Welcome to the Brand New The World’s Got Talent segment at Leyla’s Room! To some of you this is not news, but to those not too familiar with the growing Blogging trend, it might be interesting to find out that the ever-expanding world of Blogging is filled with so many amazing, fabulous, talented, hilarious and genuine people that we can all draw inspiration from. There are quite a few blogs that I visit regularly, and there is so many new ones that I discover daily! Every time I find an interesting, educational, inspirational, fun etc blog, I feel the need to share it with others. So I have decided to add a new segment to Leyla’s Room, where I will feature these amazing people from all walks of life.
Today I am super excited to dedicate the very first Blog Feature to a special lady, who is just as passionate about food as I am. I have recently came across Paula’s delicious Blog called bell’ alimento, through another wonderful Community of Fabulous Cooks called Tasty Kitchen. I was immediately attracted & addicted to Paula’s fun writing style, wonderful sense of humor, and don’t get me started on all the yummy, mouth-watering recipes! After you finish reading this interview, I urge you to check out Paula’s Delicious Blog for some amazing recipes. All tested in her own kitchen and beautifully photographed for our viewing pleasure.
WARNING: The delicious recipes & photos will make you hungry (even if you just ate!) =) Don’t tell me I didn’t warn ya!
Below is a short interview to help you get to know the lady behind all the wonderful food creations a little better. At the end of the Interview, Paula was sweet enough to share one of her favourite recipes with all of us! On top of that, I couldn’t resist sharing more of Paula’s wonderful food photos, so throughout the interview you’ll find some of Paula’s yummy photos & to get the recipes, you just have to follow the link below the photo.
Leyla: Please take a moment to introduce yourself?
Paula: My name is Paula & I am the food writer & recipe developer for bell’alimento. I am not a chef, just someone who is very passionate about food, specifically Italian food. I share my recipes, photos and stories through my blog www.bellalimento.com In addition to writing for bell’alimento I write for several other online communities as well.
Leyla: Why did you decide to start a blog, and what’s the story behind the name?
Paula: You might be surprised to hear that I started the blog ONLY after a friend of mine suggested it to me . At first I thought they were crazy (in a good way of course) To give a little back story, I had been for quite a time posting what I was making for dinner to my Facebook status & was always amazed when someone would ask me for the recipe. Which became quite often. So then my friend approached me & asked if I had ever considered writing a blog? My response was: Really? Me? I’m just a cook, I don’t know anything about blogging (were some of my many responses LOL). I was very skeptical about whether or not anyone besides my friends & family would see it, let alone read it. But after much coaxing from my friend I decided hey, why not, I’ll give it a go. First up was deciding on the name. Which was incredibly important. I KNEW right away it had to be Italian, because that is after all the food I am passionate about. Bell’Alimento is Italian for “Beautiful Food” & as I believe you eat with your eyes first, this was perfect! I had my name & I was off! Bell’alimento was launched earlier this year.
Leyla: You mention on your blog that you were lucky enough to experience life in Italy first hand for a few years. What was that experience like for you? What would you say was the best and the worst part about living in Italy?
Paula: How much time do you have? LOL Italy for me was life changing. It is an amazing country & I can’t say enough about it. From the moment I arrived I was fascinated & fell in love, deeply in love with everything about it. It’s people, it’s culture, & oh yes, definitely the FOOD! There is no place like it. The experiences that I had while I was there have stayed with me to this day & have shaped the way I think, eat & view things. For me, there isn’t ONE best thing about Italy. I could ramble on for days about what I loved. The worst part you ask? Well that’s easy. That was having to leave!
Leyla: Your passion for food is obvious and comes through in every single recipe. How old were you when you first started to cook?
Paula: I don’t remember an actual age when I started cooking. I started out very young helping my Mom & Grandmother when I could. Most often it would be when they were baking & it was purely selfish as I wanted to lick the bowl & beaters, LOL. I always enjoyed watching them prepare & cook the meal as I learn visually. I was always fascinated that you could turn a few ingriedients “magically” into something beautiful & delicious with your hands. Still feel the same way.
Leyla: Since discovering your blog, I turn to it often to get my dose of inspiration from your most delicious & mouth watering recipes. Where do you draw your inspiration to continue to cook & take such amazing photographs?
