Today, I welcome another friend to participate in Meet The Blogger. Please say hello to Sian Reynolds, who writes the wonderfully named Fish Fingers For Tea.
Hello and welcome, please introduce yourself and tell us a little about the kind of content you share.
Hello! I’m Sian from Fish Fingers for Tea. I’m a huge fan of the Meet the Blogger series so it’s a real honour to be here today. Fish Fingers for Tea is all about family friendly, time friendly and budget friendly food. I blog what we eat so what you see is the kind of food we dish up on a regular basis. I used to be a parent blogger, setting up yet another blog when Izzy was born but over time it was taken over by recipes for cake so I took the plunge properly into the world of food blogging.
Is there a story behind your blog’s name?
The name refers to one of our all-time favourite teas – a fish finger butty (which has to be with pappy white bread and ketchup), though I am often asked if it has any connection to Dr Who!
What are your earliest memories of cooking? Who or what inspired you to cook?
Food and cooking seem to have been in my life for as long as I can remember. Weekends at my grandparents meant bowls of thick porridge and brown sugar, piles of fluffy scrambled eggs and always a roast on Sunday. Both of my parents cooked from scratch and threw regular dinner parties. No matter where I was I was always given little jobs to do and that’s how I learnt – just watching and having a go. I think perhaps that’s the best way. Cooking was just what you did but it more than just a way of getting something to eat, it was time together to chat and laugh.
What are the biggest influences on your cooking at the moment?
I think the biggest influence on my cooking at the moment is the weather! It’s my favourite time of year food wise – there’s little better to me than the comfort of autumn and winter food – steaming bowls of soup, thick stews and tasty pies. Izzy is also developing a liking for spicy food so we’re experimenting a lot with comfortable levels of heat for her.
Tell us the story of your most spectacular kitchen failure!
Oh god, so many! We waited hours for a joint of beef one Christmas after I got my timings completely wrong and was battling with an ancient cooker. Stuck cakes, burnt offerings and dodgy combinations have all happened on a regular basis – I get distracted easily. I did melt a plastic sieve at school once as well, that didn’t go down very well.
Which food or ingredients could you not live without?
Ingredient wise it would be Maldon sea salt, I throw it on and in everything and hot pepper sauce if I’m cooking for Rich. You will always find an abundance of cheese and chocolate in our fridge as well.
Which food writers / chefs do you find most inspirational and in the same spirit, are there any particular cookery books you cherish above the rest of the shelf?
I’m a huge Nigella Lawson fan, I like her relaxed style of cooking and How To Be A Domestic Goddess is one book I turn to time and time again. My parents often cooked from Elizabeth David and I have a complete set of her books and though I rarely cook from them myself I wouldn’t be without them on my shelf, purely for sentimental reasons. Strangely though I rarely cook from cookery books. I have a large collection but I read them more like novels and to gain inspiration rather than following a recipe.
If I were coming for dinner, what would you cook for me?
Can we cheat and get a takeaway? No? Ok. I’d probably throw together an oven baked risotto – they’re always tasty but I wouldn’t be stuck in the kitchen. Oh, and I would have made a batch of my gluten free hazelnut brownies earlier that day so that’s pudding sorted.
Since you started blogging, has your style and content changed over time, and if so, in what ways?
I think the blog is constantly evolving. As our eating habits as a family change then so does the content. I’ve reached a place where I’ve developed my own style of photography (something that I’m always working on) and my own way of talking to my readers. I work with brands and on recipe commissions much more now so that obviously has some effect on the content, I try to only work with brands that fit into my own ethos though. A year ago I may have shied away from admitting that I use packets and tins in my own cooking, there is, I think, some pressure to cook everything from scratch but now I’m more than comfortable in showing that shortcuts are welcome in most family kitchens.
What is the hardest aspect of blogging for you?
Time. Life is busy for everyone and some weeks finding that half an hour to write a post is incredibly difficult, not to mention the time it takes to photograph each dish.
What inspires you to keep blogging regularly?
The never ending subject matter and feeling quite passionately that feeding your family well doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, one thing that I know a lot of readers worry about. I’ve had the occasional time when I’ve considered stopping but I usually find myself camera in hand, snapping photos of a dish within a day or so.
What are you absolutely loving cooking and eating right now?
I took the slow cooker out of the cupboard a couple of weeks ago so we’re dishing up a lot stews and casseroles packed with seasonal veggies. I’m looking forward to my first bag of Brussel sprouts so I can demolish a plateful of them roasted with parmesan and lemon juice and of course cake is always to be enjoyed!
What’s the single most popular post on your blog?
For a long time it was one for an oven baked risotto but crispy oven baked courgette fries have taken over now!
Can we give a little extra love and attention to a post you love but didn’t catch the attention of your readers in the way you hoped?
Marmite is very much a love hate thing but I thought these puff pastry marmite whirls might be more popular. But we are very much a marmite loving family so I suspect my judgement is clouded!
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Blog URL: http://fishfingersfortea.co.uk
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/fishfingersfortea
Twitter handle: https://twitter.com/fishfingers4tea
Pinterest profile: http://www.pinterest.com/fishfingers4tea/
Instagram handle: http://instagram.com/fishfingersfortea
Enjoyed this interview? Read the rest of the series, here.