Today I'm writing about food, showing up regardless and about creativity. I'm writing about why these things make life that little bit extra special. However, if you're here for the roasted grape recipe, just scroll down to the very end to find what you're looking for ;).
WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD START A FOOD BLOG IN 2014, 2017 OR WORST STILL 2018?
It's that very question we all ask ourselves when we sign our names on the dotted line and commit to squarespace for a 12 month period. Why do we ask ourselves this question? Because the odds are stacked against us. The chances of anyone seeing anything we produce on our food blog are pretty low and the chances of 'making it' as a food blogger even slimmer.
Yet, we STILL do it. We still show up in our little corner of cyber space, day after day, week after week and - in some crazy weird cases like mine - year after year. When no one reads our words, we show up. When no one notices our food photography, we show up. When no one makes our recipes, we show up. Because we care enough about food and about you the maverick reader who takes a shining to our (as yet ;)) unknown and obscure blog. So we keep sharing.
When I started my blog in 2014 I could never EVER have imagined that Saveur would notice The Little Plantation. In fact, I am doubtful I'd heard of the awards at that time. Sure there were bloggers even then who were getting books deals, becoming famous and seemingly 'living it up', but that was NEVER what motivated me to write this blog because it didn't feel that it was achievable, at least not to me. Furthermore, all those food blogging pie-in-the-sky-happy-ending-stories STILL aren't what motivate me to continue doing what I do. And my guess is, if YOU are writing a food blog and showing up week after week, that's not what's motivating you either.
THE THING ABOUT FOOD BLOGS
It's something totally different, am I right? It's the chance to connect with another human being by speaking the universal language of food. To somehow make THAT human being feel happy because of the (plant-based) recipes we share, to make them feel connected to us through the stories we tell and to inspire them to be their best self through the photography we create. That's what it has always been about for me anyway.
THE THING ABOUT CREATIVITY
So is writing the blog this selfless act? Hell no! Allowing my creativity to run completely free, through my recipe development, my (food) writing, my styling, photography and editing has brought me IMMENSE joy. Because in a world where creativity isn't rewarded in the same way as other 'real' pursuits the blog has been a lifeline as well as an opportunity to forge an identity that is separate from my normal, every day. Can you relate to that?
THE THING ABOUT SAVEUR
It's insanely awesome that Saveur gives recognition to all of us food bloggers with their award ceremony; and though for each nominee this year, like last, the odds are stacked against us (6/1, bummer), in the end, the result doesn't matter. Not to me anyway because I'll still be here because YOU will still be here, week after week, month after month, year after year.
So with those words, may I leave you with today's recipe as well as a small request? If you like what I do or what any of the other 65 nominated food bloggers do, please take a moment and vote for us. You can do so by clicking here. We'll be forever grateful.
3 DAY SAVEUR COUNT DOWN BLOG SPECIAL
Still not convinced that I deserve your vote for Saveur's Best Food Photography? Then please come back tomorrow for a set of different brand new pictures and another vegan recipe. And follow along on instagram in the interim, to see some behind the scenes of my Saveur blog countdown photo shoots. Can't wait to see you then.
P.S. Recipe below :)
ROASTED GRAPES WITH THYME RECIPE
Quick, easy, delicious, seasonal and vegan. Enjoy ;)!
Serves: 5 as a light lunch
Baking time: 10 minutes
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
500g - 700g red or purple grapes (stalks and stems removed, see tips below!)
a drizzle of olive oil
a sprinkle of dried thyme
a pinch of salt (I used flaky salt)
10tbs vegan cream cheese (see below for alternatives)
5 bagels or 10 rustic sourdough bread slices
maple syrup (optional)
Preheat the oven to 210C/410F
Line a baking tray with grease proof baking paper. Place the grapes on top, drizzle over some olive oil, a sprinkle of dried thyme and some salt.
Roast in the oven for about 7-10 minutes or until the grapes just start to burst.
Whilst the grapes are roasting, grab your bread, about 1 bagel or 2 slices per person and toast until crispy.
Arrange the bread on a plate, cover lightly with vegan cream cheese, then some roasted grapes. You can serve this with some lamb's lettuce or rocket for extra goodness if you wish. Drizzle over some maple syrup (optional) and enjoy!
Tip 1: Please roasted without stems etc. I didn't remove them for photography/styling purposes but they are fiddle to remove retrospectively.
Tip 2: I appreciated that not everyone has vegan cream cheese at their local supermarket. Hence, a very thick vegan yoghurt (think coconut yoghurt) would probably also work. And if you're an omnivore a spreadable goat's cheese should do the trick too.
Tip 3: I used grapes from the garden which were very tart and really went well with the drizzle of maple syrup. Store bought grapes tend to be quite sweet and you are unlikely to need that extra bit of sweetness.
Tip 4: It's not Autumn where you live? How about roasting some apricot or peach slices instead? This recipe should still work beautifully.