Wij stellen graag ‘Veggie Heroes’ aan je voor: mannen en vrouwen die vegetarisch eten écht op de kaart zetten. Vandaag in de spotlight: bestsellerauteur Rukmini Iyer van het boek De groene bakplaat. Zij introduceert met haar nieuwste kookboek De groene barbecue de lekkerste en origineelste gerechten voor buiten op de barbecue of voor in de oven. Rukmini spreekt Engels, dus vandaar dat het interview ook in het Engels is!
How come that you are such a huge greens fan? What is the biggest reason for this?
I grew up in a vegetarian household, so I’ve always thought of meals as comprising lots of different types of vegetables cooked in interesting ways! And more recently because it feels healthier to make our meals largely plant-based.
Do you remember the first moment when you thought: things are really starting to change, eating your veg becomes more mainstream.
Yes, I remember a few years back – maybe about 10 years ago in the UK? – when restaurants started offering far more interesting vegetarian options – places like The Grain Store in London, or The Dogs in Edinburgh. I’d go back again and again for the same dish – a cauliflower and broccoli goats cheese crumble with hazelnuts, which I then wrote a version of in my first cookbook ‘The Roasting Tin’!
When did food became your work? How did this come about? Was it always your goal or did you stumble across your food career?
I switched from being a lawyer to a chef right after finishing my law training – I spent all day cooking and decided that I wanted it to become my job! It wasn’t always my goal but it was definitely the right choice – now I get to do what I love, which is write and cook – all the time!
Do you have a message you want to relay with your books?
I’d like to relay that having good food, simply prepared, is an easy and achievable thing to do everyday. My dishes usually just involve chopping a few ingredients, chucking them in the oven (or on the barbecue) and making a dressing – just three easy steps, but such a great reward in terms of flavour and time spent in the kitchen.
What kind of role does vegetarian or plant-based eating play in your surroundings/family?
I was vegetarian from about 11 years old until I was 19 (watching the movie Babe started me on it, and then getting interested in the food my flatmates were cooking tempted me back into being an omnivore.) But my partner and I went pescatarian after doing ‘vegetarian-anuary’ this year, so plant-based food is how I cook everyday, with the odd bit of salmon thrown in. I grow vegetables and salad leaves so it’s lovely to cook with our own produce.
How do you see yourself in 10 years, and where do you think the veggie kitchen is heading then?
In 10 years – gosh! Hopefully cooking up lots of food for a growing family, and spending loads of time gardening – flowers as well as fruit and veg. I think plant-based cooking will be even more mainstream then!
Just a few short question, to finish: Who is your hero or source of inspiration?
My mother – she’s a fantastic cook and gardener and I’m always impressed by how much she does – she’s a retired doctor and so knowledgeable about plants and food, is an excellent artist, does lots of charity work, ran a 5k on her 70th birthday – I just wish she had a bit more confidence in herself!
Do you have a favourite veg cookbook or blog or insta account that you follow?
I love ‘The Garden Farmer’ by Francine Raymond, and @seemagetsbaked is my favourite Instagram account – it’s rare that Seema posts something that I don’t want to cook!
Do you have a favourite plant-based ingredient?
I’m slightly obsessed with Tenderstem broccoli!
Do you have an all-time favourite recipe? The evergreen you always turn to or fall back on when you are cooking for friends or at dinner parties?
My go-to dinner party recipe is fresh figs on crostini or in little pastry cases, with goats cheese, fresh basil pesto and a little bit of honey – so delicious and easy to put together!
Do you have the ultimate tip for a budding veg fan?
Even if you’ve just got a windowsill, have a go at growing your own salad leaves or radishes – they’re so much fun to harvest and eat!
Ken jij de kookboeken van Rukmini al? Laat ons weten wat je ervan vindt in een reactie op de website, Facebook of Instagram. We zijn benieuwd!
De groene barbecue