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Lorraine Pascale - Live webchat on Today 12 September at midday.

(102 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 10-Sep-12 17:22:49

Lorraine Pascale is joining us for a live webchat on Wednesday 12 September at midday until 1pm. Lorraine's latest book Fast, Fresh and Easy Food aims to help solve the dilemma of what to cook for the family after a busy day. Each main dish has an accompanying side dish and all recipes can be prepared in real time with no prepping or chopping work beforehand. We're delighted that Lorraine has agreed to share two of the recipes from the book with us; Sri-Lankan Chicken Curry and Lemon and poppy seed cake. Lorraine's series to accompany the book is currently running on BBC2 at 8.30pm on Mondays.

Lorraine became a model at 16 and was the first black British model to appear on the cover of American Elle. Keen to ensure a future career after modelling, she signed up for a diploma cookery course at Leighs School of Food and Wine. She's since graduated from Thames Valley University in Culinary Arts with a first class honours degree. Lorraine established herself as a specialist cake maker and has her own shop, Ella's Bakehouse in Covent Garden.

Having been adopted as a baby and lived for some time with foster parents, Lorraine is patron of TACT, the UK's largest fostering and adoption charity. She now lives with her daughter in London.

Join Lorraine for a chat on Wednesday at midday or post a question to her in advance here.

LorrainePascale Wed 12-Sep-12 12:11:51


Hi Lorraine, our DS (11) is transfixed by your recipes as are we ;-). We particularly liked the Crouching Tiger hidden Zebra in the first episode and were very disappointed it wasn't detailed in the recipes on the BBC website. So please, please, please could we have it.....

Also, we regard you as the Nigella of the 21st Century ;-)

As our question: where did you develop your love of cooking and at what stage in your career, and why, did you decide to pursue your culinary pursuits....? And also, congrats on your first from Thames Valley Uni....

I will have a word with the BBC web team and see what I can do! My love of food comes largely from my dad. He always cooked yummy food when we went to see him on the weekends. lots of garlic and tomatoes and I think that is how my love of food grew. Thank you re uni!

TunipTheVegemal Wed 12-Sep-12 12:13:05

Great to hear you've thought about doing a book for children! If you ever do one, I will buy two. smile

LorrainePascale Wed 12-Sep-12 12:14:30


My family are very fussy so have really dented my confidence about cooking. Its got to the point where I just don't bother cause I know no one will like it and I have wasted a good hour doing it and then have to tidy it up. The worst part is when I've made it I just don't enjoy eating it either. The only cook meal I make now is a Sunday roast and the rest is oven food. Any tips on fussy eaters.

I have had this problem with some family members before. I empathize. I made a list of food which they did like and then adapted recipes to fit them. That way everyone was happy and I was happy at the end of cooking the meal. I hope this helps!

LorrainePascale Wed 12-Sep-12 12:16:37


Hi Lorraine, I'm a huge fan, its super refreshing to see a gorgeous dark skinned black woman on TV!

I have two questions, I love your cigarello cake, I made one and it was fab BUT cigarello's are so expensive, what would you use as an alternative- I used chocolate fingers and the result wasn't good!

Secondly, what was it like growing up a black child in a white family? Did you experience any racism? What about self identity and race? And seemingly small but baggage laden things like dealing with hair etc?

They are expensive but you can use matchstick makers. I am asked this a lot and I for me I did not know any different. I knew that I was different but it took a long time for me to see how bizarrely. Dealing with the hair was a problem for my white parents. My fro was hard work!

LorrainePascale Wed 12-Sep-12 12:19:16


Hi Lorraine,

I love your desserts, they always look so impressive and easy to do. I also wonder how many white t shirts you must have on standby!

I too am interested in the modelling - cooking link. What do you think about modelling? Would you be happy if your daughter wanted to be a model?

I wear about 6 tshirts a day! I definitely do not want my daughter to go in to modelling. I think that there are so many things one can do these days especially for her as she is so intelligent! I was always in to food when I was modelling. Probably a bit too much. It was hard to stay a size 8

LorrainePascale Wed 12-Sep-12 12:20:18


Hi Lorraine,

I have a couple of questions.

