We all wish we could be a bit more like Nigella Lawson right? The woman is amazing, she can bake a mouth-watering berry tart with one hand, while roasting any animal you can think of to delicious perfection with the other. On top of that, she’s got a girl-crush-worthy voice and somehow manages to make sifting flour erotic.
Well, food blogger Lorraine Elliott (AKA Not Quite Nigella) is a little more like her than the rest of us. And for the next few weeks she will be sharing some mouth-watering morsels of information guaranteed to transform the entire Mamamia readership into culinary superstars. Or at the very least, she’ll give us some alternatives to microwave popcorn for dinner.
There are currently thousands of food blogs in the world. Mine is just one of the many that pepper the internet proffering recipes and reviews for hungry readers. Yet there I was, wearing gold coloured thongs and inappropriately casual dress. I was at the airport, carrying my luggage and looking at the airline ticket with my name on it. I wondered silently to myself, “How on earth did I land this gig?”
I looked at my fellow travelers. Two were from the two biggest newspapers in Sydney and probably purchased travel insurance by yearly policy. Vogue Magazine is joining us for the second leg. And me? Well I feel like the troubled teen sitting at the table with the adults.
“So… where does everyone work?” G from the Sydney Morning Herald asks.
“I’m a travel writer at the Daily Telegraph,” M says.
“I’m here as a last minute replacement for when the writer couldn’t make it,” A from a magazine says.
G explains that he is actually an investigative journalist and they’ve given him this assignment as a reward.
“What about you?” they ask.
“I have a food blog,” I say in between bites of delicate smoked salmon morsels mumbling my words and hiding them in the chewing of my food.
They all look at me curiously. I’m sure some of them are thinking “Whaaaaat? A blog? Why on earth are you here?” which of course is the reaction I am used to getting. They are too polite to say it out loud of course.
Yes I’m a food blogger. What does this entail, Dear Reader? Well, I photograph and write about the food in restaurants. At home I cook, style, photograph and write about the food that I make. I also think of stories to write, things to cook, places to eat and people to interview. One day I may bake a St Honore pastry: a choux pastry filled with a delicious rose scented cream where each choux is dipped in a sweet rose icing and then decorated with swirls of whipped cream and topped with a gold disc.
Not everything is a success however. One day I could be shaking my head at the “hot milk sponge” disaster where a yawning crater sat where a sponge should have risen. The texture was more like a biscuit than a cake and we hacked at this strange mutant of a cake with solid 10 cm high sides and a thin biscuit bottom. It was by all accounts an absolute disaster and ended in the embarrassing dumping of the “body” in the bin late at night.
But never in my right mind did I ever believe that food blogging would be how I would make a living. It started off as a way to relieve boredom in a corporate world where I thought that I would exist for another 30 years although the idea of it filled me with dread. I needed a creative outlet, one that would help balance a life of numbers and found solace through blogging, through writing to the world outside.
The first post was the hardest, I think it took days to come up with something to write about. After all, who was I? I wasn’t anyone particularly interesting or was I living a celibate lifestyle. I wasn’t a trained chef, merely a home cook that had come to cooking later in life. Who really cared what I thought about anything?
But somehow, with patience, persistence and a dash of madness, almost five years later, it did become possible to turn around a black and white life to one that glowed in technicolour.
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Lorraine Elliott is the founder and editor of the food and travel blog Not Quite Nigella. She started the blog in September 2007 and blogs full time.
Is food blogging the 21st century equivalent of passing recipes down through the generations? Are you a foodie? Do you take glorious photos of your culinary creations?