How I started a food blog and Thatched Lentils & Eggplant Pie (with Potato & Cauliflower Mash) Recipe

Thatched Lentils & Eggplant Pie (with Potato & Cauliflower Mash) Recipe | www.fussfreecooking.com

This coming March will mark my fifth year in the blogosphere. It may look like a long time on paper, but for me, it still feels like yesterday that I started blogging.

One of the most frequently asked questions that I received is “what made you start blogging”.


Not a mid-life crisis, I hope. Lol.

What really motivated me to start blogging was when my beloved and I have just moved to Orange, NSW. Back then, I was working from home as an accountant. It was my first working from home experience. At the time, I have not quite mastered the art of working from home effectively. The excitement of not commuting to work and the flexibility of wearing anything I wanted (Pjs all day) wore off after a month and I started to feel isolated and dreary. That’s when my friend who was a tech blogger encouraged me to try blogging.

On picking a topic / topics (why not!)

Try to pick a topic that you can see yourself writing for the next five years or more. If you can’t decide, then make it a lifestyle blog. This will give you the freedom of writing the topics that you’re passionate about at different stages of your life.

My passion for food has been a constant element in my life. Whether it is dining out or home cooking, there’s always a story to tell. It is my comfort zone and blogging about food is simply an extension of what I already loved.

On choosing the name

Pick a name that resonates with you and the topic you have chosen, as well as you can pronounce it properly. Okay the last part is targeted to myself ha! Somehow I couldn’t get the word “fuss” out of my mouth correctly. It was often mistaken as “fast”, sigh! I am working on it though. If you see me at the train/tram station talking to myself, it is very likely that I am practicing how to say my blog name right! *wink*

Jokes aside, I’d recommend that you pick a name that is not too niche to the topic. Take my blog name as an example, by including the word “cooking”, the first impression on my blog is recipe oriented which was what I wanted. However, as time passed, I started iching to blog about something else like DIY, organisational ideas, restaurant features and snippets of my life that are is outside cooking. At the end of the day, don’t let something as simple as a name stop you from blogging what you like. Having said that, it is something I would have tweaked if I could turn back time. (Yes, I am a complicated person ha!)

If you’re wondering what I think were well thought out food blog names which I wished I have come up with, they are The Delicious Life, The Orangette and FeedFeed.

Thatched Lentils & Eggplant Pie (with Potato & Cauliflower Mash) Recipe | www.fussfreecooking.com

On registering a domain name for your blog

I’ve registered my domain name with GoDaddy. When I have decided on my blog name, I didn’t want to waste a second to lock it in while taking my time to choose to right hosting company. While registering your domain name (as well as your recurring renewal), make sure you also include private domain registration (or domain privacy service) to protect your information even though it will cost you a little extra. Otherwise your personal contact information will show up when someone looks up your domain on the whois database. Something I hadn’t realised for a year to two until my beloved pointed this out to me. Thankfully, nothing malicious had happened to me.

On selecting a host

….okay it is very alien vs predator of me ha!

I meant a hosting company to setup of my website. I must give credit to my beloved for finding this hosting company. At the time I wanted to go for an affordable as we as established hosting company. The hosting company I ended with is Bluehost and I think some of you may be quite familiar with this company. I have been with this company since the beginning of my blog until now, which says a lot in terms of brand loyalty huh?

On selecting a blogging tool

Once you’ve registered with a hosting company, you will need to install your blogging software, which in my case is WordPress. What I liked about WordPress is it is widely use, simple, intuitive, and basically it is designed for non-computer-savvy people like me who want to be in the digital space. This also brings me to another reason why I went with Bluehost because of its one-click install of WordPress so it is fuss free for a non-technical person like moi.

