What Katy did next

Helen Barker-Benfield
28 March, 2016

The newest plant-based cookery book, 15 Minute Vegan, has arrived on Cooked. We chatted to vegetarian turned vegan, physiotherapist turned food blogger and now cookbook author, Katy Beskow about her journey.

What inspired you to start a blog?

I became vegan back in 2006, after moving to London and stumbling across a fruit and vegetable market which inspired me to try new ingredients and cook from scratch. As a life-long vegetarian, I simply no longer had the money to buy cheese, eggs and milk and opted for vegan alternatives that I found at the market. Friends and family would ask for my recipes and I was forever scribbling them down, so I started a simple blog to share my recipes with them.

What were the biggest challenges in getting the blog off the ground?

It all happened very organically for me. Local press and media initially contacted me 3 months after starting the blog, then I started getting national magazine and newspaper commissions. Following this, I started demonstrating at food festivals across the country and teaching cookery classes.   

What is the biggest misconception about being a blogger?

I think people presume, I spend lots of time sat in front of a computer screen, but actually most of my time is spent in the kitchen, travelling to food festivals and teaching at the cookery schools (which I'm very happy about!)  

How did the book come about? 

In between writing, catering and teaching I find that I have very little time to prepare and eat a meal for myself, so I built up a repertoire of recipes that I'd cook and have time to enjoy. Recipes like my Cranberry and orange granola taste slow-cooked, but are actually really quick to make. I posted a few online and had such a fantastic response - it seems like we are all want to spend less time cooking and more time eating! 

Did you have to take a different approach to recipe writing for the book?

I was very conscious that I wanted to ensure all of the ingredients used are available in supermarkets to make the book accessible to everyone. 

The book is packed full of recipes, but your site is not limited to just 15 minute recipes. Did you adapt any favourites to make them speedy so they made it in the book? 

I adapted one of the most popular recipes on the website, my slow 'Butternut squash and sage macaroni' to a 15 minute recipe. This came about as I was craving it one evening and was too hungry to wait! 

Running a blog can be a very solitary process, how was it letting others work on your recipes?

The creative team for the book were just fantastic and listened to my vision for the images, but I trusted them 100 per cent to create beautiful, modern images and they delivered. I have great memories of the book shoot, over the hottest two weeks of 2016!

What are your three top tips for getting a dish on the table in just 15 minutes?

If you're working on the hob, get the oil heating in the pan as you prepare the first ingredients 

Invest in a couple of decent knives for fast and easy chopping 

Keep your dry ingredients and spices in labelled jars and containers to save you looking through half-packs in the middle of cooking. 

How easy is it to create a recipe in just 15 minutes?

Vegan food lends itself well to fast cooking, as there are no tricky cooking times like there can be with meat, fish and eggs. It's about using various cooking techniques and ingredients to create dishes that are flavoursome, exciting and in some cases, taste like they’ve been slow cooked. 

What would be your desert island dish from the book?

My Vegetable box pie with butterbean mash is the perfect meal after a busy day - comforting and tastes like home. 


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