Natalia and Jonathan Conroy love or­der, the cold and each other

The Guardian - Cook - - To Finish -

… the hub of our home. It’s the big­gest space and it’s where we get ev­ery­thing done. There’s noth­ing fussy about it. It’s ar­ranged to cre­ate a good work­flow – sur­face, cooker, sur­face, sink, sur­face – which means no dou­bling back on yourself. We’ve an Insinker­a­tor for food waste, so we clean the work sur­faces straight into the sink. Great for the flow! The dif­fer­ence be­tween our kitchen and a pro­fes­sional one is that ours is mostly wood. It isn’t that great an idea, but we love it, and it’s cheap. Also, we needed to make a dis­tinc­tion be­tween the cold, stain­less work kitchen and our home.

Our kitchen is

… an old wooden spoon From the per­spec­tive of a pro­fes­sional chef, it’s sym­bolic of home cook­ing and free­dom: it’s what unites cooks the world over.

Our favourite kitchen tool is

… our se­cret house blend of dry spices. It con­tains co­rian­der seeds, cumin, star anise … We use it all the time, to sprin­kle on chicken, as a dry rub for meat, in mari­nades and on fish.

Our store cup­board sta­ple is

… eat Nepalese chicken dumplings – Gurkha momo – from Far East Foods, our work kitchen neigh­bours. They are re­ally sim­ple, but the flavour is unreal. When we come home late, that’s all we want to eat – boiled then fried in but­ter till crisp, with dip­ping sauce or in a bowl of broth. And a vodka mar­tini.

When we’re starv­ing we

… each other. We’ve in­spired one an­other in

Our culi­nary in­spi­ra­tion is

our cook­ing since we first met. We come at things so dif­fer­ently, but we’re never at log­ger­heads, just al­ways learn­ing from each other.

Our best-kept kitchen se­cret is …

some­thing we learned from Ruth Rogers of the River Cafe – she’d al­ways say: “Stop what you’re do­ing and clean up.” Hav­ing ev­ery­thing in or­der is so im­por­tant. A clean chop­ping board is a clean mind. You work faster and more ef­fi­ciently. And for us, the whole point of food is the sit­ting down and en­joy­ing of it. So cook­ing is im­por­tant only as a means to an end.

When we’re in­vited to din­ner we al­ways take

… each other. Jonathan’s grand­par­ents were mar­ried for 65 years, and apart for only two nights that whole time. We’re a bit like them.

… time. Tak­ing time to eat, and time to cook. Chicken broth that’s taken ages to make is al­ways bet­ter. We love it when the weather gets cold, and you need coats, boots and long, slow cooks. Even in sum­mer, we’d rather eat warm food.

Ev­ery­thing tastes bet­ter with

… are su­per­or­gan­ised. It’s prac­ti­cally a mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion. We hate food waste, and are ob­sessed with our freezer.

When we go shop­ping we

… salt beef We get it raw and boil it. Of­ten we’ll just have it with a fried egg and pick­les; the ul­ti­mate is a home­made Reuben, with sauer­kraut, melted cheese, a fried egg. And a bowl of broth.

For din­ner tonight

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