I grew up on a mixed farm in Saskatchewan. We had a huge garden with lots of growing time and family butchered, grass raised beef. One neighbour raised chickens, another pigs. It was pretty easy to get farm fresh anything during the summer and autumn months. By the time winter came around my Grandma, mom and aunts had pickled and canned and frozen almost enough to get us through. While not a ‘fancy’ cook, my mom is a good cook. But baking bread is another story. My mom makes delicious bread. She’s pretty much stuck to making meat, potatoes and vegetables most of her life but I’m proud to see her gradually gaining the confidence she needs to try new things.
I grew up, went to university and got my BSc. Paleontology. Had a family and moved to Calgary. I enjoyed cooking and experimenting a bit but it wasn’t really until we moved the family across the world that I really fell in love with pretty much everything to do with food. We lived in Bateman, Western Australia (Perth) for two and a half years and during that time I really came to appreciate how the freshest food should taste. How to combine flavours and how to be inspired. Most of the produce available was local; oranges, lemons, grapes, peaches, all types of greens and mushrooms. Even the carrots tasted better! Fish and Shellfish straight from the Indian ocean to my plate, rocklobster, blue crabs, red snapper and prawns…
While in Australia, there were many influences on my cooking. Going to the shops for fresh produce and to the butcher or fishmonger was a daily event. I loved the European style of shopping and the ‘cafe culture’ where you could sit mid-day and have a frittata and flat-white for lunch. Besides the quality of food available, the friends I made inspired my to try new cuisines. An English family with similar aged children to ours moved to our area around the same time we did. Jo and I had lots of fun with dinners at home and outdoors, going on excursions with the families to catch Blue Manna Crabs and to the Mundaring truffle festival. It was great having someone to talk to about food. We both enjoyed the Australian version of Masterchef, often having discussions about how dishes were cooked and who would win. It’s still my favourite cooking series to this day, miles above the American version. Several of my friends were from Singapore but were different culturally; Singapore Indonesian(Chinese), Indian, and Malaysian. My Indonesian friend had a hawker restaurant (Wong Hawker) where I enjoyed many lunches of chicken satay, char quay teow, and nasi lemak. Another friend grew so many herbs and peppers and fruits (jackfruit!) in her backyard, she even had a curry tree somewhere in there and she was always inspiring me to try my hand at different curries. It’s funny though, I really assumed that I was going to Australia to meet Australians! How naive. It would be like going to Canada to meet Canadians! Anyway, those people that I met really encouraged me to seek out delicious ways of playing with food.
While living overseas, we took the opportunity to travel to other countries as well. South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Bruneii, Malaysia and Indonesia. Once in a while (but not enough!) you will see these influences in my cooking.
It’s been three years since I started Dish ‘n’ the kitchen. I found that even though I post a lot of my creations on Facebook, I really wanted a different medium to share my food experiences on, plus I felt bad for all my Facebook friends who had to look at all that food porn! And so, Dish ‘n’ the kitchen was born. I can’t believe where food blogging has led me during these two years, all the people I’ve met, and the food…because in the end, food is what keeps us all ticking.