Tag Archives: Blogging

Guess who’s back, back again?

Mel is back!  Tell a friend.  And yes, I’m totally paraphrasing Eminem (13 year old Mel would be soooo proud – that song was the shit).  So anyway, hello there.  If anybody’s still there?  After six months of silence, I doubt anybody still follows Sharky Oven Gloves, but hey, one never knows.

Just in case somebody is still hanging around, desperately hoping that I might rock up again (because obviously, why wouldn’t you?), I do apologise for my abrupt and unexplained disappearance.  I wasn’t planning on taking such a massive blogging break.  Actually, I wasn’t planning on taking a break at all…

I started Sharky Oven Gloves because I wanted somewhere to gather together my favourite recipes, as well as an outlet for all my food chat.  Along the way I discovered the food blogging community.  And it was wonderful.  For a while.  About a year ago, I began to notice a few bloggers with a bit of a toxic attitude.  And I ignored it.  But that attitude began to permeate across the “blogosphere” and I became increasingly dispirited by how out-of-touch certain food bloggers sounded and by the number of reviews that were beginning to appear that were clearly just an avenue to get further freebies or of products completely irrelevant to food blogs (like… holidays or ferry routes, excuse me what?) that were beginning to appear.  In fact, it made me angry.

Quite frankly, I became so completely disenchanted that I decided to step away for just a week or so and take a few deep breaths.  But as more and more of those suspiciously-positive (a cynic might even say PR-arse-licking…) reviews clogged up my Feedly, my short break of a few weeks turned into a month… two months… and suddenly six months.  Oh.  Woops.  But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been spending time in the kitchen – meals were still cooked, cakes were still baked and jam was still made.

Summery stone fruit cake

I just didn’t have the enthusiasm to blog about any of them – between taking photos, editing them and writing up posts, blogging eats up a lot of time.  And because my heart wasn’t really in it anymore, blogging became a chore.  Taking full advantage of it being summer and living in a coastal idyll was a much more inviting use of my time.  Also the whole PhD thing.

Surfing in Waipu Cove

Over the last few months, I’ve made some changes – I’ve unfollwed those toxic bloggers, which I should have done sooner.  Way sooner.  For some reason, I felt that I should follow the big bloggers because they were important in some way.  Well guess what?  They’re not.  I’m not saying that because I’m a tiny little blogger, but because following a blog that irks me is not healthy, and I don’t gain anything good from it.  At all.  (Rocket science, I know.)  Consequently, I’ve been looking for blogs written by lovely, genuine people.  I’ve found several really great NZ-based blogs, but all suggestions of other blogs to check out are welcome!  I also feel revitalised, and once I’m back into the swing of things properly, I’m going to try to get more involved in the NZ food blogging scene.  Because it just makes sense – lovely people in the same country as me = no-brainer.

So there you go, a little explanation of my sudden disappearance.  No recipe today, but look out for one next week.

In the meantime, enjoy the rest of your day, wherever you are in the world!

Pancakes!  Brunch for the win.

 

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Sharky Oven Gloves turns two!

Guess what?  Guess what?  Today is Sharky Oven Gloves‘ second birthday (in case you haven’t read the title of the blog post…).  Exciting stuff!  And what the blog title doesn’t tell you is that this also happens to be my 200th blog post.  I can’t quite wrap my head around both of those facts.  Two years’ of blogging and 200 blog posts.  Goodness.  That’s a fair bit of procrastination…

A fair bit has happened since my first blog birthday , so here’s a little re-cap:

One tamarillo & walnut cake.

  • I managed to make some rather spiffing stollen, which I must admit is my only ever successful foray into baking with yeast, so I’m still pretty chuffed about that.

Drip drip drop, little caramel… uhm… drips.  Uhm, ya…

  • One of our technicians doesn’t eat egg, so I’ve ventured into occasional egg-free baking over the last few months, which is not something I’ve ever actively done before – most of the egg-free baking I’ve done before has been by accident more than an actual decision to make a recipe egg-free, so it’s been interesting.  Learning about the banana substitution trick certainly helped.
  • I won “best-tasting” in a baking competition with some “radioactive” lemon macarons (ok there wasn’t a great deal of competition, but still…), which was totally exciting.

The irony of a French person bringing in nuclear-themed baked goods to a baking competition in New Zealand is not lost on me.

  • Something I decided to try for my Kir macarons ended up sparking a minor obsession with swirly-shelled macarons, and I’ve since tried the effect out in my Mojito macarons, the non-radioactive version of my lemon macarons and my Leiter Fluid macarons.  So basically all of the macarons I’ve made since arriving in NZ.  Perhaps I should calm down on the swirly shells a little.  (But they’re so pretty…)

When you've run out of wine… fill the glass with macarons.  Sorted.

  • A few months ago I started my weekly Sunday Smiles feature, a weekly recap of things that have made me smile or laugh through the week.  It’s something a little different and all about focussing on the positive things in life.

Drinking gin out of an Edinburgh Gin glass is as close as I can get to real Edinburgh Gin here.  Sad times.

Now, today is also St Andrew’s Day, which I feel is largely eclipsed by Burns’ Night by Scots actually in Scotland, but celebrated by many Scots abroad (at least that’s the case based on my experience – it’s funny how as an expat you suddenly latch on to any excuse to celebrate your home country).  So to celebrate Sharky Oven Gloves‘ second birthday and 200th post and St Andrew’s Day, I decided that I’d post a Scottish recipe but with a Kiwi twist as a nod to my current home.  Hokey pokey is a crunchy butterscotch honeycomb type thing and very popular here apparently (especially in ice-cream it seems), so I thought it would be a fabulous idea to make hokey pokey shortbread.  Now, if I’d thought about it, I’d have realised that putting hokey pokey, which mostly consists of sugar and air, in the oven was not a good idea at all, but I went full steam ahead (I hope I get points for enthusiasm).  Result: the hokey pokey melted in the oven leaving unattractive cavities of caramelised sugar all over the shortbread.  Bugger.

