Flora Shed­den on her crav­ings and cook­book in­spi­ra­tions

The Guardian - Cook - - To Finish -

… 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

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