Hello, Leek Geeks!
My name is Ana. I grew up in Toronto, went to university in Montreal, and I now live in Manchester, England with my husband Simon. I'm so excited to join you!
How do you know Amy?:
Amy and I met at the Newman Centre in Montreal. I can't remember the first time we met. I have a few memories of Amy at Newman but honestly my best (in a lot of different ways) memory was seeing her in Montreal when I visited a few years ago. I got to hold baby Ambrose! It's been a real pleasure to stay in touch through the internet, and Amy is one of the few friends I actually follow on Pinterest.
Top culinary influences:
International cuisine, especially Mediterranean (Spanish, Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern, North African), celebrity chefs, and my cookbooks. I like interesting and unusual flavour combinations.
Favourite cook books:
Too many to name! I got 6 cookbooks in December for my birthday and Christmas, which is exactly what I wanted. My current favourites are Jamie Oliver's 15 Minute Meals and Ottolenghi, and my most used is probably The Joy of Cooking. I have a few dozen cookbooks, at least. I haven't cooked from all of them, but I don't feel I need to. I like to read them before bed! I could read and talk about food all day long. Sometimes when I cook things they aren't as good as I imagined, so trying a new recipe always feels like a bit of a risk and an adventure.
Favourite 5 ingredients:
At the moment: Coriander (cilantro), garlic, lime leaves, chocolate, and polenta. They change all the time.
Favourite 5 dishes:
Spaghetti Bolognese, Tarka Dahl (lentils with turmeric and coriander), roast turkey dinner, crème brulee, coconut-based Thai curries
How did you learn to cook?:
Mostly from books, tv, and the internet. I watched a lot of the Food Network as a teenager, and have read a lot of cookbooks. I didn't learn to cook very many different things from my parents, although I now wish I had paid more attention to what they did in the kitchen, especially some of my mom's traditional baking.
Your week in cooking:
Over the last few years we've gotten pretty lazy in the kitchen, depending way too much on frozen and prepared foods. In the last few months I've started cooking from scratch more, and now I try to cook most days of the week, although Simon likes frozen pizza too much to give it up completely. I usually cook less on the weekend, because we often eat out or visit family or friends. If we are in on a weekend evening I'll try to cook something we wouldn't have during the week.
Culinary fascination of the moment:
Yottam Ottolenghi and his Mediterranean fusion cooking.
Also timing myself while cooking Jamie's 15 Minute Meals. I average 30-45 minutes.
To cook more from scratch and depend less on prepared food.
Top serving tips:
I am the wrong person to ask! Presentation is not one of my strong points. I try to make up for it with deliciousness. Simon sets the table when we have guests.
Your dream kitchen:
Well-equipped, organised, and spacious. I could use more counter and cupboard space. A dishwasher would be nice, and space to have a table in the kitchen.