"Cooking is my most luxurious passion," says Caroline Fleming, the former Danish baroness and model who is best known in America as the free spirit from Ladies of London. She has recently released Cook Yourself Happy, her fourth cookbook (and first in English). Her food fuses modern takes on traditional Danish recipes handed down from her great-grandparents with an international palette of flavors inspired by travels around the world.
Every dish has both physical and emotional health in mind, and many take you right into her family history. Her 92-year-old grandmother is her oracle of cooking that she calls whenever she needs advice, for example, and she shares the secrets behind favorite family meals.
This includes the special birthday meal that her late father Baron Niels Krabbe Iuel-Brockdorff always loved to eat.
Caroline's vision of healthy food maintains her heritage while reflecting today's hectic pace of life all around the world, where most people don't have endless hours to spend in the kitchen (or a stack of money to burn). Produce is treated minimally, with maximum respect.
"In the olden days, you used to put ingredients together and they would then simmer over a fireplace in some kind of pot for hours and hours and hours," she explains of Danish cooking. "I find that I fell in love with a very Mediterranean way of preparing food in the last decade. Less preparation actually to me [brings] more fresh, instant flavor, rather than that deeply cooked [technique] where flavors and the richness slightly disappear. But I love [cooking and] preparing [food] a little less also because I know that the less you prepare, the more of the nutrients you're able to contain. I really am a great believer in, 'We are what we eat.' Everything that we put into our bodies absolutely effects our energy level, our mood, our physical well being."
She has a sweet tooth and doesn't believe in denying herself the pleasures of sugar in moderation.
Her recipes are designed to be altered and experimented with to suit your own personal taste.
"When I started cooking, I would try and follow recipes quite religiously," she recalls, "but I've come to a point now where I've experimented so much with food of so many different cultures so I make a lot of recipes very much my own. For the last couple of years, I've had a really deep love for Thai food. I've traveled quite a bit in Thailand and I think once you learn the basics of certain dishes, you can just go with your own flow."
"All of my cookbooks are very much me," she shares. "I put my heart and soul into everything I do, and cooking is my greatest hobby. It really is such a big passion that I enjoy every single day. I find it very difficult to be away on holiday, and often on holiday I will be a chef — in one way or another, I'll try to join them in the kitchen. I love it... I absolutely love it!"
"It is very approachable," she says of Cook Yourself Happy. "I would say, if anything looks challenging, it's maybe only the time that it takes, rather than the fact that its a really difficult dish to make. I would say it is the kind of book that anybody who cares to cook could actually grab, find a recipe, and do it with ease, and hopefully find the result very rewarding and satisfying."
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