Not Quite Nigella, the Book

When I started my blog two years ago, no one was reading it.  Carl’s job every night was to click in and out of my blog to cause something to show up on my blog stats.  But quickly Carl’s fingers wore out.  As did his keyboard.  So as I didn’t know of any blogs besides my own, I asked Mr Google to help me find some.  I asked him to show me best blogs, food blogs, Sydney’s top blogs, award-winning blogs and what I noticed is, one blog kept appearing over and over again on all of these lists.  Mr Google introduced me to Not Quite Nigella so I clicked on over,  read the day’s post, left a lame comment and exited.

Book signing

Book signing

Shocked to the core, the very next day I had my first cyber friend because Lorraine, from Not Quite Nigella had left a comment on my blog.  Carl could take the day off.  And every time I left a comment on Lorraine’s blog, she popped back to see me.  ‘We must be besties’, I thought.

Rebecca's Peking duck pancakes (I had six)

Rebecca’s Peking duck pancakes (I had six)

Through Lorraine’s blog I met many other bloggers and one of them was Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.  She rang me one day and asked if I would like to go to lunch with her and her friend.  ‘That sounds nice’, I said.

‘Good, because my friend’s Lorraine.  I think you’d like her’.  I couldn’t believe it.  I was going to meet Lorraine, the Lorraine from Not Quite Nigella.

The charcuterie platter with olives

The charcuterie platter with olives

Because Lorraine has such a big blog, I was expecting a really big person (which is incredibly silly) but Lorraine is tiny.  Tiny, glamorous and gorgeous.  We had a terrific lunch that you can read about here and at the end, Lorraine said, ‘I love your writing and I love your blog’.  Well, I went home on a high.

Talent comes in very small packages

‘Good things come in small packages’

I’m not the only one who has been eagerly awaiting the launch of Lorraine’s book, Not Quite Nigella.  A few weeks ago Tania, Celia, Rebecca and I were discussing the launch and we asked Lorraine if we could help in any way with the catering.  Lorraine was overjoyed and relieved and agreed that it would be very special to have bloggers catering the launch of a book that is the direct product of blogging.

Sang Choy Bow

Sang Choy Bow

So we had ourselves a job and because Tania and Rebecca are both professionally trained, they took on the bulk of the workload organising budgets and costings and equipment and transportation and timing etc.  Celia and I lay low and let them work it out while doing a little cooking of our own.   I was going to make individual leek and bacon quiches but given the large numbers of gluten-free and vegetarian guests, I decided to make frittatas instead.  While they were all eaten I won’t share my recipes because they didn’t look as elegant as I would have liked, mostly because the little buggers stuck like glue to my baking trays.  I will refine the recipe and get back to you!

My frittatas - spinach or leek

My frittatas – a choice of spinach or leek

The launch was held in the penthouse suite of the Diamant Boutique Hotel in Kings Cross.  At $3,000/night it’s a stunning venue with plenty of space for the 60 guests.  Carl was the assigned photographer for the event and so we arrived early.  In the lift going up to the penthouse was another early arrival.  I asked her, ‘So how do you know Lorraine?’  And she replied, ‘I’m her hairdresser’.

The risotto I stirred, stirred, stirred

The risotto I stirred, stirred, stirred

With great interest I said, ‘So how was your date with Manu?’  Because in a post a few weeks ago Lorraine had mentioned that she had set up her hairdresser on a blind date with Mr NQN’s brother, Manu.  The hairdresser looked a little stunned.  But then the lift doors opened and there stood a tall thin man and the hairdresser introduced me to him as Mr NQN.  And I threw my arms around him and gave him a kiss and a lingering hug and he was then even more stunned than the hairdresser because he had no idea who I was.  It’s just that from reading Lorraine’s blog I felt like Mr NQN and I had quite a friendship going.

Banished to the kitchen I then took orders from Tanya who runs a tight ship in the kitchen, let me tell you.  I’d clearly done something wrong because I was given the job of stirring the risotto.  It’s a shame Tanya couldn’t have brought a bigger pot.

Tania wielding that big wooden spoon.  Watch out!

Tania wielding that big wooden spoon. Watch out!

All we did in the kitchen was work, work, work

It was all work and no play in the kitchen

We emerged from the kitchen to hear Lorraine’s speech that was very heartfelt and brought a tear to the eye.  Later I mingled with the guests and it was so much fun being in the same room as all the characters I have come to know and enjoy from reading Not Quite Nigella.

Time for a heart-felt speech

Time for a heart-felt speech

Charlie Louie is working so hard!  And that's Lorraine's parents.

Charlie Louie is working so hard! And that’s Lorraine’s parents.

I have my own personally signed copy of Lorraine’s book.  I haven’t finished it yet but almost.  It’s an unstoppable read telling the story of how and why she became a blogger, the journey that path has taken her and all the funny, challenging and surprising incidents along the way.

