Blogging and Friends - 1st Meet-up With A Food Blogger

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Blogger meet-up at Westfield

Blogger meet-up at Westfield, London

I’m really glad that I started blogging 1+ years ago, started last June. I would have started way earlier if I knew it would be so much fun. Not only did I learn a lot of new recipes (most of the recipes on my blog are new), saving all my recipes in one place for easy reference but blogging has opened up to a whole new world of like-minded people who love to cook and eat! Many have become very good friends to me. I must say blogging is one of the best hobbies I can think of. If you love to cook or eat, why not start a food blog? It’s very easy to start one.

I was so thrilled to meet up with Stella and her 2 lovely kids last month. She was a regular reader, not a blogger, and I had never seen or met her before. We are good friends through emails. You can read it at: My Little Friends My Inspiration.

But last week, I had my first meet-up with a food blogger, Cheah from No-Frills at Westfield, London. Cheah is from Malaysia and she was on her Europe tour with her family. It so happened that I was on a short trip to London and I met up with her on the very day I was travelling back to Aberdeen. It was one of the most exciting experiences because again, like meeting Stella, I have no clue how she looks like. We only know each other very well through email. At least she has a rough idea how I look like as I have my profile picture on my blog.

Cheah is a very lovely friend. She is very friendly and she never fail to send me interesting articles to read…almost every day. She always send me articles on health, Malaysian news and funny stuff. I really enjoy reading them. She has a lovely blog, No-Frills, which is choked full of home cooked food and bakes. Do drop by her blog to check it out. She is very friendly and helpful.

It was wonderful to be able to meet up with her for a few hours. We had a long good chat over a cup of tea and coffee and then went for lunch at Jamie’s Italian restaurant, a treat from her. Her family was with her and it was really wonderful to meet them all. They are all very friendly and lovely to talk to.

Malaysian Nyonya spices

Malaysian Nyonya spices

I was happily surprised to receive a bag of Nonya pastes, soup spices and prawn seasonings from her…..just what I love! These goodies travelled with her all over Europe! I’m going to have lots of fun cooking and enjoying them. Nyonya food is very popular in Malaysia. To cook from scratch is very time consuming and challenging. The ready paste saves time and a guarantee of great taste.

Jamie's Italian restaurant


Westfield is very popular in London. It’s a huge shopping complex. I love to go there if I ever go to London…to shop, eat and relax as there are lots of lovely chairs around to sit and chat or even read. There are lots of eating places both inside and outside the complex. I had been to Westfield several times but had not been to Jamie’s Italian Restaurant. It was situated outside the shopping complex. It even sells Jamie Oliver’s cookbooks. I always eat at the food court inside the complex which offers a huge range of different food. I love the Vietnamese food there. So, this is good experience for me to try out Italian food. When we arrived, the whole restaurant was full. We had to wait for a while to get a table.

Freshly made pasta

Freshly made pasta

The food at Jamie’s restaurant was good. The pasta were all freshly made.

Girl making pasta

Girl making pasta

This girl was making different pastas continuously, putting them into a roll and keeping them in the cabinet as shown here and also in boxes. Nothing is better than freshly made pasta or noodles. It’s quite like making Chinese noodles which I love to make. If you would like to know how to make homemade fresh egg noodles, check it out at How To Make Egg Noodles At Home and a lovely noodle soup at Noodle Soup And Fried Noodles from Homemade Egg Noodles.

The following are what we ate at Jamie’s Italian Restaurant.

Courgette (zucchini) fritters

Courgette (zucchini) fritters

This is what I had…courgette (or zucchini) fritters…..something light. They tasted pretty good with the hummus as dip….something new to me. I would love to try making this one.

Sea bass with couscous

Sea bass with couscous

This is what Cheah ordered…..sea bass with couscous served in a package. Love the presentation. Usually I see couscous served in other places very dry but this one was more wet with sauce and tasted quite nice actually.

