Category Archives: sitenews

The existence and running of the site.

Syrup & Tang’s 4th anniversary and time for a new look

Time flies when you’re busy eating delectable things and making biscuits. I’m marking four years of Syrup & Tang by changing the look a bit (the last time was two year back). I hope my readers like the new design and continue to enjoy my writings.

If you notice anything that’s not working well, please leave a comment here or email me. There are still a few minor changes to implement this week, so keep an eye out for them.

The new design retains elements which have been there since the beginning, including (of course!) the sharp blade. 😉 I’ve also taken this as an opportunity to increase the photographic elements a little, though not as a photoblog – I do a lot of photography, but Syrup & Tang is about communicating about food rather than showcasing photos.

I always use a redesign to refine my CSS skills and I endeavour to make every design fully compatible with the majority of browsers. This time I’ve abandoned catering for Internet Explorer 6 – less than 2.5% of readers are using that piece of rubbish now, thank goodness – but the site should still be mostly functional for them.

Happy eating!

Two years of Syrup & Tang… it’s an anniversary!

Who’d have thunk it would come to this: hundreds of hits for the word “macaron” (and many nice comments)? When I started Syrup & Tang two years ago, I set the scene with the things I love: books (a review of Fast Food Nation), a quirky travel-related item (Eurostar), a moan about yet another overrated café, and comments about the un-camp, un-crazed, un-wonderful Iron Chef America. Somehow readers had to wait until April 2007 before they hit baking (Swedish easter buns – “semlor”).

Little did I know that my own baking nightmare back then, macarons, would prove so attractive! (Seriously, I wasn’t paying attention to the pretty blogs; I was too busy crying over spoilt macaron batches. Thankfully I don’t need to cry much nowadays!) Now, if I could generate as much attention for reviews of foodbooks, life would be just peachy, given the extraordinary amount of time and technical indigestion that has gone into my recent baby, The Gastronomer’s Bookshelf!

What else has happened? Rather a lot of baking, often following my rather obsessive approach to cooking projects (Portuguese custard tarts/pastéis de nata). To celebrate this anniversary, I baked minimum-effort little thingies, Tante Kremer’s Walnut Egg White Kisses, which I found over at Culinary Types. Lovely. No hassle. No tears. A bit of washing up.

The last two years have seen me visiting restaurants far less often. I’m tired of the take-the-punter-for-a-ride thing. I’m sick of deafeningly noisy high- and low-priced eateries. I’m disappointed by technically competent, unmemorable food. I need deliciousness in my life (and I thank Robin Wickens’s Interlude (now closed), some tapas bars in Seville, the meat roasters and chip fryers and cheesemakers of Portugal, and some funky French bacteria for the highlights). I find myself happier eating well prepared “budget” food (e.g., at some decent southeast Asian eateries popping up in Carlton/Parkville) than chucking dollars at dining with attitude.

It has been great getting to know many of the really warm, fun people who form part of the online food world. I think it’s a pity more non-bloggers don’t participate, often because they don’t feel they “belong” to the community. I hope to meet many more as time passes. Just need to keep my motivation to maintain Syrup & Tang going! Thanks to all my pleasant visitors, readers, commenters.

Meanwhile, back in the kitchen… in the works is a new baking obsession. Let me summarise with a photo. Note that these are a failed batch. Continued burnt bulgey bottoms are not an option!

In the next months you’ll be able to read more about these, plus stuff about pretzels, oven temperatures, food issues, and a big trip to Europe!

A few news items

Busy, busy, busy. That’s been the past few months. Some of the activity has been on a new site, some on a few tweaks to Syrup & Tang, and a whole pile of unfoodieness has been keeping me away from food and cookbooks. This must stop! Here’s a small update for the curious.

1. A little while ago I became Commissioning Editor for a new website, I eat I drink I work. Sounds fancy! My role is not to run the site or the business, but to look for writers and bloggers who have something to say. Content includes industry news, commissioned articles, hospitality job classifieds and authorised feeds from featured bloggers. The site launched recently and is currently featuring the feeds of Eating with Jack, At My Table and Where’s the Beef? There have been a few teething problems on the technical side but many have been ironed out in the last day or two (you wouldn’t believe how difficult it is to process an RSS feed!). I believe the remaining tweaks will be done over the next few weeks.

There are a few feature articles showing and coming. We aim to have a range of styles and content to keep readers stimulated and/or entertained. At the time of writing, an article about obesity by me has just appeared, with some content that might surprise you. Whatever your interest in food, whether inside or outside the food and hospitality areas, I hope that people find something to stimulate them. Take a look at the site, or if you have suggestions for content, visit the content and submissions page to contact me there.

Part of the philosophy behind the site is to create an interface between different areas of the food and wine world. There will be events for a range of people. We have a number of tasting and educational get-togethers planned (think wine, mushrooms, and more…) and you’ll see more news about them over at I eat I drink I work in due course. If you have feedback about the site, want more information, or have suggestions for events you should contact Cameron Russell (big boss).

2. I’ve recently listed as a ‘featured publisher’ over at a US venture (aiming to be international) called Foodbuzz. You’ll see a button in the sidebar which links to that site.

3. I’ve just added a ‘recent comments’ element to the sidebar of Syrup & Tang (under the category index). This helps readers keep track of bits and pieces which they might have missed. A few other tweaks will be noticed by some regular visitors. (And, as always, if you’ve got suggestions for functionality on this site, I’m interested to hear them.)

4. Stay tuned for chocolate cake, alcohol, carrots, exotic fragrances and some travel news in the next few weeks.

Happy reading wherever you surf!

A new look for Syrup & Tang

Dear Readers: Behold! syrupandtang version 2.0. Yes, there’s been an aesthetic overhaul. Although I was fond of the old design, there were a few problems with it – especially because so many people still use Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) – I can see this from the site statistics. IE6 is an unsafe browser which doesn’t comply with web standards. If you are using Windows XP, pleeeease upgrade to IE7. The older version refuses to do things which just about every other browser (Firefox, Opera, Safari) manages successfully. 🙂

I hope you like the new look of syrupandtang. It will, hopefully, work for everyone.

If you discover something which doesn’t seem to be displaying correctly, please send me a message or leave a comment at the bottom of this entry. It would be helpful to tell me what operating system (e.g. Windows XP, Windows Vista, Mac OS X …, and what browser and version you are using).

If you enjoy reading syrupandtang, you can subscribe to the site by email or RSS-feed. Just click one of the subscription icons in the header or under the ‘Subscribe!’ heading to the right.

– Duncan

Syrup & Tang goes live

Welcome, gentle reader, to syrupandtang. The beauuuuutiful design is the result of many long, hot summer days and long, grumpy late nights over the last four months. You do find it beauuuuuutiful don’t you? (This is a rhetorical question.) The site will probably need a few tweaks as I discover things I missed or decide that I don’t find some features beauuuuuutiful enough. Do tell me if you find something which isn’t working as you think it should. Some technical notes are found here.

One paragraph down and still no mention of content. {chagrin} Food. Eating. Drinking. Travelling. Thinking. That’s what it’s all about. This isn’t a diary and I’m unlikely to tell you what I had for dinner. I hope you enjoy what you read on syrupandtang. And if you have a comment you’re welcome to leave one here, under a specific article, or send one directly to me via the contact form.

Now click away as you choose:)

– Duncan