Commencing ego stroke

This is my official “thanks to the academy” post for my recent success in a little online food photography competition called Does My Blog Look Good In This (DMBLGIT). I hosted DMBLGIT a couple of months ago to great success, and just last month Annie of BonAppgeek did an equally fantastic job of organising it, made even better by the fact that I won something :)

So I was fortunate enough amongst some excellent competition to come away with awards for Aesthetics and Originality for my little inadvertently grainy experiment called “Meanwhile In Italy…”, which is funny because I’ve never been to Italy, but I’m sure it looks something like this somewhere tucked away in a little cafe.

meanwhile in Italy...

So thanks again to Annie for organising and to the judges for thinking me worthy of something. However after noticing a trend from my competition two months ago, and also from last months, I am totally making pistachio covered truffles next time… :)

DMBLGIT December 2006 Winners

Does anyone even remember last year ? It suddenly seems like so long ago… but there are still a few loose ends to tie together. That being the announcement of the winners of DMBLGIT for December 2006 ! (Note: All the photos were taken in November 2006, which is why I was initially calling it the November 2006 competition, but have since corrected it, as the competition always runs one month after the photos were taken).

The judges were asked to score each photo submitted on three categories, edibility, originality, and aesthetics. The combination of these categories has been used in the past, and I think it’s a good idea, as there are points in each category to be won for people with less technologically advanced camera setups as others. The scoring was very close in some categories, but I was very happy with the overall results. This means that there is an overall winner, and then a winner of each individual category (who has not already won something else), which means more people coming away with prizes. We had some excellent entries this year, and overall the standard was very very high…

So with no further ado, here are the winners.

Winner of Edibility

Ilva of Lucullian Delights with Balsamic Vinegar and Pistacchio Truffles

Winner of Originality

Jennifer of Fer Food with her beautiful Bacon Flowers

Winner of Aesthetics

This was so close we actually had a three way tie.

Bea of La Tartine Gourmande with her Fall Medley Vegetable Soup — Soupe automnale de légumes variés

Nicole of Pinch My Salt with her Pumpkin Roll

Riana of For the Love of Baking with her Green Tea Pudding

Which leaves us with the overall winner this month being…. drum roll…

Overall Winner

Jules of Stone Soup with her Stuffed Baby Squid

Many thanks to the judges, Celine of Black Salt, Anthony of Spiceblog, Bron of Bron Marshall, Lara of Cook and Eat and Still Life With, for their time and energy, especially over such a time consuming part of the year. Thanks also to Matt of Matt Bites for letting me hack his lovely graphics up for this months prizes, which are available now to be displayed on the winners sites !


Note: despite my attempt at making gold, silver, and bronze coloured prize logos, there is no first, second, or third per se… All winners are winner, and are entitled to show whichever logo they feel best suits the style of their blog.

Thanks again to everyone and congratulation to the winners !

Looking for the next installment of DMBLGIT ? Look no further than Annie’s great site Bon Appageek ! Head on over now and get your entries in.

A few things of note

Just a little note on a few things that are happening in the food blogosphere.

  1. A Menu For Hope – This is popping up on virtually every food website in the world, and so just to be different, here it is on mine too. It’s an idea created by Pim of Chez Pim to raise money for the United Nations – World Food Programme, by raffling off prizes donated by food bloggers the world over and giving the proceeds to the programme. Last year $17,000 was raised, and this year looks to be much bigger. Check out Helen’s site for full details of how people in Australia can participate.
  2. The Food Blog Awards have been announced over at the Well Fed Network. I may or may not be in the running for one of the categories, but if anyone should deign my little excuse for a blog as worthy of another, then feel free to drop my name.
  3. Spam – an unfortunate part of life online is spam… and just lately I’ve been getting slammed by it. Over 3000 spam comments in the space of a few hours almost brought my site down for a while, and there doesn’t seem to be much let up. To try and combat that I’ve installed a few extra wordpress plugins, and upped the level on all my spam detection radars, so if you’re having trouble posting comments or viewing the site in general, please let me know by email and I’ll try and sort it out. On a completely unrelated note, if anyone needs some all natural hoodia or cialis, I may know where you can find some…

DMBLGIT November 2006

To those unfamiliar with the funky acronym, it might sound like Mary Poppins has a severe lisp… but what It actually means is:

Does my blog look good in this ?!?! (I added the exclamation marks for dramatic effect)

It’s one of a whole host of memes/competitions that exist for food bloggers to show off their wares (and one of the most prestigious too), namely being the best example of food photography taken in any given month.

So, food bloggers the world over are hereby encouraged to send in their entries, which will be judged on the three categories of aesthetics, edibility, and creativity.

The photos are judged by a panel, currently consisting this time round of Cate from Sweetnicks, Celine of Black Salt, Anthony of Spiceblog, Bron of Bron Marshall, Lara of Cook and Eat and Still Life With, and yours truly.

There are then three winners – those with the top 3 combined scores. There are also three category winners – those with the highest scores in aesthetics, edibility and creativity that have not already won 1st/2nd or 3rd place. So there’s plenty of chances to bag yourself a placing.

