What type of food do you normally make and how often?
Words by Hannah Penwright
Vegetarian meals are what I’m found making most. I try and cook from scratch most nights and I love making dishes such as vegan sloppy joes and butternut squash chilli. I’m also a huge baking fan, and I love making birthday cakes for friends and family. They tend to get whatever cake I’ve been dreaming up because it’s an excuse to go a bit crazy with decorating every so often!
How long have you been making this type of food and what inspired you?
I stopped eating meat in 2015, which inspired me to get in the kitchen and experiment with vegetables and alternative protein sources. I’ve got a vegetable patch in my garden, so I love using whatever’s growing when I’m home in my food. My housemate is also vegetarian, so we often share recipes and tips and cook together too.
What’s the best thing you’ve ever made?
I made a wedding cake for a school project which focused on how wedding cakes have changed over time. Once my research was complete, I made a wedding cake to share with my class. The bottom layer was a traditional fruit cake, middle layer a vanilla and raspberry naked cake, and on top a vegan chocolate cake. It was so much fun to make from start to finish.
What’s the secret to getting the best-looking snap for Instagram?
Use natural light whenever possible when taking pictures, as these look so much better. If your shadow is in the way of the picture, try standing on a chair or take the picture from a different angle.
Tell us about your worst kitchen disaster.
My favourite dessert to make has got to be cheesecake, and I always use a loose-bottom tin for ease of removal. One time I made a banoffee cheesecake and I didn’t realise there were two tin bottoms stuck in one tin. When I went to get it out, they had created a vacuum and after many attempts, it was finally freed. However, it slipped out of my grasp and slid across the kitchen counter, sadly not staying in one piece. It still tasted delicious though, just not quite as pretty as normal!
What would be your top 3 tips for someone wanting to start a foodgram?
1. Cook/ bake with the freshest ingredients and try and use a variety of colourful foods such as fresh herbs and fruit. Pictures with bursts of colour in will brighten up your feed and what I find my followers love the most.
2. Make good use of Instagram stories. This is a great place to share what you’ve been eating if you’ve been to a food festival or on holiday, or if you want to ask people what they want to see you make next.
3. Make the food look as tempting to eat as possible. Whether that’s encouraging a drip of caramel to fall down the side of a dessert, or taking a picture of the inside of a cake so they can see what you’re eating, it will make your pictures a lot more popular.
What are you planning on making next?
I’ve really got into plant-based cooking recently because I’m trying to cut back on my dairy intake. I love Mexican food so the next dish I’ve got planned is chickpea and cauliflower tacos with guacamole and homegrown chillies.
Please share your favourite/seasonal recipe with us!
I’ve always struggled with eating breakfast- probably because I’m not a morning person in the slightest. However, this granola is so delicious that it makes getting up much less difficult. I love it with some coconut yoghurt and sliced banana.
• 3 cups rolled oats
• 2 tbsp golden granulated sugar
• 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
• 1/4 cup whole-nut peanut butter
• 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
• 1/3 cup dairy-free dark chocolate, chopped finely
• 2 tbsp desiccated coconut
• 1/2 cup dried fruit (I used raisins and apricots)
• 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
• 1/4 cup mixed nuts, roughly chopped
1. Preheat oven to 170°C/ 150°C fan.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, nuts, pumpkin seeds, desiccated coconut and sugar.
3. Melt together the honey, peanut butter and coconut oil until pourable.
4. Pour the liquids over the oats and stir to combine. If it looks too wet, add in a handful of oats.
5. Spread evenly onto two baking sheets and bake for 20-25 minutes until evenly golden and toasted. Stir every 10 minutes so it caramelises evenly. It will burn quickly, so keep a close eye on it once it has started going golden.
6. Remove from the oven, stir to release heat and leave to cool.
7. Transfer to a storage container and add the chocolate chunks and dried fruit, and mix. Stays fresh for up to two weeks but it can be frozen too.