The Great British Bake Off judge, food writer and restaurateur shares her foodie loves and hates
TOMATOES ON THE VINE All really fresh veg tastes better than ingredients that have spent a week travelling along the supply chain. But tomatoes, when just picked, have a unique flavour that vanishes after an hour or so. Sometimes I just stand in the greenhouse, scoffing them like strawberries.
OYSTERS When I got married two years ago we went to an oyster bar for lunch before crossing the road to the registry office. I had oysters for my first course, oysters for my main course and treacle tart (with ice cream AND custard) for pud. Perfection.
COOKING FOR A CROWD I was a caterer long before I was a restaurateur, food teacher or cookery writer. I just love feeding people, the more the merrier. My favourite thing is looking down a long table of family and friends while I dole out the cassoulet (or pasta or stew or whatever) into big soup bowls. I think my epitaph should be. ‘Allher life she fed the famous. Now she feeds the worms.”
GREEK YOGURT I should nominate my husband’s homemade plain yogurt which is very, very good. But (sorry John) Greek strained yogurt is better. I can eat it at any time of the day or night, with honey and almonds, with berries or maple syrup.
JELLY IN TRIFLE I love jelly, love cake, love custard. But I don’t like jelly in trifle because it soggs up the cake and the crumbs spoil the silky smoothness of jelly. Like having crumbs in the bed. For me trifle should be cake, jam, custard, cream and plenty of booze.
FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY IN RESTAURANTS The next door table Instagramming their food drives me mad. It would be OK if it was a quick snap, but usually it’s a performance. Much shuffling of glasses and plates to position it. Then standing on a chair to get the perfect top shot. Even lifting the micro-leaves from a neighbour’s dish to style the thing better. Strewth, guys, please, just sit down and eat it.
SEA BUCKTHORN BERRIES These are about the only food I cannot bear. I had them for the first time on Great British Menu when one of the chefs produced a pudding of unbaked sticky meringue filled with the things. Nought out of ten. Sea buckthorn berries grow, I understand, on a prickly bush half way down a Cornish cliff. That’s where they should stay.
Inspired by this years’ Bake Off? We have some great desserts on the website for you have a go at!