I took a hiatus from Burning Down The Kitchen recently. After the vacation of doom I just was not up to doing them. Plus I'm not going to lie, I've had a couple of interviews get forgotten about by the interviewee. So for a while there I was questioning whether I wanted to continue doing these interviews. But I'll be darned if I'm going to let someone else control my world. Yes they are a lot of work to organize but for me the payoff is awesome. I get to know other bloggers so much better through this series. Plus it allows me to make recipes from other bloggers which I don't get the chance to do too often. So it has it's perks.
Like today for instance. I had the absolute privilege to get to know Carla from Chocolate Moosey better. Carla is a wickedly talented young lady.She is a very genuine individual. When you talk to Carla you feel like you're talking to an old friend. She is kind and sweet, both qualities I like in a friend. She is also hilarious which you all know I am a big fan of. She just makes you feel welcome in her world. And it's a delicious world at that.
Her blog is full of stuff I've bookmarked. We share a love of cherry, which is a good love to share. She makes amazing cherry treats like Homemade Cherry Pie Filling, One Serving Cherry Pie Ice Cream Sundae, Cinnamon Pecan Cherry Pie, Chocolate Cherry Blossoms and Candied Cherry and Bacon Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. We also share a mutual love of making ice cream. Carla has some really indulgent ice cream recipes like Cadbury Creme Egg Ice Cream, Spiced Cookie Dough Ice Cream, Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream, Skittles Ice Cream, Nutella Ice Cream. She also made some Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Magic Shell, which is wicked cool. She makes great main course meals such as Guinness Pulled Pork Sandwiches and Simple Olive Oil Pasta. She makes everything from Appetizers to Yeast Breads so scroll through her recipe archives and be prepared to be blown away.
Carla is also a wealth of knowledge. She wrote a series of posts on understanding twitter. Part 1 is "what is twitter". Part 2 is "why you should use twitter" , Part 3 is "twitter etiquette", and Part 4 is "maximizing blog traffic". She also gives photo tips. She has written posts about How to Customize White Balance, Understanding Aperature, and 5 Photography Lessons Your Manual Won't Teach You. She also has a really cool post called Why Bloggers Should Care About Mobile Design which I still need to implement on my own blog.
So sit back and get to know Carla. You will love her as much as I do.
1. How did you get started blogging?
I studied abroad in Ireland a little over 5 years ago. I was extremely homesick my last month there, to the point where I would cry every night. I'm not sure what convinced me to start a food blog, but I've always loved reading recipes growing up. Chocolate Moosey was actually my personal journal throughout high school and got revamped to a food blog.
2. What is your favourite part of it?
The community. I've been through so much this past year, and living alone doesn't help my situation either. Everyone's friendship and compassion has touched me more than anyone will ever realize.
3. Do you have a least favourite part of it?
Probably the hours of work I put into it. I had to cut back to posting three times a week. Good thing I love it so much!
4. Where do you find inspiration from?
Looking at other recipes, whether they are from books, blogs, Pinterest, friends, wherever. Most of the time, I end up changing one aspect of a recipe or turning it into a new dish entirely. I did have a dream about creating this one recipe that I still need to try.
5. Did you grow up cooking or fall in love with it as an adult?
I fell in love with it as an adult. Funny thing is my parents are not foodies. At all. Sure, they cooked for me growing up, but just your basic meals. Definitely no baking unless it was a cake mix. In fact, my mom is now baking from scratch because of me.
6. How do you balance work and blogging?
I'm probably one of the lucky few who do not have anyone to take care of - all my spare time is about me. People at work think I do nothing at night. If only they knew!
7. If you could tell home cooks one piece of advice what would that be?
Don't be afraid to fail! You're going to have a lot of great days in the kitchen, but you're also going to have a handful of bad ones. If you find yourself having things go wrong one after another, leave the kitchen, regroup your thoughts, then try again. I find that if I'm having a bad evening baking, I'll try again the next day. Most of the time I end up with better results because I had time to think what went wrong.
8. If you could give one piece of advice to fellow bloggers what would that be?
Embrace the community and don't worry about stats. I'm not saying don't completely ignore your stats (after all, I check my traffic sources every day), but you need to remember why you are blogging in the first place rather than "oh I only got x amount of page views today. What am I doing wrong?!" If you put your numbers first, blogging becomes "oh I have to post or I'll lose followers" rather than "I want to post this because I have the easiest cheesecake recipe ever and I know people will be excited because it won't crack on top." I was dying to share my Smores Hot Cocoa recipe because I was in love with it.
Don't ignore your readers. It won't kill you to say thanks (although I admit I've missed thanking once in awhile because I'm out and about - sorry!!)
