A couple of years ago I was very lost. I had an interesting job writing recipes and doing product development for a cheese business. But that was work, at home I was lonely and let down by a terrible relationship. My beautiful son deserved a Mum with some kind of spark and interest and I deserved a better life. My main outlet has always been cooking and writing recipes and this is my relaxation and the extension of the way I like to spoil people. I wondered if there were other people out there like me. ( Not necessarily sad and lonely- but cooking obssessed) I started to follow a couple of blogs. My favourite was “Not Quite Nigella” It was a combination of quirky recipes and visits to restaurants with travel thrown in. I loved the way it was written and I wondered if I could ever possibly do this myself. . I thought I may have missed the boat, some people like Lorraine, www.notquitenigella.com had already been doing it for years. Then I wondered what I might possibly loose if I did it. I would be able to record all of the recipes I made and I would also be able to take photos.
I started my blog and the very first person to leave a comment of encouragement was Lorraine. I was thrilled. Each comment was thoughtful and she had clearly read my ramblings, as she does to this day. This week she released her first book, not a cookbook, although there are some recipes contained in its pages, but an autobiography and state of play about the world of blogging. ” How I found happiness through baking and blogging”
I understand this sentiment, and I am so excited for her.
Some time ago Celia www.figjamandlimecordial.com introduced me to Lorraine, then Charlie (www.hotlyspiced.com) and Rebecca from www.theintolerantchef.com and Brydie from www.cityhippyfarmgirl.com. I am so grateful for these new friends and an opportunity to meet more new like minded people ( PS If you are an old friend of mine I love you even if you are not interested in blogging). When we heard that Lorraine needed our help with her book launch, that she needed some catering done and some support, well……we wanted to step up, catering is not exactly a foreign language to me. With the preliminary planning done and the event organised as much as possible, we met up the Radisson Blu ( Bistro Fax) on O’Connell Street in Sydney, where Lorraine had been asked to visit to try their new “gluten free high tea” before the book launch the next day (and to also celebrate Rebecca’s birthday).
The setting is very hotel. High Tea is $40.00 with a glass of champagne. It is lucky that we can fit in 1000 words per minute as even after the last of us arrive, and the wait staff have been over to welcome us, we sit without drink of any kind for 20 minutes, until it seems a little perplexing…. is it counter service….do they think we need to chill out……have we done something wrong? Then, finally a bottle of champagne and some water arrives. We wait again for another 15 minutes before there is any other approach by staff, this time they come bearing two high teas, one “normal” and the other gluten free.
Both of the High Teas have common elements like the tangy passionfruit jellies the Strawberry topped meringues and lemon curd chocolate cups. The sandwiches are a bit lean on fillings in both the normal and gluten free options however there is a generous amount of Smoked Salmon with cream cheese on small squares of bread. Giant shortbreads take up a great deal of the middle layer of the gluten free tower and are perhaps supposed to be a look a like replacement for scones, which are light and full of fruit. Between mouthfuls and excited chatter we fail to flag down any kind of service and by the time we manage to secure a waiter we have all but finished. Charlie kept lifting her glass at every passing waiter asking for water till her mouth was too dry to speak, while we giggled. The tea is loose leaf but it is a brand available in all supermarkets.
Service is very friendly but not so good.
The Radissonblu did however let us bring a birthday cake for Rebecca. Charlie baked a gluten, dairy free Hummingbird cake that was delicious. So after the high tea we got new plates and tackled the cake. I wonder if anyone else but us could possibly have done that. Could you?
So the next day I met Lorraine at the venue, the Penthouse of the Diamant Hotel in Kings Cross . This enourmous apartment has a million dollar view of Sydney and a huge kitchen, the perfect venue for a party. Lorraine has pictures here. Rebecca and I settled into the kitchen, while Lorraine worked on her speech and got dressed. We had 5 canopes planned. Peking Duck Pancakes , a favourite of Lorraines, Duck San Chow Bau, Prawn Gow Gee with black vinegar and ginger, Vegetarian Fritattas made by Miss Hotly Spiced and a big platter of charcuterie from Pinos Dolce Vita along with cheese a Comte and Brillat Savarin this was served with Foccacia and Ciabatta made by Celia the bread Queen I don’t have many pictures of the food because I was too busy. But here are a couple of quick snaps
Incredibly on the BBQ was guest chef David from Xanthi Restaurant. I was very excited to meet him.
Lorraines amazing cake made by Linda Harden from Whimsical Cakes
There are a lot of ways for people to express themselves in food these days. Working professionally or writing, taking photos and sharing recipes.
The blogging community is unique in food because it relies entirely on others support to be successful. If one person is successful others will follow. Lorraine is a trail blazer and an inspiration in a very small package. Congratulations NQN and thanks for your wit and endless support. Book available at most stores now.
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I will be away for 2 weeks. Please dont feel discouraged if I dont visit you till I return. I will be in Italy at “Tutto Food”a food show held in Milan. Yipee, see you soon