Oh…  101 Dalmatians-themed shortbread anyone?  Ahem.

Of course, I could have just glossed over this particular experiment and pretended that it never happened, but you know, I figured I might as well give you a laugh.  And hey, sometimes I have kitchen failures.  Well ok, the shortbread wasn’t a total failure because it still tasted good, but it certainly wasn’t presentable…  Anyway, I even made a shark fin-shaped shortbread biscuit especially for the occasion, which sort of morphed out of shape a little – perhaps failed shark fins could be a theme for blog birthdays.

So I fed the failed shark fin shortbread to Toothy.  Obviously.

Anyway, giggle away at my recipe mishap, and here’s to another year of blogging, of both successes and failures (but mostly successes).

Enjoy the rest of your day, wherever you are in the world!

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Sharky Oven Gloves turns one!

Today is an exciting day, because it’s my Blog Birthday!  (Blogirthday?  Blorthday?  Blirthday?  Who knows…)

One year ago today, I posted my very first post.  A very short one, which was clearly not a sign of things to come, since I think by now we’ve established that being concise really isn’t my strong point.

Sharky Oven Gloves was an idea that I first ran past Kat whilst queuing for Christmas Ball tickets at some stupid time in the early morning in the snow (oh St Andrews, how I miss your crazy ball ticket queuing strategies), and I thought I’d give it a go and see what blogging was like.  I’ll be perfectly honest – I started more or less out of procrastination whilst working on my Dissertation (of Doom).  It was a great way to get away from the frustration of data analysis which was telling me pretty much nothing except that some bycatch observers can’t tell the difference between certain shark and ray species (which is rather soul-destroying when your dissertation is based around observer data).  However, blogging rapidly became a new form of stress relief which conveniently incorporated my usual method of stress relief (cooking and baking).  It was so refreshing and almost relaxing to be able to just write something in a non academic context, and to not have to back-up every single statement with 56 references.  In the year that has passed since starting Sharky Oven Gloves, there have been several important (and not so important) milestones and events:

  • I finally tried making macarons.  The first few tries were rather dubious, but I think I’ve got the hang of it now!  I’ve definitely got the hang of stuffing them with alcohol.
  • I discovered how easy it is to make blueberry gin.  Cue plenty of alcohol infusion ideas (some of which have been carried out, some of which are on the waiting list).
  • I accidentally found out that there’s a World Nutella Day and a World Gin Day.  My life is complete.
  • The tradition of epic animal-themed birthday cakes appears to have been started.  We’ve had seal pupsmeerkats and killer whales.  What will next year bring?  Or will it be a different theme?
  • Blog challenges appeared on my radar and I decided to join in with some of them.  It turns out that it’s a fabulous way to engage with other bloggers and get involved in the community.
  • I finally made crêpes for the first time since an unfortunate incident involving my crêpe pan and some tuna steaks.
  • I went to the St Andrews Farmers’ Market for the first time.  I’d only lived there for three and a half years…
  • I stacked all the odds against myself and still managed to successfully make chartreuse soufflés.  Still not entirely sure how that happened.
  • There was a Royal Wedding which involved some pretty famous St Andrews alumni.  William and Kate – I don’t know if you’ve heard of them?
  • After somehow managing to survive for several months on 4-5 hours of sleep a night (I’m pretty sure that I’m still paying for this), the Dissertation of Doom was handed in.  On time and everything.
  • I graduated.  That’s right.  Sharky Oven Gloves BSc (Hons) if you please (not to sound pompous or anything…).  Oh and did I mention that I graduated with the national treasure that is Sir David Attenborough.  No biggie.
  • After four years of learning valuable life lessons, I moved from my beloved St Andrews down to Edinburgh, which is one of my home towns, but this is the first time I’ve lived here.  It’s only temporary though – I have an announcement regarding that, but I’m waiting until everything is finalised, hopefully soon…

I feel I should have some ground-breaking blogging revelations or something, but I’m afraid that I don’t, and I really don’t feel that I’m established enough as a blogger to venture into the “my tips for blogging” territory.  So I think I’ll leave it there for today (being the super-concise person that I am and all).  Oh except one little thing – I’ve set up a Sharky Oven Gloves facebook page!  And did you notice the little shark fin RSS button up at the top of the left-hand column?  I won’t tell you how long it took me to make it, but it was a long and arduous journey which taught me that I really suck at graphic design.  I’m still tweaking it a little, but please do let me know what you think!  There should be facebook and twitter fins joining it in the next few days, so look out for those…

So on that note, Happy Birthday Sharky Oven Gloves (is it weird to wish your own blog a happy birthday?  Seriously, what’s the protocol on this whole blog birthday thing?), here’s to another year of blogging fun made up of ramblings, recipes and general adventures…

In case you haven’t guessed, the grey blob is supposed to be a shark fin, and not a random rock poking out of the sea as my Mum thought.  The icing was pretty gloopy and uncooperative so it didn’t quite work as well as I’d hoped (clearly).  I’ll aim to work on my shark fins for next year…

Enjoy the rest of your day!

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