When I left home at eighteen I could just about open a packet, add water and make some kind of reconstituted goo. Then I started going out with a guy whose previous girlfriend had been a ‘Cordon Bleu’ cook, so I thought I’d better learn sharpish or he might finish with me! I bought myself ‘The Hamlyn All Colour Cookery Book’, worked my way through it, and at the end I was pretty capable. (We went out together for almost 3 years by the way, and food had nothing to do with the end of the relationship.) Then I started going out with an Italian and soon began hanging out with the crazy Neapolitans every Sunday. Pop, the ‘papa’, was a great cook and I learnt lots of traditional recipes from him. Then when I started going to Italy I couldn’t speak Italian, so I’d hang out in the kitchen and watch. Soon I was cooking like a native and speaking the language and my love and passion of all things Italian has continued over the years…. But that relationship ended too, though I’m still close to the wonderful family and have shared many meals with them over the ensuing years. In my heart I’m always part Italian and ‘il cibo italiano’ (Italian food,) is still my default. Whether it’s rustling up food for 20, or something quick when I’m short of time, it’s the rich and healthy food of southern Italy I turn to.
“Healthy eating” however, is what everyone goes for these days and I’m certainly on this wavelength. Especially when I’m on my own for a few days, I’ll happily become a temporary vegan and a lot of my meals are vegetarian. But I do love fresh fish and living on the coast, where you can buy fish caught overnight, it is hard not to resist. The source of my food is important to me and again living in Cornwall in the southwest of England, allows me to eat from locally sourced vegetables, fish, poultry and meat and we grow vegetables too, though we should do this a lot more as it’s so satisfying.
Behind The Woman is about being the best you can as you age, and food is part of the message I want to share. In my head, eating well and making your food look beautiful and colourful falls in the same category as looking after your skin, wearing stylish clothes and being happy internally. Even when I’m eating alone, and just having a salad, I’m very likely to go and grab some edible flowers from the garden, and take time creating a visual and tasty plate of food. I’ve shared my passion for food with my daughter, who from an early age has been experimental with her own cooking. So I’ll be sharing some of our ideas and recipes as my Blog grows and I hope you’ll be inspired to fight the desire to open a packet or buy a ready-made meal and create beautiful food, because it’s often as quick to make something from start to finish.