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Celebrity Health - Clodagh McKenna

TV chef Clodagh McKenna talks to Liz Parry about her time-saving cookery tips

Images of Clodagh McKenna © Dora Kazmierak

TV chef Clodagh McKenna is a familiar face on ITV’s This Morning where she is the resident culinary expert. Irish-born Clodagh, 46, is also the author of several cookbooks, including her latest release, In Minutes, which is out now.

Q Your latest cookery book is aimed at busy people who don’t have much time to cook. Do you have any tips for how to save time when it comes to cooking and eating healthily?

Clodagh: “I think making a plan for the week is really brilliant. Planning your meals for the week gives you so much more freedom to do the things that you want to do. Food is the number one thing you can do for your health, and cooking for yourself is so important. Something that I usually do on Sunday night is to get a notebook and plan out different dishes for the week. Then I’ll write up my shopping list and get my shopping done as soon as I can. When I know what I’m going to cook during the week it takes away any feelings of being stressed or unprepared. Otherwise you could end up eating boiled eggs every night or takeaways. It’s all in the planning for sure.”

Q Do you have any suggestions for kitchen cupboard staples to help with healthy home cooking?

Clodagh: “I think that a good selection of spices is really important. And then there’s other things like pasta, rice, couscous, lentils, chickpeas, cannellini beans, tomatoes and tomato purée. Then, going into the fridge, I would say Parmesan cheese, crème fraîche and things like mustard and olive oil. Dijon mustard adds so much flavour to things like baked eggs or roast chicken. Then there’s harissa. If you’ve got some frozen prawns in the freezer you can defrost them and then pan fry them with harissa and fold them in to some brown rice. It’s absolutely delicious.”

Q What do you tend to eat during a typical day?

Clodagh: “Well, in the morning I have the exact same thing every day. After I’ve done my workout I have a pint of green vegetable juice. I make it with cucumber and kale or spinach, depending on what’s growing in the garden. Then I’ll add some pineapple and mango to give it a nice flavour, as well as some natural probiotic yoghurt, a teaspoon of turmeric, a banana, ginger and some water. Then I whizz it up. That’s what I’ve had every morning for my breakfast for the last two or three years. During the winter I try to have a soup most days for lunch and I’ll have salads during the summer. I steer away from sandwiches because I feel like the bread takes away my energy. In the evening I will pick a recipe from one of my books.”

Q Do you take any supplements?

Clodagh: “I do, especially since the pandemic. I’ve got a whole host of supplements that I take. I have cold pressed fish oils, magnesium, vitamin D, echinacea and I take a double dose of vitamin C to keep colds away. I also take spirulina, which I find very hard to stomach, but I take it anyhow. I have powdered turmeric which I put in my smoothie.”

Q You have a specific morning routine that you follow each day. Tell us about that.

Clodagh: “I have a daily routine which takes me about an hour. I do it before I go to work on This Morning and it’s something I swear by now. I start with 10 minutes of meditation. I used to meditate here and there but now it’s a daily practice for me and focuses my mind. Next, I do a workout on my Peloton exercise bike. I’ve tried all kinds of exercise but this is what I enjoy and I know I’ll stick to it. I do the workout five days a week and on the other days I’ll go for a walk. After that I have a cold shower. I found this very hard to do at first but now I’m up to three minutes every day and I love how I feel afterwards. It stimulates your whole body and is said to be good for supporting your immune system and helping with stress and anxiety. Lastly I’ll have my green juice and then I’m set for the day!”

In Minutes by Clodagh McKenna is published by Kyle Books, priced £20. Photography by Dora Kazmierak.

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