‘I’m care­ful, with the odd splurge!’

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - APPETITES -

What did your mother make you?

Din­ners at home were hearty Ir­ish cook­ing. My mother is an ex­per­i­men­tal baker; noth­ing is mea­sured.

What was your defin­ing food ex­pe­ri­ence?

My Home Ec teacher rolled her eyes at me when I told her my fish was frozen — I was not the most or­gan­ised! Left to my own de­vices, I ‘de­frosted’ it un­der the hot tap, and my Rus­sian fish pie was lovely.

What’s the first dish you ever cooked?

Mak­ing Ital­ian meat­balls in pri­mary school. Look­ing back, it was quite pro­gres­sive for a school to do proper cook­ing at that stage in ed­u­ca­tion.

What is your com­fort food?

Re­ally good choco­late ice cream.

What is your hang­over cure?

The couch.

What do you drink?

White wine or lager beer — or Cham­pagne, if it’s go­ing.

If you could only eat three things for the rest of your life, what would they be?

Steak; roast pota­toes; and choco­late.

What’s your favourite restau­rant in Ire­land?

I’ve only been once, but Restau­rant Pa­trick Guil­baud was an in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ence. Abroad? The mag­nif­i­cent, balmy ter­race at Ter­razza Bos­quet at Grand Ho­tel Ex­cel­sior Vit­to­ria, Sor­rento, Italy.

What do you refuse to eat?

Squid. I’ve never tried it. It sounds squelchy, and I don’t like a rub­bery tex­ture, which it prob­a­bly isn’t, but I don’t think I’ll ever know.

What is your guilty plea­sure?

A cold left­over roast potato, straight from the fridge, with salt.

What’s your sig­na­ture dish?

In col­lege, it used to be a mince Bolog­nese, made with packet tomato soup and mashed pota­toes! Now, it’s red mas­saman chicken, as it’s a crowd pleaser.

Are you care­ful about what you eat?

Gen­er­ally, yes, with the odd splurge. I watch my por­tion size on carbs and load up on veg — and I try to limit buy­ing crisps, be­cause once they’re open, I will eat all of them.

How im­por­tant is food to you?

Tremen­dously. As part of a large fam­ily and hav­ing a large fam­ily my­self, for me, it’s more about the shared meal­times than the food it­self. We cel­e­brate with food, and it brings us to­gether. Sheila Kiely is the au­thor of Gimme the Recipe and, more re­cently, En­joy!, pub­lished by Mercier Press and avail­able in all good book­shops. See gim­metherecipe.com In con­ver­sa­tion with So­phie White. Photo by Marta Mik­lin­ska

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