Friday, 13 July 2012

In Real Life Friends and the Internet

A few years ago I had NO idea about Blog world and all that it had to offer.

I knew NADA enchilada.



It was only when a friend of mine suggested it as a medium to share my food knowledge that I started to have a look around.

Blog world is a bit like going into bookshops.

Some bookshops are inviting and beautiful.

Some not so much.

Same with blogs.

Some just get it right.

They feel effortless but anyone who has created one knows that this is anything but the truth.

It takes hard work, lots of thought & effort.

When entering a nice bookshop a warm ambience envelops you as you enter.

They are lit beautifully, not too overwhelming but bright enough to be able to read easily.

There is music playing.

Music that is carefully chosen- not too loud but stimulating in it's gentleness.

They feel cosy.

The aesthetics are well considered.

Time slips away.......

Nice blogs are like that for me.

Places I go because I like the aesthetic AND the words.

Because they resonate with me.

One of the very first blogs that I found was Hugo & Elsa.

I fell in LOVE.

It was like stumbling into my dream life.

But it felt like real life at the same time.

I felt as though I had walked into one of those lovely bookshops & picked up a book that would be one of those favourite books on the bookshelf at home that is well thumbed and revisited often.

One of those rare and wonderful books that makes you laugh, cry and nod your head in agreement. 

The words were carefully considered, the photographs elegant and beautiful.

Michelle's  blog helped me to start my own.

Michelle's blog helped me trust that I could share my story and show it as I wanted to.

Michelle probably doesn't even know this.  I am not sure I have ever told her.

We have been friends on the Interweb for a couple of years now.

Conversing on Twitter regularly.

Michelle and her crew came and had breakfast & coffee at our place last Christmas holidays fresh off the boat on their way to the mountains.

It was the best...but way too short!

We needed days.

Over time we have discovered more and more commonalities.

When we were booking our trip to Tasmania for our Tomato Sauce making I was looking for a property big enough to house our large family and it needed to be close to Cygnet where we were making sauce.

It is not easy to find a property that fits seven people.

But we did.

I rung Michelle and let her know that we had booked accommodation that I thought was very near to her and was looking forward to catching up.

It was *very* near indeed.

Like NEXT door near.

A walk down the country lane.

It could not have been a better outcome.


When we weren't out and about or making our Sauce, we were at Michelle's greeted by her gorgeous warmth and good humour, her divine family that we all loved and of course her stunning cooking from the magnificent Rayburn.

There was music.

There was coffee.

There may have been wine.

Just maybe.

There certainly was lots of talking and lots of sharing and lots of laughing.

Especially with the kids and husbands about our online life and our IRL (In Real Life) friendship.

There was a feeling of knowing each other for a lifetime.

A feeling that as we all sat in her house that we had been there a hundred times before.

The kids were instant besties.

It was so sad to leave.

We really didn't want to.

But I know we will be back.........

And in the meantime we drink lots of coffee & Gin & even eat some of our fave dinners together over the Interweb while we dream of our next IRL meeting.

If you want to join us for dinner or  drinks or both you can do so over on INSTAGRAM .

I am GourmetGirlfriend and Michelle is hugoandelsa.

Michelle and I are both Noodle lovers. 
We share lots of 'favourite' foods.
And more broadly we share a talent of making this statement when we see a dish posted on Interwebs "That is my absolute fave"....even though we say it about a hundred different dishes!
Do you do that too? Or is it just us?
I LOVE to dollop lots of Chilli oil on all manner of things- eggs, noodles, name it I find an excuse to put it on.
I LOVE this on Char Kway Teow- one of mine and Michelle's 'faves'!
I don't know WHY it has taken me sooooo long to try make this for myself as I go through jars of it like no mans business.
And it is RIDUNKULOUSLY easy!!!
I have been slathering it on my Acovado toast and loving it!!
This recipe makes  2 cups of chilli oil.
  • 2 cups Rice bran oil (or other heat tolerant and unflavoured oil)
  • 1 cup chilli flakes
  • 1 tablespoon Sesame oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 slices of ginger
  • 1 heaped tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns


Sterilise a large lidded jar. 

