This week's featured Super blogger is Aparna from My Diverse Kitchen. With a recipe count nearing 300, her blog specialises in Palakkad style dishes and baking. She is also a part of the Daring Bakers ..Browse through her Menu card with pictures representing the categories for a wide variety of vegetarian cooking options..
EC: Tell us something about yourself
Aparna: I am Aparna, a full time mom to our 13 year old daughter, and live in Goa. I blog at My Diverse Kitchen. I started my blog about 2 years back as a place to put together and share recipes from my traditional Palakkad Iyer cuisine, as well as all other vegetarian food I cook and experiment with in my kitchen. I also enjoy baking, especially bread.
I try to do about 3 posts in a week and whil
e I tend to feature a lot of my regular cooking on my blog, I do sometimes cook specifically for my blog (we love to eat good food so that doesn't matter!).
My other hobbies include reading, music, doing creative craft, gardening, and travelling whenever we can.
EC: Who and what inspired you to start food blogging ??
Aparna: I started blogging mainly because my daughter and husband thought I should, and I'm happy I was persuaded by them because it has opened the whole world to me in many ways.
As for the fisrt food blogs that made an impression on me, Nandita's Saffron Trail, Sunita's World, Suganya's Tasty Palettes and Meeta's What's For Lunch Honey? are a few that come to mind immediately.
EC: How do you think blogging has changed your life and perspective?
Aparna: Oh yes, blogging has changed my (and ours, I should say)l life! We have always been adventurous with our eating (so long as its vegetarian), so soup, bread or pasta make it to our table as often as rice and sambhar does. But blogging has stretched my cooking experience much farther and helped me discover more about cuisines, recipes and techniques.
It also means that my husband and daughter have resigned themselves to having food photographed before they can eat!!
Blogging now means that the camera has now moved into my kitchen and dining room, and is as important as my food processor!!!
EC: Can you share some tips on food photography and popularising blogs.
Aparna: First about making one's blog popular:
One way to do this is adding one's blog to various food sites and blogrolls. Then it is important to visit other blogs and leave comments to let others know about you. But if you just go and mindlessly leave comments on blogs just to drive traffic, you could endup losing traffic!
I think the most important way to attract people to your blog and have them coming back again and again is by writing and presenting your material (whether food writing, recipes, etc) well.
I am not an expert in this matter, but I think everyone knows how much difference a good food picture makes to a post. Of course, good cooks needn't be good photographers and vice versa but it certainly helps.
To take good pictures, read your camera manual (you don't need an dSLR to take good pictures) thoroughly and practise with the camera. Read as much as you can about taking pictures, and understand light, exposure and taking food shots.
EC: How much technical knowledge does one need for successful blogging ?
Aparna: You don't need much technical knowledge to blog successfully as the free blo hosting platforms like Blogger and Wordpress are designed for people like us. If you do have some technical knowledge, it helps if you want to change the design of your site.
I have absolutely no knowledge of HTML and CSS, but reading up and understanding tutorials on how to copy code, insert it in my blog HTML and tweak it a little has helped me change my blog design to what it is today. I'm still working on the design of my blog.
EC: Have you been affected by plagiarism..Your views and how can we fight it ?
Aparna: I was going to say no, I haven't been affected so far. Then, yesterday I discovered that the Times Of India has stolen (how else do you describe taking something without permission), slightly altered and published one of my pictures (along with a fellow blogger's picture) in their newspaper.
How do I fight it? I have no idea but I am going to do something about it.
EC: Your favourite vegetarian recipe
Aparna: This is a tough question. How do I choose?
Okay, what I'll do is choose one which I have made so many times by popular demand from friends and family. A very simple cake that looks and tastes so good...Eggless Orange and Chocolate Zebra cake