Samantha Linsell is a dear friend, who is enthusiastic about life and food, and hopefully soon we will be able to spend some time together in the kitchen. In the meantime, I will make do with reading her blog. She is also an amazing photographer and I am inspired every day by her. Sam has recently self published a recipe book:
Who has been the most influential person in your life?
It’s difficult to pin point one person as so many people have influenced me, but I would say my mother. We are shaped and fashioned by what we love and I think in many ways I am who I am to a large extent because of who she was. She unfortunately died when I was 18
What started you on the path of cooking?
I am fortunate that I have/had parents that love cooking and taught me how at a very early age. Otherwise an interest in cooking and baking has always just been in me and what I wanted to do.
Which three ingredients could you not live without?
Salt, olive oil, wine
Which of your kitchen tools would you take with you anywhere and everywhere?
A good knife
Do you have any pet peeves in the kitchen?
I hate cutting butternut.
Which meal is your all time favourite?
Roast leg of lamb that has been slowly roasted with lots of garlic and rosemary, with crispy roast potatoes (preferable cooked in duck fat), minty peas, and lashings of gravy. I would drink a beautiful red wine with that and end off my meal with home-made apple crumble and vanilla bean ice-cream.
Which restaurant could you visit over and over again?
Everytime I eat Franck Dangereaux’s food at the Foodbarn I am blown away. That man can cook for me again and again and again. I also love to visit Olympia Cafe in Kalk Bay. I love the casual vibe of the restaurant that makes me feel like I’m on holiday every time I walk through the door. The food is prepared very simply and I generally always order the Linguini di Mare with their house Sauvignon blanc. A dish I never tire of.
If you could only have one recipe book, which one would it be?
Now this is an almost impossible question for me to answer as I love cookbooks and I have so many. I will say that one of my top cookbooks of all time is Simon Hopkinsons Roast Chicken and Other Stories. I also adore Jamie Oliver’s at Home and Nigella’s How to Eat as I refer to these so frequently. Ottolenghi inspires me immensely and I have read most of Elizabeth David’s books.
If you could work alongside one chef for a day who would that be?
Which ingredient will you not eat or cook with?
I don’t enjoy Offal at all, to eat or to cook
What is on top of your bucket list?
I want to go to Vietnam, to travel around the country, experience the culture and to eat.
What is your food philosophy?
I like food with a lot of flavour and texture and call myself a crunch-junky because I simply adore crispy things. I like to simplify recipes and take out added layers of complexity whilst still maintaining the integrity of the dish. I love shopping at markets and sourcing beautiful artisan foods that require little interference to turn into a fabulous meal.
Any parting words for the readers?
To approach cooking with abandon and be prepared to make mistakes. It’s the only way you truly learn. Oh, and when making caramel, don’t step away from the pot.