You may already have heard of Martyna Angell aka The Wholesome Cook thanks to her delicious, nutritious and well balanced meals from her blog and cookbook. Today we get to find out a bit more about the woman behind the recipes with our Q&A – and Martyna has also shared her recipe for her delightful Raspberry and Pistachio ‘Cheesecake’ Squares.
How did you get into cooking?
I recall being around twelve years old when I first recognised my passion for cooking and the sort of joy it could bring to others and me. On weekends, I’d rummage through the fridge, pantry and freezer then write up a dinner menu for my parents to order from. Then I’d get cooking. Most of my fondest childhood memories revolve around food, family celebrations and meals enjoyed together.
What’s your favourite recipe from your blog?
There are so many! If I was to choose savoury, it would have to be Polish sauerkraut stew called Bigos. For sweet indulgence, I’d go with the Cream Puffs recipe featured from the book. They can be made gluten-free and have no added sugar. For a larger celebration, I’d definitely choose the Chocolate Layer Cake with Salted Caramel and Sesame Snaps, dubbed the “stab cake”.
Sum up your food philosophy in three words.
Real, balanced, personalised.
What’s your favourite food memory?
I was born and raised in Poland and seasonal real food was a big part of my life ever since I can remember. Even though we lived in the city, we foraged a lot and I loved every minute of it. In summer we’d go to the coast and forage for wild blueberries on the walk from the beach and make blueberry dumplings in the late afternoon. During autumn we’d get up early to go to the lush forests south of the city and forage for wild mushrooms: porcini, boletus, slippery jacks and red pines, then spend the best part of the evening cleaning, drying, cooking and preserving nature’s bounty. I think it’s that connectedness with my family and food from the earth that I remember the fondest.
What’s the one ingredient you have to have in your kitchen?
That’s such a tough question and I am not good at being brief. I have a list of 10 basics I can’t go without, but to pick one…
I love fermented dill pickles (the recipe is in The Wholesome Cook book). We add them to salads, slaws, mayonnaise, serve them chopped as a salad. Utterly delicious. Otherwise it’s a choice between Pureharvest Rice Malt Syrup, baby spinach, eggs, yoghurt or cayenne pepper.
What’s the best piece of cooking advice you’ve been given?
My mum has always been a creative whole food cook and she’s the one who told me to be a passionate and adventurous cook, to try different foods and cuisines wherever I go because they have a magical way of broadening my own culinary horizons.
Tell us your most recent food discovery.
Miso paste because even though I’ve been adding it to soups for years now and the kids enjoy a cup for afternoon tea, in a bit of a lightbulb moment I recently realised it made the perfect nutritious and clean vegemite substitute. Sheer brilliance.
Don’t forget to check out Martyna’s Raspberry and Pistachio ‘Cheesecake’ Squares!