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Favoured flavours. Food writer Ed Smith is all about warming, comforting meals

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Food writer Ed Smith is all about warming, comforting meals and he's also a pro at making delicious dinners from whatever's in his fridge.

Ed Smith's food ethos is all about working out what your body craves and sorting dinner out from there.

It's a reminder to listen to our bodies a bit more (something so few of us actually do), but it doesn't mean things are different every day. Smith returns to certain meals and ingredients time and time again - be it a bowl of brothy beans, or his beloved instant dashi powder.

This is (almost) everything you need to know about Smith's approach to food...

Your death row meal is... It depends on the craving, but I think I'd probably be seeking solace in some kind of brothy beans. Pork belly, brothy beans, olives - comforting, but there's a little bit of life in there as well. And then right now, I'm thinking tiramisu, to dive into.

The one dish you can't get right in the kitchen... I could improve my sushi rolling.

Your favourite store cupboard essential is... I am in love with instant dashi powder, it's excellent. It's such a layered and flavoursome and moorish and umami-ful base for loads of things. In the book [Crave: Recipes Arranged By Flavour, To Suit Your Mood And Appetite] it's used in the chicken and rice dish. What makes miso soup taste good is having a good dashi, for example. That's a great savoury fix to have your instant dashi, a mug of water and a spoonful of miso - suddenly you're soothed and everything is right again.

You like your eggs... I favour six and a half minutes, boiled, peeled and cut in half. That's great in a ramen, or on toast with some chilli oil.

The kitchen utensil you can't live without is... A silicon spatula.

Your favourite late-night snack is... Expensive sourdough toast with lots of butter; cheap but gum-recedingly mature cheddar and kimchi, or some other chillied condiment.

The ultimate childhood dinner you always remember is... You can't go wrong with a good old spag bol.

Your takeout of choice tends to be... Vietnamese.

What did you eat last night? Last night we had meatballs made out of veal, smoky bacon, orange zest and sage, with some fregola [a type of Sardinian pasta] and a tomato sauce. It was lovely because it was cold, and we'd been outside all day with my son, who was pretty annoyed and upset at the weather - as was I. That was a rich, powerful and very comforting meal.

Your signature dish is... I don't have a signature dish, I like to cook everything all the time. Actually, my signature is a fridge forage - making something good from whatever's in the fridge.

Your biggest culinary achievement is... Convincing people who think they don't like certain ingredients that they're delicious - anchovies, mushrooms, sauerkraut and so on.

Crave: Recipes Arranged By Flavour, To Suit Your Mood And Appetite by Ed Smith, photography by Sam A Harris, is published by Quadrille, priced £25. Available now.



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