This month we caught up with foodie writer and TV personality Sarah Graham. She tells us about the launch of her fabulous new book, Supernatural, gives us some inspiration on more plant-based eating and hints and tips on healthy eating and leading a balanced life without taking out all the fun.
How have you found balancing being a Mum to your three little daughters, home-schooling and your career?
Because I love being a Mum, and I love my work, I manage to find a path through all the chaos that leads to some kind of balance. My husband Rob is also amazingly supportive of my work and so he’s an awesome wingman.
Are there any ways in which you’ve had to adapt and change your business due to lockdown?
Absolutely – all events have obviously been put on hold, so I’ve had to focus a lot more on online interactions. It’s been challenging but also fun and exciting to test new waters like Corporate Zoom Cook-alongs and live chats with foodie friends.
Following on from Wholesome, tell us about the launch of your new book, Supernatural, and your journey to include more plant-based meals in your diet?
I’ve been leaning to eating more plant based for the past 2-3 years, partly because I felt like my body was leading me in that direction, and also because I did a detailed DNA Analysis into how my body processes different food types and it showed me clearly that I should be eating as little meat as possible, particularly red meat. Leaning towards eating more plant-based meals just feels more nourishing and much kinder, and leaves me feeling more energised. It was a challenge at first as Rob is not a vegetarian and has no desire to be one, so the testing phase was interesting because I knew the food had to really focus on flavour to keep him on the road with me. We survived though, and it made me so proud that he loved all the food and never felt like he needed to go looking for a giant steak to go alongside any of the veggie dishes we were eating.
Who is your favourite chef?
So many for so many different reasons! Here in SA I do love Bertus Basson, partly because he’s not a trained chef but he’s achieved such great things in the food space, and I love his focus on South African food and food stories. He’s also an awesome human, husband and father and does so much for his community in Stellenbosch.
With more of us cooking at home than ever, what’s your advice for a lovely ambience-filled dinner?
Prep as much as possible beforehand so that dinner is not a frantic time but a chilled, enjoyable time. Or cook together with your family to make it more special. Simple things like setting a table with candles and flowers and making an effort to sit down and really savour your meals makes a big difference too.
Which superfoods do you regularly include in your children’s diet?
I sneak in as many greens as possible, and fortunately they love my home made creamy broccoli pasta, and I also sneak lentils and barley and other grains into simple dishes like casseroles and Bolognaise and they don’t even know they’re there.
What’s the first restaurant you’re heading to once they’re all open again?
Ooh, great questions! Probably James Diack’s restaurant in Jo’burg, Il Contadino. It’s a laid back Italian favourite of ours.
What’s your advice to aspiring foodie writers and chefs?
Be a sponge – devour information, absorb as much as you can and experiment often.
What’s your favourite meal that the whole family eats and enjoys.
We love my creamy broccoli pasta that I mentioned earlier, but also a simple stew or veggie bolognaise are firm favourites. I made a chicken and leek pie last weekend that everyone loved as well. We’re loving cosy, slow-cooked Winter comfort food at the moment.
What are the ways you keep happy and healthy?
I try and start each day with warm lemon water, which is energising and good for digestion and metabolism. I don’t like making an issue with my girls about sugary and processed foods, so rather just fill their lives as much as possible with simple, home-made treats like Bran and Raisin Muffins, Wholewheat Banana Bread,etc. Batch cooking is also something that we live by, cooking big batches of foods so that we always have healthy home-cooked options in the freezer. Exercise is an obvious one but so essential for our bodies and minds and I love a mix of running and yoga.