After a break that got longer than intended I’d like to introduce to you again some of my favourite food blogs and – what is even more important – the people behind the scene, their approach to cooking, the role of food and blogging in their life.
This time I am proud to welcome Julia from Chestnut&Sage.
When I clicked back to the oldest post of Chestnut&Sage I realized that I am indeed following this blog since its existance … although I can’t remember how I came across it the first time.
But since then I am recognizing more and more similarities. Our first name is only the beginning 😉 But it is mainly our culinary likings: bittersweet and tart flavours, coriander, the love for all sorts of homemade food in jars, the simple things in cooking, food nostalgia …
…indeed culinary memories play an important role for both Julia’s cooking and as we were raised not too far away from each other there is this common food heritage that we both access.
Like all of us she had to find her own way of blogging. You can follow this process on Chestnut&Sage – and the growing authenticity and strength of her voice. The balance of innovative creativity and grounded simplicity – this is what makes Julias recipes as well as her photographs so admirable. No overstyled pictures overloaded with props, no noisy hyperactive writing, no metres-long list of ingredients – no hoopla, but honest soulfood!
The inspiration that comes from travels can not only be traced in Julias recipes, but also in her little travel guides for foodies that awaken both your wanderlust and your appetite.
Why “Chestnut and Sage”? Julia explains the origin of the name here – together with a mouthwatering risotto with … chestnut and sage!
You are running your blog since 2011. What is your main motivation to keep on doing this?
It was only in 2011 that I learned about blogs. At this time, friends of mine had already been writing a blog for a while, and the question occured why I – someone who cooks so passionate and so often – didn’t have a blog yet. This was a legitimate question – and because I didn’t really know what blogging ment and didn’t know how many food blogs already existed, I could stumble into this crazy world totally unbiased.
What is your favourite recipe that you’ve posted?
Actually, my favourite recipe always is the most recent recipe that I am posting. If I had to pick one, this would be very hard for me…
What is your favourite ingredient?
Herbs, especially coriander. Either you love it or you hate it.
What are the main influences of your cooking?
Besides the seasons it is memories: Bruschetta the way my dad prepared them each friday so devotedly, „Kässpätzle“ with apple butter like I loved them in in the youth camp or the glass noodle salad that I ate in one of those asian franchise shops just after I moved to Heidelberg, a heart full of doubts. To keep these memories is very important for me.
What is good food?
Every homemade food that omits convenience products is good food.
What does cooking mean for you?
Recreation, indulgence and curiosity, cause I want to be able to to make as many things as possible myself.
How important is the photography of your food for you?
It got more and more important for me. While there could be found wiggly smartphone pictures on my blog at the beginning, nowadays I set more value on an appealing presentation of my dishes.
Your blog has changed quite a bit during the last year. How would you describe your development in food blogging? What was your motivation?
I am very happy that you’ve recognised this! For too long I didn’t trust my gut when it came to blogging, something I normally always do in my life. I thougth that this light-footed „whoops, here I am“-tone, this perhaps naive girly charm that you can find on many blogs, is constitutive. Funnily enough, quite soon I quit reading those blogs and filled my feed reader with more tranquil blogs. After the response to the first posts on C&S in which I adopted more quiet tones was so positive, I decided to change the „feeling“ of the blog, to be more myself and follow less others. This way, my blog is now closer to me than ever.
What do you think about sponsored blogging?
Everyone can do what pleases him/her on his/her own blog, including business cooperations. But to my mind in the meantime there are too many sponsored posts. I prefer blogs that are almost free of ads.
What is essential for buying a cookbook or for visiting a food blog regularly?
A cookbook must be designed in high quality: It starts with the binding, the paper used, the photographs. After this first impression the book has to catch me with its stories and recipes. I love it, when the dishes are embedded into a narrative.
It’s the same thing that makes me visit – and read – a blog regularly: Is there someone who has an interesting story to tell? If yes, he/she has found one of his/her most loyal readers.
What is your favourite cookbook at the moment?
The books of Yotam Ottolenghi and Nigel Slater are on top of my pile of cookbooks. Yet, the pile is crowned by an age-old cookbook of Luise Haarer called „Kochen und Backen nach Grundrezepten“. If I want to cook exactly like my grandmother did I consult this book.
You’ve just started your supper club “GastFreude“ [You can find two review of the first evening here and here.]. What are your future visions?
„GastFreude“ is a project of the heart. I love to bring people together at the table. Interestingly my first guests were all creative minds, many of the from the creative business or the field of museum work. Wonderful conversations developed and many new contacts were made. If I can repeat this, my wishes will be fullfilled.
Recipes and Photos by Julia Herrmann for Chestnut&Sage