With the success of The Savvy Shopper's Cookbook - and having tried some of the recipes ourselves - we were delighted that Amy could spare some time to answer some of our questions...
What have you been reading recently?
The last book I read was Caitlin Moran's How to be a Woman. I wanted to read it all over again the second I'd finished it. I'm halfway through The Bristol Savage by Charlie Revelle-Smith. It's the third non-fiction book of the thriller/murder trilogy and edge of your seat stuff! I used to live in Bristol, so I like the familiarity of the city references.
When The Aldi Lovers’ Guide to Cooking came out in 2016, it had a lot of media coverage considering it was your first book - and had been self-published. Was that a surprise? And how did you - and your family - manage the limelight?
It was a huge surprise! My blog and social media accounts were only a couple of months old and visitors and followers went into the several thousand over night. I was completely unprepared for it! I'd actually not told that many people about the book as I was still quite self conscious about having my writing read by people I knew. I struggled a bit with writing my blog for a couple of weeks. I felt a lot more pressure, once I had so many followers! I was so grateful for the exposure and without it I never would have got a publishing deal. At the same time I'm quite private, so It was a strange feeling having people read about me and my family - even stranger that people actually seemed to be interested! It soon became the new normal and now I look at interviews as a way to get my money saving message across.
Although no longer available, how much did The Aldi Lovers’ Guide to Cooking differ from The Savvy Shopper’s Cookbook?
It's basically the same book. The Aldi Lover's Guide to Cooking only actually came out on Kindle, and feedback was that most people prefer a physical copy of a cookbook - I know I do. I added some recipes to create sections like "3 things to do with tinned tuna" and some of my favourite new recipes that I'd been working on. I added a 7 day meal planner, a guide to discount supermarket shopping and top tips to save money. Id learnt a lot from writing The Aldi Lover's Guide to Cooking, not just about recipes but about what people actually want from a cookbook.
As you’re still blogging new recipes - and as The Savvy Shopper’s Cookbook has been such a success - are you planning a follow up? What do you have planned for it?
For the time being I'm still very much promoting this book and doing lots of interviews every week. The book comes out in the US in September and already there has been a lot of interest from the American press. Aldi has just announced huge expansion plans over there, so it's quite a hot topic at the moment! I write recipes and articles for newspapers and magazines, sothat takes up quite a lot of my time. I would love to write a follow up to the book - it's been an incredible experience.
If you could only cook one recipe from the book, which would it be?
I cook the Curried Mackerel Rice With Toasted Almonds an embarrassing number of times a week! I never seem to get bored of it!
What’s your process for creating a recipe? Do you start with a recipe in mind, or base it on ingredients you can find in-store?
It varies. I usually have the bones of a recipe idea in my head for a few days. I know the Aldi ingredient range so well now, that I can put together a recipe without having to check if they sell it! I usually write it down and obsess over it for a few days, making changes or additions as they come to me. Only then do I actually cook it. Sometimes it works perfectly first time and just how I'd imagined it. Other times I make changes and very occasionally, scrap it altogether. Once I'm confident with the ingredients and method, I'll test it a few times.
What feedback have you had from your followers about the book?
The response has been incredible! The feedback that keeps coming up is that people say they buy lots of cookbooks, but rarely cook from them. They've said this is a book that they actually use! This is the greatest compliment. I wrote a cookbook that I would want to use, so I'm so glad others feel the same way.
Have you been inspired by other cookery books or chefs? If so, which ones, and what have you learned from them?
Jamie Oliver and Nigel Slater are so inspiring. My favourite cookbook is Jamie's Italy, I love how he writes with such passion for the food he's cooking. My Mum is my biggest food inspiration. She taught me how to cook when I was really young. When I had my eldest son, my Mum gave me an old orange journal that she'd had for many years. It was where she wrote down all of our favourite recipes, ideas and foodie notes when I was growing up. It's one of my most precious possessions. I talk to my Mum every day and conversation is often dominated by food!
And here are some links if you want to know more about Amy:
Her blog: https://thesavvyshopperscookbook.com/
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