Kitchen Quiz 

With Fraser Reid (Seasonal Soups)

One of our favourite and most popular KP titles is Seasonal Soups by Fraser Reid. This beautiful wee book is now in its second edition and has brought joy to readers around the world with its straightforward, healthy approach to soups.

Author Fraser Reid is an absolutely lovely chap with a strong community ethic. Having experienced a sudden personal nirvana moment with vegetables, Fraser transformed both his career and the local community in the West End of Dundee by opening his wee green fruit and veg corner shop.

The focus has always been on quality, local and international produce all provided with a smiling face and cheery personality. A simple yet powerful and infectious approach. The shop has also become a supplier of other quality deli goods such as Spanish black pudding, fresh baked bread and craft beers.

Fraser’s trademark is his warm and affable style. He really is a business owner who’s personality and passion are at the heart of everything he does. No one just pops into Fraser’s Fruit And Veg without a nice chat or learning something new.

It’s quite interesting that one of our most successful cookbooks is not written by a chef at all, but by someone passionate about produce and who had the courage to try out lots of soup recipes. The purpose being to make the menu at home more interesting, varied and packed full of vegetables. This is a philosophy we are 100% behind here at KP. Cooking is for everyone.

So we caught up with Fraser recently (which is always a pleasure) to ask him a few questions for our Kitchen Quiz series.

We hope you enjoy!

Now over to you Fraser.

Q: Hey Fraser, hope you are good. So was there a cookbook that really inspired you?

A: The cookbook that really inspired me was Jamie at home. We started growing veg in the garden before opening the shop and using the recipes in this book after harvesting. The broad beans fritters in there are amazing.

Q: What is your favourite item in your kitchen that you simply couldn’t do without?

A: My favourite item in the kitchen would be the soup pot. We use it every week and its been the pot that’s tested all of the recipes in Seasonal Soups.

Q: Do you have a favourite song, type of music or podcast you like to cook to?

A: Music is always on in the kitchen. Depending on who’s in, that dictates the tunes.

If it’s my 4 year old then it’s I Like To Move It by will.i.am.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLEQRIisP_Q

If it’s my 6 year old it’s Katy Perry. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CevxZvSJLk8

If it’s me it’ll be BBC Six Music.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/live:bbc_6music

Q: If you could cook anywhere in the world in any location then where would you choose?

A: If I could cook anywhere in the world then it would be the simple beachside BBQ. The sound of the waves are mesmerising and feeling on the sun on your skin. I love cooking outdoors.

Q: If you had to give one single piece of advice about cooking to someone then what would that be?

A: My advice on cooking would be not to stick to a recipe but use it as a guide that you can tailor for personal tastes. It also makes you a better cook, just being able to adjust things as you go. Also don’t be afraid of seasoning.

Great advice from a lovely man. Thank you Fraser!

You can order a copy of his wonderful soup book here.

Date, Apple & Walnut cake

We are over the moon about the publication of Bad Girl Bakery by Jeni Iannetta, which will be in all good book stores in November. Jeni who is based in the Scottish Highlands is an inspirational woman and her baking really is out of this world. 

Picture of Jeni Iannetta of Bad Girl Bakery

With apple season upon us, we thought this date, apple and walnut cake would give you a wee sneak peek and a taster of what is to come once the Bad Girl Bakery is let loose in your kitchen.

Bad Girl Bakery Book Cover

So over to Jeni now. And yes, bad girls do make very, very good cake indeed.

Pic of Kmix food mixer

Don’t forget to pre-order your copy of Bad Girl Bakery direct from us via our website here and guarantee you’re one of the very first to be cooking up her baking delights in the comfort of your own home for family and friends.

Thank you as always for your support.

Date, Apple & Walnut Cake By Jeni Ianetta (Bad Girl Bakery)

Pic of Date, Apple & Walnut cake.

This date, apple and walnut cake started its life as a sticky toffee cake, but we had some apples to spare and set about experimenting and here is the result! It’s a really simple cake to make, but somehow the rows of apple slices on the top make it look much fancier than it really is. The apple jelly glaze intensifies the flavours and gives the apple slices a lovely shine. 

