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Name: Jessica Ransom (soon to be Jessica Corrigan - I'm in the process of changing to my married name)
Blog: She Bakes Here
Where where you born? Thunder Bay, Ontario
Where are you living now? Toronto, Ontario
Why did you start your blog?
I discovered the world of food blogging immediately after graduating university in 2008. I was really interested in starting my own, but at the time I was working long hours in the film and television industry and I barely had enough time to cook for myself, much less maintain a blog. This changed two years later when my then-boyfriend Trevor decided go back to school. We moved east to Toronto and I left the film industry for a more manageable 9-5 job. A couple months after we moved, Angie Dudley from Bakerella.com had a book signing in the city and I was able to meet and talk with her. This rekindled my desire to start a food blog and I made it my new year's resolution to launch it by the following January.
How did you decide on your blog name?
Originally the name was going to be "She Bakes" but when I started on Blogger, someone had already taken the URL name. "She Bakes Here" came to me after a few weeks. I really like it because my baking location always changes. Although most of the time I baked in my apartment, I've also posted recipes from my parent's kitchen and even in my Grandma's house where she has lived for over 40 years.
What do you blog about?
I try to post a recipe once a week, whether it's one that is a family favourite or something I experimented with over the weekend. Other than recipes, I've talked about the bakeries and restaurants we frequent in the city or major events in my life, such as our engagement, my 3-week trip to Japan and a re-cap of our wedding and honeymoon. The idea of food is always incorporated somewhere into each post, so unless there is a food story to go along with the event, you probably won't see it on the blog.
What post are you the most proud of and why?
It's a recent post where I made my Grandma's honey castella cake. She gave me the recipe over a year ago and I was terrified to screw it up. My Grandma worked in the restaurant industry for over 20 years, so she has a very precise way of doing things and has a collection of recipes that she perfected over the years. Castella cake can be a bit complicated to make because of the amount of eggs that are involved in the recipe. The goal is to achieve a poreless texture and so many things can go wrong in the egg beating stage. In the end, I faced my fear of failure and finally made the recipe. I didn't achieve the exact texture that I was looking for, but it was pretty close so I didn't care. It still tasted amazing and a week after I posted it, I told my Grandma that I made it and she was very pleased.
What post do you wish received more love and why?
Probably my Carrot Cupcakes with Milk Free Cream Cheese Icing. Trevor is lactose intolerant, so I made the recipe with him in mind. We brought some to a friend's house and they couldn't believe that the icing was milk free. There was no trick to the recipe though, I just used a tofu-based cream cheese so the posting probably read more like a product review. Still, I wasn't sure how tofu-based cream cheese would taste, so my surprise in the post was genuine.
Which post's success surprised you and why?
Right now it seems to be my Chocolate Chip Banana Quinoa Pancakes. It was my third quinoa-based recipe and while the other recipes didn't receive much love, this one has been receiving continuous hits since June. I think a quinoa recipe round-up picked it up, so that could be the reason why. I wasn't sure how people would feel about having crunchy quinoa in their pancakes, but we really enjoyed them so I posted the recipe.
Non-kitchen gadget you can't live without:
I love my iPad mini. It's very handy and it keeps me occupied during my daily commute. Like everyone else, I'm addicted to Candy Crush, but I also use it to sign out ebooks and my favourite food magazines at the library.
One kitchen gadget you can't live without:
During my trip to Japan last year, we received a Global Cromova 18 Stainless Steel knife as an early wedding present. Being superstitious, we didn't start using it until after we were married. Now I can't believe how I managed to chop anything without it.
Despite all the baking I do, I have a not-so secret love for healthy foods. I'm not vegan, but one of my favourite places to eat in Toronto is a vegan restaurant chain called Fresh where they make the most amazing green smoothies and quinoa onion rings. For my most recent birthday, Trevor treated me to their popular weekend brunch and it was so fantastic, I had to write about it.
What else should we know about you that's not in your "About Me" section?
I absolutely love animals and someday we hope to get a dog. I've always grown up with one, but the place we currently live in now doesn't allow pets. When you start seeing lots of pet photos on my instagram, you'll know that it finally happened.
What makes your blog unique?
I think what makes my blog unique is that besides being a baking blog full of recipes, I try to incorporate a personal touch into each post. I'm trying to get into this habit even more so because it's nice to look back on a record of our major life moments and a lot of our family and friends who live far away enjoy reading it to see what we're up to.
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