Baked mushrooms with cheese

Baked mushrooms with cheese

This looks simple and pretty delicious as a starter that we shared. I love chestnut mushrooms and they are quite cheap here. I would love to try making this one day.



This plate of pasta looks very impressive. The pasta is huge…looks like the Japanese udon. On closer look, I notice that there’s a hollow through all the pasta strands. It’s hollow spaghetti. I think it’s called ‘perciatelli’. It looks delicious.

Pasta with truffles

Pasta with truffles

This is new to me…pasta with heart shaped truffles. It looks simple and delicious with the sauce.

Beef steak

Beef steak

This is a piece of juicy steak served with some salad. It still looked a little red to me. I don’t think I can ever cook a good steak at home because I would make sure it’s cooked through! I tried once at home and it ended up so tough. I think I better cook the famous Malaysian ‘beef rendang’ to be on the safe side…haha.



This tiramisu looks like a piece of roast to me when it came. It’s ok to me but I would love a stronger coffee taste and more cream. I think it’s too soggy. I would love to try making this one day. I still have Baileys at home….Coffee Bailey…..yum. If you love Baileys like me, you can try out my Baileys Coffee Ice Cream Float which is delicious.

Time passes fast and I’m sure we still have lots more to talk but I had to go. I went back and straight to the airport I went. It was a wonderful meeting.

Have you ever met someone or a friend that you have not seen? What is your experience? Please share, add and comment in the comment box below.

Quote of the day……

“The art of being wise is knowing what to overlook.”

William James

Keep Learning Keep Smiling

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Arnold  on September 24th, 2010

Every time I read articles like this I realize again that blogging is indeed a lot of fun. Your photos from Jamie’s Restaurant look great.

Belinda @zomppa  on September 24th, 2010

How fun to meet another blogger. It is so neat, this community.

Nate @ House of Annie  on September 24th, 2010

I’m sure you’ll love those Nyonya spices.

How come you cook your beef all the way through? To me, that’s overdoing it.

3hungrytummies  on September 24th, 2010

Oh how fun! So much goodies too :)

penny aka jeroxie  on September 24th, 2010

Nice goodies you’ve got there. Blogging is a lot of fun and new friends. :)

Mary  on September 24th, 2010

@Arnold - Thanks very much, Arnold! Really glad to know you through blogging and learning lots of easy and delicious recipes from you :D

@Belinda @zomppa - Totally agree with you…a wonderful community we are in :D Really glad to know you through blogging. Love your blog!

@Nate @ House of Annie - Ooooh…I know I’ll love these Nyonya pastes. Oh… mom always says that meat must be thoroughly cooked….that’s why! Looks like I need to relearn some of my cooking :D Lovely to meet you through blogging!

@3hungrytummies - Yes, it is! Glad to meet you through blogging. Always drool over your food! :D

@penny aka jeroxie - Indeed…blogging is a lot of fun and new friends. So glad to meet you through blogging and know of your passion in cooking :D

anncoo  on September 24th, 2010

Mary, So sweet of Cheah and I’m sure you keep smiling the whole day ;DD

Nasi Lemak Lover  on September 24th, 2010

who said blogging is not good! see we can make a lot of friends via blogging! Cheah must know you missed MY foods a lot, hehehe..

Cheah  on September 24th, 2010

Mary, thanks so much for the compliments re my family. That’s a good post of our lunch, at least now I don’t have headache sorting out the names of the food that my girls ordered!

Sarah, Maison Cupcake  on September 24th, 2010

Oh fantastic! I love Westfield but haven’t been for a while nor been to Jamie’s Italian. I must make a point of going there.

kristy  on September 24th, 2010

I thought you going to post out the photos! hehe… Btw, I think that tiramisu don’t look so right! Exactly, very soggy! =o( Thanks for sharing and have a great day.