Slice ginger.
Peel cloves of garlic and squash with the back of a knife.

Place chilli flakes in a small saucepan and pour over the Sesame oil.

In another small saucepan place the garlic, ginger and szechuan peppercorns.
Pour Rice bran oil over the top.

Place on a medium heat and heat till the ginger begins to sizzle- about 3-4 minutes.  Let it sizzle for another minute or so or until the garlic is just starting to brown.

Remove from heat immediately and strain this oil into the other pan with the chilli flakes and Sesame oil. 
Do not put on the stove!

Now stir  through and let cool.

Pour into jar et VOILA- there you have it, a jar of the most beautiful fragrant Ruby red chilli oil!
L: Garlic Chilli oil  R: Chiu Chow style Chilli Oil

(Now....because I LOVE LOVE LOVE Chiu Chow chilli oil the MOST...I was keen to replicate the flavour of that.

If you want to do that too it is as simple as popping some of your chilli oil into another smaller jar -mine was about 1/2cup size-and adding about a tablespoon of Light soy sauce to it and shaking very well. Let settle and there you have it! So easy, so good!)

I chose this song especially for Michelle as I think she will LOVE it & the Yarn-bombed Piano as much as I do.


  1. NADA enchilda!

    Next door! Oh my gawd :) Looks like y'all had a ball!

  2. That is such a great story! And look at that kitchen, oh my.

    I think I may have to try the chili oil recipe!

  3. AW. I love this! What a great story of a lovely friendship! x

  4. Such a lovely story Ruth. I often wonder if I ever met any of my fave online peeps if it would tranfer into a real life friendship...I'm gald to hear it DOES happen!

    I made chilli oil on Monday but mine was a very,very simple version. It still taste great but I think I will give yours a try next just to see the difference.I will make some of the chui chow chilli oil right now though! I love it over noodles, or with dumplings which are new found fave food :)

    Have a lovely weekend GG! See you on IG no doubt xx

  5. A wonderful story of friendship and food Ruth. Perhaps a good thing about blogging is that you share a common interest immediately with the person at the other end. From there the friendship can only grow. Great music and recipe as always...have a lovely weekend x

  6. this is so, so lovely, ruth. this blogosphere is really quite something. just this week I met an online friend for the first time (milina of little red vikings) after connecting through our blogs and then instagram. it was as if we had known each other forever and were catching up after not seeing each other for a while. first time we meet and she brings me dinner - your cauliflower and fennel soup! complete with sourdough loaf and chorizo for the crumble, with printed recipe. just amazing. I love michelle's blog too, I love the way you describe it as a welcoming bookshop. I definitely have to try your chilli oil! x

  7. So many of my online friends have become in real life friends. There's something quite honest, I think, in revealing yourself to someone online before you meet in person. Like any good romance!

    BTW LOVE her kitchen...

  8. i actually have tears reading this - how special....i totally agree with your 'falling in love" aspect...i save some of my favourite blogs for when the kids are asleep and its wine time...honestly, between you and a few others, its like sitting up for a chat with some of nearest and dearest....i hope you realise that this is how a lot of your readers feel about always, thanks for sharing...

  9. Heading over to Michelle's blog for a peek now, but quickly wanted to say how much I am loving your food pics at the moment!. Fantastic!

  10. I love this!!

    I met Michelle over a blog meme a few years back.
    The topic was collections and Michelle posted about her collection of heritage apple trees.
    It was love at first read.

    Happy back to school week. xx

  11. Oh Ruth, such lovely sweet words. Thank you dear, dear friend. These photos bring back happy memories, and I LOVE the one of Guy reading Farmer's Weekly...quite the country gentleman!


  12. Love it. How lucky the two of you are to have found such an awesome friendship. x


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