When did you first get in to cooking and do you remember the first recipe you tried?
My Dad got me into cooking from a young age, and the first recipes we did together are probably cottage pies, lasagnes or a Sunday roast chicken with all the trimmings. He’d done a couple of cookery courses and we found it was a fun family activity to do together when we visited him at the weekends. We always used to critique the meal afterwards and discuss ways to improve. Usually the roast dinners were too greasy!
What's your kitchen like and how do you keep organized when cooking?
My kitchen is pretty small and I actually have minimal gadgets - a Nutribullet which is great for smoothies but also blitzing nuts, and a hand blender for most other things. I have lots of kilner jars with my basics in - flours, nuts, quinoa, oats so they’re always on hand. I also have a cupboard to myself which my boyfriend calls my “weird stuff”! That’s got special bits in that I use for healthy recipes like maca powder, cacao butter and nibs, protein powders, acai and nut mixes.
I try to keep organised by keeping lists on my phone of what I have already in the cupboards so I don’t over purchase. I find that particularly helpful for herbs and spices, but also useful for planning meals if I’m at the supermarket - for example if I know I’ve got noodles already I can design a meal to include them in.
What tips would you give to someone wanting to become a better cook?
Practise. It’s such a dull answer but it’s the truth! The only way you learn is not from reading books or watching videos (though they help of course), but by actually doing it yourself. Be brave, experiment, repeat recipes and slowly you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t. Things like knowing the right consistency for pastries or sauces, instinctively coming up with flavour combinations and having basic knife skills come from hours and hours in the kitchen.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party and what would you cook for them?
Oooooh that’s a tough one! From a health blogger perspective I’d love to invite round Dr Rupi from The Doctor’s Kitchen as he’s such a nice guy, and Samantha Hadid who I would definitely ask to bring a dessert because hers are incredible. I’m also a massive history geek though so I’d love to invite Lucy Worsley from Historic Royal Palaces.
Cooking for dinner parties I always like doing a one-pot wonder because they’re low fuss. I’d probably do a risotto for main course and a nice brownie for pudding - I’ve done ones on the blog made with chickpeas or blackbeans for a nutritious twist. I’m also Queen of Dips among my friends so guaranteed when guests arrive I’d make some tzatziki and hummus with crudités to nibble on before we have our meal.
Do you do any other crafts and what are your hobbies?
I come from a very craft loving home actually though sadly I haven’t kept much of it up. When I was younger I used to love glass painting and my mum got us into marble printing. She still does a lot of beautiful word art now for gifts and hand makes greetings cards - I’m always telling her she should sell things on Etsy!
My hobbies have always been music related, I play piano and viola and I enjoy going to concerts so when I’m not in the kitchen you’ll usually find me in a concert hall.
Which cooking blogs do you love to read?
Oh goodness so many! I always go back to Niki Webster’s Rebel Recipes (http://rebelrecipes.com) for plant based recipes and incredible photography. And I love Rachel of Healthy & Psyched (https://healthyandpsyched.com) for her gorgeous smoothies and breakfast treats as well as her intelligent blog posts on healthy eating which she talks about using knowledge from her Psychology PhD.
I moved to Ireland this year and so I’m now also following loads of brilliant Irish food bloggers, like Nik Nak Food (https://niknakfood.com) and Jennifer Opperman who's an amazing food photographer and stylist (http://www.jenniferoppermann.com/blog/)
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Thanks so much for inviting me to be part of Cut Out And Keep. I hope your readers enjoy my recipes!