Priya  on September 24th, 2010

Hope u had great time with ur blogger’s meet, beautiful dishes..

suituapui  on September 24th, 2010

I love blogger-meets, meeting with blogger-friends who drop by everyday, who stick around through thick and thin…and I would do likewise for them. That’s why I keep blogging - so much love, all the friendship bonds we make along the way…

Ya, I also use those ready-made pastes. Saves a whole lot of trouble. But for curry (meat or seafood), I prefer A1 Mountain Globe - have a look at my curry fish in my post later next week - right now in the long queue.

Mak Nyonya isn’t too bad… Quite nice too! I think I used the assam fish paste for the pineapple prawn dish I featured in my blog a week or so ago…

suituapui  on September 24th, 2010

P.S. The food doesn’t look great - what you usually cook is a lot nicer…and what we can get over here at hotels and restaurants too…and probably a lot cheaper as well.

5 Star Foodie  on September 24th, 2010

Sounds like a fantastic time meeting Cheah, wonderful!

Mary  on September 24th, 2010

@anncoo - Yes, I was smiling the whole day…amused at how we met! Never in my entire life would I ever thought of meeting someone I had never seen…haha. I would really love to meet you next. I’m really so glad that I meet you through blogging. You are an amazing friend :D I’m really glad I know how you look like…haha

@Nasi Lemak Lover - Yes, blogging is best! You are very right…we make lots of friends. Of course I miss your food, Sonia…always drooling over them :D There are so many of you in West Malaysia. I told Cheah I want to make a full trip round West Malaysia one day and visit you all!

@Cheah - It’s really wonderful meeting you and your family. Hope to meet you all again one day :D I don’t think we can ever finish talking…LOL. Thanks very much for your friendship, Cheah! So glad to know you through blogging :D

@Sarah, Maison Cupcake - Maybe one day we should meet, too, at Westfield. Would love to meet your adorable boy, Ted. I’m really glad to meet you through blogging, too :D

@kristy - I wish to but….. :) Ya, can tell from the photos that the tiramisu doesn’t look too good, right? I better make one day. Thanks very much for being such a nice friend. Appreciate your friendship very much :D Hope you have a great day, too.

@Priya - Yes, I had a great time chatting and really enjoyed the food. Lovely to meet you through blogging :D

@suituapui - Whao…you have blogger friends who drop by everyday…..amazing!!! I do hope to meet you and your family one day. You will take me to the best place in Sibu to eat, right? :D Just thought it wonderful to meet you through blogging…someone right from my hometown! :D Thanks so much for introducing me to all the different brands of pastes and also your blog posts. I’m so out of touch and this is really helpful. Wish I can get them here! I have to look for them.

Wow….that’s wonderful compliments from you…blushing here…haha! Just makes blogging even more worth it :D

@5 Star Foodie - Yes, it was really a fantastic time meeting Cheah…so unexpected and so timely. Hope to meet you one day, too. Love your adorable daughter. Would love to play with her. Maybe she can do colouring and drawing for me, too :D
Lovely to meet you through blogging!

Sushma Mallya  on September 24th, 2010

it seems you had lots of fun…

Jeannie  on September 24th, 2010

Hey Mary, your meet up with Cheah reminds me of the days when I used to go meeting up with my chat friends! I find it very enjoyable meeting with online friends and suddenly we can have put a face to all the nicks when we chat in the chatroom lol! Fun time, I missed that. Hope to meet you one day too! :)

Pepy @Indonesia Eats  on September 24th, 2010

Blogging is a lot of fun! we can meet new people and share ideas. Exchange gifts! Sometimes we even haven’t met yet, we are like close friends

claire  on September 24th, 2010

hi finally u met up with your fellow bloggers.. as for me, i met up with quite a few already.. great wonderful experience, meeting new people and now becoming friends..hope to meet more in time to come.. including u too!

lequan  on September 24th, 2010

i love meeting friends that i’ve made through blogging. it’s such a wonderful experience to get to know the person behind the blog or emails isn’t it?

looks like you lovely ladies had quite a lunch. all those dishes look delicious. i think i would go crazy over the zucchini fritters. the hollow pasta sounds very smart. i’ll bet there were some yummy sauce inside the hollow pasta as well. thank you for sharing your meet up with us. have a wonderful weekend, Mary!

