Kitchen spy: Zoe Bingley-Pullin reveals her favourite foods and a love of cheese

Zoe Bingley-Pullin says her kitchen has been built with finesse.
Zoe Bingley-Pullin says her kitchen has been built with finesse. Photo: Steven Siewert

Zoe Bingley-Pullin
nutritionist and TV host  

A fearless approach to butter and cheese sets this nutritionist apart from much of her professional cohort but her Cordon Bleu chef training and dairy farming forbears have all left their mark. She stacked on the kilograms at cooking school in London and saw them miraculously melt away on moving to France, where her stress levels dropped and her cheese consumption grew. Strict dietary rules foment anxiety, which she believes is the enemy of a long-term healthy diet. Relax and do what it takes to make good food taste great, is her approach and one she applies as nutrition ambassador with Only About Children childcare centres and co-hosting Good Chef, Bad Chef on Channel Ten.

The staples

My pantry: There's always Australian olive oil – I don't believe in buying imported when our local stuff is so good. I use a bit of virgin coconut oil because it's stable at high temperatures but it's been interesting getting used to the flavour. I'm a lover of good salts for finishing a dish. No way do I advocate no salt in the diet, but I do advocate limiting processed foods. Tamari and apple cider vinegar are the basis of a lot of my dressings. And nut spreads are great for a quick snack.

My fridge:

I use Barambah Organic milk in tea and coffee and I spread butter on my bread like it's hummus – thick and yummy. There's always fruit and veg because I religiously have a juice every morning. 

You don't have to be wealthy to be healthy. I came from a family who didn't have much money and we still had amazing food.

Things like coriander, ginger, chili and kaffir lime leaves can quickly change the profile of so many foods into something amazing.

I'm cooking

Last dinner at home. 

I did some roasted red capsicum for a salad with baby spinach, cucumber and avocado. I made a salsa verde and marinated some fish in that which I pan-fried and served with sweet potato mashed with olive oil.

Secret vice

Cheese. I'm crazy about all kinds of cheese apart from crappy processed ones.

I'm drinking

I always have a juice each morning. Sometimes I stir some of the pulp from the juicer back into the glass, or use it in stock or replace some of the flour in a cookie recipe with it. I'm an Earl Grey tea girl made with T2 leaves, really strong with milk. Since becoming a mum I'm more tired so I do resort to caffeine sometimes; I have an espresso with cream. I think skim milk is pathetic. I like a glass of pinot noir when I'm cooking and this one by Tarrawarra is a special treat, it's not an everyday wine.

My toolkit

The Champion juicer preserves enzymes because it doesn't create heat. You can make sorbets and baby food with it too. And I wouldn't have anything other than a Magimix, they go on and on. My Microplane is a must in the kitchen for garlic, ginger and citrus zest. And my knives I have to hide from my husband – he blunts them. The glasses are great for desserts, fruit salads, that kind of thing.

Favourite

These two bowls I bought in the south of France when I was 18. They're so pretty.

Inspiration

It comes from my mum. She was very ahead of her time, making coriander pesto 20 years ago. She just made bloody tasty food that was healthy. She travelled a lot to India and Asia and came home filled with ideas.

Kitchen highlight

The drawers with the soft touch closure are great. The whole kitchen's been built with finesse. 

Food discovery

The combination of avocado and roasted red capsicum on a piece of toast is just an explosion of flavour.

Most memorable meal

I've had all kinds of food experiences including Michelin-starred restaurants from a very young age but my favourite meals now, without a doubt, are the ones with my husband Michael and daughter Emily . I know that sounds so soppy and stupid but when we're all at the table I just pinch myself. I think I'm the luckiest girl in the world.