Jules Clancy talks to iLoveMyGrub.com about a minimal approach to food, a blind date at El Bulli and the perfect pepper mill.
Australian, Sydney-based food blogger Jules Clancy is a self-professed lover of food and wine, and happens to have a science degree in each. A chocolate cookie and biscuit designer by day, she contributes as a writer to various publications, as well as penning her blog The Stone Soup which ‘helps people become better home cooks by using a minimalist approach to cooking. It is a weekly digest of minimalist recipes and kitchen tips with beautiful photographs.’
Her blog attracted a considerable amount of attention in 2009, when she used it as a vehicle to find a blind date to accompany her to dinner at elBulli, after she and her boyfriend split up. She was inundated with applications from men all over the world all vying to fill the spot. Jules self-published her first book ‘And The Love Is Free’ - a tribute to her mother’s cooking. She has written an ebook: 'How To Bake Your Family Cookbook' as a companion to her first book, in order to show people how to go about publishing their own collections of recipes. Jules has also penned '5 ingredient 10 minutes', a recipe book that embraces her minimalist approach to cooking. We caught up with Jules to find out a little more about her.
**You've become pretty well known through your blog, ****The Stone Soup****. What got you into food blogging?**
When I discovered the world of food blogging, I quickly became addicted and it wasn't long before I decided to start stonesoup. At first it was a creative outlet for me to practice my writing and photography and record what I'd been cooking. These days I blog to help people become better home cooks by using a minimalist approach to cooking.
**Which recipe on your blog has proved to be most popular?**
Tough one. I've had heaps of emails from people thanking me for the puddle cookies because they're dairy and gluten free and a pinch to make.
**Tell us more about your 'minimalist' approach to cooking, and to life?**
For me it’s a lifestyle choice. A conscious decision to identify what’s essential and get rid of needless things. It’s all about simplifying your life and focusing on the things that make you happy and have the most impact in your life.
**Who, or what, inspired your interest in food?**
**You wrote '****And The Love Is Free****' after you lost your Mum to cancer in 2007. What gave you the idea to do write the book?**
I wanted to record all of Mum's recipes in the one place. Then as I was writing it I thought that other people might be interested in these recipes - especially if they weren't as lucky as me to have a mother who always cooked amazing things.
**Did you provide all the food photography yourself?**
**Your new book '****How To Bake Your Family Cookbook****' is a guide to producing your own recipe book. Why did you decide to do this? And why did you decide that an ebook would be the best format?**
I had lots of feedback from people after I published my Mum's cookbook saying that they would love to do something similar but didn't know how to go about it. So it was a natural next step to write something to help people access all the brilliant new technology that is available to help people self publish. The ebook seemed the best format as there are no production costs and it is easy to distribute globally - it also meant that I could offer it as an incentive for people to buy 'And The Love Is Free'.
**You ran an ****online competition to find a date to accompany you to El Bulli****. How many entries did you receive and how was The Big Date?** I was a little blown away by the response. I had over 170 entries from all over the world, including a guy from Peru and another from Iceland. The dinner was absolutely mind blowing. Such a brilliant food experience - I feel so lucky to have eaten Ferran's food. The date was fun but lets just say no spark.
**What's your absolute favourite dish to eat?** That's like choosing your favourite song - impossible! I've been going through a big Spanish food phase at the moment but if I had to choose just one cuisine I'd pick Italian. Although I do love my chocolate and my cheese.
**What 5 store cupboard ingredient staples can you not live without?** Lemons, parmesan cheese, good olive oil, canned chickpeas & sea salt flakes.
**And finally, we at iLoveMyGrub have a theory that the perfect peppermill simply doesn't exist. We are on the constant search for one which grinds well and doesn't stop working after a month. What do you use?**
You can order copies of Jules Clancy’s recipes books from http://thestonesoupshop.com, including her recipes book ‘5 ingredients 10 minutes’.
**Interview by:** Carine Seitz