Making delicious, mouth-watering meals doesn’t have to involve a manic food frenzy in the kitchen, assures Fay Ripley.
Best-loved for her role as Jenny in hit late-Nineties series Cold Feet, the London-born actress has reinvented herself as a foodie in more recent years, and even won the Mumsnet Best Cookbook award for her first recipe book, Fay’s Family Food, published in 2009.
As a busy, working mum-of-two, 48-year-old Ripley’s inspiration for her latest cookbook, Fay Makes It Easy, came from wanting to put the love back into cooking, eating and sharing food.
“I now have more books than kids. My family and friends are the tick in my clock and sharing time and great food with them is what makes the grotty bits of life palatable,” she reveals.
There are 100 delicious recipes that the actress says will “strip away stress like fake tan covers up cellulite”.
She doesn’t shy away from the more difficult dishes, like steak with a red wine and rosemary sauce, and tackles her crusty sunflower loaf with ease, using everyday ingredients and simple instructions.
“There’s also a double serving of desserts that will make you look like a genius, while leaving time for a cuppa and a box set,” she promises.
Ripley believes that every meal has the potential to be a celebration and wanted to take away the stress of what to cook when her friends, family - and grown-up girl crush - came over for dinner.
“Once, I starting preparing an elaborate lamb dish that needed marinating for 40 days and 40 nights and a huge pavlova that was so big, I made a plate out of egg boxes and foil.”
But, 20 minutes before the guests arrived, a text was sent saying that her grown-up girl crush and husband no longer ate dairy, meat, wheat, sugar or alcohol. “I had 15 minutes to produce a meal for the guests of honour using only a tin of mung beans and some coconut water.”
A burning loaf and a smoke-filled kitchen inspired her to set some simple guidelines, in order to make the cooking experience a whole lot more pleasant: “I pledged some rules to make life easier, to make life fun, so that I could enjoy sharing our food without beads of sweat dripping into the gravy.”
She says too many ingredients means there is always something you can’t find, don’t have or simply forget to put in.
“Too much preparation means you don’t get to brush your hair or teeth before it’s time to eat.
“My food always comes from my kitchen and my heart.”
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