Only one entry per person and the photo must have been posted on your blog during November.

Please send all entries to:

along with:
– Your Name, and your blog’s name
– Your photo (in jpg format, preferably under 500kb)
– A link to the post its from
– Some info about the camera it was taken with

Closing date for entries is the 28th of December.

Best of luck and get crackin.

Check back here shortly for updates as the entries start to roll in. As they have now.
A gallery of entries now lives here: DMBLGIT November 2006 gallery

*Update* : I’ve decided to add the gallery into this post as well. Please spread the word and get those entries in ! Full details of all photos submitted can be found on the DMBLGIT November 2006 gallery.

*Update II * : Entries close today !! The 28th December. Get yours in now or you’ll miss out…

*Update III * : Entries are now closed. It’s already way past the 28th in Australia, and this should be enough time for those in other timezones to catch up. Thanks to everyone who has submitted photos, and look out here for the announcement of winners soon.

5 things to eat before you die

Originally raised by Melissa of The Travelers Lunchbox, my first thought was “What a morbid sounding idea for a theme…”. But then who am I to shirk my civic duties by listing as many “must try” foods as I can think of, after being tagged by the lovely (I assume) JenJen (see, anyone with a double name must be lovely) of “I love milk and cookies” fame (and don’t we all really).

So… to the list. Which as far as I’m concerned is not the list of foods I would eat if I were about to die, but more a collection of food experiences I think would be nice for most people to try at least once in their lives.

1) Kiwi hot dogs – Being a former Kiwi, I can think of nothing more quintessential divisive to healthy eating than the Kiwi hot dog. It’s basically a thick sausage on a stick, rolled in flour and dipped in batter, then deep fried til golden and crispy. Not happy with the level of fat and oil already present in the sausage and batter, the inventive Kiwi’s then up the ante by soaking the top half of the dog in tomato sauce (ketchup for recalcitrant Americans). I have fond memories of stuffing down several of these bad boys before collapsing onto the couch in a fat induced stupor. Incidentally they also make the list of “Things to eat that will make you die”.

2) Feijoa – Another New Zealand classic, the Feijoa, also known as Pineapple Guava or Guavasteen, is originally from South America, but has now been adopted as New Zealands own. It’s a bizarre little fruit that I can only describe as being sweet, sour, fruity, and savoury, all at the same time. Inventive Kiwi’s have turned it into smoothies, sorbets, and even vodka. In its most basic form, you can just cut it in half and scoop out the middle with a teaspoon as you would a kiwifruit. Definitely something to try.

3) Freshly Shucked Natural Oysters – This may be a good time to introduce my concept of assessing someones commitment to food. A sort of “how gourmet is gourmet” rating scale. It involves many layers of tests and I wouldn’t be the snob I am with out them. Pronouncing Riesling “Rise-ling” is one of them… as is preferring the taste of instant coffee to properly made espresso. A general aversion to any particular fruits or vegetables for no apparent reason other than “I just don’t like them” is also a big draw breaker. Towards the bottom of the list, this one comes in. Natural oysters, straight from the sea, out of the shell and into the mouth, with or without a little lemon juice or salt… are the ultimate in gourmet appreciation. You either hate them, and can’t abide the idea of a slimey thing like that slivering down your throat. Or you tremble in anticipation of the luscious feeling of freshness filling your mouth and shovel as many down as you can before anyone else gets to them.

For those in the non-oyster or cooked oyster camp… Just give it a go… at least once.

4) Lamb roast with all the trimmings – I’ve blogged previously about my love of a good lamb roast, so I’ll save the in depth explanation. Suffice to say that if you’ve never been bothered to go to the trouble of making a big home cooked meal yourself, with the stuffing, and the mint sauce, and the gravy, and the honeyed carrots, and sparkling grape juice (ok, that’s just my family), then you are really missing out on something.

5) H?ngi – A traditional Maori Hangi is something to be experienced. Common to many Polynesians cultures, but slightly different in each of them, it’s basically the process of cooking food in the earth, by digging a hole and burying the food amongst a pile of hot rocks. The food is typically meat like pork, mutton, and chicken, and vegetables like potato, pumpkin, and the all important kumara. It all gets put into baskets and wrapped in cloths that have been soaked in water, then put into the pit amongst hot rocks and covered for a few hours. There’s something very satisfying and humble about cooking in the earth, so if you ever get the chance, I’d say go for it.

That’s all I can think of for now. I know there are plenty more, but I can’t think of them at the moment. One thing I will add is that where any good food exists, great wine can only serve to highten the experience. So for all those beer drinking, wine haters out there… get off the wagon and give let your tastebuds do some work for once in your life. They’ll thank you for it later.

5 Things I Know About Me.

Well I’ve been given a sympathy tag for this Meme by the always friendly Ange of Vicious Ange (who’s website is about as vicious as mine is abstract… or gourmet for that matter).

So here goes with the 5 things meme.