  • Feel free to leave the walnuts out if you’d prefer, or replace them with the same amount of pecans or hazelnuts. 
  • This cake is at its best on the day it’s made, but it will be fine for another day or so if you keep it in an airtight container in the fridge. It’s delicious gently warmed in the microwave on day two. 

SERVES 9–12 

32 x 21cm traybake tin, lined 

Ingredients:

150g chopped dried dates 

150ml apple juice

250g unsalted butter, softened 

275g soft light brown sugar 

5 medium eggs

280g self-raising flour

1 tbsp ground cinnamon 

1⁄2 tsp baking powder

1 small red apple, skin on, cored and grated 

To Finish:

3 small red apples, skin on, halved, cored and thinly sliced

4 tbsp apple jelly or apricot jam (optional) 

75g walnuts, roughly chopped 

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C) fan. 

Put the chopped dates and apple juice in a small pan on a medium heat and simmer until the liquid is almost all absorbed. Set aside to cool. 

Put the softened butter and sugar in your bowl or stand mixer and beat until it looks lighter in colour and less craggy. Crack your eggs into a jug and weigh the flour, cinnamon and baking powder into another bowl. 

Pour one egg into the butter and sugar and add a spoonful of flour. Mix (on low if you’re using a mixer) until fully combined, then repeat with each of the remaining eggs. Add the rest of the flour and mix till it’s just combined. You’ll need to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula after each addition. Stir in the cooled date mixture and the grated apple with a spatula until combined, and spoon into the lined tin, smoothing the batter out with a palette knife or the back of a spoon. Neatly arrange the sliced apples in rows across the top. 

Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 60 to 65 minutes. Test the centre with a skewer after an hour, and if it doesn’t come out clean pop back in the oven for five minutes, then check again. (You may need to do this more than once – every oven is different, so don’t worry if yours takes a bit longer to bake.) 

Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes or so while you make the glaze (if you’re using it). Pop the apple jelly and two tablespoons of water in a very small pan and put over a low heat until it begins to boil (you can also do it in a microwave on low). Stir until it’s smooth and then glaze the top of the warm cake with it using a pastry brush. Scatter over the chopped walnuts while the glaze is still warm. 

Leave to cool a little in the tin before lifting out using the paper and slicing. 

YUM! Thank you Jeni for this truly magnificent cake x

Pic of Bad Girl Kitchen

Katerina Nitsou, author of Macedonia

Kitchen Quiz with Katerina Nitsou (author of Macedonia – Recipes & Stories From The Balkans)

Author Katerina Nitsou

Katerina Nitsou spent her childhood in the kitchen helping her grandmother, mother and aunts prepare family feasts using fresh herbs and vegetables from the family’s prized garden. Growing up in a large Macedonian-Canadian community in Toronto, she was immersed in Macedonian culture through language, dance and of course, food. 

Family in Macedonia in the 1960s

She began writing about traditional Macedonian cuisine long before she completed her training at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. She honed her recipe writing skills in the Los Angeles Times Test Kitchen and developed her cooking style working as a food stylist, caterer, and private chef in California. She currently lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and two young children, whom she is teaching to cook.

Katerina Nitsou and her family today

Macedonia – The Cookbook; Recipes & Stories from the Balkans is out on Kitchen Press now. It is such a beautiful book and a wonderful culinary journey into this part of the world.

We caught up with Katerina recently and asked her a few questions so we could all get to know this talented, enterprising and creative woman a little better. 

Q: Hey Katerina, was there a cookbook that really inspired you?

A: It wasn’t any cookbook in particular that inspired me, it was actually the lack of Macedonian cookbooks in the market that inspired me. I will say however that when you love food and cooking, being surrounded by cookbooks is just a part of daily life and then it makes it hard to pick a favourite.

Macedonia book cover

Q: What is your favourite item in your kitchen that you simply couldn’t do without?

A: I had this tiny thin spatula with a watermelon print on it that I’ve probably had for 12 years. I had to toss it out recently because it was literally falling apart, and I’ve been trying to find the same one with the same shape and profile and sadly not succeeding.  

Q: Do you have a favourite song, type of music or podcast you like to cook to?

A: I’m a big Spotify fan, I always have music on at home. These days I’m listening to Michael Kiwanuka and Federico Aubele’s radios, but I also am known to jam some old school 90’s and early 2000’s Hip Hop and R&B.

