Here’s another delicious recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Veg cookbook. I now have embraced this book of 200 inventive vegetable recipes as my own best idea. Truthfully, Andrea Mohr, a foodie in Bonn, Germany who blogs as The Kitchen Lioness, inspired me and others to join The Cottage Cooking Club and cook through this book together. In the spirit of full disclosure, my colleagues and I asked nicely, then pleaded and finally begged Andrea to mastermind and administer this group. She caved. (We love her.)


Among our October recipe choices is his Pumpkin & Raisin Tea Loaf which he describes as ‘rich and sweet, but also quite light because it doesn’t contain any butter or oil.’ Call me a skeptic but I’m an always-add-more-butter girl so this was a must-bake recipe. This was also an excellent opportunity to walk you, dear readers, through my blogging process.

Have you ever wondered, “How does Mary make this happen every week?” Why, thank you for asking. Whether a success or failure, let’s make this bread together. Here we go…..

Its thick batter is ready for the oven.

Its thick batter is ready for the oven.

For me, there are six steps in the food blogging process:

1. Choose (or, create) a recipe. Source and gather the ingredients.
2. Make it.
3. Photograph it.
4. Serve it. Share it. Eat it.
5. Compose Post.
6. Go live on Lights on Bright No Brakes.

Choose, Source and Gather

After choosing a recipe (Pumpkin & Raisin Tea Loaf), I first gather ingredients already on hand and list those that are not. Luckily I already had eggs, lemons, ground almond meal, sea salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Before buying those additional (and, sometimes pricey) remaining items, I consider substituting ingredients and making do with what I have in my pantry/fridge. Instead of 1 cup of Muscovado sugar, an unrefined brown sugar with a strong molasses content and flavor, Google claims I can use plain brown sugar. To convert Hungarian High Altitude Flour which I use for baking, into self-rising flour, I know to add 1 1/2 ts of baking powder and 1/2 ts of salt per cup. (I live in Colorado at 8000’ altitude.) Since I was out of raisins, I substituted dried cherries. This recipe calls for finely grated raw pumpkin or squash flesh. The only item I needed to buy was a can of Libby’s pure Pumpkin Purée. Cost – 10 cents!

Make It

After the ingredients are “in house”, I carefully re-read through the entire recipe 2 or 3 times. For this tea loaf, I pulled out my electric mixer, two bowls, preheated the oven and greased the proper-sized loaf pan. There was nothing very complicated to pulling this recipe together. Since I was folding stiffly beaten egg whites into a thick batter, I needed to lighten the batter, a technique often required in baking.

After an hour in a 375 degree oven, this bread needs to cool down.

After an hour in a 375 degree oven, this bread needs to cool down.

Smile for the Camera

Throughout the baking process, I look for photo ops. Not claiming to be Ansel Adams nor a threat to Annie Liebovitz, I still like to include 5 or 6 photos in each Post. Hopefully my camera skills have improved during the past three years but I’m still clearly an amateur.

Serve It. Share It. Eat It.

This has been challenging since I cook for One. Food is expensive. With hunger being a worldwide issue, who can tolerate waste? My freezer capability is limited. Luckily, except when traveling, I seldom eat in restaurants. Over time I’ve learned to successfully halve and third recipes, tinkering with ratios and proportions. When possible, my Posts are planned around social/food events. Happily, the employees here at The Gant, where I live, are skilled (and, grateful) taste-testers. I shared this Pumpkin & Raisin Tea Loaf with the off-season crew (They liked.) No food goes uneaten.

Before slicing and, only if you wish, sprinkle with powdered sugar. It's actually rich and sweet enough without  the ps.

Before slicing and, only if you wish, sprinkle with powdered sugar. It’s actually rich and sweet enough without the ps.

Compose Post.

Since I’ve spent more time in the newsroom than the kitchen, writing the Post is my favorite part of this adventure. Just love to write. Besides blogging about my chosen recipe, I also weave an anecdote through the piece, highlighting an event, experience, story or thought. To my mind and because I am not a food star like most of my colleagues, entertaining my readers through words is important. It takes 6 to 8 hours to write each Post. (Yeah, it does.)

Go Live on Lights on Bright No Brakes.


The Good News: Maintaining a food blog requires technical skills, social media expertise and staying current.

The Bad News: Maintaining a food blog requires technical skills, social media expertise and staying current.

Every time I put up a new Post, it’s a challenge. My tech expert, Zoe Zuker, who redesigned my site, has tried to make every posting step a simple task. However, her simple is not my simple. She was born knowing these things. I was not. Patience is a virtue and she has big-time patience. When Go Daddy shut down my site two weeks ago – they still have not explained themselves – it was Zoe who spent 7 hours correcting that debacle. Every time I successfully link a new Post to my social media homes – Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, it’s a miracle moment.



You’ve just caught a glimpse of my food blogging life. Knowing you dear readers as I do, I suspect your reaction to this Post is WHY? Why do I do this? I will answer that question on my French Fridays with Dorie Post this week. Incidentally, the Pumpkin & Raisin Tea Loaf was tagged delicious by my tasting crew. Interested in low-fat but tasty? Find the recipe here.