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I like to cook, write, eat and dance, though not necessarily in that order. I’m 29 and somehow...

...I’ve managed to move more times than the number of years I’ve lived so I always miss someone, somewhere. Sometimes I need to stop myself from crumpling up and floating away so I make food, and now that I’ve gone all digital or whatever the adjective for the internet is, the people I miss can read about what I’ve been doing through my writing about what I’ve been cooking and baking.

Some of the places I’ve lived are: New Zealand (home, and the place I miss the most); Japan, where I was born and also the place I most recently lived; Thailand, the place I’d love to stay forever if all the people I loved were there; the U.K and briefly, France.

Since I now live in the hinterlands of Austria, it’s difficult (actually well-nigh impossible) to get hold of decent Asian food and some of the ingredients I was used to in New Zealand and the U.K. as well. Mostly, that’s what prompts me to make the food I blog about. The upside is, there’s lots of food to discover here too – mostly, well, dough.

Another reason I cook is to stave off the dreaded hanger. That’s feeling angry because I’m hungry – it’s not pretty and it comes on frighteningly fast. It must be avoided at all costs. I used to cook for a living but came to realise that it’s domestic cooking I find beauty in (though if you want to take me to a restaurant, I’ll go!) – I love the stories, the companionship and the inconsistencies, and the simple joy it brings when you show someone you love that you love them by cooking something for them.

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've just done my first recipe - I look forward to posting on the 27th! I like the idea of making something that I haven't chosen myself as I'm the person in the house always making the decisions about food and it's fun to be told what to do for once!

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

Not sure I have a favourite kitchen gadget but my favourite appliance is my Braun Multiquick. It has an immersion blender attachment, a food processor attachment, dough hooks and beaters and 500 watts of grunt.

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

My Thai pork yum is pretty popular.

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

I'm too new to know what's been covered but making puff pastry would be an interesting challenge.

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

No favourite movies but I love the series "Mad Men," old school hip hop music, and the writer Haruki Murakami.

You’ve just won $5000.00!!! What would you spend it on?

Travel, always...

What is the ultimate comfort food to you?

Miso soup with rice - nekojiru.

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

Summer - summer dresses!

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

Hiking, singing, dancing.

How long have you been blogging? Do you like it? What’s your favorite post you’ve written?

Only a month and half but I have been posting every second day so I've accumulated a few posts already. Writing is my first love and the woman who first encouraged me to do so is the subject of one of my favourite posts: Roast fennel and Mrs. Speller who taught me to spell.

What’s your favorite cookbook for desserts/baking? What’s your favorite cookbook for savory/cooking?

I love Nigella Lawson's baking (so decadent!), and Nigel Slater's cooking and writing.

Is there one food that you seriously dislike/hate? If so, which is it and why?

I hate fake butter (margarine) and the reason is probably self-explanatory.

What’s your favorite flower and/or plant?

I love tulips.

Do you have a favorite local restaurant? If so, why is it your favorite and what kind of food is served there?

There aren't a lot of great restaurants here in the hinterlands of Austria but "Rotes House" has good traditional food - lots of dumplings and meat.

Who taught you how to cook and/or bake?

My mother is a good cook but neither she or my nana bakes. I suppose I taught myself at first and then I learned a lot from apprenticing in restaurants.

What’s your favorite holiday and why?

Beach holidays, see "summer"!

Reading any good books lately? Which ones?!

Just finished "Dubliners" by James Joyce - beautiful and evocative writing.

You’ve had a rough week. How do you relax after a rough week?

Bake, or have a bath.

Where is your favorite vacation (holiday) destination?


What is your favorite cooking/food related magazine? Why?

Cuisine magazine, NZ. It is varied, comprehensive and has great writing.

Do you have a food addiction?


What did you eat for dinner last night? Did you prepare it or someone else?

We ate Thai noodle soup with poached chicken and fresh herbs - I made it.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

I'm never guilty about taking my pleasure.

What kind of colors do you like? Pastels? Earth tones? Brights? Neons? Etc.

Bright colours - mostly primary colours.

If you had the choice of a free kitchen, bathroom, living room or bedroom makeover – which would you choose and why?

Kitchen, naturally! It's where I spend all my time.

The Martha – Angel of Domestication or Minion of Evil? Why?

Um, don't know. I'm not American so haven't been exposed to her show.

Do you watch any competitive cooking shows? Like Top Chef or Hell’s Kitchen? If so, which is your favorite and why?

No, I find them irritating - I don't think they accurately portray the feeling of working in a professional kitchen at all - at least the ones I've worked in. Yes, there is a lot of swearing but a lot of love and support too.

What’s your favorite “sweet” spice? How about your favorite “savory” spice?

Sweet: cinnamon, savoury: cumin or coriander.

If you could eat in any celebrity chef’s restaurant which restaurant would it be, and which chef owns it?

Moro in London.

What’s your favorite herb to cook or bake with? Do you prefer fresh or dried?

I like fresh shiso (Japanese perilla leaf).

Is there one recipe on your blog that you would like to share with us? If so, leave the link here.

This is a recipe for Carinthian dumplings with potato and mint from Austria - I'm just learning the ropes of Central European cooking:

You can visit Sasa on her blog sasasunakku