The podcasts I’ve loved most over the last year are “Second Life” with Hilary Kerr  and “More Than One Thing” with Athena Calderone. For those that may not know this is about me, in addition to being a retired chef and cookbook author, after a journey of working in real estate for Sotheby’s and doing our own developments, I now work in interior design and property development as a professional renovator here in Melbourne. These podcasts that focus on featuring women who are not afraid to embark on new experiences and try new business helped me so much in my waves of doubt and transition in my recent move from Los Angeles California to Melbourne Australia this past year and enterprising and creative women are certainly the ones in the world I connect to.

Q: If you could cook anywhere in the world in any location then where would you choose?

A: Macedonia, I would love to spend time traveling around Macedonia, cooking and learning in all the villages and towns.

Q: If you had to give one single piece of advice about cooking to someone then what would that be?

A: Trust yourself and your senses. Cooking is about sight, touch and smell just as much as taste and don’t over think it… Worst thing that can happen is you’ll have to order in.

Katerina’s delicious Braised Quail recipe from Macedonia – Recipes & Stories from the Balkans

Thank you so much for your lovely insights Katerina! 

You can purchase the book direct from us here and begin your own journey into Macedonian food culture.

Picture of Sweet Potato Falafel & Tahini Dressing

Although you may have to make a pitstop to eat them, these falafels taken from a recipe in the up and coming Eat Bike Cook by Kitty Pemberton-Platt and Fi Buchanan are perfect for a cycling lunch, or any other kind of lunch.

This Eat Bike Cook recipe was inspired by the food diary of Sophie Edmondson (a member of the wonderful The 5th Floor Cycling Collective) while taking part in the 200km off-road race the Sussex Mystery Tour and fully illustrated by Kitty for the book.

 

These falafels are so satisfying without being heavy, and the lemon zest and coriander give them an enjoyable freshness. This recipe also makes more than you need for one pitta so make a batch and then freeze them. 

Serves 4

Ingredients for the Eat Bike Cook sweet potato falafels:

About 2 medium sweet potatoes (500g baked flesh)

50g gram flour (chickpea flour)

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp sea salt

handful of coriander, finely chopped

juice and zest of 1/2 lemon

50ml olive oil

20g sesame seeds

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200 C/180 C fan. Place the sweet potatoes on the top shelf of the oven and bake for approximately 50 minutes, until soft. When cool enough to handle, cut the sweet potatoes in half, scoop out the flesh and discard the skins.

Mash the cooked sweet potato in a large bowl, then add the rest of the ingredients, except for the olive oil. Using the two tablespoons, arrange 12 evenly sized balls of the mixture on a baking tray and sprinkle the sesame seeds over them. Drizzle the rest of the olive oil over the falafels and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the seeds are brown and the exterior of the falafels is crispy.

Ingredients for the tahini dressing:

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

juice of 1/2 lemon

100g tahini

pinch of salt

pinch of cumin 

Method:

To make the tahini dressing, put all the ingredients in a medium bowl along with 6 tablespoons water and whisk well until combined. Serve three falafels in a warmed pitta bread or tortilla wrap, with salad leaves, tomato and cucumber slices and a drizzle of tahini dressing.

To serve:

4 pittas or wraps

4 handfuls of salad leaves

2 vine tomatoes, sliced

1/4 cucumber, sliced

Wrap tightly in greaseproof paper and/or tin foil.

Then enjoy them on the road!

Eat Bike Cook can be pre-ordered here.

Pic of Salad from Campo Gardens

The time for summer salads is here.

We at KP are looking forward to a long and glorious summer ahead with plenty more opportunities to spend time with friends and family, and of course to cook and eat together again.

For us summer means salads. Fresh, exciting and healthy options often direct from the garden or from local producers. It’s the actual taste of sunshine.

When we think of salads of course we think of Gillian Veal of The Parlour Cafe. Gillian helped define and map our journey into cookbooks way back with our first publication – The Parlour Cafe Cookbook.

Portrait of Gillian Veal Kitchen Quiz

Throughout the lockdowns of the last year Gillian continued to express her love of good food and fresh produce through her home delivery Mezze menus which were highly popular and universally well received.

Gillian continues to dedicate a lot of her time to the cafe she runs at Cambo Gardens in Fife, where the focus is on taking fresh, seasonal ingredients direct from the estate’s wonderful gardens and delivering it onto the plate.

