Food bloggers are some of our favourite people online; their endless foodie inspo is guaranteed to keep our repertoire of tasty meals fresh and exciting. With this in mind we’ve teamed up with food blogger, Mark Popkiewicz.
Mark’s blog A Mouthful of Mark, is packed full delicious recipes that won’t break the bank! Over the coming weeks Mark is going to be sharing some special recipes with us, so watch this space.
We caught up Mark
virtually to find out everything you need to know about him.
When did you
first get into cooking?
I first got
into cooking when I was growing up. I grew up in a family of 5, and as my
sisters and I got older and started working it became the rule that whoever got
home first would get on and make dinner for the family. However, it wasn’t
until I met my now husband that I really got into cooking and became more
adventurous with the dishes I made.
first recipe you remember cooking?
recipe I remember cooking is spaghetti Bolognese. It pretty much became the
only dish that I could cook for the family and it soon became a standing joke
as to what I could possibly be cooking when it was my turn!
Why did you
decide to start blogging?
cooking bug really kicked in, friends started to take an interest and asked me
to share recipes. It was this that made me think there may be a wider interest
and so thought I would share my passion. The blog has recipes I’ve created
along with photographs of the dishes, expertly taken by my husband I might add.
I also do product, restaurant and event reviews, something I would like to get
more involved in, along with collaborations with food producers.
biggest inspiration while crafting a new recipe?
I have to say a
lot of the time the inspiration comes from what I actually have in my store cupboard,
which is generally heaving with ingredients that I pick up from holidays,
visits to farm shops and delis. As I kept buying ingredients that would sit
there for ages, my husband came up with the store cupboard challenge, which
involved him choosing a random ingredient which I would then have to use to create
a dish. This proved to be a bit testing at times, but I also did come up with
some fantastic dishes.
It has to be
chicken fajitas, a real quick, easy but satisfying dish that anyone can rustle
up in no time. I do like to breadcrumb my chicken fillets for that extra crunch
– the addition of parmesan and lemon zest to the breadcrumbs really lifts the
Do you believe anyone can cook?
people can find it a faff but if you put your mind to it and have a recipe with
clear instructions then there is no reason why you can’t cook. A lot of people,
including myself, find cooking quite therapeutic as it takes your mind off
everything other than the dish you are working on. It’s also very rewarding to
create a delicious meal from scratch.
What are your
top tips for a beginner cook?
Always read the
recipe from start to finish before starting. There is nothing worse than coming
across something further on in the process that you have missed. Also, have all
the required ingredients measured out, or chopped, as required.
is it to have the best utensils and ingredients while cooking?
I’m not going
to lie, if you can afford the best utensils and ingredients then why not? Organic
produce is fantastic; however, you should use what you can afford. Don’t be
constrained by the notion that cooking from scratch has to cost a fortune.
ingredient you can’t live without?
Aside from salt
and pepper, which are a must for any dish that you make, I have to say I am
never without garlic. It goes with so many different dishes and styles of
cuisine, and it is also very good for you.
This is a
tricky one as I have a few favourites, but the stand out has to be Indian.
Having been lucky enough to visit India several times, I have always been blown
away by the variety of dishes and the vast array of spices used. Many of these are
now readily available in most local supermarkets making it easier for us to experiment
with our own versions at home.
When you are
not in lockdown how do you normally spend your time?
Well, I am a
huge movie buff so usually would spend a lot of time at the cinema, and this is
something I find quite difficult now we are in lockdown! Gardening, growing my
own vegetables, country walks and playing on my Xbox also feature heavily. I am
also featured in a local magazine so put together a recipe for them monthly. In
addition, I also do voluntary work and teach cookery at a couple of local youth
clubs to young people aged between 8-18, which I find very rewarding. Getting kids
involved at a young age is key to sparking a real interest and love of cooking.
It also opens them up to trying different ingredients and styles of cooking
that they may not have experienced before.
Is all your
community work food based?
food related is a big part of my life, I also volunteer for the Royal Voluntary
Service and act as a good neighbour for the elderly and lonely in my local
community. I have been visiting a lovely
94 year old lady for the last 2 years, getting her out and about locally,
enjoying lunches, cinema trips (last time she went the admission price was in
old money!), afternoon teas, shopping trips and taking her to hospital
appointments. I find it incredibly rewarding and can’t wait for lockdown to
ease up so I can continue with my visits.
My husband and I have also been recently approved to be foster carers and now
we are awaiting our first placement, which is very exciting and a little scary.
However, we are looking forward to making a difference to a young person’s life
and certainly the cooking is something I would like to get them involved with.