It’s quite a challenge starting out in a new venture, but equally it’s incredibly exciting to see ideas and day dreams materialise into something real, something tangible. I’ve always enjoyed writing but as the years have rolled on its something that has taken a backseat, with only a few editorial pieces popping up to support the latest promotional incentive at work. Not too long ago, a friend asked me to help out as mystery diner for a restaurant group they worked for on the basis that I lived locally and had always been quite vocal in my opinions that and the fact that I spent much of my time trawling the city for something new and exciting to eat. Whilst initially the idea of a free meal was exciting, I quickly realised that it was the experience that I enjoyed more, being able to apply a more critical lens to food, service and the associated surroundings helped me to better appreciate the difference between a good meal and a great one.
In the last two years I’ve been lucky enough to travel a lot and eat in some truly spectacular restaurants, but whilst hitting the multi-starred big names forms much of the holiday planning, so does visiting tiny pop ups, street food markets and cooking classes. Every holiday or little trip results in coming home with a camera roll full of pictures and a head full of ideas for what we can try and cook next.
Whilst I am keen to review as many venues as I can, I’m also excited to share more about how we eat and the ethos behind it. Every day I read an article about food but it pains me to see how far removed they are from what is important- TASTE! Food and health trends are ever changing and it seems that the joy of food often gets lost in the midst of the ‘you are what you eat culture’ or the latest Instagram fad. Yes your rainbow coloured concoction looks cool- but what does it actually taste like? Is it even enjoyable or just a mechanism to gain those all-important extra ‘likes’? Social media instigated food trends and the diet industry are things I could write about for days so I’ll leave it there for now…
At home, the majority of our food is made from scratch with a handful of concessions because let’s face it- everyone has busy days. We eat fresh veg with every meal, don’t buy snacks and our only freezer contains raw meat, fish and ingredients (for some reason we always have a lot of frozen chillies) or things we have made ourselves such as stocks and sauces. Whilst we can make our own bread and pasta, we don’t always get time to do this so it can always be found in the cupboard but I don’t think the way we eat is unusual until we get visitors or someone is house sitting for us and bemoans the lack of a pizza cutter or that we don’t know how long chips take to cook in our oven. I plan to cover off more our day to day eating as we go along.
I take lots of photos of food, often- I don’t really mind what they look like or how they come out because they serve one purpose which is to act as a trigger for my memory, a direct link to a particular occasion, a smell, a new texture or flavour that I had just discovered. I have an abundance of photos of me balancing a drink on a knee whilst in a bar, a coffee shop or on a train, the photos are a reminder of a place, a time or a feeling when I just sat back to observe what was going on around me- Remembering to stop and slow things down is always a challenge so these moments re important to me. Some people will see trainers and bright leggings and a familiar logo with a misspelt name scrawled across a cup, but to me, it’s the first time I travelled to Namur on my own, ordered my coffee in French, attended my first ever practice for Team Belgium Roller Derby and started a year long journey of travelling there more times than I saw my own family. It’s the time that I went out and did something I was scared of, but that made me feel brave. Of all the reasons for me to start writing, that has been the most important one, not just to share the thoughts and experiences that I have, but to be able to look back on a photo or some words and revisit a time that I may otherwise of forgotten.