Food writer & photographer shares her go-to meal when she is low on time, favorite film and her idea of hell on earth
1. When are you happiest?
I love touring around farmers markets and discovering great new Irish producers then bringing that food home and creating a delicious meal.
2. What’s the one ingredient you can’t live without?
Butter is my secret ingredient in everything.
3. What’s your most treasured possession?
I love my set of stainless steel Le Creuset pots. They’re the ones with stainless steel lids. Totally unbreakable and easy to clean. I’ve had them for years. My engagement and wedding rings come in close second place though!
4. What excites you most about your work?
It’s different every day. It’s very rewarding in that I get to create, share and work with amazing producers and people in the Irish food scene.
5. A film you would watch again tonight?
Moonstruck with Cher. My favourite film and just gets better the more I watch it.
6. Past, present or future, who are the five people you’d invite to dinner, made by you?
Apart from my family I’d have Darina Allen, Cher, Lizzo, Nigel Slater and Kamal Mouzawak. There’d be great food and music!
7. How would your friends describe you in three words?
Busy, happy and always hungry
8. What living person do you most admire?
My mother for raising eight of us and cooking everything from scratch and Darina Allen for being an incredible force for good in Irish Food.
9. How did you get into cooking?
My love of cooking began from watching my parents. My dad is a builder but the son of a farmer so he always grows loads in the polytunnel and we had hens, goats and ducks growing up. My mother can make anything and is a fantastic baker too. I learned from watching her and helping out when I was little. Professionally I learned from the best by doing the 3 month Ballymaloe Cookery course.
10. What is the most important lesson cooking has taught you?
We all need to eat and our health really is our wealth. Food is our fuel so it’s really important that we all know how to cook and feed ourselves and our families the right way.
11. Your idea of hell on earth?
A freshly baked loaf of sourdough and NO butter in the house.
12. What is your go-to meal when you’re low on time?
Loads of chopped tomatoes and thinly sliced red onion, a handful of herbs all placed on top of a piece of Ballinrostig Irish Feta cheese, then baked in a hot oven for 10 minutes. So delicious and can be served with pasta or toasted sourdough.
13. What would your last meal be?
I love aubergine parmigiana or a really good t bone steak. I love an Ottolenghi recipe of prawns with black olives, tomato and arak. It’s all simple fast food that relies on quality ingredients.
14. What is the best recent food trend?
Farmhouse cheeses and cultured butter.
15. What’s on your music playlist?
Rita Ora, Lizzo, The Academics and lots of Taylor Swift. My kids pretty much dictate what music we play in the car. They are just discovering Westlife now too and the boys love them!
16. Sweet or Salty?
Salty always wins for me. For my wedding we had a huge stack of cheeses instead of a wedding cake. It was just perfect. It was divided up into cheeseboards with homemade crackers, figs and damson jam for the perfect midnight snack.
17. What dish/food gets the most likes on your Instagram?
Cakes always get the most love. Usually with lots of cream and edible flowers, so pretty and delicious.
18. What quote do you live by?
The quotes I live by are one from my mother “It’s there for eating” something she would always say when we admired her perfect apple tarts, sultana studded scones or bubbling lasagnas. I always say it to my kids now too when they’re looking at something I’ve made. It’s always great if it looks good but ultimately it’s there for eating!
Another one that I live by day-to-day is just to ‘Be yourself’. Sound advice from my older sister and always works out well.
19. What’s the most impressive dish you can throw together with 3 ingredients?
Broken eggs. The traditional Spanish tapas dish involves homemade chunky chips topped with fried eggs and fried chorizo. You mix it all up to make messy bit delicious broken eggs. It really tastes incredible. You can use cheese or ham in place of the chorizo too.
20. What is the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
Cooking on live TV can be seen as daunting but I love it. So many people comment on how brave I am to do it but it’s honestly easier than cooking dinner at home with toddlers demanding to help!
Lilly Higgins will be at our stand on Day 3 of the National Ploughing Championships, cooking some delicious recipes LIVE in our demo area! Lilly will be making some Cheddar & Chorizo Scones, Kashmiri Chicken and a White chocolate Bread & Butter Pudding with raspberries…Thursday 19th Sept. Come visit us in Block 3, Row 18, Stand 397 #Ploughing19