With a pinch of salt and a handful of love

Viktoria Radichkova has only been blogging for a few years, but her love of food goes way back – at the age of 11, she had already prepared her first festive dinner for her parents. So what made her finally take the step to share her cooking with the world? We decided to find out.

1. What made you to start a food blog in the first place?

I’ve always loved cooking and my interest just grew over time, especially after coming to the U.S. where I had every imaginable cuisine and ingredients at my disposal. My cooking style evolved and my recipes became less and less rooted in my Eastern European traditions, and more and more a fusion of cuisines.

At some point, I started reading lots of food blogs, and everything about food blogging really appealed to me. At the core of it was sharing unique and delicious recipes, but I thought it’s equally important to have stunning photography, which is also something that I've been interested in for years. The recipe creation and perfection of the flavours, the styling, and photography, and the final presentation accompanied by a good story – it's like a piece of art that gives me total satisfaction.

When I finally launched my own blog, I wanted to call it "With a pinch of salt, and a handful of love" because I am one of those people who salt profusely their meals, and to me everything tastes better with extra salt.  I also believe that when I don't put my soul and heart into cooking a meal, no matter how many times I've made it, it won't turn out great. But this was too long for a blog name so it ended up being the tagline, and the blog was simply called Viktoria's table.

2. Who are your biggest inspirations?

Oh, I've got a ton of them! Initially, I was infatuated by bloggers like Mimi Thorisson at Manger, her gorgeous photos, style, and exquisite recipes. I tend to gravitate towards dark photography and rustic looking settings so naturally bloggers like Sarah Tuck at Stuck in the kitchen, John Bek at Heneedsfood and Sam Linsell at Drizzle and Dip really appeal to me – just to name a few.

From the big names, I adore Jamie Oliver, Donna Hay, and Yotam Ottolenghi.

3. Which ingredients do you always have in your kitchen?

I always have nuts and coconut.  I am completely 'nuts' about nuts, and obsessively stock my pantry with all kinds.  I use them in everything – nut butters, homemade granolas, bars or energy balls, smoothies, sauces, salads, and snacks.

Coconut is another favorite ingredient that I always have on hand in various forms – coconut flakes, coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut flour, and coconut chips. I love the taste and I use it in most recipes, so much so, that at some point, I thought I should have included the word ‘coconut’ in the name of the blog!

4. Who do you usually test new recipes on?

Myself first, and if it's really something I am excited about, I'll make it for my family and friends. Since I experiment so much with my cooking, it's not unusual for me to serve something that I just made for the first time to my guests – luckily this hasn't backfired so far.

5. What is the best thing about sharing your cooking with the world?

I'm so thrilled when someone says they've made my recipe, and they've loved it! The fact that someone, somewhere ended up making it and loving it, makes me so happy! It's always inspiring to get positive feedback, and it's what motivates me to keep going.

6. What’s the most adventurous dish you’ve ever cooked or eaten?

When I was in French Polynesia, I had broiled white fish with vanilla sauce that was out-of-this-world delicious.  I would never think vanilla and seafood would go together so well but the Tahitian vanilla has a slight olive scent so I guess it just complemented the fresh white fish.

As far as cooking, I almost always seek somewhat unusual combinations of flavours and ingredients without straying too far from the normal.  I'd say one of my more adventurous recipes is my smoky beet salad with chipotle pistachio butter, grapefruit, and black garlic.

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