The book all began seven years ago in my Devon farmhouse kitchen….well probably closer to thirty, when I began my professional career as a green but keen cook at the classy Talbooth Restaurant near Colchester, this was my first real cooking job, having quit the nursing profession soon after qualifying.
Who could have foretold that The Deliciously Conscious Cookbook would be the result of over thirty years of global culinary coverage…I mean vegan, gluten-free and all that healthy stuff, when I could have written about sumptuous banquets, halcyon honeymoon fare aboard millionaire’s yachts or dinners I have cooked for film stars?
The answer lies closer to home, in choosing to be a hands on mum and using my cooking skills to stay in tune with the alternative pulse in a town Totnes where well-being is a local occupation.
Catering for an outdoor market stall is a unique challenge. The dishes need to look and taste fabulous but be simple enough to re-create on a weekly basis. Variety and new lines must be balanced with old favourites, the seasonal palate taken into consideration as well as meeting the health requirements of the locals; no mean feat I can assure you!
The week has a particular rhythm; the gathering of ingredients, nervously consulting the forecast – heavy rain on a Friday (market day) spells disaster – then intense culinary activity on a Thursday culminating in an early Friday set-up. I can feel like a cork let out of a out of a bottle, effervescing over customers about a new recipe or just plain grateful to have sold out at the end of a long day. I really do enjoy Friday nights though, where I am fit for nothing more than relaxing in a hot epsom salts bath; dinner cooked by someone else and a movie. Bliss!