‘Cooking is a great way to unwind’: Rozanna Purcell shares her favourite recipes for this year’s innocent dairy-free cook off
02nd Apr 2021
As a judge at this year’s innocent dairy-free cook off, Roz Purcell shares her favourite recipes and top cooking tips for competitors.
This year’s innocent dairy-free cook off is officially in full swing, with wellness influencer and cookbook author Rozanna Purcell as one of the judges.
“Last year’s competition was really good fun,” says Rozanna. “The whole process is very simple – just post your favourite dairy-free recipe using the innocent dairy-free range, tag both @innocentireland and @rozannapurcell, and we pick our finalists through Instagram.”
Entries will be accepted until April 15, and the finalists will be chosen the following day.
As the competition kicks off, we sat down with Rozanna, who shared her expert advice for competitors, her favourite dairy-free recipes and her top cooking tips for lockdown life.
What inspired you to get involved with the innocent dairy-free cook off?
“First of all, I love using innocent’s dairy-free range, especially in my vegan recipes on my Natural Born Feeder blog. The drinks are really thick and creamy, so they’re great for baking and making savoury recipes. It was also really cool to host a baking/cooking competition last year. It’s made all of my dreams come true.
“I love food and I love creating recipes. It’s really nice to get people cooking and see what recipes they’re coming up with and how creative people get. And coming back this year, we can give people something to look forward to. We’re all at home and everyone’s getting a bit more into baking. So, it’s a great incentive to be creative with the chance of winning a big prize.”
Why do you think people are enjoying cooking and baking more right now?
“I definitely think there’s been so many new food blogs set up this year because people have realised that cooking is a nice way to unwind, you know? It can separate your workplace from your home life, and it’s great to see that. For me, cooking and baking has given back so much in terms of switching off and stuff like that, so it’s nice to see so many people get into it.”
How will you be choosing the winners? Is there something in particular you’ll be looking for?
“I know last year was different because we got to try all the recipes and, obviously, this won’t be the case this year. Since we’re going to be judging virtually, I’m going to be looking for someone who’s making a creative recipe, something that I haven’t seen before.
“People can enter more than once too, so you could enter a few options, sweet or savoury – it doesn’t matter. Last year, I thought I would go for a sweet recipe but then a savoury one won. It has to be eye-catching as well.”
Any advice for the competitors this year?
“Presentation is just as important as originality. This year is going to be virtual, so we’re not getting that taste factor. You need to make sure that your recipe looks as good as it can. When we’re at home watching a cooking show, we’re judging it with our eyes and that’s pretty much what I’m going to be doing this year.”
What are some benefits you’ve experienced from going dairy-free?
“For me, I don’t look for ‘health’ at all. My journey with going vegan was pretty much for the animals; I’m a huge animal lover! I’m kind of against saying, ‘Oh my God, I feel so much better and all these things’ because diet is so individual and it can make everyone feel different. But yeah, I’m so glad that there are so many dairy alternatives right now.”
What are your two favourite, no-fuss dairy-free recipes?
“An easy, everyday recipe is my vegan protein oat pancakes. I make them with oats, banana, and dairy-free milk. I usually make them for breakfast at least three times a week. And they’re easy to store in the fridge, just add a few spoonfuls of almond butter and some berries and it’s so comforting.
“In the innocent range, the oat drink is probably my favourite for sweet recipes. And then the coconut, it’s so good in curries. I make this chickpea, sweet potato and spinach curry using the dairy-free coconut drink, and it’s so good. Even though it comes in a box, it’s really thick and creamy.”
Any tips for anyone who’s trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle right now in lockdown?
“I never like using the word ‘healthier’ because I think there can be a lot of guilt around food when we call it ‘healthy’ versus ‘unhealthy’. But my advice would be to meal prep and actually get in the kitchen and cook when you can. Don’t overthink food too much, have a mix of what you like and don’t feel guilty about it.
“One of the best ways to inspire you to get in the kitchen is to follow food accounts on Instagram. If there’s something that’s going to get you off screen and cooking it’s screenshotting a recipe that looks delicious. I’ll screenshot them on a Friday night, then make a shopping list based on those five or six recipes so I can have my meals already sorted.
“I also recommend putting on a podcast or listening to music while cooking dinne; it’ll make it fun.”
Everyone is encouraged to enter the innocent dairy-free cook off. Just post your dish on IG and tag @innocentireland and @rozannapurcell before April 15. The winner will be announced by wellness influencer and cook off judge Rozanna Purcell on April 16.
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