We are so excited to be working with Gillian and the team at Gambo Gardens on an amazing new cookbook project about this food journey and this highly creative and organic approach to cooking.

Meanwhile, we thought we would throwback to an inspirational seasonal salad recipe from Gillian’s first book The Parlour Panzanella (Bread Salad) just to whet your appetite for the new book to come and to inspire you on your own personal journey into summer salads.

Enjoy this wonderful salad from The Parlour Cafe Cookbook and over to Gillian now to explain just how you make it.

Parlour Panzanella (Bread Salad)

There are loads of recipes out there for this Italian classic, but this is how we like it. It’s a brilliant dish for using up old bread and other leftovers – try adding some torn up buffalo mozzarella, or some sliced and cooked spicy Tuscan sausage. We roast our own peppers and use our own tomato sauce, but if you are pushed for time you can use shop bought.

Ingredients

1 ciabatta loaf (approx 270g) or any other rustic style bread

1 small red onion, finely sliced

50ml olive oil

2 tablespoons dried oregano

500g tomatoes, diced

1 bunch spring onions, sliced diagonally

2 tablespoons capers

1 red pepper, roasted, peeled and cut into strips

1 stick celery, chopped

handful of pitted olives

handful of basil, roughly chopped

handful of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

40ml vinegar (white or red or balsamic or sherry – whatever you fancy or have to hand)

200ml tomato sauce (see page 101)

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 190ºC.

Tear up the loaf into bite-sized pieces and put on a baking tray with the sliced onion. Toss with the olive oil and oregano and bake for ten minutes.

Meanwhile, put the diced tomatoes, spring onion, capers, pepper, celery, olives, basil and flat leaf parsley in a large serving bowl. Get in there with your hands and mush it all together to get the flavours going and add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Take the toasted bread out of the oven and immediately sprinkle on the vinegar – you should hear it sizzle. Tip the contents of the baking tray into the tomato sauce, and then mix through all the other ingredients.

This is good served with either some simply dressed rocket alongside or with rocket mixed through it.

And for those keen to make their own tomato sauce Parlour style. Here’s how to do just that.

Tomato Sauce

This is very useful: you can use it as a simple sauce for pasta, in a vegetarian lasagne, to stuff vegetables, to add to soup or as a pizza sauce. I like to dip good bread in it. It keeps so well in the fridge (about a week) or the freezer (indefinitely) that you may as well make a big batch – it doubles or even triples up really easily. This amount makes about twice what you need for our Aubergine Parmigiana, so you could have that one night and keep the rest for an easy pasta dinner for two some other time. If you have some string, tie the thyme and bay leaves neatly together before putting into the pan, and it will be easier to remove them at the end. And if you like your tomato sauces really garlicky, separate and peel all the garlic cloves before adding them and blend along with everything else at the end.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 small onions, finely chopped

1 large carrot, diced

handful of fresh thyme

a few bay leaves

1 whole head of garlic

800g chopped tomatoes (2 x 400g tins)

1 tablespoon Worcester sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

1½ – 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

salt

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Once it’s hot, put in the onions, carrot, thyme, bay leaves and the whole head of garlic and give a good stir, then fry until everything starts to take on a nice golden brown hue. Add the tomatoes, Worcester sauce and half of the sugar and bring to the boil, stirring regularly. 

Turn down the heat to low, half cover and simmer for 1 to 2 hours – the longer the better. Stir every so often to ensure the sauce does not catch and burn. Once most of the liquid has evaporated, the vegetables are absolutely soft and the sauce has deepened in colour and amalgamated nicely, stir in 1½ tablespoons of the red wine vinegar and season with salt. Simmer for a few more minutes and taste, adjusting with more vinegar, sugar or salt if necessary. Leave to cool, then pick out the whole garlic head, thyme and bay leaves before blending the sauce in a food processor or with a hand blender.

And enjoy your summer of salads!

Dina cooking

Kitchen Quiz: With Dina Begum (Brick Lane Cookbook)

Food writer and chef Dina Begum, author of Brick Lane Cookbook, is a woman who lives and breathes what she cooks and writes about. 