5 items in the freezer

  1. Breadcrumbs: you never know when you will need them and I can never be bothered getting the food processor out to chomp them up… So when i finally give in to the relentness need for bread filling in my dishes, I make lots and freeze the rest.
  2. Ice cubes: Ummm yeh… You fill up these little trays with water and then put them in drinks to make them cold. I know what you’re thinking… I was amazed too the first time I heard about them.
  3. Chicken Stock ala Michel Roux: I just bought Michel Roux’s excellent book called “Sauces”. I should probably not admit to this, but i’ve never made my own stock before, and so just last night while waiting for the football game to start, I put together a couple of litres of chicken stock. It turned out great… So i’ve got a litre in fridge, and froze the rest.
  4. Turkish Bread Burgers – I love turkish bread… but I’m not organised enough to make sure I always but it fresh. So from time to time I buy a bunch of loaves and freeze them. Not as great as fresh bread of course, but after defrosting and toasted it over a flame, its great.
  5. Bugger… I really don’t use my freezer that much… I’m stuck already… now i know why I don’t get tagged for these things. Lets go with Chorizo… which is technically in the fridge and not the freezer, but is becoming more and more of a staple food for me every time I use it. I think I could plan an entire meal around that one sausage…

5 items in my closet

  1. My safari suit – The best $20 I’ve ever spent at the Good Sammy’s. That suit has seen some good times, and has a way of turning every party into a 70’s cheese fest. Plastic white rimmed, rose coloured aviator glasses are the perfect companion.
  2. A wooden tennis raquet – Which was probably pretty top of the range back when Bjorn Borg ruled the courts… but has since faded into anonymity since your fancy carbon fibre types came along… It’s really there only to make a fourth raquet alongside the rest of my collection, just in case I ever need to organise an impromptu game of doubles and noone else has a raquet… which may just happen one day.
  3. Countless shoes that don’t belong to me – I have no idea where they all came from, I think some of them evolved in there, or were created through some kind of molecular fission. Either way, every time I open the closet there are more shoes in there than before.
  4. Bull worker – I inherited this from my Dad. I have no idea how to use it, or why anyone ever would. I can however confirm that bulging pecs and ripped lats are a little more difficult to attain than squeezing this thing occasionally.
  5. About 20kg of green coffee beans – Storage space is limited these days, and cool dry storage space even more so. Hence whenever I order my green coffee online it gets sent back in nice little cotton sacks and is safely stored away in the closet for me to roast when the urge strikes.

5 items in my car

  1. Takeaway coffee cups – That I buy myself… to make takeaway coffee at home (which means I can still make myself a coffee in the morning even if I’m running late for work).
  2. CD’s without cases and CD cases without CD’s – It’s about as bad as the ongoing missing sock fiasco in my drawers, but I can never seem to find the CD I want to listen to in the actual case it came in, and when I do find the CD, there is never a matching case… Coincidence ?? I think not !
  3. Picnic Blanket – because you never know when the need to picnic is going to strike, and I hate getting grass stains on my knees. It’s tartan of course…because I think it’s a requirement that all picnic blankets be tartan.
  4. Jumper leads – It’s happened one too many times and I refuse to be at the complete mercy of strangers in car parks again.
  5. Not petrol – I think a car needs to earn its petrol. Really… If you give it to them all the time they get complacent. I make my car work for it. If I can’t drive for at least 3 days with the little orange fuel light on, then something is seriously awry. Suprisingly I have only run out of fuel completely once.

5 items in my purse

Well we can see who this meme is catered towards can’t we ?? :) Lets go with wallet.

  1. A membership card to a video library that closed down about 4 years ago. It was a lifetime membership when I got it, so i’m hanging onto it just in case they ever open up again. It’ll save so much time having to reapply.
  2. Every drivers licence i’ve had in the last 5 years… Some from when I had facial hair and some without. Just in case I need to get myself into a nightclub but I don’t look enough like myself for them to believe it’s me.
  3. An advanced go-kart licence – That means I get to drive the fast go-karts when I go to Kart World… Which are infinitely faster than the normal ones. Yeh, i know you’re jealous…
  4. Timezone VIP Powercard – I don’t know if Timezone even still exists, back in the day it was the best chain of video game arcades around, before Xbox’s and Nintedo’s and Playstations killed the market. They brought out these Powercards God knows how long ago to make it so you don’t use coins in the machines… My VIP status card meant I got discounts on games. That was a serious status symbol back then.
  5. Enough Subway stamps to get a footlong for free !! – I haven’t been to subway in a long time, but I still seem to accumulate the stamps. Not the greatest meal, but sometimes (and i mean rarely) the thought of a footlong meatball sub smothered in bbq sauce just gets to me.

And I’m done… That was suprisingly fun… Perhaps because I got to tell a lot more stories than would otherwise have made it in under the “gourmet food” classification I tend to apply to myself. Thanks again to Ange for letting me know.

I hereby blanket tag anyone who reads this post that runs their own blog and hasn’t participated yet. Yeah, that means you ! Sucka.