My site Scrumptious, which pioneered recipe blogging in this country six years ago, is an independent African food blog all about careful, patient home cooking, and about how to prepare excellent food for family and friends. The recipes on this blog are, with a few exceptions, my original work: I have devised, developed and thoroughly tested them myself. Of course, there are very few recipes these days that can be called truly original: every recipe builds on the work and patient testing of many generations of talented cooks, chefs and alchemists. Where I've adapted an existing recipe, or drawn on the work of other cookery writers, or found inspiration in someone else's recipe, I always say so.
I've been cooking since I was nine or so, but it's only in the last 20 years or so that cookery has turned from a hobby into something of an obsession. And no, I'm not going to say, like TV cooks, celebrity chefs and Master Chef contestants, that I am 'passionate' about food, fresh local ingredients and punchy flavours (Duh! Doesn't every cook feel that way?). I'm enthusiastic, yes, but I think the word 'passion' should be reserved for activities that involve reading books or removing your knickers.
I can say that I do love food, especially good home cooking that warms your heart and makes your tastebuds sing. All I want from a plate of food is that it tastes really good, feels lovely on your tongue and fills your stomach with joy. Sure, a plate of food should look good too, but not so exquisite and dainty that it fills you with terror. I don't like arty-farty or silly fusion food, I can't bear foams, spooms, smears and skidmarks of sauce, and the sight of ingredients pointlessly stacked in a tower - or arranged in microscopic portions on a black slate roof-tile - makes me want to jab a stick of lemongrass in my eye.
Home cooking is all about old-fashioned craftsmanship, and I place a great deal of emphasis on flavour, precision and patient preparation. I also strive to provide clear, detailed, consistent instructions and exact measurements in every recipe, so that it turns out perfectly for you every time.
I collect cookbooks and brochures from the fifties, sixties and seventies, and have a particular fondness for ring-bound recipe books compiled by school-mommy committees, church groups, and so on. (These are a rich source of wonderful recipes, not least because, in my experience, a women who contributes a recipe to a book that's going to be circulated among her peers will contribute the very best recipe she has in her arsenal, and chances are she got it from her mother, who got it from her mother, and so on. Some of the recipes you'll find in cookbooks of this sort are hundreds of years old.)
This is an ad-free, freebie-less zone
My blog is not sponsored by anyone and I don't accept freebies or samples for review (so please don't send me them - it embarrasses me no end to turn couriers away at the gate). I never write blog posts (or endorse products or services) in exchange for publicity or exposure. I don't mean to sound prissy, but it's my belief that you can't be an independent voice in this business if you are constantly stuffing your pockets with free goodies.
If I mention a brand or an ingredient or service or outlet on this blog, it's because I think it's excellent and worth recommending to my readers (and I always pay for it myself). You're welcome to send me interesting press releases, and I do appreciate invitations to launches, lunches and so forth, because they
Where I've reproduced a recipe or article on the blog that I've been paid a fee for in my capacity as a professional freelance writer/recipe developer, I always say so.
Please note that the recipes and photographs on this blog are copyrighted, and that you may not use them without my express permission. You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work (and that includes rewording or reworking one of my recipes, and presenting it as your own). I assert my moral rights over all text, concepts, photographs and innovations on this blog. (Sorry to sound so fierce, but you will not believe how much time I have to waste sending polite emails to people/bloggers/websites/newspapers, reminding them that they're not allowed to nick my stuff at will.)
If you'd like to use a photograph or recipe, please drop me a line and ask! I never say no to a reasonable request.
Want to contact me? Send an email to hobray at gmail.com (use the @ symbol instead of 'at').
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Book reviews and Scrumptious in the media
For articles, book reviews and sound clips about this blog and my new cookbook, visit this page: Scrumptious Blog in the Media
All text and photographs © Jane-Anne Hobbs Rayner 2007-2013. Want to contact me? Send an email to hobray at gmail.com (use the @ symbol instead of 'at')