Portrait Of Dina Begum

As a child she would visit the Brick Lane market with her Dad and purchase lamb kofta rolls at the Sweet & Spicy Cafe

Pic of Brick Lane

She was absolutely the perfect person to author Brick Lane Cookbook, her debut book which paid tribute to the multicultural essence of the East of London.

Brick Lane Cookbook Cover

Brick Lane has served a role for many, many years now as a hub for newly established immigrant communities – Huguenot, Bangladeshi, Jewish – arriving in the capital city making their home there, establishing communities and businesses, while expressing themselves and their cultural traditions via food. 

Brick Lane Beigel shop

An area packed full of city boys, art students, curry house touts, models and tourists, the story of Brick Lane is truly a snapshot of London at its authentic, multi-cultural best.

Restaurant sign in Brick Lane.

We caught up with Dina recently in London for our latest episode of Kitchen Quiz.

Pic of Dina Begum

Q: Hi Dina, we hope you are doing fine. So tell us was there a cookbook that really inspired you?

A: Cookbooks that have inspired me are classic ones, such as books by Siddika Kabir – Bangladeshi author, television personality and nutritionist. My favourite cookbook of hers is the Bangladeshi Curry Cookbook, which focuses on traditional recipes and home cooking. I also love Delia Smith’s writing and recipes – especially her baking books. 

Delia Smith
Bangladeshi Curry Cook Book cover.

Q: What is your favourite item in your kitchen that you simply couldn’t do without?

A: I can’t live without my kitchen scales. I’m an avid baker and this is essential for baking cakes, pastries etc. 

Dina's scales

Q: Do you have a favourite song, type of music or podcast you like to cook to?

I usually listen to Nina Simone, The Eagles, Paolo Nutini or Classical music – both Eastern and Western.

Q: If you could cook anywhere in the world in any location then where would you choose?

A: I would love the adventure element of cooking in the Sundarbans – the mangrove forest which lies in the Bay of Bengal – across Bangladesh and West Bengal. Perhaps on a boat with freshly caught fish!

Pic of the Sundarbans, Bay of Bengal.

Q: If you had to give one single piece of advice about cooking to someone then what would that be?

A: I would say cook what you love to eat and try and cook by instinct instead of focusing on recipes by the letter. This is great when you’re baking – as precision is required but general cooking should be joyful. It’s the best (and tastiest) life skill. 

Pic of Dina cooking

Massive thanks to Dina for sharing her thoughts with us. 

And if you haven’t done so already, then don’t forget to check out her cookbook for an amazing snapshot of multi-cultural East London at its finest and tastiest.

You can order the book direct from us right here.

Eat Bike Cook Kitty cycling pic

Kitchen Quiz: With Kitty Pemberton-Platt (Eat Bike Cook)

Illustrator Kitty Pemberton-Platt is a cyclist and the founder of her own sports wear and culture brand Aprés Sport. Her witty, illustrated sports food diaries have lit up Instagram with their honest visualisations of what female cyclists really eat.

Eat Bike Cook is the first in our Food For Sport series on KP. The book brings together her illustrations of diaries from women who bike from around the world with tips and hacks for what works for them.

Eat Bike Cook Book Cover Image

The diaries are accompanied by 40 corresponding recipes by Fi Buchanan created to meet the energy demands of cyclists. 

Japanese Omelette Recipe Image

As well as providing inspiration on easy and tasty ways to fuel for days on the bike, Eat Bike Cook is a celebration of the female cycling community: of the great chat in a cafe mid-ride, of the handful of Haribos that gets you through the last 25km and the shared beer and burger at the end off the day.

Kitty’s wonderful illustrations are at the beating heart of this terrific book and we were very excited to catch up with her recently for the next episode of Kitchen Quiz. 

So take the ride and find out something about what makes her tick.

Kitty Pemberton-Platt Portrait

Q: Hi Kitty, so was there an illustrator or illustrated book that really inspired you?

A: One of my first creative obsessions was Penny Crayon – a fictitious animated character from the 80s/90s. She had the enviable superpower of transforming anything she drew into reality. Over the following years, I soaked in inspiration from everywhere – my mum’s fine art, photography, typography, graffiti or my young niece’s fantastically fearless creations. I discovered the witty world of Waldo Pancake. Through to the emotionally sharp Charlie Mackesy. There’s reference points everywhere but it’s often been a simple and truly innate love for putting pen (a good thick one) to paper supported with playful social commentary, that was my motivator.  

