British chef Natalia (Abrams) Conroy’s unexpected career as an author is off to a rousing start, with her debut cookbook winning acclaim among many gourmands.
In her recently-released “The Kitchen Orchard: Fridge Foraging and Simple Feasts, ” Conroy shows readers how to create simple but exciting dishes from leftovers and various other ingredients that can be found in most homes.
The non-Kosher book is organized around the items in the main storage areas of the refrigerator and in the cupboards.
“Conroy sees the kitchen fridge and cupboards as an ‘orchard’, from which inventive meals are conjured from single, seasonal ingredients to suit mood and occasion”, The Guardian said, adding that her cooking “is full of wholesome flavors and simple ingredients perfect for sharing”.
The chef learned to cook with her mother, Katya Abrams – who came to the U.K. from Slovakia at 17 years of age – and South African father, Eric Abrams, who left Capetown in his late teens. The book is dedicated to them, according to the Jewish Chronicle.
Conroy acknowledges the make and mend attitude is true of many Jewish housewives, but she believes that making ingredients go further is a trait of previous generations, the Chronicle said. “My Jewish mother does but then so does my non-Jewish mother-in-law.”
In the book, she describes how “fruits from the fridge” (as her mother termed them) were “skilfully reinvented” by her mother.
“Fridge foraging is all about opening the fridge and cooking with what you have. It just needs a little creativity”, Conroy says in the book.
The chef worked for two-and-a-half years at London’s famed River Cafe restaurant before leaving to open up a small café of her own, the Orchard Canteen. She ultimately had to close the café because her landlady decided not to renew its lease, the Chronicle said.
However, her time at the Orchard proved to be rewarding. One of the café’s customers put her in touch with a literary agent when he heard she had been keeping a diary of recipes for years. The agent loved it, and within weeks Conroy had a book deal.