Priscilla - She's Cookin'  on September 24th, 2010

So glad you and Cheah were able to meet and get to know each other better over some fantastic food at Jamie’s! Great photos - thanks for sharing them with the rest of us. I’m really hungry now!

Mary  on September 24th, 2010

How nice to be able to meet a fellow blogger. Nicer still - you enjoyed each others company. The photos today were wonderful. As I paged through them, the plan for our dinner came together. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

Katerina  on September 24th, 2010

It is so nice to meet other people who share the same passion with you in our case food.

Barbara  on September 24th, 2010

What fun it was to meet a blogger-buddy! And you sure chose a fabulous luncheon spot. The food is making me very hungry….
I haven’t met and blogger friends yet but do email a couple of them regularly.

elra  on September 24th, 2010

One of many good thing about blogging :)

Namitha  on September 24th, 2010

Sure you guys had fun…glad to see the pictures..

Aipi  on September 24th, 2010

It must be so much fun to meet fellow bloggers..nice pictures n beautiful dishes :)

US Masala

rebecca  on September 24th, 2010

wow what fun man I wish we had eaten here food looks wonderful next time I am in the UK we should all meet he he

kamalika  on September 24th, 2010

Your post is sayiing that you really had a grt time…..

Jen Cheung  on September 24th, 2010

You are tagged !!! Come visit my page and fill out a survey for me to get to know you better !!

Have a wonderful and fabulous weekend !!
Jen @

Mimi  on September 24th, 2010

What a fun day to meet up with a blogging friend.

Mary  on September 24th, 2010

@Sushma Mallya - Yes, it was real fun :D Lovely to meet you through blogging, too!

@Jeannie - Oh wow…..that must be so much fun. I haven’t tried the chat room yet. Looks like you don’t do it any more. Must be too busy blogging these days and making friends with food bloggers :D Thanks very much for your friendship! I would really love to meet you and your boys one day.

@Pepy @Indonesia Eats - That’s really the beauty and wonder of blogging…fun and excitement around every corner :D I’m really glad to meet you through blogging. I love all your food…reminds me of home!

@claire - Whah…your are luckier than me! But I’m really happy to have finally met one food blogger, Cheah. Would really love to meet you and others, too, one day :D Bet we have tonnes to share…need coffee to keep us awake…haha

@lequan - Totally agree with you…wonderful experience to get to know the person behind the blog or emails! The lunch was really nice. I’m sure the hollow spaces of the spaghetti were filled up with delicious creamy sauce. Great to know you through blogging. Hope to meet you one day, too. Would love to play with your adorable kids. Maybe they can do colouring and drawings for me :D Hope you have a lovely weekend, too.

@Priscilla - She’s Cookin’ - Yes, Italian food is quite special. Looking at it, I’m hungry, too…haha. Lovely to meet you through blogging :D

@Mary - Yes, it was really nice to meet another food blogger. It was fun chatting and having a meal together. Looks like you are going to have a lovely meal…wonderful! Love your blog. Lovely to meet you through blogging. Hope you have a great day, too :D

@Katerina - You are very right to say that! Birds of the same feather flock together…haha :D Lovely to meet you through blogging. Love your blog.

@Barbara - The food is making me hungry, too…haha. I’m sure you will meet a food blogger one day. I’m sure you will have fun :D Lovely to meet you through blogging!

@elra - Yes, it is…something I never thought of…just wonderful :D Lovely to meet you through blogging.

@Namitha - Yes, we had fun! Lovely to meet you through blogging :D

@Aipi - Thanks very much, Aipi! Yes, it was fun. LOvely to meet you through blogging :D

@rebecca - Indeed we should meet the next time when you are back to UK…next Spring, right? Would love to see your little darling, Jasmine! :D It’s going to be so much fun.

@kamalika - We sure had a great time :D Lovely to meet you through blogging.

