Image: Elainea Emmott Photography
Elainea started as a fashion designer designing and selling collections at Paris Fashion Week to Browns and Joseph. As a full-time Mum to Wesley who has Asperger’s Syndrome her creativity returned through Photography - portraits and food photography. In October 2019 Elainea’s was scouted by TV production company Optomen from the images of food on her Instagram for a new TV programme, Crazy Delicious which aired on Channel 4. The judges were Heston Blumenthal, Niklas Erdnst and Carla Hall – boasting 5 Michelin stars between them!
Picture: Courtesy of Optomen Ltd for Crazy Delicious Channel 4
Elainea had to immerse herself in inventive cooking and mix flavours, using what she had in the cupboard and started salt baking and pureeing vegetables, emulsifying, freezing and moulding as well as buying offal and making ice-creams and learning new techniques in 4 weeks.. The dishes were timed, and they needed to be perfectly executed cooking alongside other contestants under the watchful eye of Heston Blumenthal.
Elainea’s passion is for creating tasty food using ordinary ingredients, elevating the flavours into something fantastic – the apple dessert Elainea produced on Crazy Delicious had an outer coating of apple with white chocolate with a caramelized apple and nutmeg mousse and a centre of black pudding with toffee caramel in the shape of an apple.
Elainea believes that food is a great leveller and in these uncertain times cooking is calming and puts you very much in the present. It creates conversations and bonds family, friends and neighbours bringing joy and companionship.
It is important to Elainea and her son to give back to her local communities supporting those who are vulnerable. Elainea is working with The Felix Project on recipe ideas. Our Seat Our Table is a Supper Club designed to encourage conversations around the kitchen table regarding mental health and well-being. Elainea and her son have now devoted their garden to growing vegetables and are sharing their fresh produce with their neighbours.
Image: Elainea Emmott Photography
Aubergine and Green Bean Curry
A family favourite - it works so well with the smoky meatiness of aubergine and the addition of the crunchy snap of green beans with deep spicy tones of Cumin, Garam Masala and Cinnamon. With the vibrant colours of red from the tomatoes and fresh green from the beans, this dish gives a three out of five recommended vegetables a day hit and is packed full of flavour hot or cold. The perfect vegan dinner to have when you want a feel-good nourishing meal for your soul. Serve with Bulgar Wheat to soak up the juices or the next day as a topping for a hot baked potato.
2 tbsp of vegetable or olive oil
200g of green dwarf beans or a good handful fresh or tinned
1 tin of chopped tomatoes or use fresh cherry tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
1 thumb size of fresh ginger
2 tbsp of Garam Masala
1.5 tbsp of ground Cumin
1 tbsp of ground Coriander
1/4 tsp of chilli flakes
squeeze of lemon
Salt & Pepper to taste
Sprinkling of Coriander - optional
200ml of stock - vegetable or meat stock whichever you have
Half a tin of coconut milk - optional
1 medium sized good saucepan
1 hand grater - optional as you can finely chop the Ginger
Slice the onions and garlic. Peel and finely grate the ginger. Heat the oil in the saucepan on a medium heat. Add into the saucepan. When the onions and garlic and ginger have browned in the oil add the fried aubergine which has been chopped into 1-inch cubes. Brown the aubergine well ensuring that it takes on a lovely nutty brown colour for 5 minutes.
Add the Garam Masala, Cinnamon, Ground Cumin and Chilli Flakes and coat the mixture with the spices ensuring that the spices are cooked through and evenly distributed. After 3 minutes add the tinned tomatoes and turn the heat down to a simmer to cook through. After 15 minutes add the chopped green beans and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. At this point you can also add coconut milk if you want a thicker consistency of the curry. Cook for a further 15 minutes. Give a squeeze of a quarter wedge of lemon. Stir well and serve with freshly cut Coriander - this is optional as my Son recently told me he didn't like Coriander, so you could also serve with parsley or without. I like to serve it with 100g of Bulgar Wheat - boiled in vegetable stock for extra flavour to soak up the juices, or you can have with Basmati Rice. Remember to save a bit for lunch the next day if there is any left.
Timing: 35 minutes
Feeds: 4 portions with Bulgar Wheat or 2 healthy size portions.