So you’ve heard about our latest cookbook Plant to Plate, but now it’s time to hear from the mastermind behind all of those delicious recipes. Our incredible recipe developer Rachel Shanks answered a few questions about the book and about herself. So let’s find out more!
1. Tell us a little bit about you? How did you become a Recipe Developer with Thermomix?
I have worked various roles in hospitality for 25 years. Before moving to Australia, I worked teaching hospitality and catering to students between the ages of 14 – retirement. When moving to Australia I was looking for something different. I had heard so much about Thermomix and wanted to know more so I attended a training session at head office to see if I wanted to become a Consultant. When I heard they were looking for a Recipe Developer I handed in my resume. It sounded like a dream job. I went for it and here I am.
2. Why is home cooking so important to you?
Because I like my food to be fresh and know exactly what’s in it! I also love that I can save money by using produce that’s in season. It’s important to be in control of what you’re eating and by home cooking this is easily done. I grew up on home cooked foods, so my taste buds are quite fussy.
3. Tell us about Plant to Plate?
We wanted to create a plant-based cookbook with recipes that would appeal to everyone, whether you eat a plant-based diet or not!
4. What are your three favourite recipes from the book?
Eggplant and tomato breakfast hash with crispy tempeh
5. It’s your best friend’s birthday on Saturday night. What do you prepare for entertaining 8 people?
It’s more my style to fill my guest’s bellies with moreish and filling foods. So here’s a menu to feed a crowd!
Pulled Mexican BBQ jackfruit and the refried beans served with salad and tortilla wraps
Mixed mushroom burgers (these make 6, but I would make them a little smaller and serve as sliders) served with the Beetroot Relish, Stretchy Melted Cheese and salad.
6. Do you have any tips for how to eat a plant-based diet on a budget?
Organisation and stocking your pantry are key. Visiting wholesalers or weigh and pay stores and purchasing nutritional yeast, nuts and seeds in bulk is much cheaper than using the supermarket.
Another good way to be organised is to make playlists on Cookidoo, organised into seasons and add recipes to lists to suit vegetable availability.
7. What’s your go-to weeknight meal when you don’t feel like cooking?
8. You’re not plant-based but ate a lot of plant-based foods while developing and testing the recipes! What are some of the benefits you’ve noticed?
As a result, I feel less bloated. My skin feels cleaner, if that makes any sense. It’s also reduced my sugar cravings. I love sugar, so this is great for me!
9. If you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
That’s not fair. You can’t ask me that. That just such an awful thought. Okay, okay I would need to tick all the boxes; filling, flavoursome, fresh and spicy. A curry would win, or would it be a roast dinner? I don’t like this question.
10. How do you think the perception of vegan food has changed?
Supermarkets are keeping up with trends and demands, producing a larger variety of vegan food. It’s not just a piece of tofu impersonating a chicken breast anymore. It’s more than that… it’s good food!
11. What are five must-have items every vegan starter pantry should have?
Nutritional yeast, cashews, flaxseeds, hemp seeds and miso paste.