From your books, what is your favourite recipe?

Do you find that as you are such a good cook, your friends are nervous inviting you over for lunch or dinner?

sweet and sour pork balls with crunchy peanut rice I love!

My friends never ask me around for dinner they always ask me out for dinner in a restaurant!

LorrainePascale Wed 12-Sep-12 12:22:11


Hello Lorraine

I want to know how you stay so slim given all the goodies you bake. Obviously youth is on your side, but do you also have a strict exercise regime that allows you to eat all you want? <hopeful> grin

I am 40 in a couple of months. I exercise lots. Either walking, kick boxing or weights and I do eat healthily around the cakes and other sweet stuff. If I have had an off day, I tend to try to have a good day right after. But it is really, really hard work. I suppose I do love exercise as much as I love food.

ChooChooLaverne Wed 12-Sep-12 12:22:25

Hi Lorraine

I love your programmes.

I just wanted to ask whether you have any ideas on how adoption could be improved in this country? I have friends who have tried to adopt and the process was extraordinarily difficult - not so much the hoops they had to jump through but communication problems with different services etc.

LorrainePascale Wed 12-Sep-12 12:23:15


Hi Lorraine,

I have no question but would like you to know that your slow roast pork with fennel is the most fabulous and piss easy recipe of all time. I have no idea how many times we have eaten it now but the crackling is TO DIE FOR. We may even eat it at Christmas. It is THAT good (although we don't do the pears, weird mouth-feel).
Please take a moment to bask in our pork joy.

thank you! I am so glad you like it.

LorrainePascale Wed 12-Sep-12 12:24:04


I liked the malteaser cake. When I first saw it I thought 'oh dear god, what is she thiking?' Then when I saw it... I really need to make it now! More fun stuff please! Maybe kids - snacks, lunches, high teas and party stuff!

I am really glad you like it! The 'I can't believe you made that cake' form baking made easy is good too. But I will definitely do more of what you suggest!

LorrainePascale Wed 12-Sep-12 12:25:02


Hello Lorraine,
I was in the year above you at school in Devon, so you must be a year or so younger than me at most. How come you now look 20 years younger?! Congratulations on all your achievements.

Hi, that is so funny we were at school together. 20 years younger? Must be the TV and the heavy make up!

mrsbread Wed 12-Sep-12 12:26:54

Hi Lorraine

Love you're TV progs, I am visiting London soon and would like to know the street markets that you visit each week.

LorrainePascale Wed 12-Sep-12 12:27:36

I love your programmes.

I just wanted to ask whether you have any ideas on how adoption could be improved in this country? I have friends who have tried to adopt and the process was extraordinarily difficult - not so much the hoops they had to jump through but communication problems with different services etc.[/quote]

I am working on a programme which deals in fostering at the moment. Adoption laws have shown signs of changing but they have not really yet. I am making it my mission to do something about this as I am so passionate about it. I am sorry about your friends experience. Let's hope the changes come in soon.

Ploom Wed 12-Sep-12 12:28:39

OMG you dont look 40!! Really thought you were younger than me (i'm 38). You look fab for nearly 40!

LorrainePascale Wed 12-Sep-12 12:31:06


Love the crouching tiger, hidden zebra cake, but we made it in a 7" cake tin and it took a lot longer to cook through leaving overdone edges, also the centre rose and created almost a two tier cake. Any recommendations to prevent this?

The recipe in the book is correct. When I am doing the show they have my book and they weigh up the ingredients and give them to me, so I can focus on presenting. I believe that I was given the wrong quantities on the show and may have then said incorrect weights. The BBC have since said they will change the recipe on the iplayer so people can cook the cake correctly. But I will ask to put the recipe on the BBC website so it can be made correctly. I am sorry this has wasted your time. LP

LorrainePascale Wed 12-Sep-12 12:32:21


Hi Lorraine!
I didn't know that you're behind Ella's bakery! It's one of my favourite cake shops in London!
I'm totally obsessed with street food and so love the little street food segments on your show. What's your favourite street food available in london right now? Are you tempted to jump on the bandwagon?

