To celebrate the release of blogger Alessandra Peter's first cookbook, The Foodie Teen, we caught up to have a chat about what's in her fridge, what cookbooks she loves and more about her debut book, of course!
Can you tell us a bit more about your cookbook?
It’s all about getting everyone (but especially young people and teenagers) excited about healthy food + healthy living in a really fun, friendly way, with over a hundred nutritious recipes and lots of tips about natural skincare, stress relief and loving your body. I’m all about unprocessed, real food – basically that means trying to avoid things that come from a box, bag or package and sticking to fresh, healthful options as much as possible! From breakfasts worth getting out of bed for to soups, sides and green stuff to seriously decadent desserts, there’s all kinds of recipes, including red pepper chicken fajitas with tomato salsa with a coriander-spiked guacamole and delicious chocolate hazelnut truffles. There’s also loads of tips and tricks about prepping and planning in advance to make life a little easier - I really hope that this book shows you that healthy eating is delicious, fast, and most of all, really fun!
If you had to pick one recipe to show off what your book will be about, which one would it be and why?
That’s a super hard question but I think it would have to be the Spiced Chocolate Chilli with Coriander-Spiked Guacamole! It tastes great, only takes about half an hour to make and has a bit of cacao powder as the secret ingredient, which makes it really rich and brings out all the lovely spices too!
Here at The Happy Foodie, we're totally obsessed with cookbooks. Can you tell us a bit about the favourites in your collection?
I’m a complete cookbook hoarder and you’ll probably find cookbooks scattered all over the house, much to my parents’ annoyance… A few of my absolute favourite authors are Mary Berry, Nigella, Ottolenghi & Jamie Oliver and my go-to healthy food writers are the Hemsley sisters, Amelia Freer & Madeleine Shaw – the list is never-ending really!
Is there an ingredient you are really enjoying cooking with at the moment?
White balsamic vinegar! It sounds a bit posh and faffy but it’s a bit lighter and more fruity than traditional balsamic, which makes it amazing in salad dressings and on roasted veggies. Another recent favourite is roasted hazelnut butter – it’s super easy to make yourself and it’s amazing on a square of dark chocolate as a little treat.
What excites you about the British food world at the moment?
I’m loving how everyone is starting to get interested in cooking with real food rather than relying on boxes, bags and packets! The influence of so many different cultures on traditional British food is also really great – a few years ago you would never have found dukkah or pomegranate molasses in your average supermarket but now they’ve become much more accessible and lots more people are starting to experiment with different cuisines and exciting new flavours.
What’s your comfort food?
It’s going to have to be a warm grain-free chocolate brownie with a big scoop of salted caramel coconut milk ice cream! I’m a total chocoholic and that’s my go-to after a stressful week.
If we had a look in your fridge, what would we be bound to find?
Lots of fresh fruit + veg, jars of salad dressings, homemade pesto and chia seed jam, and probably a few recipe experiments I’m working on.
Are you from a family of great cooks? How did you get interested in cooking and food?
I think it’s safe to say that my whole family really loves food! My mum loves cooking and experimenting – sometimes it doesn’t turn out quite right but we have lots of fun. She’s always encouraged me and my brother to help out in the kitchen and as a result we’re both food lovers – I love cooking and my brother’s my chief taste-tester! It’s safe to say neither of us like the washing up though…