My weeks are really varied as I divide my time working as a private chef, cooking for events, and also working as a broadcaster and recording my weekly podcast Desert Island Dishes. Days (and nights) spent cooking in the kitchen are fuelled by lots of coffee and lots of tastings. I have to admit I don’t often get the chance to sit down to proper meals when the kitchen is busy, plus you have to constantly taste everything you make, so it can feel like you’re grazing the whole day. My days tend to be a lot more structured when I’m prepping for an interview, editing the podcast or working on my website.
7:15am – I wake up at the same time every morning and the first thing I do is drink two large glasses of water before showering and getting dressed.
7:45am – I then take Digby, my dachshund, for a quick walk around the block before having an extra-large cup of coffee. I used to always have oat milk in my coffee but I recently discovered tiger nut milk and I’m hooked – it’s delicious.
I first came across tiger nut milk when playing one of my weekly games of Supermarket Snoop: every week I go up to a stranger in the supermarket and talk to them about their shopping – what they’re buying and what they plan to make. I then post it on Instagram every Friday and people guess who the trolley belongs to. One of the people I spoke to told me tiger nut milk makes the best smoothies, so I promptly bought some to try and now I love it. Tiger nuts aren’t actually nuts, they’re tubers which grow underground and have stripes like a tiger. The milk is naturally sweet and creamy and has a slight nutty flavour. I love it in my coffee and think it would be especially good in iced coffee.
8am – My favourite breakfast at the moment is boiled eggs with toasted sourdough with lots of butter and a smidgen of iron-rich Bovril. I think you’re either team Bovril or team Marmite and I have just always loved Bovril. My breakfasts definitely go in cycles – I will have the same thing every day for a few weeks and then will move on to something else. Always in rotation are eggs, porridge (in a world of no consequences I would have cream and brown sugar in my porridge, but normally opt for stewed fruit, compotes, yogurt and a few nuts) and smoothies (I always keep bananas in the freezer so I have them to hand to bung in my morning smoothies, along with frozen berries, some greens, a bit of almond milk and a scoop of protein powder).
8:30am – I aim to be at my desk by this time with a glass of water trying to tackle some admin: emails, writing up recipes, pitching guests for the podcast or researching for an interview.
10:30am – I am the world’s biggest snacker and I could easily eat lunch by the time it gets to elevenses, but I normally try to wait until at least midday. I’ll have something like a banana with a bit of smooth peanut butter, or a couple of rice cakes and humous. I love all humous, but Marks and Spencer do a really good Moroccan-style one if you’re feeling fancy. I also like boiled eggs with salt. I’m trying to drink lots of water – it’s hard as I find it really boring, but once you’re in the habit it gets much easier. Now I find drinking eight large glasses a day relatively easy.
12:30pm – If I’m testing a recipe for Instagram or my website then I’ll eat that for lunch with my husband if he’s at home. I try to do all my recipe testing in the morning so I can photograph it in daylight. My recipes are really varied but I would say they are all healthy-ish. I think they reflect the way most of us eat, where it’s just a balance of ingredients that make you feel good and taste good too. At this time of the year I love Jerusalem artichokes which make such a delicious silky soup, but I also love how you can make a tasty green soup out of all the green vegetables you have in your fridge. I call it a fridge forage and it’s my favourite kind of cooking. I love hearty salads that start with a base of lentils or a mix of roasted vegetables, such as roasted broccoli, and then I like to add pesto, a sprinkling of feta and lots of seeds on the top. That’s a pretty dreamy salad to me.
1pm – Another coffee before heading to the park with Digby for a dog walk and a leg stretch before getting back to my desk.
4pm – If I’m at home in the afternoon I always have a cup of Rooibos tea –it must be with almond milk for me, they’re so good together. And maybe another snack. I know they’re retro, but I love a fig newton or a Viennese chocolate biscuit. The M&S ones are the best.
8pm – In an ideal world and left to my own devices I would have supper at 6pm – my husband is an opera singer so is often working in the evenings so that’s when I can indulge in my early bird special. But if he’s not working, I love having supper with him and we will eat a bit later. Midweek suppers are always something quick and easy – I love one-pot wonders. Chicken congee is perfect at this time of year, deliciously comforting and so easy to make. Or something like sweetcorn fritters or baked salmon fillets with lots of vegetables.
9pm – I love having a mint tea with some Green & Black’s dark chocolate after supper, they go so well together. I love fresh mint leaves if I have some in the fridge, but more often than not it’s liquorice and peppermint tea bag from Teapigs.
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