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Monday, January 11, 2010

The Food Vine's first birthday........

In late 2008, I decided to put together a food blog. Frustrated by the complications of recipe book publishing – the road I ideally want to travel - food blogging seemed the answer to instant publication. I have been writing and adapting recipes for years and I really wanted them to be in just one place and accessible to everyone who shares my interest. One year later, I have discovered that blogging is not the ideal solution for an online recipe book but I am slowly working on a change to rectify this.

I began The Food Vine with the best of intentions and found myself posting two or three recipes a week, making a good start in 2009. Later in the year, we went to France where I thought I would do loads of work so went armed with piles of papers and journals together with many exciting ideas in my head for future recipes not yet realized. Alan was not impressed with our over-weight baggage and I was even less impressed when it just did not happen. We found ourselves so busy with house renovations and decision making that cooking, apart from the basics, barely featured, and then my computer went down and remained down until we returned to Sydney, five months later.

With my first year up plus two months into my second it is now time to say something about these recipes, taking photographs and putting together the food that I love to make and to thank everyone who has read and commented on my work. The Food Vine has had about 3,000 hits since conception, I am pretty pleased with that and I hope 2010 will see even more.

Writing and adapting recipes for my own use is one thing but to write them for an unknown audience is quite another thing, altogether. I cannot assume you all know every culinary term or how to execute them and not wanting to insult the intelligence of the experienced cook, I have tried to include references to basic cooking principles but in the hope that most readers have a basic understanding of the fundamentals of cooking.

The introduction header is the key to whetting the reader’s appetite but it alone is not enough; an experienced cook will quickly scan a recipe and instinctively know whether it will work or not. Another will quickly assess whether the ingredients are too costly, too difficult to come by or it is just too lengthy or complicated. A good recipe should be articulated in a tone that does not assume experience, it should be easy to understand, be inspirational, clear, concise and consistently formatted with the nett result being: ‘it works’! Taste, texture, ease and uniqueness come into play as does keeping things streamlined and relatively simple. In other words, it is a long process and it takes hours! If weeks go by and I have not posted a new recipe, now you know why!

There are quite a few complex recipes on the Food Vine but many relatively easy ones too but enough variety, I hope, to suit all cooks who want to ‘have a go’. For all of us there is a time to take the short cut and a time to go the extra mile, to push the boat out for that special occasion. From the time a recipe is read, the decision made to go through the cooking process, the plating up and lastly the moment of taste… well, that’s were the promise comes in…..we all make promises when we share recipes.

I would like to think that my recipes and adaptations have whet your appetite; made you want to call them ‘your own’ and I hope I have been up-to-date where I could be. I hope too that I have explained techniques enough and they have taught you something. A good cook must master a technique in depth, first and foremost. However, a recipe is not cast in stone, it is an idea, with hopefully a minimum amount of time spent on reproduction, which you are free to change and adapt, just like me.

I use our Canon G9 camera on the macro, no flash, setting for all my food and drink photography. The art of taking food photographs is all about timing - every second counts before deterioration sets in - it is difficult and there are no second chances but it is great fun and as equally creative as cooking. Alan is always there to help me out especially at ‘critical point’ time and he is a wonderful and enthusiastic supporter of all things Food Vine related.

I want to say a special thank you to all those good friends who contributed to “the weekly post” during the first few months of The Food Vine. Unfortunately, the idea did not work as well as I had hoped so it was abandoned. Your contribution and support meant a lot to me and I am sure many benefited from your input.

My “Kitchen Tips” are worth printing out to have on hand. A lot came from my year at the Cordon Bleu school – not part of our curriculum - just little asides from teachers worth recording at the time. The rest are things I have happened upon and it is ongoing!

In addition, just three more to welcome in 2010:

‘a good cook is one who cooks the same thing over and over again to perfection and not necessarily a cook with a large repertoire’

‘good kitchen equipment is worth investing in ….despite the expense’

‘cook by your senses: touch, smell, taste, look and listen – cooking is noisy’

A very big thank you to my readers and an especially BIG thank you to my “followers”



  1. Great "sum up" Cheryl, and it's been lovely to follow what you're cooking on the blog, you are always an inspiration!

  2. niumiWell done Pussycat.

    Happy anniversary.

    Babe xxx