Q&A with Anna Barnett

Fashionable foodie, Anna Barnett has created a series of delicious recipes to showcase our brand new Natural Canvas range, designed for modern living and spontaneous gatherings. Discover her foodie secrets, top kitchen tips and culinary inspirations, as well as her thoughts on how Natural Canvas fits into her kitchen as well as her lifestyle.

1. What do you love about Denby’s Natural Canvas tableware collection? I love the simplicity of the range and how it allows the food to take centre stage. Natural Canvas easily blends in and works well alongside old vintage bits and pieces that I already have. I think the platters really encourage easy group dining, as I love serving up big portions and letting everyone dive in.

2. How did you come up with the Natural Canvas recipes you created for Denby? What was your inspiration? I wanted to use seasonal produce that is colourful, vibrant and delicious to eat. I wanted to create interesting recipes that really stand out, yet are simple enough to cook.

3. What do you predict will be this year’s foodie trend? I think eating less meat is becoming ever more popular. For instance, cauliflower steaks, interesting non- processed meat alternatives and getting creative with vegetables, pulses and grains.

4. What's your best piece of advice for novice cooks at home? Just experiment, taste everything at each stage of cooking and add more seasoning!

5. What's your favourite treat? I love pasta and serious amounts of parmesan.

6. Where in the world does the best food in your opinion? I love Italy mainly because of my pasta addiction but I really think New York and LA have some really amazing chefs and restaurants serving up delicious meals. They’re also ahead of us in terms of meat free dining, which I think is interesting.

7. What's your favourite foodie spot at the moment? I really like my local pizza and pasta spot, Lardo on Richmond Road. Ideally I’d be sat at the bar watching the chefs cook up a storm.

8. What are your kitchen cupboard staples? Sea salt flakes, black pepper, white pepper and good quality olive oil.

9. What’s your earliest memory of cooking? I think it would be me helping my nan add the mash to a shepherds pie (another absolute favourite dish of mine, preferably cooked by my nan!).

10. What food do you love to cook for your family? It varies, depending on what’s in season, I love cooking Asian food, pastas, big healthy salads, and vegan style curries… all sorts.

11. What inspired you to write your cookbook? I wanted to create a book that would help give people a little more guidance when it came to picking up a cookery book, instead of just working your way through the recipes. You can go to the specific day of the week and hopefully be able to relate the dishes I’ve included. There’s everything from cheap ‘Budget Monday’ dishes to ‘Cook for Company’ on a Thursday and ‘Slow Sunday’s’ that require minimum effort.

12. Are there any foods you really dislike? I’ve still not tried snails; I just can’t get my head around it.

13. Who’s the fussiest eater you’ve ever cooked for? My vegetarian boyfriend, who’s now stopped eating eggs and doesn’t like mushrooms!

14. What is the most memorable dinner you've hosted and why? I think the Christmas pop- ups we do at the house (which is an old pub) are always the most fun and raucous, we have carols around the piano and everyone goes wild, believe it or not!

15. Past or present, whom would you invite to your dream dinner party? David Bowie & Massimo Bottura.

16.What's your favourite piece of the Natural Canvas collection? I think the sharing platters are great and the sizes are perfect too.

17. How would you describe the style of your kitchen? My kitchen is a full on country style kitchen, with an Aga, a huge dresser, and lots of vintage pieces.

18. Has your background and interest in fashion influenced your food and styling? I hope so, I think I’m more aware of tones and colours looking right next to each other but you go through phases so your style changes too.

19. What key ingredients do you love to cook with? I love candied beets - they’re an amazing candy pink colour, which can liven up any dish. I also love chilli and adding spice wherever I can.

20. What are your tips for dressing a table ready for a dinner party? I think it’s always nice to have a good combination of vintage pieces and classic matching dinner service pieces or glassware. Flowers, bread and butter and a good couple of water jugs are essential, plus plenty of food so no one leaves hungry.

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