About Me

tanja_photoA little over two years and some 500 posts later, it’s finally time to stop procrastinating and update my About Me page. So here goes…

Hello I’m Tanja. Welcome to my blog. A little corner of my world filled with food obsessions from my kitchen in Paddington, Sydney. You’ll find me feasting, sometimes fasting as my conscience dictates a modicum of damage control. An avid food enthusiast I believe anyone can cook – all you need is beautiful, fresh, seasonal ingredients, a wonderful recipe and an open mind.

Join me as I continue to chronicle the food I (and my family) love to eat. My blog posts almost always take me by surprise. Spontaneous and largely unplanned they’re an eclectic collection of recipes inspired by whatever is in season and catches my eye. There’s the very much loved traditional Italian family recipes handed down through generations by word of mouth. Interspersed with those retrieved from the groaning shelves of my rather vast  cookbook collection, or depths of the Aladdin’s cave of magazine and newspaper clippings that reside in the bottom of my kitchen drawer. On occasion, an  “accidental” recipe makes the cut, cobbled together in haste or desperation from the seemingly mundane contents of my fridge and pantry. Whatever its provenance, I can promise, each recipe is tried and true, although photographed with varying degrees of success (or not) by myself, a novice point and shooter, using nothing more than my trusty iPhone.

Not too long ago I stumbled across Michael Mosley’s intriguing BBC documentary Eat, Fast And Live Longer, providing something new to write about. My own 5-2 challenge? How to create interesting plates of food for under 500 calories a day that I would love to eat. That idea has captured the imagination of many of my followers. Hence once a week interspersed amongst all the feasting there’s a fast day meal idea. The emphasis very firmly on fresh, healthy and vibrant whole food; cooked from scratch, visually appealing and full of flavour.

Thanks for dropping in, I hope I’ve inspired you to get cooking.


Feel free to get in touch by either posting a comment below or sending an email to thepaddingtonfoodie(at)gmail(dot)com.

96 Responses to About Me

  1. Excellent, excellent blog. Beautifully written and photographed. I can smell a successful career change a la Julie/Julia.

  2. Linda C referred you to me and I’m glad she did. I know firsthand how hard it is to write recipes and blog about them. Good luck – you’re off to a great start!
    JW Bull

  3. Gabe says:

    Lovely work! Thank you for taking the time to pen your lovely recipes and ideas. Enjoy the journey.

  4. Marianne says:

    Thanks for sharing – beautiful food and great photography – look forward to sharing your journey.

  5. vinicooksveg says:

    Hi there, you have a lovely blog and loved the pictures!

  6. fabliss says:

    Everything looks so delicious on your blog!

  7. kaylakakes says:

    I nominated you for the Super Sweet Bloggers Award. Check out my recent post to see. 🙂

  8. Paul says:

    Just joined the scary online world of food lovers myself and loving your blog. You have set the standard I need to reach…!

  9. ciao! luvFAB blog.

  10. Hi from Niseko! Please identify yourself when you next come into Ezo so that I can thank you for the blog review you posted!

  11. Sure. Will do. We love Ezo. As do all our friends. Not sure when we will be back though.

  12. Janet Rörschåch says:

    Thank you for letting us follow your journey. I think your foods for the 5-2 concept are solid and beautifully photographed. Also, thanks for following my blog. Keep up the good work. 😀

    • Thanks for the encouragement. This concept seems to be working for me. I’m constantly amazed at how delicious 500 calories can be. It really is all about mindful eating. I think it works because subconsciously I know that I can theoretically eat absolutely anything I want the next day. Not that I actually do of course! By the way I love your blog. So many wonderful recipes.

  13. Marcella Rousseau says:

    I have nominated you for the Liebster Award. Click this link for instructions on how to accept this award. Congratulations! http://marcellarousseau.wordpress.com/?p=3285&preview=true

    • Hi Marcella. Thanks for the nomination. So very sweet of you. I’m flattered that you like my blog so much and wish I had more time to respond to the award properly. Congratulations on your awards. I’ve just been cruising your blog and love your posts. Wil be visiting again soon. To answer just one of your questions. Favourite book? I”m an avid and voracious reader. Will read everything and anything depending on my mood. I absolutely adored Irene Nemirovsky’s Suite Francaise and will always have a soft spot for Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Your list of questions is very thought provoking!

      • Marcella Rousseau says:

        Thank you! I hope you will accept the award but if you can’t, that’s OK too. Have a great day ; – )

  14. Well harlo miss paddo foodie, I’m in love with your blog and a couple of your images, and looking to publish them in our magazine. Can you please email me on the address I’ve provided? Looking forward to hearing from you x

    • Hi Georgia. What a pleasant surprise. Your email address isn’t showing up and I’m hoping this reply will find you. I can be contacted privately on thepaddingtonfoodie at gmail dot com.

