Over the coming months, we’re partnering with a posse of some of the most creative and clever souls around the UK and Ireland. They’re using our collagen powder in their everyday lives, and sharing the experience with their followers. We love building relationships, and that doesn’t happen with one-off activities. So we’re getting to know our new friends that little bit more by sharing just a bit of their story with you. Here, we catch up with the tantalisingly-named Peachy Palate, whose recipes (tacos and pancakes) have caused a stir amongst our team as we ooh and ah and try to decide on a favourite. We can’t.
Quick-fire questions with Peachy
What to you is the quintessential Irish recipe?
Things are so diverse these days. Although there is so much breadth, I’d have to say it is still a good Irish stew, with really great mash or roast potatoes. That said, I personally think of apple pie straight away, as that’s what mum would always make us as kids.
If you could cook for anyone, who would it be and what would you cook?
I’d cook for one of my best friends, a fellow foodie. He’s my number one fan and I know how much he appreciates my efforts in the kitchen and food in general. People who love good food are the best people…It’s one of my favourite quotes from Julia Child!
I like to cook with people’s favourite food, and give them a new way to think about it. But also, give them something that they can take home and do themselves. If I had to cook for someone who isn’t in my immediate circle, I’d choose Jamie Oliver! His passion and enthusiasm is infectious!
Is there anything you won’t cook?
No, I'm really open-minded when it comes to food. I’m not squeamish and believe in nose to tail eating! I’m not a massive fan of celery but, for the most part, I’ll eat anything. I just love trying new foods and food combinations!
What’s your favourite recipe?
I love curries and I almost always use nut butters in them. They add so much flavour! I did a peanut satay the other day and used that as a dressing. Delicious! I used to work for Happy Pear (a modern-day Irish institution famed for its plant based food) as one of their dessert creators, so my go-to recipes tend to be plant based, no bake desserts when I need to whip something up on a whim. I also just find no bake treats so much more satisfying...Basically, anything with chocolate and I’m in!
Do you have a favourite cuisine?
I love the simplicity of Italian cuisine. Simple ingredients cooked with love. I’m a massive fan of basil and I’ve recently rekindled my love for cheese. It opens up a whole host of new recipe ideas.
What has been one of your most memorable dining experiences?
I was in Host, Ranelagh, Dublin, recently and it was definitely one to remember. Beautiful fresh simple food, served sharing-plate style for an interactive dining experience. It’s also all about the setting, the temperature, the lighting, the music and of course the staff. It’s my new favourite spot. I will definitely be making a return soon!
What is on the top of your ‘Must Eat Here’ list?
Shouk in Dublin, which is a Middle Eastern restaurant in Drumcondra, Northern Dublin and Slice is a newish brunch spot in Stoneybatter, Dublin. I’m all about long brunches, all the coffee and chats with friends at the weekend!
The kitchen appliance you can’t live without
My hand blender. It is just so versatile and easy to clean. It can do a batter, a sauce, I can add an accessory on the bottom so it can chop things up. I use it every day.
What food or recipe comes to mind when you hear the following words:
- Comfort - Curry
- Energy - Pancakes
- Sexy - Chocolate tart
- Hang-over - Beans on toast
Keen to find out more about Peachy? Read on…
How many batches of brownies does it take to satisfy a professional?
This isn’t the start of a baking joke.
You see, when you’re a professional food stylist, photographer, blogger and recipe creator, it’s never just a brownie. You’re thinking of a very, very specific brownie texture. So specific, in fact, that it isn’t achieved in the first batch. So you have to start all over again. You need that perfect texture.
So, how many?
Ireland’s food scene
Brownie aficionado and all-round foody Peachy Palate grew up in Bray, Co Wicklow on the east coast of Ireland just south of Dublin. It turns out her mum’s responsible for her real name, Michelle, as well as her ‘stage’ name, which has caught on amongst several of her friends. The Irish sea is in her DNA and nowadays she can’t imagine not living by the coast. There’s a great local food scene in the area. You wouldn’t dream of coming here without a visit to the iconic Avoca, home to some of the tastiest savoury and sweet concoctions. When combined with nearby towns Delgany and Greystones, there is so much diversity and choice. But it’s the southside of Dublin that really piques Peachy’s passion. A wonderful melting pot of cultures, this part of the city has exploded in recent years with culinary delights. Think Irish cuisine, think bacon, cabbage and potato, right? Fantastically wrong. It really hit home to Peachy last year when she holidayed abroad and found herself longing to get home and eat ‘our food’ - the quality, creativity and localness is enough to make this peach homesick.
The importance of food progeny
Having tried her hand at veganism for one-and-a-half years, and been vegetarian for many years prior to that, Peachy knows her motivation was fueled by the wrong reasons. For years she battled an eating disorder that wreaked havoc on her body and wellbeing, and now she eats intuitively, listening to what her body tells her it needs, when it needs it. The origin of food is important to her, and she tries to eat as much locally-sourced ingredients as possible, and produce that’s in season! However, a girl is only human, after all, and sometimes certain recipes just call for that special outside-the-box ingredient. Wherever possible Peachy buys from local providers (she has two farmers’ markets on different days within ten minutes drive of her home) not only to support them, but because she knows it’s a more ethical and environmentally responsible choice.
