We’re obsessed with Deliciously Ella. You’re obsessed with Deliciously Ella. Everyone’s obsessed with Deliciously Ella. And we want to know more
She’s changed the way we eat forever, but what exactly does Ella Mills keep in her kitchen? We know, because we caught up with her on a recent visit to Dublin to pick her brains on all things food as she launches her fourth cook book; Deliciously Ella: The Plant-based Cookbook
What’s always stocked in your kitchen?
1. Dried herbs and spices
These are essentials, they help to make any ingredient or dish taste great, adding rich flavor and depth to each bite. I always have cumin, paprika, turmeric, mustard seeds, cayenne pepper, chili flakes, dried coriander, thyme, rosemary and oregano and I use a mix of them in every recipe. I’m also a big fan of raw cacao powder so have that in the cupboard too for sweet recipes.
2. Condiments and sauces
I can’t cook without a selection of bits to use as dressings, condiments and extra splashes of flavour. My go-to’s are tamari, apple cider vinegar, tahini, nut butters, sesame oil and great extra virgin olive oil. Simply stirring peanut butter and chilli flakes into a simple olive oil dressing instantly adds so much flavor to roasted veg. While adding tamari and apple cider vinegar to your quinoa/rice while it cooks stops the grain from being bland. I like having some coconut oil on hand too for baking.
3. Grains and pasta
I always have porridge oats, jumbo oats, quinoa, brown rice and buckwheat, as well as brown rice or spelt pasta as they’re great bases for meals. Use porridge oats for breakfast with almond, which just take three minutes to cook, and top my bowl with peanut butter and banana slices. I then use jumbo oats in baking, they’re great for on-the-go oat bars, cookies and gluten free cakes. I love quinoa, brown rice and buckwheat with salads, veggie bowls and spicy curries. And I use pasta for easy ten minute meals when I have long days at work.
4. Tins of beans, lentils and chickpeas
These are my other staples, they’re a great way to add more protein to a veggie meal and make it heartier too. I love quick-cook chickpea chilies. And love making homemade hummus with the chickpeas, using the lentils for warming dahls and the other beans for veggie curries and stews. Sautéing black beans in garlic is a favorite too, a side of garlicky black beans always goes down well with friends.
5. Tinned tomatoes and coconut milk
I love these for pasta sauces, curries, stews, soups and any warming dish really. They add flavour, the coconut milk makes the dish creamy and they’re great carries for all herbs and spices too.
What’s your go to five minute meal?
Rye toast with hummus, avocado slices, lemon juice, black pepper and salt with a handful of rye if I want something that takes 2 minutes. If I’m going for the full five minutes, I would cook some speedy ramen noodles while I sauté mushrooms with sesame oil, then add coconut milk, peanut butter, miso, spring onions and fresh chilli for a super creamy noodle bowl.
What’s your favourite recipe in the new book?
So hard to choose just one… I’m obsessed with the thai curries and the Sri Lankan curry. The creamy artichoke and edamame dip served with our black rice is good. For a good spread the piquillio pepper and pistachio salad with roasted aubergine; tomato and pesto salad; and the sweet potatoes with spring onions, chilli and taihini is a real winner. Our fudgy brownies are a staple in my life, as are the mango flapjacks and the banana spelt muffins.
What’s been the biggest misconception about a plant-based diet?
That it’s bland, because it’s anything but. It’s a celebration of colour, abundance, flavour and creativity! It’s five bean chilli with corn bread, peanut cookies, lentil cauliflower dahl, miso aubergine and broccoli salad, vegan shakshuka, banana apple muffins, it’s not limp lettuce and crudites!
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned with starting up your own business?
There’s so much to say here. Firstly attitude, be prepared to put everything into this, you have to be happy to work 24/7 and put every last drop of love, passion and energy you have into it. There will be moments where every option feels impossible and the world appears to collapse around you, at this point you can’t collapse – you have to be the one to find the way through.
Surround yourself with the best people you can, put your ego to one side, and acknowledge where you can help your business and where you can’t. Where are your skills, and more importantly, where are your weaknesses. Work as a team, listen to everyone and empower your team every day.
Engage in your community, every customer is essential to your growth, treasure them, take time for them and remember what they want matters most.
Most importantly, have a strong why. Know why you do what you do, most businesses just know what they do but knowing the why is where the magic is. Get the book Start with Why by Simon Sinek, it’s really helpful!