As a busy mother, whose passion is to cook quick, healthy and imaginative meals for my family, one of my goals is to spend the least time possible shopping and preparing! It is amazing how simple it can be to prepare and cook family means with fresh, seasonal ingredients.
No processed food. No hormones. No colorants. No maufactured sweeteners. Just fresh. Just healthy. Just Simple.
Small portions of fresh and vibrant ingredients. Nothing is off limit. Food is so much more than just a fuel. EAT FOR PLEASURE.
I grew up on a farm in the South of England, with two parents who are both still excellent cooks, so my specialty is cooking with what I can find in the cupboards or the garden. From the age of seven or eight years, my parents would often be working on the farm in the evening so I would prepare dinner. Of course, I couldn't nip out to the store, so I used what I could find from the pantry, fridge and garden. I was always using my imagination, inventing recipes from whatever I could find.
I spent many years of school vacations working in a restaurant as waitress and then a cook where I honed my cooking techniques. Friends would always come round to wherever I lived for a fun meal. At University, I was the house cook, which meant I never had to clean or wash up!
I have lived and travelled extensively through Africa, Asia and Europe. These travels have added to my culinary experience and research and I often integrate ingredients or methods from other cultures into my somewhat eclectic cooking.
Living in Paris for 5 years in my mid twenties further boosted my love of food and how to prepare it. I would spend many hours wandering the cobbled streets of Paris and perusing the food markets for the best quality bargains, which I would experiment with in my tiny Parisian kitchen. My slightly persistent personality made me determined to be "the English girl who could cook better than the French girls." Not to mention that marrying a Frenchman has kept my standards high!
I firmly subscribe to the French way of cooking and eating, as a vital and integral part of family life. It is around the family table that the conversation is the most important. And remember, French women don't get fat and they eat bread, pastry, drink wine and regulary enjoy three-course meals! Let's savor and enjoy the pleasure of food, eat slowly as a family, rather than shovel our food down as a quick fuel fill up.
"French women think about good things to eat; American women typically worry about bad things to eat." - Jennifer Wells, Toronto Star
My father, who was my initial inspiration, still cooks every night and he is quite a celebrity in his own right for cooking from his heart and not from a recipe book. He is also the one who taught me that when you cook, you need a glass of wine or a gin & tonic!