Let's have a party in the ensuite!

Let’s have a party in the ensuite!

I have tremendous respect for Lorraine for being such a trailblazer for bloggers; for setting an incredible standard and for showing us that blogging is a legitimate career, if that’s what you would like it to be.

The cake!  So amazing and such a special feature of the night

The cake! So amazing and such a special feature of the night


I know Lorraine, that Tanya, Rebecca and Celia would agree with me when I say, it was an honour to assist you with the launch of your book.  Thank you for including us in such a special event.

Celia's homemade chocolates - better than what you can buy from professionals

Celia’s homemade chocolates – better than what you can buy from professionals

Oh, and I know I’m late to the party, but I’m now on Instagram.  I look forward to connecting with you there.

The risotto I stirred, stirred, stirred

The porcini risotto.  I stirred, stirred, stirred.


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  1. Charlie, I was so touched that you took out so much time to help with my book launch. You guys were so supportive and helped me through it all so seamlessly. I’m so glad that I’ve found some true blogging friends! xxx

  2. What a delightful event and an encouragement to all of us bloggers. I feel just like you as a blog follower, that I really get to know the “characters” who, in real life, truly can become friends. Just as you have proven in this post.

  3. What a perfect post! I’m having dinner with Lorraine tomorrow night in Montville and I can’t wait! I’m bringing my book so she can sign it and I’ve FINISHED reading mine. 🙂 EVERY food blogger should read this book because what comes off her fingers is what we’ve all been through. She just tells a better story. LOL Okay, I don’t have a Miss America to race around town with but I’m on the lookout.

  4. eveerything seems so delicious and beautiful. Thank you dear Charlie, love, nia

  5. Such a lovely gathering for a special event with friends. Your individual mini frittatas look elegant to me and I am looking forward to the recipe.

  6. I really enjoy developing relationships with fellow bloggers and foodies! Its such a great community. I’ll have to check out her cook book!

  7. How cool! The cake looks like the book!! What a neat story…I hope to be a big time blogger when I grow up!!! 🙂 xo

  8. I don’t have many followers yet, but I have the ones that really really count, because with each one of them I feel that very special connection. Charlie, you and Lorraine are two of those.I know Lorraine’s book will do spectacularly well, and will be unlike any other cookbook. I am eagerly waiting for a print version because I want this one in hard cover. Someday I will come to Australia and meet you all!

  9. Awesome! What a fabulous evening. Think I need to head over to Lorraines blog ASAP!
    🙂 Mandy xo

  10. What a fun event! It had to be so exciting!!! You did a lovely job on stirring the risotto. It looks delicious. I would have had one or three of those! Congrats on such a great night! 🙂 Isn’t it fun to see what blogging can bring about…experiences you never imagined! Love it.

  11. This was such a great post to read. I love how you conveyed your sense of excitement and pride in your friend’s accomplishment. Many of us food bloggers may dream of someday being published in a traditional book format, but that will be a reality for very few. How wonderful that your friend Lorraine was able to achieve this. I’ll look out for her book!

  12. Awww this book launch sounds like it was a beautiful night and you are so sweet to help Lorraine out for her special occasion 😀


  13. Selfies in the kitchen! Didn’t we have a blast, Charlie! And Tania should have brought a bigger stick as well as a bigger pot! Lucky I was there to do all the stirring. 😉 I think the handsome photographer should have made sure he had more photos of his gorgeous wife, and I loved your spinach frittata (as you know by how many I ate). xxx

    PS. I was right, wasn’t I? I knew you’d like Lorraine. 😀

  14. Girlonaswing says:

    You are so incredibly inspiring!

  15. Love it!!!

  16. Great post Charlie

    Lorraine will be part of the program for Gourmet Garden in Noosa this week and I think I sat next to Tania at Blogopolis last year. Lovely lady thought I was already following her on facebook but it appears not.

    Must get Lorraine’s book as she sure is one successful blogger. Can’t wait to meet her.


  17. What an awesome event! And that is a cake? Wow! Looks like an awesome evening for all of you 🙂

  18. What a great night and with such fantastic food!!! You guys did a tremendous job! I loved the frittata’s and the risotto! Although I ate both and only remembered to photograph the risotto! Very bad of me :0!

