The Crumbs Sisters Claire And Lucy McDonald Talk To Parentdish

26/09/2014 08:44 | Updated 20 May 2015

Claire and Lucy McDonald - The Crumbs Sisters - talk to Parentdish

Sisters Claire and Lucy McDonald are the foodies behind the popular food and recipe blog Their first cookbook, The Crumbs Family Cookbook, is out now and is packed with easy-to-follow recipes and ideas for feeding your family.

The book is bursting with 150 recipes for an easy breakfast, lunch or dinner, with many ready to cook in five minutes flat (yes!).

Here, Claire and Lucy - who both have two children - share their foodie secrets with us for our regular At My Table series...

Describe your cooking style in three words...

Lucy: Relaxed, tasty, simple.

Claire: Quick, easy, delicious.

The weirdest thing I've ever eaten is...

Lucy: Minced grasshoppers on my honeymoon in Mexico (tastier than they sound) or abalone (sea slug) in Japan – apparently a local delicacy, but my tummy still turns every time I think about it.

Claire: Hmm, grasshopper and wasabi canapés at a friend's wedding. They were ground into a flour so weren't recognisable and tasted quite nice. But they were also served, whole on blinis, which I found harder to stomach! It felt a bit like eating Jiminy Cricket.

In my cupboard you will always find...

Lucy: Dessicated coconut (for making macaroons and rustling up a chutney in seconds), noodles (fried with eggs, peas and prawns for no-fuss kids' tea) and capers (for everything – pasta, pizza, salsa verde).

Claire: Anchovies for giving everything a great umami hit, hot sriracha sauce to add a kick to mine and my husband's food if I've made it un-spicy for the kids, oats for ballast! I add them to everything, smoothies, cakes, crumbles and we always, always have them for breakfast.

What would you cook for the Queen?

Lucy: My oven-baked spaghetti bolognese – just to see the correct etiquette for spaghetti-slurping.

Claire: Maybe my salmon in miso, it's a challenge with chopsticks but I'm sure her Majesty is up to it!

I would tell parents of fussy eaters...

Lucy: Join the club! Rare is the day that both my children eat everything on their plate, but I still serve it to them. And don't worry I didn't eat any vegetable other than lettuce and potatoes, until I was about 20 and now I eat more vegetables than anything else.

Claire: It's true, mum used to joke that Lucy was a vegetarian who didn't eat vegetables. My kids are pretty good at eating, but I like to keep that under my hat, it doesn't always get a good reaction!

My guilty food pleasure is...

Lucy: Chip butties – chips, salt, vinegar, little gem lettuce, ketchup sandwiched between buttered white bread.

Claire: Wine. Oh? That's not food? Prawn crackers - with wine

Most memorable food experience...

Lucy: Eating my way around New York's finest restaurants and food trucks on a trend-spotting mission. My favourites were warm burrata cut through with chilli and lemon and a duck and potato hash, that I dream about to this day.

Claire: So many. Often abroad or on holiday. Although dumplings from the Happy Dumpling in Brixton market are always a memorable experience.

For my last meal I would eat...

Lucy: Roast chicken with stuffing, roast and mash potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, gravy, green beans and carrots in butter.

Claire: Chocolate fudge pudding. No doubt about it.

I would never, ever eat...

Lucy: Offal – in any shape or form.

Claire: I'm quite partial to a spot of chicken liver, but I'd never eat anything endangered - pandas are off the menu in my house. But I also try and only eat free range or organic meat.

When I'm home alone I cook...

Lucy: I am not sure cook is the word, but I love crunchy peanut butter and raspberry jam on hot white, buttered toast or a handful of cavolo nero, fried in garlic, on toast.

Claire: When I'm home alone I hoover the contents of my fridge - half a cucumber, some cheese, whatever's there. It's a form of OCD but I just like to have it all a bit tidy, and I generally I don't want to actually cook.

If I had to eat one thing for the rest of my life it would be...

Lucy: Ooooohhhhh – tough one! I love pizza, but the Irish in me would probably win and I would say potatoes... they are so versatile. Or cheese! I love cheese. Can I have two?

Claire: Bread. Hot bread, cold bread, buttered bread, bread dipped in olive oil, toast, French toast. The things you can do with bread is endless, as is my love for it.

My kitchen is always...

Lucy: Messy, very messy. Keeping it clean is a Sisyphean task and one I will not master until my children leave home.

Claire: My kitchen is a work in progress. I aspire to one where every gadget has it's place, I know the location of all the teaspoons at any one time, and to get a casserole dish out I don't have to rearrange the entire contents of the drawer. Suffice to say that is not the situation at the moment. Not at all.

Number one on my foodies bucket list is...

Lucy: My friend Marianne's eponymous restaurant in west London. It has been open nearly a year, has 5 star reviews, but I've yet to visit – the waiting lists are so long – even for friends!

Claire: I'd love a food processor. I imagine if I had one (plus my own washer upper) my cooking would improve, my family would always be able to eat healthy (and well sliced) things, maybe my hair would be a bit neater and the kids less grumpy? Who knows the power of a good food processor . . .

My must have kitchen gadget is...

Lucy: My stand-alone Kenwood mixer. I use it for everything from meringues to pizza dough. When I bought it, it felt like a massive investment, but it was worth every penny and I couldn't live without it now.

Claire: My Global Knife. I use it on everything. It rarely needs sharpening and makes me feel like a real cook.

The Crumbs Family Cookbook by Claire and Lucy McDonald, published by CICO BOOKS is out now (£16.99).

Sound good? We have some yummy recipe extracts to tempt you...

Claire and Lucy McDonald - The Crumbs Sisters - talk to Parentdish


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