What would you like to plug
My Memoir 'Head Over Heels in France: Falling in Love in the Lot' is out now.
Name your three dessert island ingredients
Garlic, butter, onions
What would I find in your fridge that I might find odd?
I store face cream in there…!
Food stuffs that you would put in room 101
Ready meals – there is just no excuse.
What would you like to have for your last supper?
A Balti curry from one of the little Balti Indian restaurants in my home town of Birmingham.
What cook book do you use the most?
Not a cookbook as such, but in France where I live there’s a wonderfully engaging TV chef called Carinne Teyssandier. She’s not ‘French woman skinny’ either. She cooks on the morning television show and specials such as the Tour de France. She always uses seasonal produce, what she cooks appears dead easy - she’s very inspiring!
Your favourite spice is …..
Best dinner party guests and what would you cook them?
My four sisters and I’d cook them steak frites
What was your tea time treat as a child?
Crumpets – yum!
What was the first thing you learnt to cook?
And what was the first thing you taught your children to cook?
I taught my teenage stepson to make walnut and banana cake.
What was your mother’s signature dish, and do you try to copy it?
Spag Bol – I now have my own version of it.
What dish gets you out of a tricky situation with your partner?
Cottage Pie – he adores it!
What would you say was your most memorable meal?
My wedding meal in a French village. Two sheep were roasted on a specially erected spit. All of my British guests said it was the best thing they’d ever tasted. It was a wonderful mix of French and Brits diners –I think the hangovers were worth it as everyone still talks about it 5 years later!
And what would be your biggest disaster?
When I was younger there was one restaurant (very trendy, very expensive) I would go to with an ex – every time we went there we argued. I’m convinced there were bad vibes there!
What do you wish you had never eaten, but had to?
Wild boar organs at my first hunt meal. I was obliged to attend as my husband hunts, I was compelled also to eat each course. That was a night I spent heaving in the loos that I won’t forget.
What do you consider to be the Best of British?
Fish and chips! Oh how I miss them living in France…
What do you think are the best and worst things about London restaurants?
The best is the sheer variety – as a student I used to eat at Pollo Bar in Soho in Central London, it was fantastic to be able to eat out well and affordably. The worst? I’m not really into fussy, highfalutin restaurants where I can’t relax –ambience is really important.
In your opinion what do you think will be the next big thing, food wise?
Back-to-basics: those classic traditional dishes. There is a staggering lack of understanding about cuts of meat, seasonal vegetables, herbs and spices and what they can each be used for. There will be a retro, romanticism about it too.
QUICK FIRE ROUND
Rosé wine (from Colliure)
Auberge de la Place, Cazals, Lot, France
Nigella or Delia
Museli or fry up
Can I have both? Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day.
KFC or Burger King
Neither – eurgh…
Gin or Vodka
Wine or beer
Butter or Marg
Butter every time (who on earth uses marg???)
Celebrity Chefs. They make things more complicated than they need to be.
My husband. He (painstakingly) taught me to cook French cuisine –specialising in the south-west traditional dishes.
Favourite flavour of ice cream
And finally your top tip for cooking.
Simmer! Use the smallest amount of flame under most food to get the best flavour and result. It's the best way to cook most things - unless it's a steak of course...