This week’s interview is with the wonderful Penny of Jeroxie (Addictive & Consuming). Penny has become a prominent food blogger in Melbourne, Australia with her restaurant reviews, at home recipes, and now with her monthly International Food Incident Parties which involve other food bloggers from around the world. She was even part of the panel for the Australian Food and Drink Blogger’s Convention!
MiK: What made you decide to write a food blog?
Penny: I needed a platform that documents what we do – travel, eat, drink, our lives.
MiK: Where did you get the name Jeroxie? Does it have a certain meaning?
Penny: I am not sure. I have this name for a very long time. I guess I wanted something like a glaxay name, my own like world, my own bubble. It was quite random. Can’t figure out and remember how and why this name just stuck.
MiK: You are originally from Singapore but now live in Melbourne. How do the two places differ when it comes to cuisine?
Penny: Singapore and actually Asia to me is about street food. Not fancy restaurants or cafes. Just simple, down to earth street food. The hawker places in Singapore where each stall is specialized in one type of food. And Singapore is really tiny. You can hardly see it on the world map. So we travel for the best coffee, the best prata, the best Hokkien mee, the best frog legs, etc. We are obsessed with food. There is a favourite place for supper (after clubbing). Teochew porridge and Bak tuk teh is a must. Ask any Singaporean and they all have their personal favourites that they will travel to. I know that the food scene is changing but to me, when I go back, it is about street or hawker food, chili mud crab, nonya food.
If I want high end food, I get it here in Melbourne. Actually, we don’t need to go high end. Even small punters are great in giving us flavour land. We are spoiled with great and local produce. And the coffee scene is BIG. And beautiful affordable wines. I am so fortunate to be here, in Melbourne, in Australia, at the moment. We are exposed to all the different cultures and their food. And also the native (Aboriginal) foods are up and coming. The farmers markets around Melbourne are so accessible to almost everyone. And the wineries are just at our doorstep. I miss the street food in Asia but I feel that Melbourne gives me the variety of foods.
I have the best of both worlds. I am so lucky.
MiK: You do a lot of restaurant reviews. Is there any one in particular that you found the experience to be more memorable than others?
Penny: Yes. the favourite restaurant in the whole world is Cumulus. I have only done a breakfast review but I have been so many times and never done a proper food review. I have taken so many photos of it but it has such a special place in my heart that I am finding it so hard to write. One day. I promise!
MiK: You’ve recently been participating in a cookbook challenge every week. What is one of your favorite cookbooks that you’ve used so far and why?
Penny: There is no favourite at the moment. Cookbooks are like little treasures to me. They have little nuggets of inspiring thoughts in everyone one of them. They are the only books that I read from cover to cover! And mind you, I have a very short attention span. I once went for a beach holiday and brought 2 cookbooks with me for light reading by the beach.
MiK: Recently you had an international Gnocchi Party. What made you come up with this idea and will you be having another one for those who enjoyed the last one and those who want to participate?
Penny: Have you checked out our second international party? I think it is successful and had more people jumping on board now – http://jeroxie.com/addiction/international-pizza-pie-incident-serpent-pie-with-pizza-sauce/. I just come up with stuff. Never think about why. I thought it was a great idea to all the creative and fantastic food bloggers around to come together and be able to showcase their thinking, skills and themselves in these creations. You can see who they are in what they create, right? And I guess also the freedom to define the theme of that month. No restrictions, no boundaries and just having fun making them. And also it will be celebrating birthdays of bloggers for that month!
Stay tuned for the next International Dumpling Incident Party that is happening on the 12th of May. And please join us! Just email the interest to email@example.com and I shall keep everyone posted. Or just visit the blog – More details here and can leave comment here to express interest for the next party - http://jeroxie.com/addiction/international-incident-party/
MiK: For those that are just getting into the world of food, either just cooking at home or blogging, what advice can you give them?
Penny: I am not one to give advice. I am still learning. But one thing I do know is to have fun. Do it because you love it and be true to yourself. I have to admit I lose focus at times but ultimately, it is still back to food.
MiK: If you were a dish what would you be? If you were an ingredient what would you be?
Penny: This is so difficult! I will have to say ‘Nonya Bachang’. Nonya is another term for Peranakan and that is my background. It is a very colourful subculture that not many people are aware of. I miss the Nonya bachang that my grandma used to make every year. She will squat on a little stool and tie little bachangs. Everything is made from scratch and it is such a pity that no one picked up this skill. I was too young but I remember the taste so vividly. I would be the rice. It binds all the ingredients together. And also glutinous rice is one of the well used ingredient in nonya desserts as well. And also because the family is all so far apart now, I wish one day that we could all come together. Just like the rice binding everyone together.
Thank you, Penny, for a such an interesting and informative interview! If you are looking to check out restaurants in Melbourne, some good food and recipes, or to get in on the International Incident Food action, go visit Jeroxie (Addictive & Consuming). And remember food brings us together!