Penny Crayon Image

Q: What is your favourite item in your kitchen that you simply couldn’t do without?

A: The kitchen is a superb room in the house. Whether it’s cooking to music or chatting to my boyfriend Joe whilst we are cleaning the dishes, it’s a space bursting with possibility and taste. I’m not the most sophisticated cook – even though I enthusiastically try to be – so my cooking utensils are relatively simple. In fact, in our current London flat, I’ve selfishly taken up 30% of it with a coffee corner. Filter machine, espresso machine, grinder, V60 and a collection of French presses. Those items mean so much more than coffee, they’re symbolic of a daily moment of pause and simple focus that’s hard to replicate elsewhere. 

Kitty in the kitchen

Q: Do you have a favourite song, type of music or podcast you like to bike to?

A: My favourite audio during a ride is good conversation – when else do you share hours of thoughts and a listening ear without distraction. If I’m by myself, what I enjoy varies incredibly. I’m quite a patchwork quilt of interests – from EDM (electronic dance music) to americast (the BBC podcast). A short commute is often fuelled with fast beat music whereas long adventures lend themselves to a podcast. I’ll choose one that discusses a perspective or subject I’m deeply interested in (eg How I Built This) or have zero idea about (eg a 3 hour Joe Rogan with Elon Musk). 

Kitty cycling pic

Q: If you could bike and refuel anywhere in the world in any location then where would you choose?

A: This is one of my favourite questions because it instantly evokes a spectrum of visceral memories. There’s one specific location that holds an incredibly fond spot in my heart – a humble restaurant in Palma de Mallorca that my boyfriend (Joe) and I stumbled across after a long mountainous day in the sun. We savoured crisp cold shandies and the saltiest home made chips we’ve ever tasted. I’m pretty sure they were cooked in magic sauce, or maybe the special ingredient was the conditions and the company. It was perfection, wrapped up in après surroundings – tired legs, salty food and sharing a sense of reward with a loved one. 

Cold cerveza pic

Q: Do you have any interesting pre-ride rituals you could share with us as advice for the budding riders out there?

A: Pre-ride rituals are an escape before you begin moving. Over ten years ago, I self printed my first book of life advice entitled ‘Oats taste better when soaked overnight’. That’s still the best guidance I can give – soak those oats, slowly brew that coffee and read up about where you’re about to ride (and make sure there’s sufficient ingredients waiting in that fridge you’ll dive into when you get back).

Eat Bike Cook Bowl Pic

Thank you so much Kitty for your thoughtful ands interesting replies. We can’t wait for you all to get your hands on the marvellous Eat Bike Cook.

You can pre-order the book and guarantee to get it first right here.

Picture of Jeni Iannetta of Bad Girl Bakery

Kitchen Quiz Episode 3: Jeni Iannetta (Bad Girl Bakery)

For our latest insight into the lives of our incredible and inspiring authors we journey back up to the stunning Scottish Highlands to pay a visit to the original bad girl baker, Jeni Iannetta. 

Picture of Jeni Iannetta of Bad Girl Bakery

Jeni’s wonderful, award winning Bad Girl Bakery is situated at Muir Of Ord where she dishes out the most unapologetically generous and indulgent cakes, bakes, biscuits and savouries.

Interior of Bad Girl Bakery

Lucky for us all she has been using some of the downtime during the lockdowns of the last year to write her first cookbook cunningly entitled Bad Girl Bakery. You can now pre-order the book direct from us on our website.

OK stick the kettle on and perhaps cut yourself a slice of cake. It’s time to hear from The Bad Girl Baker herself.

Q. Hi there Jeni. So was there a cookbook that really inspired you?

A: So, this is going to sound cheesy and like I’m trying to suck up, but it’s absolutely true! It’s the Parlour Cafe Cookbook. It’s not just the recipes; it’s that  someone I knew opened a food business and published a book. Gill has been a total inspiration and one of the reasons I now work in food. I love her book mostly because the recipes are fantastic and while her food is nothing like mine, the colours, textures and variety are something I’d like to think we had in common. 

