Ahead of her appearance at the Ideal Home Show this March, we spoke to the famous chef and etiquette expert, Rosemary Shrager, to tell us all about her time on I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, her go-to comfort foods and what she'll be getting up to at the most popular interiors show around…
What’s the last thing you cooked?
"Chilli con carne with lots of kidney beans – nice and hot! It’s what I call comfort food; you can just sit down and eat it in front of the telly!"
What is your go-to comfort food?
"I love salads! I find them really comforting. Lovely fresh vegetables like sauteed courgettes sliced into ribbons; I have it every day for lunch if I can. I’m not sure what I’m going to have today, but I know there is lettuce and tomatoes in the fridge. I had peas with my chilli last night, so I’ll add a few of those and I’ll make a dressing from some light mayonnaise, a bit of yoghurt and lemon juice. Yummy!"
How do you take your tea?
"With very little milk – I like builders' tea, no sugar. I always have boxes and boxes of Taylor’s Yorkshire tea."
What was the best thing about being in the jungle?
"The best thing was learning to camp. I’d never camped in my life, so I really loved that. Trying food that I would never have again as well! It was harder than I expected, but I loved the challenge. You just get on with it, be yourself and take in every moment."
What bush tucker grub would you not eat again?
"Crocodile feet. I can’t take anything gelatinous like that. I’ve never enjoyed pigs’ ears either. The only gelatinous food I can eat is oxtail or kangaroo tail, but that’s totally different. I don’t like chicken feet either, or possum – that was horrible."
What was the worst thing about being in the jungle?
"Boredom. You’re not allowed anything in there. I became this peculiar Vivienne Westwood jungle dressmaker, collecting the string from the packages that came down with the food at night. I used to get leaves and make skirts – I made Ashley [Roberts] a leaf skirt!
"There’s nothing going on. It is what it is. We weren’t even allowed to know the time! All the crew had sticky plasters over their watches."
Name one cooking skill you haven’t mastered yet?
"The thing is, someone of my age has been in the business for such a long time that there isn’t a lot – though there are always things that can go wrong. This is a difficult one… pass!"
How do you poach an egg?
"There are two ways of poaching an egg. You can take a big pan of water, bring it up to the boil, put a tiny bit of vinegar in it, swirl it round and pop the egg in. Or the other thing I do is get a non-stick frying pan, fill it up with water until it is 3/4 full, bring it to the boil, break the egg into it, and leave it for a minute until I see the sunny side up – it’s simple.
"One of the most important thing when you do a poached egg is not to kill it by boiling it too rapidly. The heat is better kept at a low temperature."
What’s one ingredient you can’t stand?
"Marmite. I hate marmite. What is peculiar though, is that I love Twiglets!"
What recipes can people expect from you at the Ideal Home Show?
"Well this year is its 111th year and they are making it quintessentially British, which I think has a lovely feel about it. It’s quite extraordinary really, because when I was young we lived in Regents Park and my mother used to go off to the Ideal Home Show every year. The fact that I’m doing this now is really exciting, it’s come full circle!
"When I’m on stage I’ll be doing recipes like Yorkshire pudding and how to cook the perfect steak. Then on the other stages I’m going to be doing etiquette as usual."
If you were to use a cookbook from another chef, whose would it be?
"There are so many wonderful cookbooks like Giorgio Locatelli's and Ottolenghi’s. But the cookbook that I always go to is my Larousse. I adore it.
"The cookbook I'm currently reading is be Made in India by Meera Sodha, I’m loving that! And the book that’s influenced me the most in my life is Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck. My volume one is now in pieces! I was Julie and Julia before Julie and Julia came about – that’s how I learnt 40 years ago."