The first blog I want to show you is Tinned Tomatoes, written by Jacqueline, the ‘Scottish Vegetarian’. Jacqueline and I have kept in touch since our early days of blogging through reading each other blogs and catching up through Facebook and the UKFBA so it gives me great pleasure to feature her blog.
Blogging since: April 2007
Location: Dundee, Scotland
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a new mommy, who loves to cook and bake. I have been vegetarian for 20 years now and luckily my husband is veggie too. It was purely the luck of the draw, that he was vegetarian when I met him. It does make life easier and more enjoyable. Our baby, Cooper is going to be a veggie too and we will bring him up that way until he is old enough to choose for himself. Hopefully he will love my cooking so much that he will decide to carry on. I will definitely get him into the kitchen as soon as he is old enough. As for me, well I am just dipping my toes back into my social life again. Going out for meals with friends, hillwalking (without baby), salsa class with my hubby (with baby, he loves to watch) and lots of being out and about with the pram (including baby). Although I love my job, I am not looking forward to going back. I am just going to enjoy the summer with Cooper and not think about it too much.
How would you describe your blog?
Although my blog is vegetarian, I hope that people will stop by and think the food looks tasty and want to try it, whether they are vegetarian or meat-eaters. My index is overflowing with recipes. There are soups and salads, pasta dishes, risottos, curries, pies and tarts, jams and chutneys, desserts and cakes, ice creams and sorbets, smoothies, dressings, dips and drinks and the list goes on.
I also co-host the monthly soup and salad challenge, No Croutons Required with my good friend Lisa from Lisa’s Kitchen. The challenge is in its third year now and draws entries from all over the world. There is always a great line-up of exciting recipes to try and new blogs to discover. I would encourage everyone to take part in food events, it is such a great way of making new friends.
As well as soups and salads, my blog seems to be filling up with cakes, cookies and brownies these days. I have discovered a love of baking and find it so therapeutic. I did a word cloud this morning using my blog and the word chocolate was huge! I feel no shame!
Where do you find inspiration for your cooking and blogging?
Most of my inspiration comes from other bloggers. My first experience of a food blog was when I stumbled across a blog called The Next Nigella. I had not been particularly aware of blogs before finding this little gem. The Next Nigella was an Australian lady who was working her way through 500 of Nigella Lawson’s recipes and posting the results, she didn’t post the recipes, but I was instantly hooked. It took me a while to set up my own blog, but the final push came when I attended a 1 day course on Web 2.0 at Abertay University. We spent some time looking at blogs and I made the decision that day to start a blog. Funnily enough the next year the University were using my blog as an example. Now that was a compliment. I just love blogging now and life wouldn’t be complete without it. We have such a strong and friendly community and the recipes, oh the recipes! I still love browsing through cookbooks and often take them to bed to read (it was Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights last night), but it is usually a blog that has me running into the kitchen to make a dish.
What do you like most and least about blogging?
I love seeing new posts popping up on my blog list and knowing that I can go and read the latest instalment in my friends’ lives. I do count these bloggers as my friends and it is lovely dipping into their day and having a good old chat. Let’s face it; we have a lot in common. And the food, well, it is dizzyingly fabulous in its variety and flavours.
There isn’t much I don’t like about blogging. Spam is annoying, but I don’t suffer from it much thankfully. Although I was so irritated by the amount of spam on a ‘blog event’ site I use, that I immediately left it and set up one of my own. I also find advertising annoying on blogs, I know it is a personal choice, but I don’t like it. I decided from the get go, that I would stay clear of it. I don’t mind promoting a product I enjoy and think other’s might too, but that is as far as I am willing to go. I think keeping it discreet is the key.
Do you have a favourite recipe you’d like to share?
I sure do! It is rhubarb season and if you like rhubarb, then you must try this. It is a dressing for potato salad that I came up and it is just gorgeous. The fruity, slightly tart rhubarb is complimented beautifully with sweet, rich balsamic vinegar. Excuse the photo, it isn’t one of my best.
Potato Salad with a Rhubarb & Balsamic Dressing
4 medium potatoes, cut in quarters
½ red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped rhubarb
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper
Boil the potatoes until just tender.
Cook the rhubarb with the sugar until starting to break up. Add the balsamic vinegar and olive oil and warm through. Season with salt & pepper.
Drain the potatoes and mix gently with the dressing while still warm. Scatter the onion through the potato salad.
Eat slowly and savour!
Serves 2 (if you can bear to share it)