    I have my story of the night up too if you would like a peek 😉

  19. Wasn’t it a great night. Of course as usual I was in the kitchen most of the night. Hmmmm not too sure exactly what is meant by tight ship ( was it when I yelled at you “Don’t stop bloody stirring”?) …… BUT of course the only reason I had you stirring the risotto is because I wanted you all to stay in the kitchen, it was so much fun. I am so very happy to have met many great blogging characters over the past two years. It has literally saved my life. Its always fun to hear your stories Charlie and Lorraine is both talented and a great friend. The glue for us in Sydney of course is Celia, she’s such a saint xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  20. You must have had a fab evening. Great to have Lorraine’s book launch in such an amazing venue. The pictures look great as does the food. I loved the book, thoroughly enjoyed the further adventures of the Not Quite Nigella gang and of course the interview with Nigella. GG

  21. What a great post Charlie, I am so very jealous that you were able to be such a lovely part in this momentous event. I love the little fritattas you made, I know I want one right now (starving and we won’t have dinner for a couple of hours!). It was very nice that Carl took photos, it’s so difficult to enjoy a party when you have been charged with a task…left your hands open for a glass of bubbly or two!
    I am happy to hear that Mr. NQN was able to enjoy that gorgeous suite — Lorraine didn’t mention that he was there in her post today. The views are to die for.
    The food looks incredible and I’m sure the party was a blast. Lorraine is quite fortunate to have such dear friends as yourself and the others who very generously helped with the food.
    It’s been so busy lately I haven’t had a chance to purchase the book, but as soon as I have a minute, I will (it seems my purse is always at the total opposite side of the house when I want to buy something on line!).

  22. you are wonderful for helping out Lorraine so much. anyone would be lucky to have someone like you in their lives 🙂 xx

  23. Wow. So many nice words. What a touching post, really. :)) And in spite of not knowing THE Lorraine in person – I live in Portugal, so lunch would be a bit out of the way for me ehehe -, I get the same feelings as I read every blog post.

  24. That cake! Those chocolates!! I will buy this book for sure and well done to you for helping out. Bloggers are such great sharers and networkers but most of all, such great friends to have.

  25. I’ve just finished the book this week – really enjoyable and NQN really seems so down to earth even though she’s a bit of a blog celeb. Looks like a fun book launch — really great of y’all to help her out with the catering…nice one.

  26. I’m so glad it was such a wonderful night! It looks like the kitchen crew had quite a night too! Well done!
    Maybe we could have another mini book launch party when I’m next in Sydney? 🙂

  27. Hi Charlie, I’ve been reading quietly here for awhile (I came originally through the lovely Celia). Like Lorraine, I love the way you write. But what’s really flushed me out is what did the hairdresser say about Manu??? Love me a bit of intrigue…

    • Hi Alison, well…the story is under wraps but, I’ll share it with you…they had a lovely time but have decided to remain as friends. No spark of romance there unfortunately and it’s a shame because a romance story would be so much more interesting! Haven’t they let us down!

  28. It’s so nice of your to help Lorraine at her book launch 🙂 And I know exactly what you mean, Lorraine was also the first person to come back and leave a comment on my blog when I first started 🙂 She really is a true inspiration not only for us bloggers but for anyone who has a dream ~

    I saw that photo of the part of the cake you took home! So jealous hehe because I’d love to try some of the cake as well! xox

  29. What a great read about Lorraine who is inspirational, genuine, supportive of all efforts too!
    Through your post and photos, looks like was a memorable night indeed,
    I can attest Lorraine’s book is a fantastic, food fun read!
    Cheers! Joanne

  30. I’m so happy I got to spend such a fun night with you guys – my Bloggy Besties! It was fun, and I’m so grateful that you and Celia stirred the risotto, my arms would have fallen off! Your frittatas were yummy, and I keep telling you they all look like that, and yours looked better than many from a commercial kitchen anyday 🙂
    I promise I’ll help in the kitchen when you have your book launch too… I’m sure it can’t be too far away 🙂 xox

  31. What a night! Very nice of you all to help with her book launch. That can be a stress-filled evening and having friends about to make sure everything runs smoothly is invaluable. And, by the way, your frittatas looked just fine to me. 😉

  32. Oh, I love your friendship…and how it’s evolved! Congrats to Lorraine on her book launch! I’m off to congratulate her!!! xo

  33. How cool! You guys are wonderful to support each other like this. Great job.

  34. Well this is the third ‘version’ of a wonderful night to which I have been privy today: and it’s been illuminating fun all the way! Have loved each of the stories, but most of all the photos of all the people I ‘talk to’ multiple times a week! And I knew that Lorraine was a pocket Venus but not quite how beautifully petite 🙂 ! Thanks so much for your blog contribution for those of us who were not in situ!!

  35. Oh Charlie, I just read Lorraine’s post and here I am reading yours…so nice to learn how you guys “met”…everything looks perfect for the book launch. Awesome event!
    Have a great week 🙂

  36. Well I for one thought your frittattas looked great on lorraine’s post about the launch – sounds like you made a great contribution to the event and now wonderful to be there!

