About Me

Hi, my name is Linda. I was born and raised in the city of Derby in the UK, and relocated to Greater Seattle in 2006, where I now reside with my baby cat.

I’m a research scientist by trade, where I studied chemistry, medicinal chemistry, biochemistry and physics. However, despite my endless (22) years of schooling, one of my favorite places to be in is the kitchen… creating!

I was a fat child, a very fat child… and weird enough, the only fat child of four. It wasn’t that I didn’t exercise, I did – I was in the school’s netball team, and played table tennis like a nutter… I was just a fat child. I continued my fat childhood into an overweight adult. In my early twenties I slowly started to change my diet, I ate more fruit, vegetables, whole grains and eliminated all processed foods. The only form of exercise I fit in was the 7-mile (11.25 km) walk to and from work every day. This was how I managed to lose 50+ lbs (22.75 kg or 3 stones 7 lb)  and I’ve been stable for ~20 years. I now walk, play tennis, practice yoga, row, get on the treadmill and ride my bike on a regular basis.

I’m a firm believer that there’s no quick fix pill that will make you lose weight, nor is there a fad diet that will work for you long-term. The only way that you can lose weight and keep it off is if you completely change your lifestyle, and educate yourself about nutrition. I cook (from scratch) almost every day of the year, planning my meals to ensure that I get a nutritionally balanced diet. I’d like to think that I have a-healthier-than-average diet, that’s not to say that I don’t deny myself of “treats” from time to time (as this blog will show).

I love food – cooking it, looking at it, smelling it and of course eating it! I’ve been involved with food production since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. My family has busied themselves with family-run eateries, and as Po’s dad said “…broth runs through our veins”. I’ve worked as the catering director at Whole Foods, owned a catering company, and worked at allrecipes.com.

I have many influences on what I cook – being of Chinese descent, and born in Europe has given me a huge canvas on which to paint pot in which to cook. I absolutely love Asian food (yes, that does include Southern Asian), but Mediterranean food is on the same par. I’ve also recently discovered that I have a taste for Ethiopian food too!

Unfortunately, I have developed numerous food sensitivities since moving to the US. Due to this, I’ve dabbled with vegan and paleo baking, and buy almost everything organic. While I was in Europe, it didn’t make sense for me to buy organic; the Foods Standard Agency (FSA) and the European Union (EU) regulations appear to be pretty stringent in what foods they deem safe.

Additional development: in February 2013, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disease which attacks the thyroid. Since then, by recommendation of my ND, I stopped eating gluten. You can read more about my travels with Hashimoto’s here. I have also stopped eating mammalian meat, dairy, soy, nightshades, peanuts, sesame seeds, most grains (except rice), and refined sugars.

Putting my food obsession aside, I also love the theatre, World travel, writing, hiking, kayaking, biking, cats, reading, photography, listening to music, badminton, tennis, jigsaws, Scrabble, Xbox, crocheting, colouring, painting, and snorkeling.

Why this blog? I’ve had a private blog for numerous years now and I think it’s time that it went public. I’d like to share with you my kitchen creations (and maybe some of my disasters), so that you can enjoy them too.

[updated March 2020]

29 thoughts on “About Me

  1. I think your website/blog is, in a nutshell – Amazing! Your photographs are brilliantly done, presented well and every single recipe looks simply divine! I also love the fact that you have included recipes from around the world including options for those with dairy and gluten intolerances. Thanks for the mention of deshigrub.com in your blogroll. I’ll be sure to give you a mention too!

  2. I just found your main blog here through your erstwhile side project at Blogspot. I think you have a very thoughtful (and intriguing) blog due to your eclectic experiences and interests; a number of which I can identify with personally, and others from which I can learn.

    I like being able to see the “update edits” you’ve made in this section. I think it’s a good device by which to convey changes in your life (both within and without) without obliterating “that which was” in the past, (but the experience of which also helped bring about “that which is” now).


