I love food.

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My partner loves food. My friends love food. My family loves food.

What I love even more is experiencing food with people.

Nobody can disagree about a great meal. It brings people together and I don’t think there is anything more generous or loving than cooking for another person or a group of people that you care about. If I care about you, then you can be sure as shit that I’ve cooked something for you at one stage or another.

However, knowing how to cook is not something that comes easily to many. I used to struggle cooking spaghetti bolognese (apparently a tin of tomatoes and garlic is not the only thing you pair with mincemeat to make the sauce). There are so many secrets that people don’t know. And there’s even more that people are too scared to try. But, in the kitchen, it’s ok to be brave and try. Buy affordable ingredients and if something doesn’t work out try again.

Also, PSA, my name is not actually Charlie Cheesecaker, rather Drew Hipwood. Since before I could walk, my dad nicknamed me Charlie Cheesecaker. To this day, he’ll sing out Charlie across the house before using the name from my birth certificate. In fact, that’s Dad’s handwriting in the logo.

My memory of cooking goes back to when I was about five years old and my mum bought me my very first cookbook, The Very Best of Kids Cooking. Not the most appropriate as it had recipes for pancakes that required your kid to leave the batter in the fridge for two hours before cooking. I did not wait two hours. SHOCKER.

I did, however, learn about the joy of pulling a perfectly formed cake out of the oven. I learned about which flavours and ingredients worked well together: tomato and garlic, chocolate and cream, basil and olive oil. And now, for so long, I’ve been experimenting with recipes, fusing the flavours my friends (my fussy sister) and I love to taste and finding a compromise between the right way and how others like to eat. I’ve now found a kind of groove in between.

Now why a blog?

First and foremost, my brother comes to mind. Not long ago, he cooked steak in the microwave yet was amazed when I whipped up teriyaki chicken for dinner. I didn’t get it. This all came naturally to me and it was so hard to understand. So my writing, my learnings, my flavours and these meals are for my brother and for everyone else just like him. For those new to the kitchen, new to experimenting with flavour, ingredients, and techniques, I’m so happy to share what I’ve learned with you. Every recipe I share is done with love and learning. Everything you read is something new, tested, researched, and written about.

If there’s something that’s unclear, I want to know and I want to help. Please reach out. When you do, you’ll be representing so many others who have the same questions. If you have a request, then request away. I’m here for you. Where there’s something you’re keen to learn about then I’ll do the hard work and find a better way.

Most of all, I hope you enjoy this food as much as I’ve enjoyed sharing it with you.