It's been a long time since I've cooked almost exclusively from one book, but Lucy Tweed's new cookbook has become my constant companion; on the bench as I decide what to make for dinner, by my side as I'm online ordering groceries and in my mind when I'm hungry. Having attempted over half the dishes, there are many firm favourites in our household. The one-pan roast chicken with coconut rice smells as good as it tastes (in fact I made it last night for the third time in as many weeks), the ooey, gooey rhubarb chocolate marshmallow concoction called 'Chocolate Thing' has given me a new go-to way of cooking rhubarb, and the interesting combinations (Thai chicken meatballs with green beans and sweet potato noodles was as fun as it sounded) have been a very welcome addition to my repertoire.
Five fast minutes with Lucy Tweed
Do you have a good luck charm or a special token that sits on your desk/in your office? Not really... but I do like to set up my space quite carefully. I have a desk at home and one at my studio. The studio’s “desk” is a long dining table, which is always clear. I enjoy arriving early and setting it up with “things”... like water, tea, hard drives, my favourite Rhodia notebook. I can muck about doing this for ages. Like making a little nest. Turning on music, lighting a candle. At home, the only difference is I have an oil diffuser and a collection of oils mum bought from a Burmese market. It’s like fencing off a small area of headspace so you can work well.
Favourite exercise to counteract all the hours sitting at the keyboard?
I literally roll out of my bed in loose PJs, no bra or contacts in, hair all wild onto my yoga mat and do a really nice, little 11min wake-up routine in the warm dark. It’s more of a mental exercise than physical but it sets my day in the right direction.
I love huge walks, along streets I haven’t walked along yet. It’s gotta be in a loop, so no backtracking. An added bonus is if you can venture out at 5ish... when people are starting to bunker down and cook. The voyeurism is palpable.
What’s your go-to weekday dinner dish? There are so so many... but something that is all cooked in one pan is great. Veg included. I have a few in the book. All rice-based because rice baked in the oven is simply amazing. You can add the flavour and you get chewy, sticky, crispy bits and soft fluffy areas. Actually, that’d probably bit it... something in a pan with rice under it. Plus, everything goes into the oven and you have at least 20mins me-time to pour a G&T.
Which career would you choose if money wasn’t a factor and writing wasn’t an option? Hmmmm that’s tricky. I would love to have a glamorous although rustic deli that come evening I’d set out some little tables with a candle. The menu would be whatever I felt like each day, only 8 or so things. And really good martinis. It’d only seat about 10 people. Or maybe I’d just like to go there. Perhaps my ideal career is a patron.
Favourite scent? Maison Margiela Replica Beach Walk or Roger Gallet Gingembre Water.
Have you done anything special with any of your advances?
Yes. I funded the book. That felt really special.
Spot where you seem to get the best bursts of inspiration? The change of season always excites me. I don’t crave obvious food during specific weather, but the weather affects my mood... and I eat for my mood. And industry. With 3 kids, and a career as a food stylist plus my ENOTW side hustle going out is rare. So seeing what restaurants and chefs are up to is always exciting. Embracing a food trend at home is fun.
Worst writing/book related injury? Hmmm. I don’t have a writing injury. Although my hands are littered with tiny burn spots and scratches. My nails, when not *done*, chip and don’t have a chance in hell of growing past the tip of my fingers. My right pointer finger has a callus at the first knuckle where it hugs my knife blade. There is a superhero side effect, my hands are pretty heat resistant & they are the most wonderful utensil I own.
Aussie novel you’re most looking forward to in 2021? I have a few on my stack at the moment but The Charmed Wife by Olga Grushin looks fun. I love the concept of recognising the creepiness of and upending a fairy tale.
Best one-line sentence from one of your book reviews? Well, my friends Cath Muscat showed her baby chickens the cover as it has, well, chicken on it... they promptly shat on it. I thought that was a very clever response.
Share a quirky habit or something readers might be surprised to discover about you. I really hate standing on newspaper. There’s something about feeling that tiny bit of separation from direct floor contact that unsettles me. It’s a bit princess and the pea I realise.
Where can people find you online? www.enotw.com.au
Every. Night. Of. The. Week
A wildly entertaining and practical cookbook filled with shortcuts and permission to do it your own way, by Donna Hay's right-hand woman.
'Lucy has a special gift. Everything she touches turns to magical, sparkling loveliness.' Donna Hay
Welcome to Every Night of the Week, a cookbook for people who don't like hard-and-fast recipes, by food and recipe writer, stylist and Instagram genie Lucy Tweed.
Some days you want to cook; other days the goal is simply 'food in mouths'.
MONDAY has potential. There are lists and ideas. The herbs are fresh and the fridge is full.
TUESDAY the week has begun. Can we have efficient and beautifully delicious please?
WEDNESDAY we wonder what day it is. Cook with a dash of laziness; it tastes great.
THURS ... we're not even typing the full day anymore. What's in the freezer? What can we pimp?
FRIDAY is family fun. 'Decorate' your own pizza, kids, or DIY san choy bau. Time to exhale.
SATURDAY is the flex day, time to stretch the repertoire. Hmm, who's around for lunch?
SUNDAY is for brunch and linner; two leisurely meals, eaten in absolute comfort.
THAT EXTRA DAY YOU WISHED FOR is the secret day that will save your bacon Tues-Thurs.
'My signature dish is Lucy's recipe that she taught me in less than an hour. But don't tell anyone; I get a lot of compliments.' Wil Anderson
Meet the author
Lucy Tweed is the creator of Every Night of the Week, an Instagram account full of recipes for people who don't like recipes. She began her career as a food developer and stylist working for nine years at Donna Hay magazine, learning all about the beauty of simple, fresh food. Clean and strict in style it was akin to being taught to pencil-draw the perfect circle in art class - necessary skills that she could then adapt to grow her own style. She has worked in food styling, menu creation, travel writing and art direction for Merivale, Smeg, Westinghouse, Gourmet Traveller, SBS, Bauer Media, Vic's Meats and many more. She runs workshops and VIP dinners on food styling and photography.