Our latest blogger of the month is Jane from Frugal Queen. Jane, who blogs about cooking on a budget, recently won Best Food Blog at the MAD Blog Awards (for the second year in a row – well done Jane!). “I blog because I cook and I cook because I blog,” says Jane. “I honestly believe you can eat well, healthily and with variety even if you only have £1 per person for the main meal of the day. My family really enjoy the food I cook – as do extended family and friends – and I’m a far more adventurous cook because I want to give readers what they want. I love it when people comment that they used my recipe and their family loved it too.”
But the trickiest thing about writing a food blog for Jane? “I’ve set myself standards which means I can’t be repetitive where sometimes we’d all like a steak pie every Tuesday!” She has been blogging since 2009 and is thrilled to be Foodies100 Blogger Of The Month. “Foodies 100 is a massively respected food writers directory,” she says. “I’m just honoured to be part of it. Being blog of the month is just incredible and I’m truly grateful to be chosen.”
Here, we chat to Jane about her blog…
What inspired you to start your blog?
We were in financial difficulties and had to save money. My biggest area of saving is in home cooking. As I blogged, the more people became interested in my thrifty recipes.
Has your content changed much since you started?
Initially, I just wrote about my frugal recipes but as I started to interact with readers, it became apparent that they wanted step by step instructions. As my blog developed, my readers wanted to know how to save money and I started to cost my recipes. People were struggling with food costs and I wanted to help. My blog now focuses on money saving and a good share of that is about affordable home cooking.
What have you learned since starting frugal queen?
I’ve learned many things about budgeting since starting my blog. Many shops try to confuse us to make price comparison difficult by having prices in: packs, slices, per kilo and per 100g. I now check pack weights and convert to price per kilo, then compare to get the best deals.
What has surprised you about blogging?
I’ve been surprised when people contact me, sometimes to say thanks for the advice, sometimes to ask for help and sometimes with some very personal stories of how my blog helped them get out of debt. I feel incredibly privileged to be trusted with personal stories and flattered that people feel that I can help.
What advice would you give someone starting a food blog now?
Be yourself. I’m a plain home cook who is also a food economist on a budget and I don’t feel the need to be a food critic, snob or reviewer. So, find your style, your voice and your readers and do it your way.
Has blogging brought you any amazing opportunities or experiences?
I now work with Cornwall One Parent support as a volunteer cookery teacher. I hold workshops at St Austell Baptist church on Saturdays and teach people to cook, budget and feed their families healthy, tasty and affordable food. I also talk to churches, community groups and on Radio Cornwall about how to cook and feed a family on a small budget. Each time I meet a new group, they’ve already heard about my thrifty recipes and how I’ve already helped other people. I met a mum who didn’t cook anything, at all and now she cooks healthy meals for her four children. Moments like that keep me blogging.
What was it like to win Best Food Blog at the MADs 2014?
I won in 2013 and 2014 and I was totally honoured both times. It’s a glitzy very special night where the country’s very best bloggers are recognised, my little Cornish blog felt out of place so I was totally stunned when I won.
Which have been your most popular posts?
My menu plans are always popular. The most popular have been where I have menus for three meals a day, for seven days a week and for £40 for a family of four. People just love my faggots recipe and if you Google ‘Frugal Queen’s faggots’, then you’ll find my recipe all over the blogosphere with other food writers using my recipe. Who would ever have thought that faggots could be so popular?