Meet Lisa Roukin
Q & A with Lisa Roukin, Cook and Author of My Relationship with Food
Q1. We’re big fans of your food Lisa, where did your love of food come from?
My love of food started at an early age. Having been born into a family of foodies, especially my father, food dominated family time spent together. I was fortunate in growing up that my grandmother was very much a part of our family home environment, and most days I would find my grandma, and mother in the kitchen cooking together. Having watched and observed the love of food between my grandmother and mother, it was something I naturally gravitated to.
Q2. Where did you learn to cook? Are you professionally trained?
I think I naturally have a talent and skill for cooking. Although having watched my mum and grandmother cook together, I picked up lots of information along the way of understanding how to cook and techniques involved which I now use, such as watching my grandma knead bread in a certain way. I believe that I had the best training from my mother and grandma. However, in 2008 I attended a culinary school in London called Le Cordon Bleu.
Q3. What is your relationship with food Like? Do you follow any particular diets or refrain from eating any foods?
My relationship with food is the best that it’s ever been. It takes years to identify what works with your body. I now follow a gluten-free diet purely by choice as gluten products were doing my body no justice and causing me mood swings and dermatitis herpetiformis, a form of coeliac disease. I limit dairy where possible as it makes me feel congested and gives me irritable bowels, I also try and use no refined sugars.
Q4. What are your go to quick fix mid-week meals?
There’s always a big batch of quinoa in my fridge which I will often mix into some freshly cooked salmon or chicken and make a delicious salad. Although some evenings I’m quite partial to having an omelette or one of my all-time favourites is Shakshuka which are eggs cooked in a delicious tomato sauce with cooked onions and my all-time favourite mushroom shiitake.
Q5. What do you look for, when sourcing your ingredients to cook with?
I like to focus the base of my meal times around plant based ingredients. One of my favourite vegetables to use is cauliflower as it is so diverse in the ways that you can use it. I do also like to incorporate meat, fish and poultry into my diet. I like to keep my ingredients list to a minimum to ensure that my recipes aren’t over complicated and are enjoyable and easy to make. I like to add lots of vibrancy and often I will devise a recipe that incorporates not only savoury foods but it also has a twist of a sweet to tantalise my taste buds.
Q6. You seem well travelled, what are your favourite cuisines from around the world and why?
Fortunately, I have been in a position to visit lots of countries around the world. As I am such a food lover, my main priority when travelling abroad is to taste the different foods that are cooked and presented in the native country. I love nothing more than talking to people about their ways of cooking whilst abroad which often gives me inspiration and ideas which make me eager to get home so I can recreate the dish whether it be paella, an Asian beef salad or risotto. I’d say my favourite cuisine has got to be Italian and that’s not only down to the accent!
Q7. Which groovy food company products do you like using?
My go to products without a doubt, are coconut oil, as one of the most popular recipes in my cookbook hands down is my raw chocolate brownies combined with using agave nectar which complements this recipe. If I am making any Indian or Asian recipes, coconut oil enhances the flavour of the recipe in a mild but subtle way.
Q8. What’s your favourite recipe from your cook book, My Relationship with Food and why?
My favourite would have to be ossobuco, it’s delicious. This is my ultimate signature dish. When any of my family or friends hear I am cooking ossobuco, the table is always immediately filled as this is one of my most comforting dishes that I make. It oozes memories of eating this dish throughout my childhood. It’s a firm favourite of mine, the meat just falls off the bone; it’s succulent, soft and tender and the sauce, as my dad would say, is lip smackingly delicious, combined with an abundance of nutrients in the marrow in the bone. As it says in my cookbook, this dish is my all-time favourite, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!! You had me at ‘hello’ with this dish!
Q9. What book are you reading at the moment?
I’m currently reading a thriller called The Teacher by Katerina Diamond. I love thrillers, they are the most exciting as you never know where the book is going to take you next, kind of similar to my job! It’s about a teacher who was murdered. It’s one of those books with 100 different stories going on at once and I’m pretty sure they will end up linking together at the end, I’m loving it and highly recommend so far.
Q10. If you could sit on a beach, anywhere in the world where would it be?
I think the Maldives. It’s stunning there, I’ve always seen photos of those huts in the middle of the bright blue, clear sea and thought wow I’d love to wake up to that in the morning. It’s a real honey moon sort of place, it’s definitely on my list… I just need to find the man first!
Q11. We understand you are currently writing your second cook book – what will be different about this one?
That is definitely the goal. I am in the process of trying to raise the funds to start self-publishing a second book, it’s not a cheap process. I am soon to launch my Kickstarter crowdfunding page so keep your eyes peeled for that. The second book will be less about me and my story and more focused on my food and my recipes and my cooking tips to make people’s lives in the kitchen easier. My repertoire has expanded since writing cookbook number 1 and I want to continue to share my creations with everyone.