Paula: Well thank you very much. Inspiration for me comes from the ingriedients. When I’m shopping I search the produce section & meat sections & when I find something that catches my eye I work my recipe around that. I have just as much fun taking the photographs as I do cooking. Again, to me you eat with your eyes first so the picture is just as important to showcase the food.
Leyla: Like all creative people, I am sure you have days when you might not feel as motivated to cook. During those times, what is your remedy that helps you get back to your usual self?
Paula: I definitely have days when I’m not as motivated to cook. During those times I look to the foodblogs that I am inspired by, and there are MANY that I love to read and follow on a regular basis. I’ll find myself trying new dishes (dishes that are outside of the normal realm for me), which gets me back into the creative spirit again.
Leyla: Being an organizer by nature, I’m always curious to know how others organize their days around. So please describe a typical day in the Live of Paula.
Paula: My daily schedule varies depending on the kids activities. I am a work at home Mom so I’m fairly flexible with my schedule. Which I love. But, generally speaking, my day starts out by getting the kids ready & off to school. The baby & I then have breakfast, settle in & then I open up the laptop to check my emails to see what needs responding to immediately. I make my Social Media Rounds & then I’m doing chores around the house & playing with the little one. Quick lunch for the two of us & then it’s naptime for the little one (sadly not for me LOL). During naptime I focus on work items & recipe development. Then much too quickly, midday nap is over & it’s time for the other 2 bambini to get home. Homework, playtime & then dinnertime. Naturally there are photographs being taken before any food is allowed to be eaten LOL They know the drill ; ) Then it’s off to any kids activities (soccer, drama, etc) bath time, bedtime & then it’s back to work for me. I do most of my writing in the evenings. Luckily I’m a night owl which helps. Then it’s up at same time again & the routine continues.
Leyla: I’m not sure if your work has been published in print (magazines, books etc), and if it hasn’t, it absolutely should! Have you thought of writing a recipe book?
Paula: Why thank you. I have not yet been published in any Print media but I have been published in several prominent online sites, including Saveur.Com. Yes, I would absolutely love to one day have a cookbook of my own. So any publishers out there feel free to contact me *wink wink* : )
Leyla: What is your ultimate goal in life?
Paula: WOW, my ultimate goal in life. I have many goals, but the most important one would be to be a good example to my children & to raise & teach them well. To experience as much as possible and to learn as much as possible in that time.
Leyla: If you had the power to change one thing in the World today, what would it be & why?
Paula: That is a VERY tough question. If I could change only one thing, what would I change? WOW, there are so many HUGE problems in the world that need addressing. Hunger, Violence & Education, are among the many that pop into my mind straight away. I’m not sure I would know where to begin, but I do believe we need more: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, & self control. That would be a good start.
And finally here is the promised recipe from Paula:
Nutella Crème Brulee:
What you’ll need:
4 cups of heavy whipping cream
1 vanilla bean
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar (plus additional for dusting)
4 tbsp Nutella – melted
Fresh Berries – Optional for Garnish
What to do:
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. In a large saucepan, add your cream. Slice your vanilla bean down the center and scrape out the insides. Add bean & insides to the cream. Heat over medium high heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside.
While cream is cooling, add your egg yolks & sugar into the mixer. Using your whisk attachment, whisk until mixture is creamy and has a light color. Remove vanilla bean from cream & discard. Temper the egg mixture into the cream mixture by whisking it slowly to avoid scrambling your eggs. Add in your melted Nutella & continue mixing until everything is combined.
Pour cream/egg mixture into your ramekins. Filling to near the top. Place your ramekins into a large casserole ovenproof dish. Fill dish with warm water so that water level reaches half way up the sides of the ramekins. This creates a water bath so that it will cook through evenly. Place dish into oven. Bake for approx 40-45 minutes (until center is slightly jiggly and sides are firm)
Remove ramekins from water bath with tongs. Transfer to a baking sheet and refridgerate for 3-4 hours or until mixture sets up completely. Remove crème brulee 15 minutes PRIOR to serving. Dust the tops of each ramekin with sugar. Rolling the edges so that the sugar is distributed evenly. Using your kitchen torch, scorch the tops. Allow to rest a few minutes prior to serving.
Garnish with fresh berries or whipped cream (or both!)