Apologies for the long radio silence – contrary to popular belief the Directory is still alive and kicking! And today we are leaving Cape Town (for a change!) and travelling to Pietermaritzburg to meet Zabwan of Fired-up Cooking. Zabwan of Fired-up Cooking Expect lots of things cooked over a braai fire and the occasional lashings of flash fiction ;-). Let's pull up a chair and get to know her better.
1. Where are you – in South Africa or out in the wide world?
I am in South Africa, in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal.
2. How long have you been blogging?
Since January 2010, but I wish I had started much sooner!
3. What do you enjoy the most about food or wine blogging?
The interaction with other food bloggers – I love the comments, which are usually encouraging and often inspiring. Ask other bloggers for ideas about something, and you will be deluged with info – I love that enthusiasm and generosity. Bloggers are not the kind of people who will take their recipes to the grave with them.
I am also thrilled with the new opportunities that it has opened – I have discovered a passion for writing. Thanks to my food blog, I have been offered my own column in the Caravan and Outdoor Life Magazine. To see one’s words in print is an amazing feeling.
4. Any downsides or frustrations?
Frustrations: my own ignorance of the vast complexities of the internet, little things like badges still give me trouble!
A downside is finding too little time to blog. I have recently started another blog on camping/caravanning in SA, with the focus being on how and what to cook when camping, and I wish I had more time! This could become a full-time occupation, I begin to realise that.
5. What or who are your inspirations to cook, drink and write?
Inspiration to cook: well, one has to do it every day to feed the family, and I get bored easily, so I’m always looking for something new. Sometimes inspiration comes from the blogs I’ve read, or a magazine, a TV show, often just from the ingredients at hand. I usually start by thinking what I don’t want to eat!
Inspiration to write: writing caught me by surprise – my father was an aspiring writer, though never published – maybe it’s genetic?
6. Where and when do you like to blog?
Wherever I can find a computer and internet connection! I sneak in blog-time at work, but mostly write on my laptop at home, while watching TV with the family.
7. What's your signature dish or favourite wine?
My signature dish has become a stew/casserole/potjie, made in my cast iron pot on the fire, with my husband’s help. I love to make things like coq au vin, chicken a la king, chicken and prawn curry, rich mutton bredie or beef and onion casserole. We cook the entire meal on the fire, rice, vegetables, bread, even pudding.
My favourite wine is anything dry and red, preferably of good quality.
I am also well-known for my Ouma’s rusk recipe – these are the lightest, crispest rusks, made the old-fashioned way (squeezed into balls and packed tightly in the baking tin). They have just the right sweetness and texture for dunking.
8. What other food or wine blogs do you read?
I have been pretty faithful to the Food24 blogging community, too many to mention there, and I love them all, but recently I have been branching out – I love Cooksister and Browniegirl! I also enjoy Make your own Damn Dinner and 17 and baking although they are not SA blogs. The amount of talented bloggers out there in the world is overwhelming.
9. Favourite restaurant?
I love going out, but often feel let down by the food – hate to eat a meal which makes me think ‘mmm, could have made this myself’. I do like Spigo D’oro in Durban, though it’s far for us to travel there regularly. Here in Maritzburg, my favourite would have to be Eaton on 80, though for special occasions only – the prices make your eyes water, even though the food is worth it!
10. For my last meal on this planet I would order…
Cheese! As many varieties as possible, with freshly baked breads, pickles, olives, smoked mussels, snoek pâté, hummus, nuts, fruit, vegetable crudités and sweet mayonnaise, all washed down with a chilled expensive white wine and a rich gorgeous matured red wine (also expensive). After that lot I would be probably be grateful to leave the planet…