For this week’s Follow Friday I spoke to Lauren of ‘laurenscravings’. Lauren’s Instagram account is full of food & travel recommendations and also contains a variety of video recipes which are easy to follow!
Can you tell us about your Instagram account, how it started and what it focuses on?
I started this iteration of my Instagram account in April 2018. I actually started my original Instagram page as a log for my slimming world food to keep myself on track because, as many handwritten diaries as I try to keep, because I don’t have them with me I wasn’t as good as I should have been at keeping them updated, whereas I always have my phone in my hand or on my person – in terms of tracking it was that much better.
Nobody would really have known about my slimming world insta page initially as it was just for personal use more than anything. I’ve always had a passion for food and my friends encouraged me to take it further. I started laurenscravings proper with mainly food recommendations at the beginning. I started sharing recipes because I was engaged to be married in October 2019 and I didn’t want to eat out as much – I would always share what I was cooking at home in my stories and it led to a lot of DM’s and messages and so I thought I would start sharing that as well. I call it ‘laurenscravings‘ because I absolutely adore food so the name is quite self explanatory!
Some of the restaurant food pictures you post are spectacular, do you have a favourite genre of food or region of cuisine you like best when you go out to eat?
Anybody who follows my instagram I think knows that I have a very ardent love affair with ‘Babs Glasgow. I love Mediterranean food – dips, baba ganoush, hummus, anying you can dip some pitta into, I’m there! I don’t think you can see past spreads with dips, tasty sauces, grilled meats, salads, rice etc. Middle Eastern food – tahini is one of my favourite ingredients right now.
Putting you on the spot, can you tell me in no particular order about 3 of the best dishes you’ve ever eaten?
I’m not even a huge Chinese fan but the pancake rolls from cotton house – I’ve actually been craving them so much that I actually went on my way home just to get pancake rolls the other night! The lamb shish dish from ‘Babs (special shout out to Paige, I think she’s one of the managers or supervisors in there – even though they’ve changed the menu they allow me to order the exact list of ingredients that I want). Pick any starter from Eusebi Deli to be honest, or the truffle macaroni cheese from Scran!
As well as delicious looking restaurant food, it’s clear that you’re quite the accomplished cook yourself. Have you always been a keen cook?
Yeah, I’ve always really loved cooking. It kind of started because my mum had quite a high profile job when I was in my teens. She used to travel away from home an awful lot and work until 6-7pm at night either in Glasgow or down in London. My dad was on night shifts and his version of a good meal at home was burnt toast with spaghetti (and the spaghetti had to be served on top of the toast!) – totally against what I think should be done, toast needs to be crispy! So cooking was really out of necessity rather than anything else, plus my grandparents had a big influence and I loved going over there and getting involved in the cooking process. My papa introduced me to so much when it came to food and I really credit him for my passion and for my cooking to a certain extent, which then I took forward myself and I just experiment!
How do you come up with the recipes you post on your instagram stories?
If I could show you the notes page on my phone! I just brainstorm an awful lot and I get inspiration from literally anything. I could see an ingredient in a supermarket and think ‘oh that’s interesting!’ Sometimes it’s in the reduced section so I’ll pick it up and think ‘right, I’ll build a dish around that’. Sometimes Johnny (my husband) says that he fancies something so I try to knock something up – I’m quite an intuitive cook more than anything so It’s been quite interesting trying to do the measurements for people, hence why I make mistakes through my videos! Nobody’s perfect and I guess it makes it relatable to most people. I take inspiration from TV programmes as well, maybe trying to recreate something to my own taste. My friends come round and we’ll cook together too.
As well as posting delicious looking food pictures, your instagram also includes beautiful scenery from your travels. Is food an important factor when you plan trips and holidays?
Food is a huge part of any holiday for me. Jonathan took me to Reykjavík for my 30th birthday at the start of December. I only found out where we were going at the airport as it was a surprise – once we landed, after a 1 hour drive to Reykjavík and just 30 minutes in our hotel, I’d basically researched on Instagram and on various blogs all the places I wanted to go to eat. I pretty much do that for every place I go on holiday now. You wouldn’t rock up somewhere and just go into the first place you find, unless you were starving. It’s exactly like in Glasgow, there are certain restaurants that are spectacular and out of this world and you need to know about them. Do your research!
Are there any other food related accounts you love that you’d recommend to others?
I think foodieyunyun already said Jess (justjessfood) who I’m really good friends with and who has excellent recipes. My other girlfriend on Instagram is Amy (theglasgowdiet). Her recommendations are really good if I do say so myself (because we have similar taste!). She shares some recipes too, she’s a great cook and a great host and she’s become a really good friend. Scranstagram – really good recommendations and he does recipes on his stories as well. He’s a keen cook and both him and his girlfriend Rosie are always getting up to really interesting stuff.
Going back to your own account, what can people expect to see from you in the future?
They can expect to see more recipes and more recommendations. I’m happy to take suggestions, I love it when people actually ask for certain things – if they fancy doing that, I love a challenge and I love to experiment so bring them at me! I’ve also started sharing the odd post about my life in general. I think a big thing I’ve learned about Instagram is that if you share a bit of yourself you get an awful lot back. I’m loving the friendships that have been created and I’m loving the people I’m getting to meet. It’s genuinely an aspect of my life that brings me a lot of joy. Marie Kondo would be proud!
If I was to pick just one of your recipes to cook, which one should I choose?
The recipe that everyone was going off their head about (which has a cheat in it!) was my lasagne. Hence, instead of doing a competition when I hit 5k followers, I shared my lasagne recipe! The secret is (wait for it…) I use Dolmio creamy lasagne sauce. That’s not because I don’t know how to make a white sauce, I just LOVE the Dolmio creamy lasagne sauce! I’ve had people message me saying that recipe has changed their lives when it comes to midweek dinners. lauraseniora says her husband literally dreams about that lasagne!
Follow Lauren on Instagram: laurenscravings