We recently had the absolute pleasure of making (and eating!) some recipes from a lady who we believe is set to take the culinary cookbook world by storm. Anupreet Attridge is a 38 year old foodie from Bristol who believes passionately about the importance of feeding your family good, wholesome and nutritious food, yet making it accessible, fun and exciting to all.
She currently teaches Indian Cookery and is in the stages of writing her first cookbook, as well as planning her business with dinner party subscription boxes. Her Chicken Jalfrezi Shepherds Pie and Indian Spiced Salad are literally to die for and she is busy developing recipes and testing them so that she can share them with you all.
We caught up with Anupreet to find our a bit more about her, what inspires her and what we can expect to see from her in the future.
Tell us about how you got into cooking?
“I became fascinated with cooking at the age of eight and I have fond memories of the summer holidays when I would stay in Hampshire with my mothers mum. My Nan was, and still is, a magician in the kitchen. She can cook everything, and makes cooking seem like an art, never a chore or necessity that needed to be done. I remember once she taught me how to make a simple potato and tomato Indian dish. I felt so proud when I knew how to cook it all by myself and even today I still love cooking it!”
Who/what are your biggest influences?
“My biggest foodie influences are my family and they seriously love to cook, so as you can guess, everything revolves around food. We’re often feeding people, and in abundance, no one goes hungry! My other influences are the diverse and exciting cultures that produce some of the most amazing ingredients. You can quite literally travel anywhere in the world just through the love of food.”
Who are your favourite chefs?
“I admire Jamie Oliver, because he makes cooking accessible, rustic and wholesome, which I believe appeals to so many, including myself. He is also very passionate about encouraging people to cook and I truly believe the difference he has made with school meals and the pass it on concept of encouraging people to cook in the community is worthy of a knighthood. I would love to meet him!
More recently, there are two chefs Sabrina Ghayour a Persian self-taught cook and Meera Sodha another self-taught cook that I started following on Instragam. They really pave the way for other home cooks like myself to realise that you don’t need be a trained chef to write a cookbook or have a career in cooking. I truly believe cooking is a creative art form that we all possess with practice.”
What is your favourite type of restaurant food?
“My ultimate favourite restaurant food is most definitely Pan Asian. I love the amazing range and flavours you get from Thai, Malaysian, Vietnamese and other oriental food. I think it’s the sweet aromatic flavours you get from flavours such as coconut milk, lemongrass and kaffir lime that do it for me.”
You’re big on using spices in your recipes, what is your favourite spice and why?
“Definitely ground Cumin. I will literally put cumin in everything, even just a small amount of it can transform any dish.”
How important do you think it is to teach our children about cooking and healthy eating?
“Healthy eating is what sets us up for a healthy body and mind. Starting children from a young age on that concept, in my opinion, is so important. A lot of children these days are very fussy when it comes to food, my eldest included. However, children are naturally creative and visual and by using creativity to involve them in the exciting world of cooking and food they are more likely to eat what they have created. Also eating a whole range of foods is so important to start early with children as it sets them up to be able to explore foods as they get older.”
What was your favourite meal when you were a child?
“My favourite meal was most definitely Punjabi Chicken…but only how my Nan would make it! Growing up in my family, we would eat vegetarian during the weekdays and meat at the weekends. My Nan would cook a big pot of Punjabi chicken, a delicious spicy Indian chicken on the bone, cooked in a warming gravy. It was, without a doubt, my favourite dish. I would always look forward to her making it on a Saturday when I would be staying with her. And I would always have first dibs on my favourite chicken pieces – the drumsticks!”
What’s your favourite meal to prepare for your own family now?
“My eldest daughter is so particular when it comes to food, but there are a few meals that are her absolute favourite. One of her all time favourites is an Indian dish called Matter Paneer, which is an Indian cubed cheese with peas and sweetcorn, cooked in an onion and tomato based gravy. As it’s one of her ultimate favourites, it regularly appears on the menu planner for the week. Unfortunately, she has just been diagnosed with a dairy intolerance, so I’ve started using Tofu instead of Paneer for this dish.”
If you could invite three people (dead or alive) to a dinner party who would it be and why?
“Tough question. I would invite Seal, my favourite singer of all time, who I can’t wait to see in concert next year in Bristol. Amitabh Bachchan, the Bollywood legend, and in my eyes the best actor in the world! Beyonce, that woman can dance like no other and I admire how much she has achieved with her amazing focus and hard work, she is quite rare.
Failing that maybe I could invite Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-Un and they can resolve their world issues over some good food! I think it could work.”
And what three course meal would you serve them?
“My signature Caramelised Pear and Stilton Soup, Lavender Leg of Lamb and Italian Banoffee! All recipes will feature in my book. I have also just realised that Amitabh Bachchan and Seal are both vegetarian, so for them I would make a tapas of my Mango and Lime Halloumi, Paprika Sweet Potato Wedges, Saffron Sweetcorn Mayo Relish and a Beetroot, Chickpea and Peanut Burger in a falafel style.”
How do you cook – neat and organised or messy nightmare?
“I like to start cooking in a clean tidy kitchen. I tend to take out each ingredient as and when I need it, as I don’t like clutter and I don’t really want to have ingredients in small little bowls because I don’t want to accumulate a lot of washing up! I also like to clean up as I go along so the kitchen is usually just as clean and tidy at the end of cooking as it was at the start.”
What can we expect to see from you next?
“I started writing my cookbook, Cook Fuse Eat, 18 months ago. My main influence is fusion cooking and the main theme is either twists on a classic, for example my Italian Banoffee or Chicken Jalfrezi Shepherds Pie, or recipes combining ingredients that conventionally wouldn’t normally be put together, such as my Lavender Leg of Lamb and Carrot or Wholegrain Mustard Raita. I currently have 21 recipes written and tested and I am also working on some starters and desserts. Altogether, I plan to have 45 recipes in my book. I need testers, people of different cooking abilities, complete novices to cooking geniuses to test my recipes, so if anyone wants to try them for me, let me know!
I also teach Indian cookery, as that’s my background and I offer three different packages, depending on how many dishes you want to learn. The dishes can be chosen from a range and I put together an itinerary of two to 4 lessons. I also do cookery parties, where I present interactive cookery demos in someone’s home for their group of friends and once the food has been cooked, I then leave them to enjoy the food and clear up!
In the next 12 months I will also be offering life coaching. This includes offering coaching packages for individuals to help them in hosting their own dinner party as well as learning how to organise their family routine; from children’s meals, being savvy shoppers, meal planners, how to eat better as a family, incorporating different dietary needs, intolerances, etc.”
If money and time were no object what would be your dream plans for the future?
“I would open my own Indian Tearooms and serve steaming hot Indian tea and cardamon scones and clotted cream! My husband also came up with an idea of combining a tearoom with a beauty salon, he said it should be called the “Beau-tea rooms,” which I think has a bit of ring to it.”
Anupreet will be sharing some more of her delicious recipes with us over the next few months so keep you’re eyes peeled!