Flora Shedden on her cravings and cookbook inspirations
… a big open room, right in the heart of the house. We live in an old barn that my parents converted, in rural Perthshire. I grew up in this kitchen – my mum still has drawings I did as a kid up on the walls. There’s a 1960s Aga at one end, and a big table at the other, counters all around. It’s a very busy space, full of things and people. It’s the one room the whole family spends most of their time in. We all cook a bit, but Mum and I tend to do most of it.
My kitchen is
… a good spatula. I think they’re underrated. We’ve a few, in particular a wooden one that always gets used when the cakes are being turned out … I also love wooden spoons, for obvious reasons, and an old-fashioned dinner knife – it’s perfect for icing cakes.
My favourite kitchen tool is
… risotto rice, pasta, coconut milk, tinned chickpeas and bay leaves.
My storecupboard staples are
… have a bacon sandwich – I’m such a big fan. Preferably a BLT on wholegrain seedy bread, always toasted, with mayo and tomato and chilli chutney, and avocado, if there is any.
When I’m starving I
… hunger! I’m an intuitive cook. I do find fresh seasonal produce and cookbooks – all of Diana Henry’s and most recently Georgina Hayden’s Stirring Slowly, in particular – inspiring, to be sure, but I am mostly led by whatever I am craving at the time. And I tend to take
My culinary inspiration is
the recipes I have read somewhere else, and then sub in other things, twisting things slightly.
… turmeric. I have been using it for everything from chicken thighs roasted slowly with loads of garlic, onions and green olives to sprinkling it on roasted potatoes with goose fat and chilli flakes, and even in cocktails.
My current obsession is
… to put the garlic clove unpeeled in the crusher. No need to fiddle about with the peel.
My best-kept kitchen secret is When I’m invited to dinner I always take
… some form of a chocolate thing, and wine or flowers.
… a little black pepper – even sweet things and fruit, such as strawberries and peaches – and lemon juice.
Everything tastes better with
… go in with a plan and go off-piste a lot. Usually in the fruit and veg department – that’s where I go off schedule, because there’s always something new and exciting; I get distracted and start to drift.
When I go shopping I
… I’ll probably have a pasta dish. I like to make little pork meatballs fried in olive oil, then sweat some onions for a creamy mustard sauce. Chuck in a load of spring onions and peas at the end then stir it through a pot of spaghetti. Ready and comforting in half an hour.
For dinner tonight