Thursday, August 30, 2012

Food Tasting and Guest Speakers

It has been exactly one week now since the Food Bloggers Conference. I've been procrastinating starting some assignments which are due at the end of September and am currently decorating an exciting cake I can't wait to share with you. For now though, here is the final blog post in the trilogy that was the Food Bloggers Conference.

We were so honoured to have some amazing guest speakers throughout our two day conference. Jared Gulian from Moon over Martinborough entertained us with his amazing story of how blogging lead him to create some amazing olive oil. We were so lucky to be treated to a bottle of Moon Over Martinborough olive oil which I cannot wait to try! Next we had Alison Brook who is head of publishing at Harper Collins NZ with lots of fantastic tips on how to get published. Lucy Corry (from the Kitchen Maid) then spoke to us about the importance of our blog content where I picked up some great tips and ideas. Later, Sarah Meikle from Positively Wellington Tourism talked to us about the importance of marketing and in particular how to utilise Facebook to its full potential. On day two Rachel Taulelei from Yellow Brick Road talked about sustainable fishing and seafood which was a real eye opener to me! How lucky were we to get all those fantastic speakers in two amazing days?!

Food Bloggers Conference
Jared from Moon over Martinborough

Food Bloggers Conference
Lucy from the Kitchen Maid

On day two we were treated to a mini masterclass and tasting with Little Penang (a Malaysian restaurant in Wellington). The team at Little Penang were so good to us! They taught us how to make a traditional dessert and delicious a salad. We then had the honour of devouring six courses from their amazing menu. I have to be honest, my nose was a little runny, I'm so bad with spicy food now -I need to eat more!

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The team at Little Pengang show us how to make Malaysian sweets

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Traditional Malaysian sweet for when a baby girl is born 

Food Bloggers Conference

Food Bloggers Conference

Food Bloggers Conference

Food Bloggers Conference

Keeping with the Asian food theme, Vicky Ha fromthe Dumpling House showed us how to make dumplings. This class was so much fun, though Vicky can probably knock out a hundred dumplings in a minute, we all managed to make a descent looking dumpling in the end. The Dumpling Queen even showed us how to make sweet dumplings which I had never heard of. I was a little sceptical about eating the shrimp dumpling as I don't generally eat shellfish but I gave it a try and it wasn't bad! Just tasted a little fishy, I think it's the texture that gets me! Unfortunately I didn't get to try a sweet dumpling but they look fabulous!

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Vicky shows us a sweet dumpling

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Shrimp filled

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My masterpiece!

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Our little creations, don't they look good?

Chris Archer from State of Vines introduced us to "Bottled Happiness" which we all agreed was an appropriate name. We taste tested the lovely Ritzling wine with a squeeze of lime juice and were even lucky enough to have a bottle in our goody bags!

Food Bloggers Conference
Chris from State of Vines

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Bottled Happiness

I think my favourite tasting had to have been Six Barrel Soda's delicious syrups. Joseph Slater took us through his journey in making fresh and real flavoured sodas. You wouldn't believe the difference in the taste, if I had the option I would never drink Coke again and drink his homemade stuff (made with Kola nuts and all sorts of other yummy spices). Can't wait to get my hand on some here in Auckland, I hear Little and Friday are stocking it now!

Food Bloggers Conference
Joseph from Six Barrel Soda

Food Bloggers Conference
Kola nut, lemon and ginger syrups 

One thing that left us all gob smacked was the huge amount and variety in our goody bags. These sponsors really knew how to spoil us! We had everything from coffee and vanilla to tea and peanut butter. Then, as if we weren't spoilt enough, the amazing team at New Zealand Chocolate Festival gave us ANOTHER goody bag filled with delicious chocolate goodies! Oh my goodness! Confession time: I've been snacking on chocolate and brownies and other bad-for-you-but-tastes-amazing goodies from the bags all week! Help! Thank you so much to the amazing sponsors for all the tasty treats, Mr S is enjoying them too! Another big thanks for the New Zealand Food Bloggers Association and in particular Shirleen and Allison for organising the whole thing. The conference was such a success and we couldn't have done it without you!

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Goody bag from the food bloggers conference

Food Bloggers Conference
Goody bag from NZ Chocolate Festival

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Shirleen from Sugar and Spice

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Allison from Pease Pudding

It has been so amazing meeting all these fantastic food bloggers from around New Zealand. There are blogs I never knew existed and it's great to put faces to the names I already know.
I had my doubts about going to the Food Bloggers Conference at first. Not because of the content but because now that I'm studying I have to watch what I spend and going down to Wellington for a two day conference isn't exactly cost effective BUT I'm so glad I did! I can't believe how much I learned! You'll be happy to know that I've taken on board what some of our talented speakers talked about and have started up a Twitter accounts (Lydiabakes) as well as started up another blog (Pecan Tales) just for my cat Pecan (as per Lucy's advise). I hope that you've enjoyed my account of those two magical days, now I can't wait for next years conference!

16 comments :

  1. Goodness, you've covered it very well in three posts but, as I am finding, there's a lot to write about. Well done to get them posted before the week was up too.

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    1. Hi Lesley,
      Thank you! Yes I wasn't sure how to tackle it really, it seemed too long for one post and I had bagillions of photos! Now my blogging life can get back to normal haha! Can't wait to read up on your blog too!

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  2. Great post Lydia....cannot believe a week has already passed!

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    1. Hi Mairi,
      Yes time has flown pretty fast, it's Spring already! When did that happen?

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  3. I have some of those moulds - some antique ones and some new ones. I thought they were for moon cakes (i got them in Taiwan). do you have the recipe for the Malaysian cake for a baby girl? Would love to try them, as I do not care for moon cake.

    Alison

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    1. Hi Alison,
      Sorry I don't have the recipe! I just Googled and found this one which I think is the same thing: http://nyonyafood.rasamalaysia.com/angku-kuih-red-tortoise-cake/2/
      Good luck! Let me know how you go if you decide to make them!

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  4. Yum @grace cakes - thanks for the recipe. I haven't liked bean flavoured dumplings until I tried them again this time. I'm definitely going to have a go....I saw some of the wooden moulds at one of the Chinese grocery stores here in Wellington so I might go back and check out how much they cost!

    Lovely photos from the conference!

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    1. That's okay! Took a while to find it because I had no idea what the name was for it haha! That's so cool that you're going to make them, you should do a blog post on them! Haha!

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  5. Great round up of the conference Lydia and lovely meeting you, how funny you have started up a new blog for your cat!

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    1. Hey Allison,
      Thank you! Yes the cat blog is a bit of fun on the side, actually my husband said he would run it for me but so far hasn't haha!
      Thank you so much for all the hard work you put into the conference, I cannot wait for next years!

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  6. Great round-up Lydia, and loads of great photos too. Loving your cat blog as well :-)

    Sue

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    1. Hey Sue!

      Thank you so much! Oh I'm glad you're liking Pecan's blog! Got such a big back log of kitten photos to get through until I start posting more recent photos of her but it's nice to reminisce on the old days when she was tiny!

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  7. You were a fantastic group to speak to. I was so lucky to get to share my story with you. Hope you enjoyed the olive oil!

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    1. Thanks Jared, I did enjoy the olive oil indeed, it was such a lovely gift! Thank you for sharing your amazing story with us all!

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    2. I hope you don't mind that I quoted you on our olive oil page! http://moonovermartinborough.com/olive-oil/

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    3. Not at all! That's a great page!

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