Talking nourishing nosh with Amber Locke

Taking pause to admire a bunch of blooms is nothing unusual, but the fresh foods we eat each day are often devoured before we’ve taken a mere moment to enjoy their vivid colours, natural patterns and interesting shapes. Someone who is not afraid to stare longingly at a perfectly pink radish is Amber Locke, author of Nourish: Vibrant salads to relish and refresh — a book that celebrates the humble vegetable. And not only does she toss together a mean salad, but she also creates vivid artworks with vegetables. We asked Amber about her love of nourishing salad dishes, and here’s what she told us:

Tell us about your new cookbook, Nourish. Does its recipes reflect the way you eat generally?

Nourish is a celebration of fresh, healthy raw salads and the beauty of fruit and vegetables. All the salad recipes are vegan by nature of them being ‘raw’ but each has suggestions on how they can be adapted to suit different palates and dietary preferences, and there’s an omnivorous selection of dressings and topping ideas too. My diet is predominantly raw so Nourish is a direct reflection of the type of food I like to eat.

Now, this book is all about healthy salads; but do you have any favourite guilty pleasure snacks?

I try not to snack or eat between meals but I do enjoy a glass of good red wine occasionally with my salad!

What is your go-to recipe from the book?

The Scarlet Slaw (p118) is a recipe I make all the time. I absolutely love coleslaw and this version has a vibrant clementine and beetroot dressing which turns the slaw a beautiful shade of pinky/red.

Amber Locke - Carl Whitham images - Nourish

Do you have an all-time favourite salad ingredient?

Beetroot. I used to detest it when I was a child but now it’s one of my favourite ingredients as it’s so versatile; it’s delicious raw or cooked and I love the beautiful colours of golden and candy beets too.

What do you think makes the perfect salad?

For me it’s important to use the freshest ingredients possible and to make a dressing that’s going to compliment them and not overpower the dish. I love to create big bowls of colourful salads and to chop ingredients in different ways to create interesting shapes and textures; but with good ingredients you really don’t need to do much to them and there’s nothing better on a hot day than a simple salad made with freshly-picked tomatoes, a drizzle of good quality olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt and a few basil leaves.

You photographed Nourish too; have you always been into photography?

My father was a passionate amateur photographer in the ’70s and used to develop all his own pictures in a dark room; but I didn’t catch the photography bug until a few years ago.

Where do you call home?

A tiny rural village in Derbyshire, UK.

What are your go-to eateries around your town?

We have slim-pickings locally so I prefer to cook and eat at home or with family and friends.

What’s the best piece of kitchen advice you can offer us?

Eat more veg! Especially dark leafy greens… your body with thank you for it!

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Sonya Gellert

Sonya Gellert is a contributing writer and associate editor for Khoollect. She lives in Sydney....

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Love veggies?

Amber also creates beautiful works of art with food. Check is out here, and follow her on Instagram.

Nourish: Vibrant salads to relish & refresh by Amber Locke, published by Mitchell Beazley, £14.99,

Photos by

Carl Whitham