Welcoming back FBC Alumni is one of our favourite treats! Meet returning blogger Andra and discover more behind Mint and Rosemary!
Tell us about yourself and your blog!
What are you looking forward to learning and enjoying at FBC this year?
2013 was my first year of FBC and i loved every second: from the amazing food photography workshop with Penny De Los Santos, to the fabulous food at strEAT Party and very inspiring speeches. After the Conference I have self-published my first recipe book named “Be Veggie! Eat Different!” – a selection of 12 vegetarian recipes, available in print and iBook format. The book is written in Romanian (my mother language), but I intend to issue an English version this year. I find the FBC to be extremely inspiring, it gives me the opportunity to meet fellow food bloggers and amazing people who share the passion for food.
Is blogging your full time job?
I have moved to London almost 4 years ago, coming from Timisoara – a lovely city in west Romania. Although my family is still in Romania, I have managed to find here really good friends, who make me feel at home. Starting a food blog (at first in Romanian – and then in English) was my way of staying connected with my friends and family bak home, and also has given me the chance to meet some amazing people here in London. I would love to become a full time blogger and pursue a career in food writing, and hope that one day my dream will come true, as I truly love writing about food. I am also passionate about travelling, discovering new places and emerging myself into local food cultures.
What motivated you to blog and how has blogging changed your life?
Although blogging is not a full-time job for me, I spend a lot of time reading, researching, testing and developing recipes. I get motivated by my passion about food and by the amazing feedback I get every time a publish a new post. I get inspiration from reading books and other food blogs, as well as from travelling around the world and discovering new foods. My dream is that of publishing a full, proper book, where I could combine my passions for food and travelling.
What’s your signature dish?
My signature dish would be a risotto with wild mushrooms and wild garlic – a rich and creamy risotto with fresh and gentle wild garlic combined with a selection of earthy wild mushrooms.
I follow many food bloggers and food photographers, but to name just a few: David Lebovitz, Heather Cristo, Sally, Meeta and also various Romanian food bloggers, some of my favourite being Andreea and Cristi. I am constantly learning and trying to improve my skills in blogging, and there is always something to learn from established bloggers: from how they approach a certain subject, to their writing style and photography. At FBC 2013 I had the honour of meeting David Lebovitz, whom I deeply admire and follow religiously. I have also met a lot of fascinating food bloggers and discovered people from all over the world.
What food blogging trends are you enjoying at the minute?
I have observed that at the time many food bloggers are experimenting with video recipes, and I see that readers are enjoying watching videos on how to cook. Putting recipes on video is extremely engaging and really brings the food blogging industry to a next level. I do follow trends, and often I get my inspiration from new trends, I think that as a food blogger you need to keep up with trends in order to keep you readers. I did travelled a lot in the past few years, but the furthest was definitely New Delhi, where indeed I have found not only the perfect curry, but an entire new food universe, it was an amazing experience. However, if I had to eat one countries tradition dish for a whole year, that would be a risotto. I am absolutely in love with italian food, I love its simplicity and flavour, so, clearly food heaven would be anything italian. As per food hell, well I do know about people eating insects, but I guess that as curious as I might be, I really don’t see myself experimenting some 🙂
Who is your favourite celebrity chef and and who is your favourite food writer? Why?
Food programmes – love them. Especially The Great British Bake Off and MasterChef. I learn a lot from them, they are a great resource for developing and experimenting with new recipes. I think celebrity chefs do have a duty of promoting healthy and sustainable food, it definitely is a good thing. My favourite celebrity chef is Michel Roux – for his love and passion for good food, his outstanding skills and exceptional cooking techniques, his way of treating ingredients and transforming them into glorious dishes. If I’d ever get the chance, I would gladly cook for him! I lost the track of my cookbooks when I reached 100, and I am constantly looking to buy new ones. The most recent to my collection is Russell Norman’s “Polpo” – it is a great book about Venetian food and Venice in general. A good cook book for me is a book that besides listing recipes is also telling a story.
What other influences and interests make for a great food blog?
Because travelling is also my passion, I would say that travel has a huge influence on my blog. Being able to tell stories from other countries that I have visited adds a lot of interest from my readers, and is a good opportunity to write about various food cultures. My blog is a big part of my life and I I do spend most of my spare time reading about food, going to restaurants and experimenting new recipes. I even plan my holidays based on what food I want to discover and learn more about. I think a successful blog is a combination of engaging writing, innovative recipes and great photos. Readers will always appreciate a good and innovative recipe, but they also love a good story, and a mouthwatering photo.
Do you have a favourite kitchen tool/appliance?
I’m not really a gadget-girl, and my kitchen really is small, so I have to carefully assess the space when it comes to buying new appliances. However, I love my Sage food processor by Heston Blumenthal, it is the only appliance that I could fit in my small space, but it really does a good work. Oh, the shopping list – that’s a long one! The hottest item would be a trip to Israel, to emerge myself into its extraordinary food, culture and history.
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