10 things I’ve learnt about food blogging and a giveaway!

There were 2 birthdays this past week.


I turned 28. The thing is, in my head I don’t feel a day over 18. Actually 15. Maybe 10.


And, (*drumroll please*) this blog turned 1! Can you imagine?


I’ve been blogging for a whole year! When I started, I really never thought the experience would be so rewarding and wonderful. It’s been the best thing ever!


That’s why I want to share 10 things I’ve learnt about food blogging over the past year.


1. Food bloggers are cool. You will be a part of a wonderful, friendly, lively community that’s always willing to share knowledge and teach you things. I have met some fantastic bloggers and they’re some of the nicest people I know. Here are some of them.



2. It’s easy at the start. When you begin writing you’re brimming with enthusiasm, excitement and the thrill of people reading your blog. The hard part is keeping it up. I think the trick is to make it a part of your life. I can’t go without writing a post for too many days.



3. Of love handles and pudginess. You will get fat. But wait! Only if you don’t exercise at all. (My exercises include kickboxing and dancing around my room) All those divine things you bake go directly to your waistline. So share! Everytime I bake something, I eat a little bit and pack the rest up for friends, co-workers or neighbours.



4. Failures are the best lessons. Blog about your successes, but also about your failures (like this one). One thing I’ve learnt is that failures in the kitchen make funny stories. And funny stories make great blog posts. And then the failure isn’t a failure anymore- it’s a success! πŸ™‚ Am I rambling? Okay I’ll stop now.



5. The curse of the camera. You will NEVER be able to eat anything exciting without taking a picture of it first. People will groan and complain as the food goes cold while you focus and adjust and take pictures from every angle possible till it’s right. We’re serious photographers, what can I say? πŸ˜›



6. Interaction is a significant thing. Always comment on other blogs you love. And acknowledge comments on your own blog. You will gain loyal readers when you do this, and maybe even friends from around the world. When I initiated a foodie exchange program I had the chance to interact with some fabulous food bloggers from all over the country. I also got a pile of presents! So MUCH fun πŸ˜€



7. You can find inspiration anywhere. Bake things that make you happy. Be inspired by everything you enjoy. From movies, like this and this, to books like this and this. Or just love πŸ™‚



8. You will learn SO much. When I started I never imagined I would be able to bake/cook the things I can. I never thought I’d be able to make a kickpass pie or a monkey cake or chocolate eclairs. I never thought I’d be able to bake 100 cupcakes in a single day and I most definitely didn’t think I could pull off a seven layer rainbow cake. But I did. And you can too.



9. You’ll earn cool nicknames. Mine include Cupcake Queen, Baking Diva, and Psycho Baker. The last one is my fav πŸ˜€



10. Be true to yourself. Write what you believe in. Write the way you’re comfy in. Do things your way. Do serious posts, or yummy posts, or posts about a wonderful friend, or your Mum or how you love instant noodles. But don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. Your readers will be able to tell. And you won’t feel good. And that’s not fun, is it? πŸ™‚ Celebrate what you are.


But how exactly do you celebrate yourself? I have the answer my darlings.


Make yourself this cupcake.



I think it’s the prettiest thing I’ve ever made πŸ™‚



One pretty cupcake


Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 12 mins
Makes: 1


Ingredients:


3 tbsp plain flour, sifted
1 tbsp melted butter
1 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp milk
2 drops vanilla essence
1/4 tsp baking powder


For the buttercream rose


30 g butter, softened
50 g icing sugar, sifted, plus a bit more if needed
2 tsp milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 drop pink food colour


Method:


For the pretty cupcake


1. Preheat the oven to 180ΒΊ C. Mix everything together in a small bowl, making sure it’s all incorporated till you have a smooth, shiny batter.
2. Line a cupcake tray with a single paper liner, and spoon the batter into it. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire rack.


For the buttercream rose


1. Mix all the ingredients together. The buttercream should be on the stiffer side so that when you pipe the rose, it holds its shape. If it’s too wet, add more icing sugar till it’s stiff enough.
2. Spoon the icing into a piping bag and use this tip.



