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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Grab Your Fork on 702AM Sydney

The 702 waiting room

Phew! Live radio is nerve wracking!

EDITED 29 OCT 09: If you missed my interview on ABC 702 Weekends this morning, you can listen to the entire segment by clicking play on the embedded video below.

As I entered the studio with fellow guests John Newton and Michelle Cranston, host Simon Marnie leant over to me and said "There's been a lot of interest in your interview by your readers on the blog, hasn't there? I'd better be on my best behaviour!"

We donned headsets and waited for the red light to go on, indicating we were on air. I was quietly petrified, mesmerised by the softly quivering filter in front of my microphone. Simon did the weather and traffic reports by referring to two different computer screens and then we were off talking about cook books, recipes, writing and blogs.

Now that it's over, I realise there is so much more I could've said. Should've said. And I wish I could've named every single food blog in Australia.

Nevertheless it's great to see the ABC embracing food blogs and bringing this new frontier of food writing into the foreground. Thank goodness for Simon's warm and friendly chattiness throughout the interview, keeping the topics churning merrily along. Plus he reads this blog, so he must have good taste :)

He certainly enjoyed the coconut macaroons I brought along to the interview (how can you talk about food without eating it at the same time?). John and Michelle also gave these the thumbs up. This is one of the easiest recipes in the world with just two ingredients: shredded coconut and condensed milk. It's the kind of thing you could get the kids to do one lazy afternoon.

I first heard about this recipe from Nanny J who made a similar version for our recent afternoon tea party. Searches on the internet show it's quite a common recipe, and, funnily enough, the recipes are often prefaced with the introduction "my grandma used to make these".

Coconut macaroons
(as eaten by Simon Marnie!)

These are a quick and simple way of making macaroons without the fuss of egg whites. The condensed milk will caramelise in the oven, giving it a delicious creamy sweetness. If you like your macaroons extra caramelly, use less coconut so the mixture is less stiff.

250g shredded coconut
395g tin of condensed milk

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Pour the condensed milk into a medium sized bowl. Add the shredded coconut and stir until well combined. If you prefer a stickier, more caramelly macaroon, use less coconut, say about 200grams.

Use your hands to make teaspoon-sized dollops and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Make sure they are reasonably flat so the macaroons will brown quickly without the insides drying out. Give them a little room to spread.

Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden, taking care not to overcook.

Optional garnish: You could also dot these with bits of glace cherry prior to baking if preferred.

If you missed my interview on ABC 702 Weekends this morning, you can listen to the Food At Eleven podcast here (Note: this link is updated weekly with the latest segment).

Addendum: Readers--and fellow food bloggers especially--may gain some insight from the podcast of the panel discussion on The Secrets of Successful Food Blogging from this year's SXSW Interactive Festival. There's no doubt that the USA is leading the way in terms of realising the true potential of food blogs with offers of book deals and tv shows. Some food bloggers are earning enough money to quit their jobs and blog full-time! With the advanced development of the American food blog scene, it's interesting to hear the panel's tips on what they think makes a successful food blog. Worth a listen, with thanks to Nose to Tail at Home for uploading the recording. Listen to the full discussion here (mp3, 42Mb).
21 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 3/22/2009 04:56:00 pm


  • At 3/22/2009 5:17 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Please let us know when the interview is available for listening online. You food bloggers have really become celebrities!

    Keep the afternoon tea recipes coming! I can't believe how easy the coconut macaroon recipe is. Those things are so moorish!

  • At 3/22/2009 6:15 pm, Blogger yewenyi said…

    the interview is online. Well done Helen. I'm sure once you have a few under your belt they will become second nature.

  • At 3/22/2009 7:08 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Congratulations Helen. No doubt we'll be seeing you on TV next!

    I have always loved coconut macaroons but been put off making them assuming I'd have to use egg-whites.

    Will have to try the recipe out with Master Four and Miss Two - no doubt they would especially love putting the glace cherry bits on - aside from the general fun of making something edible!

  • At 3/22/2009 7:29 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Just finished listening to it. It was really enjoyable and you sounded really comfortable and relaxed!

  • At 3/22/2009 8:28 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank goodness you've posted the link cos I missed it! Off to listen now.


  • At 3/22/2009 9:12 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Dammit, I wish they'd provide an MP3. I can't open these files without downloading a program.

    Congratulations on the interview though, and I'm glad they liked the macaroons!

  • At 3/22/2009 10:10 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I don't know whether or not this is a complement but you sound the same way you write.

    The program seemed very sound bitey. Not a lot of time for any depth into food blogging or the other food writing, which was what I was hoping to hear more of.

    Would have been nice if each person had a full program themselves to delve further into each of the areas covered. Except maybe for Earthworm Jim. I'm sure the topic has merit. I just haven't quite reached that stage in my life where I'm fascinated by dirt.

    I don't believe that you can get any more simple than this recipe :)

  • At 3/22/2009 10:49 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Great interview, well done. It's nice to see the blog community in general getting recognised and it's especially great to see all your hard work getting the merit it deserves.