@Jen Cheung - Thanks very much, Jen! It’s really late at night. Finding hard to keep my eyes open any much longer. Will check out your survey tomorrow. Have a fabulous weekend, too. Lovely to meet you! :D

@Mimi - Yes, it was! Lovely to meet through blogging :D

Christine@Christine's Recipes  on September 24th, 2010

Mary, how wonder and excited to meet someone who read your blog everyday.
Happy blogging!

fimère  on September 24th, 2010

une belle rencontre, ça fait vraiment plaisir
bonne soirée

somewhere in singapore  on September 24th, 2010

No group picture?

Blackswan  on September 24th, 2010

The Courgette fritters looks nice, I like fried stuff. Hahaha!

Blogging’s fun, really get to meet interesting people. One of the many benefits :)

Jess @ Bakericious  on September 24th, 2010

Mary, you and cheah must be having great time and so sweet of cheah brought the paste all the way for you!

Uncle Lee  on September 24th, 2010

Hi Mary, nice blog you have and I sure love the dishes here….I guess you live to eat, huh?
Anyway, have fun and keep a song in your heart, best regards, Lee.

Karen  on September 24th, 2010

How fun that you got to meet another blogger! What a great day!

Mary  on September 25th, 2010

@Christine@Christine’s Recipes - Yes, it’s really wonderful and exciting. Hope to meet you one day, too :D Love your blog….so many recipes there are my favourite.

@fimère - Yes, it was! Thanks very much. Lovely to meet you through blogging :D

@somewhere in singapore - Yes, didn’t put up…camera shy :P
Really hope to meet you one day. When that happens, I will put up group photo :D

@Blackswan - Indeed blogging is so much fun. I would love to meet you one day. Lovely to meet you through blogging.

@Jess @ Bakericious - We had a really good time chatting and enjoying food. I would really love to meet you one day. Maybe I should arrange a long transit in Singapore when on my way back home :D

@Uncle Lee - Haha….yes, I do live to eat…only eat good food :D
When age catches up, need to be selective….hehe. Indeed, need to smile always with a song in my heart. Maybe you should sing a song for me :D

@Karen - It was fun and it was great meeting Cheah! Lovely to meet you through blogging. Hope one day we can meet, too :D

makcikmanggis  on September 25th, 2010

hi Mary …bestnya dapat jumpa kawan yg begini…nanti bila I visit my children in uk dapat lahn kita jumpa ya hehe

Joanne  on September 25th, 2010

Blogger meet-ups are the best, especially when they involve delicious pasta dishes! How fun.

Shirley  on September 25th, 2010

Hey I was hoping to see a pic of Cheah too. I guess when food bloggers meet the focus is on food. Lol!

Faith  on September 25th, 2010

Your blogger meet-up looks like it was so much fun! Delicious spread of food and the freshly made pasta is gorgeous!

Drick  on September 25th, 2010

what a great trip meeting a face… nice surprise package and liked the food pics - think you need to try making tiramisu too, but I’m like you, most are too soggy

Ananda Rajashekar  on September 25th, 2010

blogging is indeed a great fun! we get to reach many new good people…glad you had great fun!

Simply Life  on September 25th, 2010

What a fun time to meet with another blogger!

mycookinghut  on September 25th, 2010

Looks at the food!! Wow! Didn’t know you were in London, else could have meet you up!!

Chef Dennis  on September 25th, 2010

it looks as though you had a wonderful meal and a great time! I have yet to meet up with any of my foodie friends, but I would love to…
thanks for sharing your fun with us!

