With a varied career in publishing and cookery, Rose Parkin began to wonder what culinary masterpieces she could create as a freelancer, imagining herself (as we all often do) with an amazingly empty diary and lots of time to cook what she wanted. The reality of freelance life soon showed its face, so Rose started The Freelancer’s Cookbook to share her recipe creations and help us freelancers enjoy delicious food, even if we only have ten minutes to prepare it.
Rose lives in York, and her catering experience has included working in a bakery, and running her own summer pop-up cafe alongside her catering partner in 2015. We caught up with her to chat about her favourite recipes, and what it’s like to reclaim your mealtimes as a freelancer.
Why are your recipes ideal for freelancers?
The recipes are perfect for freelancers who work from home as they are straightforward, with minimal preparation time. They are designed to help you make the most of being by your kitchen all day, allowing you to eat well without spending too much time away from your desk.
I’ve developed these recipes over the four years I’ve been freelancing, with the help of a brilliant little gang of freelance foodies on Instagram and Facebook. We share what works, and doesn’t work, plus our freelance food fails – everyone has those days filled with only coffee and cake.
What’s your take on work life balance, and why is cooking with good food important?
In theory, working for yourself allows you to achieve that illusive work life balance, but in reality it’s pretty hard to come by when you’re feeling the pull of a deadline, lure of a paycheck, or even chasing the thrill of setting up something new. What is great, is that if you’re doing something you enjoy, you yearn less for time away from it. I’m personally aiming to build a life that I don’t need a holiday from. So, instead of loads of long holidays in the sun or daily brunch outings, it means building a career that is fulfilling and fun in itself.
Making time to cook is, for me, part of building this life that I want. When I think about my perfect day, it involves not only working hard, but also taking a break from my desk, ideally with some fresh food. I don’t always manage it, but when I do get to invest this time, I find it pays off as my mind is refreshed and I’m much more productive.
What advice do you have for busy freelancers who want to start cooking more?
If you feel like you need to improve what you eat then start small. The last thing you want to do is make something too elaborate and feel bitter about the time that it takes out of your day – especially when time equals money! So, when you’re in need of a break from the screen, grab some fresh ingredients, make something simple, quick and nutritious, and feel the smugness!
What are your 5 favourite recipes?
I’d say my 5 favourites are stuffed sweet potatoes as they’re great for popping straight in the oven with no prep, chicken noodle soup, a quick and easy classic, paneer naan pizza because it’s a great step up from a sandwich, chicken and chorizo traybake as it’s an easy dinner that cooks while you work, and spaghetti frittata, perfect for using up leftover pasta.