The Enthusiastic Cook is a newish Auckland food blog by Carli Eger. I started following The Enthusiastic Cook in April but only met Carli for the first time last month. First at a cocktail evening for bloggers and then again a week later at a cocktail class. Next week I’ve nabbed her as my date for the Stolen Rum event at Spark Lab. It’s fair to say we’ve bonded over cocktails and talk of food. There are worse things to have in common!
An accomplished cook, Carli writes about cooking, dining out, Auckland life and her food heroes. She has recently started writing for Concrete Playground so expect to see her name around more.
Below are her answers to the tasty questions I cooked up for your enjoyment.
Describe your blog:
Celebrating the love of all things food. Auckland current events, easy to follow recipes, dining out and cooking hacks. You don’t have to be an expert chef, you just need to be enthusiastic!
What is the most popular post on your blog?
The Cheapest Way to Dine at Auckland’s Best Restaurants. http://theenthusiasticcook.com/2015/06/18/the-cheapest-ways-to-eat-at-aucklands-best-restaurants/
Name your favourite comfort food:
Pizza. I can also eat a ridiculous amount of it, it’s baffling.
What did you have for breakfast?
Two eggs, sunny side up on Vogels. I would eat eggs every morning if I had the time. I’ve even dedicated a whole blog post to eggs.
What is the most delicious thing you’ve eaten this week?
Blue Breeze Inn – Sweet and Sour Wild Boar dish with blanched garlic, water chestnuts and soy custard. This dish is perfect and I want it again right now.
What is an underrated ingredient?
Lemon. I put lemon rind in so much of my cooking. Pasta Sauce, fresh pasta filling, marinade for meat, stuffing for roast chicken, salsa verde, I could go on and on. It’s helpful that I have a lemon tree in my backyard!
What are 3 sources of inspiration to you?
Chefs – namely Heston Blumenthal, Fergus Henderson, Massimo Bottura and the Al Brown/Kyle Street duo.
Reading food memoirs, most significantly “My Life in France” by Julia Child.
And the markets! I love Avondale Markets, the French Markets at Le Cigale, Clevedon Markets– so many ideas can come to life when you’re surrounded by cheap, beautiful, and seasonal produce.
Favourite Auckland restaurant?
Siostra. Esther Lamb is the most gracious owner/host, Beki Lamb creates the most exciting yummy food, and their menu changes at least weekly which means if I visit often, there’s always something different to try. And the restaurant is buzzing, which means that you can easily have a conversation with your table mates without feeling like anyone is creeping in on your conversation. Something I find annoying in restaurants with too close tables…
…and your favourite dish there?
Whatever is on the Specials board that evening. Honestly, they can do no wrong.
There’s a potluck dinner tomorrow night, what are you bringing?
Homemade pork terrine with pickles and chutney. And some oysters.
What is your most memorable meal?
Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy. It’s currently rated the second best restaurant in the world, so it’s nuts that I’ve been there. We called up to book relatively last minute last year, and Massimo Bottura, owner and (in my opinion, the greatest) chef answered the phone himself and took our reservation. Swoon. Then, when we dined, over a glorious four-hour period, he came out and chatted with us about how he made the dishes we were eating. Double swoon. I wanted to cry tears of food joy. Instead, I took fan girl photos with him.
An Auckland eatery that is on your wishlist?
Apero Food & Wine. Terrine of the day, how I haven’t made it here yet is beyond me. I also love The Matterhorn in Wellington, so am keen to compare it to the new one that’s opened up near Victoria Park.
Images used with permission from The Enthusiastic Cook.