I am a vegetarian food writer, recipe developer and chef who travels the world – living, working and eating. I currently reside in Leeds in the United Kingdom, enjoying the delights of the city centre on the weekdays, then heading out into beautiful North Yorkshire for hiking on the weekends – a great combination!
I write regularly for the website, Great British Chefs – interview features, food/travel pieces, original recipes and the highlights of British luxury food. If you would like my portfolio of writing, editorial photography, recipes or other commercial work, just drop me an e-mail. To read about me and my site in the press, click here.
I only really discovered the joy of great food when I was twenty-five. Before that, the art of cooking was a complete mystery to me and I ate whatever processed crap was on offer at the supermarket that week. That year I spent a summer working in Bordeaux, as a kitchen slave at Bistro Bio, a local organic café. Revelation. I finally understood why people eat lettuce. A simple plate of leaves dressed in cider vinaigrette had become a feast. So I ate everything on offer at the café, went to the market every weekend and really experimented with vegetables for the first time. Up to then, I had been a vegetarian (nutritionists look away now) who didn’t eat vegetables. Not anymore.
I’ve come a long way since then, working in kitchens in Copenhagen, France, Sweden and the UK, in restaurants as disparate as Vanilla Black in London and The Artisan Pizzeria in Stockholm. What all those restaurants shared was an ethos of making food yourself, of valuing the superior flavour, texture and nutrition of handmade food.
I make pretty much everything from scratch, unless I’m feeling deeply, deeply lazy or indulging a secret, guilty pleasure. From pasta to mustard to ricotta to vanilla extract. It just tastes better that way and I know exactly what goes inside it. I get a real buzz from cooking with top-quality ingredients, be that a firm, shiny, organic aubergine alive with freshness or an aromatic truffle salt whose essence permeates everything it touches. I always buy the best I can possibly afford and am constantly searching for new and innovative ingredients, influences and methods.
I have been vegetarian since I was ten, but have learned quickly that no one was ever brought over to the cause with words – instead I cook. I know that vegetarian food can be mind-blowing when it is done with skill, creativity and dedication, so that is what I strive for in my cooking and in this blog.
A few years ago I went on my first mushroom hunt and a whole new world of (free!) ingredients and flavours opened up to me. There are all kinds of amazing plants out there that we have lost touch with, just waiting to make their way onto your plate. I am still very much learning and you can read about this education here. My blog also takes its name from this wonderful world of culinary foraging!
But most of all, I love cheese. My taste has developed over the years from supermarket mild Cheddar to the unpasteurised, ripe and fragrant, but I have loved them all. I genuinely believe that veganism is the only truly ethical way to eat (hence many of the recipes here include instructions on how to make them vegan), but my relationship with cheese is passionate, long-lasting and fulsome. So there will be lots of it here. And pizza – I really love that too!
There is a lot of negativity on the internet and so I have decided to make this blog a place of happiness and praise. Here I write about the very best things I have learned or discovered, the most amazingly flavourful recipes I have tried, the most remarkable restaurants I have visited and the most inspirational books I have read. So if I review something here, or write about it, that means I love it. If I don’t like it, I just won’t write about it.
You can contact me here – I’d love to hear from you!
Nancy Anne Harbord