Phorum Dalal talks to Rachel Allen, whose current TV show, Easy Meals, is all about whipping up effortless, yet delicious, meals
What are your cooking influences and philosophies?
My influences have been women cookery writers such as Madhur Jaffrey, Julia Child and Elizabeth David. When women cook, they have a no-nonsense approach, which I connect to (smiles). One should not be afraid of cooking something simple but delicious; and that dish can be just as sophisticated.
Rachel Allen prepares an apple pie on her show, Easy Meals
Today, restaurants serve fancier food by the day, and eating out has become the norm. How important is it to have a home-cooked meal?
While I do believe what professional chefs are doing at their restaurants is fantastic, I think a home-cooked meal can also be complicated and time-consuming, depending on the amount of time one has at hand. Home-cooked meals are fresh, nourishing and comforting. It is of utmost importance to eat at home regularly. And that is what my show is all about.
Tell us about the show, Easy Meals.
On the show, I touch whip up stress-free foods. The themes include Oriental feast, Sunday lunch, quick baking, and speedy sunshine food. In one episode, I even make an Indian Biryani, and I am quite nervous about how the Indian viewers will like it.
What is speedy sunshine food?
This food will make you feel fresh, one that you would cook on a sunny day, or when you need a little bit of sunshine in your life. Here, I leave aside the heavy casseroles, and create a colourful soup or a roast chicken.
At snack hour, kids and adults bite into junk food. What tips would you give to avoid such binges?
The best thing to do is stock your kitchen with the basic ingredients such as eggs, bread and vegetables. While shopping, think about ‘what I have’ and ‘what do I need’. Once you have the basic ingredients, you won’t rip open packaged junk snacks. The trick is to organise yourself.
You live by the sea in County Cork, Ireland. Do you follow farm to cooking concept?
Where I live, we grow all our needs — from herbs to vegetables. We are almost self-sufficient on the farm. When you eat what you have grown in your garden, the taste is second to none.
The show, Easy Meals, is aired on TLC from Monday to Friday, 8 pm