Today, we have our weekly rendezvous with Tersa Ulyate, an amazing chef and recipe developer. She has created some truly amazing dishes as evidenced by her collection of meals on her blog, Cupcakes and Couscous. Teresa is also one of our recipe developers for Cookbox. Check out some of her meals such as the Beef and Rosemary Shepherd’s Pie, Minute Steaks with Quick Fry Veggies and many others on our website.
When did your passion for cooking start?
My love for food and cooking started in childhood. At home our cookies, jam and morning muesli (to name a few) were all homemade, and watching my mom in the kitchen sparked an interest right from the get go. I always looked forward to getting involved, especially when it was baking day! That passion has been with me ever since.
Vegan, Vegetarian, or Meat Eater?
I eat most things, including meat, however I do cook vegetarian meals often. I believe in balance – a little bit of everything, not too much of anything.
What was the first dish that you learned to cook?
The first thing I learnt was to bake. I remember making lots of butter cookies and microwave chocolate cakes (wow, I can’t remember the last time I made one of those!). When it comes to food, baking will always be my first love.
What is your favourite winter dish to cook and prepare?
That’s a hard one, but when it’s freezing outside my go-to meal is usually a warming rogan josh or korma curry with brown rice and lots of coriander, yum! Homemade chicken pie and cottage pie are also favourites.
Who inspires you?
There are many chefs and foodies who inspire me, for different reasons. If you were to take a quick glance at my cookbook shelf you would immediately notice all the Ottolenghi books – I’m a huge fan of their recipes and approach to cooking. If I’m in the mood for something decadent then Nigella Lawson is my gal, and I also love Bill Granger, Ella Woodward, Heidi Swanson and Jessica Sepel. We also have many fantastic and inspiring local foodies – too many to mention!
Tell us more about yourself, what are your hobbies and interests?
I am a food blogger and work as a freelance recipe developer. I’m also mom to a seven year old and a four year old, so my days a pretty full and tend to revolve around my kids and food! When I’m not in the kitchen or doing the school run I love exercising – a gym session or a walk outdoors are my favourite activities for de-stressing. My family are big readers, I just wish I had more time for it. I also love spending time at home, it’s my happy place!
What is your favourite summer dish to cook and prepare?
Ice cream! I love experimenting with different flavours and recipes – although if I’m honest this isn’t strictly a summer-only dish for me (wink wink).
What was the biggest flop that you made while preparing a meal in the kitchen?
One of my biggest flops in the kitchen may also have been ice cream related actually! I got distracted while stirring the custard and the whole lot overheated and curdled – yuck! And I also had one disastrous incident with a birthday cake and some fondant, so I tend to stick to buttercream icing these days!
Tell us more about your blog. Who is your audience? What type of content can readers expect?
I blog over at CupcakesAndCouscous.com and publishing new recipes still brings me such joy. My readers are lovers of food looking for new ideas and inspiration. The blog covers sweet and savoury recipes both healthy and decadent. I try to keep my recipes accessible and my hope is that I can encourage more and more people to get back into their kitchens and get cooking!
What is your favourite ingredient that you love using in your cooking? Why is this your favourite?
That’s a tough question! I guess I would have to say either olive oil or garlic as they are the base for so many of the dishes I make at home.
What inspires you to get up in the morning?
I am motivated by my personal and career goals. I try and see every day as a clean slate, another opportunity to get up and take another step towards those goals. Luckily I am a morning person too, so that helps!
If you had to choose to be an ingredient, what would it be and why?
Ha ha, I had to think about this one! I’m going to go with another one of my favourite ingredients – cinnamon. Why? Because it’s warm, versatile and you know what you’re getting.
Wrapping it up
There is no doubt that Teresa is an amazing chef and recipe developer, you just have to taste her delicious Shepherd’s Pie to see, or in this case taste, her meals yourself. We would like to thank Teresa for agreeing to take part in our weekly “Rendezvous with…” series. Try one of her amazing meals and the best part is you don’t even have to go shopping for the ingredients yourself, it all gets sent to you in a box. We even give you 10% discount on your first Cookbox order if you use the coupon code 10DISC. So come on, what are you waiting for?