Food Secrets

Food secrets and a favourite recipe…

MaggieWhere do you live?

How often do you shop?
When we are running out of food. I’m not very organised!

In person or by internet?
In person.

Supermarket loyal or supermarket slut?

Very definitely a slut. Aldi to Waitrose and everything in between. I like my local Aldi as it is small and I know the layout, but you can’t get everything there. Hence my infidelity.

Do you buy from independent food shops?

Local butcher's shopYes. My meat comes from a fab local butcher in Hereford. I love going there because it’s like the old days – you chat to the other customers while you wait to be served, and the butcher greets you by name and with a huge smile and knows what is going on in your life. It’s like visiting a friend.

Do you food plan or are you an impulse shopper?

Bit of both. But I’m slowly learning that impulse shopping increases my food waste.

Did you buy anything different or outlandish this week?

Yes. A horse. But I promise not to eat it.

What are the top five things you couldn’t leave the supermarket without?

Orange juice, herbs, feta, cream and coffee.

What are your guilty food secrets?

cheesecakeDairy. LOVE LOVE LOVE it. In any form.

Are you a brand snob?

Not generally but am super fussy about a few things. Tea is one of them. I only ever buy Trumpers.

Do you take into account seasons and food miles when you shop?

I’m aware of both, and both influence my decisions, but they are not always the final arbiter (and then I feel guilty).

Favourite meal?

sushiIf I’m cooking, my favourite meal is one I’ve thrown together, unplanned, spontaneous but delicious. It makes me feel like a Domestic Goddess. If someone else is cooking I would choose something Japanese or a mezze type affair where you get loads of different things to try and lots of contrasting flavours. But time and place also affect my choices. On top of a snowy mountain I’d choose tartiflette every time, but in a sunny beachside café in Croatia I’d go for calamari …. So much to eat, so little time

Do you have to cater for a specific diet – ie coeliac, vegetarian, dairy free.

No thank goodness. That would take a lot more planning than I can manage.

Cup of tea or glass of wine?

Tea, then wine. Then more wine.

Do you ever throw food away or are you a Goddess with leftovers?

compost binI’m quite good with leftovers as I get a real kick from rustling up something delicious from remnants. But sadly I do still chuck stuff out. However, I am proud to say I never chuck something away because of a use by date. I trust my senses and instinct and will happily eat old stuff if it smells and looks good.

Plus, I am a compost whizz. Our compost is always a mass of hungry worms, who turn waste into wonderful compost at record speed. I break every compost rule there is and still get the best compost I’ve ever seen. I even put meat in. The trick is to put tight wire mesh under your compost bin to stop rats.

Do you have a favourite cookbook and/or celebrity cook/chef?

I like Jamie Oliver for his campaigning work, though confess I don’t have any of his books. But I like the fact he gets that food is political.

Recipe wise, I’m on Nigel Slater’s wavelength, and quite like Hugh Fearnley Whipping Boy, as my friend calls him …

Can you give us a recipe?

This is a simple but delicious one. I made this one up when I was a student and couldn’t afford to buy the posh feta I could see in the deli.

Marinated Feta

WP_20160218_16_17_21_ProThis looks gorgeous because of the colours, and tastes fabulous if you like garlic… Makes a great dressing for salad too. And it is SO fast.

Block of ordinary feta, chopped into cubes.

Put in a bowl and nearly cover with olive oil, then add your flavourings and stir.

This is my favourite combo. For quantities, do it to your taste. My quantities in brackets.

Crushed garlic (2 – 3 cloves, but I love a big strong garlic kick)
Whole Juniper berries (6 -8)
Whole Peppercorns (6 – 8)
A bay leaf (1, torn up a bit)
Chilli – dried or fresh. (one red, with or without seeds)

Just leave it to marinate for an hour or a day or two days. When all the feta has been eaten, I preserve the oil and bits and just add more feta. Someone once told me I shouldn’t be eating garlic that’s been around for days and days, but I’m not dead yet.