Posted 10th Sep 2015
There are only a handful of popular mince dishes such as shepherd's pie and lasagne that we enjoy on a regular basis, however Dean Edwards has found inspiration from such a versatile ingredient with his latest book, Mincepiration. We sat down with him to find out more about his book
What inspired you to write a book just about mince?
It was something I had grown up eating as many of us did. I have very fond memories of tucking into a bolognese or a cottage pie, proper comfort food, but as families we tend to stick with what we know. I wanted to give a few more options on what to do with mince, as it's such a diverse ingredient and is also easy on the pocket.
Did you find it difficult to create so many dishes from the same base ingredient?
It actually was very tough, I hadn’t quite realised how hard it was to write a cookbook, let alone giving myself a subject matter that narrowed down my field for inspiration. My mission was not only to develop recipes that tasted great but also looked the business too – ask any food photographer their least favourite ingredient to shoot and many will point the finger at mince due to the many shades of brown on show. Not sure I would go down the route of a single ingredient subject matter again but the buzz from seeing the book on the shelf makes all the hard work worthwhile.
How was writing Feelgood Family Food different to writing Mincepiration?
It was easier in a way as I was able to take inspiration from many other ingredients, in addition I learned a lot from writing my first book. The fact I ate mince for around four months solid has not put me off and there are some mince based recipes in Feelgood Family Food. The hardest part however is trying not to go over old ground and always have something fresh and inspirational to write about, the cooking part comes easy as I love it – the sitting at the laptop for countless hours however is another matter.
What's your favourite recipe from the book?
The recipe I cook over and over at home is the chilli beef hotpot. An ode to the famous hotpot from the North of England, I’ve adapted a chilli con carne recipe, bulked it out with beans and topped with a crispy layer of sliced potato and Cheddar cheese. It really has become a family favourite. Bonus too that any leftovers can be served with rice, that’s lunch sorted the next day!
What did you find most challenging about putting this cookbook together?
The hardest part was to try and look at a simple ingredient and make it exciting. To try and think outside of the box, we all cook and enjoy mince but get stuck in a rut. Before writing the book I asked people to name five meals with mince, I got the usual responses, spaghetti bolognese, chilli, cottage pie, shepherds pie and burgers. Crazily I decided it would be a good idea to come up with another 90 odd recipes all inspired by the most basic and familiar of ingredients. It was a tough ask but I think I cracked it.
When people think of mince they predominately think of beef mince, how do you suggest we change this way of thinking to encourage people to try other minced meats?
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to which type of mince to cook with and many dishes will work with any mince, whether that’s beef, pork, lamb, or turkey. The one thing I would say is try to buy the best quality mince your budget will stretch to. It really will make a difference. Try lamb for a rich and smoky flavoured Moroccan spiced burger or some lean turkey mince for a fiery Tom Yum soup, both packed with loads of flavour and dead easy to make.
Who or what inspires your cooking most?
My daughter Indie is my biggest inspiration when it comes to cooking, many parents will tell you little ones are a real pain when it comes to food, their taste buds change like the wind, liking something one minute and hating it the next, its always a constant battle to give them healthy nutritious food that they actually enjoy eating. She’s my toughest and most honest critic. I wouldn’t have it any other way though; she definitely keeps me on my toes.
What is most important to you when cooking?
Just to enjoy it. I’m so lucky, for years and years I cooked for sheer pleasure and now nearly 10 years on I'm making a career out of doing something I love. Not many people get the opportunity to combine work with pleasure so I count my lucky stars every day.
What's next for you?
I’m really excited about the new book and having a great time working with Bacofoil. They’ve got me involved in some really exciting things over the past few months. From recipe development and getting to know all the new products – there’s a lot to get my teeth into and really get creative with.
I’ve been lucky enough to work on the ITV Lorraine show for the past six years and will be cooking for the lovely Lorraine Kelly for the year ahead. I’m also in the process of setting up an exciting street food project inspired by the food of my childhood so watch this space, exciting times ahead.
For more information on Bacofoil visit, www.bacofoil.co.uk.
By Lois Shearing
Images courtesy of Bacofoil and Dean Edwards