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'I tried to make lasagne once and it came out grey'

After years of stomach problems, presenter Rachel Riley is now happy with a vegan diet, as she tells Prudence Wade

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Food for thought: Rachel Riley

Food for thought: Rachel Riley

PA

Food for thought: Rachel Riley

Countdown maths whizz Rachel Riley has always thought a lot about what she eats.

At first, this was out of necessity, having said in the past: "Diet's huge for me. For a large part of my life, I've had intolerances and been sick with food." Now, Riley also considers the eco and animal welfare impact of what she eats and is vegan.

She wrote on Instagram: "After years of bad tummy stuff I've never felt better!"

Growing up in a Jewish household also meant food has been a huge part of Riley's life.

These are her culinary highs and lows...

Her earliest memory of food is...

"I've always loved food. All my earliest experiences in food involve my mum going out and me trashing the kitchen and ending up with something barely edible.

"My mum always used to do spreads when the family came over, all kinds of Jewish food, like smoked salmon bagels, chopped liver and onion, stuff that everyone else thinks is weird, but was normal (for us)."

Riley's culinary high moment is...

"Now I am a bit more experimental, because with the veg boxes you get vegetables you've never even heard of. So I can make a really good stew with whatever comes in.

"I used to follow recipes to the T and I wouldn't really go out of the box, but now it's just like, 'Oh I'll chuck this in and see what comes out' - and normally it's really nice."

The worst disaster she's ever had in the kitchen was...

"Oh plenty, especially when at first I couldn't eat a lot of stuff. I think the trick is not to try and use substitutes - I once tried to make lasagne with weird stuff. I made lasagne a long time ago with not the right flour and not the right cheese and it just came out kind of grey and purple, and the pasta was just like cardboard. I think the cheese went grey with whatever flour I put in it, it was horrible."

Belfast Telegraph