It’s that time of the month when we have a peek into one of Foodies100 blogger’s kitchen. This month we are taking a tour around Jo’s kitchen, the base for the gorgeous food blog Every Nook and Cranny.
Over to Jo…
Every Nook and Cranny is simply filled with food. The name and tagline of my blog say it all for me really – by day, I am a junior doctor about to finish training to become a specialist in Oral Medicine but the rest of the time, I am 100% foodie. I live and breathe food and spend all of my time outside work daydreaming recipe ideas, researching them and testing them out on mine and Hungry Hubby’s colleagues or our friends and family. Each week, I share three recipes under the categories of Instant Pot Recipes, Traditional Home Cooking and Home Baking. My readers tell me they enjoy this mix of cooking techniques and they love to hear stories about me and Hungry Hubby. Plus, as my dear old Dad developed coeliac disease in later life, I’ve worked hard to develop gluten free cakes and bakes as treats, which are good enough to fool anyone to think they must contain gluten. Life is too short not to have a proper piece of sponge cake with your coffee, even if you’re coeliac!
Hungry Hubby and I live in a converted chapel that we moved into when my day job as a junior doctor took us to Sheffield from our home in Liverpool 4 years ago. We’d lived apart for 3 months and I was staying in a tiny single room in hospital accommodation, with a very grim shared kitchen that was anything but inspiring (or even clean!). We fell in love with the “Apple Chapel” as we call it (after the apple shaped mason’s mark on the gatepost outside) immediately and whilst I wouldn’t call it my dream kitchen as it is only rented, with a little bit of love and a trip to IKEA for extra storage, it’s become much loved and is where I bring all the recipes on my blog to life. One wall is lined with my collection of over 200 cookbooks and the main stained glass windowsill is home to my collection of cake stands.
As a food obsessive, I doubt any kitchen will be “big enough” but it works for me. I have to be pretty strict about putting things away as soon as they’re finished with, as it can get cluttered quickly. I have an extra table where my Instant Pot, a type of electric pressure cooker lives (as does the plastic bag with “good handles” that all the other plastic bags live in – can you spot it in the photos?), and which can be folded out when I’m making celebration cakes and it gives all the extra work surface space even a food blogger could need!
When I started blogging 6 years ago, the blog was very different. I only shared home baking recipes but as my confidence grew, I included my own home cooking and later still, added pressure cooking to my repertoire. But my first and truest love is baking. I’ve baked since I was a tiny girl at my nan’s knee and idolised KitchenAid stand mixers for years and years. Then on Christmas morning in 2009, Hungry Hubby proposed to me – not with an engagement ring, but with a candy apple sparkly red KitchenAid! It was a perfect proposal as I might be the only girl in the world who hates jewellery and instead lusts over KitchenAids, Staub casseroles and Gaggia coffee makers the way others desire diamonds!…
As I’ve spent so much of my life at university (I’ve degrees in dentistry, biomaterials, medicine and have just finished a post-graduate course in medical leadership) I’ve not had a lot of money to spare on kitchen kit. Most of my possessions are treasured gifts from family and friends. Like my Yaxell Ran chef’s knife which my parents bought me on a day trip to Chester a few years ago. It’s a family joke that I am interminably clumsy and have injured myself on so many occasions, that you would think it unwise to buy me such a potentially lethal weapon of a knife (this company started off making katanas or samurai swords 800 years ago). But, I’ve only had one injury from it and that’s thanks to it being work-hardened Damascus steel, and therefore surgical blade sharp. I use it every single day and it is absolutely true that you are more likely to injure yourself with blunt blades than sharp ones. As evidenced by the night spent in A&E before a two week trip to Florida with Hungry Hubby, having lodged a dull carving knife in my index finger, attempting to open an avocado…
As for the piece of kit which has revolutionised my cooking, it has to be my Instant Pot. I was kindly gifted one by the company who make these electric pressure cookers that seem to be taking over the world right now, and a year later, I’m still in love. As I have a busy day job and have lots of requests for special birthday or wedding cakes from lots of friends, I have surprisingly little time to actually cook dinner for me and Hungry Hubby. Not so with a pressure cooker – it’s astonishingly fast to cook curries which taste as if they have been cooked for half a day, cook a whole chicken into tender submission in under half an hour or even, my personal favourite, make the most luxuriously silky cheesecake you can imagine in! I’d save my Instant Pot from a house fire, no question!
I think my readers are the most genuine and lovely people. I’m really lucky to have a loyal following who regularly try my recipes, share their photos and leave me comments on the blog or my social media channels. Recently, I was blown away by one reader called Jan who made me a brooch with little charms, all with relevance to my blog – a plate and cutlery, a wire whisk, a cookbook, a stand mixer, a little pot to symbolise my Instant Pot and she even turned my blog logo into the main part of the brooch! I’ve pinned it to my favourite apron, given to me by my best friend. I keep it hanging up in the kitchen so I can always see it, even when I’m not wearing it.
Some of the little things which bring me joy in my kitchen are my pink piggy salt pig. I love his cork nose and how you can see the salt through his nostrils! Plus my miniature KitchenAid timer makes me smile every time I use it – I bought it at Iced Jems, the Aladdin’s cave of baking supplies in Dudley, the West Midlands that I once taught a macaron making class in. A very special day and a lasting memento from it.
Being a British gal, and a Northern one at that, Bird’s custard has a fond place in my heart. Hungry Hubby has a sweet tooth like me and his idea of heaven is a homemade apple pie with a river of yellow custard! I know the rest of the world think we’re a bit odd but I and my family adore it. My Step Mum is a big fan of a steamed pudding and custard; my coeliac Daddums adores my perfect gluten free Victoria sponge which has a little custard powder in it as the (not-so-secret) ingredient. Hence my Bird’s custard jug – whether used as a blog prop, displayed on my above-sink shelf or filled to the brim with piping hot, wobbly, yellow custard, that jug is practically part of the family.