Vegetables pickof the cropin Bryony’s Christmas kitchen

Date: Friday 14th November 2014
Bryony Bowie
Bryony Bowie

CHRISTMAS is about tradition for Bryony Bowie, a 21-year-old whose “Uni Food” blog has had 33,000 views.

Born and bred in Penrith, vegetarian Bryony moved to London while studying Englishliterature at Royal Holloway, University of London and, having to fend for herself while there, quickly realised the importance of good food.

“I always cooked for people at university. If we were planning a night out I’d have people round first and would cook, and one day a friend said I should write a blog,” said Bryony.

“I didn’t know much about blogging then, but my flatmate Zosia also happened to bevegetarian and was really into cooking, so she set it up and we wrote it together.”

The blog has been featured in Londonmagazines and is recommended on the Vegetarian Society’s website.

Food at Christmastime is all about planning weeks ahead with her mother, Gwenneth, who is one of Bryony’s biggest inspirations.

“We have a lot of vegetables, usually peas,tender stem broccoli and green beans, all steamed, then roasted carrots, parsnips and sweet potato. There’s also roast potatoes and baked cheesy leeks, and I make Yorkshire puddings,” said Bryony.

“Our centrepiece is a vegetable Wellington, which mum and I devised together it’s stuffed with butternut squash, roasted chestnuts, caramelised onions and garlic, goats’ cheese and cranberry sauce.”

The Christmas sentiment of giving andreceiving is also an important part of the festive season for Bryony. “It sounds corny but Igenuinely enjoy giving presents more thanreceiving them not that that isn’t great, too, but I love seeing people’s faces when they unwrap something you’ve chosen for them,” she said, adding that she has the same view on food, often enjoying making it more than eating it.

Bryony tends to buy fruit and vegetables from a local market as much as possible as she believes that not only is it cheaper, but the produce tastes much better.

“My mum has a spectacular vegetablegarden, too, which is great fun to cook with. In summer we’re generally inundated withcourgettes, beans and plums, so we end uphaving to think up new recipes just so we’re not having the same thing over and over again,” added Bryony.

Since graduating from university in thesummer, she has set up her own food blog, Bryony’s Kitchen, where, as well as writing recipes, she tries to engage with food issues and events. Her goal is to work in food publishing.

She is friendly with Ruby Tandoh, one of the finalists in last year’s Great British Bake Off, and was invited to her cookbook launch, describing it as “the most wonderfully bizarre experience”.

“I was literally sitting in a booth between Ruby and Lorraine Candy, the editor of ELLE, with Ruby’s publishers and two people from Cath Kidston, and then Chetna and Iain, from this year’s Great British Bake Off, came in to say Hi,” said Bryony.

While she enjoys cookery programs, heropinion on the increasing number of such shows is mixed. “On the one hand, the more the better. I love cookery programs and learn so much from them, but now they’re moving into the mediaspotlight there seems to be an increasing need to sensationalise them,” she said.

“Things like Masterchef are increasinglydeveloping an ‘X Factor with food’ approach, detailing contestant sob stories much more than the actual food that they are meant to be about.”