Meet the food blogger who found fame after she gave up grim campus food

She was eating cereal for dinner and peanut butter out of the jar

Eli Brecher is a 20 year old student from Nottingham who created a food blog just over a year ago after living off cereal for dinner and peanut butter straight out the jar – which sparked her Instagram blog name @cerealandpeanutbutter.

She explained: “I have a whole load of food intolerances and was finding it difficult to find the right foods, so I decided to take matters into my own hands and started my blog as a way of keeping myself on track and finding recipe inspiration from other food bloggers. Cooking and baking have become the best escape for me and I love getting lost in the creative process.”

We spoke to Eli about how to run a successful food blog and how she turned her eating habits around.

What style does your blog have?
I focus on delicious and nutritious homemade food, with lots of colourful smoothie bowls and a healthy spin on desserts such as chocolate chip cookies and banana bread. I’ve been trying to spread the message that healthy food does not need to be boring, complicated or tasteless.

What’s your favourite thing you’ve blogged?
I was so proud of myself when I mastered my first Shakshuka, an Israeli dish that combines baked eggs with spicy tomatoes, peppers and aubergine. I love the Middle Eastern taste you get from the za’atar, which is a blend of herbs including sesame seeds, thyme, cinnamon, coriander, fennel and sumac – a single teaspoon completely elevates the flavour.

What are the pros of being a blogger?
Creating and eating delicious dishes all in the name of recipe testing is amazing. Plus I get to collaborate with loads of amazing brands who send me things like granola, peanut butter and superfoods such as cacao powder and chia seeds.

What advice would you give to people who wanted to start and run a successful blog?
Be prepared to give it your all if you really want it to take off.

Are you friends with other bloggers?
I love eating my way around London with @sophiapw_runs . She’s a foodie like me and we both know how important it is to indulge and treat yourself whenever your heart desires – it’s all about balance.

What are your main influences?
Travel plays a huge part in inspiring my recipes. The healthy food scene has really taken off in LA and New York so I loved checking out the trendy cafés there, and I’m currently travelling round Australia and am getting loads of ideas wherever I go. London is quickly catching up, and my top spots to eat include Ethos, Good Life Eatery and The Mae Deli by Deliciously Ella. My favourite food bloggers include @thefoodmedic, @madeleine_shaw_ and @livias_kitchen.

Any tips on how to get more followers?
Post regularly and interact with your followers as much as possible. Photography is so important – even if you don’t have an expensive camera, do your best with what you have – I only ever use natural daylight and pay attention to food styling including background props.

Is the food as good behind the Instagram?
Absolutely. My housemates at uni can vouch that my food tastes as good as it looks, and my peanut butter energy balls always go down well among them. My friends usually ask me to bake them a big batch of cacao brownies or homemade cinnamon granola for their birthdays.

How much time do you have to put into a blog?
I must admit that blogging is very time-consuming, when you consider the food’s preparation, styling, photographing, editing, writing and posting. The only way around this is to be extremely organised, plan meals ahead and buy ingredients in advance.

Where are your favourite places to shop for your blog? Is blogging expensive?
Wholefoods and Planet Organic are my idea of heaven. But I am aware that these can be expensive so I do also buy from regular supermarkets and look for bargains when I can. I also love checking out local markets for the freshest produce. When it comes to fancy superfoods, I highly recommend ordering in bulk online from companies.

How do you take your pictures?
Up until this month, all my photos were taken on my iPhone 6. I recently invested in my first real camera: a Nikon D3000. I don’t use Instagram filters and like to keep the photos as natural as possible using real daylight and minimal editing, perhaps adding a little brightness and contrast where necessary to enhance to photo.