Finally a cook who doesn’t make every meal from scratch. Hallelujah

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Lorraine Pascale

How to be a better cook / BBC Features / bbc.co.uk

Lorraine Pascale in her new series, How to be a better cook

Lorraine Pascale is back. Yay! We love her wonderfully relaxed cooking style and her recipes, obvs.

 

Her new TV show is called How to Be a Better Cook and the focus is on stress-free everyday cooking. From making a simple salad dressing to flipping tortilla pizzas and sharing the simple secret of a perfect panna cotta.

 

Her mantra is that good cooking is all about having the right attitude. "It's all fine!" she says. "That's the secret weapon. It's all in your attitude."

 

The immaculately attired Pascale (how does she keep those white T-shirts sooo clean?) hit our screens in 2011 with Baking Made Easy and a handful of other TV series and half a bookshelf's worth of cookbooks soon followed.  

Her rise to home-baking heroine wasn’t exactly conventional: she swapped the catwalk for an eclectic array of training courses (including one for would-be mechanics) before discovering on a course at Leiths School of Food and Wine that cooking was what she “really enjoyed”.  

 

We caught up with the model-turned-cook to talk all things food.

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Lorraine Pascale chocolate tart

Photograph: Maja Smend

Cocoa creation: Lorraine's chocolate tart from her new book, How To Be a Better Cook

Why did you decide to swap working in a professional kitchen for setting up your own business?
Working 18 hour days with a child was unrealistic. I wanted to be there for my daughter, Ella, and the hours of working in a restaurant didn’t make that possible.

 

What does a typical day look like?
I get up, walk the dog (a rescued crossbreed called Watson), go to the gym and then spend the day developing recipes.

 

Which three ingredients could you not cook without?
Vanilla, avocado oil and salt.

 

What’s your food weakness?
Definitely cheese. I can’t say no to the stuff, especially a bit of blue cheese!

 

What’s your ultimate 15-minute comfort food dish?
A quick and easy mac 'n' cheese. 

 

What’s the most used piece of equipment in your kitchen?
My non-stick frying pan – I cook lots of fish and chicken in it, lots of really quick dishes.

 

What are your tips for cutting corners and saving time in the kitchen?
Plan ahead and cook in bulk. By doubling the amount you cook, you can then pop some in the freezer or have it for lunch the next day.  

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Lorraine Pascale slow and low roast pork belly

Photograph: Maja Smend

Sunday supper: Lorraine's slow and low roast pork belly from her new book, How To Be a Better Cook

They say baking soothes the soul, do you agree?
Definitely. I love baking. It’s very therapeutic and relaxing, especially kneading bread.

 

How important is the presentation of a dish?
If it looks good, it somehow makes it taste better. I like things to look tidy. 

 

If you could abolish one dish, what would it be?
I haven’t found a dish I don’t like yet!

 

What advice would give yourself if you were starting again?
Trust in the process, and relax more.

 

What’s next?
I have a new baking show coming out in the US, it’s a big baking competition called Holiday Baking. I’m taking a bit of a break at the moment ...  one day at a time.

No ducking out: try Lorraine's recipe for roasted duck and watermelon salad with cashew nuts