On “designing” the blog layout

There are many existing free WordPress themes available. But if you relish the joy of “creating” everything and not wanting to incur a high cost of getting someone to do the designing for you, I highly recommend the Headway Drag and Drop WordPress theme. The beauty of this theme is you are free to design your blog visually without needing to learn any coding. As the name says it, you just drag and drop 2 columns or 3 columns blog layout, or resize the dimension of your blog by dragging your mouse! This also explained why I changed my blog layout to so much when I first started blogging because, I can ha!

On my thatched lentils & eggplant pie

I am feeling a little hungry after all this typing! I hope you still have the appetite to go through the recipe. 🙂

This vegetarian friendly pie recipe is to pay homage to one of my earliest recipes featured on this blog. It was called Thatched Lamb and Eggplant Pie and was an adaptation from a vintage Woman’s Day cookbook from a thrift store. I’ve decided to come up with a vegetarian friendly version as well as sneaked in more vegetables to the existing recipe. Basically, I have substituted the mince lamb with lentils. Just because this is a meatless dish,  it does not mean it is less hearty. Enjoy!

Thatched Lentils & Eggplant Pie (with Potato & Cauliflower Mash) Recipe | www.fussfreecooking.com

Thatched Lentils & Eggplant Pie (with Potato & Cauliflower Mash)

4 Servings

Thatched Lentils & Eggplant Pie (with Potato & Cauliflower Mash)

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp cooking oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 small brown onion, peeled & diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled & finely chopped
  • 2 tsps all-purpose flour
  • 410g Ardmona Rich & Thick Canned Chopped Tomato (with Tomato Paste)
  • 400g canned lentils (drained weight 240g), rinsed & drained
  • 300g eggplant, diced
  • 4-5 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Cauliflower & Potato Mash:
  • 300g potato, peeled & diced into 1/2 inched cubes
  • 200g cauliflower, cut into smaller pieces
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 3 Tbsps milk
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese
  • Garnish (Optional):
  • Chilli flakes
  • Chopped chives (or spring onion, aka scallion)
  • Freshly milled black pepper

Instructions

    FOR THE PIE FILLING:
  1. Melt the butter with a tsp cooking in a frying pan and fry the onion and garlic until lightly browned. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute
  2. Add tomatoes, lentil, eggplant, thyme and 1 cup of water and stir to ensure all the ingredients are well mixed. Simmer gently to the boil.
  3. Cover and simmer gently (over low-medium flame) for about 20 minutes. Please make sure you check on the filling and add a little more water if necessary to prevent sticking, After 20 minutes, season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the sprigs of thyme and transfer the filling to an oven proof dish.
  4. FOR THE MASH:
  5. Add potato, cauliflower and water in a microwaveable dish (with a lid). Microwave the potato and cauliflower for 12 minutes (in two 6 minutes block) on high until they are mash able.
  6. Mash the potato and cauliflower with milk until smooth.
  7. TO ASSEMBLE THE PIE & MELTY CHEESE & GARNISH:
  8. Spoon the mash over the pie filling. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and brown under a preheated hot grill until the cheese is blistered (or baked in a preheated fan force oven (200C) for 20 minutes). Remove from the oven and add the garnishes. Serve immediately.
http://www.fussfreecooking.com/recipe-categories/meatless-recipes/started-food-blog-thatched-lentils-eggplant-pie-potato-cauliflower-mash-recipe/

Thatched Lentils & Eggplant Pie (with Potato & Cauliflower Mash) Recipe | www.fussfreecooking.com

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4 thoughts on “How I started a food blog and Thatched Lentils & Eggplant Pie (with Potato & Cauliflower Mash) Recipe

  1. Congrats on 5 years of blogging! That’s wonderful! You’re a great blogger and have a lot to be proud of Emily. I love your recipes and your photos – so colourful and lively. Keep up the good work!

    • Thank you Cyndie for your generous kind words! I do thrive on compliments haha! Jokes. When I first started blogging, never had I thought I’d maintain it for so long. It’s true when people say when you enjoy what you do, it’s not a task.

      P/s: what a pretty avatar you’you’ve got there! 🙂

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