Another birthday has come around for E and with it comes my 10th blog anniversary. That is a lot of blog posts; 1921 posts, to be precise! A lot of good food, good company and continuous learning. It calls for some indulgent reflections before telling you about the floating Malteser birthday cake that E shares with my blog.
Let's start at the beginning (a very good place to start). When I started, blogging was often about navel gazing. I initially intended my blog to be a recipe notebook. I didn't really expect anyone to read it. Though my blog has expanded far beyond that, I still love having this place to make recipe notes and often refer back to my blog (thank goodness for the index). It is busy work. To get a post up, I am a planner, a recipe developer, a cook, a taster, a photographer, a writer, an editor, a publisher and even occasionally a web developer. No wonder sometimes I am amazed I have lasted this long. Life is contantly busy and I have seen many bloggers come and go. Yet I still love blogging and am glad I can continue to do it.
Potato scones, Tofu besan omelette, Tofu bacon, Sausage rolls, Fast track pizza, Overnight sourdough bread, Mock tuna (chickpea) salad, Lemonade, Grubs.]
I was lucky in my early days of blogging to find a friendly and supportive community online. I've hosted blog events, joined in memes, discussed copyright, reviewed cookbooks, and learnt a lot about web content management. And I have met up with bloggers for lots of delicious food. Unfortunately this seems less of a part of blogging these days. And after 10 years I am sad that I am finding less time to respond to comments on my blog, though I still comment on other blogs. However I remain indebted to the online community for so many opportunities to learn and share.
Nowadays blogging is a different and more professional world. I started my blog before the social media sink hole opened up, before vlogging was an option, and when substance was more important than style. Now a blogger is expected to have style, write for a larger audience, and use multiple social media platforms. Sponsorship has replaced a lot of the advertising money. Companies fly bloggers around the world and give all sorts of freebies in return for a good word online. Mainstream media is now warily embracing blogging as a source of content. Even I have had some exposure - my blog has made its way onto Disney, Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, The Guardian and Readers Digest websites.
Vegetarian haggis wreath, Welsh nutroast with laverbread, leeks and cheese, Stargazy pie, Vegan mozzarella spiderweb pizza, Ombre potato and cheese torte, Vegemite fudge, Doughnuts topped with chocolate and coconut bacon, Kale cake, Malted sourdough loaf with chocolate, figs and brazil nuts]
The blog has seem some of the joys and challenges that reflect my life, Aussie foods, visiting farmers markets, getting to know my sourdough starter, exploring food history, feeding a young child, learning to love nutritional yeast flakes, discovering aquafaba, celebrating local street art, using my high speed blender and recording what we are listening to on the stereo.
Personally I have had huge changes to my life since starting my blog. I have given birth, acquired a hand model (aka a daughter), attended funerals, changed jobs, travelled, started wearing glasses, made changes to my kitchen, had my car stolen, made new friends, bought my first smart phone, joined a book club, opened social media accounts, bought two DSLR cameras, and so much more that it is too hard to remember and list everything.
Once done, I was really pleased with my work. It is the sort of cake I never thought I would make and wonder if I would have if not for blogging. It is a totally impractical cake. It is so tall and fragile that is hard to transport, hard to cut and hard to store. I was glad we ate it at home.
When reflecting on my blog history, one of the changes is photography. My photos have improved. I have had quite a few cameras since starting the blog and now use a Canon DLSR with a macro lens for most photos and use my Mac Photos software to edit. I have a light box but it is a faff to set it up so I usually hope I can find natural light. At this time of year, that is easier said than done for evening meals. You can compare the difference between our kitchen fluorescent light (above photo) and the light through the window (below photo). Sometimes I think I should have started my blog in the middle of summer with longer hours of sunlight.
House of Mirrors installation at the art gallery. Mirrors were set up as a maze in such a clever way it was hard to tell the difference between reality and reflection. On the train home, when we were entertaining the kids, I asked everyone to draw a picture of me. Above is a selection of their artwork.
I am sending this cake to Cook Blog Share at Everyday Healthy Recipes (coordinated by Kirsty)
More posts about Green Gourmet Giraffe and blogging
The ABC of GGG
Gang of Four meme
How has blogging changed: reflections on my blog and fellow bloggers
In search of . . . (fun search terms)
My ten rules for food blogging
Shoots, eats and blogs (top 10 list about blogging)
If you want to know more about my blog, check out the menu at the top of the page for indexes, lists and kitchen notes.
Floating Malteser Cake
1 vegan chocolate cake (recipe below)
1 batch fudge buttercream icing (recipe below)
36-38 Kit Kats. (the larger ones in the 4 pack)*
1 plastic bendy straw
1 wooden skewer
1 empty Maltesers bag
Put one chocolate cake on a cake stand. Cover top with the icing. Top with the second chocolate cake. Cover top and sides with icing.
Break Kit Kats into fingers. Place fingers upright and side by side around the outside (Kit Kat writing on top facing inwards).
Stick skewer into the cake. It does not have to be in the middle. (I did the middle but I think if you placed it on the side as I have seen done, it might make it easier to slice into it initially.) Place a straw over the skewer. (The skewer will help keep the straw upright.)
Pour Maltesers onto the top of the cake. Then use melted but slightly cooled chocolate to stick Maltesers to the straw. (If the chocolate is too molten, you need to hold the Maltesers on the straw until the chocolate hardens and by then your fingers will probably have melted the Malteser chocolate.)
When you get to the bendy bit of the straw, you can sticky tape a Malteser bag to the straw, positioning it so that the open mouth of the bag is facing downwards. Carefully use tape to stick the Malteser balls inside the packet so that it looks like they are being poured out of it. (Alternatively you can stick the balls on the bent section of the straw at the top and then use chocolate to stick the packet to the Maltesers).
Once you have finished, add more Malteserts to the top of the cake or the ones around the straw to shape it nicely. If you add them to the top of the cake and they are not touching the icing, I suggest some melted chocolate to stop them moving about if you move the cake.
Vegan chocolate cake
Adapted from Green Gourmet Giraffe
1 and 2/3 cups plain white flour
1 cup wholemeal plain flour
1 and 1/2 cups sugar (I used raw sugar)
2/3 cup cocoa
2 tsp bicarb soda (baking soda)
1 tsp salt
2 cup soy milk
2/3 cup oil
2 tsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 180 C. Grease and line 2 x 20cm round cake tins. Mix dry ingredients and then add wet ingredients. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
Fudge buttercream icing
Adapted from BBC Good Food
100g milk chocolate chips
200g butter or margarine
400g icing sugar
4 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp milk*
Melt chocolate and set aside. Cream butter and icing sugar. (I used margarine so I was able to do the creaming with a spoon.) Mix in melted chocolate, cocoa and milk until smooth.
*NOTES: I found the icing really soft. Next time if I use Nuttalex margarine I might not add the milk. (I used soy milk.) I made a vegan chocolate cake which I know holds its shape well. Any sturdy sponge cake or mud cake would work here. You can use different lollies than Maltesers - such as Smarties, M+Ms, Revels, Jaffas, Junior Mints, mini marshmallows, etc. Likewise you can use different sticks around the edge - chocolate fingers, chocolate mint sticks, chocolate wafer sticks etc.
If you wanted the cake the be vegan, it would be easy to make the chocolate cake and fudge icing vegan (I think dark chocolate would work in the icing or a vegan milk chocolate). For the lollies/sweeties/candy you could use skittles, mini oreos, vegan marshmallows or health food store vegan chocolates.
On the Stereo:
Don't Try This At Home: Billy Bragg