Roots Up Cooking with Izzie Clench
Hi Izzie! You run a blog called Roots Up Cooking where you share recipes, product reviews, storage ideas and other things useful to people who live by a vegetarian or vegan diet. What was it that inspired you to start it?
I have always been veggie and often felt like an oddball as a child. However, as people have become more environmentally conscious, the vegan/veggie diet has become far more accessible for the average person. Over the last few years, a lot of pages and blogs have surfaced showcasing some really delicious and interesting stuff. This inspired me to start Roots Up, I thought if I could share a recipe that just one person would make that night instead of choosing meat, we’d be on to a winner. I love cooking and writing and when the first lockdown hit, I had no more excuses about being too busy and just went for it!
You recipes are full of fresh ingredients, flavours and colours. Could you give an example of a recipe you’re especially proud of, and the story behind it?
Ooo tricky one. I would have to say the recipe I am most proud of is my ‘one pot pasta and borlotti bean stew.’ This is because I usually take inspiration from a dish and alter it, however with this one it was (in the words of Bob Ross) a ‘happy accident.’
Back in September on a day off work, being the pasta slut that I am, I had planned on making a spaghetti Bolognese for dinner. However, when I went to the local corner shop, they only had small canneroni shaped pasta. I decided to go with it.
I went back home and started how I usually start any pasta dish, onion, garlic and rosemary. I love to use every ounce of the food that I have brought so when it came to the tinned tomatoes I did the whole, fill your tin out with water, swirl it round and use it. Annoyingly, I got a bit carried away and added far too much water. This is when it occurred to me that I could make a one pot pasta stew. A herby, spicy, pasta stew. With the weather on the turn, it felt right.
I decided to throw all my favourite foods, herbs and spices at it and just see what happens. Smoked paprika has always been my cream of the crop spice, so I added a lot of that. Around this time, I had also found a new love for the borlotti bean. I felt like a witch trying out a new potion. I served this up and my housemates gave it a solid 8/10. Not bad for a first try! This is a memorable dish now as it reminds me to always be creative when cooking. When things go slightly wrong, switch the dish up and you may have just cracked it.
You’re based in Bristol, a city with great options for vegans and vegetarians. If you were going to take a day off cooking, where would you go out to eat? What would you order?
We are so spoilt for choice in Brizzle! – my absolute favourite place to eat is The Bristolian located on Picton Street. I would order ‘The Bristolian Veggie’ with an oat chai latte. But if it’s past the time for that, I love The Burger joint for a naughty burger. You get to pick your own toppings and sides. I usually go all in and have something like ‘brioche bun, the veggie joint, cheddar, sautéed onions, hash brown and allllll the sauces!’
What would you like to offer up as your WFTP hidden gem?
I am a big fan of companies who are trying to reduce the amount of food waste they produce. So, my hidden gem would be the ‘too good to go’ app. It’s free to download and when you’re feeling peckish but not up to cooking, you can scroll through all the fooderies that have bits going for cheap that would have otherwise ended up in the bin. You reserve a space and get a bag of goodies. It’s like a lucky food dip! I have picked up a big bowl of falafel and salad off eat a pitta before and it was only a fiver!
Thanks a lot for talking to me Izzie! How can we keep up to date with your recipes and ideas?
You can keep up to date with me by following me on Facebook and Instagram @rootsup_cooking. I am always keen to get to know people who are in the green food scene so feel free to drop me a message for a chin waggle. I am hopefully going to have a website up in the future – watch this space!
Interview by Alex Wilson 19/11/20