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Up with this sort of thing

Here’s a pint of Guinness. Now, slán go fóill, y’all, because I’m off to Ireland!

Well, not immediately. (And why yes, I did bake a cylindrical Guinness chocolate cake and carve it into the shape of a pint glass and top it with Guinness foam. Because Guinness cake has been done a million times before so it was time to take it up another notch. BAM!)

But I leave in a bit under two weeks to go and work with collaborators in Dublin for a couple of weeks to analyse the data I’ve been collecting over the past 16 months. Could I have even hoped for better-located collaborators? I think not. After that, my boyfriend Chris and I will be hanging around in Ireland for a few extra days before hopping over to London and taking in as much of the UK as we can over the course of several weeks.

So, any suggestions for particular places we should go? Seriously, anywhere in Ireland or the UK is up for consideration, especially if there is food involved. Leave a comment or e-mail me with suggestions, as they will be greatly appreciated.

Also, since we’ll probably be, you know, hopefully, sort of, kind of busy, it means that once I leave I probably won’t be updating the blog very much until I’m back next year. I’ll do what I can, but alas – I can’t make any promises. I won’t be blogging about my travels since I think of this as more of a food/science blog than a personal blog (if I do come across anything particularly amazing in terms of food and/or science, I’ll certainly try to post it).

However, if you want to follow along with my travels, leave a comment or send me an e-mail to let me know and then when I start uploading photos to the online photo album I use, I’ll send you the link. Last time I was overseas, in April this year, I was pretty good at uploading photos every day.

Site update

This has all been rather under the radar, but the eagle-eyed ones among you who don’t read The Island of Dr Gâteau through an RSS feed reader might have noticed that the blog is no longer a satellite orbiting — it has its own domain now. Welcome to

I thought getting an address that was easier to remember might be helpful to whoever those people are who had to look up my website by name on a search engine because the address wasn’t exactly brief or memorable. So to all the people who had to get to my site via a Google search for “island of dr gateu”, I hope your life is easier now. Although you could still to spell gâteau. Sorry. And sorry to the Francophone people who have to suffer seeing gâteau spelt without the circumflex in URLs. It irks me too.

You shouldn’t need to change your RSS feeds, since and are set up as mirrors of each other. If you try to visit, it will redirect you to, so links don’t really need updating if you don’t really feel like it (and is going to be around indefinitely, so the old address won’t become obsolete any time soon). All very convenient for you, my comrades in cake.

Thank you extremely muchly to my amazingly brilliantly amazing and brilliant boyfriend, Chris, who took care of everything between the point where I said “Hmm, I’ve been thinking of getting a domain for my blog” to the point that you see now, with everything transferred and directed and arranged oh so very neatly.

With the new domain, I’m also going to attempt a slightly new direction with the blog: same crazy recipes, but with the crazy biology and psychology of taste and food thrown in. I figure that’s what I can offer the blogosphere that other people might not. Up until now I don’t feel like I’ve done anything particularly distinctive with the blog. Lots of people write about food and post their own recipes, and lots of them do it much, much better than I can. What can I offer that’s different? Science! Not molecular gastronomy, per se, because I am not a chemist and lack the knowledge to explain or create chemical reactions in order to explore food and flavour in new ways. But I am a neuroscientist, so I can definitely explain the biology, the neuroscience and the psychology. What’s more — I really like all that stuff! Maybe you will like it too! (Because if you don’t… BAM!)

And of course, expect a new red velvet recipe very soon.

(Cover image of Nature Reviews: Neuroscience, June 2010. It’s a brain. I did a degree in brains and it still took me about ten minutes to figure out what I was looking at in this picture. I was like, “Wow, way to make a bizarre and suspiciously lumpy loaf of bread, Nature Reviews. Is it some sort of foetus shape?”)