Some people are quick to blame the internet for the downfall of courtesy, culture, community, the breakdown of society… you name it. Social media in particular is singled out as a poor substitute for “real” social interaction, dismissed as a tool beloved by the socially awkward. But many of us know this for the fallacy it so clearly is; having supplemented rather than replaced our real world social lives with a global web of friendships based on shared interests and discussions held online, we understand that the internet has simply opened up more of the world to us. Instead of struggling to find people within our local communities that share a love of the topics that arouse our interests, we can look further afield and make connections with folks from far-flung places. I know that these connections are true and meaningful; having met in real life many very dear friends I first found online. To me, it feels like a modern version of penpals; I enjoyed corresponding with several when I was a little girl.
Celia, based in Sydney, Australia is one such friend. The chances of us meeting in real life are probably remote (though I live in hope), but somehow we connect via our shared love of food, growing our own fruit and vegetables and our family experiences. I adore Celia’s blog, Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. And in the few short minutes that we’re both online at the same time, early morning for one of us, late at night for the other, we exchange a snatch of giggled messages before one of us starts their day and the other heads to bed.
Hello and welcome, please introduce yourself and tell us a little about the kind of content you share.
Morning lovely Kavey!
My husband Pete and I live with our now adult sons in an old house in the Inner West of Sydney, Australia. We bake our own sourdough bread, have chickens in the backyard and try to make as much as we can from scratch. A few years ago we ripped up the backyard lawn that no-one ever mowed and converted the space to large vegetable beds – we now have a messy, occasionally productive garden with mutant squash, rampant tomatoes and a resident frog.
We share our adventures through our blog Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. It’s an inconsistent rambling record of our lives with recipes, photos and the occasional post about cats pouncing on testicles.
Is there a story behind your blog’s name?
Not really! We were making fig jam and lime cordial the weekend that I started the blog, so that became the name!
Tell us the story of your most spectacular kitchen failure!
Oh the infamous “Apricot Lamb”. For some reason, I decided that since I’d enjoyed my mother’s apricot chicken as a small child, I was sure to love apricot lamb made with tinned apricots in syrup. It’s become a standard warning now whenever my food combinations get a little too “creative” – “beware the apricot lamb”…
You blog regularly about bread baking and chocolate-making; what is it about bread and chocolate that appeals to you so strongly?
You know, after tempering and baking for nearly ten years, I *still* feel clever whenever my chocolates pop out of their moulds cleanly, or when a loaf of sourdough rises and browns to perfection. I find it incredibly soul-satisfying – there’s something very rewarding about seeing the finished products lined up on the bench!
Which food writers / chefs do you find most inspirational and in the same spirit, are there any particular cookery books you cherish more than the others on your shelf?
I’m a big Jamie Oliver fan from his Naked Chef days – I find his recipes work consistently well. Adore Hugh FW – his River Cottage series inspired much of our lifestyle. Lately I’ve been drawn to chef authors such as April Bloomfield, David Tanis and Fergus Henderson. Oh, and I’ve always been a Jacques Pepin fan – the very first cooking show I ever watched was his Today’s Gourmet series. In bread terms, I’m particularly fond of Dan Lepard’s The Handmade Loaf and Richard Bertinet’s Dough – both were integral to my baking journey.
If I were coming for dinner, what would you cook for me?
Ooh, now there’s a question Kavey. Hmm. Chestnut flour brownies for dessert, and I’d work backwards from there. Lots of sourdough, baked that morning. Maybe a pulled pork based main – I’ve been a bit obsessed with pulled pork this year!
What’s the single piece of kitchen equipment you wouldn’t be without? (It doesn’t have to be electrical)
I had the perfect silicone spoon – it had a wooden handle with a silicone head with *just* the right amount of resistance in it when pushing food around a frypan. Eventually the head cracked and the handle splintered, and I spend a year looking for a replacement. I eventually found the perfect substitute by Chasseur – and bought six of them. As one does.
What’s your kitchen white elephant?
The bloody box grater. It’s not a true white elephant in that it does get used, but we can’t seem to get one that does what we want! The first one was sharp, but all the plastic cracked when it went through the dishwasher, and the one we bought to replace it was rubbish. The quest continues…
Is there a particular cuisine or style of cooking that you seek out most often when dining out? What about when cooking at home?
When we do dine out, which isn’t very often, we look for culturally interesting cuisine – something new and interesting that we haven’t tried before. I would happily never eat at a fine dining restaurant again – I’d much rather have large shared platters and pots of stew!
Which single dish could you not live without?
What do you love about eating out?
I’ve finally figured out that I don’t like eating out much at all. I love spending time with friends, but honestly, we could eat in a food court for all I care. I’m rarely excited about restaurant food, and even when I am, I often can’t remember what I ate the next day. Cooking at home is different – those taste memories seem to be stored in a different part of my brain.
What are the biggest turn offs for you, when eating out?
Snobby service first, followed by bland food.
Since you started blogging, has your style and content changed over time, and if so, in what ways?