Challenges facing foodies
Peachy is opposed to the idea of “clean eating” or labeling food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’; Peachy isn’t flipping what some marketers are frying. In an ideal world, she’d love to go back to how it was when we were kids - eating intuitively, what we need, when we need it, and in moderation. Should we be vegan? Should we be vegetarian? Should we fast once a month? Should we cut out all carbohydrates? Should we be Keto? Should we be Paleo? In Peachy’s mind, we’re all different. We should ultimately just be kinder about other people’s choices and ideally trust our guts, and allow our decisions to come from a place of gentle nutrition, and love for our bodies.
Food as a friend
It might sound unusual coming from someone whose previous relationship with food was, well, extremely negative and fuelled by emotion, but these days Peachy feels no food related guilt. She eats what she wants, when she wants it. Peachy strongly believes that if we leave our bodies to their own devices, they eventually recalibrate and go back to making the right choices on their own. There are peaks and troughs,but ultimately the squiggly line of life balances itself out. It upsets her when friends admittedly feel guilty after eating a bowl of ice-cream. It’s become so much more socially acceptable to follow strict eating regimes, and there is a certain amount of shame that impacts upon people’s eating decisions. There is a definite shift and movement towards intuitive eating and bringing the detrimental effects of diet culture to the forefront, which can only be a positive thing.
It might now seem incongruous, but Peachy once tried her hand at bodybuilding competitions. Two, in fact. At the time, she’d been overtraining way too much at the gym. She switched from cardio based workouts to weight training and fell in love. If you’re not already sensing it, Peachy doesn’t do things by halves. She likes to throw herself in the deep end, do something scary, and rise to a challenge. All-or-nothing, Peachy decided to reach out to Amanda at Recalibrated Bodies. Amanda helped her prepare for a competition, one of the most alternative, outside her comfort zone experiences of her life so far. Looking back, she sees that she did it to test herself, to make sure she had come out the other side of an eating disorder. It helped create a really positive relationship between her and her body, and gave her an even greater sense of balance. Ultimately it wasn’t the path or lifestyle she wanted to take on long term, but some amazing friendships came out of it and all the mini life lessons.
Boredom ignites creativity
Peachy was not all that stimulated in her nine-to-five career, and so found herself turning to Instagram to feed her creatively. As her cooking and posts became more frequent, her followers grew, and she attracted enquiries from businesses about managing their social media accounts. Everything was self-taught; YouTube, friends in creative professions, magazines, random strangers willing to share the tricks of their talent. One of her biggest fears is complacency, and so she never stops learning, probing, exploring. No surprises that things therefore mushroomed until the point Peachy had to stop her day job and fully commit to her passion. She’s been flat out ever since.
An average day in the life of a food stylist, photographer and blogger
It starts early - 06:30am, in fact. With coffee in hand, Peachy starts her daily to-do list, takes care of admin housekeeping, reads, and writes down any “coffee thoughts”, as she calls them. Stopping at 08:30am for some yoga on YouTube, Peachy begins shooting recipes by about 10:30am, taking herself through to mid afternoon. She will usually get through three recipes a day, although that’s no exact science. On average, a recipe will take around four to five hours from inception to being posted on social. This shooting time really races by, so she has a late lunch and then sets about prepping food for the following day’s shoot. She usually works a few weeks in advance, so everything is well and truly planned and structured. If Wicklow weather permits, she will duck out for an afternoon walk. Otherwise, she is more than delighted to stay home and work through editing and recipe writing. This can take her up to and right through dinner. When you live, breathe and think food, it’s not a burden to take it to bed. Although that said, Peachy is trying to introduce some boundaries.
Cooking with collagen
Peachy takes her Edible Health Bovine Collagen powder every day. Her body-building days mean she has become used to consuming a lot of protein, and so she likes to substitute some of her meat with collagen instead. She’ll take it in her oats or her coffee; if she reaches the end of the day and hasn’t had it, then she’ll add it to a peppermint tea or whisk it into yogurt. There’s no taste or smell, so it’s an innocuous little addition to pretty much any food or drink. The real star appeal, though, is the fact that when used in cooking, the collagen powder doesn’t disrupt the recipe. Unlike whey and other proteins, Peachy can add her collagen powder to a recipe and not suffer the consequences, such as an immediate drying out effect, or clunky texture. In fact, it takes smoothies to the next level, adding fluffiness and making it even more delicious.
There are days when you can be hard on yourself. This is made all the worse when you’re a one-woman show and the only voice you hear is the one in your head. These days, Peachy has learnt to just walk away. If a shoot is not going right, if she cannot see the truffles for the trees, she just removes herself. She’s learnt to be brave, as well. When your profession revolves around your creativity, it’s a lot to put on the line. You’re making yourself pretty vulnerable to the risk of subjectivity and rejection. It’s the scariest part of her job, but it’s also become the most thrilling.
When you’re working in an echo chamber of one, you wonder whether anyone is even out there seeing and engaging, despite the numbers clearly suggesting that’s the case. So often, people don’t actually let on that they’re there. Then, out of the blue, someone will make a passing comment about how ‘all the girls in the office’ obsessed over a particular recipe she posted last week. Suddenly, doubt washes away. She is having an impact, her work is resonating with people out there. And that is the secret to this sauce - Peachy gets no greater reward than knowing she has helped inspire someone to cook. To enjoy. To relish. To create.
Ten, by the way. It takes ten batches of brownies before the absolutely most sublime, perfect, gooey texture is achieved. Find her on Instagram @peachypalate
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