Sisters Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley have taken the health and wellness industry by storm since launching Hemsley + Hemsley in 2010 and they show no signs of slowing down anytime soon. In between launching their second book, Good + Simple (the first, The Art of Eating Well, was staggeringly popular), their own TV show and spiralizer to complement their much-loved recipes, as well as opening a new café at London’s Selfridges, the gorgeous London-based pair took some time out to chat with Amodrn.
Meet culinary queens Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley
Congratulations on the release of your second book, Good + Simple. Can you tell us about it?
Thank you – it’s being so well received and we’re loving seeing all the pictures that our followers are posting of our recipes being recreated in homes across the country! Good + Simple builds on the foundation of our first cookbook, The Art Of Eating Well, in which we introduce reader to our philosophy for eating well in order to feel happier, healthier and more energised. In Good + Simple we break down this food philosophy into 15 basic pillars that are easy to understand, simple to follow and so accessible that they can be easily incorporated into your daily life. We show that eating real, honest food doesn’t have to be difficult, time-consuming or expensive – in fact it can be truly good and simple!
We also share over 140 brand new recipes, tons of tips, tricks and bits of kitchen wisdom, such as suggestions for healthy food on-the-go, packed lunches and speedy evening meals. It includes two weekly meal plans with shopping lists, instructions for a Sunday Cook Off, a one-week body reboot, advice on how to use your freezer to your advantage and the best ways to use up leftovers. We take all the stress out of eating well every day, so you can enjoy feeling your very best.
You’ve also got a debut TV series airing soon. How did that come about and what will it focus on?
Hemsley + Hemsley: Healthy & Delicious focuses on our food philosophy and approach to eating well; it showcases some of our favourite recipes from both our cookbooks as well as a few new ones and shows how to cook these simple, home-cooked, nutritious and delicious meals. Provenance, sustainability, seasonal and nose-to-tail eating are all part of the story and we explore all of these issues throughout the series.
What sparked your interest in health and wellness?
Melissa: We were raised on our Mum’s real, nourishing home-cooking and both our parents instilled in us an appreciation for good food and encouraged an adventurous palette – always tasting new foods. Food at home was very much a family affair, as well as telling us to eat certain ‘brain’ foods and all our veggies! So we were lucky enough to have a very good introduction to the world of food, flavour and home-cooking. Jasmine: When I was 19 I started modelling full time and quickly became intrigued by all the different ideas relating to health, diet and food in the industry. I started to realise how important the right foods are for energy and vitality but couldn’t seem to find any one way of eating that made me feel really great. So through years of research, study and self-practice I started to develop the Hemsley + Hemsley food philosophy. Mel joined me in 2010 and together we started the family business.
How did you build your passion for healthy living into a career?
Once we had discovered a way of eating well that made us feel our very best, friends and family became really intrigued and wanted to try it for themselves – so they were our first guinea pigs! As soon as they started to notice all the positive effects that this way of eating had on their lives, word began to spread very quickly. Hemsley + Hemsley began as a bespoke catering service for private clients who wanted to start eating well and pretty soon we were catering high-profile events for names like Vivienne Westwood, Chanel and Louis Vuitton. Within a couple of weeks of starting our own blog we were asked to become regular contributors to Vogue.co.uk. Our recipes were becoming more and more in-demand, so we decided to write our first cookbook as a guide for anyone who wanted to start eating good, healthy food that made them feel great, inside and out. And the rest is history!
What’s your typical breakfast, lunch and dinner?
Breakfast: A green smoothie sipped slowly or eggs anyway. On a weekend we love our huevos rancheros from Good + Simple. (pictured left) Lunch: A quick salad, I love the Simple and Spiced Mung Bean Salad, an easy and inexpensive veg-packed salad – the summer version of our Mung Dahl (Jasmine). Whereas I love the Green Goddess Noodle Salad with naturally gluten-free soba noodles and a spicy, tangy ginger dressing (Melissa). On a Saturday after a visit to the farmer’s market we love the Powerhouse Steak and Kale Salad which is a tasty, protein-rich dish that’s quick and easy to make and makes an impressive sharing dish. Dinner: Usually leftovers, something we’ve made during a Sunday Cook Off and kept in the freezer. Like our warming Quick Coconut Dahl with a Zingy Slaw on the side, or our Supercharged Storecupboard Spinach Soup which makes great use of everyday ingredients. Both of these are made with a base of nourishing bone broth for a rich flavour and tummy-loving goodness!
Do you have a signature dish?
Hmm – we love mixing things up so our signature dish changes regularly as we create new recipes but there are definitely certain favourites that people have started to associate with us which could be considered signature dishes. Bone broth based soups like our Mung Dahl and Chicken Tinola as well as The Avo Lime Cheesecake and Paradise Bars from The Art Of Eating Well were a huge hit – people couldn’t believe that these desserts – made without any refined sugar – could possibly taste so good and actually be good for you!
A lot of people would also associate us with our secret weapon ingredient – Bone Broth – and spiralized dishes, which we love so much we even brought out our own H+H spiralizer!
What are the top five ingredients you can’t live without and why?
Ginger – an incredible root, used medicinally all over the world for its immunity-boosting properties and great flavour. It’s a great everyday ingredient for maintaining good health and our go-to remedy when we’re feeling run-down. We love it in both sweet and savoury recipes, particularly the classic Filipino dishes our mum used to cook when we were small like Chicken Tinola and Beef Sinigang. Coconut Oil – use this wonderful healthy fat for frying or cooking and save your cold-pressed virgin vegetable oils like olive or flaxseed oil to drizzle over the finished dish in its raw state. It’s a good source of slow-release energy so it’s a key ingredient as it tastes delicious and will keep you satisfied for longer. We always have a little pot in our handbags because it also makes a great makeup remover and moisturiser. Eggs – We love organic, biodynamic eggs and always eat the yolk – no egg white omelets here! Eggs are great for any time of the day, versatile, fillings, tasty and packed full of great fats and protein. Sea Salt – get rid of your table salt and invest in some good quality sea salt. It’s not just a flavour enhancer, it’s essential to our diet. We always add a touch of sea salt to our sweet dishes and desserts – it really brings out the sweetness and can provide a lovely salty-sweet contrast to the food. Ground almonds – our go-to sub for regular white flour in our favourite Carrot Cake or Plum Clafoutis. We also use it instead of breadcrumbs in recipes like Pablo’s Chicken and our Super Simple Fish Fingers.
What are two kitchen tools you can’t live without?
A food processor (for pestos, easy cake batter and quick cauliflower and broccoli rice) and our very own spiralizerfor making delicious, rainbow-coloured vegetable noodles. (pictured right).
Where are your favourite places to eat?
So many! Recently in Sydney we visited Movida, Cho Cho San, Egg of the Universe and Salmon and Bear. In London we love The Newman Arms, Ceviche in Old Street and traditional tapas with a twist from Pizzaro in Bermondsey.
What health and food trends do you foresee for 2016?
Bone broth and spiralizing will be sticking around and people will get more into home cooking. We think the slow cooker (aka a crock pot!) will make it’s way back into everyone’s kitchen’s as the appliance du jour!
First thing I do in the morning:
Both: Scrape my tongue and drink water or a herbal tea
Last thing I do at night:
Mel: Have a drink of water, count my blessings, kiss my dog and put my eye mask on for a great night’s sleep
Jas: Finish a cup of bedtime tea and roll my back out on the floor
Workout I’m currently obsessed with:
Mel: Faisal’s class at Barry’s Bootcamp London
Jas: Restorative yoga at Frame – lying around on bolster is so good! I also love running around Kennsington park after my puppy Julie
Most people probably don’t know this about me, but:
Mel: I used to want to be a doctor
Jas: I’m obsessed with car boot sales. One man’s trash…
Best piece of advice I’ve ever received:
Our friend and mentor Susie Pearl says: “Happiness is an inside feeling not an outside manifestation. It’s a choice point. Work on your inner landscape with the right choices and fuel your body with good thoughts, good feelings and good food.”