Date: 1 September 2022
Originally published in: Waitrose & Partners Food (UK)
True comfort means eggs on toast for the pop singer and TV presenter.
Which dish reminds you of your childhood?
Fried eggs on toast with tomato ketchup. My mum got married very young, and she wasn’t a very good cook but the one thing she did know how to do was eggs on toast. When life gets stressful, that’s my go-to comfort food.
Do you like to cook?
Yes. I grow a lot of stuff, so I’ve got all my salad leaves outside. I snip those and have them with feta or grilled halloumi and olives and tomatoes. I like lots of salads and cheesy things. And I’m a big fan of chilli flakes – I sprinkle them on most things that I eat. I think it clears my airways and, as a singer, I appreciate that.
Do you have a signature dish?
Well, I’m not that much of a cook. I’m not the kind of girl who’s making signature dishes. But I do know how to whip up a very good spaghettti bolognese, and a good vegetarian version as well.
What do you always have in your fridge?
I tend to have some good cheese, lovely Parmesan, Greek yogurt and bacon. I love bacon and eggs – that’s my ideal breakfast. I don’t have any sauces with it though. I only have tomato ketchup with eggs on toast. I am quite specific about things. I know how I like things to be and I can be a bit of a fusspot.
What do you eat before a gig?
I don’t eat for three or four hours before singing, so I usually have a meal around three o’clock – something straightforward like some soup or a Caesar salad.
Do you refuel afterwards?
Yes – I often come off stage starving. I’ll try to eat healthily if something’s available, but if not, I will dive into the nearest packet of Quavers or anything else that’s hanging around the dressing room.
What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
I once had a day off from a very intensive promotion schedule in Japan and I was taken to the mountains a few hours outside Tokyo. I had a traditional Japanese feast served on low tables next to a river. It was completely magical – just dish after dish of these incredible Japanese delicacies. It was like eating tiny works of art. That was one of the most amazing gourmet experiences of my life.
Do you have a favourite restaurant?
I used to love a restaurant in Munich called Käfer-Schänke. Anytime I’d go to Germany, I’d be a very happy girl if I could get into it. They did an incredible carpaccio with Parmesan cheese which I loved. It’s a beautiful restaurant.
Eat out or eat in?
I don’t like eating out too much. Eating out requires a lot of chat and I don’t particularly like chatting when I’m eating.
Your top takeaway?
I love Indian food. I’d get an aubergine dish, dhal, chicken tikka and if I was feeling really hungry, I might grab a Peshwari naan and some poppadoms. I also love to get fish and chips occasionally. We’ve got a great fish and chip shop here in Welwyn [in Hertfordshire] called The Lemon Plaice. The food is really fresh. I always get mushy peas too – I love them.
Do you have a favourite cuisine?
I guess it might be Thai. The first time I went to Thailand I was 30, and I’ll always remember my first green curry. It was so different to anything I’d had before. I love all the coriander, lime and peanuts in Thai cooking… it’s so fresh. That trip has informed how I eat ever since.
And your best dessert?
Crème brûlée. That’s a really lovely dish. If it’s listed on the menu, it’s usually a very good choice. I have got a bit of a sweet tooth actually – I love cake; I love chocolate.
How do you take your tea?
I’m an Earl Grey fan, and I always have it with milk. I may well dunk a biscuit – I’m a big fan of a digestive, I won’t lie.