    • Hi E. PentWeazle, Thanks for visiting. I also find the “update edits” useful, because it does explain the before and after. It did exist, and now I’ve moved on. But it is, and will still be important in the future. All of these experiences have molded me into the person I am today, and I’m grateful. Continue your cooking and enjoying food :).

  3. Thanks, you’ve helped forward my cooking and enjoying food by allowing your other blog to continue; I was looking for a recipe for Ontbijtkoek, Honigkoek, Peperkoek, Oudewijvenkoek or even Kruidkoek, and yours came up in my search. I was hoping to bake some this weekend for Monday (Dec. 5), along with some other specialties….

    Speaking of which, have you experienced the Marina Market in Poulsbo? Even though the town has a Scandinavian theme, the market specializes in Dutch products (including “drop”), and also English, German, well I guess European in general.

    • Hi E. PentWeazle, I’m hoping to bake some Taai Taai and speculaas brokken or gevulde speculaas in the near future, maybe this weekend (although I’m sure my mother-in-law has sent some in the parcel I received yesterday).

      No I’ve never heard of Marina Market until you mentioned it. It sounds absolutely fabulous. I will definitely be eyeballing what’s in their online store this weekend. Thanks!

  4. Lucky you, to have such a caring mum! Just in time too! The only reason I mentioned the Marina Market is that you’d mentioned a Dutch shop over on Whidbey Island…MM’s online presence is helpful (and I certainly understand working up the necessary motivation to travel for food–I have a hard time wanting to cross a freeway just to go to my favorite German deli/shop!)

    I discovered the taai taai recipe over at the Dutch table, what a fantastic recipe resource–can’t wait to try making those! I’ve only had commercial versions so far, (the first ones came from near Lynden, acually), where I discovered another Dutch food imports resource, (some years ago).

    • I think it’s great that you’re motivated to keep your bio up to date, and I still think using strike throughs are a unique way of maintaining a certain sense of continuity. Sometimes full-scale editing is simply required, however–hope it wasn’t too painful!

  5. Dear Linda, I have little caffe in Sydney, I lost my recepie for hotcross buns, I thank you so much for yours, looking forward to your future adventures Love and Peace to all who cook from heart

  6. Hi Linda
    Have just stumbled on your website after looking for a recipe for onion bhajis. I have read your “about me” blog and was interested to read that you are originally from Derby. I live just down the road in the city of Lichfield. Do you miss Derby? I was there last year and enjoyed a lovely day there shopping and enjoying a lovely old fashioned lunch in I think it was Brown’s (equivalent to is it Rackhams) you will remember it I believe it has been there a very long time. It was lovely because everything was served in a very traditional way with the table being swept before tea was served. Anyway I will now go and try your recipe for onion bhajis and will think of you while we enjoy them.

    Many thanks


  7. Hi Linda,

    like Sue above me I found your blog per chance (searching for a recipe) and love it – I was also diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease app. a year ago and had always a liking for vegan recipes. I’m not vegan and I think I’ll never be, but I guess radically reducing animal products is still a good way of life, not only for your health but also for ethical and environmental reasons.

    On the other hand I love my honey and guess that organic honey from conscious producers is nowadays even benefical regarding the endangered state of the honey bee due to agricultural chemicals.

    But I’m rambling… 😉 I just wanted to say that I’m glad I found this blog and the “funny” (well, actually not so funny) coincidence of the same disease. I’ll go and check out your Hashimoto’s blog as well!

    All the best,

  8. Hi Linda, I am Chinese too but have loved in New Zealand all my life. I love food too and was recently diagnosed with hyperthyroidism which is the opposite of Hashimotos. I’ve been eating better but not as strict as when I was first diagnosed. I think eating healthy is a balance. Being too strict can make you miserable, as can being too relaxed.