  15. Congratulations! You have been awarded:
    Sunshine Award
    Participation is optional, only if you want to pass the awards to others. Please check out your awards at: http://sweetbakedlife.com/2013/08/18/honored-best-moment-award-and-sunshine-award/
    Have a great day!

  16. elamb says:

    Hi! I’ve nominated you for the Sunshine Award, so if you are interested please check out the link below for my post and the rules for accepting it. Please do not feel that you have to participate. Happy food blogging! http://fooddaydreaming.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/sunshine-award/

  17. Liz says:

    Bravo! I am one hell of an ultimate procrastinator, but I finally started a blog too and I’m enjoying every moment of it. Have a lovely weekend and thanks for visiting my blog!

  18. I have just dicovered your blog today. One of my students told me about it. I am in Paddington and I have the French school in Glenmore Rd. I do follow the 5-2 challenge too. So it is always exciting to have more choices while we can eat 500 calories maximum for two days per week. Merci Madame et bonne continuation.

    • I know your school. I must have walked past it a thousand times. Perhaps one day I will stop by and say bonjour. Now that I am the proud owner of a truffle tree in Gascony I really should brush up on my French.

  19. Hi! I have nominated you for two awards…you can pick them up here: http://sweetbakedlife.com/2013/11/03/two-awards-liebster-and-family/

    Happy Blogging!

  20. veronica espaliat says:

    I love your blog!!!! Beautiful photographs!!!
    I love the stories that comes along with every recipe.
    I have made a the rice paper rolls with the sweet chilli relish and the orange gluten free cake….both great recipes.

  21. misha says:

    congrats, paddington foodie!
    i thought you might like to be awarded the versatile blogger award.
    i’ve had fun reading your blog over the past few months, so i thought i would throw a little recognition your way. the rules of the award are posted at the link below. it is totally up to you whether or not you want to participate


    keep up the awesome work, and have fun with the award!

  22. Thanks for following my blog and congrats for yours, it’s really interesting!

    • I love everything and anything Italian. I’m enjoying being a virtual and vicarious tourist to Treviso through your blog posts. Thanks for your kind words. I hope you visit often.

      • I hope you’ll get the chance to visit it for real sooner or later, in that case I’ll be more than happy to help you 🙂
        As all Italians I love good food and I also love to try different kind food as well, that’s why I enjoy browsing your blog. Thanks!!!

  23. Great great blog! I will definately be trying out some of your delicious recipe! Also great photography and plating! I too, had to have been italian; or mexican in another life because I am in love with authentic food from either culture!!!


  24. Jo Blogs says:

    Ooo, excited to discover you and start reading your blog 😀 It looks beautiful so far…

    • Thank you for your kind words Karen. I’m overwhelmed. It’s flattering to know that my posts are inspiring others with their 5-2 journeys.What a coincidence, it is exactly a year today since I embarked on my 5-2 journey. As someone who loves food in all its guises I’ve finally found the solution to reversing the dreaded kilo creep. I love the flexibility of this eating plan and have never felt better. Good luck with your journey. Now I’m off to figure out how to post a thank you on the fastday thread.

  25. I am well traveled and consider myself to have a well seasoned palate, but I feel like I’ve been hiding under a rock since looking at all the beautiful photos and read reading the mouth watering recipes! Thank you for reopening my eyes and palate to a depth and dimension of flavors that is beyond what I thought I knew. You have been able to share with other your passion within that no other books or sites seems to have reached. Thank you and hope to see and learn more of what your palate can share.

    • Thanks Nena. It is how we love to eat. We are blessed here in Australia to have access to such a wide variety of beautiful ingredients that truly reflect our multicultural roots. So many gorgeous influences. And there is always something new to discover and try.

  26. Pamela Gutman says:

    Dear Paddington Foodie supremo
    You may have heard of the Paddington Community Garden, up and running for the last 5 years. We are located on Quarry Road, at the east end of Trumper Park just by the tennis courts and bowling greens.

    We have just loved your blog and specially the Asian food recipes you have posted. One of our plots specialises in growing Asian herbs and other food plants such as galangal, turmeric , ginger, etc.

    We have 50 members from a wide variety of backgrounds who would love to know more about cooking with Asian herbs and so we were wondering if you would be interested in coming a giving us a cooking demo on site. In fact if we could start by actually gathering the herbs from our patch and then proceeding to cook them, that would add so much in terms of a learning experience.

    If this idea appeals to you please do contact me and we can have a chat about this idea further.
    My email as above and land line 8964 6430 and mob. 0466 977 313.
    Look forward to hearing from you

    Kind regards
    Gillian Green (President)

    • Hi Gillian

      I remember when the community gardens were being established. I used to watch their progress from The Palms Tennis Courts. Can’t believe it’s been five years. Would love to have a chat about your project. Will call in the next few days.

