Cecilia Halling's hit Whole Food Diary blog will soon be no more, but fret not, her scrumptious and healthy vegetarian recipes have already found a new home: CeciliaHalling.com .
London-based Swedish interior designer Cecilia has piqued our interest yet again by offering up one super site which showcases her many hobbies and interests, everything from design and travel to delicious food.
GTG's Kiran Branch sat down with the health-conscious foodie to discuss her blogging journey so far, her recipe inspirations and words of wisdom on leading a healthier lifestyle.
Firstly, what made you decide to start your blog?
I love cooking and photography so it started as a place for me to record my own recipes and pictures. It seemed like a natural thing for me to do rather than to just keep it all on my computer.
What’s your favourite aspect of blogging and are there any downsides?
It's something I do for myself, and I like going back through my blog and see what I was up to a year ago and to be able to refer back to my recipes again. If people like what I post, then that's an added bonus.
The downside is that once you've started and you notice people are reading your blog it's easy to over-think the posts and forget why I started it in the first place, so I try to see it as my own personal journal first.
How much of a techie are you?
I'm not particularly techie. I built my website myself using Squarespace which is just about the techiest thing I've ever done. Though I'm fortunate to have a boyfriend who's a web designer and developer who helps me out from time to time.
How do you balance blogging with other interests or jobs? Do you ever go offline?
It's not always easy. My job as an interior designer in London means long hours and I often work late in the evenings and on weekends which doesn't leave much time for anything else. Therefore my posts are a little bit sporadic and I don't always have time to do as much as I'd like. As I enjoy spending time on the blog I can usually find time for it but it's all about balance.
What is your personal food philosophy? Are there any food groups/types that you avoid?
I have been a vegetarian for a decade now and I believe in home cooked food from scratch using high quality ingredients. Although I don't rule things out completely, I try not to eat processed foods and I try to limit my intake of white flour and sugar to the weekends only. It doesn't always work out that way of course but when you eat healthily most of the time I don't see occasional slip-ups as a problem.
How has eating healthily impacted on you personally? Do you ever find it difficult to stick to it?
I don't find eating healthily difficult as I love all vegetables and prefer salads to any other dish. It's not to be mistaken for a diet though as I don't limit my calorie intake; my portion sizes are usually huge. I also don't believe in diet products, my yoghurt and cheeses are always full fat. It's all about choosing things that are good for me.
How do you create new recipes? Is it a trial and error process?
I like reading recipes for inspiration but I very rarely follow them; I just don't have the patience. I mostly just throw whatever I have in the fridge together and when it's so good that I want to be able to make it again, I write it down.
Have you had any cooking disasters?
Yes, a few. I once tried to make cookies using almond flour without following a recipe. They came out from the oven looking and smelling amazing but as soon you put them in your mouth they just dissolved into a dry powder - they were disgusting.
How do you decide which recipes to feature on your blog?
If I really like a recipe and want to make the dish again, I'd like to think other people would enjoy it too. I then try it again and take pictures as I go and if it all comes together well it makes it to the blog.
What are your three favourite recipes?
The gluten free banana bread is one of my favourites as it's so easy to make and it's a great way of using up over-ripe bananas. The blueberry pancakes are perfect for a lazy weekend breakfast. The beetroot risotto is an unusual looking and indulgent dish that I love making for friends.
If you kept a food diary, what would a typical day look like?
Breakfast would normally be porridge or greek yoghurt with nuts and berries. For lunch I usually bring in a lunchbox to work of salad with sweet potatoes and avocado. For dinner I would have brown rice with green vegetables and feta cheese.
Which ten ingredients do you use most often?
Extra virgin olive oil, garlic, fresh thyme, puy lentils, black beans, brown rice, quinoa, avocados, kalamata olives and cashew nuts.
What five things are always in your fridge?
Hummus, halloumi cheese, green beans, blueberries and 85% dark chocolate.
Where are your favourite places to buy ingredients?
If I could I'd buy all my food from Wholefoods on High Street Kensington - it's one of my favourite shops in London. Sadly I don't have the time or the budget to get everything from there, so instead I do a weekly shop online and have it delivered every Saturday morning. Stocking the fridge up with fresh ingredients is a great way to start the weekend.
Which three kitchen appliances could you not live without?
I'd have to say that the Vitamix blender takes pride of place on our kitchen counter but I also love my food processor and juicer.
Where are your favourite places to go when eating out?
On special occasions I'd go to The River Cafe which I think is the best restaurant in London. They have a truck that takes fresh ingredients from artisanal farms in Italy back to the restaurant twice a week and they cook simple italian food with few ingredients done extremely well. It's pricey but so worth it.
I also love Bocca di Lupo , Morito and Gymkhana .
What advice would you give to those considering a healthier lifestyle?
Make sure most of the food you buy doesn't have an ingredients list, that's a great way to start.
What are your favourite cookbooks and/or books relating to health?
Ottolenghi's Plenty , River Cottage Veg and The River Cafe Cook Book Green .
Who are your favourite bloggers?
There are so many amazing food blogs out there but some of my favourites are Green Kitchen Stories , My New Roots , Sprouted Kitchen and My Darling Lemon Thyme .
What does the future hold for your blog? Are there any exciting developments in the pipeline?
I plan to continue to post as often as I can, and I'll just have to wait and see where it takes me.