When did you become interested in food?
I’ve been interested in food and cooking in the kitchen with my mother from a young age. But when my mother became Ill and overhauled her diet and lifestyle to include a wholefoods diet packed with vegetables and I saw that how over time, along with some lifestyle changes, she became stronger and gradually came off medication – I think that was certainly my earliest introduction to the power of ‘food as medicine’.
What inspires you to share your passion for food?
My aim is to make healthy eating inclusive and accessible to all. The most nutritionally dense foods are often the least expensive on the shelf. These are the real ‘superfoods’ available in supermarkets, and that’s why I focus on them in my cookbooks and recipes. Once you understand the principles of eating well, health doesn’t become a privilege and it’s a choice no more expensive than the average household can afford.
What is the one ingredient you can’t do without?
I don’t have one specific go-to food but the ones below are certainly my ‘hero’ foods that I come back to time and time again
Brassica Vegetables – Cauliflower, Broccoli, Sprouts, Cabbage, Spring Greens
Greens –Kale, Chard, Savoy Cabbage, Pointed greens,
Root Vegetables – carrots, squash, beetroot, parsnips, swede, celeriac, onions
Herbs – Parsley, Coriander, Basil, Oregano, Sage, Rosemary
Spices – Turmeric, Ginger, Garlic, Onions
Nuts and Seeds – Pumpkin, Sunflower, Brazil, Hazelnut, walnut
Fats – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sesame Oil, Nut Butter
The Cheltenham Food and Drink is in June. What seasonal foods are best at this time that we should be looking out for and using in our cooking?
There’s some fantastic fruits and vegetables that are in season during the summer months – I would be looking to include some of the following in my cooking over the summer:
Vegetables: Garlic, asparagus, chard, carrot, cucumber, chicory, onion, green bean, broad bean, lettuce, early potato, tomato, pea, rhubarb, radish, rocket, celery, courgette.
Fruits: Apricot, cherry, strawberry, melon, pear, plum, peach, nectarine, raspberry, currant, gooseberry.
Your new cookbook Eat to Beat Illness is out now. Do you have a favourite recipe you can share with us from the book?
One of my favourite recipes is the Aubergine and Walnut Ragu. Italian food is one of my go-tos and here I’ve drastically reduced the amount of time it takes to make a traditional ragu and added nutrient-dense vegetables at every step. It’s quick, easy and tastes delicious!
What are you looking forward to about Cheltenham this year?
Well for me, as well as taking in some of the food and drinks talks, I’ll be taking time to look at some of your local food producers that will exhibiting – it looks like a fantastic choice and something for everyone – I can’t wait to join you all there in June!