Steph’s table: Family food goes glossy
Steph is a home cook for her family - husband, Duncan, daughter Molly, 5, and three-year-old son, Teddy - who takes her followers to source local suppliers and join the family at the table and on trips. The latest, in Mallorca, shows her fun food attitude as she “inhaled a cone of stracciatella”. She aims to bring healthy tips and her zero-waste mission to our home cooking.
What's on your menu?
In lockdown, it hit me that people were going to need recipe inspo and some may be cooking from scratch with limited ingredients. So I started The_Taylor_Table in March and wanted what I share to be inspirational but also flexible, realistic and attainable.
Now I'm sharing more about how the way we shop impacts both our health and the environment. Little by little, I am working towards zero-waste shopping, and the meat and dairy I buy is either organic or free-range and is local where possible. The same goes for my veg. I want to show people that cooking from scratch has a positive impact on not only our health but also supports local communities too.
I keep tastiness at the top of my agenda. But the majority of my recipes have a healthy-twist element and suggested swaps. Little switches can make a huge difference. For example, switching vegetable oil for coconut oil or white sugar for raw cane sugar.
Share your foodie story…
My mum is a fantastic cook and I always loved to watch what she was doing. I first remember helping with the gravy at Sunday lunch, tasting it and seeing what it needed. At eight, I was obsessed with making Victoria sponges and I'd love seeing people enjoying a slice. As a teenager I’d spend hours watching cooking programmes - I even used to take notes! After uni I was a chalet girl for a season, then in my mid-20s a friend and I started a pop-up in London called The Moveable Feast, where we held evening supper clubs in a café.
What's your feelgood food?
My interest in nutrition began 10 years ago when, what seemed like overnight, I became ill with acid reflux and heartburn. I was prescribed antacids and I spent years trying to work out how to combat it. Ultimately I changed my diet and, along with yoga and CBD oil, this means now I’m off the medication.
I believe in balance as being too strict can be as negative as bingeing. I eat all the food groups and I love wine. When my heartburn was bad, the wine had to go for a while but now I can tolerate it again. Duncan, my husband, can sink a bottle of red single-handily worryingly easily, but I'm better at having one or two glasses and leaving it at that. (Unless I'm out with friends then that rule goes completely out of the window!) When I'm hungover I'm happy to confess that a McDonald's or a massive Sunday lunch, followed by sticky toffee pudding, is the answer. Then it's back to healthy(ish) on Monday.
Drop some names of star shops…
There are some amazing artisan producers round Henley including an organic dairy called Nettlebed Creamery. I use organic beef from English Farm and I cook with salmon from Gabriel Machin Butcher. We have a vegetable shack, the Bosley Patch, which farms with organic principles and a fab zero-waste shop called The Willow Basket.
Which foodie trends will you share?
I intend to continue championing food shopping to support local providers and I love to eat seasonally for both my
health and the environment. That links to foraging; free food that contains the nutrients we need for each season always blows my mind!
I’m a busy mum and strive to share real life through my feed so, while my grid looks fairly polished, I like to bring some humour to my text and to my stories. No one likes a goodie-goodie!
Creamy carrot soup with carrot-top and hazelnut pesto
The addition of nutmeg and hazelnuts feels like autumn in a bowl
“I love picking up carrots with tops as the tops taste like parsley. You need to cut the tops off though because they dehydrate the carrots and make them floppy. Stick them in a glass of water in the fridge and they’ll last a week.”
2 garlic cloves
Knob of butter (x2)
1 bay leaf
500ml stock (chicken or veg)
Salt and pepper
Handful of carrot tops
Handful of hazelnuts
Parmesan (thumb-sized piece)
1 garlic clove
1/2 lemon (juice)
1/2 tsp honey
Pinch of salt
1. Rough chop the onion and garlic, and peel and chop the carrots.
2. Add a knob of butter to a saucepan, and sauté the onions and garlic on a medium heat, being careful not to brown. Add in the carrots followed by stock, some salt and a bay leaf. Simmer with a lid on for about 15 mins until the carrots are soft.
3. Remove the bay leaf and blend with the cream, another knob of butter and a good grate of nutmeg. Season generously to taste.
4. For the pesto, toast the hazelnuts in a dry pan and allow to cool. Whizz up all the ingredients, slowly adding the olive oil until it’s the right consistency.
5. Spoon some pesto on top of the soup with some extra toasted hazelnuts. Serve with toasted, buttered sourdough bread.
Chicken Pad Thai
I’m an absolute sucker for Asian flavours and the perfect balance of Thai dishes in particular. This is as delicious meat-free plus it’s a great gluten-free meal with the use of rice noodles
“Pad Thai is one of my favourite Asian dishes and for an authentic result there are a few key ingredients. Ribbon rice noodles are a must, then it’s the pad Thai sauce with tamarind and oyster sauce, followed by the egg. Also, lashings of fresh lime and finally the coriander, spring onions and crushed peanuts. It’s all in the prep with this one, as the actual cooking part is fast on high heat. It's a great way to use up leftover chicken but a veggie one is equally as nice.”
Ingredients (serves 2):
2 rice noodle nests (ribbon)
2 garlic cloves
1tsp grated ginger
1/2 red pepper
Cooked, torn chicken breast (optional)
Pad Thai sauce:
2 tbsp tamarind purée
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp water (if mixture seems thick)
Spring onion, diced
Peanuts (handful chopped or crushed)
1/2 lime, juiced
Chilli flakes (or fresh)
1. Prepare the rice noodles according to instructions.
2. Before you start cooking prep all the veg. Finely slice the onion and pepper and use a peeler to make carrot ribbons. Grate the garlic and ginger. Then chop the coriander, spring onions and peanuts, and set to one side.
3. Mix together the pad Thai sauce in a bowl.
4. Heat a wok on the hob with coconut oil, and once it's hot add the onion. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes then add the peppers, carrot, bean sprouts, garlic and ginger, and stir-fry for 2 more minutes. Add the chicken for 1 minute.
5. Add the drained noodles to the pan followed by the pad Thai sauce, and use tongs to mix it all up.
6. Push the noodles to one side and crack an egg into the base of the pan. Allow it to scramble then mix it through the noodles.
7. Tip the noodles into a large bowl and top with the coriander, spring onions, peanuts, chilli and lime juice.More info
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