Cerys Matthews' cooking memories


By Prudence Wade

Cerys Matthews might be best known for her contribution to the Welsh Cool Cymru movement of the 1990s, or her Sunday show on BBC Radio 6, but she's somehow found a whole lot of time between this to perfect her skills in the kitchen.

She became vegetarian a year ago, which has spurred her to experiment even more with her cooking. We caught up with the Welsh singer and presenter to find out a little bit more about why she loves cooking – as well as cheekily asking about her unforgettable kitchen disaster.

Matthews' earliest memory of food...
"My mum was a really bad cook when I was growing up, so we survived on frozen Findus pancakes, stuffed pound cakes, and Vesta curries. The epiphany came when the flights got cheaper in the Eighties, and like a lot of the British population, we started travelling and tasting different foods.

"After that, my mum started to learn how to cook properly. We had friends from Gujarat who taught her how to make a proper curry – and that was it, there was no turning back. Now, she's one of the best cooks of curry."

Her culinary high moment...
"It's definitely making my mum's dahl. Dahl is like cawl or roast potatoes - everyone's got their own family way of doing it. My mum's is the best I've ever tasted, probably because it becomes more than just a dish of food - it's the feeling of being home, so there's an emotional connection to it.

"My mum's is so simple and delicious - it's cheap and healthy, so that's my go-to now. She had to teach me so many times before I got it tasting like hers, but I've got it down pat now."

Her ultimate kitchen disaster...
"My disaster was very public and was on one of those Saturday morning cooking programmes. I like experimenting and I'd read somewhere that you don't have to crack an egg on a rim, you can just crack it on a flat surface. Instead of trying it out at home, I automatically smashed the egg on the kitchen counter. It made a hell of a mess, and everyone just looked at me like I was completely nuts and had never stepped into a kitchen before.

"That was pretty disastrous, but it was funny and still makes me smile. That's my attitude to cooking - you shouldn't be scared of trying new things just because you haven't seen anyone doing it."


Catherine Devane