Journal/Features

Forage in the Pantry

by Crumbs

19 September 2013

"I find anything food and cooking related ideal ways to relax. I love nothing more than stirring a creamy pan of risotto after a long day. Blogging is a great way to share my enthusiasm and encourage other people to get excited about food and appreciate how important it is to staying healthy and happy."

Ticking all the right boxes for what constitutes a splendid online read, our blog crushes are visually arresting, engaging, and above all, inspiring. Beautiful images that make for perfect visual grazing motivate us to capture special culinary moments on camera, and creative recipes prompt us to add our own tweaks to tried and true classics. Crumbs is always keen to meet the talent behind the screen, so we chat to our latest blog crush, JESSIE WARDLAW about her culinary inspirations for her blog Forage in the Pantry


Name: Jessie Wardlaw

Location: Bristol/Wiltshire

How did your blog come about?
Forage in the Pantry started about a year ago on one boring, rainy, English summer day during my university holidays. I wanted to create (amongst the expansive blog community) somewhere people could go to simply browse and indulge, but mainly to get hold of guaranteed flavourful recipes that work. I also wanted to share my passion for wholesome cooking and living. I make the majority of what I eat from scratch. However selfish, the blog is purely an indulgence for my foodie enthusiasm! 

How long have you been blogging?
Just over one year now and my enthusiasm has increased with each new post. I cook everyday, without fail so, time permitting, I try to blog at least every other day to keep it current.

How has the blog grown with you?
Since the start I wanted each post to be perfect – there was no room for lousy images or dodgy recipes and I’ve maintained this. However, my photography skills have certainly developed with time and my recipes become even more adventurous.

How has your current location in Wiltshire impacted on your cooking?
Being able to get my hands on some amazing local produce has been one of the authentic and wholesome touches to my blog. We rear our own pigs, have a healthy and bulging allotment of vegetables and anything else we need can be sourced locally. I think this makes the recipes taste that bit better.

What photography equipment do you use?
I use a Canon EOS 1100D and lots of natural light. I also make the most of my camera’s handbook and online tutorials on how to use all the different functions. I know so many people who just stick it on manual, point and aim. With such a fabulous piece of equipment it’s really great to make the most of what it can do.

What has been your favourite post?
One of my favourite was a feature post I did recently for Green & Blacks chocolate. I don’t have a sweet tooth and usually prefer to experiment with savoury dishes but baking and decorating the cakes made for a fun day in the kitchen. I enjoy the cooking just as much as the food styling and photography aspect of each post.

What other blogs do you follow?
I really appreciate a good blog with the perfect balance of writing, great recipes and photographs. I’m a fan of Smitten Kitchen. I also avidly follow David Lebovitz (as an ice cream fanatic myself) and I also love What Katie Ate – her photos are beautiful.

Why blog? Why food?
I find anything food and cooking related ideal ways to relax. I love nothing more than stirring a creamy pan of risotto after a long day. Blogging is a great way to share my enthusiasm and encourage other people to get excited about food and appreciate how important it is to staying healthy and happy.

What makes your blog special?
I try and take photographs that really make people want to eat my food! That’s the first step to any good food blog I think. I’ve seen countless cookbooks with no pictures which instantly puts me off. I think my photographs, writing and recipes are interesting and have a quirky touch. I also think there is a good balance between adventurous recipes for the foodies and some lovely simple everyday things to suit all abilities.

What ingredient is your kitchen never without?
Maldon sea salt, lemons, butter, eggs, chorizo, and fresh herbs. Along with some staple pantry ingredients you can pretty much make anything tasty with these if caught off guard. I always have risotto rice, Parmesan and some white wine knocking about and often find a hearty risotto is my emergency meal.

What can we learn from reading your blog?
That cooking everything from scratch in a wholesome way is not as hard as you think, as long as you’re organised. I also hope people can learn that cooking can be such a fantastic way to relax and not seen as a chore. By cooking wholesomely, I also hope it makes people realise that food and ingredients should be appreciated.

Top cooking tip?
Don’t fry things in extra virgin olive oil – it burns much too easily and tastes bitter. Instead save it for dressings.

Top photography tip?
Experiment! And don’t throw away your cameras handbook – read it. Use natural light if you can and play with angles. I’m not the most computer-savvy person and cringe at the thought of using Photoshop. Thus, all my photos are taken and used as they are with no touching up.

A taste you could do without…
Canned tuna. It should be banned. It tastes and smells horrific and is unethical.

Your last meal on earth would be…
A hearty and delicious bowl of bouillabaisse filled with chunks of flaky fish and shellfish, topped with toasted croutons and creamy rouille. Followed by my blackcurrant and almond tart with creamy homemade coconut ice cream.

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