9. Have you ever had any disastrous events occur in kitchen? Care to share the horror with us?
I once set spaghetti on fire. I was in college and breaking the dry pasta in half to put in the water when a tiny piece broke off and landed directly on the burner. It burst into a tiny flame, and panicking I blew it out like a birthday candle LOL Then there's the dreaded ladyfingers. First time I made them, they flattened out so much, they were like thin wafer cookies. The second time I managed to burn them to a crisp. You can't get ladyfingers cookies around here in cow country, so I made Dad buy and bring them when he visited that weekend.
10. If you could shop no holds barred in any kitchen/cooking/prop store which one would it be and why?
This one is tough! Probably Pier1 Imports for props because I could definitely spend all of my money there.
11. Pizza or pasta?
12. Red or white wine?
13. Stand mixer or hand mixer?
14. Sweet or savoury for snacking?
Sweet tooth all the way!
15. Coke or Pepsi?
16. If you could work with one celebrity chef for a day who would it be and why?
I wish I could say Julia Child! Next best thing would probably be Dorie Greenspan. Ok she's not a celebrity chef on tv, but she's a celebrity in the baking world! For those of you who don't know her, she is my favorite cookbook author. I own 6 of her books.
17. What’s your biggest kitchen fear?
I am having a tough time with this one. I am pretty ambitious when it comes to baking, although I did back out of making croissants for a post. All that layering and all that butter! I don't have a broad range of skills when it comes to cooking meals, so I need to work on that (wouldn't call it a fear though).
18. If you were stranded on an island what one kitchen item would you hope to wash up on shore?
19. Apron or no apron?
Most of the time an apron, but sometimes I get lazy and don't put it on. That's usually when I make the biggest mess then wonder why I didn't put my apron on in the first place.
20. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Is blogging still a big part of the picture?
I've been asking myself this question a lot lately, bouncing between sticking with my current career of videography or pursuing something in the culinary world. I want blogging to still be a big part, but it'll depend on how busy I get.
Dare Option- Take a photo of your baking supplies, if you are in the photo even better.
I chose to make Carla's Chocolate Cherry Brownie Cupcakes. I made a minor change simply because I don't normally like stuffed cupcakes. Too messy for miss Lunie. I need one of those handy dandy tools to do it. Then perhaps I'll become a stuffed cupcake factory. For now I just frosted them. It's what us Lunatics do. Lots and lots of frosting. Lots and lots of immensely horrible piped frosting I might add.
For the Cupcakes:
- ¾ cup flour
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla salt regular salt is okay
- ⅔ cup vanilla sugar
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- ¾ cup unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon cherry extract
For the Frosting:
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 3 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice
- ¼ teaspoon cherry extract
- Red Food Colouring
For the Cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake tins with cupcake liners or spray with non stick spray.
- Mix together in a small bowl the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- Whisk together in a large bowl both the sugars and butter until they are smooth. Whisk in the extract. Now add the eggs, one at a time, beatong well after each addition. Whisk in flour mixture you set aside earlier and mix until combined. Pour into cupcake liners and place in preheated oven for about 25 to 28 minutes for large cupcakes. About half that for mini's.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
For the Frosting:
- Whisk together the butter and sugar until well combined. Add juice, extract and food colouring and whisk again.
- Set in the fridge for a stiffer piping option or pipe immediately onto cooled cupcakes.
- Serve with a big old I love cherries and brownies smile!
I hope you enjoyed getting to know Carla better. She is such a sweetheart and I am so proud to call her a friend. You should hop on over to her blog, Chocolate Moosey and subscribe. Make sure you follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and Google+. My suggestion is to stalk her everywhere. She's totally stalkerlicious. And cherry spectacular!
I also wanted to share my October Foodie Penpal package with you today. Foodie Penpal is run by Lindsay from The Lean Green Bean. If you would like to join the Foodie Penpals you should get in touch with Lindsay. You will love the group. Once a month Lindsay matches people up to send foodie packages to each other. It's an absolute riot to get a package that personally picked out for you. I love participating each month.
This month a lovely lady named Anna got my name. She sent me the most amazing package I've ever seen. Not only did she stuff it full of stuff I loved but she wrapped each item separately and labelled them with scrapbooking letters. It was gorgeous. I got chocolate from Purdy's. It's a chocolate store in Canada that is the bomb.com. No joke folks. It's the best chocolate on the planet. I love their suckers they put out at holidays. My sis sends them to us every Christmas and we all try to make deals with each other so we can have each other's suckers. Don't judge, you'd do it too. I also got homemade jam and the most amazing homemade cookies. Honestly cannot stress enough how much I loved this package. Anna raised the bar for all future penpals. I know I'll look at home I wrap things up differently. She really went above and beyond. Thanks so much Anna.
Toodles and smoochies! xx
Murray! Glad to see the runaway in the flesh, so to speak. Already stalk Carla and love her blog and sense of humor. I can see why you all get along. 🙂
Your cupcakes are lovely and I especially like the ones with the cherries on top. Perfect touch!