With Mother’s Day around the corner, we decided to catch up with our favourite over-achiever, Sarah Graham. This multitasking mom, TV chef, cookbook author and blogger behind ‘A Foodie Lives Here’ tells us more about how she strives to balance all the things that give her joy.
It has been a full year since we last chatted to you on our blog. Can you fill us in on the major happenings in your life and career since then?
It’s been pretty busy actually! Last year we welcomed our second little girl, Isla, to the world; and I also spent a good chunk of it writing and recipe testing for my next book Home, which will be out in July this year. We’ve also been putting a lot of time into getting a second season of my TV series off the ground and are making some exciting progress with that. Sarah Graham’s Food Safari will be filmed mid-year and should be on TV here and in the US from November onwards.
Tell us more about your beautiful daughters.
Sophie Grace is three (and three quarters!) and is a delightful handful – she spends most of her time in character, and Rob and I are assigned roles: a favourite of hers is to be the Little Mermaid, Ariel, and I get to be Flounder (the fish!). She’s at an amazing little preschool down the road and generally sing-songs her way through life. Isla Faye was born last March and is the sweetest, happiest little thing. She’s currently merrily stuck between crawling and walking and practising her baby jabber with much gusto. Sophie slept through at about seven weeks and in most ways has been a model child, which consequently left us feeling rather smug about our ‘amazing’ parenting capabilities. Isla, on the other hand, pretty much laid down a gauntlet for us to run from day one. They are both exquisite, though, and we just love how three-dimensional and colourful they make our lives.
How has having them in your family changed the way you cook?
Isla is still pretty much eating puréed baby foods, couscous, mashed veggies and so on, but Sophie is at such a fun age to feed, interested in everything and able to be more adventurous now that she’s older. She eats avocado with almost anything, but doesn’t really have any particularly obscure tastes just yet. She still likes simpler food and, despite my best efforts, good old fish fingers and chips are probably at the top of her list!
How on earth do you find the time to fit it all in – your girls, mothering, your blog, TV shows, cooking demonstrations, me time…? What is your secret?
Truly, the answer is a lot of hard work and an amazingly supportive family. I guess you could say that the secret is turning your passion into your job, and loving what you do to the point of it never feeling like hard work.
When something has to give because of time pressure, what is it?
Work. I don’t ever want it to be that my family loses out to any of this. That said, it’s a very delicate balance and I don’t always get it right.
How do you find balance?
Planning and being structured is key for me, I run a really careful diary and divide my day into slots for work, exercise and home admin, and I try to keep all afternoons free for my children. I am also lucky enough to have amazing domestic help, I couldn’t do my work without Precious.
A frequent stress for moms is how to keep their interest in cooking alive when they start to feel like a one-woman food factory. Any hints and tips for our readers?
I’ve recently got into Instagram (embarrassingly late, but better than never!) and it is bringing me so much new food inspiration. Also, try to focus on seasonal ingredients: they are more cost-effective and also because when something in season and beautiful is right there, it’s easier to dream up different ways to use it.
How does Le Creuset enhance your cooking?
Oh, wow, I truly couldn’t imagine cooking with any other pots. Besides how good they look, they cook so beautifully evenly and are a dream to clean.
What is your favourite Le Creuset item?
My shallow casserole (Coastal Blue).
Favourite Le Creuset colour?
I can’t choose! Coastal Blue and Dune.
What gives you joy?
Feeding people I love; empty plates around full and happy tables.
Describe yourself in five words.
I found this really tricky so asked my husband to do it for me: ‘Lover of life, family and food.’
What five things can always be found in your kitchen?
Homemade chicken soup, butter, cheese, garlic and tinned tomatoes.