My grandad started this little hotel in Scotland before I was born; my mum’s one of seven girls and five of them and their partners helped run it. It was hearty food and a lot of my nana’s recipes. I remember “desserts” was the first station I worked on when I was little: so it was pavlova, lemon meringue pie and we’d make our own ice-cream. I’m surprised I wasn’t obese because there was so much good food around.
The main thing I took from the hotel was the work ethic. Also being surrounded by these wonderful inspiring women: my mum and her sisters were all very different but it was a really healthy environment to grow up in and see these women running things.
When I was nine or 10, I remember having a dinner party at my mum and dad’s house. I wanted to have a Thanksgiving dinner because I’d watched so many films that had Thanksgiving in it and I thought: “Why do we not celebrate this?” So I cooked this big Thanksgiving dinner for probably 10 people and I wouldn’t let anybody help me.
Doing radio breakfast shows makes you the most unhealthy person in the world. It’s like having jet lag and you just eat at really weird times. I remember the last early-morning stint I did was when they relaunched Virgin in 2016 and I had to really make an effort to address what I ate. So I’d have porridge halfway through the show instead of just going for toast or a bacon roll.
I’d come back from school and my mum and her sisters would all be in the living room doing the Jane Fonda workout
I had a hangover for most of my Radio 1 career while Colin [Murray] and I did the lunchtime show. My favourite go-to option normally involved a packet of salt and vinegar crisps and a can of Irn-Bru. And those still are the key to getting sugar and salt back in your body as quick as physically possible.
I went to Japan with Cat Deeley for a BBC travel series, Roadtripping, and we spent the night in a Buddhist monastery, way up in the hills. We got the bullet train and we had to get a funicular and then we had to walk, it was a proper commitment to get there. We didn’t arrive till the middle of the night and the monks had made us the most incredible vegan banquet. Tastes and flavours, shapes and colours of food, I had no idea what I was eating, but it was the most sensual experience ever. We ate it by candlelight and I’m still not totally sure it wasn’t a dream.
My mum and her sisters tried every diet under the sun. I’d come back from school and they’d all be in the living room doing the Jane Fonda workout, but there would never be a long-term plan for changing the way you ate or the way you think about eating. It’s only as I get older, and I see that my body’s got a life of its own, that I want to really be in sync with it and try to teach it about what’s good for it and what’s not.
There was a lot of baking during lockdown, but the main change was that we bought a proper coffee machine. And we have learned how to make kind of pretty decent coffee, I would say. I’ll even attempt some foam art – I mean, it’s very abstract. It’s like that thing where you look up at the clouds and go, “Look, it’s a unicorn!”
My happy place is having a Saturday morning while everybody else is just mooching about and I’ll do a big old batch cook and have music on in the kitchen. It could be, I don’t know, LCD Soundsystem’s Sound of Silver or I’ve just been listening to Van Morrison because I saw Kenneth Branagh’s new film. But I love nothing more than a wintry, rainy Saturday morning, when the kids are watching cartoons, Tom [Smith, lead singer of Editors] is writing some music, playing piano in his studio, and I’m batch cooking, with the dog at my feet waiting for me to drop something, while I dance around the kitchen.
My favourite things
Lobster spaghetti. That encompasses the two things that I like the most: fish in food and Italian food.
When we moved to the country, in this rambling little corner of our garden, there were sloes. So last year I made my own sloe gin, which I bottled and Rudy my son made little labels for, and we gave them as presents for Christmas.
Up until lockdown, my husband would take me to the Delaunay in London every year for my birthday. It’s really old-school, you feel like you’re going back in time, I love it.
Dish to make
I do a really good crab linguine. I’ve even got my eight-year-old into it, because you don’t really realise it’s crab, if you know what I mean. Sometimes with kids you have to hide things in food.