‘I used to go to bed with cookbooks’- Lilly Higgins on her lifelong love of food

The Irish Times Magazine food writer chats to The Women’s Podcast for Food Month

Lilly Higgins chats to Róisín Ingle on the Irish Times Women's Podcast for Food Month.

Lilly Higgins chats to Róisín Ingle on the Irish Times Women's Podcast for Food Month.

 

Looking back, it seems obvious that Lilly Higgins was destined for a career in the food business. “When I was studying for my Leaving Cert I used to go to bed with cookbooks, so all the warning signs were there,” the chef and Irish Times Magazine food writer recalls.

November is Food Month in The Irish Times. irishtimes.com/foodmonth
November is Food Month in The Irish Times. irishtimes.com/foodmonth

“I used to love reading about the origins of recipes and different ways to cut cucumbers and tomatoes. I used to feel like it was a way of turning off my brain after a hard day at secondary school,” she tells Róisín Ingle, on the latest episode of the Irish Times Women’s Podcast.

Still, she spent six years studying design - “I could have qualified as a doctor, you know?” - before a 12-week course at Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery School reminded her where her true passion lies.

“My parents were so patient,” she laughs.

Like everyone, the food writer has had to adapt her work to the pandemic and she says Instagram has been a great way to build an online foodie community, allowing her Irish Times recipes to leap off the page and into her follower’s kitchens.

Next Monday, she does her final Instagram Live as part of Food Month at The Irish Times, when she will be bringing back the classic 1980s vol-au-vent.

Higgins hopes that one of the positives of the pandemic has been that the ritual of cooking has been brought back into people’s lives and that more of us are sitting down together at dinner time.

“I think we’re all going to have a delicious Christmas as a result,” she says.

Family mealtimes can often be a tense time, with children testing the limits of their parent’s patience and the Higgins household is no different - she has a child who doesn’t eat potatoes!

Here are some dishes Higgins shared on the Women’s Podcast that are sure to win everyone over:

Cowboy Beans: A clever way to use up those tinned beans you stockpiled, plus it has chorizo in it, so definitely a winning dinner. Recipe here 

Goan Fish Curry: A 15-minute curry that’s mild enough for the whole family to enjoy. Recipe here 

One Pot Chicken: Greek-inspired chicken with tomatoes, feta and orzo pasta. Recipe here 

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