Mary  on September 26th, 2010

@makcikmanggis - Ya, harap kita dapat jumpa suatu hari……mungkin di Malaysian Hall….makananya sedap :D

@Joanne - It was really fun….memorable experience! :D

@Shirley - Haha…I actually wanted to but…… Yes, more focus on food…LOL :D

@Faith - Yes, it was a lot of fun…chat and food…and exciting to find out how each other looks like :D

@Drick - It was a great experience indeed :D Yes, one of these days, I’m going to make my own tiramisu. I have to make sure it’s not soggy and full of beautiful coffee and Baileys flavour :D

@Ananda Rajashekar - Never in my entire world did I ever thought blogging would turn out to be so much fun. I thought it would just be my cooking journal. How wrong! It’s sure fun and wonderful to get to know so many other food bloggers, including you :D

@Simply Life -Indeed it was! Hope to meet more in the days ahead…, too :D

@mycookinghut - Oh, wish I knew you were in London. Otherwise we could meet up! Do let me know if you are ever in London. If I am on a trip there, we can always meet up…would be so fun! :D

@Chef Dennis - Yes, I really had a wonderful time. Hope you get to meet some food bloggers one day. I wish I can visit your school and see how you whip up so much good healthy food for so many hundreds of girls each day!! Of course to try your mouth-watering dishes, too :D You are an amazing chef, Dennis!

pierre  on September 26th, 2010

if people were blogging much more there would be less misery in this world?!! agree? pierre

Angie's Recipes  on September 26th, 2010

How exciting! Jamie’s Italian looks nice.

tigerfish  on September 26th, 2010

How good is that to meet a food blogger who traveled so far…

tasteofbeirut  on September 26th, 2010

You are so right! Blogging is so much fun and a learning experience as well! I have never been to that mall in London but your photos are very enticing especially with the fresh pasta!

Sidney  on September 26th, 2010

wow, what a wonderful meet up…the restaurant looks great as well as the food - fresh pasta…

Mary  on September 27th, 2010

@pierre - Totally agree with you, Pierre! That’s a good one :D We will be busy cooking, enjoying food and feeling happy!

@Angie’s Recipes - Thanks very much, Angie! :D

@tigerfish - It’s really amazing and hard to come by, right? :D

@tasteofbeirut - Thanks very much, Joumana! If you are ever in London, try out Westfield. I love it. Maybe we can even meet up if I am there in London :D

@Sidney - Thanks very much, Sidney! Would love to meet up with you one day. Still thinking of your grandma’s special sambal :D

shaz  on September 27th, 2010

Oh what fun to meet another blogger. I read Cheah’s blog too :) Looks like a lovely day out and a good meal :)

Devaki @weavethousandflavors  on September 28th, 2010

How fun to meet another blogger! We are a wonderful breed indeed :) I had a lovely breakfast with Tara at What we chow and I know exactly what you mean :)

What a lovely care package you recieved from Malaysia - yummmm…..

Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

My Restaurants Melbourne  on September 28th, 2010

blogging is definetly lots of fun, glad you could put a face to a blog. Looks like a fabulous meal too.

Magic of Spice  on September 29th, 2010

It is wonderful that we meet so many great people through our blogs :) And how fun it must be to get together with some…

Aimei  on October 1st, 2010

you must have had a great time meeting your fellow bloggers. The food looks good. :)

How To Make GOOD Friends! |  on October 2nd, 2010

[...] Keep Learning Keep Smiling » Blogging and Friends – 1st Meet-up … [...]

Thas  on October 2nd, 2010

This is just awesome. So when are we going to meet? I would love to meet you someday.
I would like to invite you to participate in “The 30 best recipes of 2010″ contest: For more info:

Mary  on October 5th, 2010

@shaz - Yes, it was a very good meetup…had a lot of fun chatting and eating :D

@Devaki @weavethousandflavors - Totally agree with you …a wonderful breed…nice name..haha :D Wonderful to knaow that you ahd a lovely meet up with Tara! :D

@My Restaurants Melbourne - Totally agree with you that blogging is so much fun :D The meal was fabulous!

@Magic of Spice - Indeed it’s really so wondewrful to be able to meet so many people through blogging….bever dreamed that would happen! :D

@Aimei - Yes, I sure had a great time. It was just wonderful…one that I will always cherish! :D

@Thas - Oh, I would really love to meet you one day, Thas! I hope it won’t be too far away :D Oh wow..thanks very much for the invitation to the contest. I’ll check it out :D

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