Diana Dontsova has always been interested in food. But it was only when she moved away from home as a nineteen-year-old to study in another town that she started to cook for herself.
– I grew up in a large family and we were always cooking, pickling vegetables and baking bread. But the fact that we were many also meant that I never had to cook any food myself.
As a student, she had a hard time absorbing the prevailing food culture. Instead of eating processed food, it became important for her to cook her meals from scratch.
– It wasn’t complicated food, and it didn’t contain many ingredients. But for example, I would rather cook pasta and fry vegetables than buy a ready-made meal.
Your kind of kitchen doesn’t matter that much
Diana has cooked in many kitchens, but she doesn’t believe in fancy equipment.
– If you only have one oven, you can go a long way. We generally need to use the oven more. Partly because it makes for a nice roasted taste and partly because the food can be in there for a long time, while we are busy doing something else.
A lot has happened since she was a student, and today Diana works full time as a food creator and food photographer. She loves prime ingredients, but she thinks that it’s also important to show that simpler food can be great.
– There is a difference between everyday food and party food, but simple pasta dishes can also be served in a nice way.
– We eat with our eyes, too, you shouldn’t just throw everything on the plate. If you put the pasta on the plate with a pair of kitchen tongs, top it off with fresh herbs and use the pepper mill before serving, it makes a big difference.
But even more important for her is that the meal should be something social, a reason to meet. Therefore, she advocates putting performance anxiety aside when offering something and instead focus on the meeting.
– We sometimes forget how wonderful it is to get an invitation. Tea and sandwiches that someone else has fixed for you can be the best meal of all! It does not have to be that complicated.
Always berries in the freezer
She herself always has berries and shortcrust pastry in the freezer so that she quickly can bake something tasty when she gets an unexpected visitor. And she always keeps cream in the fridge, so that she can make her own ice cream or serve it with a pie.