Recipes from My Mother for My Daughter
This is the cover of my very own book! Inspired by the recipes that my sister and I gathered together after my Mum died, they’re all things that I remember her cooking whilst we sat at the kitchen table, in awe of her making things like profiteroles, chicken tarragon, beef Wellington and the most beautiful cakes.
Some of my earliest memories are of her and her cooking – the wonderful aromas, the knife on the chopping board and her wedding ring tinkling against her glass rolling pin as she shaped pastry. Everything she made was delicious, and to me she was just magic. In my opinion, she had learnt from the best – my Nanna – and she passed on her secrets to my mum and, I hope now, to my sister and I.
For lots of things in my life, food has given me the focus I needed to get through them. After my Mummy died (she never allowed us to call her Mum), I cooked for my sister and my Dad not because he asked me to but because I was the oldest and I thought I should take on that role. I cooked proper family meals, comfort food I suppose, so it was no surprise that the first thing I cooked on Celebrity MasterChef was chicken and mash. Cooking helped me get through lots of other things too – when we were trying to start a family and all of the heartbreak that that brought with it. I baked and baked and baked to take my mind of things.
My dream of adopting Billie finally came true, and now I have the absolute pleasure of cooking for her. Cooking for kids isn’t easy. They’re fussy little things and trying to keep them happy at the dinner table can be a minefield. The two main things I’ve learnt is that ‘Mum food’ doesn’t have to be boring, and the second is how important it is to cook with your kids! Include them and involve them in what they’re eating. Let them taste it, stir it – let them use the glass rolling pin! I promise they will love it.
Winning Celebrity MasterChef is something I never even dreamt would happen. I honestly thought I’d turn up, have a lovely day meeting John and Gregg and then be sent packing! I had to make myself believe I could do it though, and I worked really hard to learn as much as I could.
Ever since winning, people have told me that after seeing me on the show, it sent them back into the kitchen and that I had inspired them. I love that! The recipes in my book are there to tell a story, but I want you to experiment with them – try them, substitute ingredients, posh them up, dress them down.
Most of all, I want you to enjoy them.