As the days grow shorter, and the leaves begin to paint the world in hues of red, orange, and gold, there's no denying that autumn is well and truly on its way. This season offers a unique opportunity to reconnect with the joy of cooking at home. As we transition into a new season, we chatted with Argentine food writer and cook, Juana Pepa.
Cooking and family have always come hand in hand for Juana Pepa. Born in the Argentine capital city of Buenos Aires to a family of keen cooks, it was ingrained in her upbringing and continued to feed into her lifestyle with her two children, Almita and Juanito. With her love of cooking with her little ones by her side, Juana reminds us of the importance of making memories with your children that they can look back upon.
From what became a lockdown success, Juana would send her friends and family baskets of food and delicious meals for them to enjoy. From then on, and from the encouragement from her husband, Juana began to start writing her cookbooks, inspired by her many travels and flavours she had tasted over the world. Now, having written three successful, and beautiful, cookery books, Juana shared her recipes globally and through her beautiful Instagram account.
Cooking and baking is a wonderful way to indulge together as a family. It allows the flow of creativity and joy in yummy recipes that become recipes that follow within the family. It becomes a huge part of our children's memories and can be shared across one generation to the next.
We asked Juana her tips of hosting dinner parties, cooking with little ones at home and what makes a perfect host.
1. What are you top tips in hosting a dinner party and what is the best way to prepare?
Prepare plates that you have already made beforehand. Try to cook things that are not too complex, like doing a soufflé for 12 people. Make a corner of drinks for people to help themselves. Listen to music that you really like and don't be shy with volume. Finally, have fun! If the host doesn't enjoy themselves, it will be impossible for the guests to do so!
2. What are the main and dessert recipes that you always trust for a successful adult dinner party and also for a children's dinner party?
Apple Cake, Chocolate Flour-less Cake, Pavlova and strawberries with Chantilly for an adults dinner party and for a children's dinner party I always have arancini and veal Milanese in the fridge. The Apple Cake is one of my favourites recipes to bake with the children during Autumn! I've listed the recipe below.
"(...)Autumn invites us to slow down, savor the simple pleasures, and find comfort in the kitchen. "
3. As Autumn and Winter are just around the corner, what are you favourite vegetables and fruit of the season to cook with?
I love mushrooms, spinach, chard and pumpkin. I love to create soups, quiches, omelettes, winter salads and nuts.
4. Do you cook with your children a lot? What are their favourite dishes to cook with you?
They love making cakes, cupcakes and cookies and my daughter loves creating her own recipes. So yes, we have a lot of fun and the kitchen is a space that we enjoy together.
5. When it comes to clothing, what pieces do Almita and Juanito love to wear?
I love shorts and brown boots. We really enjoy the countryside and horses so a pair of boots is essential.
Autumn invites us to slow down, savor the simple pleasures, and find comfort in the kitchen. Cooking at home during this season allows you to embrace the changing weather, savor the flavors of fall, and create cherished moments with loved ones. So, dust off your favorite cookbooks, gather some fresh ingredients, and let the magic of autumn inspire your culinary adventures. Your taste buds and your soul will thank you for it.
Discover Juana's delicious Apple Cake Recipe to get you the Autumn mood!
Download print here.
Discover more about Juana Pepa and her wonderful and delicious cooking!