Welcome to another wonderful Monday! I used to dread Mondays, but since we’ve started this “Meet the Neighbors” feature, I’ve started to really look forward to them! Today I am honored to introduce you to the talented Jacqui Bellefontaine, who blogs over at Recipes Made Easy. I was instantly drawn to Jacqui’s sweet, easy-going manner and friendly writing style. She is definitely as sweet as she is talented, and I hope that one day I can go visit her in England, where she lives (and it is my dream to one day go– hence my blog name 😉
What is your name, and where are you located? (Hint: if you live in Hawaii, I am packing my bags as we speak 😉
Hi– I’m Jacqueline Bellefontaine– Jacqui to my friends, and I live in central London.
Tell us a little bit about yourself– what is the name of your blog, and how did you get started?
I have been a cookery writer and food stylist ( a fancy word for someone who cooks food to be photographed) for over 25 years. I have been a regular contributor to a number of monthly and weekly magazines here in the UK, as well as having written over 15 cookery books which have been sold worldwide. I live with my husband in a small terrace house near London Bridge and Borough Market, which is just an amazing place for a foodie to live. We have two boys– James, 24, and William, 21. I started my blog, Recipes Made Easy, at the end of last year. My boys had started asking for recipes that they could cook. They needed easy, reliable recipes, and I had been thinking about writing a blog for a couple of years but just hadn’t got around to it. This seemed the perfect time to start; I had a huge bank of recipes and decided that a blog would be the ideal way to share them. I love blogging and wish I had started earlier.
The technical side of setting it up was not as hard as I thought it would be, and now I can write and share recipes and my love of cooking with a wider audience. I like that I can now encourage even more people to cook at home. The recipes on the blog are the recipes that I cook at home for family and friends. I believe cooking should be fun and not overly complicated. All my recipes are well tested, and I always try to explain each recipe clearly so that even a beginner can understand. I’ve learnt so much over the last few months, as writing is just the beginning. There is the technical side to learn, social media to keep up to date, and not forgetting photographing the food. Before I started the blog I had only to worry about how the food looked when shooting; now I am busy learning about exposure, lighting, and post shoot editing, as well. But I soon discovered that the food blogging world is a large and friendly community who is so free with their help and advice, which really helps and for which I am very grateful. When I’m not in the kitchen or at my computer I can be found at my tiny city allotment where I grow soft fruit and herbs, or by the coast in Suffolk where I have a holiday cottage. I also like to crochet and love the theatre.
What is your favorite food? And what is your least favorite food?
I’m the daughter of a baker and do have a bit of a sweet tooth. I love cakes and desserts (a bit too much). In general I tend to like uncomplicated dishes where the quality of the ingredients can shine. I really don’t like offal, so I can’t do the whole “nose to tail” thing.
What advice would you give someone who is just starting to cook?
Find a source of reliable, well tested recipes with clear instructions, and use those to start with. Avoid celebrity chef cookbooks, at least to begin with, as many recipes are not suited to cooking at home or assume a certain degree of knowledge already. Most important, don’t be scared of making mistakes– that’s how we all learn. It is only by getting in the kitchen and giving it a go that you can really learn to cook– it is really not that difficult and is often just a matter of confidence and a willingness to try.
What keeps you going, every day? Who are your greatest cheerleaders/supporters?
Coffee and wine! Seriously, my family and friends– cliché, I know, but it’s true.
Jacqui was kind enough to share a delicious recipe with us– one of her favorite English dessert recipes for Summer Pudding. You can find this recipe on her blog, here. Jacqui says:
“This is a classic English dish– very easy to make and tastes delicious. It’s a dessert (which you know I love!) and uses bread, so it seemed the most apt to share with you now.”
Jacqui, thank you so much for sharing this beautiful recipe with us– those jewel-toned fruits make this dessert look like something out of a magazine! I have truly enjoyed learning more about your food blogging journey and meeting you! Your blog is beautiful, and your writing style is approachable and down to earth. It makes me feel like I am pulling up a chair at the kitchen table of an old friend for a wonderful visit. I can’t wait to see more of your beautiful work and try some of these delicious recipes! Thank you so much for being here with us, today! And hopefully . . . one day . . . I will get to see you in England. 😉
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