We’re obsessed with hearing about what other people eat all day everyday and we just know that you’re all as curious as we are! There’s something so intriguing about knowing the secrets of a healthy foodie. Follow along with this series where we find out what a wide range of successful health-loving ladies eat in a day.
Leno is a food photographer, food stylist, recipe developer and author of Crazy Cucumber Blog.
Based in Auckland, she works in her home photo studio, where she creates beautiful photos and recipes for a wide variety of clients from all New Zealand.
In her personal project Crazy Cucumber Blog you can find unique recipes based on classic culinary techniques and her researches from travels around the world.
Your go-to brekkie….
On a typical weekday, I usually don’t have enough time to prepare breakfast. I’m working at home and morning is the best time to take photos, and catch the soft and beautiful morning light. A cup of a flat white is my perfect breakfast, sometimes with a piece of cheese, or with avocado sourdough toast, sometimes I do detox day and start my day with a hemp green smoothie. I always look forward to the weekend to cook something special for the family. We love lemon ricotta waffles, shakshuka, Dutch baby (German pancake) and crepes Suzette.
Your go-to lunch…
I have a late lunch, I like to have lunch with my daughter after she getting back after school. I’m very serious about food (sometimes too serious, haha), prefer to prepare from scratch right before eating, leftovers are very rare in our house. I lived in India in my youth. Between dance floors and parties, I met with Ayurveda, ancient Indian medicine. According to Ayurvedic diet philosophy, fresher foods contain more nutrients. Fresh food has higher levels of ‘prana’ or ‘life energy’. Here’s my rule: eat the prepared food within three hours of making it. Of course, it takes plenty of my time, so I started collecting quick and easy recipes that could be made less than 30 minutes, sometimes I share them on my Instagram. Our most popular dishes for lunch are salads, cream soups, French crepes, mushroom toast, and green pasta.
Your go-to dinner…
Normally, this is fresh juicy salads with soft cheese, vegetables, seeds, nuts and fruits during the summer. And warming soups based on a rich chicken stock with plenty of vegetables during the cooler time of the year. I love a good list of soups: Chinese dumpling vegetable soup, Tom Kha Gai, Ribolita soup, harissa lentil soup, aromatic Laksa, or quick and easy Korean soybean soup. They fill the tummy and warm the soul.
Dessert or no dessert…
Life is uncertain; so eat dessert first.
I’m not a sweet tooth, but I never pass a good dessert, especially when we are eating out. I prefer sweet-sour or sweet-bitter tastes and soft textures. In my list of favourite desserts, you can find the lemon cake, Raspberry Millefeuille, dark chocolate mousse, Doris plum-orange cake, Japanese matcha tiramisu and classic tiramisu made using Italian mamma recipe.
What you reach for when a snack attack hits…
When I was child snacks haven’t been popular in our family, this habit is a still with me now. So I’m just waiting for the next meal.
Your fave foodie destination…
I’m a passionate traveler, visited more than 20 countries. I love to learn the local culture of the countries through culinary traditions. Food is a huge part of the culture and this is actually a thing that brings us together.
I’m absolutely in love with Tokyo, Barcelona, Sydney, Singapore, Bangkok and Bali. So, not easy to pick one.
But Bali holds a special place in my heart. I lived in this tropical paradise for four years. We had a wonderful expat community, the lucky ones who have seen better times Bali. We arrived in Bali to enjoy the real-life, to do what we love. People brought with them recipes of their best dishes, which is gathered all us together at friends’ parties and then in cafes and restaurants. Bali is that place where I first time tried the real wood-fired pizza, melt-in-your-mouth tuna sashimi, Italian gelato, Australian vegan bowls, famous New Zealand pies, freshly baked French croissant, Pierre Hermé style modern desserts and many more.
Three foods you can’t live without…
Avocado, plain yoghurt, lemons. By the way, all three are absolutely amazing in New Zealand.
Avocado is more than just a delicious addition to sourdough toast, this is my little beauty secret. I truly believe that avocado super fats and vitamins help to keep my skin healthy.
I’m obsessed with yoghurt and able to eat it any time. With fruit and granola for breakfast. Or as dressing for salad mixed with garlic, lemon and olive oil. Or just as an addition for curry or rice dishes.
I’m a huge fan of Middle Eastern cuisine and cook it very often at home. In Middle Eastern cuisine, yogurt can be mixed into pretty much everything including stews, omelettes, and soups. Acidic yoghurt is the secret weapon for flavours, it makes the taste richer and brings the balance to the dish. By the way, it works great with baking too.
When life gives you lemons make lemonade, or lemon chicken, or lemon waffles! I always keep a bag of organic lemons in my fridge and a jar of preserved lemons. Lemon―juice or zest―puts a little extra bounce in the step of any cook.
Your ultimate foodie indulgence…
Singapore crab in black pepper sauce. And no matter if your t-shirt is covered with drops of black sauce very badly.
The recipe that’ll always get you drooling is…
Almost all recipes with chicken. A chicken in the hands of a skilled chef can be a real delicacy.
Connect with Leno:
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/crazycucumberblog/
Portfolio website: https://www.lenoregush.com
Personal project. Food blog with recipes: http://crazy-cucumber.com