Emily Leary's on a mission to help parents get their kids to eat a variety of nutritious and exciting foods. Her brilliant cookbook Get Your Kids to Eat Anything features a variety of recipes with unusual ingredients and flavours to liven up mealtime. The book includes a 5-phase programme that's sure to turn any picky eaters in your family into adventurous foodies. Emily is also the founder of the popular blog A Mummy Too and she recently showed us around her writing and blogging workspace and answered our burning questions about her book.
Where do you write and what can you tell us about your workspace?
I do most of my writing at my desk in my home office, which I share with my husband. Wherever we've lived, we've taken our desks with us and set up a workspace together somewhere in the house. In this case, it's the front room, which has lots of lovely natural light and space for all of our books.
How did discover your love of cooking?
I grew up cooking with my mum, Maeve, and then began making family meals independently at the age of 11 when my mum was moved onto evening shifts. So, I've always been comfortable in the kitchen and especially loved experimenting with herbs and spices.
How do you come up with new recipes?
My kids are a huge source of inspiration as they love experimenting with food. I also gather lots of new ideas for flavour, texture and ingredient combinations whenever I travel. I read lots of cookbooks and blogs, of course, and I'm also a huge fan of Pinterest as I'm always on the lookout for the next big trend.
What helps you get creative in the kitchen?
I love listening to the radio while I'm cooking. It helps me to relax and get in the zone. Sometimes it might be something topical on BBC Radio 4, other times I might be dancing along to Planet Rock - whatever helps get me in the creative mood! I also enjoy challenging myself, so I might pick two random ingredients and see how I can make them work together - there's actually a similar challenge in the book!
How did blogging and video-making prepare you for writing your cookbook?
I've been creating and sharing recipes with the community I've built around the blog for 8 years, and I've learned a huge amount in that time.
When you're writing for a family audience, it's not just about providing tasty recipes, it's also about ticking all the other boxes families need their meals to tick. So they need food that's easy to cook, is made with supermarket ingredients, doesn't require endless specialist equipment and, most importantly, that their kids will actually eat! When I started to develop the concept behind Get Your Kids to Eat Anything, it was very much with the needs of my audience of busy parents in mind.
What was your favourite recipe in Get Your Kids to Eat Anything?
My favourite is probably the strawberries and cream pasta because it tends to shock a little on first sight, but always goes down a treat. It's also the recipe that I've received the most photographs of kids wolfing down bowlfuls of, and it means a lot to me to see the book helping make families' mealtimes happier and easier.
What are your children's favourite recipes?
After helping me test every recipe in Get Your Kids to Eat Anything, my kids are genuinely really adventurous with food. From the book, their favourites currently include the rainbow pizza and the lentil bolognese. And when I've been demoing at food festivals recently, they've even surprised me by opting for things like spicy jerk-marinaded jackfruit burritos!
Can you tell us a random fact about yourself?
I'm really into weightlifting! It's something I discovered at the end of last year and have absolutely fallen in love with.
So, if rainbow pizza and strawberries and cream pasta sound like dishes you just need to try for yourself (they certainly do for us!) then don't forget to get your copy of Emily Leary's Get Your Kids to Eat Anything on our site now.