There are countless Food Bloggers out there and every day the numbers are increasing into endless heights. This again shows how much the world appreciates Food and people have been more and more experimenting and cooking up exuberant delicious home made dishes. Kitchen adventurers and Food Bloggers with a unique soul are IN now and therefore it is not surprising that the Food writer and cook book author Laura Bashar from Family Spice is one of these special Food Bloggers.
Laura has always enjoyed cooking. She was preparing meals for the family as a child and also before she got married to her Americanized Iranian husband. At the time when Recipes were still scarce online, Laura would collect cookbooks and magazines and experiment in her kitchen. She acquired Persian food know-how from her aunt’s recipes and followed her mother in law’s guidance. Laura was friends with Lori Lange (aka Recipe Girl) and Lori was fortunately the one who motivated Laura to start her gorgeous food website.
I took some HTML classes and I was hooked. I am a graphic design nerd, so anything I can create on my computer makes me happy!
That is how familyspice was created! The page boasts a massive and comprehensive Recipe collection with over 400 unique mouth-watering recipes, from flavorful Persian dishes to top American delicacies, from casual to gourmet meals, family spice is a treasure chest for foodies.
Laura explains that her food style has evolved over time. At the beginning she would enjoy all kinds of foods, until they learned more about nutrition and diet. Oh and Laura is a mother of three wonderful kids, so this was another vital reason for Laura to switch to healthier food habits. Of course cooking something healthy for kids can be a challenge since you try to cook a dinner that everybody will enjoy.
Another reason for her cooking evolution was her husband who doesn’t do frozen food or casserole dishes. Laura likes to keep things healthy so she uses whole grains and she experiments with alternative sweeteners. Also by following Laura’s kitchen adventurous you will notice that she comes up with interesting revamped traditional recipes that are modern, healthier and with a twist. In general, Laura describes her food style as casual.
I’m casual in my dress, my manner, my writing and my food styling. I may cook gourmet meals, but they are always served in a relaxed, casual family setting.
Her go to, most popular family meal is chicken kabob with basmati rice. Her kids love it! She would serve it with mast-o khiar (yogurt with cucumber) or salad shirazi (cucumber and tomato salad). On top of that she would make ground beef kabob, but Laura cooks it in the pan and not on the grill because it’s quicker. Another family favorite is of course spaghetti with meat sauce.
It’s so easy to pack in the vegetables in the marinara sauce without the kids caring!
I wanted to know what was Laura’s priority, the food or the photography. Her Photos as you can see are inspiring and just gorgeous, such perfection in her work made me wonder where her priorities were lying. Laura concludes…
It’s always about the food!
Her friends are intimidated by her skills and apologize when they cook for her, however if it tastes good, Laura exclaims,
Laura is a happy lady if she has a good day and has a great photograph that makes one drool for her blog. Laura further explains that photography heavily depends on her mood. Sometimes she would force her creative flow, as she needs the shot for a post that is going to be published the following day. If she is not in the mood, the picture won’t be right.
Something that she has been enjoying enormously is the recipe creation with unique ingredients. I personally, as you know, feel the same way. So when Laura works with a brand or when she is given some samples, she will let her creative juices flow.
We food bloggers are curious creatures, aren’t we? As a newbie the food blogging world can seem daunting and many things are not always visible when you start out. Laura has been blogging for over five years and the blogging world has changed a lots. Sharing our experiences and tips is a great way to evolve in our work and beloved doings. Laura explains that it is very important to do your research beforehand. When she started, there was really nothing out there. You learned as you made mistakes. One had to google every little thing. There were no guides, no photography tips, no advice on blogging platforms, so Blogger and WordPress were the same. Today, so many great bloggers have written posts on how to start a food blog, on advertising, photography, SEO… Laura stresses on the part that as a newbie you should take the time to do your research and get down to the nitty gritty. She also believes that new bloggers are at an advantage than some of the “old timers” because they can start off their blog the right way, from day one. It is hard to adapt and keep up with the new changes. Seasoned bloggers are finding that the theme they chose years ago isn’t good enough today, or that their site looks outdated. The thought of a redesign is daunting, yet…
If you want to be noticed, stay fresh, work hard and don’t stop learning. Oh yeah and have fun too!
Laure was reluctant to admit that she personally spends too much time on her blog. She knows enough HTML to be dangerous, so she is always tweaking how her site looks. I believe when you love doing these things then you can never spend too much time working on the perfect website, so I understand how Laura feels. Laura is Photoshop savvy too, so she is always editing pictures or adding collages or making new banners and buttons.
I wake up early in the morning (as I can’t stay awake late at night!) and read up on SEO, G+ and check out other blogs. Just being on the computer can be a time-sucker, so I try to do all of my errands in the morning otherwise I could spend the whole day behind the computer in my pajamas!
When I asked, if she would like to tease our senses with one of her precious recipes today, Laura came up with her gorgeous Quince Jam. My mum would jump up at the sight of this recipe and run into the kitchen, and she would be eagerly preparing this jam!
- 2 lb quince
- 1 cup water
- 2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 TBS lemon juice
- Wash, core and cut into chunks: 2 lb quince
- In a stainless or copper pot whisk together: 1 cup water, 2 cup granulated sugar & 3 TBS lemon juice
- Stir in the chopped quince.
- Place pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
- Cover the lid of the pot with a towel (to catch the steam), reduce heat to low and simmer until quince changes to a dark, ruby red color, approximately 2-3 hours.
- Stir quince every 30 minutes to keep from burning. If low on water, stir in more as needed.
- When jam is fork tender and ruby red in color, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Or, if you are canning your jam, click here for canning instructions.
Recently Laura attracted some extra attention for her collaboration with Mary Platis (aka California Greek Girl). The two talented ladies completed and published a resourceful e-cookbook called Cooking Technique with Olive Oil. Olive oil is one of the most essential cooking ingredients and I for once often end up standing in front of the super market olive oil shelf, wondering which one I should get and which one was used for what kinds of dishes. So, Cooking techniques with Olive Oil discusses things such as how to choose an olive oil and the book also covers the Mediterranean diet.
We go over poaching, braising, baking and other great cooking techniques – all using extra virgin olive oil. We have about 25 recipes and lots of pictures! It is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. We are selling the enhanced pdf version here. We are working on videos right now to be included in the iTunes version.
On top of that, Laura has been an extra busy bee and the mother and wife is currently working on a Persian e-cookbook, which is all about her family’s history and recipes. Another exciting feature will be the development of a iPhone app. So stay tuned, because this lady will surprise you with many more goodies in the future. You can follow Laura via Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest!