JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Happy 3rd birthday!

Today is this blog's third birthday - and the first time I've ever managed to remember the anniversary. Lemon drizzle cake is in order.

I started Joanna's Food on a whim ... I'd made kedgeree in a new, heart-healthy way, which I knew could be improved; I didn't want to forget what I'd done, so I needed to make a note of it and my manuscript recipe book was already full to bursting. I didn't bother to think up a fancy name, but stuck to the purely descriptive. It didn't occur to me then that anyone apart from me would read this stuff, I just thought it would be easier to share recipes with friends because I'd be able to print them out. Ha!

I've always blogged principally to please myself (which is why there are periodic posts about flowers, especially tulips, sweet peas and dahlias; and about anything else that takes my fancy). I've been too lazy to venture beyond the Blogger template, although that's going to change in the coming weeks and months. And I'm not tech-y enough to make the most of the tools that exist to maximise traffic ... I am happy to have made some good friends in the blogosphere, to have had some fun days out with other food bloggers, to have taken part in some great blog events, and with Ilva (Lucullian Delights) and later Michelle (The Accidental Scientist) to have founded Heart of the Matter. Thank you all for reading this far - the community of food blogging means a lot to me, and has been very supportive at times over the past three years.

To be serious for a moment, this blog has always been principally about the journey our family made after my husband's heart attack. We were lucky, despite the terrific shock we all had, despite the intimations of mortality. We were given advice by the medics which was difficult to put into practice ... here is the record of our baby steps.

Proper food, cooked from scratch at home, mainly vegetables, more fish than meat, pulses (though I can't claim that any of my family love them as I do, frozen peas the honourable exception), plenty of olive oil, a little dark chocolate, not too much fuss. And, mostly, we've done it.

Cake, you may wonder? On a blog where no-one's supposed to eat butter, and everyone's supposed to be cutting down on fats? Well, it's not an everyday event here; this one's comparatively light; it's made with fruit, as are virtually all the cakes I make (lemon zest has lots to recommend it) ... and today we're following the 80:20 rule

A few key posts

Looking through three years of posts, I see that there are gaps which need filling (for instance, I thought I had written about citrus zest, but no). Here, though, is a random selection of things I wish I had known when we began

Some basic rules

Salsa verde
Onions, garlic - and skordalia
Getting started - and homemade muesli
Rosemary citrus salt
Affordable superfoods (winterish)
Shaken hot water pastry
Mount Athos diet: chickpea patties
Butterbeans with lemon and maple syrup
Olive oil pastry

That list was compiled quickly, and, checking over it, I see that I haven't included any fish recipes ... every time I post one, I get an appreciative comment or email from Ed Bruske, the amazing DC gardener and Slow Cook who grows vegetables in his front garden less than a mile from the White House (and if you want to see a film about composting, you'll find he's got lots of sensible things to say on the subject). So here's a link to the entire fish section to trawl through if you feel like it ... you'll find lots of things to do with oily fish. And I'm pleased to discover that the fish section of this blog is the second largest, beaten only by the vegetable section. You'll also find my all-time most-read post, the extremely delicious baked scallops ... I hope that a few of you have made them already, and that, if you have not, you might give them a try.

Links to some of the blogs I love

Book the Cook
Bread Water Salt Oil
Figs Olives/Bay Wine (not active at the moment, but we live in hope)
Garlic Breath
Tanna at The Half Cup
Kate Hill's Kitchen Adventure
Lucullian Delights
Mostly Eating
Venice Daily photo (not active at the moment, but what a back catalogue!)
Today I am mostly ... counting blessings and living in the moment

Those are filed in my feed reader under the heading blogs I read daily. I hate the thought of leaving out the section headed fantastic food blogs, and the one headed great garden blogs ... but I'll come back to them another day soon, or maybe even later today if I find another moment.


Sophie said...

Wow, well done Joanna, 3 years is amazing (and you still post really regularly which has always impressed me).

It's useful to have a reminder about where your blog came from in the first place. I'd be intrigued to read a post about how you used to cook, before all of these epic changes!

The cake looks lovely, I could just do with a bite, with a nice cup of tea...

Eleanor said...

Happy birthday, Joanna! Your blog continues to be an inspiration.

Anna said...

Happy birthday! I'm enjoying your blog, so writing for your own pleasure is obviously a winning formula. Mm, and lemon drizzle cake - but a bit cruel to post a picture of that slice when we can't dig in to the screen...

gillie said...

Happy Birthday to you, dum de da da de daa....

I've gone back and looked at your earlier posts too. You have a huge wealth of recipes, information and advice here. It's amazing. Enjoy the lemon cake (one of my favourites, in the summer it is a perfect tea in the garden cake and in the winter it is a reminder of what's to come).

Thanks for the link too. I'm glad you enjoy the chaos I call my blog :)

Ann said...

Happy third birthday! Your cake looks wonderful!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Happy 3 years and looking forward to many more!! So interesting how many of us started blogging with no idea where it would all lead. The lemon looks lovely - I do love lemon cakes of all kinds and this one looks very lemony and sunny!
Very happy to report I did manage your 123! Thanks much for the tag and a mention!! Very happy you're here.

Ilva said...

Congratulations Joanna, so nice to pop in here after a particularly stressful day and find a birthday party! And such a nice one as that! Anyway, I am very happy to have have the HotM together with you, it's been and is a lot of fun and I am proud of what our team work has managed to produce, just take a look atthe HotM blog, so many heart healthy recipes!
So cin cin my friend, full speed into the future! Be proud!

David Hall said...

Happy birthday Joanna's fantastic Blog! 3 years eh, unbelievable. I must say, 1 year and 5 months down the line for me and it is the best thing I have ever done. And I'm proud to say that Joanna's Food is in my list of blogs that I read daily too. Really glad that you are finding pleasure in this hobby of ours.

All the best
David xxx

kathryn said...

Oh well done Joanna. Happy blog birthday - three years is a significant amount of blogging. I look forward to seeing what you come up with next.

Toffeeapple said...

Congratulations Joanna! I always enjoy your writing and couldn't miss a single day of visiting. The picture at the bottom of today's offering is a perfect still-life. said...

A very happy birthday to you. And good things have come from a truly frightening event and yet you are able to maintain a graceful and light touch in the way you write about food and the enjoyment it brings. Keep bringing on the recipes so we can keep trying them!
Best wishes

Mandy said...

Congrats Joanna. You are an inspiration. What a positive person you are. Happy future blogging!

Cottage Smallholder said...

Happy Third Birthday, Joanna.

I really enjoy your blog. Well written and inspirational. You have made me think about food in an entirely different way.

Thank you!

labelga said...

Happy Birthday to your blog, Joanna. I am enjoying the resilience and sometimes the doggedness (eg with doughs or pastry) you bring to your searches for delicious and heart healthy food. To many more years, as long as you are enjoying it, of course.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Three years! A truly noteworthy achievement. Long may your blog and your family's good health continue.

SueCooksWild said...

Happy 3rd birthday! It was because of your blogging that we had the opportunity to meet you almost a year ago! Lovely lunch we had at the Books for Cooks in London!!

Joanna said...

I'm really touched by so many kind words from you all ... thank you ... when I posted that first recipe for kedgeree, I really had no idea that I would find so many friends in cyberspace, so much support, and so many other really great blogs to read ;)


Sandra said...

Congratulations Joanna! I've mentioned you on my blog today. Now I have even more fabulous links from you to read. Thank you.

TopVeg said...

Happy birthday - and congratulations for a great blog - a pleasure to read & the first place I go for inspiration & when stuck!

We are having a family wedding mid June, with various guests of all ages bringing suitcases (to fill any available space in the house)& tents. So I will be trawling your blog for ideas to fill the pantry!