I’ve absolutely loved introducing you to some of my favourite bloggers, and their blogs in 2014, and will be continuing to share these going forward. However, I’ve decided to drop the frequency from weekly to fortnightly for the time being, to give me more time to focus on other content I have in the pipeline.
The first blogger I’d like you to say hello to in 2015 is Elizabeth, who writes Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary, a blog heavily rooted in its locality, with a strong emphasis on supporting local producers.
Hello and welcome, please introduce yourself and tell us a little about the kind of content you share.
Hi! My name is Elizabeth and I am (as far as I am aware – well, I’m going to wear this hat until someone tells me otherwise) Britain’s most northerly food blogger, an ex-pat Canadian located in the wild and remote Shetland Islands.
Where is this place, you ask? It’s a small island archipelago 200 miles north of Aberdeen, Scotland, midway between Iceland, Norway and the mainland of Scotland. Most of you might vaguely recall a little island sitting in a box on the weather maps (if we’re included at all) off the east coast of Scotland – there. We’ve got dancing ponies, burly bearded Vikings and lots of puffins.
Is there a story behind your blog’s name?
My blog has had several incarnations since I started writing it in 2011 – first it was a private online recipe site for me to store recipes I’d tried, along with images and notes. Then I discovered a whole wonderful world of supportive food bloggers, and I changed the name to Elizabeth’s Kitchen, opened it to the public and haven’t looked back. In the Spring of this year I made the big move from blogger to self hosted WordPress and since the Elizabeth’s Kitchen URL was already taken I changed the blog name to Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary.
What are your earliest memories of cooking OR Who / what inspired you to cook?
What inspired me to cook….. well, I grew up in rural Canada to a single mother who, although she could cook (she made a mean roast beef dinner!) her recipe collection was very, very basic and unseasoned. Meat and tatties, mostly, with very little fresh vegetables to be seen. Someone had given her a cookery book for Christmas one year when I was around 12 years old, and I remember seeing a recipe for pork chops with orange sauce in it. I made it. It was gorgeous. I started experimenting; flavours, textures, anything. Goodness me the things I have experimented with… the kitchen was like a chemistry lab when I was a child!
What are the biggest influences on your cooking at the moment?
At this moment the biggest influence on my cooking is the fact I put on two stone over this last year. Following a severe crush injury to my foot early last year, the running and five days at the gym habit I had to keep me trim and fit after having three children ended. Permanent damage to my nerves and ligaments meant I had to find a new way to keep the weight off while eating what I want. I’ve finally found a great intensive non-impact exercise program I can do at home and it’s working, but while I shed the remainder of this weight and regaining my fitness I’m eating simple, unprocessed whole, nutritious foods with plenty of fresh juice and smoothies.
Tell us the story of your most spectacular kitchen failure!
Oh which one to pick?! The one that sticks out the most just now, because it’s the Christmas season, was last Christmas morning when I lovingly made my entire family home made waffles for breakfast. Clotted cream, blueberry preserve, freshly squeezed juice, the whole thing. Yet still my family made faces (they do that, frequently, I’m becoming immune to it!). I was grumpy at them for being ungrateful for their waffles which I’d slaved over to make. After they’d all been served I sat down to eat my own and realised the waffles tasted awful. Proper… awful! How could someone mess up a waffle recipe? Well, replacing the baking powder with cream of tartar will do it. I’d mistaken the very similar labels and confused the two ingredients. Plan B: cornflakes for Christmas morning breakfast!
Which food or ingredients could you not live without?
Spices! They go in absolutely everything. My favourites are whole cumin and coriander seeds, toasted and ground (never buy ready ground!) and whole black mustard seeds. Freshly ground black pepper is a must too. I love it – can’t get enough!
If I were coming for dinner, what would you cook for me?
I’m keen on using local produce as much as I possibly can. So, if you came over this weekend I would cook you a homely roast leg of Shetland lamb, roast Shetland black potatoes and veg from my gorgeous organic vegetable box. For afters, a gorgeous cheeseboard featuring the finest cheese from Britain’s most northerly cheese producer Shetland Cheese Ltd and some Valhalla Ale chutney from Shetlandeli. To wash down afterwards, perhaps a wee nip of the newly launched Shetland Reel Gin!
What’s the single piece of equipment you wouldn’t be without? (It doesn’t have to be electrical)
I love my Froothie Optimum 9400 blender. I love it so, very, very much – more than I ever thought it was possible to love a blender. It does everything and it looks just so damn sexy sitting there next to my Optimum 600 juicer on the kitchen counter.
Honestly, check out the video my husband I made about our blender!
Since you started blogging, has your style and content changed over time, and if so, in what ways?
My style and content has definitely changed over time. It’s taken me three years but I have finally found my voice. I can write about anything these days – so much so that I’ve gained quite a bit of non-blogging freelance writing work. I’ve also learned how to take semi half decent photographs too. Freelance work enabled me to buy myself a new camera earlier on this year, and about three months ago I switched from manual to automatic. One of these days I hope to be able to call myself a photographer, in the meantime, I am a blogger who takes photos! So very, very much to learn!
What is the hardest aspect of blogging for you?
This time of year it’s the short days. In Shetland, at mid-winter, we only get 5 hours and 49 minutes of daylight and these hours are usually filled with gloomy oppressive clouds, rain and gales. Sometimes it just forgets to get light out, meaning taking photographs or even being inspired to be creative with food becomes difficult. I am still baking and cooking, but it’s mostly shared with instagram snaps instead of full blog posts.
What inspires you to keep blogging regularly?
The positive feedback I get from my readers inspires me to keep blogging regularly. Knowing that there are people out there who actually read what I write… it’s a fantastic feeling. I am indebted to you all – thank you!
What are you absolutely loving cooking, eating, doing right now?
Right now I’m loving making fresh fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies. Keep an eye out in the New Year for a fantastic blogging series on this theme.
What’s the single most popular post on your blog?
Bizarrely enough it’s not even food related! It’s a tutorial for a sweater cat bed which wasn’t even my original idea, but I photographed what I did and it went viral!
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?
My Middle Eastern Spiced Campfire Chickpeas recipe. This is one of those ideas in my head which came together perfectly during a family camping trip to the Lake District last summer and the photograph turned out so much better than I had hoped!
Spread the love
Blog URL http://www.elizabethskitchendiary.co.uk
Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TangoRaindrop
Twitter handle https://twitter.com/TangoRaindrop
Pinterest profile http://www.pinterest.com/tangoraindrop/
Instagram handle http://instagram.com/tangoraindrop
Enjoyed this interview? Read the rest of my Meet The Blogger series, here.