1 Jul 2012

Q & A

Before I threw a couple of very old supermarket magazines into the recycling bin, I saw that the last pages were quick interviews with chefs. I thought it would be fun to take the questions and give my own answers. Suffice to say, my answers may not be as high-falutin’ or as aspirational as theirs. But I’m being honest.

What is the secret to a great recipe?

It should work. Simple. I shouldn’t have to fill in any gaps in instructions, I shouldn’t have to phone my mum up and ask ‘Do you think they’ve left baking powder out?’ or ‘Do they really mean that much salt?’. It shouldn’t take 30 minutes extra time in the oven. And if it looked vaguely like the dish in the picture — bonus!

How can we cook a restaurant-quality meal at home?

We can’t. That’s why we go out to a restaurant — to have something you can’t cook at home. Home cooking should be home cooking.

What is your number one rule in the kitchen?

Clean up after yourself, and ideally as you go along. Boring but it keeps the kitchen from looking like a bomb site and lessens cleaning up time afterwards (therefore better for your sanity). And it’s essential if you have limited bench space.

If I can add further ‘rules’, they would be: don’t get stressed, play some nice music – or enjoy some calming silence, and take the time to enjoy the process of cooking. Sometimes you have to cook quick (and eat quick), but it’s lovely when you can have the time to watch the ingredients come together to form a delicious meal.

Oh, and always lick the bowl.

What meal best reminds you of your childhood?

Golden syrup dumplings (even though I think my recipe is now better than mum’s – sorry mum). Eggs on toast on a Sunday night. Marble cake for birthdays.

Can you give us some inspiration for a quick and easy weeknight meal?

Leftovers. But if you want me to be serious, steamed vegies with a blob of pesto stirred thru.

What’s in your fridge at home right now?

You want the lot? Always eggs, cheese, butter, sour cream. Condiments — mostly my mother’s homemade jars of magic, like pickles and jams and preserved lemon. A small tub of homemade pesto, thawing from the freezer, for a summer hit – it’s dated January this year. A bowl of prunes soaking in some brandy for a future recipe (watch this space). Half a lemon. My marble rolling pin. Not much – it’s Sunday, and I do like to eat everything down for a fresh start each week.

If we asked you what are the essential ingredients in any kitchen, what would be on your list?

Eggs, butter, lemons, vegies, salt and pepper, olive oil. With those simple ingredients, plus some carbs like pasta or rice, you could have an easy, healthy, sustaining meal. Add in pantry ingredients for baking — flour, vanilla, sugars — and I’m set.

I'd love to hear your answers!


  1. Ohh excellent idea! I definitely agree on your essentials - but you did forget garlic, haha. I will post this on my blog as well x

    1. hello! you are right - essential! and a good garlic crusher, then.

  2. I like this...always interesting to see what other cooks have in their kitchen. I agree with your rules too :) Golden syrup dumplings are also one of my best childhood food memories. This has reminded me I must make them again for my children, soon!

    1. my GSD recipe has a splosh (and perhaps more) of sherry in the sauce. and mixed spice in there somewhere. both these additions makes the GSD warm and mellow. gosh i must make them again soon too!

  3. Yes this sounds good, plus onions, garlic, chilli and tomatoes. I love your calm kitchen ideals, cleaning up after yourself as soon as possible is very good advice. Golden syrup dumplings are definitely a childhood staple! :D

    1. Yes I agree with you on your ingredients - how could i omit onions and garlic?
      ps had mum's GSDs on the weekend - yum!


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