For our next Food Blogger Spotlight, I’m stoked to have a local lady whose food blog was one of the first I ever started reading: Sam Breach of Becks & Posh. A Brit-born San Franciscan, Sam has been bringing us the best of Bay Area food life since 2004. She’s covered local foods, British cooking, San Francisco restaurants and everything in between. During the recent BlogHer Food conference, she invited everyone on an early morning walking tour of the city (which, sadly, I missed – but if she’s offering another, I’d certainly join her).
But more than the sum of her local musings, Sam is a lovely writer and her voice makes me want to get out there and eat. And as food bloggers, isn’t that our overall goal?
Please welcome Sam, as she shares a little bit of her San Francisco foodie lifestyle.
1 – We all have staples that we couldn’t live without. What three ingredients do you *always* have in your kitchen and why? I’m not talking snacks like chips and hummus, but rather ingredients you use all the time in your cooking.
I have a well-stocked freezer, fridge and pantry, so there are many ingredients that I always have to hand, and my reliance on different items changes along with the seasons, so it is hard to nail the list down to just three. In my freezer I always have some bacon from The Fatted Calf. Even just one small rasher of bacon can make a tasty difference to the seasonal vegetables, especially the ones I am less keen on, that I try to include in my diet. In my fridge you’ll always find eggs which are another favourite of mine. I make sure to buy only pasture-raised eggs directly from those farmers who care to raise them in a more ethical manner than what you’ll find in a supermarket. An omelette made with any manner of whatever we have in the fridge is on the menu almost every week. They are easy to prepare, accommodating of whatever fillings might be available (even if that means nothing at all) and always delcious. Finally, from my pantry, I would pick my home-canned jars of locally grown tomatoes which I use to bring that sun-kissed taste of late summer to dishes, mainly in the form of some sort of sauce, all year round.
2 – Imagine you moved to the smallest apartment possible – a shoebox, really – and you only had room for a single cookbook. Of all your cookbooks, which one would you keep? Why do you love it so?
This isn’t an easy question. Whittling down the list to five would be no problem, but just one is more of a challenge. I think it would have to be The Cooks Book, edited by Jane Norman. I love this book for a number of reasons. Firstly it is published by Dorling Kindersley who have an excellent handle on page layout – I always find their books, whether recipes or not, visually appealing, easy on the eye and very clearly set out. Every recipe in this book is accompanied not only by a picture of the final dish, but also with a photograph of each stage of the recipe along the way. Secondly – the book is not written by just one person, but by dozens of respected chefs from all over the world, each of whom take ownership of a different chapter and subject matter. The book covers many different categories from foams, through vegetables, meats, fish, herbs to pastries and breads and much more. It covers inventive techniques and more traditional methods too and the recipes range from easy to complicated. What more could a keen cook ask for? To me, The Cooks Book is an invaluable ‘all-round’ cook book. I have given at least a dozen of these away as gifts to my friends and family by now!
Ed note: I’m intrigued! I just ordered from Amazon…
3 – When you’re looking for new recipes (or creating one of your own), what is your number one priority? What makes you pick one recipe over another?
For me, this decision is always made on a whim. When it comes to cooking I never force the issue – it’s one hundred percent about inspiration and simply what I most feel like doing at any given moment. If I don’t feel like cooking, then I won’t. I want cooking to always be a joy for me and never a chore. Sometimes I will be inspired by a magazine I flick through, where a picture or description catches my eye. Sometimes a posted link on Facebook will start me drooling. Another time I’ll have the sudden desire to focus on a certain recipe book from my collection, which I will then pour over in the hope of finding something I really want to make.
4 – Blogs have the potential to be so many things, from personal journals to outrageous adventure reports. What is the most important thing you put into your blog, and what is the most important thing you get out of it?
My attitude to my blog has been slowly changing over the years that I have been creating it. At this moment in time I am in a very different space with my blog to where I used to be. Although it has always been a very creative outlet for me, I now realise that formerly I perhaps thought too much that blogging should be a useful resource for other people too. Eventually, trying to be so much to so many people, became too much of a burden for me to bear and I eventually reached a breaking point and had to step back for a while. Currently my head is in a very different space about blogging. I have let go of the need to please other people and instead try to please myself. As such, like cooking, blogging is now something more fuelled by my creative whims, whatever they may be at any given time. If other people still happen to enjoy the fruits of my labor, then of course I am absolutely delighted. In the end, the most important thing I put in is creativity and the most important thing I get out of it is having a multi-media blank canvas available for me to work with.
Thanks for sharing, Sam! It’s been nice having you as a guest.
Here are a few of my favorite posts from Becks & Posh:
And I particularly love this photo of her Saveur Inspired Lamb Salad: