With so many self-declared health experts and raw chefs flooding the internet with recipes and advice, it can be hard to know who to follow. One woman worth watching without a doubt is Ella Woodward, the voice behind Deliciously Ella – a fabulous foodie blogger that promotes wellness, plant-based foods, and, above all, tasty dishes that make you want more. She’s got a fantastic book out filled with some of her most popular recipes, two of which we’ve included here.
Get Fresh! Editor Sarah Herman caught up with Ella to find out about her student stock cupboard, dream kitchen, and where she’s headed next.
Get Fresh!: Deliciously Ella has really taken off, and so has your new recipe book – you must be thrilled! Did you ever imagine your blog would lead you to this point?
Ella Woodward: I know, it’s so crazy! It’s all very exciting but I never planned any of it so it’s lightly surreal too. I originally started the blog as a personal project and never really meant anyone else to read it, so it’s pretty crazy to think that millions of people now read it every month.
What are some of the more weird and wonderful things that have happened to you since you’ve started to get your name out in the world of clean, healthy eating?
I think the strangest thing is having people recognise me in the street, it happens quite a lot now and I still can’t get my head around it. I write my blog out of my kitchen so it’s hard for me to imagine people all around the world reading it and really responding to it. It feels like a huge honour, though!
When you were younger, did you envisage a future working with food and, if not, how did you imagine you’d be spending your time?
Again, not at all. I always loved food and was a big eater but never realised that it was my passion. I went to university to study History of Art and wanted to make a career in the art world, so very different to food! I’m so grateful that I get to work with food, though, it may not have been what I imagined myself doing but it absolutely feels like the thing I’m meant to be doing and I truly love what I do now.
Were you a ramen noodles kind of student or was your cupboard stocked with buckwheat flour and chia seeds?
I graduated nearly two years ago now but it feels as if it’s been such a long time! When I started I was all about pesto pasta, pick-n-mix, ice cream and chocolate but halfway through I got really ill with a chronic illness that breaks down your autonomic nervous system.
I spent the next four months in and out of hospital and then the following six months in bed taking way too much medication. None of the medication worked so I turned to natural healing and changed my diet, giving up gluten, dairy, refined sugar, refined ingredients and meat.
The diet was a huge success and 18 months later I was healthy again, but it did mean that my cupboards became full of buckwheat flour and chia seeds as a result!
What did your fellow students make of your nutritious and delicious food regime?
Everyone was really supportive; I’d been so ill and very depressed as a result so any positive change was a victory really.
What would your dream kitchen look like, and what are some of the gadgets and gizmos people would find there?
I love airy kitchens with lots of light, that’s the most important thing for me. I’m not a huge gadget girl as I like simple cooking, so you’d probably just find a blender, food processer and juicer, plus all the normal stuff like garlic crushers, knives, kitchen scales and chopping boards.
You’ve been training at CNM – what have you been studying, how are you finding it and what do you think you would like to use your new-found education for in the future?
I’ve been studying to become a nutritionist; it’s hard work but I’m really enjoying it. I don’t have any particular plans for my studies but I like knowing that I’m constantly learning more and I can share that with my readers.
Where are you living at the moment and how does it fit with your lifestyle?
I’m living in Venice beach, LA half the time at the moment and it’s my new favourite place. I absolutely love it there, seeing sunlight every day is life changing! For health foodies it’s the dream too, the food is heaven.
When you’re on holiday or travelling for work, do you struggle to find the foods you love or do you take juicers/spiralizers/blenders with you?
I’ve found that the whole world is changing and it’s getting really easy to find healthy food in any big city – you just have to do a little research before you go. So I don’t really travel with anything; if I’m going somewhere remote for a week or so then I may take a travel blender but that’s it.
If Get Fresh! came round for a dinner party, what’s your go-to dish that all your guests love?
I’m obsessed with curry at the moment so you’d probably get that! There’s a great recipe in the book for a Thai coconut curry that I make all the time. It’s made of aubergines, chickpeas, squash and coconut milk infused with ginger, chilli, coriander and miso – it’s so good! I then mix it with lots of brown rice for an easy, nourishing dinner. For dessert I’d make you either my chocolate beetroot cake with the best coconut icing or some almond butter and cacao fudge, or maybe both as they’re equally good!
What are your hopes and dreams for yourself and for the blog in the future?
To be totally honest I don’t have one particular goal. My main aim is to inspire people to eat a little more healthily and show them that healthy food is so delicious. Other than that I’m open to whatever comes my way, I’m so enjoying everything that has happened so far and just hope it stays that way.
And finally, fling open your fridge for us and tell us what you can see.
Too much food and a lot of Tupperware boxes! I spend my life recipe testing and can’t bear to ever throw anything away so my fridge is constantly bursting with leftovers. I also keep it stocked with energy bites and lots of homemade hummus, which are my favourite snacks.
Deliciously Ella by Ella Woodward is out now, published by Yellow Kite, £20. www.deliciouslyella.com
Coconut Thai Curry with Chickpeas
This Coconut Thai Curry was the first recipe I did for this book and it’s still one of my favourites! The coconut milk makes it wonderfully creamy, while the ginger, chilli flakes, coriander and miso add a fantastic array of different flavours. The chickpeas make it really hearty too, so it’s amazingly filling. I love it served with brown rice, but it’s delicious with buckwheat too or brown rice pasta. It keeps really well, so you can make extra portions of it to store in the fridge to fuel you through the week.
- 2 x 400ml tins coconut milk
- 2 x 400g tins tomatoes
- 2-3cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1-2 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 large butternut squash (1kg)
- 2 medium aubergines (600g)
- Handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped
- 1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained
- 3 tsp brown miso paste
- Brown rice, to serve
- Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 200C (fan 180C). Put the coconut milk, tinned tomatoes, grated ginger and chilli into a large saucepan with a sprinkling of salt and pepper and allow it to heat until boiling. As it heats up, peel the squash and cut both the squash and the aubergines into bite-sized pieces. Add these to the coconut and tomato in the pan. Allow the mixture to cook for about 30 minutes in the oven, at which point add the coriander and chickpeas to the pan with the miso and place the pan back in the oven for 30 minutes. It’s ready when the squash is soft. Serve the coconut curry with the brown rice. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
If you don’t like chickpeas, you can leave these out. You can also substitute any of the veggies for other ones you have in the house; cauliflower, courgettes and sweet potatoes are all delicious.
These brownies were my first ever blog post and my first successful attempt at creating sweet, delicious, healthy desserts – so I absolutely had to include them in the book! I’m still obsessed with them three years on, as they’re just so gooey and rich, and I have to admit that I normally eat at least half of the mix straight out of the food processor! They’re simpler and quicker to make than the sweet potato brownies, as they require only three ingredients, which is great.
Makes 10–15 brownies
- 1 mug pecans (140g)
- 2 mugs Medjool dates (400g), pitted
- 3 tbsp raw cacao powder
- Optional: 2 tbsp maple syrup
Simply pulse the pecans in a food processor until they form a crumbly mixture, then add the dates, cacao and maple syrup, if using, and blend again. Once the mixture is very sticky, take it out of the processor and put it into a baking tray. Freeze the brownies for an hour to let them set and then store them in the fridge.
If you don’t have any pecans, then almonds work really well too, and if you’re allergic to nuts then use sunflower seeds instead. The sweetener is totally optional in this recipe and if you’d rather use honey or agave instead of maple syrup, then that’s great, too.
Article published in the Spring 2015 issue of Get Fresh! >>