THE BLOG

The Dating Game and Food Manoeuvering

04/04/2013 11:39 BST | Updated 03/06/2013 10:12 BST

When we start a relationship, food can be really important to find common ground. If there is a mutual love of Brussels sprouts, for example (obviously a big favourite of mine!) then it's like sunshine on a rainy day. Whew!! We have something in common that we both like!

How we are brought up and exposed to food is fascinating and sets a foundation for what we like and how we explore food. Well, this is my theory for dating so hang in there ...

Common food ground opens many doors. It affects cafes, restaurants, lunch, breakfast and dinner. Is it the local pizza place, Thai or the tapas bar? Coffee or tea? Brunch? Eggs or fruit? Soup or salad?

The joy of humanity is that we are all very different and have totally individual tastes.

When I was little, my Dad had an oyster farm in the Ballina River in Eastern Australia. He and his mate Billy had a tiny caravan, inventively called The Racing Oyster, that they would haul around to local horse racing events and sell oysters. I don't think they ever made much money, but what a bonus for me! He would bring home hessian bags full of oysters and we would sit on the back step and he would shuck and I would eat. I was three years old and loved them, devoured them.

Mum knew my favourite breakfast was (and still is!) avocado with a boiled egg. I simply would not eat cereal with milk or toast for breakfast (and still don't). She knows that for me, cherries and apples are the best fruit ever.

So my palate was set - I grew into a family that would feed me with what I thought was normal. My exploration of food has returned to those original impulses and I am totally gluten and dairy free.

One of my friends eats only raw vegan food and can't imagine being with someone who eats meat. Would I be the same with dating a bread-eater? Having contemplated this for all of two seconds the truth is that I would date a gluten guy. Why not? I'm definitely not a wholegrain snob. Oysters are definitely an acquired taste so I'm not too hung up on that one!

When the weather is sunny I love a picnic and it's a lovely way to explore a potential relationship with someone. Variety is the spice of life so a mix of different things means there will be something for all tastes. Here are some ideas for your basket ...

Roasted red peppers

Salmon fillet cooked with olive oil and Italian dried herbs and chili

Sautéed spinach in sesame oil and sesame seeds

Iceberg lettuce leaves

Blanched green beans

Fried broccoli with pine nuts

Lamb meatballs

Roasted beetroot

Mix it up! I love wrapping roasted red peppers, pieces of salmon and broccoli in lettuce leaves - it's like a Mediterranean taco! Relax, chat, get to know each other and have some fun!