Although I had quietly been working on Recipes Made Easy for a few months by then, it was not until the first week in December last year that I actually told anyone Recipes Made Easy existed. So, this December Recipes Made Easy is Officially One year Old. What a fabulous year it has been. More ups than downs for sure! I have so enjoyed writing Recipes Made Easy and getting to know you, my lovely readers and sharing the recipes I make at home with you.
Recipes Made Easy – One Year Ago
Early 2015 I finished working on two Partwork Magazines – Something Sweet (DeAgostini) and Baked and Delicious (Eaglemoss) – promptly went on a fantastic holiday to Australia, and then managed to catch up on many outstanding tasks. Other commissions being quiet at the time, it was finally time to turn my hand to something I had been thinking about on and off for a few years. Blogging. Both my boys were living away from home and started to ask for easy recipes that they could cook. With one of them abroad and the other one miles away up north, the internet seemed as good a way as any to share the recipes. It was just the push I needed to get started. For a couple of months I created a few recipes, photographed the steps and end result, and wrote a few posts whilst learning wordpress. Admittedly writing the blog was a bit weird to start. It’s just there for all the world to see and that was how I was writing it. But in fact no one was actually reading them apart from a handful of friends who I had asked to give me feed back as at that point no one was aware it was there.
The Early Posts
The recipes I posted before going fully live were good, but the pictures taken on my iphone seem a bit cringe worthy now. My first post was Lemon Garlic and herb baked Chicken. Other really tasty recipes included Banana bread, Bolognese sauce, Pork and Chorizo stew and Cheese straws
By the start of December 2015, I had a few recipes on line and announced on Facebook and other social media that the blog was live. By the end of that week I had a few subscribers and I sent out my first email featuring Cranberry and Pecan Biscotti and Rich Fruit Cake. Recipes Made Easy was a real blog with real readers (including some I did not know)!
Recipes Made Easy – One year on
Looking back I wish I had done it earlier. I love sharing the recipes that I make. Having written recipes for nearly 30 years (my first book was published in 1987), I have tons of recipes to share. My recipes have always been aimed at the home cook, and I love encouraging people to cook at home. Writing for Recipes Made Easy is quite liberating. Contrary to books and magazines there are no specific style and design requirements and I can write whatever I like, when I like with recipes as long or as short as I want. When working on a book or magazine, I often found myself having to “fill out” a simple recipe or, even harder, “cut short” a more complex recipe so that it fits the space. Don’t get me wrong, I love the challenge that comes with writing for books or magazines – if you’re a publisher, Lets talk! – but having the freedom to write as I please is nice for a change. While I sometimes miss having a professional proof reader (my grammar, spelling and punctuation can sometimes leave a bit to be desired, and then there are the typos), I am luckily to have a friend who will read through my posts before publishing and who hopefully picks up most of the critical mistakes. Thank you Natalie.
When I was started at Woman’s Realm, I used a portable type writer. A couple of years later when I was deputy Cookery Editor, we were the first major national weekly magazine to go digital and so at that stage I was quite ahead of the game. During many years of free lancing, however, I had somehow fallen a bit behind technically. But, never to old to learn, I started learning wordpress which turned out to be a lot easier than I anticipated. I realise now I shouldn’t have let that side of things put me off blogging for so long.
Getting to grips with social media to spread the word has not been as easy though. It does not come quite so naturally to me as it seems to, to younger folk. However, I persevered since being able to communicate with my readers is important to me. I must be getting something right, since I am slowly building my follower numbers. I am on twitter, facebook, instagram, pinterest and google+ , so if you are not already, you could do me a favour and follow me on your favourite platform – I can always do with more followers:) I also discovered a whole friendly community of on-line bloggers who have given invaluable advise and encouragement along my journey and to whom I will be forever grateful. Thank you all.
When I started I’m not sure where I thought I would be now, but it has surpassed my wildest imagination. I now have around 12–14,000 page views a month, I am also ranked 216 on the Foodies 100 index – a list of over 4,000 UK Food bloggers, and my photography has improved dramatically from when I first started. I now find myself cringing at the earlier pictures (as I know many food bloggers do). Taking the plunge and learning how to use Mr B’s DSLR was big step. Among the many helpful tips from other food bloggers was the one to invest in a 50mm, F1.8 lens which makes all the difference. Combined with attending a Guild of Food writers food photography workshop to boost my confidence, I’m sure you will agree my photography has come on a long way. Admittedly, however, sometimes I still feel more out of focus than soft focus!
Recipes Made Easy – Going Forward
A year on it is difficult to imagine not writing Recipes Made Easy. My first goal going forward is to continue to improve my photography. But there are other things. Next year I aim to be more consistent in the days that I post, and hope to make Friends in the Kitchen a regular monthly feature. I enjoy those even though I still feel very much out of my depth shooting the pictures for a post at someone else’s home.
In my home cooking I want to make more of the many cook books that make up my large collection by cooking things that I have not cooked before, all successes and maybe some failures will be shared with you. When I set out I wanted the blog to include really useful hint and tips on the basic techniques for new cooks. I’ve started off well, but have rather let that side slip, so I aim to address that as well next year.
But why stop there? I am also hoping to put together a small ebook for subscribers. I’m considering to write more non recipe posts such as restaurant, product or cookbook reviews, and take the plunge into making some videos. So, watch this space.
Most importantly, I will continue to post good everyday meals on Recipes Made Easy but, as my regular readers know, I am also a very keen baker so there will be plenty of baking recipes on the blog again this coming year.
Coming soon on Recipes Made Easy
I hope that you enjoy reading Recipes Made Easy as much as I enjoy writing it. I would love to know what you think, what you like and what you would like to see more of. You are what I like best about Recipes Made Easy, without you Recipes Made Easy would not bring me the pleasure that it does. I love getting your comments both on the blog and on social media. I can promise you that I read each and every one and try to reply to as many of them as I can.
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