Jolene Cox - One Yummy Mummy releases first cook book

By Hayden Moore 

From working as a nanny around Dublin to starting a blog after the birth of her daughter Lily-Mae, Jolene Cox has now taken her words to print as her family cookbook ‘One Yummy Mummy: Family Food Made Easy’ is set to hit bookshelves in a few weeks.

Jolene Cox, who is originally from Fermanagh but currently lives in Tallaght with her husband Damien and three-year-old daughter Lily-Mae, started the blog after giving birth to their first child just over three years ago and it has taken off as she’s picked up five blogger awards since.

Jolene Cox Author Headshot

Jolene spoke with The Echo about the early days of the blog, creating a cook book for families, and winning the holy grail of blog awards.

Why did you originally decide to start writing the ‘One Yummy Mummy’ blog?

Three-and-a-half years ago when I had Lily-Mae, I had all of these recipes stocked up from my childminding and nanny days, and I’d have all of these mothers on these toddler forums asking me for recipes. And I started the blog out of a little bit of laziness to be honest because I didn’t want to have to keep writing out the recipes over and over again, so I wanted somewhere I could just put them and everyone could get them there – and people seemed to love it! But I didn’t even know what a blog was at the time, so I had to get used to it.

What was it like to then become an award-winning blogger?

I won the Maternity and Infant Best Parenting Blog award after a short space of time, like I had only been writing the blog for about eight or nine months and it had built up such a loyal following because it was voted for by the fans. It was great because people where cooking the recipes and there started to become a bit of a buzz around the blog.

I then won the best Irish food blogger of the year at the Irish Quality food awards and that was mad because it was full of these big establishment people and I was sitting beside them – I honestly felt kind of out of place at it. Paul Rankin was presenting the category I was nominated in and I’m such a huge fan of his but then when he called my name out it was such a shock, I couldn’t believe that I had actually won this award. It was a great achievement and I’ll never forget that.

What’s your winning formula for creating a new recipe?

The thing about recipes is that a lot of bloggers and chefs have them and want to show you them, but really, they’re just showing off their cookery skills. That’s not something I wanted to do with this, the book is about parents getting something more out of a recipe on a page, and something worthy from it. The book has 105 recipes in it and the thing is I know that every single one will be getting cooked in it because it’s real food for real families. All of the pictures in the book where shot by me and cooked in my own kitchen, there is no big team behind the camera trying to stage shots and get the correct lighting or anything like that, it’s about being real and is by a mother for a mother.

What inspired you to take the next step and make a book?

I thought there was a gap for this book because everybody gets a cookbook and it sits on a shelf looking all pretty in the kitchen and you have people coming in going “ohh you have so and so’s cook book”. That’s not this book, this is going to have splashes of sauce all over it and dog ears on the pages because it’s going to be used. There’s a shopping list at the front of the book and once you get the ingredients from that you can cook everything in it, and they’re not these wild ingredients either, you can get them from your local Aldi or Lidl or Tesco or whatever. For my book all you need is a knife, a chopping board, a frying pan, and the simple ingredients from that shopping list.

 What was the process like to actually make the book?

I’d cook three dishes every morning when Lily-Mae would be in pre-school, then I’d pick her up and start writing the text for it at night time when she’d be gone asleep. Every dish has a little story to tell from my child-minding days or other times, but the whole thing really is a labour of love. Lily-Mae is so proud of the book as well, she goes around saying “my mammy is a cooker” and 20 years from now she can look back and see that she’s on the cover – so it’s very very special for us.

So after the book, what’s next?

I think that there is another book in me, I want to keep making new recipes and more importantly I want to make home cooking the new convenience for families. So they do their big shops at the start of the week and then they can conveniently make these dishes throughout the week because it’s easy. But we’ll see how this book goes first, and go from there.

‘One Yummy Mummy: Family Food Made Easy’ will hit bookshelves nationwide on September 15, and you can follow the blog at oneyummymummy.com

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