Waking With . Alexandra Dudley
We are in the age of the multi hyphenate and young entrepreneur after young entrepreneur are proving that having more than one string to your bow is not only sensible, it's inspiring. It's also incredibly fun and creative, as Alexandra Dudley shows through her delectable foodie creations and her eye-catching Instagram (alongside her non- electronic artwork). Founder of her own superfood business and now first-time cookbook author (LAND & SEA), Alex leads no ordinary life, but she inspires others in everything she does in ways that prove it is possible to do what you love, listen to your heart and follow your dreams - all the while staying on track and keeping things professional and efficinet. Heres how:
"I do a mix of things. I'm a cook book author, food stylist, recipe developer and artist and I also work with brands on marketing and creative strategy. Land & Sea is my first cookbook and is really a token from my own kitchen. I believe that really cookbooks are just an extension of our personality in the kitchen. My style of cooking is very relaxed. My mother is Dutch but spent her childhood in western Africa. I was brought up with meal times always being over a table filled with a variety of dishes and lots of flavours and colour. My cooking is heavily influenced by my upbringing as well as the tastes I’ve encountered on my own journeys whether it be travel or just playing in my own kitchen. Something that has always stuck out in my cooking to friends and family and anyone else I feed is my enjoyment and emphasis on using the entirety of the ingredient. I loathe to throw food away and avoiding food-waste in the home is a big must for me. When I stopped running Punch Foods (my snack company) I thought I wanted to try to set something up that could help the problem on a global level but then I thought well why not do it on a micro level? That’s what I do anyway and aren’t the smallest changes often the most effective? So that became a thread for the book – sustainability. I suppose it was always there but giving it more of a definition really helped the book come to life. Sustainability isn’t a very sexy word and I think that often certain ‘styles’ of eating can put people off; raw, vegan, paleo, gluten-free etc. Land & Sea doesn’t follow any diet and there’s a bit of everything in there. I love to eat seasonally so its definitely seasonally focused but the idea was to create something that anyone could use – top cook or kitchen novice. I think of recipes more as guidelines than rigid instructions and my hope is that it simply brings a little inspiration on ways to be more mindful about how to make the most of your ingredients at home.
First thing in the morning, I try to take a few moments just for myself whether it be a few sun salutations or just lying on the floor for a few minutes and focusing on my breathe. I often lie on the floor when I feel a bit nervy – it sounds silly but it does ground me. In an ideal world I'd like to meditate each morning and I used to. Recently life hasn’t always left me the time but I always give myself a few minutes. Sometimes its just opening the blinds and feeling the sun on my face with my eyes kept closed – just enough to make me feel whole.
I like simple food in the morning – something easy on my digestion. Often I’ll make a mix of chia seeds and a simple plant based protein powder, ground spices and water the night before and have it with some stewed fruit and cinnamon. It sounds a bit odd but I love it and it’s a great way to get a good dose of protein in. When I have more time and the weather is cooler I like to make a little turmeric porridge. I use a mix of gluten free oats, lots of spices and usually a little plant based protein just to keep me fuller for longer. If I am out I will usually go for eggs. My go-to breakfast ingredients are chia seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, Sunwarrior warrior blend protein and some sort of fruit; russet apples, rhubarb and grapefruit are my favourites.
I'd say my funny little chic protein concoction is my healthiest breakfast or perhaps scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. My most indulgent breakfast would probably be granola, yogurt and fruit. Granola is often very sweet so I only really have it as a special treat. I adore the granola at OZONE in Shoreditch – they use lots of cardamom in it as well as gluten free oats and always serve it with seasonal poached fruit and your choice of regular or oat milk on the side. Its delicious.
My best morning advice for busy people would be to eat breakfast screen free. I am a terrible culprit at often being glued to my phone whilst I eat breakfast and I think it sets you up terribly for the day plus you have zero engagement with your breakfast. Chances are you are going to be hooked to a screen of some format for the next 8 hours – just giving yourself that 10, 15 minutes of pure mindfulness sets you up far better than a disengaged shove in your mouth whilst scrolling one, at least I think so. I really try to make the effort to have breakfast away from my phone. I like to have the radio playing or even flick through Time out but no screens!
Sleep is incredibly important to me. I am terrible if I haven’t slept well or have had a late night. To wake up well I really need to sleep well. I try to be in bed by 10.00/10.30 and have a no phones after 9.00pm rule. One thing I need to do more of in the mornings is meditate. I used to every morning and felt great. I have slightly fallen out of the swing of it and need to get back into it. Baby steps! One thing I need to do less of in the mornings is worry! I worry about a lot of things a lot of the time and I know that it is one of my biggest curses. I constantly compare myself to others or even to this sort of fictional perfect person I think I need to be. If I spent less time worrying about where I should be and more time focusing on how to get there I would probably be a lot further. Note to self….stop worrying.
Flowers are a wonderful mood booster I think and a lovely thing to see when you first wake up. There's a little wooden shelf in front of our bed where I try to keep flowers if I can. At the moment we have lovely little white roses brought back from home but we usually head to Columbia road flower market on Sunday.
The best breakfast of my life? Yikes I am going to be terribly boring and say home. I am a big family girl and am my happiest when with my siblings at home. Usually we just eat a mix of what we like. My sister loves a crumpet and my brother will eat anything as long as there is peanut butter. We will giggle over my mothers funny quirks and dip our spoons back into the peanut butter jar when she isn’t looking. My favourite peanut butter is a simple Dutch brand called Calve. It’s what we ate as children and whilst I love all the others out there now this one is still my favourite. You can’t find it in England so we usually bring back a suitcase full when we go over to Amsterdam.
My boyfriend works very hard and has incredibly early starts so it is a real treat to have a morning to ourselves. We are both naturally early risers so we usually have breakfast in bed by 7.00ish and will then head out for a long walk to get coffee and something else sweet. I love the cinnamon buns and brownies at Pavillion bakery on Broadway Market. We both love a market so will usually wind our way down to Borough Market or stay closer to home and pick up a few bits on Broadway market. Then it will be home for lunch before collapsing onto the sofa for a good film.
Oddly enough my favourite recipe from LAND & SEA is one without a picture – the ‘toasted almond, rocket, parsley salad’. You’ll find it in the very last chapter called ‘A little extra.’ It’s almost a hybrid between a salad and a tabbouleh and is packed full of crunchy slithered almonds which makes it wonderfully indulgent. I like to serve it almost as a condiment on the side of any main dish. My other favorites are probably my Moroccan sweet potato salad and my homemade toffee, chocolate crunch which is my version of the daim bar.
I love to eat Qnola as an afternoon snack. I love the Almond & Vanilla with a bit of almond milk or sometimes I make a bit of a mini smoothie bowl and blend my almond milk with some cacao and a courgette or avocado. Qnola is delicious on top. For breakfast I'd have Almond & Vanilla with some chai almond milk or perhaps some good organic yogurt and berries. Yum."