  27. Chris says:

    Thank you for a great blog which I discovered via Michael Mosley’s 5:2 website. I have adapted my eating habits to this way for over 6 months now but I have lamented my lack of recipes for fasting days. You have shared some truly mouth-watering delights, particularly soups which I am fond of. I too really enjoy food and cooking, particularly fresh seasonal products. Thank you for sharing your experience, passion for food, and such an attractive, easy to navigate web page.

    • Thanks Michael. I’ve found fast days quite easy when I focus on preparing meals with fresh seasonal produce. Its great to hear that you are findingbthe posts useful. We are having the 5-2 butter chicken with a difference for dinner tonight even though it’s not a fast day. My family loves the recipe so much. The 5-2 approach really has helped us to embrace a mindful approach to how we eat.

  28. Lynn Kriedemann says:

    Just discovered your blog… it was mentioned in the aussie 5:2 facebook page… It looks absolutely wonderful and I am in awe! The whole thing looks exceptionally professional. I am looking forward to trying out some of your recipes very soon, especially the slow cooked salmon. BTW where do you get your salmon from (I am also in the eastern suburbs)?.
    Thanks again!

    • My pleasure Lynn. I like to visit Claudio’s at the Sydney Fish Markets. They do fabulous salmon. Otherwise the fishmongers at Edgecliff or Queen Street Woollahra are always good.

  29. Jacqueline says:

    Lovely blog 🙂

  30. aleena says:

    I love your blog and read with delight your tried and tested recipes. I wondered if you wouldnt mind helping me with something that is causing me a little concern at the moment? My daughter is having an engagement party and she has invited 150 guests at a sailing club (there is a domestic oven and a pie warmer). We had come up with a starter, mains and sweet menu but I am SCARED that her and boyfriend’s choices are a bit random. I need to minimise the ‘cooking and heating’ on the night as she wants me to enjoy myself 🙂 Any suggestions of what mains we can serve?

    • Thanks Aleena. For the wow factor I always go for large platters of beautiful produce prepared simply. Think whole sides of smoked salmon served with crusty baguettes, creme fraiche, lemon and dill, a whole leg of glazed ham with soft rolls and a selection of mustards and chutneys, a whole log of pâté with crackers and cornichons, whole wheels of perfectly ripe cheese with glass bowls of strawberries, nuts and dried fruits. A friend recently catered a party by contacting her favourite Thai restaurant and ordering large quantities of three curries. She kept them warm in crockpots, borrowed rice cookers and bribed her teenagers and their friends to serve them in disposable noodle boxes. It’s an idea I’m stealing and can be adapted for any casserole or stew. Ive never met a guy who didn’t love pulled pork sliders with Asian slaw. The components can easily be prepared ahead for last minute assembly on little buns or you could set up a slider station. Bain Marie’s to keep food warm can be easily hired from a party supply store. Id focus on your daughter and her fiances favourite foods, pick just a few dishes and do them well. Hope this helps and good luck.

  31. Allison Stewart says:

    Hello! I have just discovered you, and I am so glad!!! I’m living on the coast of Victoria, southwest of Melbourne and it’s so refreshing to find recipes using ingredients we can find here (and not some random brand from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods). I am not on the 5:2 diet, but am on the hunt for low calorie, filling, vegetarian meals (which many of your recipes are) and you seem to be the jackpot! Thanks so much for your recipes and I can’t wait to begin cooking…and becoming slimmer in the process.

    • So lovely to meet you Allison. The 5-2 diet has really opened my eyes to mindful eating and whilst these days my fast days are quite relaxed and at times sporadic, many of those recipes have become favourites we incorporate into our regular meals any day of the week. Its all about flavour and taste for me, so many recipes these days tend to be overloaded with calories when really they don’t need to be. good luck and happy eating!

  32. Maria says:

    LOVE the site – for the 5/2 AND the rest – I have tried lot’s of the recipes and loved them. I am seriously attracted to the idea of the spilazing, but having trouble tracking down the nifty little one you use. I couldn’t bear another giant tool in the kitchen!

    • Thanks Maria. So lovely to hear you have tried the recipes and enjoyed them. I know the GEFU handheld spiraliser is available on line through sites like Amazon. I found mine at a kitchenware store here in Sydney.

  33. Teri says:

    The site was a find I am into my 6 th week of the 5/2’your recipes are absolutely the answer to my struggle with the fast days

  34. Sally says:

    Hi, I just love your blog, and been following you for a while. I have been inspired to start my own blog (never been or even thought I would be a blogger) as a new beginner on the 5:2 journey I am very excited about this new way of life.
    I was wondering what app you use for your email subscription?
    Keep up the amazing work, I love popping in to see whats new.

    • Thanks Sally glad to hear you like the blog. On the wordpress platform there’s an email subscription widget that plugs in to your blog. It’s a standard feature that’s very easy to use. Hope this helps and good luck.

