortar and pestle, some scales, a new block of Scanpan knives, brand new set of Scanpan pots and pans, a food processor, a random collection of bakeware, and... thanks to Emperor D and family for my 30th birthday - my pride and joy, my Kitchenaid stand mixer, right. I've only used her a few times so far, but she's brilliant. I need to name her. Her bright red colour suggests she should have a name like one of those names they gave planes in WWII. Like Memphis Belle. Or Enola Gay.

Anyway, the whole cooking thing came about because I like to 'experiment', as Emperor D puts it. But that's not to imply that I come up with a recipe by myself. Not at all - potential Masterchef contestants don't have anything to fear from me. I'm strictly a recipe follower. But some of the recipes I like to have a crack at do seem like experiments. I occasionally find myself driving around town for hard to find and often expensive ingredients, like pashmak and dulce de leche (look out for the story behind that one in my next post). Sometimes I'll have an original idea of my own, but not often.

This blog came about because, last Thursday, I had a crack at making chocolate macarons (not macaroons!). I'll post more about them later, but they were an unqualified disaster. I got some positive comments from the workmates I inflicted them on, but they didn't look pretty. Then I started to think about all the other things I've made and the ones that turned out really well and the ones that... well, just didn't. As I've said, I like to write, so here we are - the solution these days is to write a blog. I could keep a diary and keep the disasters to myself, but that wouldn't be much fun now, would it?

I have no idea how much or how often I'll post; but I've got some great ideas for posts that I hope to get up soon. Sometimes I might go totally off topic and post something completely random. Bear with me when that happens - I'll be back to normal programming soon enough.

I really hope you enjoy the blog. If I manage to bring a smile to your face as you read, then I'll consider my job done.

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