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Cuisine Queen

Angela May spills the beans… on her love affair with food

Angela May_cookieWhen you love your work, it’s as easy as pie. In Angela May’s case, it’s as delicious too – so good you just want to stuff your face all day long! It must be a slice of heaven on earth for the fervent foodie, exploring food cultures around the world as a presenter on her programme Planet Food.

Her food adventures and experiments are chronicled on her blog Asian Inspired Ideas by Angela May, complete with mouth-watering pictures to whet your appetite (seriously, you’ll drool when you see them).

Apart from being a host and TV presenter, Angela is also an emcee and author. The graduate of Le Cordon Bleu – commonly thought of as the finest French Culinary Academy in the world – has also been on the culinary panel to judge the best restaurants in Singapore.

Now that she’s back in Singapore after a brief hiatus from Asia, we get Angela to indulge us, and find that she’s full of beans when it comes to all things food.

basil and lime over whiteEzyhealth: How did your culinary journey begin? What drives your passion for cooking?

Angela: The kitchen was like a wonderland for me as a kid. My mother is Thai so the kitchen cupboards were full of unusual spices, oddly labelled jars of pastes and mixes that I couldn’t read but wanted to explore. I’m passionate about food. I love just the act of eating. People get together to eat and laugh and unwind, to share stories about their lives after a long day and that’s why I love food. It’s something that everyone needs and can enjoy no matter where you are in the world. Everybody loves socialising over a meal.

Ezyhealth: What’s your cooking style – are you a whirlwind in the kitchen or a Zen mistress?

Angela: Zen mistress. I’m calm about everything.

Vegetables backgroundEzyhealth: Working with delicious food all the time, how do you temper temptation?

Angela: Temper temptation??? Haha I eat everything. I need to know what everything tastes like. Seriously like, NEED to know. If I’m out eating with friends I have a wandering fork; nobody’s plate is safe when I’m around! I’ll stab something off someone else’s plate no matter what.

Ezyhealth: As a chef, it takes discipline to keep the weight from piling on. How do you keep slim and fit these days?

Angela: I do sun salutations whenever I can squeeze in a moment, I love running after a long day and I often go on long evening walks with my girlfriends. Nothing is better than a late night stroll with a friend catching up and working the abs with fits of laughter.

Ezyhealth: You’ve travelled far and wide. What are the most innovative food preparation techniques you’ve picked up from around the world?

Angela: I have to say the trend now is moving away from innovation and more towards feel-good family-style food.

Ezyhealth: Certain foreign ‘delicacies’ like balut (fertilised duck eggs) may not whet everyone’s tastebuds. Is there any food you would have reservations about eating?

Angela: I’ve eaten balut (it’s delicious), sheep’s eyeballs and grasshoppers; I’m game to try anything as long as it’s been raised/cared for or caught and slaughtered in a humane manner.

Ezyhealth: You spent the last few years in New York, LA and France. What did you love about the food scenes there?

Angela: Diversity; the people, the risk takers, the produce, the farmers’ markets, the farmers. My local butcher who would not only order in special cuts of meat for me but would also bring me fresh poblanos (a type of chilli pepper) because he knew a guy in Queens who had better ones than I could get.

Ezyhealth: It can be really hard to eat healthy when you appreciate good food! Any tips for keeping dishes delicious yet healthful?

Angela: Eat fresh food as much as possible. Be mindful of how your body feels after a meal and listen to your body. If you’re craving a salad, then there’s probably a good reason.

Ezyhealth: We’re celebrating World Health Day this month. Do you have a heart-healthy recipe to share with our readers?

Angela: YES! Eat more beans! Dried beans are crazy good for your heart. I stay away from canned beans because they taste horrible to me, but dried beans are amazing. Just pick up 500g of beans of your choice, soak overnight and cook in a pressure cooker with a bay leaf. Eat over salads with avocado and pickled onions or just as a little snack in a bowl with your favourite olive oil. One of my favourite heart-healthy snacks, especially after the gym, is just a handful of oven-baked garbanzo beans.

Italian pasta

Crunchy Dried Spicy Chickpeas

Ingredients

  • 450g (1 lb) dried chickpeas
  • 2 pinches cumin
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ roasted garlic powder
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp Szechuan ground peppers
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp chilli oil
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)

Directions

  1. Soak rinsed chickpeas in cool filtered water for 8 hours.
  2. Strain the water and give chickpeas a quick rinse. Place chickpeas in a pressure cooker with 7 cups of water.Photo 1_recipe
  3. Turn on heat and when pressure cooker comes to a high at bar two, turn down the heat to keep the pressure up and set a timer for 13 minutes. Once the timer goes off, remove from heat and check on the chickpeas using quick release method.
  4. Strain fully cooked chickpeas and gently toss with all remaining ingredients.
  5. Lay out in a single layer on two sheet pans and bake in a preheated oven at 160°C (320°F), stirring halfway through, for one hour or until crunchy and dry.

 

Table Talk

What three items are always in your fridge?

Butter, milk and eggs. Butter because it’s delicious. Milk because I drink way too much coffee and I’m a frothy coffee person. Eggs because they are almost the most perfect food alone and play well with everything, including flour to make cake batter.

If you could have dinner with any famous personality, living or dead, who would it be?

Douglas Adams. “42” – really?

“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” What dish would you whip up on a first date to seal the deal?

“Seal the deal”? Haha! There are very few who know the answer to this question.

 

Angela May is an artiste with FLY Entertainment.

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Melanie Sim
Posted by ezyhealth on Mar 31 2015. Filed under Cover Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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