Author of the 4 Ingredients Wellness Series
The 4 Ingredients series has been a huge success. Where did it begin? And why 4 ingredients?
4 Ingredients was born out of sheer necessity! I needed a cookbook that helped get good, nutritious food on the table quickly at 6pm of an evening late in from soccer practise or tennis with everyone starving, homework to complete, animals to feed and washing to do!!!!
I knew 4 Ingredients would work, as I had a collection of recipes that I’d gotten from my Mum, Nana and their friends when I was at university.
You are actually a Bachelor of International Finance graduate - that seems a huge leap to writing cookbooks? Why the change?
It was through this period the need for 4 Ingredients arose. I was a corporate finance Mum, flying regularly between Brisbane and Melbourne (at that time, far more versed in the complexities of superannuation than Shepherd’s Pie!). I needed a kitchen tool to uncomplicate my busy life, so I wrote a cookbook I wanted to read, I had NO IDEA how many others wanted to read it too!
What made you decide to introduce the Wellness Trilogy to your series?
To connect with my audience, I use social media and local appearances. I use both as my market research, if you spend 5 minutes talking to someone - asking them what would make their life easier in the kitchen or what would they benefit from having / reading in the kitchen - they will tell you! The Wellness Trilogy was born from these overwhelming responses “I’d love a Gluten Free Lactose Free cookbook, or a 4 Ingredient Diabetic cookbook, or an easy book full of Allergy-aware recipes” … I am an author who communicates, listens and then writes.
Have you worked alongside any health associations/professionals in devising the recipes in 4 Ingredients Gluten Free Lactose Free, 4 Ingredients Diabetes, and 4 Ingredients Allergies? If so, who?
Most definitely, I worked very closely with the Dieticians and Nutritionists at Coeliac Australia and Diabetes Australia – Victoria for their body’s endorsements. I met regularly with Diabetes Health Educators and Nurses and JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) to learn current advice and best practises in their industry and with Maria Said, the CEO of Allergies And Anaphylaxis Australia.
As a result of these partnerships, 4 Ingredients Diabetes is the first book in my entire series to be published with a nutritional breakdown for each recipe. Each recipe lists kilojoules, total and saturated fat, sodium, carbohydrates and fibre per serve.
I'm not gluten or lactose intolerant, diabetic, nor do I have allergies. Will I still enjoy these recipes?
WITHOUT A DOUBT – they are recipes for anyone looking to eat healthier, but still using regular ingredients. I’m the same, no intolerances or allergies, but I will never make a cheesecake base any other way than the one in 4I – Gluten Free Lactose Free – it is THE BEST I HAVE EVER TASTED (and I’ve tasted A LOT!!!!)
Would you say that these books can be used as "healthier options" cookbooks?
Yes I would! But the BIGGEST HEALTH TIP I can share after all the research I did alongside various health professionals is that – IT IS NOT WHAT WE EAT – but more the quantity in which we eat it that is our biggest health concern – portion control, portion control, portion control!
What is your process when creating a new recipe?
TASTE! For me the most important ingredient in any recipe is FLAVOUR! When cooking with just 4 or fewer ingredients the trick is to use what I call a STAR-INGREDIENT … That is the ingredient that injects the flavour eg., fresh seasonal produce, fresh herbs and spices, a great curry paste, tomato paste, onions etc.
Who is your biggest cooking inspiration?
My Mum (she is amazing!) I grew up on a citrus farm in a small country town called Mundubbera (total pop: 1,800 when we are all in town at the same time!). There were no 24-hour supermarkets (still aren’t) – what she could (can) make from virtually nothing is inspiring!
Can you tell readers about 4 Charity?
4 Charity is the division of our company that gets involved in fundraising. This year for example, our annual fundraiser is “Dance 4 Diabetes” where all funds raised are being donated to JDRF. In the last 5 years 4 Charity has raised over $68,000 for various charities.
What is your overall favourite ingredient?
To name one is impossible, but here are my Top 4: Butter, sea salt, tomato paste and lemons (a sneaky 5th would be French Onion Soup mix).
Gentlemen prefer blondes. Anita Loos, 1925
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