Friday, April 17, 2009

The Times UK: Meet the food bloggers: A Slice of Cherry Pie

From Times Online

March 3, 2009

Meet the food bloggers: A Slice of Cherry Pie

Julia Parsons spills the beans in Times Online's new series of exclusive weekly interviews with the world's leading bloggers

Nick Wyke

2. Blog: A Slice of Cherry Pie

What inspires you to write a food blog?

I've been passionate and excited about food and cooking for many years, and when I first discovered food blogs I knew straight away that this would be the perfect outlet for me. As well as bringing out my creative side, blogging enables me to connect with people all over the world who share my passion.

Food brings people together, no matter where in the world they are, or from what walk of life, and the internet, and blogging, makes that happen on a scale we could never before have dreamt possible.

I'm now working on my first cookbook, based on the blog, which is due to be published next year. It's a wonderful opportunity that may never have come about if it hadn't been for the blog.

What sort of posting (good or bad) really gets your readers excited?

I think my readers like to learn with me as I go along and so my first-time experiences always go down well, such as my Frog's Legs Social Experiment and An Encounter with a Lobster.

I'm often surprised by the recipes that people really take to. This Steak and Camembert Pancake recipe was just something I threw together mid-week with very little thought, and I was quite taken aback by the good reaction it got and that people tried it straight away.

Which cookbook can you not do without and which chef is your hero/heroine?

One book that does stand out, I guess out of nostalgia as I don't use it so much these days, is The Good Housekeeping Cookery Book. It was first published in 1948 and has been updated regularly through the years. It was the first cookbook I ever bought and is full of classic, trusty recipes and all the very English ones I grew up with, such as Toad in the Hole, fruit crumbles, Victoria sponge cake and stew and dumplings.

Turning to chefs, Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver and Nigel Slater have all inspired me; I love their laid-back approach to cooking. I also like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's way of cooking seasonally and frugally with nose-to-tail cooking, and I think James Martin is a brilliant pastry chef - have you seen what he can do with spun sugar?

Share a seasonal recipe with us... and a tip for a local restaurant?

Jersey Royal Potatoes with Feta and Watercress Sauce


500g Jersey Royal potatoes

100g feta cheese

100ml double cream

2 handfuls of watercress

Cook the potatoes in salted boiling water until tender. Crumble the feta into a saucepan and pour in the double cream. Heat gently until the cheese melts and then simmer until the sauce starts to thicken.

Chop the watercress and stir it into the sauce. Cook for a few minutes more then take off the heat. You don't need to add any seasoning; the feta is salty enough and the watercress slightly peppery.

Pour the sauce over the potatoes and serve. Alternatively serve the sauce on the side to dip the potatoes into.

Tell us something about food from your part of the world?

I love cooking with the English seasons; I really think they're abundant. From purple sprouting broccoli and rhubarb in the spring, home-grown tomatoes and unbeatable ripe Kentish strawberries in the summertime, through to a whole array of apples and squashes in autumn and the fantastic game season in winter, we're spoilt for choice.

What would you eat for your last supper?

Without a doubt a good old-fashioned roast chicken dinner with crispy and fluffy roast potatoes, roasted carrots and home made gravy. If I could have a starter, too, I'd have seafood platter with lobster, oysters, crab claws and king prawns, and for dessert my favourite: sticky toffee pudding. I'd probably be sick after that lot but I'd die happy

Which other food blogs do you read regularly?

Oh, so many. My Google Reader is brimming. Food blogging has been most prominent in the US but it's really nice to see so many home-grown blogs appearing. I highly recommend readers to take a look at the blogs on the UK Food Bloggers Association website.

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