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Shopping with a foodie – Niamh Shields, aka EatLikeAGirl

by Anna Glover

Niamh launched her blog,, in 2007. It’s now a go-to site for thousands of followers who love her recipes, travel tips and restaurant reviews. Her cookbook, Comfort & Spice (Quadrille, £14.99), was inspired by her travels.


Smoked sea salt

‘This works well as a finishing salt, rather than a cooking salt. It gives a real pop of smoky flavour, perfect for simple starters or even just sprinkled on sliced ripe tomatoes. I like Halen Môn salt best – it has lovely big crunchy flakes.’

Frozen raw prawns

‘Frozen prawns are a really good thing to have in the freezer, as you can defrost them so quickly. They’re perfect for midweek when you haven’t really planned what you’re going to have for dinner! I never buy cooked prawns as you end up overcooking them. One of my most popular recipes on the blog is a prawn curry. It has a tomato and coconut base with fresh turmeric, cloves, cumin, chilli and lemon, and is absolutely beautiful.’

Cavolo nero

‘Cavolo nero is always on my shopping list. I use it as an ingredient, in a sauce or soup, but I also love to lightly dress it in oil, season with salt, pepper and chilli or paprika, and roast it for about 5 minutes to make crisps. They’re good to snack on but also as a garnish crumbled on top of pasta.’

Sumac and other spices

‘The Middle Eastern spice sumac is great on lamb, but also good in veggie dishes. My favourite spices and seasonings however are cumin, chilli and salt. I’d be lost without them!’

Forced rhubarb

‘I’m keen on rhubarb in all its forms, but there’s something very beautiful about forced rhubarb. The colour and the flavour is so delicate, and when it’s in season I buy it all the time. I make a lovely Persian lamb and rhubarb dish, or I have it stewed for breakfast, served on top of Thai black rice cooked in coconut milk, topped with honey and some toasted seeds. Stewed rhubarb is really underrated.’

Unwaxed lemons

‘Lemon is the ultimate flavour enhancer: a splash of juice added to a home-cooked curry right at the end gives a really authentic sourness.’

Fresh turmeric

‘I love turmeric – it has such a floral aroma. Dried is fine, but there’s a slight dustiness to it, which you don’t get with fresh. I pair it with galangal and lime leaves in an aromatic chicken soup, with beautiful citrus flavours.’

Mature cheddar

‘Although French cheeses are amazing, I really like Keen’s extra mature West Country farmhouse cheddar. It’s a lovely traditional full-flavoured cheese. I always buy that along with vintage Gouda and Roquefort.’


‘I’m a sherry fan. I get the Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana Manzanilla sherry, which is perfect for drinking and cooking. It’s lovely with clams, cooked in garlic and parsley.’

Rude Health flours

‘I really like the new range of Rude Health flours, made from more unusual grains. The buckwheat is great for pancakes; it’s a little bit more expensive but it’s worth it.’



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