Congratulations to our blog of the month Natural Kitchen Adventures, written by Ceri a certified Natural Chef working as a cooking teacher, food & recipe writer, and yoga retreat chef. Ceri aims to put seasonal, nutritious food at the heart of cooking and champion local, British produce.
Over to Ceri…
What inspired you to start your blog?
A good friend of mine suggested over tapas at Brindisa in Soho (I remember it vividly), that I should start a recipe blog as a new project after finishing my London marathon blog. I actually knew nothing about blogging before deciding to keep an online diary tracking my marathon training back in 2010, so the process had already taught me how to blog, as well as uncovering my enjoyment of writing. I had always intended to put recipes on my marathon blog but it never happened. Now I had a real reason to start writing and sharing all my recipes that were all written in a notepad at home.
Has your content changed much since you started? If so, how?
My blog has always been about healthy recipes and still is. I occasionally write about travel or other things, but the core of everything is the recipes, it always was and always will be. In the last 5 years I’ve taken a professional health food chef training so of course the quality of my recipes, along with their focus has evolved (as has my definition of healthy).
What have your learned since starting your blog?
So much! How to take proper photographs, how to style for a photoshoot, wordpress backend navigation, what a keyword is, what SEO means (I think), what a plug in is, how to big yourself and your blog up even when its the last thing that feels natural, how to place value in my work and be proud of it.
What has surprised you about blogging?
Other bloggers? That sounds ridiculous but I didn’t really read blogs before I started writing one, then I do and realise there is this whole huge community of people who are passionate about food/blogging in the same way you are. Then some of them become real life friends too. Madness!
How do you balance blogging and real life?
At the moment I only blog once a fortnight, because I have to fit it in with all my paid cooking and teaching work. Social media already takes up a lot of time, so its important for me to only work on the blog when I have scheduled time to, or it could just take over! I would be lying if I said I didn’t check in on my stats daily, and check my social feeds first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Balance? If someone has found it let me know!
What’s the best thing about writing your blog? And the worst?
Best thing is that it’s one of few areas of my work where I can write or cook exactly what I want. It doesn’t matter to me if its not trendy, not the right time of year, not high on keyword ranking, or that I might want to write an essay, or just one hundred words? It’s my decision, and that’s liberating.
The worst is an ugly trait I have called comparison. It brings out the worst in me and makes me far less able to do that bigging myself up I mentioned earlier. Yuck
What advice would you give someone starting a foodie blog now?
I’ve rewritten my answer to this question many times…. I started off my blog with no advice at all! Everything on my blog when I started looked terrible, but one thing I did have was passion for what I was doing. I could say get a great theme, start with beautiful images, and cracking copy, but if you don’t have passion none of that matters. I think that’s actually the best advice I can give. Then as you evolve into a blogging butterfly that change becomes an interesting part of your story too. Blogging is most definitely about stories and passion!
Has blogging brought you any amazing opportunities or experiences?
Well, not directly but 3 yrs ago it did inspire me to leave my 10 yr career in orchestral management to go and retrain as a health food chef (in Berkeley, California), and completely change my career. I’ve also had some wonderful trips and the opportunity to be fed some amazing food! Meeting Jamie Oliver last year at a blogging event was kinda cool too 😉
Which have been your most popular posts?
Weirdly my slow cooker spiced lamb shoulder. It seems to rank highly on google so gets tonnes of hits even in the summer. Everyday I wonder if I should reshoot the photos… But I don’t cook much meat these days so can’t quite bring myself to do it!
And which are your personal favourites?
Well, now we’re talking! Since I went down to blogging a fortnight instead of more frequently recently I feel that I spend much more time planning and executing my dishes, so anything I have cooked in the last 4 months I would say is a favourite. Other than that perhaps the recipes I cook the most often such as this Lime Avocado Cheesecake (a yoga retreat special) or these stuffed peppers. I was pretty pleased with my recent beetroot galette too!
How does it feel to be chosen as Foodies100 blog of the month?
Pretty cool! Thanks for the love!