My Favourite Blogs: A Bond Girl’s Food Diary

After taking part in the Bake Off Bake Along during 2015, I’ve continued to follow every blog that I’d discovered as a result of taking part. One of my favourite of all of them was A Bond Girl’s Food Diary. Whilst the rest of us (I mainly mean myself when I say that) bumbled along blindly, trying to make anything that resembled a cake in the first place, Hannah shone above, cooking up some really unbelievable masterpieces that wouldn’t look out of place in a Parisian patisserie! I was SO happy that she was crowned the overall winner, it was so deserved! 

Since then, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being let in on her adventures at Leith’s School of Food and Wine, and her weekly updates are almost enough to make me instantly quit my career and become a chef! Her food photography will make your stomach rumble, her recipes are always so individual and mouth watering, and her writing is hilarious. If you’ve any interest in food whatsoever, be it baking, or in fact, just eating, check out her blog and follow along too!

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1. How would you sum up your blog?

The story of a woman attempting to turn her obsession with cake into a career.
Kidding. I mean, I’m not, I’m totally serious, but I can give you a slightly more informative summary. I started blogging after dozens of people lovingly bullied me into doing so, but really, I’m just writing to myself. The blog is slowly becoming a collection of favourite recipes, interspersed with personal ramblings, as well as a diary of my time at Leith’s. I’m trying to develop my skills in the areas of recipe writing and food styling and photography, but the main themes are essentially chocolate, goats’ cheese, and sleep deprivation.
2. Describe your ultimate meal (starter, main and pud)?
The options are so dizzyingly endless that I’m going to keep it very simple: a brightly fresh tuna carpaccio; a beautiful sirloin steak, cooked blue, with béarnaise and triple cooked chips; a perfect chocolate fondant with a pistachio ice cream.
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 3. If you were a vegetable what would you be and why?
I’m going to go for an aubergine. They’re often overlooked, but I think they are wonderful – all glossy purple curves and soft flesh – and very adaptable. I’d enjoy being something surprising and delicious. Until I was eaten, that is.
 4. Name the book/s that has had most impact on your life?
Without doubt or pause for thought, the Harry Potter books. It’s not an original answer, especially for someone my age, and as an English graduate I should be citing the works of George Eliot or Oscar Wilde, but I’d be lying. I could write you a whole essay about why those books have had such an impact on me, but I’ll try to keep it brief. I was lucky enough to be the perfect age for the books, and grew with them as they became more adult. For me, those books are home: they are close enough to reality to feel real, and far away enough from reality to be an escape. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve read the whole series, but I don’t tire of them. I love those books unconditionally and uncritically. I will never sit there attacking the writing style and picking holes in the plot. I am not saying the books are technically perfect – just as there are no perfect people, there are no perfect books, and I’m sure people could make valid criticisms of them – but they have been perfect for me.
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 5. Describe one of the best adventures you’ve ever been on?
When I was eighteen, my childhood best friend Hannah (another one, rather than some strange mirrored alter ego) and I went to Russia by ourselves, despite not speaking any Russian or really knowing what we were doing or where we were going. We made friends on the overnight train from Moscow to St Petersburg, ate borscht for breakfast, climbed to the highest towers of Orthodox churches, got lost on the Moscow metro, drank vodka at strange hours, and witnessed several weddings on the streets of St Petersburg. Hannah was a fine and fearless travel companion and I still think about that trip with wistful fondness.
 6. In a film about your life, what would three of the tracks on the soundtrack be and why?
·         Send Me On My Way by Rusted Root – the soundtrack to my nineties childhood.
·         Mr Brightside by The Killers – oft repeated anthem of teenage years for my friends and me.
·         The Book of Love by the Magnetic Fields – the song that is ‘our song’ for my partner and me.
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 7. What’s your go-to interesting fact about yourself?
Even though I sound completely English, I was actually born in Canada (and thus have dual citizenship and two passports, like a spy) and spent a couple of years living in Siberia (yes, that frozen Russian wasteland) before moving to the UK.
 8. If you could have a superpower what would it be and why?
The power to heal other people’s pain. I am empathetic to a fault (genuinely) and often get way too upset when people I love are emotionally or physically hurt, and I can’t handle not being able to fix everything!
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 9. Name three countries you haven’t been to yet on your travel bucket list?
Ooh, fun. There are plenty of places I have already been and would love to revisit, but in keeping with the question, I’ll have to say:
·         India, where my parents lived before I was born.
·         Australia, where I have friends who tell me the country is amazing and ask why I haven’t moved there yet.
·         Iceland, because dozens of people have told me it’s wonderful and the food is crazy and brilliant.
 10. What would your patronus memory be? (if you haven’t read Harry Potter – it’s the moment in your life when you’ve felt happiest)
The day my fiancé proposed to me. It was my birthday, over a year ago now. The proposal itself was very low-key and private (exactly as I would have chosen for it to be), and we spent the whole day alone together doing lovely things. The peace of being just the two of us followed by the excitement of telling everyone was pretty special.
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 11. You’re currently studying at Leith’s School of Food and Wine, what are you hoping to move on to after you’ve graduated from there? 
My dream is to be a food writer, working either freelance or for one of the food magazines I so love and greedily devour. I’d also love to get into recipe testing and product development, or cook book editing and production. Unfortunately, loads of other people want those jobs too because they are pretty great and few and far between! So all I can do is work as hard as I can at school and write as much as I can in my spare time, for practice – hence the blog.
 12. Of all the recipes you’ve ever tried, what’s your go-to signature dish, and is there anything you just simply can’t get right ever?
Brownies! Brownies are magic and joy, seriously. You can go from wanting some brownies to having a crackling pan of chocolate glory in your mitts in under an hour. They are endlessly adaptable, and I can always make them with ingredients I already have in the house. No one can say no to a brownie either: I recently spent hours baking several different cakes for a tea party, and despite the elaborately decorated and more unusual creations on offer, it was the brownies that disappeared from the table first.
I have to admit that when I have a spectacular kitchen failure (and it definitely does happen!) I tend to get skittish and avoid making whatever it was again for a good long while, so I can’t think of anything I’ve repeatedly failed to get right. My most recent disaster, though, was home-made hollandaise sauce. Despite having made it successfully dozens of times at school, I utterly destroyed it when making it for a home brunch recently, and nothing I did could bring it back. I am also very prone to rushing with cakes, and while I do get them right most of the time, there have been more occasions than I care to admit (and definitely more than there should have been since I know better) when I have completely ruined something by trying to get it out of the oven too soon, or out of the tin when it’s hot, or trying to ice it before it’s cool… I am an inherently impatient person and that impatience is my big kitchen nemesis!

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