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Meet the Expert – Sarah Beattie

Meet the Expert

Please could you tell us about yourself?

Hello – I’m Sarah Beattie and I’m a food writer. I have always been interested in food and, from a very early age, very keen to cook.

I started travelling early. My first journey, before I was one, was to Burma. My dad was a mining engineer and we lived in various places around the world. My parents had met in Bolivia and my grandparents on both sides lived all over the place. Childhood was full of flavours from across the globe AND normal everyday dinners.

Research trips for books and articles have taken me to Thailand and Turkey, the Caribbean and Mauritius. I now live in South West France but I haven’t completely stopped travelling – we finally got to India three years ago and enjoyed Home Stays instead of big hotels (the bliss of not being odd for being vegetarian) and a family wedding took me to New Zealand last year.

Throughout lockdown I have been concentrating on the garden, growing lots of veg but also flowers too.

Why did you pursue a career in food?

By 17 I’d decided I didn’t want to eat meat. By 27, I thought I ought to write a book because the food I ate was nothing like the vegetarian food I saw around me. I entered competitions (BBC MasterCook, BBCMasterChef, ITV ThisMorning/National Dairy Council) and after success, got my first book deal.  Since then I’ve written seven recipe books and countless articles, features and recipe collections.

What is your biggest achievement/lesson you have learnt?

I’ve been twice shortlisted for The Guild of Food Writers Cookery Journalist of the Year for work in Vegetarian Living Magazine. I post recipes daily on my Facebook page – www.facebook.com/SarahBeattieFood

How do you use your favourite ingredient and why?

Where we live now is in sight of the Pyrenees where the border runs between France and Spain. It’s odd that a line on the map makes such a difference. This side most of my neighbours don’t like hot spicy foods and, across the border, warmth from peppers is celebrated. My current favourite ingredient is Smoked Pimenton and Seasoned Pioneers offers us Picante AND Dulce. Summer wouldn’t be Summer without it. Its bright flavour is necessary in so many barbecued sauces and dips, rubs and marinades. I need it in Salsa Romesco or Salvitxada. And my Mermalade de Tomates just would not be right if I missed out the Smoked Pimenton Picante kick. I make several batches every year to add a spoonful of Summer’s warmth to Winter comfort foods like macaroni cheese or any gratin or egg dish – or even cheese on toast.

Could you share your favourite recipe?

Mermelada de Tomate (Picante)

Makes 3 jars

1.5g ripe flavourful tomatoes – I used Noire de Crimée (Black Russian)
300g red peppers
500g sugar
2 tbs sherry vinegar
4 tsp salt
a few sprigs rosemary
2 tsp smoked pimenton picante (or 1 – 2 tsp ordinary ground chilli)

  1. Grill the tomatoes and peppers until the skins blacken.
  2. Peel away the papery skins and, breaking them up, put in a pan with the sugar, vinegar, salt and rosemary.
  3. Stir until the sugar has dissolved then cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick and jammy.
  4. Stir in the smoked pimenton and pot in clean, warm, dry jars. Cover and cool. Store in a dark cupboard.

Explore Sarah Beattie’s books:

Meat-Free Any Day
Smoothies & Juices
30 Minute Vegetarian Turkish
30 Minute Vegetarian Mexican
30 Minute Vegetarian Thai
Table of Content – Seasonal Vegetarian Dinner Party Book
Neither Fish Nor Fowl – Meat-Free Eating For Pleasure

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