Baking day – my first ever post on My Custard Pie
Happy birthday to me – actually to My Custard Pie’s first blogging anniversary. So much has happened in the last year since I wrote a few tentative words and uploaded some images. Who knew that through this blog I’d make new friends online from all over the world and meet some here in Dubai, become more confident in my writing, cooking and even photography skills….but I’m getting ahead of myself.
One thing I’ve learned is that you can’t hide behind social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.). Even Twitter’s micro-blogging 140 character limit reveals a lot about a person’s true character. There are some people you just warm to and Marian Schembari is one of them. She calls herself a social media ‘thug’ and her tag-line used to be ‘telling like it should be but isn’t’ which sums up her direct, refreshing and honest approach. She issued a 7-link challenge in October which I think is the perfect way to look back over the year.
1. My first post
A Baking Day. I didn’t have any clear direction but had a lovely time in the kitchen (see picture above) and wrote about some things that mattered to me too. My first comment came too….from my sister – thanks Anna.
2. A post I enjoyed writing the most
Banana bread for adults and how I learned to tinker
Always happy to change and adapt savoury things but I’d always stuck to baking recipes to the letter. Inspired by a post on Chez Pim, I suddenly saw the light and couldn’t wait to get stuck in. I literally flew back up to my computer to write my account, the finished banana bread was all that I’d hoped for, the flavours working together as scrumptiously as I’d imagined – I was so proud of myself! One of my favourite food writers left a really nice comment too – deep joy.
Tennessee banana bread
3. A post which has great discussion
Tracy Emin and walnut bread
There are lots of very perfect food blogs out there showing ‘food-porn’ images and exquisite recipes. But a couple of my baking challenges had gone very wrong and I faced a dilemma. Would anyone trust recipes from someone who didn’t get it right all the time in the kitchen? I could have hidden the burnt bottom of my walnut loaf and pretend all was well but instead I discussed it in the post. The comments section was overwhelming in support of telling the truth – and let’s face it – imperfection is interesting.
The finished loaves – who would know about their secret?
4. A post I wish I had written (actually two)
There are many blogs I admire – the warm, openess of Meeta of What’s for Lunch, Honey?, the simplicity and happiness of Tiina from Sparkling Ink, the honesty and intelligence of Ms Marmite Lover on the English can cook and the culinary integrity of Sarah at Foodbridge (Food Stories, Lost in the Larder and Things we make must be mentioned too). But posts I wish I’d written come closer to home when writing about a shared experience.
Image from Dubai-ified
Enter Fooderati Arabia, the fabulous group of UAE food bloggers that is growing everyday, each person passionate about food experiences in a unique way. When I wrote about our trip to Oktoberfest and then read Arva’s funny stream of conciousness report on In a Frying Pan, I was revealed in all my English politesse. And Sarah from Dubai-ifed is just so witty when she writes about Gourmet Lafayette and it’s quite obvious she whipped out her camera and chose all the best angles where I discreetly took a few snaps in the cheese department then slipped it back into my handbag, cheeks flushed with British stiff-upper lip embarrassment. The lesson here is to be brave and honest. Watch out for new developments with FIA too – with all this latent talent, 2011 is the start of something.
5. A post with a title I’m proud of
I usually tell it like it is but never able to resist an awful pun – Going back to my roots – Barszcz (get it?!) satisfied my Beano upbringing. Counting the nights with Preserved lemon chicken made me proud in a different way as the author of the book in the title left a comment – wow!
My illustrated beetroot soup
6. A post I wish more people had read
As only in my second month of blogging the Top 10 cookbooks that have influenced me has been a bit overlooked. The post was prompted by a discussion with @highandwild on Twitter in the context of the Emirates Festival of Literature. I’d like a few more visitors to that post because, in the same way nosey way I look at people’s bookshelves when I enter their home, I’d love to hear about what fires up your culinary juices in a bookish way.
10 cook books that have influenced me
7. My most visited post ever
How excited I was when I visited the Nazwa Farm Shop on its second day of opening. I can still remember the strong scent of fresh basil and it was such a pleasure to talk to Elena and understand her passion for the project. The amount of people searching for an organic farm shop in Dubai means that I get a lot of visits to that first account and how disappointed they must be when they read that this beautiful little shop, brilliant concept, passionate project with fresh, local, impeccable produce has closed. I still feel sad when I drive past and see the shutters down.
Frondy fennel in front of print lined walls
And finally the thank you, a massive thank you, especially if you’ve read all this way down to the bottom. To everyone who has searched, browsed, visited, subscribed, cooked from recipes and commented, I really am grateful – it’s such a privilege to write and be heard. Sorry if this sounds like an Oscar’s speech but it honestly makes my day, puts a spring in my step and spurs me on to be bolder, braver, work harder, and enjoy life more. A taste of what is to come.
A cake to celebrate
Do any of these links strike a chord with you? Love to hear in the comments.