I don't like interrupting the flow of recipes on this blog for general chit-chat, opinion and news, because I reckon the least you deserve when you land on a food blog is a recipe (and a photograph that looks good enough to eat). Regular readers of this blog may have noticed that I've steered away from chit-chat over the past year or so, and have concentrated on the actual food, and the story behind each recipe I present to you.
This hasn't been a deliberate strategy, but rather a gradual attuning to what the readers of this blog really want. In the early days of this blog, I posted a lot of indignant opinions about food, recipe-writing and food blogging. As time went on, I noticed that the amount of traffic (page views, in other words) these posts attracted was negligible. Few people read these posts, fewer commented on them, and nobody linked to them. On the other hand, tried-and-tested recipes, especially those with an interesting personal 'back-story', have prospered, and attracted a steady stream of pageviews over the years. (Here is a list of the most popular recipes on this blog.)
I've also avoided sharing every aspect of my life and my family with you, as many other bloggers do with great, and deserved, success. This is not because I'm a shrinking violet - in real life, I'm noisy, opinionated, outgoing, bossy and a champion chatter - but because I have a wariness about the Internet. It's a story that's too long to tell here but, in a nutshell, I was on the receiving end of a nasty campaign, waged by a bunch of teenagers, in the earliest days of the Internet in South Africa, and since then have tried to stay anonymous. That's why I started this blog using the pseudonym 'Juno'.
I loathe self-congratulatory blogs, and boasting or preening of any sort, but I have come to understand that my blog won't grow unless I actively promote it.
The rise of social media over the past 18 months has forced me to step, blinking like a bewildered mole, from under my little brown cloak. Also, as this blog has grown, I've been obliged to stand up and speak my mind, in the real world.
And this hasn't been a bad thing. After my presentation at the South African Food Bloggers' Conference last year, I met a whole lot of new, interesting, enthusiastic people - some of them friends I've made online; others complete strangers - who have really enriched my tentative Facebook and Twitter experiences.
And here endeth the sermon, and beginneth the news.
- I'll be speaking, bossily, and along with winemaker Mike Radcliffe of Warwick and Vilafonte, at the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meeting next Wednesday. If you'd like to come along and hear me speak about food blogging, recipe development and recipe writing, please click here to book. Mike Radcliffe will be presenting a selection of his wines for tasting.
- My recipe for Sweetcorn Chilli-Bites with a Mint Yoghurt Dip has just won the 'Battle Corn' food challenge on this blog
- I've taken on the job of writing recipes for Verlaque Fine Foods, a Cape Town company specialising in balsamic reductions, infused olive oils, preserves, jellies and grilling glazes. Try my Peri-Peri Calamari With Chouriço, Parsley and Preserved Lemon.
- My recipe for Pricky Pear Granita is one of the eight top-rated entries in the Foodista Best of Food Blogs competition, and I'm hoping it will make it into the Foodista cookbook, which will be published in October.