What To Cook Tonight

Andrew and Sophie Learmont are a father and daughter team

with a fresh take on the food blog.

Each week they provide you with mini cookbooks containing delectable,

and most importantly, easy recipes for any fist time chef’s that are looking to try something new.

With Andrew’s passion for food and Sophie’s natural eye for photography,

they have created the newly launched blog, 

What To Cook Tonight.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Sophie and her father Andrew on the perfect poached egg, Julia Child and their approach to food.  

How did the idea for What To Cook Tonight come about?

S: It was back in 2012, it was actually dads idea, which is interesting, because Dad was never on a computer ever.

A: Yeah I hate computers. I’m aware that people struggle with figuring out what to cook for inspiration. I don't find that too hard. I thought I'd have a website that would answer that question.

S: When I finally moved back home in August of last year, that’s when we decided to start this! 

A: We've been cooking since September.

Have you taken courses in cooking?

A: Self taught, which in a way is what WTCT is all about.

All the images are so enticing, what is your photography background?

S: With photography I started my personal blog in 2010 when I was living in England but I didn't have a visa I was just there for three months and I obviously couldn't work and my boyfriend was in uni. On the plane I watched Julie & Julia and she started a blog. When I started (my own), I became obsessed with reading blogs, I realized that my favorite ones, were where they were taking their own photos.(I realized) I needed to get a good camera, my camera didn't have the ability to do what I needed it to do.

Favourite meal?

S: We're obsessed, in the family, with Dad's chicken stir fry. It is so fresh, so light.

A: A Grilled Snapper with some really fresh seasonal vegetables. And then it feels healthy too! 

So I think it has to be asked, What are you cooking tonight?

A: A seafood platter, and a snapper. We're still working on what it's going to be. 

S: (The Snapper) will be for the week ten collection. The Seafood platter will be for week seven.

What would your ‘go to’ quick meal?

A: It's got to be a simple Pasta, it can be as simple as garlic and tomato, and basil. You must have parmesan cheese though. I will leave the house if I (find) out that I made a mistake and didn't get it!

How does it work?

S: We thought, lets simplify it, lets put five (recipes) up each. They can purchase just one, or they could buy a mini cookbook. Or if they like it they can buy reoccuring (mini cookbooks). Eventually when its gone on a bit longer we will have collections, where people can buy eight recipes of one genre, seafood, pasta. We've also got guides, basic things, anyone can get an idea on how too cook things, we have a guide on how to make your own niochi, prepare your own crab. We do go into more detail too.

Have you always cooked together?

A: I was the cook at home. 

S: I remember, my brother and I used to go to the supermarket together, get all of our ingredients and then do one big dinner party dinner out on the deck and cook for mum and dad.

A: They were really good too!

S: Mum and Dad have always been into entertaing all the time, having dinner parties, just enjoying food, not just making it a convience thing we'd always have things centered around food.

A: Dont forget the wine!

S: (Laughs) Yeah! 

Who are some of the people that you get inspired by?

S: Gourmet Traveler, the layouts are so good!

A: Yeah Gourmet Traveler, Jamie Oliver, Matt Moran a Sydney Chef, Sidney is influenced by asian food, Thai Street Food. Kylie Kwong, another Sydney Chef -stir fry veg which is coming up soon was inspired by her. Neil Perry, another Sydney chef. 

S: Even when we eat out, one of our recipes coming up, is inspired from when we were in Seattle in the beginning of the year, we went to an Italian Restaurant (and tried) crab gnocchi.

Do you have a particular soundtrack for when you're in the kitchen? 

S: What we'll do when we're working is put on the cooking channel in the living room. 

A: We can't see it! Just hear it.

S: (laughs) Yeah, a lot of the time it is the food channel or Julie, Julia.

Andrew, with the influence from your father, who was a health nut and you Sophie being inspired by Julie Child what are your own philosophies on food?

A: Fresh and not too serious. You've got to be careful that you don’t eat too much protein. A good balance of vegetables and salad.

S: Portion control.

A: That shouldn't be too hard because it costs you less! On every website (there is) the obsession with how many kilojoules or  calories something has, I'm not into that but I get why everyone is, but I also think it’s going down the wrong path. You're making food not fun, almost into some medical thing its wrong. It's your whole approach so making it fun and enjoyable and there is a community aspect to it. It's so much fun to have people around. When they come round I don't mind if I get it wrong, the food doesn't have to be the main thing. Don't get too obsessed.

Any advice for first time cooks?

A: Get a really really good sharp knife!

A&S: Rule number one!A: It really makes things so much easier, and you're less likely to cut yourself.

S: And have fun!

A: Try different things, too!

Do you have any future plans for the website?

S: Eventually we also want to include desserts in our weeks. We also want to get involved in international holidays. It's lucky for us in Sydney, our seasons aren’t too extreme, our winters are very mild we can still do things that have a summery feel. 

A: (Eventually, we will have collections where people can buy eight recipes of one genre, seafood, pasta etc. We also (want to expand on our) guides, basic things, we (already) have a guide on how to make your own gnocchi, prepare your own crab. 

Well consider this my official request, please make a guide on how to poach an egg! Mine have never looked as good as the one in the Week 3 Chicken burger recipe!

A: It's on the list! I've been practising, it doesn't come naturally. Even if you think you've followed exactly what they say, practise, practise! One trick, I've noticed is having the egg at room temperature. Don't let it boil too much, vinegar in the water, try pouring the egg in gently, from a ramican. It's better to have a burnt thumb and a perfect poached egg!

Photos by Tania from Joy Felicity Jane

Interview by Ariana Ruth