One of the huge advantages of blogging is the phenomenal people that you meet, and last year I had the great pleasure of meeting Inge of Vanielje Kitchen. After a brief meeting in London, I traveled out to Somerset to visit her and it was as if we had known each other all our lives. Inge's passion for food is inspiring and I was thrilled when whe told me she was going to spend six months this year in South Africa writing a cookbook with her mom. If it's anything like her site, it can only be gorgeous! **UPDATE** After a misunderstanding with her blogging platform a month or two ago, Inge sadly lost a lot of the content and all the formatting of her beautiful blog - the current version is a visual shadow of its former self, but the writing and recipes remain inspiring. I hope that after the writing project is complete, Inge will be back with us in full force!
1. Where are you – in South Africa or out in the wide world?
I am usually in Somerset which is just a little bit further on than Wiltshire. I am lucky enough to have an apartment in one wing (the west wing no less) of an amazing Georgian manor house in a beautiful park near Bath. Perks: Organic kitchen garden, deer in the front park, venison on the table and amazing neighbours. At the moment, however, I have taken six months time out which I am spending in glorious Cape Town, helping my mom set up a new business and writing a cookbook with her.
2. How long have you been blogging?
Forever and not long enough. I never have the time I want, yet the support and love makes me feel like I’ve always been part of the family.
3. What do you enjoy the most about food or wine blogging?
I love being able to revisit a great meal once the original has been long consumed. And I like the thought that I am creating a record for my daughter, as my mom has passed her knowledge on to me.
4. Any downsides or frustrations?
There is not enough time to cook all I want, eat all I want, read all I want…wow, half the world should be so lucky!
5. What or who are your inspirations to cook, drink and write?
My mother, Kassie, as always is my mentor, my inspiration and my muse. My dad is my biggest cheerleader and my daughter is my biggest critic. I cook because it is creative, as is writing, and for my inspiration I only have to look at my world around me. Colours, scents, memories, family, friends, occasions, it is all an excuse to eat. I LOVE FOOD.
6. Where and when do you like to blog?
I blog at my desk in the lounge, usually at 3am, or with the tv blaring (my husband and daughter are both half deaf). I would like to be able to blog surf in bed on Saturday and Sunday mornings, with the sun streaming in my bedroom window and a large coffee tray on the floor next to my pile of books and magazines. Or post in the kitchen whilst enjoying a cup of tea, with some biscotti in the oven and a little Louis on my cd player. I am currently saving all my 2p coins towards a laptop with wifi. Have connection, will travel.
7. What's your signature dish or favourite wine?
Food. And by that I mean real food. Simple, delicious, intense, seasonal, easy, real FOOD. And chocolate (but that’s uberfood: Theobroma cocao – food of the gods.)
8. What other food or wine blogs do you read?
and counting. There are so many good writers and cooks out there.
9. Favourite restaurant?
River café in London. It’s been a while since I went and it is pricy but I’ve never had a bad meal there and I always want to order at least half the menu. Usually it’s a good day if there are more than three things on a menu which entice me. The downside of growing up in a restaurant is that I’m really fussy. Not that I like fussy food. I like simple food, but then there is nowhere to hide and it has to be perfection itself.
10. For my last meal on this planet I would order…
It would have to be one of my mom’s big family meals. Everyone sits down to a table groaning with seasonal dishes which seem to keep replenishing themselves, and everyone can have as much or as little of their favourite dishes as they wish. Somehow my mom always seems to get it exactly right and I have seen more ecstatically satisfied and gloriously replete guests reluctantly leave her table, than any other I’ve ever eaten at. Those who have eaten her food find it instantly recognisable, and her table is never empty. I could think of no better last meal than one eaten with my family and friends.