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'My friend made Harry and Meghan's wedding cake... I wish I was better at baking'

Eco-focused chef Melissa Hemsley shares her food-related likes and dislikes with Ella Walker

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Infectious positivity: Melissa Hemsley with one of the dishes from her new book

Infectious positivity: Melissa Hemsley with one of the dishes from her new book

Press Association Images

Infectious positivity: Melissa Hemsley with one of the dishes from her new book

Food writer and cookbook author Melissa Hemsley is infectiously positive, always on the lookout for ways to use up fridge leftovers and cook feelgood grub that makes the most of the seasons.

Her latest cookbook, Eat Green, is perfect if you're looking to make the most out of spring veg.

We caught up with the author to grill her on her kitchen and eating habits...

Your death row meal would be...

My mum's feelgood fish sinigang soup because it's got all the feelgood ingredients. If you're a vegetarian, you can replace the fish with mushrooms or extra squash or sweet potato. It's just brothy and if you like a tom yum soup, it's got that, but not the sweetness. It's sour in a good way - and I love sourness. It's lip-smackingly lovely and it makes you feel amazing.

The thing you still can't make is...

A wedding cake. My friend Clare Ptak of Violet Bakery, she did Harry and Meghan's lemon and elderflower wedding cake. I look at something like that and think, 'I wish I could make an amazing cake'. I've got four godkids and I wish I could make them amazing Frozen and The Greatest Showman Cakes, but I can't. I would not be entering Bake Off.

Your favourite store cupboard essential has to be...

We are an island and I really think we could be eating more seaweed. If the idea of seaweed is off-putting, what I do love is some seaweed salt. And then for something a bit more everyday, I love apple cider vinegar. It's amazing because we're not citrus growers here. I use a lot of lemons, limes and oranges and I wanted to be a bit more mindful about that. I think that vinegar is a really good one for adding that splash of brightness to dressings, sauces, gravies, everything.

The kitchen utensil you couldn't live without has to be...

I feel like I'm choosing between children. I'd say just a very decent big pot. I tend to use the same pan, even though I have loads. Also, I love a grater, the fine graters - microplanes. I love that because it means you can really finely grate garlic and ginger, and if you're in a rush and you can't be bothered to chop nicely, it's great. But an old-fashioned box grater is - no pun intended - a great way to get in extra vegetables. So, at the minute, I'm grating carrots and parsnips into everything stew-based. Sometimes you're in the mood to chop and sometimes you're in the mood to not think and grate. In the summer I was growing courgettes in my garden and I had so many I was just grating them into everything.

If you get hungry late at night, the snack you'll reach for is...

A fritter. What's my 'Nigella coming down the stairs with her dressing gown on' moment? I'd eat anything and I love leftovers. But cold, out of the fridge, I'd go for a fritter. I'm not a sweet-toothed person. A few slices of apple and some really good cheddar - really nutty cheddar.

Your signature dish is...

Some sort of leftover throw together. I make Filipino chow mein. I've always got carrots and cabbage. A fridge-raid frittata and I'd normally have broccoli or cauliflower in it. Or a lovely big stew or a soup. My number one tip for when everything feels too much is, it might feel like you want to call for a takeaway, but actually, probably, it could be a really good opportunity to make a soup. The act of deciding to make something for yourself, when you feel really out of control with everything, when you put a handful of ingredients and blend them in a pot and it's delicious, I genuinely think it has a positive effect on everyone. Maybe with something like halloumi croutons on top, which are my new favourite things.

You like your eggs...

I've been going for a jammy egg at the moment, so somewhere between a soft-boiled and a hard-boiled egg. I've been sprinkling furikake - seaweed salt, chilli and sesame seeds - on top.

Last night you had...

Had a really late dinner. I'd done some recipe testing and I had a brown lentil cavolo nero stew, which honestly was a bit boring. I fried some rosemary from the garden in butter and poured it in, and I had that.

Your ultimate hangover cure is...

Who's got time to be hung over these days? It's not worth it. I would say go outside with the dog and then I'd make a fridge-raid frittata or the one-pan veggie breakfast (in the book). And then I'd probably go and lie on the sofa with my dog, watch The Crown (on Netflix) and then call my mum.

You cannot stomach...

Sometimes I'm funny about beetroot. I love it but, sometimes when it hasn't been scrubbed well enough and it tastes a bit earthy, I don't. I didn't used to like oysters until about five years ago. My mum and dad would be like, 'You have to eat everything because if there's a natural disaster or the world ends, you'll be the first to die, so you better eat everything'. They were so mean!

Eat Green by Melissa Hemsley, photography by Philippa Langley, is published by Ebury Press, priced £22

Belfast Telegraph