The Batch Lady, cook and author Suzanne Mulholland, answers questions on food

Cook and author Suzanne Mulholland – renowned for her The Batch Lady books – shares her love of Scottish TV presenter Lorraine Kelly and chicken pie.

What’s your favourite ingredient?

As The Batch Lady, I am all for shortcuts, so I would say my favourite ingredient to use is chopped frozen onions. They are so handy. You can just grab what you need and don’t need to spend ages chopping onions. I also love frozen herbs. You can get these in most supermarkets and they are great for adding to soups and stews.

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Do you have a guilty food pleasure?

Suzanne Mulholland Pic: Ryan Hall

I love cinnamon buns – they’re my go to if I fancy a little treat.

Tell us about your first food memory?

My first food memory is my mum’s homemade mac and cheese. Any time I have it now, it takes me back to being young and feels really comforting. My mum also used to make bran loaf – a bread/cake that you would spread with butter and have with a cup of tea for breakfast or a snack. This recipe is in my new book and it’s really close to my heart.

What’s your favourite Scottish restaurant, deli or cafe?

book jacket

Honeycomb & Co in Bruntsfield, Edinburgh. It is my go-to spot in town for brunch or lunch. They make amazing pancakes and avocado toast and use a lot of my favourite flavours – chai, beetroot and cinnamon in their coffees and drinks. I also love The Chop House in Bruntsfield. Their meat is top quality, supplied by Shaw’s Fine Meats in the Scottish Borders, and the atmosphere and service is great.

What would be your last supper?

Oh, it would have to be pie. There is nothing I love more than a chicken pie, it is so comforting and warming.

Starter or pudding?

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Pudding always. In fact, I’d have ten puddings instead of main courses.

Do you have any food hates?

I’m not a massive fan of cold seafood. Oysters are my worst nightmare.

What starters, main and dessert would be served at your dream dinner party and who would you invite?

For starters, I would go for a parfait with a lovely redcurrant jelly and sourdough bread. For the main, I’d have a Middle Eastern style mezze, as I love lots of little plates of things rather than one big main. There would be hummus, koftas, baba ghanoush, flatbreads etc. For dessert, I couldn’t pick just one, so I would go for a trio. Something like a mini tiramisu, slice of lemon tart and a mini Eton mess. And then to finish, coffee and a lovely bite of Scottish tablet – delicious.

I would invite Mary Berry and Nigella Lawson – the queens of the kitchen, as well as Alexander McCall Smith and Ian Rankin because I love their writing. Lorraine Kelly because I’ve worked with her on ITV and think she’s a hoot, and finally Stephen Fry – to speak to him once in a lifetime, would be amazing.

What’s your favourite geographical foodie destination?

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I’m just back from Brussels on a foodie adventure and I loved the mix of decadent and comfort food. The Belgian waffles were totally delicious.

Suzanne Mulholland’s ‘The Batch Lady: Cooking on a Budget’ (HQ, HarperCollins) is out on January 5, £22

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