My Life In Food: Barbara Ross, product developer, Marks & Spencer

I'm tasting savoury food all day, so at home I crave sweet'

Barbara Ross has worked for Marks & Spencer for five years, and was responsible for the Taste Italian range. She is now developing a range of in-store deli counters

What are your most and least used pieces of kitchen kit?

I'm a total Italiophile, so my Imperia pasta machine is pretty much always in use. I bought it back from the Veneto, which is a bit of a pasta centre, a few years ago. When I was developing M&S's Italian range I got really into making pasta and am now a dab hand at knocking up butternut squash and amaretti ravioli. My coffee grinder, on the other hand, I hardly ever use. I bought it when I was looking after coffee and tea for M&S. It was a case of falling for the idea of grinding my own coffee in the morning. Didn't quite work out, though.

If you had only £10 to spend on food, where would you spend it and on what?

On the basis of the meal I had last Friday, I would go straight down to the Brixton Village arcade. It's the indoor part of the market and is jammed with restaurants selling great food at reasonable prices. I'd go to Honest Burgers and get a juicy beef burger and some of their triple-cooked chips with rosemary salt, which, by my reckoning, would cost £9. The other pound I'd spend on one of their small glasses of prosecco.

What do you eat for comfort?

At the moment my days are spent tasting savoury food, so when I get home after a long day the first thing I crave is something sweet and sugary. So I have a pot in my kitchen full of homemade granola. I fill a bowl with it and cover with yogurt and amaretti biscuits. It's sugary heaven.

If you could eat only bread or potatoes for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

I'd go for bread. I love making it, especially sourdough. I have my own "starter" in my fridge at home, which you use as a base for making all sourdough bread. It's wonderfully versatile stuff. And who can resist a slice of bread and a hunk of cheese?

What's your desert island recipe?

My amaretti biscuit recipe. It's incredibly simple. You whisk four egg whites into mounds, and then stir in 340g of caster sugar, the same amount of ground almonds and a few drops of almond extract. You then form the mix into biscuit shapes and cook for about 10 minutes at 180 degrees.

What's your favourite restaurant?

That's difficult one, as in my job you constantly need a sense of restless dissatisfaction, as this is what leads you to find new and better products. So you don't tend to go to one place too often. But I am fond of the River Café and Assaggi – both serve fantastic Italian food.

What's your favourite cookbook?

I love The Art of Simple Food by Alice Walters. Her message is so clear-sighted: to use the best ingredients to get the best results. Nigel Slater is another favourite. His books are so well written and you find yourself absorbing knowledge about seasonality and the like without even noticing.

Who taught you your trade?

I learnt the most from someone I never met: Jane Grigson. She inspired me completely. From the age of about seven I always knew I wanted to work in food, and her books were a guide for me.

News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Lifeguards / Leisure Club Attendants - Seasonal Placement

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Qualified Lifeguards are required to join a fa...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Exhibition Content Developer

    £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in South Kensington, this prestigi...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - major leisure brand

    £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Partner

    £25000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Partner is required to ...

    Day In a Page

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn