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Let’s see…I do a lot of things, but currently I’m enjoying being out and about working as a newly trained Ambulance Officer around the suburbs of Perth.

It’s proving to be a really good experience; exciting, varied and social. It’s great working being outside in the sunscreen, interacting with people, having a partner to work with and knowing the job you’re doing is interesting to you on the medical side of things as well. The shift work is odd for my social life (quiet such as it is), but it’s a nice change working days and nights, and the 4 shift week is a nice thing too.
I still live at home with my mum and brother, where I am the main cook and baker, if I can get home before mum’s popped something packaged in the microwave. I like to know we can all eat well, and particularly like it when I can scan the fridge and make something out of what we’ve got, or leftovers. It feels good to know I’m preventing food waste, that goes on a bit too much sometimes. Sometimes mum gets over excited shopping for bulk buy specials, and then we end up throwing out a lot of fresh, past it’s prime produce.

I am hoping to buy my own place very soon, now I am in a good fulltime job, but we’ll see how long that takes to find the right place. I really enjoy baking and making things with my hand. It’s the process and the chemistry and flavor mixes, as well as different changes to produce different textures that enthralls me in cooking craft. I have a pretty big sweet tooth, but with my job I try to eat with a good healthy balance. My dog helps me with the exercise Smile and my lovely neighbours and family help me enjoy baked treats in moderation.

How long have you been a Daring Baker/Daring Cook and what’s your favorite thing about being in the group(s) so far?

I like being able to bake with others, and see how everyone else’s attempts have turned out. Consequently, I don’t usually finish my challenge till towards the end of the month. I like the fact that we have hosts each month, who do a really good walk through of the recipe, describing how things should look and feel, it gives me confidence to try new things, and know that I’m doing it right, or need to look at what I’ve done and try again. Never give up the new recipe till the end is nigh.

What’s your favorite kitchen gadget? How about your favorite kitchen appliance?

As simple as it sounds, I really value a good whisk, and my dining table (for kneading and rolling), they are just so useful. I often like whisking egg whites or cream by hand (I’m funny like that) even though I would like a stand mixer, I enjoy going through all the motions, and it helps me relax and do something with my hands. Unfortunately my current whisk is weighted with a heavy metal handle, and I’m often cursing when I turn my back and it clunks out of the side of my bowl, spilling mixture all over the bench and floor! I do also like my pestle and mortar for grinding all sorts of texture, and releasing fresh flavor in spices, as well as my piping bag for decorating, and a good spatula for spreading, and of course scraping out the bowl (after my fingers have had a go Smile )

Are you known for making a certain dish or dessert? If so, what is it?

My brother would say I’m better at sweet than savory, but I think that’s because he has his own special recipe for lasagna, and will not bend to any other I make, rather that I’m actually bad at it. I also tend to experiment more with savory cooking than sweet, as I see baking as more of a science, and there seem many more flavor options I can add to savory, without overdoing it. I do make a lot of sweet baking, and enjoy making yeasted things. I guess I do a lot of cakes, and have my classic banana cake recipe…but doesn’t everyone?

Is there any recipe and/or technique that we haven’t covered yet that you’d really like to make/learn?

I’m not sure. I do like making things that I buy at the shops, but never thought would work out as good at home. Bread is a particular one, never seems as good as bakery. The pasta was good, and also other patisery goods, or anything with strong flavors or unusually paired ingredients. Maybe something requiring some fancy decorating skills?

Do you have a favorite movie? Book? Genre of music?

I don’t really have favorites. I tend to borrow books from friends or buy what’s recommended from someone. That goes for music to. I like a good mix of drama, action and comedy in my movies, and am trying hard to introduce horror into the mix…as long as I’m not sleeping in the house alone, Eeep!

Where is your favorite vacation (holiday) destination?

I don’t think I’ll have ever have gone on enough vacations to know. I haven’t even been through Europe yet, so all that is left to explore, from the food to the architecture, social history and landscapes. I do love visiting all parts of Asia for the climate, friendly people, and knowing that I’m definitely somewhere different from home. It’s somewhere I can have a lot of fun. I’d also love to go back to spend more time in Africa, and visit Canada. If only I had some spare months to become part of the environment of another country, and become part of the daily life there.

What is the ultimate comfort food to you?

Mmm, my favorite food is ice cream, good churned creamy ice cream, but to warm me up on a cold day, I love teaming it with a steamed pudding, or if I’m tired and need comforting, a bowl of peas and mash potato, soup or a bowl of chilli lentils is great. I also find comfort in eating with my hands, so having bread to dunk, or flat bread and corn chips to scoop up flavours in a bowl is very comforting to me.

Which season (Winter, Summer, Spring, Fall) is your favorite.. why?

Summer definitely, I love the warm, hate the cold, and love being able to have the sun on my skin and be on the beach or enjoying myself out of doors. It’s not so great for a hot oven, but bread making, with the smell of the rising dough, just goes right throughout the house in the warmer weather.

Other than cooking and/or baking.. what hobbies do you enjoy?

I enjoy walking my dog, reading, surfing food blogs for interesting creations and recipes, as well as catching up with friends for coffee, wine or a meal. I’m quite a hyperactive A type of personality, and find it hard to sit still to relax, so I’m always doing, or thinking on how to do something next.

You can visit Monique on her blog cookdreamshare