Courgetti carbonara, a 5 minute dish made simple from courgette spaghetti, a whisked egg and some toppings. Carbonara but not as you know it.
Also, the last 4 years of blogging!
On 30 April 2011, I sat down and wrote my first blog post. A simple recipe using my new spiralizer toy, a courgette and an egg. Badly photographed, but energised with all the passion for sharing my ideas for healthful eating – the reason I started blogging.
Anniversaries allow us to look at our lives, to categorise all that has happened since the last anniversary, or since the event first occurred. I guess one can’t predict where life (and blogs) will be in the future, but I certainly didn’t imagine this. When I started back in 2011, I knew very little about blogging. There were a couple of healthy living and food blogs I followed – like Wholeheartedly Healthy, but it was only when I started blogging myself, I realised I needed to read more, and interact, to becoming part of an online community. Staying true to your own voice when you read so much can be a somewhat distracting challenge, it does lead you to truly speaking from your heart.
I was watching the lovely film Julie & Julia last weekend at a film and cake event I organised in conjunction with a local film festival. When Julie gets caught up in the fame of blogging, she almost forgets why she started in the first place – for the sheer pleasure of writing about food. It was good to be reminded of this right now, and I do, I honestly do, still love the simple pleasure of stringing words together. This blog started as a pleasure, but I can’t ignore the fact that it has contributed towards shaping my life and career in a new and exciting way.
I am not a pro blogger. I earn a little from the odd sponsored post or a small bit of advertising revenue, but it’s the exposure that has allowed me to showcase my teaching and recipe development skills. It is also an online portfolio for my writing and cooking, and place to spread news about my cooking classes and events.
So just for fun I jotted down what I think to be the pivotal moments in the past four years:
- April 2011, published first blog post as Cucina Ceri, using a simple WordPress template and a Blackberry™ phone camera as tools.
- October 2011, I started a nutrition short course at College of Naturopathic Medicine (CNM).
- June 2012, my Mum passed away.
- September 2012, bought a real camera, went to Food Blogger Connect (FBC) and I reduced my days at work from five to four, to work on an ebook that never happened.
- October 2012, went to Ashburton Cookery School for a week long intensive course.
- April 2013, rebranded from Cucina Ceri to Natural Kitchen Adventures.
- May 2013, got accepted to the Bauman College Natural Chef Training Programme and resigned from my job as Projects Director of a London orchestra, where I had organised people, concerts, and events for ten years.
- July 2013, invited to act as Moderator at Food Blogger Connect.
- August 2013, ten years after joining the orchestra, I left.
- September 2013, moved to California for six months to complete my Natural Chef training at Bauman College. In November, I helped at a cooking class and felt like I’d found an outlet for my passion in teaching.
- March 2014, moved home, started part time chef work for Retreat Café.
- July 2014, did a test class at Blackheath Cooks and started to plan classes from September onwards, then in the Autumn I did the same at Made In Hackney
- Nov 2014, finished working for Retreat Café and rethought my chef career, opting to spend more time teaching and writing.
- Dec 2014, released my first my first ebook, Everything but the turkey.
- In the early part of 2015, so much happened, new things occurred daily but…
- March 2015, filmed You Tube cookalong videos for Action Against Hunger’s Live Below the Line campaign.
- April 2015, turned 33 and on the same day was awarded a Highly Commended in the Health Category at the UK Blog Awards.
I am sure you can see how blogging has changed my life. I often wonder where I would be right now if I hadn’t started the blog? Would I have still been interested in healthful food? Would I have left my comfortable job to retrain as a Natural Chef? Maybe this was just meant to be. I’m not going to say that blogging saved me from a terrible life I once had, because it wasn’t terrible at all. I will say that using my energy to grow a new passion definitely distracted and helped me through the difficult period of my Mum passing in June 2012 and every day going forwards. This little internet space has constantly urged me to be better. Write better, photograph better, cook better, style better – to keep up with the Jones’ – me!
Through all the changes, one thing has remained constant. I still love to cook. I still love to share. I was reading an article this week, which discussed our worldwide obsession with sharing photos of our food. We create something we are proud of, or choose something wonderful in a restaurant, or just see something that makes us happy and we want to share that with the world. It’s gaining validation for what we are, the internet is an easy place to make this happen. Instantly.
A basic template in WordPress, an early blog name, and a dinner made from spiralized courgettes was how I started. Looking back is a good thing, so I decided to cook that recipe and share it with you again. Now I see errors in my basic recipe writing (thankfully I have attended many courses), I see that I had no idea how to season my food (salt isn’t even mentioned), I see my white bowl balancing precariously on the edge of my sofa (why?) and despite my cringing I leave all this on the blog for you to enjoy.
Four years on, I still take great pleasure in sitting down to write my blog, and I am sure I always will. Thank you for reading.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- half a red onion, diced small
- 1 courgette, spiralized or cut into strips with a julienne peeler
- handful of spinach
- 2-3 sundried tomatoes in olive oil, finely sliced
- 1 egg, lightly whisked
- ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 Tablespoon toasted pine nuts
- ground black pepper
- Optional: shavings of Parmesan to top
- Heat the olive oil in a medium frying pan over a medium heat and sauté the onion until translucent – 3-4 minutes.
- Add the courgetti into the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add the spinach and stir till it wilts down. Add the sundried tomatoes.
- Take the pan off the heat then pour in the egg, tossing the egg with the courgetti so that it coats it well, and doesn’t set like scrambled egg. Season with salt.
- Turn out into a pasta bowl and top with the pine nuts, shavings of Parmesan and heaps of black pepper.