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