TV presenter Andrea McLean, 46, lives in Surrey with her children Finlay, 14, and Amy, nine. A journalist by day, when she's not discussing topical issues on the award-winning ITV lunchtime talk show 'Loose Women', she's writing about everything from interior design to family issues.
Having penned a bestselling biography, 'Confessions Of A Good Girl' in 2012, she's not afraid to be frank about her life, likes and dislikes. We caught up with the presenter and mother of two for a chat about food, family and travelling, in order to find out what foodie experiences have shaped her life.
What was your favourite childhood meal?
I grew up in Trinidad where I loved roti – curried meat, normally goat – and potatoes wrapped in a chapati. It’s a distinctive taste and utterly delicious.
When did you first start cooking?
From 11, I cooked my parents fried eggs, bacon, toast, beans and tomatoes on a Sunday. Mum admitted later they would secretly scrape it into the bin because it was always cold!
Your cooking inspiration?
My granny Jean was a canteen cook in a shipyard on the Clyde. Her table always groaned with cakes. She cooked right up until the day she died 15 years ago.
Do you diet?
Back in 2012 I got a recurring shingles-like virus, so now I boost my immune system with food.
In what way?
I always have a good nutritious breakfast of brown toast topped with crunchy peanut butter, banana and honey. For lunch, it’s a two-egg omelette with mushrooms, asparagus and cherry tomatoes and, usually, baked salmon for dinner. I snack on dates or figs.
Do you cook food from scratch?
I’ve been allergic to lactose since 1992 so, yes, because I like to know there’s no dairy in what I’m eating.
What do you cook for your kids?
Both of them are meat-and-two-veg kids, so I cook a lot of chicken, vegetables and rice.
Most annoying kitchen habit?
Picking. I have to chop twice as many vegetables because I eat them before I’ve cooked them.
Your ideal dinner party guests?
Bryan Adams with his guitar, Janet Street-Porter, who is a good laugh, and The Queen – it’s one of my life’s ambitions to meet her.
Restaurant of choice?
J Sheekey, a fish restaurant, in London. One of my favourite things is sitting at the bar and snacking on seafood.
Chicken. I use a foolproof Nigel Slater recipe that I ripped out of a magazine years ago. The key is rubbing butter under the skin. It comes out perfect every time.
Quick weekday supper?
I heat up a packet of chickpeas, black peas and quinoa, stir in a tin of chilli- flavoured tuna and serve with spinach.
I’m a biscuit monster and deeply unfaithful because I’m not loyal to a particular one – there are always biscuits in the Loose Women studio.
Top food treat?
Coco Pops. I just love them!
Best food experience abroad?
Eating from street vendors in Thailand when I was backpacking in my twenties. They’d create a plate of food to die for and charge about 10p.
What would your last supper be?
A lovely clean Japanese meal. I love the big lumps of marinated fish, which dissolve in my mouth. I tried Japanese food about 20 years ago – I thought it would be disgusting but it was a revelation!