I own over 200 cookbooks (at the last count) At home, I’ve been a massive fan of Nigella. I guess it’s that notion of indulgence and comfort in simple, easy to follow recipes.  

Most recently, I bought a couple of fantastic American baking books: Brave Tart and Weekend Baking. American baking is fascinating and these two are great examples. 

cover of the Parlour Cafe Cookbook
Q: What is your favourite item in your kitchen that you simply couldn’t do without?

A: It would have to be my Kmix. I’m a huge fan. It’s the most used piece of kit in the bakery (even more so that our beautiful industrial mixers, which I also love). The Kmix is lovely and gentle, easy to control and a real work horse. I’m slightly embarrassed to say we only buy them in our corporate colours.  You definitely don’t need one to bake, but they make life a lot easier.

I have a favourite pallet knife too.  I’ve have it for years  and it came from my mum, and it has a lovely old wooden handle.  All of us want to use that one! 

Pic of Kmix food mixer
Q: Do you have a favourite song, type of music or podcast you like to cook to?

A: Ooft. Too difficult!

My brother in law, Niall who has an incredible music collection, makes us playlists for the cafe that has all the families favourites in there. My favourite still remains the one he made for our opening. It’s got over 12 hours worth of tracks (over 200) from things to break you in gently in the morning, to things to get you through the clean down and we play it still, 4 years on. Marlena Shaw, Marvin Gaye or Groove Armada for a slow start Sunday.

For clean down it’s got everything from Toots and the Maytals, Primal Scream, James Brown and there’s even a bit of Beyoncé in there.

Here is a link to the playlist.

Q: If you could cook anywhere in the world in any location then where would you choose?

A: That gives me the fear! There’s nowhere I love baking more than in our bakery. It’s light, bright and beautifully laid out and that’s where my favourite spatulas and palette knives live! It sounds so cheesy, but we’re surrounded by a team we love. It’s my favourite place to bake.

Pic of Bad Girl Kitchen
Q: If you had to give one single piece of advice about cooking to someone then what would that be?

A: Ohhh, that’s tough. I guess I’d say ‘Hold your nerve’ a lot! In baking, sometimes things look bad before they look better! Like when you’re making a brownie: the mixture goes through a slightly split, grainy stage before it transforms into a smooth, glossy batter. It’s still my very favourite moment in baking.

Oh, and read the recipe and weigh out everything before you start! 

Thank you so much Jeni! Such inspiring stuff. Can’t you just feel her energy, enthusiasm and love for cooking? We can’t wait to show you her cookbook very soon!

Book Cover of Bad Girl Bakery

The book is out in November but you can pre-order here right now and guarantee that you are one of the first people to grab a copy.

Portrait of KJ

Kitchen Quiz Episode 2: Kirsten Gilmour (The Mountain Cafe/KJ’s Bothy Bakery)

For the second in our Kitchen Quiz series of  short interviews with our amazing authors, we zip up to our favourite Kiwi in the Cairngorms Kirsten Gilmour, or KJ as she is known to many.

Portrait of KJ

KJ was the lady behind the fabulously successful The Mountain Cafe Cookbook. A real cooking bible of tasty soups, exhilarating salads, hearty mains and delightful baking, this is a cookbook that every kitchen shelf simply needs to have.

Mountain Cafe Cookbook Cover

Kirsten is now focused on her latest project, KJ’s Bothy Bakery knocking out demon breads, scones, buns, meringues, muffins and swirls to those lucky enough to live nearby her in the Highlands.

We caught up with KJ to ask her a few quick questions while she stopped briefly for air….

Sit back and relax. It’s time for KITCHEN QUIZ!!!

KJ Kitchen Quiz

Q: Hey KJ, hope you are doing good! So was there a cookbook that really inspired you?

A: So many cookbooks inspire me, but I love The Edmonds cookbook from NZ. It’s a classic that all parents give their kids when they are leaving home. It is just packed full of good simple recipes that work. It’s pretty dated in some ways now, but it remains close to my heart and the baking recipes always work!

Edmonds Cookbook Cover

Q: What is your favourite item in your kitchen that you simply couldn’t do without?

A: My magic scraper! It’s a dough scraper I use for cleaning dough, scone mix & cookie dough off my benches. I also use it for portioning my bread, cutting pastry & it’s just the business. 