I think I’ve become better at structuring a post, but I don’t think the style has changed much. My friends often tell me they can “hear” my voice in my posts, which makes me very happy. I’m not very consistent with content – I’ve always just blabbed on about whatever I’m interested in at any given time, and that’s not always food. Or it might be three bread posts in a row, which probably bores many of my readers silly (the ones I know ring me up to tell me).
What are you absolutely loving cooking, eating, doing right now?
Playing with crystal beads and turning loops in wire – I’m having a brief jewellery making revival at the moment. I’ve sent out a heap of sourdough starter to friends and we’ve all been baking virtually over Twitter – I’ve been loving that! I’ve discovered the most perfect candied orange segments and have been dipping them in tempered origin dark chocolate – I can’t seem to stop because I keep eating the ones I’m making to give away.
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Blog URL: http://figjamandlimecordial.com/
Twitter handle: https://twitter.com/celiafigjam
Enjoyed this interview? Read the rest of my Meet The Blogger series, here.
Please leave a comment - I love hearing from you!25 Comments to "Meet The Blogger | Celia from Fig Jam & Lime Cordial"
Kavey, the thing I love most about Fig Jam and Lime Cordial is Celia’s storytelling. Her warmth and personality really come through. It is the thing I have the most difficulty with as an introverted blogger. My post this Thursday (I post only on Thursdays) will be my first In the Kitchen post for Celia.
Hi Jean, I can only suggest writing just as you talk to friends. Like Celia, the biggest compliment I’ve been given is they friends tell me they can hear my regular voice in my writing. I’m glad because, above all, my blog is an extension of me.
Thank you darling Kavey! I’m now not sure I should have mentioned testicles…ah well. 🙂
Oh no no it’s perfect. X
I absolutely love this series & love finding new bloggers to read 🙂
Thank you Anyonita, glad you are enjoying!
Oh boy I am drooling over those orange segments.
They really do look luscious, don’t they?
Celia is one of THE most inspiring people I’ve ever ‘met.’ We also share a large ocean in between us, but our friendship is of the kindred kind. In fact, she was one of the reasons why I started my blog 😉
Fig Jam and Lime Cordial is not just a blog- it’s a community. People are friendly. They want to share. There’s no place I’d rather spend my time online, than chatting it up with like minds from around the world. Whether it’s bread, chocolate (or both!) Celia’s words are authentic. And that’s what I love.
I so very much enjoyed reading this article! Thank you for sharing with us.
But Celia forgot to mention one thing- she’d cook you that pulled pork in her beloved Romie!
Hello Emilie, so lovely to meet you and yes, that community aspect of blogging is wonderful. And yes, would have to be something in the romie!
Hi there…. thanks so much for this wonderful article about Celia… what a gem of a lady she is…
Completely agree, thank you for reading!
What a lovely piece and what excellent questions to ask! Actually, I think Celia is a something of an unsung national treasure. I love her to bits.
Thank you, have had such fun with the questions!
What a great post! I’ve been following Celia for quite a while, but I love the Q & A !
Thank you so much!
Love, love, love that Celia’s beautiful blog may enrich a few more lives via this post. Like you, Celia has become a dear friend who I am unlikely to meet. Her blog is a beacon of an example to stay true to yourself (and avoid reading all those posts about what you ‘have to’ do to make a succesful blog). There is nothing run of the mill about the incredibly inspiring posts that Celia issues at a volume that makes my mind boggle.
Yes I agree wholeheartedly. Stay true to oneself, that definitely applies to Celia’s blog!
Celia has really changed my life with her inspiration as well as the people who are attracted to her kitchen hosting series. She is ever helpful and supportive and I’m so happy to see you running this article about her. Also, it has introduced me to your blog!
Hello Ardys, lovely to meet you! Completely agree, Celia is such an inspiring and inclusive blogger. Thank you so much for visiting!
Hi Kavey – so lovely to see Celia and some of her ‘enthusiasms’ profiled and how wonderful to hear that you keep in touch via Twitter. Celia’s warmth and caring are so clearly seen in her blog – with all the tips of where to get things, what apps to use and how to make things other than her delicious food…she is an absolute inspiration! Her monthly In My Kitchen series is a testament to her in that so many of the bloggers who join in, visit pretty much all the blogs that month and we have come to know each others kitchens so well as a result. Thanks for profiling Celia – I hadn’t seen all the chocolate photos – those chocolate covered orange slices look amazing!
Selma, thank you so much for visiting and taking the time to comment. I’m keen to join Celia’s In My Kitchen series myself, so very happy to hear how much of a community it is!
Lovely to meet you Celia
I’ve only recently found Celia’s wonderful blog and have read through her posts from the very beginning, finding many delicious recipes as I go. I’m up to January 2015 and found a link to your interview, which I’ve enjoyed. I love Celia’s enthusiasm for all she does and how she conveys it to her readers. Her generosity of mind and community spirit shines through in every post.
I have the deepest oh love for Celia, she’s such a unique and special person, her blog really showcases that so well. I’m so glad you enjoyed the interview!