About Melanie - business owner, Nutritional Consultant and mum of young twins.

KN: As one of our Kana ambassadors, we know that you spend a lot of time cooking, but what would you call your “day job”?

MH: I am primarily a business owner. I own a small business, Spice & Green, which creates handmade spice blends and small batch specialty food. I am also a Nutritional Consultant, running nutrition and wellness workshops and a freelance recipe writer and content creator. 

KN: Where do you call home?

MH: I was born in Montreal, Canada, but I now live in Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK

KN: What does your average day in the kitchen look like?

MH: Eight months ago I had twin baby girls. This has dramatically altered my kitchen activities. I have tried to maintain my daily ritual of cooking a healthy and delicious dinner every night, but now my meals are prepared incrementally throughout the day instead of all at once, and I opt for much easier meals than I used to. And now I have two little hungry buddies to feed too. 

First thing in the morning I prepare organic oats for my girls, mixed with kefir and fruit and some kind of topping like hemp seeds or chia. My husband makes coffee and throws a couple pieces of toast in the toaster for us (neither of us are really breakfast people). 

For lunch I’ll try and whip together a very quick salad and give my girls another “food experience” - some clumps of roasted sweet potato and avocado mash with an orange slice or something similar. During their afternoon nap I will prepare dinner, chopping veggies, and basically getting everything ready that doesn’t need immediate cooking (ie: I’ll measure out rice and get it ready in the pot for later). I’ll also steam some veggies or pears for my girls late afternoon meal. 

After the girls go to bed I will pour myself a whiskey, put on a podcast and put together the meal. Enjoying a really nice dinner at the end of the day is extremely important to me, it’s something to look forward to every day. But on the weekends, and the odd weekday we will get delivery food! 

 

Melanie’s interest in cooking started when she was young but blossomed during her time in India

KN: How did you get into cooking?

MH: I come from a very food-centric family and the extremely food-obsessed city of Montreal. Growing up I was always a picky eater but as I grew into adulthood, and spent time in India, I realised that I wasn’t very picky at all, I just had a major preference for plant protein! I originally took an interest in cooking so that I could attempt to recreate the foods that I enjoyed so much while I lived in India, this evolved into a desire to recreate my all of my favourite foods I’d enjoyed throughout my life: falafel, fried chicken, onion bhajis, tzatziki etc. Eventually I qualified to become a Nutritional Consultant and gained an extensive knowledge of whole foods and a largely plant-based diet, and this further progressed my cooking journey. 

KN: You mention that you lived in India. Tell us a little bit about that experience. 

MH: Between 2007 and 2011 I spent many months living and working at an Ayurvedic Clinic in India. All of my meals were cooked by an enchanting woman named Jaishree. I watched her make the most extraordinary, healthy meals in the most minimalist kitchen imaginable. Watching her and learning from her inspired me to become a student of Indian food and living in the Ayurvedic clinic taught me about the healing powers of spices and herbs. 

KN: What are the basic principles of Ayurvedic cooking?

MH: Essentially, Ayurveda is based on the philosophy of “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food”.  It is believed that everyone falls into a different “Dosha” category or energetic makeup, and you can consume or avoid certain foods based on your dosha to lead the most balanced healthier life. 

KN: What’s an easy way to incorporate more healing plants and spices into your everyday routine?

MH: One great way to do this is to consume herbs as if they were lettuce leaves! Use mint, coriander, parsley the way you’d use romaine or spinach in your salads! 

 

Tomato soup with croutons

 

Let’s finish with some quick-fire questions

KN: What do you love about cooking?

MH: I love that it’s both creative and productive -- what could be more rewarding?

KN: What’s an easy way to incorporate more healing plants and spices into your everyday routine?

MH: One great way to do this is to consume herbs as if they were lettuce leaves! Use mint, coriander, parsley the way you’d use romaine or spinach in your salads! 

KN: What’s your favourite thing to eat? 

MH: My favourite food of all time is a South Indian masala dosa. I’m also obsessed with Chinese dumplings, fried chicken, and deep fried zucchini flowers. 

KN: What’s your favourite thing to cook?

MH: Onion bhajis, dal, and salads. 

KN: What does the taste of home mean to you?

MH: BAGELS!

KN: Which Kana product do you reach for most in the kitchen and why?

MH: The pre-cut parchment paper! I am always roasting, toasting or grilling nuts or veggies and the convenience and quality of the paper is welcome in my kitchen. 

Keep up with Melanie on Instagram - @melaniehadida

Melanie Hadida

Cooking a delicious meal is not im-pot-ssible when you use the right cookware.

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