My earliest food memories are of eating sunday lunch at my grandma’s house. She lived near us in Oxford and ran a big lodgings house for university students. The smell of the joint roasting would hit you outside the house. Her roast potatoes were to die for and slathered in fat. She made finely shredded cabbage with salt, pepper and butter. A strong recollection is me watching her prepare the cabbage, slicing it with her short, sharp kitchen knife (she only had one knife which she used for everything). I believe it was my grandma’s roast lunches that made me decide I wanted to be able to cook.
I’m just not a trendy person. I love any food that is simple, authentic and produced with care. I wish there was more African food available in London, Jollof rice with red snapper cooked by a friend of mine from The Gambia is one of the best dishes I have ever eaten.
My favourite place to eat is the Blackheath Tea Hut. It is opposite the entrance to Greenwich park, it’s open 24hrs a day, 7 days a week, and they serve basic café food very well. Overlooking the heath, it is a great spot to enjoy a bacon baguette and a cup of builder’s tea as you watch the traffic speeding past. There is even a film called Tea Time Movie which tells the story of the Tea Hut.
My most memorable meal was shared when visiting my sister who was living in Mexico and she took me to Pujo in Mexico City. it was extra special because I hadn’t seen her for over a year.
At the time Pujo was Mexico’s only Michelin starred restaurant. I was blown away by Mexican street food and Pujo delivered a fine dining version, combining all the aromas, flavours and textures of the street. Pujo also had an extensive list of non alcoholic drinks and cocktails which always impresses me.
My ideal dinner guests would be thoughtful with a philosophical interest in life and don’t talk too much. There’s a lot to be said for enjoying moments of silence with others, especially when we are eating.
I am inspired by cookery writers Elizabeth David and Madhur Jaffrey. I have learnt a lot from both of them.
The three items I always keep in my fridge are sparkling water, salted butter and greek yogurt