    • Hi Bunny Eats Design. I’m sorry to hear about your recent diagnosis. I only know to well what hyperthyroidism is, I suffered from it when I was diagnosed with Hashmimoto’s. Hashimoto’s is not the opposite of hyperthyroidism, it is an autoimmune disease that is a main cause of hypothyroidism. I am pretty strict with what I eat, but I am far from being miserable. My condition is managed by diet alone, and I am proud to say that I take no medications. My health is now 110% better. My happiness revolves around acceptance, and seeing new forms of foods as exciting. I do not see it as deprivation. It is not debilitating, but for many, it could be. I understand that my choices, are essentially, my choices. If I choose to have a bit of gluten, I understand that the hyper effects in my system can last up to 6 months, with some of my thyroid tissue being destroyed… never worth it. Above all, many people will advise their own practices on everybody else, mainly because it’s a way to justify their own personal actions or beliefs. Don’t listen to them. What they don’t realize is that everyone has a choice, and what works for one person does not necessarily work for another. I wish you every success in managing your hyperthyroidism, because it’s a scary state to be in, especially with the threat of thyroid storms. Take care.

      • I have Graves Disease which I guess isn’t the opposite of Hashimoto’s, but the opposite end of the hyper/hypo scale. Some people can be both hyper and hypo in their life too.

        When I was first diagnosed I was in fear of thyroid storm but I am no longer scared of it.

        I cut out gluten for a while but didn’t find any difference. I still eat low gluten now, but as I am not allergic or intolerant, I am not strict about it. I enjoy gluten substitutes and I’ve been focusing on whole foods, more vegetables, fruits and meats, not so much “filler”. I’m still on medication but now on the lowest maintenance dosage. My levels are normal now so I figure I should keep doing as I am doing until my doctor decides to take me off meds completely.

        My endocrinologist said that diet has no bearing on thyroid health which I found really frustrating! After that I decided just to eat well, rather than being too restrictive. I have really good cravings which generally tell me what my body is lacking. But that’s just me. I love new foods and if you can find plenty to eat and it’s not restricting, then that is awesome.

        Take care!

  9. You inspire me, Linda. Walking really helps you. I also did walking when I was on my old home going to work. I don’t know how many km was that, but the walk takes about 25-30 minutes going to/from work. Meaning, that takes me almost one hour everyday. Now, I have an excuse not to do walking because my work is just 10 min away from home. But after reading this, you inspire me to go back to exercising. Thank you, Linda. Looking forward to following your blog. Have a happy and healthy 2015! 😉

    • Hi Jhuls! I’m glad that I inspire you to do more exercising. It is amazing how easily it is to become less active, isn’t it? I now take the stairs at every opportunity. It’s funny how few people at my work place do that, and we’re only on the fifth floor (about 100 steps). Thank you for visiting and mentioning me on your blog. I wish you a happy and adventurous 2015, with cooking, eating and exercising :).

  10. Hi Linda ~ I came across your blog (and so glad I did) when I did a google search for caramelized honey. I was curious about what it entailed as I have recently discovered a new “favorite” chocolate bar ~ Bissinger’s Honey Pepita Caramel (60% dark chocolate enrobes caramelized tropical blossom honey with a soft kiss of guajillo chili powder & toasted pepitas). That description is on the front of the box it comes in. Bissinger’s, granted the title of “Confiseur Imperial” in 17th century France, sources high-quality ingredients with social and environmental sustainability. (It just happens to be located in my hometown & current home, St. Louis, Missouri). Sadly, the chocolate bar isn’t gluten free.

    I enjoyed reading “About Me” and am looking forward to learning more about you & your wonderful, eclectic collection of recipes.

    • I forgot to add that I love honey, too. My my favorite is Tupelo honey, which I buy in bulk from the bee keeper/honey collector in Wewahitchka, Florida.

      • Honey is just wonderful isn’t it? Such a natural and healthful sweetener (in moderation, of course). I like to use a raw organic honey from ys organic bee farms.

    • Hi Katherine, I apologize for my late reply to your comment. The chocolate bar you mentioned sounds incredibly delightful. It’s fine that the chocolate isn’t gluten free, it just means that non-gluten-free folk can enjoy more :). Thank you so much for visiting.

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