Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Trying to name my food blog is killing me!  I might just go with 'Erren Cooks' just so I can get on with it!  But it's so boring!!  Everything I come up with is taken!  It's like I can't come up with  even one original thought!  I can't believe I'm using this blog to rant, but I'm so fed up!  Ok, rant over.

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My first attempt at food photography...

I'm about a quarter way through my food photography course.  It's just a basic course, but I'm so glad I've decided to do it.  Over the weekend we were invited to someone's house for dinner so I baked a cake with my little boy and tried out some of what I've learned so far.  This was the end result..

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Split Pea Soup

Thursday, February 6, 2014

This recipe has moved to my new food blog.  Click here to be redirected.

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Slow Cooker Beef Brisket

Cook time: 4-6 Hours
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Serves: 4-6


Olive oil, for searing
1 2lb/1kg brisket
1 handful of fresh parsley, chopped
3 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
2 bay leaves
4 cups/1litre beef stock
1/2 cup/120ml Sherry (or red wine)
2 tablespoons tomato paste/UK Tomato Puree
2 medium onions, chopped (I used 1 red 1 yellow, but any will do)
4 large carrots, sliced
4 medium potatoes 
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons plain flour
Salt & Pepper to taste


In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the brisket on both sides with a good sized pinch of salt. Sear the brisket in the hot pan until browned.
To the slow cooker, add carrots, potatoes, celery and bay leaves. Put the seared brisket on top of the vegetables. 
In the same skillet you used to brown the brisket, add some more oil if needed and heat over medium heat.   Add the onions and saute until tender, but not soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic cook another two minutes.  Add the flour and coat the onions.  Add the sherry and stir well to avoid lumps.  Add the the stock, tomato paste, and salt & pepper. Pour the mixture over the brisket, and cook on high for 4 to 6 hours or low for 8 to 9 hours, until the meat is fork tender. 

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014
I am going to be posting a bunch of recipes I've been meaning to post for a while now, and need to get on top of before I start my new food blog.  I want as many as possible that I can have done so I'll only have to retake photos when the time comes.  I'll try to throw in other posts as well, but apologize in advance for all the recipes in one go!

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Eggplants and Aubergines

Monday, February 3, 2014
Among the many projects I'm working on right now, I am in the process of starting a food blog. I've sold six of my recipes to a magazine in the last year and have one more being published this month so I've been given the confidence to give it a go. It will combine three of my passions: Photography, Cooking and Writing so it's a no-brainer. Plus, if I'm a good enough cook to be published, surely I have to be good enough to get a following on a blog as well. I wish it was all about the food. That part is easy. I am a good cook. I've been doing it my whole life (my mom worked when I was growing up and I cooked dinner for the family from a very young age), but food blogs are about so much more than being a good cook. The photos have to be good - really good. If you don't have a good photo on Pinterest, you're dead in the water. So I am learning food photography. I got a DSLR camera and a good lens for Christmas & my birthday so I have the equipment. I've also started a food blogger course as well as a course on developing Wordpress websites and blogs. It's been a really long time since I've done any web design so I'm rusty. I started with a site for a new business my husband is starting and although I was pulling my hair out in the beginning, I am getting back into the swing of things (slowly, but surly).
Naming a food blog is the first hurdle I will have to get over. I came up with a great name or so I thought until I asked for feedback. I was going to call it 'Eggplants and Aubergines' Aubergine is the UK name for an eggplant so I thought it was a clever play on words being an American living in England, but Americans shot it down (even though all the English people I talked to thought it was a great idea because English people speak American and they got it). Americans couldn't wrap their heads around the word Aubergine and thought it wasn't memorable enough. I have to know my market and listen to my target audience and half my target audience is on that side of the pond. Lesson learned - don't buy the domain name until you've tested the market first! So Eggplants and Aubergines will never come to be. I'll get over the heartbreak in time.
It's back to the drawing board I go. The trouble is that the market is saturated and everything I come up with is taken. I want something clever and classy. I do not want to call it something using words like YUMMY or EATS I want to make it slightly more sophisticated. I love words like crave, scrumptious, delectable and luscious (although I've been told it sounds too sexual - leave it to me). Every name I come up with has been  taken and probably was from the word go. I am at a total loss and it's driving me crazy.  If I don't come up with a name soon, I won't be able to start.  Luckily, I have to finish a couple of more projects before I can get stuck in so I have some more time, but I'll need a good idea soon.

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Playing with my new lens...

I got a new camera lens for my birthday last week.  I don't have a lot of time to play with it, but this is one of the first shots I took...

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