If you ever need a little inspiration to get baking, you'd do well to check out Lisa Manche's blog, spicyicecream. Brimming with uniquely adapted recipes and drool-worthy food photography, hers is a handy reference for avid diners and home cooks. A graphic designer by day and baker/blogger by night, Lisa lends her insights into recipes, restaurants and travel.
By
April Smallwood

31 May 2011 - 1:36 PM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM
If you ever need a little inspiration to get baking, you'd do well to check out Lisa Manche's blog, spicyicecream. Brimming with uniquely adapted recipes and drool-worthy food photography, hers is a handy reference for avid diners and home cooks. A graphic designer by day and baker/blogger by night, Lisa lends her insights into recipes, restaurants and travel.

SBS Food grills the face behind spicyicecream and learns of her Sunday morning ritual (hint: it involves pancakes), which dessert she just can't stomach, and just how "daring" a baker she really is.

You’re both a food blogger and graphic designer. How do you combine these two creative minds in the kitchen?
Design and food blogging go hand in hand. Having a background in design helps when styling my food photographs. I’ve also done a lot of graphic design work based around the food industry, including Gourmet Rabbit magazine, which I designed cover to cover! It’s a really great thing to be able to combine my two biggest passions.

Where was your love for desserts born?
I’ve always had a sweet tooth, so when I discovered cooking (and that I wasn’t half bad at it), making desserts was a natural progression.

You blogged that pancakes have traditionally been the breakfast of Mother’s and Father’s Days, but they've recently become a Sunday morning ritual for you. What started this?
It’s been a tradition that whenever I visit my boyfriend in Perth, we have nice, lazy Sunday mornings! This usually means sleeping in and making pancakes for breakfast. It’s such a nice change from my usual routine, which either involves skipping breakfast entirely or eating at my desk.

Tell us about the Daring Bakers challenges. What have you learnt from participating?
The Daring Bakers is a group of people from around the world who receive a different 'challenge" recipe every month, and then have a go at making and blogging about it. Unfortunately, I haven’t got the time to participate these days, but I really enjoyed the challenges I did. I tried lots of recipes that I probably would never have attempted otherwise, and learnt a lot about baking, through the experience and the help given by others in the group.

What was the toughest part about creating a gingerbread house for the Daring Bakers challenge? It looked beautiful.
Thank you! The hardest part for me was all the measuring involved, so that the walls of the house would line up nicely. I was never very good at maths, so, luckily, I could cover up any mistakes with icing! The decorating was totally the fun part.

You have an impressive photo gallery of your food creations, including shots of a clafoutis (French tart) you made. What makes this a "quick-and-easy dessert"?
Clafoutis is something that every home cook should have in their repertoire! It uses ingredients you probably already have in your pantry, and it’s made in one bowl, so there’s minimal washing up. It can be adapted to use whatever fruit is in season. It doesn’t get better than that – just don’t tell your friends how easy it was to make!

Your favourite restaurant meal of 2010 was at Christine Manfield’s Universal in Darlinghurst, Sydney. What made it so memorable?
The whole meal was flawless from start to finish! The restaurant was stunning, the food got better and better with every course, the wines were perfectly matched, and I was in excellent company with one of my best friends. To this day, I still think about that Wagyu beef vol-au-vent!

Earlier this year, you travelled to Tasmania and discovered what looks like some mouth-watering food. What surprised you about Tasmanian cuisine?
I liked the fact that there is a real restaurant community, where so many of the chefs know each other and recommend each other’s restaurants whenever tourists like us ask where to go for a good meal. I really loved Tassie and can’t wait to go back.

What's one dessert that you've never taken a liking to?
This is a tricky one. I have to say I’m not a big fan of the traditional heavy, boozy, marzipan-covered Christmas cakes. And I can’t stand liquorice.

Do you have any food resolutions for 2011?
Just to keep baking and blogging, and learning more about cooking and photography through actually doing it!

If there’s one thing you can tell your fellow foodies, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid of homemade doughnuts! I know that working with yeast and deep-frying are two of the most common baking phobias, but it’s totally worth all the effort when you bite into a fresh, warm doughnut straight out of the fryer.

Follow spicyicecream on Twitter.