Hello, and welcome to my kitchen, The Sweetest Kitchen. I have compiled a list of questions so that you may get to know me and my blog just a little bit better.
Who are you?
My name is Jamieanne and I am 34 years old with 4 young children and an Australian husband. We live in Sydney, Australia, but I myself was originally born and raised in a cornfield in Indiana, USA.
What do you like to do besides bake and blog?
I love taking pictures of anything and collecting stuff. I have a wide variety of photos at Flickr you can browse through and I have 18 cameras – all but three are film cameras and most are vintage. I love them. My most favorite camera is my Zenit E, which is an early 1970s film SLR camera made in Russia.
I’m also huge fan of 80’s toys, like Rainbow Brite and My Little Pony. I have a few vintage ponies, and unfortunately all I have from my old Rainbow Brite collection is the big plush Starlight horse.
Before I had children I loved to read (and I’ll resume reading once my children are old enough to brush their own teeth and go to bed on their own, etc.). I love reading about astronomy and different theories as to how life began and how the universe came into being (science-related theories, that is). My most favorite author on the subject is Carl Sagan. And my most favorite books are The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy series by Douglas Adams.
Why did you start a food blog?
I originally started this blog in May 2008 at Blogspot and it was called The Cupcake Review – I only made cupcakes at that time. As I started to expand by baking other types of food I discovered that I needed more flexibility than what Blogspot offered. On March 3, 2009, The Sweetest Kitchen was born.
I started a food blog for a few different reasons, but mainly because I love food (especially sweets) and I love to share what I bake. I focused on cupcakes because I love combining different flavors and discovering new, interesting recipes. I also love cupcakes because they are super cute and they come in just the right size.
I don’t write a lot of my own recipes, but I generally take a recipe that I find online and alter it (if allowed) if needed. All recipes on my blog are credited to their respectful owners, or to the source, and a link is provided if available. If you find a recipe on my blog that is yours and it is not credited to you, please inform me so that I may correct it.
All photographs on my blog are my own, unless credited otherwise.
What do you do when you’re not blogging or baking?
I try to entertain my four children! I am always feeding them, playing with them, taking them to school, buying them clothes, and, you know, all those things that moms do. I do most of the cleaning (my husband cleans the bathrooms and I do the rest) and all the grocery shopping. When I’m not doing any mom things, my very favorite thing to do (besides baking), is chatting with my friends over a cup of coffee. In my free time, I’m usually browsing Foodgawker, researching recipes, reading my favorite blogs, checking out the latest foodie magazines or finding new stuff to buy!
What kind of camera do you use?
All pictures prior to March 29, 2011 were taken with a Nikon Coolpix 5400. Pictures after that date are taken with my brand new and first ever digital SLR, a Nikon D3100, which the readers and fans of The Sweetest Kitchen helped me win in a photo competition! Some photos are minimally edited in Snapseed – brightness, contrast, etc.
Why do all of your more recent photos look the same?
I have a reason for this! The short of it is that I want my photos to be recognizable as the Sweetest Kitchen’s photos to hopefully prevent others from stealing my photos. After discovering that one of my photos was being used, without permission, to advertise someone else’s products, I decided to put watermarks on all of my photos (I’m still working on getting watermarks on my earlier photos). To take it a step further, I designated a certain spot on our dining room table that receives good lighting to be my main set for photos, to make them each appear generally the same and recognizable. I do change the props around for each photo, but generally the main ambiance of each of my more recent photos is the same.
What do you like about food?
I love all types of food for their different flavors and I think it is utterly amazing that one can turn a few separate, plain-looking pieces of food into a masterpiece of art and flavor.
I prefer baking over cooking. Baking is indeed a science and it can be temperamental and demanding of precise, exact ingredients, but I find the process of baking to be soothing and fun, and always a learning experience. To watch the ingredients come together in a batter, then bake up fluffy and moist is fascinating, and not only to me, but my children as well.
Have you always been interested in baking?
I certainly have. One of my earliest memories is of helping my mom sift flour for Christmas cookies.
Another of my earliest memories regarding food is how infuriated my dad would become when my mom always undercooked the spaghetti for dinner – he liked it just past al dente. We had a lot of spaghetti, so this happened quite often. I have always remembered this and because of it, I can cook a perfect pot of spaghetti (or so my dad says, as he always give me his approval for my spaghetti)!
Do you own a lot of cookbooks?
Unfortunately, I don’t. I borrow a lot of cookbooks from the library and then copy down my favorite recipes from them. I’ve copied quite a few recipes from Donna Hay, Gordon Ramsay and Martha Stewart, and from back issues of delicious. magazine.
The cookbooks I currently own, in no particular order, are Our Family Table by Julie Goodwin, Bourke Street Bakery by Paul Allam and David McGuinness, The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook by Alyssa Torey and Jennifer Appel, The Country Cookbook by Belinda Jeffery, Cake Pops by Angie Dudley (Bakerella), Sweet by delicious. magazine, Hello, Cupcake! by Alan Richardson and Karen Tack, 30 Minute Meals by Jamie Oliver, Marion: Recipes and Stories from a Hungry Cook by Marion Grasby, The Sweet Life by Kate Bracks, Have You Eaten? by Billy Law, Zumbarons by Adriano Zumbo and Junior MasterChef: The Cookbook.
What kitchen tools could you not live without?
