This week, we were delighted to interview Alex Hollywood, passionate home cook and family food writer. Alex has been heavily influenced by her French and Scandinavian family backgrounds, and these European influences are often seen in her delicious recipes.
Alex’s recipes have been published by various publications, including The Mail On Sunday, The Daily Mail and The Times. Alex has just recently signed up for ITV’s Lorraine Show, to become one of their regular on screen cooks.
Alex lives in Kent with her family and chocolate Labrador Rufus.
What is your favourite summer recipe?
I have so many summer recipes but probably the one that really reminds me of my childhood summers in France, is poached vanilla peaches with a fresh raspberry cream. Sticky, sweet and the peaches taste like sunshine – I could never have enough of these topped with dollops of sweetened crÃ¨me fraiche and fresh crushed raspberry puree. It’s one of my son’s favourite pudding now!
How do you stay looking so fabulous working around such scrummy food? What’s your fitness regime?
I must admit, I do love eating. I hate diets – they make me miserable! So I just try to eat 3 sensible meals a day, drink loads of water and as well as walking my very enthusiastic Labrador Rufus, every day. I also try to run at least 3 times a week. Other than that, I’m a busy mum to a 12 year old boy who keeps me on my toes!
Does your son have any plans to follow in your footsteps into a professional kitchen?
Joshua is a pretty good cook and knows his food… As long as he can cook a meal for himself and his friends when he leaves home and not live on ready meals – that’s a step in the right direction for me!
What’s your ultimate indulgence when it comes to food?
I am obsessed with Cheese! Whenever we entertain or go out for dinner, I’m always planning on leaving room for the cheeseboard! 2 weeks before Christmas, I buy a large Stilton and ‘feed’ it with port and the cheese is always meticulously planned and chosen… I could live without chocolate, but cheese? Never!
What are your three top tips on cooking for young mums just getting started in the kitchen?
You DON’T have to be a chef to be able to cook… Keep it simple and you’ll enjoy it more. Use your freezer! Make a lasagne, cut into squares, and frozen you always have a meal handy! Use as much fresh produce as possible – it’s cheaper, it goes further, tastes better and you can use leftovers to make up other meals!
What advice would you give to other mothers juggling a busy career with home life?
All mothers are consumed with guilt!! You don’t spend enough time with the kids, you don’t cook amazing meals every night, you don’t have time to bake fresh cakes and biscuits presented in Cath Kidston tins, you are too exhausted after work to read to them sometimes…The list is endless, but you love them, you’re doing the best you can, so give yourself a break – you’re a mum and you deserve a medal!
What are your favourite family restaurants?
We have a lovely Italian restaurant in the next village called Luigis, which is family run and very traditional. It’s great to take kids there for freshly baked pizzas and pasta – we love it! But we also are keen to take josh to grown-up restaurants too, so that he can experience different foods. He recently came with us to La Gavroche and insisted on going into the kitchen to say thanks for the fab meal!
What’s the one baby product you couldn’t have lived without?
Baby wipes! I still use them now. Great to take to the beach to wipe sandy fingers before picnic lunch and a ‘must’ if you have a muddy Labrador after a run!
What’s in the pipeline for you?
I have loved my recipes being featured on ITV’s Lorraine Show which I will happily be continuing. There are also a few exciting things in the pipeline that are under wraps so you will have to wait and see…
How would you sum yourself up in one sentence?
A food obsessed, fiercely proud mum, with a weakness for chocolate Labradors, custard creams and Scouse accents. Not necessarily in that order!