Book Review: Not Quite Nigella – My Path To Happiness Through Baking & Blogging by Lorraine Elliott

9780670075034Food Blogger Lorraine Elliott created the highly successful blog Not Quite Nigella in 2007. In this food-centric book she shares her journey from media strategist to blogger, offering a collection of food memories, amusing anecdotes, and recipes along with a sprinkling of advice to wannabe bloggers. A food lover from way back Elliott only began blogging at the insistence of her husband, who set up the blog and told her to get writing. When a promised job falls through Elliott focuses more attention on the blog, becoming a fulltime blogger in 2009 and currently enjoying statistics of 250,000 unique readers a month with over 500,000 page views (according to her about me page).

The book is difficult to categorise. Part cookbook, part memoir and part blogging lesson it offers an eclectic mix of information written in an amusing, easy-to-read style.

The stories are entertaining including such adventures as a race around the city trying all the Peking Duck dishes on restaurant menus in one afternoon/evening, or sneaking into a swanky exhibition at the NSW Art Gallery waving just a wine glass and a confident air. Although there are more poignant pieces on offer too, with a tour of the cooking facilities at Long Bay Jail and a visit to old-fashioned eating establishment catering to the pensioner/ex-prisoner clientele with cheap and hardy dishes.

Food lovers will enjoy the book for the variety of recipes offered at the end of many of the chapters: red velvet cake, wontons, pork belly with chilli-caramel sauce and vanilla macarons are just a sample of the delicacies on offer.

Although for this poor excuse of a cook, it was the blogging advice that I found most interesting. There were snippets of information throughout the book ranging from dealing with threats of legal action from large publishing firms to stockpiling blog posts for the times when you are unable to blog (so my day-by-day seat-of-the-pants approach could be hindering my entry into the blogging big league).

The final two chapters are devoted to how to blog and how not to blog. Elliott advises potential bloggers to choose a topic they are passionate about and explains the joy in creating a community and having a positive impact on readers.

The book offers an interesting glimpse into the world of a professional blogger.

Janine Fitzpatrick blogs at  Shambolic Living where readers get to feel far happier about their lives when they experience the chaos of hers. She is coming to terms with being the mother of two teenagers, has given up on the dream of a tidy house and still plans to write a book one day.