First of all, I could not live without my digital scales! I have a very good one that can weigh in kilograms/grams and pounds/ounces. Digital scales are absolutely essential in baking, especially when the recipe only gives ingredient amounts in grams or ounces.
Second of all, my whisk! I use a whisk for stirring together dry ingredients, whipping cream or eggs. I don’t know what it is about whisks, but I just love them.
Third of all, but definitely not last, is the ultimate kitchen tool – my KitchenAid mixer, Katie. I would be lost without her. I won Katie from Billy who blogs at A Table For Two and is a former MasterChef Australia 2011 contestant!
Where do you buy supplies and props for your blog?
I buy props from the Op Shop (i.e. Goodwill), Oz Backdrops & Props, Ruby Rabbit, Williams Sonoma, Emerald & Ella, Donna Hay and Kitchenware Direct. While I lived in the US, Bake It Pretty was my go-to shop. In regard to supplies, I am particular to certain brands. For vanilla extracts and pastes, I shop at Beanilla. For chocolate, I use Lindt. Other chocolate brands I’ve used are Green & Black’s and Whittaker’s, but I’d usually choose Lindt when faced with options. For cocoa powder, I use Valrhona. If I want a less intense chocolate, I’d choose Droste or Van Houten. And I always use free-range eggs.
Who are some of your favorite chefs and food personalities?
I like Valli Little, Nigella Lawson, Donna Hay, Gordon Ramsay, Masaharu Morimoto, Alton Brown and I love Matt Preston.
Do you watch any food shows on TV?
Of course! I used to watch Top Chef while in the US, as well as Iron Chef Japan and Iron Chef America, and Hell’s Kitchen. I also liked Alton Brown’s Good Eats because of the way he explained the science behind how the recipe came together. I love Ace of Cakes as well! Now that I’m in Australia, I really like Masterchef.
What are some of your favorite foods?
My ultimate favorite food is sushi, followed by mostly any Italian pasta dish, then followed by curries, my favorite being butter chicken. My favorite dessert is basically anything with chocolate in it. And I love a good coffee more than anything.
Where’s the most interesting place that you’ve eaten?
I’d definitely have to say that my meal at the top of Centerpoint Tower in Sydney is the most interesting place I’ve been to eat. My husband, then-boyfriend, took me and my mother there in 1999. It was quite spectacular, as the restaurant actually revolves so that you get to see a 360° view of the city while you eat. The portions were so tiny however, that we left still feeling hungry, despite the fact that our meal had cost nearly $200.
Do you have plans to turn your love of food into a business?
Right now in my life I am a leisure baker. Having previously worked as a veterinary nurse and a sales associate in a fish and aquariums shop, my resume would hardly be appealing to any bakery! Eventually though, as my children transition into “big kid” school, I hope to obtain a position in a bakery.
How can I help you with your blog?
If you’d like to help me maintain my blog, you can donate to my website hosting bill or make a donation to my PayPal account to help me buy more products to bake with. Thank you for considering a donation!
Click above to donate to my PayPal account for my purchases specifically aimed at improving my blog!
You could also help by suggesting recipes to me via email or a comment on my blog or Facebook page (see link in my sidebar)!
Thanks for visiting my kitchen, I hope you have found something here that inspires you to get into the kitchen and bake. If you have any questions at all about a recipe, please leave a comment or send me an email. If you’ve made something you’ve seen here, leave a comment to let everyone know how much you liked (or didn’t like!) it. I hope to see you here again soon!
You may contact me via email at sweetestkitchen AT gmail.com.
I’ve been featured on Cupcakes Take The Cake for my…
- matcha cupcakes on June 19, 2008
- watermelon cupcakes on June 29, 2008
- cupcake pops on July 18, 2008
- Nutella cupcakes on September 8, 2008
- Jupiter cupcakes on November 13, 2008
- matcha cocoa cupcakes on December 5, 2008
- I was a guest blogger on December 9, 2008
- featured in a watermelon cupcake roundup on June 3, 2009
- ice cream cupcakes on June 11, 2009
- featured in an ice cream cupcakes article July 17, 2009
- dulce de leche pumpkin cupcakes October 13, 2009
- chocolate salted dulce de leche cupcakes on March 5, 2010
- banana coconut cupcakes with creme fraiche frosting on June 16, 2010
- zombie hand Halloween cupcakes on October 11, 2010
- UFO cupcakes on August 24, 2011
- zombie blood Halloween cupcakes on November 1, 2012
- My zombie hand Halloween cupcakes were #9 on the 12 best Halloween cupcakes of St Louis’ River Front Times on October 8, 2010
- My zombie hand Halloween cupcakes were featured on The Storque at Etsy for Halloween ideas on October 7, 2010
- My pumpkin dulce de leche Halloween cupcakes were mentioned on Slashfood for best Halloween baking on October 18, 2010
- Selected recipes and photos from my blog included in the book Little Treats published by Foulsham Publishers in August 2011
- My zombie hand cupcakes photo is featured on the zombie hand cupcake topper product page at Bake It Pretty.
Competitions I’ve won…
- My Jupiter cupcakes won a National Geographic competition on Nov. 25, 2008
- My matcha cocoa cupcakes won Iron Cupcake: Earth in December 2008
- My matcha cranberry cupcakes won second place in Green Tea Powder’s matcha contest on Dec. 6, 2009
- My avocado ice cream won ABC delicious. magazine’s Share the Love Facebook competition on July 10, 2013