In The Kitchen With Melinda Messenger
Glamorous model, television presenter and mum of three, Melinda Messenger has also been busy secretly penning her first family cookbook, proving that she’s not only the gorgeous and talented sweetheart we see on our screens, but a domestic goddess in the kitchen too! Maria Clift catches up with the lovely lady herself to find out exactly how her new book came about and her surprising passion for pavlovas…
You’re launching your first cookbook, what made you think up this venture?
I absolutely love cooking with my three children Morgan, Flynn and Evie. We are always making lots of yummy cakes and I think they’ve really started enjoying food because of this special time in the kitchen together. They love trying new fruits, vegetables and dishes. Cooking and baking has become such a fun activity in our household, I guess that’s what made me think of writing a recipe book.
Who or what inspires you when it comes to foods and cooking?
My family and friends and I are always swapping recipes with one another and I love adapting them a little to suit my own family.Also, I love trying new things on holiday then trying to recreate then once I’m home. It’s a great way of reliving the holiday again.
You’re involved with the government’s five-a-day campaign; do you try to eat healthy yourself?
Of course! it’s so important to eat vegetables and fruit, growing children need and array of different vitamins fresh from the right foods for development in all areas.I am a pescatarian, which means I eat no meat except for fish but I don’t push this on my children.They enjoy eating meat occasionally, and being a pescatarian is such a personal choice, one which they can make for themselves when they are older.
Have you ever worried about your weight or are you fairly relaxed about eating?
I think everyone worries about their weight at some point in their lives, especially after having babies. But, I think I have the right balance of healthy eating with the odd treat included, like a chip butty.I’ll also have some chocolate if I feel like it and I love crisps, but it’s balanced out with healthy foods and lots of cycling, skating and outdoor activities with the children. They’re so active, Wayne and I burn plenty of calories just trying to keep up with them.
You must be pretty busy with work, who does the cooking in your household?
Gosh, I haven’t stopped working for the past few years. Don’t get me wrong I love it, but every chance I get I am in the kitchen with my pinny on!I find it really relaxing. If I’m away working, Wayne cooks. In fact he recently went on a cooking course, so we are all happy about that!
What attitudes to food do you try and pass on to your children?
I want my children to love food, so I encourage healthy eating with the odd treat. It’s about eating in moderation, so you don#’teat until you can’t breathe! have fun trying new foods out. I think if they have three balanced meals a day and lots of fruit, they tend not to want to snack. Food isn’t just for fuel, it’s enjoy as well.
Do you have a favourite signature dish featured in the book?
I love my berry and lemon pavlova; it’s a little bit naughty, but its topped with loads of healthy berries bursting with vitamins. It’s a lovely treat and so esay to prepare in advance of a dinner party.
What can always be found in your fridge?
Always sweet potatoes and onions, they are two of my favourite vegetables.You’ll also find an assortment of leftovers. I love leftovers, especially from a Sunday lunch.
Would you eventually like to publish a whole series of cookbooks?
It was a great experience to put this book together: I’d love to do an outdoor eating on and a vegetarian cookbook. I really wrote this one for my children, so that they can keep it when they are growing up. But, I’ve enjoyed the experience so much that I kind of see myself as a bit of a Cath Kidson crossed with Martha Stewart, so I’d love to write more cookbooks, and have all the fabulous accessories to go with them!
Whats your Idea of perfect setting for a meal?
One of my favourite settings for a meal is when all my family and friends, along with their kids too go “glamping”! It’s when we all get together to camp and prepare fabulous, glamorous meals which we enjoy under the stars. In fact, you can find a few of the recipes I always use in my cookbook
What’s been your most memorable meal?
My most memorable meal is actually for all the wrong reasons! When I was pregnant with Morgan, I was doing panto in Stoke-on-Trent, we’d bought tuna steaks as a treat for our Christmas dinner, but the cat ate them! We ended up going to the local petrol station, where all we could find was a packet of frozen fish fingers and a time of tuna. I cooked the tuna in the oven with some balsamic vinegar, then broke the fish fingers into pieces and cooked them in a creamy mushroom sauce. It was actually a very tasty meal in the end!
Whats the worst thing you have ever eaten?
My mum tried to get me to eat liver when I was much younger, which I didn’t like at all. I was born a veggie, so it didn’t go down well with me, In fact, I sat at the dinning table for an hour with a mouthful of liver which I couldn’t bring myself to swallow!
Who would be guests at your dream dinner party?
It would have to be Albert Einstein, Plato and Robin Williams, the comedian and actor, as I think they would bring the most interesting and funny conversations to the table.
…And what would you serve?
I would serve a lovely homemade mushroom soup to start, with lots of chunks of homemade bread. Then the delicious butternut squash and red onion from my book, and of course my favourite dessert, berry and lemon pavlova.