From Cape Town to Dubai! #Meettheblogger behind Tantalise my Taste Buds at #FBC15!

Meet Razena Schroeder the blogger behind Tantalise my Taste Buds (@TantaliseMT). Before moving to Dubai Razena owned a small catering company in Cape Town. Razena’s cooking talents run in the family as she was taught by her mother as well as her aunt how to cook. Razena’s blog is all about sharing her passion for home cooked, authentic food. This is her first time at #FBC15!

IMG_1844What are you looking forward to learning and enjoying at FBC this year?

When I first registered for FBC I had not even published the blog yet. I am looking forward to learning from experienced bloggers and others who are experts in their professions.

 

Is blogging your full time job? If not, what is your day job? Tell us a bit about what you get up to when you’re not working on your blog 

My day job is Payroll manager at a construction company headquartered in Dubai. Between the long hours and deadlines I find that the blog helps me to unwind and de-stress (not that blogging does not come with its own set of stresses and deadlines). My immediate family are all in Cape Town, South Africa so I use the blog to teach the youngsters how to cook and bake.

im-going-toWhat first motivated you to blog and how has blogging changed your life?What’s your ultimate blogging dream – where do you plan to take it in the future? From where do you get inspiration for your blog posts?

Two things happened around the same time… one of my friends suggested for the umpteenth time that I take up writing, and I found a file with all the family recipes and others that I had developed when I had my home baking business more than 20 years ago. I decided that a blog would be the perfect way to record it for posterity before I lost them again. My inspiration was initially trying to recreate the food of my youth, however now I find that I am inspired by fresh produce, my travels and other bloggers.

Which other bloggers do you follow most closely? Tell us something you’ve learned from reading other blogs you probably wouldn’t know otherwise?

I don’t follow any bloggers very closely but I have learnt much about blogging from a group called Food Blogger Central. The author of the blog as well as many of the bloggers belonging to the Facebook group are very generous in sharing their own shortcuts and tips for success.

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How do you shop for food – supermarkets, farmer market, local shops, online etc? What are your thoughts on the decline of supermarkets and the future of our grocery shopping habits? What blogging trends are you enjoying at the minute? How far have you traveled for the perfect dish? 
In Dubai we have very limited access to farmer’s markets due to the desert climate and heat. For most of the year growing is difficult although there are a few farm to table operations that manage to produce even in Summer. The supermarkets have limited varieties of organic produce but not very good quality and some very overpriced. Fortunately in the cooler months we have farmer’s markets operating in a few places.
I traveled to Istanbul a few years ago to satisfy a craving for baklava. I couldn’t find anything in Dubai that tasted even remotely good and had to go to the little store in the Spice Market in Istanbul where I first tasted Turkish baklava 15 years ago.
Who is your favourite celebrity chef and / or favourite food writer? Why? Are there any food writers/chefs who you believe are under appreciated and deserve more attention? How many cookbooks do you own? What attributes make a good cookbook for you? What cookbooks have you added to your collection recently? Which cookbook do you return to time and time again?

My favorite food writer is without a doubt Yotam Ottolenghi. I love the way that he is able to describe a taste or flavor or aroma so well that I can almost smell it. I own many cookbooks, some of which I brought with me to Dubai many years ago, and some of which I bought here. I find though that I tend to go online if I need to research anything and that I seldom if ever refer to any of my cookbooks any more.

FBC14 -  Ottolenghi Tamimi
What’s on your wish-list right now?

On my wishlist right now would be a food photography and styling course to be held in April in Provence next year.

What other influences or interests would you say make for a great food blog – travel, fashion, tech, lifestyle? How is your lifestyle shaped by food? How is your lifestyle shaped by blogging? Does blogging shape your approach to food and what you eat now? To achieve a successful blog what comes first – the dishes, the styling, the photography or the words?

For me I find that my travels and lifestyle have a great impact on what I blog about. I love to travel and eat and have included a culinary travel section on the blog. I recently discovered that I have a wheat allergy and this has led me to learn about gluten free baking. For me the dish comes first, then the styling and photography. I have been disappointed on more than one occasion looking at a beautifully styled and photographed picture only to discover that the dish was something awful that I would never eat or feed to anyone else… usually everything out of a packet slapped together and made pretty.

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