Bettina Campolucci Bordi, chef, blogger and author of delicious new vegan cookbook, Happy Food
I come from a foody happy family and growing up we loved eating, cooking and celebrating food together. Both of my grandmothers and parents were fantastic cooks, so I was brought up surrounded by it all the time. Being raised in East Africa, we didn’t have a choice – all our meals were always made from scratch and I’d go to the vegetable and tropical fruit markets with my mother regularly and, as these were in abundance, we had a whole lot of choice. If we ever wanted butter or cream, my mother would have to make it from scratch. On our annual visits to Europe we would bring back ‘special ingredients’ that were a total luxury.
Happy Food (£20, Hardie Grant) is a collection of easy, fuss-free, vegan recipes that I have cooked over the years for clients and on retreats. Most of the ingredients for the recipes you can source from any farmer’s market or supermarket. I wanted to focus on using as many basic fruits and vegetables as possible to make it more accessible and really encourage people not to waste food by re-using ingredients in several recipes. There is a whole chapter dedicated to one or two-person households to target this! I have also had a lot of clients with common allergies, so have tried to ensure there is plenty of option for sufferers too. I can honestly say I love every recipe in the book but the sticky toffee pudding is definitely one of the winners – it’s a must try!
I think a lot more people are turning to veganism now they are more aware of the state of the planet and environment and want to do their bit to help. I think the increased sense of consumer consciousness in general shows that we are understanding more about the effect what we consume has on the environment. Adding more plant-based foods into your diet makes you feel better, and nobody can argue that greens, veggies and fruits aren’t good for you. For anyone looking to make healthier changes to their lifestyle, I would recommend eating more greens. I always think the best thing is to be more inclusive with food choices and, by just adding more fruit and vegetables to your diet, amazing changes can be made.
My favourite foods totally depend on the season. If the weather is cold I love comforting foods but in the summer my meals are always light, crisp and fresh. I really like baby brocollis and avocados if they are sourced well. I used to live in Spain and they fell off the trees, so we had a good steady supply. I like simplicity in my cooking, where ingredients are not messed about with too much, are in season and at their height of taste. I really enjoy Middle Eastern cuisine as it is something I don’t cook myself.
Singular diets really get on my nerves because they are so unsustainable and far from reality. Like eating only banana for a week or just drinking maple cayenne water for ten days. It doesn’t make sense and ruins our relationship with food. I do try not to be too judgemental with others’ dietary choices but those are just very frustrating. Ultimately you just have to do what is the right thing for your body.
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