Kitchen Quiz Magic Scraper

Q: Do you have a favourite song, type of music or podcast you like to cook to?

A: NZ music mostly like Fat Freddy’s drop and The Black seeds. They are great for a boogie while cooking. 

Q: If you could cook anywhere in the world in any location then where would you choose?

A: Tuscany. I would love to learn more on Italian food culture & skills 

Market Tuscany

Q: If you had to give one single piece of advice about cooking to someone then what would that be?

A: Relax! Don’t take yourself too seriously. Have fun and don’t be hard on yourself if something goes wrong. 

KJ cooking tartieflett

Thank you so much Kirsten. You are always a total champ and a star. We can’t wait to try your baking delights from your bothy bakery as soon as we can get up there!

Buy The Mountain Cafe Cookbook here

And don’t forget you can get 15% off all KP titles for the whole month of February 2021 using the code ‘FEB15’ at checkout on our website plus postage is also free!

Kitchen Press FEB15 discount code

Welcome to Kitchen Quiz our new series of short interviews focussing on the wonderful people who write our cookbooks for us!

Episode 1: Gillian Veal (The Parlour Cafe & Cambo Gardens Cafe)

The Parlour Cafe Cookbook was our very first publication way back in the mists of time. We owe its spectacular chef and author Gillian Veal a massive debt for launching our book list in such exquisite style.

cover of the Parlour Cafe Cookbook

So we thought it was only right to kick off this series with Gillian, especially as we are currently working with her on a brand new title [trumpet sounds]. 

The new cookbook is based around the food she creates at Cambo Gardens in the East Neuk of Fife. Her cafe is set in the old stables of the historic Cambo manor house amongst gloriously kept walled gardens which are packed full of vegetables and herbs for her to use in her culinary creations. It is a magical setting for any chef and Gillian has simply thrived there, so we are very pleased that soon she will be sharing that magic with you all.

view of cambo gardens in the sunshine for Kitchen Quiz

Meanwhile we caught up with her at home and asked her a few wee questions….

Portrait of Gillian Veal Kitchen Quiz

Sit back and relax. It’s time for KITCHEN QUIZ!!!

Q: Hi Gillian, was there a cookbook that really inspired you?

A: The River Cafe Cook Book was the one. I loved the relationship between the two owners. It was inspiring how they bounced off each other with their knowledge of ingredients and simple approach. It set me on the path that led to The Parlour Cafe Cook Book.

River Cafe Cook Book, Gillian's Kitchen Quiz pick
Q: What is your favourite item in your kitchen that you simply couldn’t do without?

A: I love all my gran’s old pans and baking stuff. They simply don’t make them like that anymore. And I recently treated myself to a thermo mix ,which is a bit like having a second chef work with me.

Salads from cambo cafe for Kitchen Quiz
Q: Do you have a favourite song, type of music or podcast you like to cook along to?

A: Oh impossible to choose any one song or genre in particular.  It’s like my food, I mostly decide what I’m going to make that very day. Same with the music.  It’s a good day when the right music and food comes together. I’m lucky I have so many friends around with a passion for music, so I get introduced to all sorts in the cafe.  My only habit is I always listen to the radio from when I get to work till 10am. It’s like my timer to prepping for the days service. I normally listen to Radio 6, but flip over to Radio 4 as well if I’m not feeling it.

Some of the apple varieties grown at Cambo - Kitchen Quiz
rpt
Q: If you could cook anywhere in the world in any location then where would you choose?

A: There are so many places I still have to visit, but for now Andalucia in Spain would be my number one choice. It has the perfect variety of food and cooking styles. So probably an outdoor kitchen at the top of a beautiful beach from around 4pm till sunset. And perhaps with the odd glass of vino…

Andalucia view
Q: If you had to give one single piece of advice to someone about cooking then what would that be?

A: My one piece of cooking advice would be to engage all your senses. It’s not just about following a recipe.  If something doesn’t smell, taste or feel correct then do something about it. You have to feel it. While cooking it might even involve getting to know the right sound an ingredient makes when it hits the pan. It should be a passion and not just work.

Cambo feast for the Kitchen Quiz

Thank you so much for doing our Kitchen Quiz Gillian. We can’t wait to try out your new recipes from Cambo very soon!

Buy The Parlour Cafe Cookbook here