Alexandra (and her gorgeous cookie) in our Cape Collar Shirt
This week we're featuring the amazing Alexandra Dudley and find ourselves more than a little excited to try our hand at her Giant Chocolate Chunk Cookie recipe. As she says, "Chocolate chip cookies are great but giant chocolate chip cookies are better, or at least bigger!"
But that's not all, read on for the recipe and our exclusive interview with this inspiring #TROYgirl ♡
Well known around town as a 'serial dinner party host' Alexandra is a true entertainer with the perfect palette to boot! Her podcast "Come for supper" delves into the lives of chefs, restauranteurs, authors, actors and artists whilst her regular series ‘How to host a dinner party’ shares her tips and tricks on how to effortlessly entertain and create the perfect evening.
Top tip from the pro herself? "Go with the seasons, food always tastes best this way."
We sat down with this kitchen Queen to chat can't-live-without ingredients, why she champions whole foods, her favourite picnic spots and much, much
IT'S INTERVIEW TIME
You are widely known to be a ‘serial dinner party host’ who loves entertaining. What are your top tips for menu planning?
Keep it simple. You want to ensure you’re enjoying the party as much as your guests and not chained to the kitchen.
Go with the seasons. Food always tastes the best this way.
Have a theme even a subtle one. Something you can play into the table setting soon. If it’s autumn it could be apples. Perhaps serve an apple martini and an apple tart for pudding. You could have a huge bowl of apples on the table too.
What are your 'can’t live without' food staples and your secret ingredients for summer and winter cooking?
Summer - fresh mint and courgettes. Winter - wild mushrooms and acorn squash. All year round - fresh chilli, anchovies, garlic, miso paste, good butter and I always have a big wedge of Grana Padano in my fridge too.
How do you create your recipes? Where do your ideas come from and what is your process for perfecting them? (Presumably you have some lucky loyal tasters!)
A lot comes purely from what’s in season. I can’t help but gorge on asparagus, wild garlic, strawberries etc whenever they are in season and so one sort of inevitably finds more and more ways to get creative. I get a lot of inspiration from restaurants too especially middle eastern cuisine.
You champion cooking with whole foods. How do you believe food choices can help people's physical and mental wellbeing?
I think there is definitely something to be said for eating with the seasons. It is how we are meant to eat and how the earth wants us to eat. I certainly feel more grounded eating seasonally.
You recently did a course in transcendental meditation. How effective do you find that, and what other ways do you wind down and switch off?
It has genuinely been life changing. I also find cooking hugely meditative but as it is also my job there are times when it can be a little manic. I am a big fan of moving my body everyday whether it be a walk, quick run or some yoga.
You are our go-to for picnic inspiration. Where are your favourite picnic spots around the UK or abroad? Have you made any brilliant new discoveries this summer?
I love Hyde Park for a picnic or the rose garden at Regents Park. I have a very small garden in my flat in London so have been making the most of the sunshine and eating al fresco as much as I can too. The North Norfolk Coast is also one of my favourite places to picnic. My father lives up there and we will often go and picnic on Holkham Beach. They do a very good cup of tea at The Victoria Hotel right by it too for when you can’t feel your fingers anymore.
Where is on your bucket list in the UK? I know you are planning a trip to Norfolk in the Autumn…
I went to Wales last year for a food festival and stayed on for two days to hike. I loved it! So I definitely want to go back to that part of the world and explore more.
As well as putting sustainability at the heart of your food you have an eye for sustainable fashion, stating that people should “try to make things last, know where they came from and try to make as little a negative impact on the planet as you can.” How can people incorporate sustainability in to their wardrobes?
I think one of the main things to think about when purchasing clothes is cost per wear. Rather than spend £2.00 on a flimsy scrappy top from a budget high street store that you will inevitably throw away in years time why not save up for something you really love. Patience is something that I think we’ve lost when it comes to food and fashion and it’s a shame. There is so much joy in finally buying that beautiful shirt you’ve been saving up for. A few years ago I gave myself a ban on fast fashion and avoid going into Zara, H&M etc. I thought it would be hard but it really wasn’t and I have so much more joy in the clothes I purchase now. I purchase less but I purchase better. I try to always look into where the products are made, which materials they are made with and who by. I also make so much more use of my existing wardrobe. So many of us already have fabulous clothes. It’s simply the idea of needing something new that we need to drop. Better to spend that little extra on something that was made well, that you really love and that will make you feel fabulous for years to come.
Which are your favourite TROY pieces and why?
I love a collar and recently got the cape collar shirt. I have also been looking at the beautiful new stock shirt in green
Right, we're off to fight the children for the cookie dough. ENJOY!