Confessions of an online chef
Cooking blogger uses teaching experience to carve out a niche for herself
Ms Diana Gale, 44, has been demystifying the kitchen for Singaporeans since 2012.
Her cooking blog, The Domestic Goddess Wannabe, written in a lively, chatty style, gets about 125,000 visitors a month, and is a two-time winner of Best Cooking Blog at the Singapore Blog Awards.
Her debut cookbook, The Domestic Goddess Wannabe Bakes, was launched last month.
The book is available on Epigram's online store (epigrambooks.sg) as well as LocalBooks (localbooks.sg), and at major bookstores. It features more than 80 recipes, as well as tips and ideas.
While the book has familiar items such as muffins and banana bread, she has also included some unique offerings, such as Cheesy Bak Kwa Twists and Teh Halia Chiffon Cake.
"When coming up with these recipes, I thought about local flavours that I really like and I tried to incorporate them. What I wanted was a book where Singaporeans can find familiar flavours like gula melaka and bandung."
Ms Gale prides herself in making all her recipes simple to follow. She attributed that to having been in the teaching profession for around 20 years.
She said: "I always break things up so students can understand, and I instinctively make things simpler."
Ms Gale's cooking adventures had a rocky start.
She recalled the first time she cooked spaghetti at the age of 11, when she traumatised herself and her sister, who was a guinea pig for her cooking.
"It was so horrible. The spaghetti was overcooked and fluffy. I opened a store-bought can of sauce, didn't even heat it up and just poured it over."
Despite the lack of formal culinary training, her simple approach has earned her a loyal following.
"I want to make cooking approachable. It does not have to be fussy and involve 500 steps. Most ingredients I use can be found in your pantry. Even if you don't have some ingredients, they are easily replaceable."
On her blog, she includes step-by-step photos for all her recipes so they can be followed easily, even by beginners.
"I am glad that many people have looked at my blog and started cooking. The step-by-step photos encourage them to try and give them courage."
For budding bloggers looking to join the local cooking blog scene, Ms Gale recommends finding a niche.
"If you have found a niche, you can develop it. My niche would be simplicity. I try to make everything logical, and my methods across different recipes are similar, so people can follow them more easily."
Ms Gale also teaches cooking classes regularly.
Ms Alexis Nielsen, 54, a pre-school principal who has been attending the classes for half a year, said: "I have been to a number of cooking classes, but I like her classes a lot as her recipes are easy to follow. I can actually make the recipes when I am back at home."
As a cooking blogger, Ms Gale values the sharing of recipes.
She said: "For recipes to live on, I believe that we must share them."
Tricks of the trade
Figure out what you are good at and stick with it. From there, you can branch out later.
- You must be true with your recipes. They must be authentic and they must work. People will lose faith if the recipes do not come out the way you present them.
- Find your own voice as a blogger.