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Updated: March 12, 2014 20:01 IST

Food for the soul

PREETI ZACHARIAH
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Celebrity chef Rachel Allen
Celebrity chef Rachel Allen

Fresh produce, simple cooking and heaps of love is Rachel Allen’s recipe for great taste

Rachel Allen’s culinary journey began early, “I was always baking with my mother and sister when I was younger. It was so much fun and we got to reap the rewards of all that effort,” laughs the 41 year old, the warmth and vivacity she is famous for palpable even over telephone static.

Rachel, whose new series Rachel Allen’s Easy Meals will air on TLC from Monday to Friday at 8 p.m. all this month, admits that she loves the food she grew up eating—simple, delicious fare made with fresh wholesome produce, “My mum managed to always put good food on the table and I always loved eating it. Great food comes from great produce,” she says, adding that the much of the produce she uses in her cooking comes from the farm in County Cork where she lives with her husband Isaac, sons Luka and Joshua and their daughter Scarlett.

In fact that was her biggest learning from Ballymaloe Cookery School, where she went to study and now teaches at, “On the first day I was all excited because I assumed that they would be cooking fantastic cheffy food,” she says. Instead they introduced her to the world of produce and how fresh, perfect produce made all the difference, “Knowing where food comes from helps you respect it,” she says.

Rachel balances many roles—cookbook writer, columnist, television host, teacher and full time mum, “I’m a jack of all trades, master of none. I try to be organized and get enough sleep but I do love a good party,” she admits, rattling off the menu of a party she plans to organize soon, “We are going to have friends over for lunch we and I’m serving a green soup made with water cress and spinach, a loin of glazed bacon accompanied by some kale or cabbage and rhubarb pie,” she says.

Besides all this she also has designed a line of home ware products for Tipperary Crystal which includes crystal stemware, porcelain dinner sets, and kitchen/dining essentials, “I love nice things on a table,” she says, adding that it enhances the eating experience.

Rachel admits that she likes experimenting and eating different sorts of food—including good Indian food, “I always thought that Indian food was just too hot and spicy until I was introduced to real Indian food by a friend. I love the flavours now-- they are so full and complex. I now can make a pretty good curry myself,” she laughs.

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