Sunday, July 27

Q&A with The Usual Saucepans

We will admit we hadn't come across Craig's blog 'The Usual Sausepans' before he got in contact with us about an interview. Having a look at his site though the first thing that hits you is the amazing photography and beautifully laid out recipes. He has recently started another blog - 'Edinburgh Editor' to document all things Edinburgh with bars, restaurants, pubs and events. If you enjoy his interview please let us know in the comments and visit his blogs too.

Who says it can't be done? Gin can go in cheesecake!

For our readers who haven’t come across ’The Usual Saucepans’ before can you tell us what your blog is about?
The Usual Saucepans is where I document my culinary adventures and what I'm making in the kitchen. There's a fair bit of baking, some seasonal dishes and - because who doesn't like an interesting drink now and then - some alcohol-fused adventures as well. I like my cooking unpretentious and easy to do at home - there are no parmesan foams or basil airs on offer!

How long have you been blogging and why did you decided to start?

I've been writing The Usual Saucepans for a little over a year and a half, but I've been blogging for about three and a half years in total. I started writing in my last year of uni (it was pure procrastination, procrastination I'm not sure I had time for) and it has just spiralled from there.

The photography on your blog is stunning- do you have any tips for our readers who would like to take better pictures of their food for blog posts?

Thank you! I got a DSLR about six months ago and I think that's made a big difference (although I'm still learning to use it properly - you should the photos that don't make it online!), but I think simple things like lighting make a huge difference. I'm really lucky to have a big bay window in my living room - lots to natural light makes taking photos a lot easier. My advice would be practice, practice, practice - it sounds cliché, but it's true, the more photos you take and try new things the better you will get. Oh, and get out of auto, it may put you in the deep end, but you'll learn quickly!

In defence of bugger and chips

Following on from the previous question… What do you think makes a successful food or recipe post?

Well, it's got to be one that people can use. Sure, it's got to look delicious, but a complicated recipe or list of ingredients the length of the Nile just puts people off. I want it to be useable and delicious; although by the same token, over-stylised photos can make just as daunting. I don't pretend to be a professional, but if people are hungry after reading the post or straight off to the kitchen to try cook something similar I'd say it was pretty successful.

Recently you’ve started another blog- ‘Edinburgh Editor’. Why did you decide to embark on this project as well as your food blog? 

I'd had several ideas of things to write about in Edinburgh, but none of it fitted with The Usual Saucepans' general theme. I've always felt that blogs trying to combine themes always end up confused, so it seemed that two blogs was the logical approach. It's not without its challenges, but so far it's going quite well.

‘Edinburgh Editor’ has lots of travel posts and restaurant pubs reviews. What do you like to see in these types of posts?

Honesty, first and foremost. I want to know what the writer's experience was like. Sure they aren't always going to be perfect, but being gushing about a place because they gave you your dinner for free helps no one. I'm not saying that people shouldn't take perks if they are offered (I definitely do on occasion), but be honest and transparent about it, only take offers that are relevant to what you normally write about (I once saw a food blogger promoting micro scooters, it was ridiculous) and don't let it influence your opinion.

As for more travel-related posts, I like to see photos and read about experiences that give me wanderlust. I love reading things that make me stare out the window and want to go see the world. Sounds horrifically cheesy, but it's true. Also make it a bit personable, blogs are as much about the personality behind them as the content - that's what keeps people coming back.

Where to have a drink outside
Finally I’m sure many of our readers have thought about starting another blog on a different topic. Do you have advice for balancing the two?

How do you enjoy your sleep? No, I'm kidding. I think you have to be prepared that it's going to take a lot of your time. I probably post less regularly than I should, but I have a 9-5 and a social life as well which I'm not going to give up. I guess it's all about being organised. I tend to have a little bit a backlog, so I sort photos in batches and write recipes in batches, then do the intros and the rest of the babble as and when I have a spare ten minutes. I know some people are very disciplined and their blogging lives are full of calendars and spreadsheets, but I prefer just to do things bit by bit, knowing I'll get there in the end (and if there's a week without something new, you can always re-promote some older stuff that people liked!)

Find Craig On:

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