From smashing an egg on TV to her mother's dahl, these are Creys Matthews' cooking memories

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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."

The Good Life Experience Festival, which was founded by Cerys Matthews,
takes place in Flintshire between September 14-16. Info at
www.thegoodlifeexperience.co.uk

Catherine Devane