    Great link for the SXSW discussion too. Thanks :)

  • At 3/22/2009 10:56 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It is enjoyable listening to your shexy voice on the way up to Bathurst looking for more food. I chuckled and very honored that my humble blog got mentioned. Thank you. :)

    I have to agree with Simon here, would love bit more depth into the whole foodblogging world, as an alternative voice to the culinary world out there.

    and yes Simon, Helen does sound just like her blog in real life! LOL :)

  • At 3/22/2009 11:50 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    fingers crossed all those hours you have spent on devotedly blogging will allow you to give up the day job one day ; )

    I didn't quite realise just how many hours a week you spend on GYF until I heard the interview.

    I think blogging must be a bit like cooking - many hours effort and it's consumed in minutes!

  • At 3/23/2009 8:19 am, Blogger Y said…

    Congrats on your interview! I love that you brought food to it too. That macaroon recipe is very interesting - I've never seen it made with condensed milk before.

  • At 3/23/2009 10:03 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well done on the interview - don't worry about what you 'should've' said, there are plenty of other opportunities for you to go on air in the future undoubtedly!

    Thanks for sharing the coconut macaroons recipe! I'm always looking for very simple recipes to do with large groups of small kids =) The macaroons are a great idea!

  • At 3/23/2009 10:20 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    yes you did sound oh so shexy and not at all nervous! thanks again for the plug i was dancing in my parked car in the garage hehe

  • At 3/23/2009 2:34 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Dang it. I checked GYF for the time Sunday morning and then forgot to tune in. Will check out the podcast.

    Clicks to you!

  • At 3/23/2009 3:12 pm, Blogger einna said…

    Great interview Helen! I think you did very well. I can't believe you blog 20 hours a week! That is alot of blogging! I dont think I spend that much time with my blog.

    This macaroon recipe looks so easy. Will have to try it out this weekend!

    Thanks Helen!

  • At 3/23/2009 5:16 pm, Blogger Pearl said…

    wow! those coconut macaroons look so complex and delish but sound so easy-peasy!

    thanks for sharing :D

  • At 3/23/2009 8:14 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    lots of hard work and effort = great food blog i check almost everyday! :) thanks for the macaroons!! hehe!

  • At 3/24/2009 12:18 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Maria T - I'm not sure about the word celebrity, but I probably prefer that I'm not anyway!

    The link is included in the post above and do give these coconut macaroons a go - they are so delicious and amazingly easy to make!

    Hi yewenyi - Thanks :) And yes, I'm sure that practice makes perfect!

    Hi divemummy - TV? Ha, I much prefer radio! I can just picture the kids having fun with these, presuming they don't eat them all along the way!

    Hi aptronym - Aww thanks, you are too kind. Thank goodness you couldn't see my facial expressions. lol!

    Hi Christie - Yay for podcasts. Makes life so much easier doesn't it?

    Hi Arwen - I have a friend who is converting the file to mp3 I think - will upload a link if possible.

    Hi Simon - I think it's a good thing if I sound the same as I write. As least it means my personality is coming through my writing!

    It was very hard to get into an in-depth conversation during the interview, particularly as we all came from such different fields. And lol at Earthworm Jim!

    Hi Pete - I think a proper panel on food blogs, their impact and their future, is long overdue. Great to see ABC Radio acknowledging food blogs, particularly Australian ones.

    And I found the SXSW panel quite fascinating. They do take it quite seriously, but with good reason!

    Hi Billy - lol! I was trying not to think about everyone listening to me as I spoke.

    I think the influx of food blogs is a great thing for media and is obviously being embraced by the food-loving public.

    And haha, do I really? I can vouch for the fact to you do too! lol

    Hi divemummy - Ah yes the secret's out. I really am married to my food blog. lol.

    It does feel a little like that sometimes, however at least with a blog post you can feed so many people. All over the world, too!

    Hi Y - I thought it would be appropriate to bring in something edible. lol. Thank goodness they were a hit. I hadn't heard of the condensed milk idea but it's quite common, or so it would seem. Popular too in the southern states of America too.

    Hi Meow - Awww thanks. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but hopefully, as you say, food blog spokespersons will start to get more airplay.

    The macaroons are very sticky but ultimately quite easy to do. Best thing is the messier they are, the better they caramelise! Perfect for kids!

    Hi Chocolatesuze - lol. Should I start recording voicemail messages for people? haha.

    Your plug was well-deserved. So hard to read your blog and not be entertained. And dancing in your parked car? I would've like to have seen that!

    Hi Veruca Salt - Ahh that's what podcasts are for. Listen on demand. And thanks :)

    Hi Einna - It does seem like a lot of blogging but I suppose that also includes things like responding to comments and updating my drop-down menus which are all handcoded (tedium).

    Hope you enjoy the macaroon recipe. I am getting inundated with requests at work! lol

    Hi Pearl - The macaroons are so easy to do, and they do look quite fancy at the finish. Hope you make these soon. You won't regret it!

    Hi Kay - Thank you :) Hope you're enjoying the macaroons. I was still honing the technique so the next batch will be even better!

  • At 3/24/2009 10:32 am, Blogger Forager said…

    Congrats & great interview! Fly the flag for the food bloggers!

  • At 4/06/2009 9:11 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Forager - Thanks and always happy to fly the flag! :)

  • At 7/09/2011 5:54 am, Blogger Sonia said…

    I just made these an oh my gosh they are delicious! I made them for an event I'm attending this evening and I cannot stop eating them...


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