Q&A Anna Hedworth

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Anna Hedworth, Cook, owner of Cook House

The cookbook that has most influenced your cooking

The Art of Living According to Joe Beef: A Cookbook of Sorts, this book has always brought me joy and ideas since I ventured into the world of food, making me see it was possible to do things your own way, take chances, make up your own rules and show people a good time. Their initial makeshift restaurant in Montreal that has grown into a very successful business venture inspired me to open my own

The food of love: what would you cook to impress a potential date? And what piece of music would accompany it?

I once hosted a Valentine Supperclub in my shipping container restaurant where we served Ox Heart Tartar followed by Blood Orange & Campari Jelly set in round glasses with a raspberry in the middle, they looked a bit like boobs! We put a search on the ipod for anything with ‘love’ in it

The perfect dinner party: which five people (dead or alive, real or fictional) would you invite to dinner and what would you cook for them?

The guys from Joe Beef – those guys really seem like they know how to enjoy themselves. Bob Mortimer and Caitlin Moran to raise the humour levels, and Elizabeth David, she had a wild side as well as being a bit of a food genius, I hear. I’d make a Slow Roast Spiced Shoulder of Lamb, which just falls apart, with some Date & Mint Jam, a side of Celeriac, Caper, Crème Fraiche and Walnut Gratin and maybe a Roast Plum, Ginger and Star Anise Crumble for pudding with thick cream; delicious things that can just sit in the oven while you have a good time

Fast food –  your top snack tip

Things on toast, I have a whole chapter on it in my new book. Bread is always a good vehicle for copious amounts of butter, and is also my go to, very easy after work snack; toasted with whipped feta, roast tomatoes or smoked vegetables, black pudding, haggis, creamy mackerel pate, buttery fried mushrooms. Anything really, not all at once perhaps

Most memorable meal in  film/literature/painting

Anyone who knows me will tell you I have a notoriously bad memory for films, books, music, football matches, life events… so this is a hard one… The Last Supper is pretty memorable I guess

Your worst kitchen disaster

The time we opened the new restaurant, incredibly understaffed and extremely busy and I opened a jar of beetroot top kimchi during service, which exploded in my face leaving me with bright red fermented juices running down my face, top and covering the entire pass, diners’ food included

The best thing to do with a squash?

Roast it whole with a lot of butter & garlic, until the edges are sticky, golden and crisp. Stuff it with some more butter, sage, barley, pumpkin seeds and cheese. The recipe is in my book, it’s delicious

What would you like your final meal to be?

Oysters and Champagne, followed by Langoustines with Aioli, Woodcock on Toast, Cheese and Red Wine… hopefully skipping the gout course.

What is your secret talent [in or out of the kitchen]?

I’m good at archery.

What did you eat for breakfast?

Nothing, I rarely do, which I know probably isn’t very good for me but I don’t get hungry till lunch and I eat quite enough without feeding myself when I don’t need to

What’s in your fridge?

Some Stornaway black pudding, butter, some homemade kefir and some very sad looking vegetables, I’m not often in the house since we opened the new restaurant. Must Try Harder. I think I could still make something on toast out of that lot however

Your inheritance recipes – the one you inherited [and from whom] and the one you’d like to pass on to your children

My granny left me a good knowledge of crumbles and some dubious pasta bakes made with condensed soup, I leave my new book Cook House, hopefully some of it will stand the test of time, I’d like to pass on the chicken pie with capers and bacon which is particularly good on a Sunday night on the sofa


Cook House by Anna Hedworth, is published by Head of Zeus, £25. You can catch Anna at the Morpeth Food & Drink Festival on 6 October where she will be conducting a demo in the Festival Kitchen and signing books at Waterstones Morpeth