On this instalment of My Favorite Foodies series we are talking to Yelena of Cooking Melangery. The words elegant and sophisticated are what best describes Yelena’s recipes, photography and blog. Her work is a beautiful melange of flavours that everyone will love. She is one of my favourite foodies and it is a pleasure hosting her. Please help me welcome this super talented and kind friend.
Can you tell us a little bit about your blog, what can people expect to find there?
My blog is a place where I strive to inspire people not only to cook different foods but also serve it with style and sophistication. I have a wide collection of recipes, from simple to complex – for any level of cooking experience. I like different countries cuisines so you can find on my blog Chinese, French, and of course I dedicate the whole section to Russian cuisine, food of my childhood memories.
Is there a special significance to your blogs title?
First, I am a chef by education and can cook almost anything – “from sauté to soufflé”. Secondly, I am in love with French cuisine and the French word “mélange” means exactly that – wide variety. I wanted a unique and original name for my blog hence “Cooking Melangery”, which I feel reflects my approach to food quite well. This way I got for my blog an interesting name with a meaning.
Why do you like to cook/bake or spend time in your kitchen? Have you always liked spending time in the kitchen?
I use all my free time in a kitchen, I cook 2-3 time a day. I love to bake and I teach my kids to do it. My family also likes to go out, but as you can imagine I am quite picky. I started cooking a lot after my children were born. I believe the house should always smell of fresh baked bread and spices.
When you want to treat yourself or loved ones what do you prepare or splurge on?
We have a fireplace at home, and we love to have dinners around it. I cook something special on weekends when everyone is home and I can serve food straight from the oven. But there are some days when we just go out or order. The lady of the house sometimes needs a bit of time to relax.
If you had to pick a favorite sweet and one savory recipe from your blog, which would they be? (please provide names and links to the recipes)
What is your most memorable or most special kitchen moment, be it a happy or a disastrous memory?
My special moments in the kitchen are during cold winter snowy days. We are all at home, my husband and my beautiful kids and we are baking something sweet and delicious together. Hot chocolate adds extra warmth to the winter day and my whole family is happy.
What is your favorite ingredient, the one you couldn’t live without, the one you use most often? And is this ingredient the one that inspires you the most or is there another?
Pink Himalayan salt – I just love it so much. Highly recommended for everyone!
What food is your food vice? You know, one you sneak in a little extra of when no one is looking.
It is always something sweet, I just can resist. I have a very sweet tooth. That is why I bake many cookies and desserts.
Who is your favorite foodie? (Be it a professional, enthusiast or novice.)
I have many favorite chefs: Michel Roux, Thomas Keller, Gordon Ramsay, and many more. It is always a culinary adventure to visit their restaurants. One of my favorite food photography blogs is “What Kate ate” (http://www.whatkatieate.com). It is an Australian blog authored by a very talented woman whose work I admire a lot.
Why did you start blogging? Do you have a goal or what do you hope to accomplish with your blog?
My blog is my photographic portfolio, although I have a real portfolio at http://yelena.strokin.info, and it is a place where I can introduce my work to the world. I “meet” new people there all the time and I am happy about it. Also, it brings me joy when people get inspired and cook from my blog. I am happy to be part of their lives.
Lately I am having a lot of fun photographing still life compositions. I have a seasonal winter collection of “still life” on my blog which I am very pleased with. Old Dutch and Flemish masters are my teachers and my inspiration. I plan to do an exhibition of my work in the near future. You can find my still life work on my blog as well.
Anything else you would like to say or share with us, tips or advice for fellow blogger?
Always cook from your heart and don’t forget one extra ingredient – love, without love your soufflé will never rise!
Recipes for images in the graphic and photos can be found in the links below.
Top graphic: “Golubtsy” Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, Salmon Soufflé and Scheurebe, “Blintzes” with Cabbage – Stuffed Pancakes, Farro with Mushrooms, Carrots & Perfectly Poached Egg, Rustic Chocolate Banana Bread Images embedded in interview: Semolina Raspberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting, Orange Sweet Potato Baked Chips with Thyme, Vitamin Garbanzo Beans Salad, Still Life by Yelena, Buttery Potatoes with Garlic & Fresh Herbs, Canelés (Cannelés) de Bordeaux
All images are the sole property of Yelena Strokin and Cooking Melangery.com. (Graphic design by Spicie Foodie.) Please do not publish images or raphics on your website without prior written consent. Feel free to pin and share on social media. Thank you!