  37. I cannot tell you just how much I love HEaring the successes of bloggers. And I love the community that wraps us all up too. You guys and the way you supported Lorraine is a huge testament to that xx

  38. Sounds like a great event. Loved how this event ties to your early blogging days. Oh boy … getting started isn’t easy.

  39. A lovely tribute, Charlie. Lorraine has been such an inspiration and it is so nice to see her lovingly honored.

  40. What a special occasion, Charlie, and a wonderful insight into the friendships you’ve formed through your blogging. The story of Carl coming home every night to “boost your stats” made me laugh. I felt the same way in the beginning. “Please, won’t someone just stop by to say hello?” Imagine that now! I have enjoyed each and every person I’ve met along the way, and only wish I had the opportunity to meet more in face to face friendship. And you should warn your children that if I ever meet them, I’m going to be inclined to run at them and throw my arms around them in a warm “hello,” too—you’ve made me feel like I know your whole family on such an intimate basis. Lovely!

  41. OMGosh,
    you were there!

    Lorraine was one of the first people who I stalked in the beginning. She has taught me SO MUCH about blogging.

    How can I get a signed copy?

    GREAT POST. I love how you helped her promote her book. YOU ROCKkkk.

  42. Oh, squish!! My darling Spay Lady, up in lights! I was so broken-hearted when her book launch kept getting pushed back and back, and I realised I’d no longer be in the country for its release. So it makes me very happy to know she’s got so many blogger friends and readers supporting her wonderment 🙂

  43. What an absolutely fabulous evening! What a beautiful way to celebrate her incredible accomplishment!

  44. I had so much fun reading about the behind scene of Lorraine’s book launch party. I’m definitely going to get her book and can’t wait to read it during my summer break. You are so sweet that you helped her party. Very memorable blogging experience!

  45. ive only recntly started following your blog but have fallen in love with your writing too, its humourous and to the point! NQN is also a massive inspiration for my blog, and i would love to meet her one day!

  46. O what a wonderful evening you are so lucky to have been included in this very special event. it looked fabulous.

  47. Oh Goly Gosh, this post made me smile from ear to ear. I especially love the beginning of it. Being new to the whole foodie blog world, I can certainly relate to getting excited when other bloggers read my posts and make a comment.
    What a wonderful launch party!

  48. It looks like it was a wonderful evening, lovely to read behind the scenes story! 🙂

  49. Sounds like a terrific time! And because of your post, we were all there! Thanks so much for including us. 😉

  50. What a great post and fabulous evening! I’m sure you’ll be talking about that evening for a very long time. I know I would! 🙂

  51. I totally get what you mean about Lorraine: she was one of the first bloggers to leave a comment on myy blog too and has been leaving them ever since. I couldn’t believe she actually spent her precious time commenting on a nobody’s blog like mine, despite getting hundreds of comments on each post and posting practically every day. She has such a successful blog yet she is not at all jaded and treats every blogger and reader with the same friendly, sweet approach. I love her (and her blog and recipes naturally)for that and am so, so happy for her success.

  52. Congratulations to Lorraine! It looks like you guys put on an awesome spread and I love your mini little frittatas. I am sure it was a successful evening.

  53. What a heart-warming story. It’s so wonderful the connections that are made between bloggers, and your blog has certainly taken off from its humble beginnings.

  54. Blogging a legitimate career?? Can’t be done. 😉 No seriously we work hard at what we do and it’s great to see success in the biz. Looked like a great evening.

  55. Hi Charlie, excellent posting. I’m sure you’re very excited and it’s an unforgettable lovely evening with all the wonderful bloggers. All the food look amazing and delectable. I love the Peking duck, very delicious. It’s one of my top favorite. 🙂

    Have a lovely week ahead,regards.

  56. What a fun night, and how great that y’all have your own little “community” to support each other! I too find myself being very familiar with people from blogs that I’ve never met. I feel like I know bloggers & leave these comments as if we’re good friends…I forget that they don’t have a clue who I am.

  57. What a fabulous event! I wish I had been there. That pot of rice was ridiculous and would have worked out those arm muscles. I loved seeing a photo of Tania since I follow her blog too.

  58. What a cool story and a great event! And there’s another great use for frittatas…appetizers. How lovely that you and fellow bloggers have become such good friends.

  59. Oooooh,…That’s so cool that you were there with the launching of her 1st book!
    You all did her proud!! Celia & you are looking pretty cool! What you said about Lorraine commenting on your blog, that was the same experience with me! She rocks!

    I loved reading all abou this exciting night & the book launch,..I loved it & smiled all the way! I know what you mean! 😉

    Hail hail to Lorraine & now, we finaly saw MR. NQN! 🙂 Thank you!

  60. Lorraine is such an inspiration to all of us isnt she? 🙂 A true pioneer in her craft and also so genuinely lovely. Well done on helping her out – thats such a great thing to do!!


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