  35. Colin Forsyth says:

    May I start by congratulating you on a really good blog, with some excellent recipes that I hope to try soon, but I do have one rather serious complaint.
    The photography is awful and is not doing the blog any favours, whatsoever. There is no composition, many are out of focus and are showing off your food in a dreadful fashion. Bill Grainger’s ‘Poached Chicken’ picture is a case in point. The photo is out of focus and makes the chicken look totally raw!
    Please accept this as it was meant, constructive criticism, and not as someone just having a whinge……
    I look forward to reading more great recipes in the future.
    Kind regards,

    • Aah yes…photography…my Achilles heel but do think it’s slowly but surely getting better. I do especially cringe when I look at some of my earliest efforts, have considered updating them, but at the end of the day they chronicle my food blogs journey. Hopefully one day I’ll find the time to take a photography course. Thanks for your feedback Colin.

  36. Jo Rees-Jones says:

    Just learning about the 5:2 diet and stumbled across your blog. Praises, cheers and thank you so much for your inspiring recipes.

  37. Sonia says:

    Thanks for the fast diet recipes! I can’t seem to find your pinterest profile/boards to follow – do you have one?

  38. Claire says:

    Finally some decent 5:2 recipes for fast days. I’ve looked at a lot of web pages for fast day meals and most don’t inspire me. I’ll be trying your cod with cauliflower and bean mash this weekend. Thank you!

  39. Anne says:

    I made the magic vanilla custard squares today for my custard loving husband. I thought they would last a few days but they are disappearing like snow off a ditch! Thank you for a winning recipe!

  40. Carol Abnett says:

    Hi Tanja,
    I found your blog when looking for 5:2 recipes on Pinterest and have just cooked for dinner the Spicy Mediterranean Seafood Soup, loved it ,very satisfying for a fast day. My husband had no idea it was diet food, I added some Mussels for him as he loves them. Keep up the great work.

    Thanks Carol


  41. Lori says:


    Just found your blog, looks lovely…and I see you are owned by a Westie! Me too, my old boy is here at my feet. Looking forward to your recipes.

  42. joc2014 says:

    Hello. Are you ok? I miss your wonderful posts. I hope all is well.
    Big fan Jo.

  43. Lisa says:

    Simply beautiful and delicious. Thank you for sharing & inspiring!

  44. Mauretta says:

    I love your site, i have started the 5:2 Michael Mosely and was a little daunted on the 500 calorie days with what i could eat, your blog is great with tasty recipes that show the calorie content on each ingredient. makes it so easy for me, Just had your cauliflower soup for lunch and the sushi Idea is GREAT, will be definitely trying that one night. Love also the food list you have morning to dinner on the fast days, Now no need to be munching on just celery,
    Thank you!

  45. dplanglit says:

    Such inspirational recipes. Thank you for sharing. I found your blog just as I was getting really bored of salmon and cauliflower rice on fast days.

  46. Michael Robertson says:

    hi Tanja, great blog – found when looking for cauliflower soup low calories. Day 3 of Moseley’s 800 calories for 8 weeks diet. Did it last year and lost 20kg which has magically reappeared. I own Chef and the Cook a foodie store in Camperdown and being surrounded by chocolate all day makes it really difficult. In the soup is there a substitute for potato without it becoming a watery gruel? thanks Michael

    • Hi Michael
      That’s an interesting question. Most of the cauliflower soups that don’t use potato substitute massive amounts of cheese, butter or cream to add body. I came to the conclusion including potatoes was the lesser of these evils remember testing this recipe to work out the lowest ratio of potato I was happy to use when I wrote the post. Here’s an idea out of left field to cut calorie count Woolworths now stock a low calorie variety of potato called Spud Lite. Grown and supplied by a South Australian company Zerella Fresh which has a focus on sustainable farming. Their website is worth checking out. Their potatoes have 25% less carbs. I’d say keep the potatoes if you want body in your soup. Personally I found the only way I could stick to the 5-2 diet was to prepare food I looked forward to eating on my fast days. Hope your 5-2 journey goes well- it’s always easier the second time round. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been on and off the 5-2 wagon – but it’s reliable and works for me. On another note – I’ve visited your shop before. I love Newtown and usually pop in for a browse when I’m in the area. Tanja

  47. Jackie Bee says:

    I love the look of the recipes in here, and can’t wait to start cooking some. Local Australian too, which is excellent. Easy to use site with handy links. Thanks so much.

    • Hi Jackie
      Thanks – I hope you enjoy them. Our household favourites have always been the “butter” chicken and spicy Mediterranean seafood soup. They make 5-2 fasting seem easy. With spring just around the corner
      I was just thinking I should probably jump back on the 5-2 train. And perhaps post some new 5-2 recipes. 🥗

  48. Would love to chat to you about a very special project!

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