Tales From My Kitchen Table

Bre Graham

Bre Graham is the author of Table For Two: Recipes for the ones you love. Take five minutes to savour this interview as Bre talks to about food as a portal to a place you wish you could be, the beauty of roasting a chicken on a Sunday afternoon and her excitement for wild garlic and fresh peas this spring!

Tell us about your favourite food memory from your childhood…

Food feels like the most central theme of my childhood and so many of those memories were tied to feeling homesick for Australia as we lived away in Singapore when I was a child. Going back home to Sydney for summer was focused on eating huge mangoes before going for a swim, big slices of passionfruit pavlova for dessert and things we couldn’t get in Singapore back then like sausage rolls and salt and vinegar crisps. My favourite memory though is being about six or seven and making trifles with my Nan in her kitchen. It was the highlight of every trip home to Sydney.

What would your advice be to someone who is new to cooking and is looking to put more love into the ritual of preparing food at home?

Don’t be stressed and focus on what it feels like and the ritual of cooking in itself. Give yourself plenty of time and start with something simple. Choose your favourite ingredients and work from there. You can put more love into anything by giving it the care and attention it needs, even just lighting a candle and putting on a good album transforms the experience of eating.

Tell us about one of your cooking rituals at home...

A roast chicken for Sunday lunch and making chicken stock to turn into soup for dinner later that night. It’s such a ritual for my boyfriend and me down to buying the chicken, roasting it and making the stock together. It simmers away as we do all the usual Sunday things prepping for the week ahead and is the most soothing dinner to end the weekend. I use tiny star-shaped pasta, a pinch of cinnamon and top it with chili flakes and fresh dill.

What’s your favourite thing about having friends and family round for dinner?

I love that moment at the end of dinner when you’re sipping coffee or limoncello and just want to stay and chat all night. They have a word for this in Spanish, sobremesa, which doesn’t really translate into English, but it conveys the time you spend sitting at the table with others long after you’ve finished your meal.

Bre Graham in a red dress standing in her white kitchen
Taste that most makes you think of home:

Lemongrass. When we lived in Singapore my Mum used to burn lemongrass essential oil throughout the house and cooked with it a lot so it tastes like my childhood.

Favourite song to cook to:

A Kiss To Build A Dream On by Louis Armstrong

When you're feeling low, what do you cook for comfort:

There’s a baked potato recipe in Table For Two that I make at least once a week that is my ultimate comfort food. It has flakes of smoked fish, lots of herbs, plenty of lemon and is topped with cheese. But if I’m feeling so low that I don’t have the energy for that it’s always an omelet and a glass of wine.

You have friends coming round for an impromptu dinner, what do you cook?

Spaghetti Vongole and chocolate-dipped amaretti for dessert.

Your most proud career moment to date:

Signing a stack of books in my Dad’s hometown of Belfast, with my Dad by my side.

Best place for a comforting dinner in your local area:

There’s nothing like sharing grilled sardines, all the dips, all the bread and wine at Lemonia in Primrose Hill and then getting a scoop of strawberry and buttermilk ice cream for dessert next door at Reenies.

Favourite spring dish:

A plate of very tender steamed stems of white asparagus and lots of hollandaise sauce.

The ingredient you’re most looking forward to incorporating into your dishes this season:

I love wild garlic and fresh peas and can’t wait to make risotto with them both.

Follow Bre: @breaudreygraham

Bre's book Table For Two is out now - order here

Bre's Wishlist: