This month we are launching our latest series of hot-off-the-press exclusive interviews with top Food Bloggers from around the world. The series, Delicious Insights, will share top tips, recommendations and advice on home cooking and entertaining.
To launch the series we asked the ‘2012 Best MADS Food Blogger of the Year’, Bangers and Mash to share her thoughts with us. Her blog is a really useful resource for the home cook looking to create delicious family food without paying over the odds for the pleasure.
So grab you iPad or pen and paper and be prepared to find inspiration from this award-winning blogger:
- What was your inspiration to start a food blog?
Last year I changed the way I shop and cook for my family, and pretty much halved our grocery budget in the process, simply by putting a bit more time into planning our meals. We still eat really well – probably better than before, and our meals are tastier, healthier and more varied as a result. Plus we waste much less food. So many people were curious and intrigued by what I was up to and a few people suggested I share my experiences with the wider world. And so Bangers & Mash was born.
- Where do most of your recipes come from?
All over the place. I’m a complete magpie when it comes to gathering recipes and new ideas for mealtimes. Of course we have some old favourites that I’ll cook again and again, like a Spaghetti Bolognese or Bangers and Mash (naturally!) but I really love to experiment in the kitchen whenever I have the time. Lots of my recipes come from members of the family, and I also get inspiration from my ever-expanding collection of cookbooks, TV chefs and of course my fellow food bloggers. Quite often I’ll read or see an interesting pairing of ingredients, say in a tart, and I’ll wonder how something similar might work in a pasta sauce or a salad, and a few weeks later after I’ve mulled on it a little, a new dish will have been born. Or not, as the case may be; I have quite a few culinary disasters too!
- Do you plan a weekly menu? If so, what inspires your menu?
Absolutely. As I say somewhere on the blog, “Meal planning is how I keep sane in my mad world”! As a working mum, I find it’s the only way to stay on top of things. Cost is definitely another driver. As soon as I started meal planning, I completely slashed my weekly food budget. I also have a weekly veg box delivered, full of seasonal produce, and by careful meal planning I make sure that none of these wonderful ingredients is wasted.
- Do you have a favorite recipe?
My favourite recipe changes every week. My current favourite happens to be this Apple Porridge which recently appeared on the blog. Despite loving the idea of it, I’ve never been able to eat porridge as I can’t stand hot milk. And then I read about making porridge with apple juice instead and it’s like a whole new world of breakfasts has opened up to me. I can’t get enough of it! One of the most popular all-time recipes to have appeared on the blog was this American-style baked cheesecake, which was very good and, like most of my recipes, very easy to make.
- What do you love so much about working with food?
Food is a real conversation starter. Everyone has an opinion on food, whether or not they’re a ‘foodie’. So I love telling people I’m a food blogger because I never know quite where the conversation will take me, but quite often it results in sharing of recipes, tips and ideas, many of which will ultimately end up on the blog at some point. Food is a fantastic way to share stories and it gets even the most uncreative people talking in such a creative way.
- What is your favorite kitchen appliance and why?
My kitchen timer – I simply couldn’t live without it because I’m so scatty and get distracted very easily. Plus, we have an AGA so you can’t smell when things are burning. I’d have ruined so many dishes in the oven if it hadn’t been for my trusty timer!
- What advice would you give to people stuck in a cooking rut?
Think of an ingredient you buy every week and use in exactly the same dishes week in, week out. The next time you’re in the office, or meeting up with friends, or on Twitter or Facebook, simply ask people what else you could do with that ingredient, and you’ll be amazed at the diversity of suggestions you’ll get back. Talking to other people about the food they’re eating is the best way to get new ideas for your own food.
- What the quickest, easiest and healthiest snack you can recommend to our readers?
We always have a big jar of homemade granola on the go. It’s perfect for a healthy breakfast, but I find it also makes a perfect snack too. My children love it. It’s so easy to make and once you’ve made your own, you’ll never go back to the shop-bought variety.
- What’s next on your cooking to do list?
I’m running a new recipe challenge on the blog called Recipes for Life. Each month I’m challenging food bloggers to come up with recipes based on just three main ingredients. The three ingredients this month are beetroot, carrot and cheese, and I need to come up with my own dish that fits the bill. I’m toying with a few different ideas, so watch this space!
A huge thank you to Bangers and Mash for launching this new series. Would you like to be featured in one of our interviews? If so, please head on over to Facebook and or send us a Tweet @Brabantialife, we can’t wait to hear from you!