I don’t know what it’s called so I took a picture πŸ™‚
3. Now you’ll need an icing pin. Don’t worry if you don’t have one. I didn’t either. I created a make-shift one. Here’s how: Take an un-used pencil and stick a small piece (slightly bigger than your cupcake size) of cardboard on the even end of the pencil. Stick a piece of parchment paper over that. Now hold the piping bag in one hand, and the pencil with the carboard in the other. Pipe onto the paper, with the wide end of the tip facing downwards. Start in the centre and pipe a small circle, while twirling the pencil. This is the centre of your rose. Then keep adding strips of icing all around till you have a rose of your desired size, while twirling the pencil throughout. Once you’re happy with the size, carefully remove the parchment paper with the rose and pop it in the fridge for a few minutes. Once it hardens a bit, remove the rose gently and transfer it onto your cupcake. (Here is brilliant video by a brilliant blogger where I learnt how to make this fancy rose.)



And that’s how you celebrate what you are, friends! πŸ™‚ Please try it.


It’s been such a crazy, happy, yummy ride and I want to thank each and every one of you for reading. As a special thank you, I’m announcing my very first giveaway! One of my amazing readers will win a copy of this book:



It’s pretty and fun, and stuffed full of fantastic recipes! Go here to look inside it. If you want a chance to win this, just leave a comment below telling me what makes you happy. I’ll choose one winner through a random draw and send the book off to you wherever you are. I will also include a love note, ’cause I’m sweet like that πŸ˜‰ This giveaway is open till 15th July, 2012. This giveaway is now closed.


And just incase I’ve not said this enough- I love you all!


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24 thoughts on “10 things I’ve learnt about food blogging and a giveaway!

  1. Belated Happy Bday to the psycho baker and psycho-baker-blog πŸ™‚
    I am no great cook. So I normally follow a recipe to the word. “Not a gm less, not a gm more” is my motto. And that thankfully works great when it comes to baking, where proportions matter a lot.
    What makes me happy? The warm and comfortable smell that lingers in my kitchen after I bake. The boy-like-grin on my husband’s face when I show him the end result. Even the long “mmmmmm” he makes after he has had the first bite. Especially that long “mmmmmmm”. πŸ™‚
    Thanks for all the inspiration Charis!

  2. Hey Charis πŸ˜€

    Congrats on hitting a year ❀ I'm a big fan of food…whether it's baking cupcakes or pigging on them by the dozen :p

    What makes me happy? Eating food made with love πŸ™‚ I know that Indian love for food automatically points to *Maa ka khana* but it can't really be helped πŸ˜€

  3. Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to Stormie and her blog, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!
    Lotsa love to you and your beloved blog Charis. Heres to many more inspirational and fun posts!! πŸ˜€
    Big hug!! ❀

  4. I like a typical sunday morning with Raybans, Leather Jackets, Royal Enfield Thump, A small old monk in my pocket, a guitar on my back..and riding off to nowhere..

  5. Congratulations Charis! This was a fun post to read and a very honest reflection of your blog journey. I have to say, I have realised very late in life that cooking makes me unwind, but the thing that really makes me happy is to cook for friends and family…to make them enjoy a good meal along with a few good drinks! And ofcourse, dark chocolates make me super happy! πŸ˜‰

  6. Congratulations Charis! This was a fun post to read and a very honest reflection of your blog journey. I have to say, I have realised very late in life that cooking makes me unwind, but the thing that really makes me happy is to cook for friends and family…to make them enjoy a good meal along with a few good drinks! And ofcourse, dark chocolates make me super happy! πŸ˜‰

  7. The nicknames that I received are – cake woman, Nigella Lawson (which, incidentally I hate), Kitchen Queen (reminds me of Kitchen King masala) and randhuni. And right now rain is making me super-happy.

  8. what a lovely post! Your list is so spot on. And I really love the single cupcake recipe.

    Life makes me happy. I have a wonderful husband, cat, job and home. Couldn’t ask for anything more.

  9. Congratulations girl. I Absolutely agree to all your points regarding blogging. Wonderful post.
    And I am one of your amazing readers πŸ˜‰ ….who has only a few cookbooks πŸ™‚

  10. Your blogposts make me happy! It is amazing to see the wonderful & beautiful things you create! Happy Birthday once again! To you & to your blog!

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