Yes! I used to have a market stall, that is sell my cakes on a stall in Clapham. It was good fun, but I was not so good in the cold!

LorrainePascale Wed 12-Sep-12 12:33:17


Could you do a vegan book please!?
And - how do you stay so slim?!

I will put a couple of vegan recipes in my next book! I go to the gym, walk or kick box lots when I can fit it in. It is hard work, but keeps me sane as well as fit!

LorrainePascale Wed 12-Sep-12 12:35:16



My daughter loves your show and your books- in fact she has been inspired to bake because of them, and has discovered a real talent for it.

This is great as she struggles at school and is very happy to have something she's really good at.

My question is, did you like school and when did you discover your talent for cooking?


That is such a good thing to hear. I bake with my daughter which I find really helps to bond us on the weekend. I did not like school so much and I preferred the non academic subjects. Home ec was my favourite. I did not discover my talent for baking until I was in my early 30s and I fell in love with it. I find it incredibly soothing and therapeutic. I hope you daughter continues to thrive with her baking and really pleased she enjoys the books

LorrainePascale Wed 12-Sep-12 12:36:44


Hello Lorraine

I am rubbish / not interested in cooking (it's more of a chore for me!), but your programme actually makes me believe I could give it a go (you make it look so easy smile).

I just wondered if you actually get to eat the food you cook on the programme?

Yes, do give it a go.. It is much fun. I do eat the food I cook. Some days we are cooking seven dishes each meant for 4 people so I do not eat all of that. But I am a great lover of eating and I do lots of exercise to compensate!

JockSprockPooPongMcPlop Wed 12-Sep-12 12:37:21

Hi Lorraine.
What would be your desert island cake? ie if you had to chose only one cake to eat for the rest of your life, what would you chose?

LorrainePascale Wed 12-Sep-12 12:37:55


If you went out for a 3 course meal, but could only choose two courses - would you pick :

a) starter and main
b)main and dessert

Basically, do you prefer sweet or savoury?

I would actually choose the bread basket and then dessert.
But from your a and b it would have to be b!

LorrainePascale Wed 12-Sep-12 12:39:12


Hi Lorraine.
What will you be cooking for Christmas dinner this year?

Christmas is usually when I put my feet up and let me dad do the cooking!

LorrainePascale Wed 12-Sep-12 12:41:44


Hello and congratulations on your new book, we've really been enjoying your programme!

I have always been a keen baker but now I have a fussy eater of a toddler I am trying my hand at low or no sugar baking. I have successfully used mashed banana and apple juice in one recipe but beyond that I am clueless. Internet searches tend to bring up sugar substitutes so I wanted to ask if there was anything particular you would recommend trying?

Thank you!

I am glad you are enjoying the book and the show! I have done some low sugar baking and I do find that apple sauce/juice is the best thing. I really would like to spend more time experimenting with this, as it is an area which seems to hold a lot of interest for people. Sugar substitutes are not so nice, I will keep on the look and post any findings on my website.


LorrainePascale Wed 12-Sep-12 12:43:41


You are obviously very entreprenurel as you set up a business from scratch. Do you have any tips fir other women wanting to do the same? Did you make any mistakes when you started?

Thank you! I suppose I did not realise that it would be so hard setting up my own business. There became no such thing as after work or weekends as I was working all the time. There are some great websites which can help people getting started. I will post them up on the website in a few days. Mistakes I made were not asking for me help when I felt like I was sinking!

LorrainePascale Wed 12-Sep-12 12:44:43


Hi Lorraine, thanks for some great recipes and a really enjoyable programme.

Just one question though: why don't you wear an apron when you cook? I wince when I see you in your uncovered white T-shirts stirring away with gay abandon grin.

I fell very restricted in an apron and just prefer to wear tshirts instead. We have a stack of them out the back and I change them about 5 times per day!

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