I’m Leili, the author of Spoonshine.
Every weekday I hop on a shiny red bus to central London to work as a TV development producer, which is a fancy title for ‘someone who thinks up new telly programmes all day’.
But on evenings and weekends, there is no place I’d rather be than in the kitchen (or occasionally out of the kitchen, but eating!). I’m half Persian so I love Persian food and messing around with aromatic spices. And I’ve got coeliac disease, so everything I make is completely gluten free. And once upon a time I used to be a scientist, so I love organising things into lovely little jars and thinking about the strange alchemy that is the act of cooking!
Over the years of cooking gluten free, I’ve learned a lot about how to create exciting, vibrant dishes that aren’t just poor imitations of their gluten-containing counterparts. And after some hearty encouragement from my other half, I started Spoonshine in 2015 to share a little of what I’ve learned, and show you some of what’s cooking in my kitchen.
I hope you enjoy what you find here. Stay awhile, say hello, and come back again soon!
– Frequently asked questions –
Why gluten free?
In 2008, after spending three years feeling inexplicably tired, ill and run down, I was finally diagnosed with coeliac disease by my doctor. It was such a revelation! Overnight I stopped eating gluten, and within weeks my symptoms started to subside. I felt like I’d got my life back again.
But I didn’t just feel a million times better. Exploring the new world of gluten free food totally rekindled my passion for cooking.
I loved the challenge of making gluten free dishes that were just as sunny and as full of flavour as their non-gluten free counterparts. It’s been a learning curve (and I’ll be the first to admit to having some truly inedible disasters along the way – rock solid bread, anyone?!). But I’d never go back to eating gluten, even if I could tomorrow. What I eat now is just too damn good.
What camera do you use?
I’m lucky – K is a cameraman so I plunder his kit regularly! At the moment I’m using a 5D mkII, with a Leica Macro-Elmarit-R 60mm f/2.8 lens.
Who is K?
K is my other half, chief food tester and love of my life. His enthusiasm is a large part of the reason that spoonshine made it past the ‘pipe dream’ stage!
Who is little cat?
Ahhh… little cat. If you’re not a cat person, stop reading now. For those of you still reading, meet Lyra, aka little cat, the latest addition to the household. She’s a bengal, she’s got a voice louder than a lawnmower and she like’s to play fetch. If there’s food around, she’ll put one of her big paws in it. And if you ignore her you’ll get the scowl of the century. As you might have guessed she’s fully stolen my heart. So before I go on too long, here’s just one little picture of her and let’s call it a day.
Did I say one? I meant two.