Meet Amanda Logan, the very talented and down-to-earth creator of My Goodness Kitchen. I love Amanda’s inviting recipes, quick wit and breathtaking photography. Read on to learn more about what inspires Amanda, who some of her favorite vegan chefs are and the best dish she’s ever made!
When I came across Amanda’s Portobello Mushroom Burger a few years ago, I was instantly curious about the brain that put this gorgeous dish together. She made charcoal burger buns beautifully layered with five-spice seasoned portobellos and roasted Brussels slaw with wasabi oil. It’s a stunning work of art!
It’s these kinds of recipes that get me excited about all of the possibilities vegan cuisine has to offer. So when I asked Amanda if she’d like to be interviewed here and she said yes, I was pumped to learn more about her thought process, background and what inspires her.
When I asked Amanda to describe her style of cooking, she used the term big hug cooking. These three words sum up her work perfectly, whether she’s making homemade vegan sausage rolls, lemon curd doughnuts or chocolate thumbprint cookies. I’m drawn to recipes that make me feel something, and Amanda’s food makes me feel warm, cozy and comfortable. It also inspires me to challenge myself more in the kitchen, to create food that makes others feel something too. It’s what keeps me coming back to see what Amanda will create next.
This Australian blogger is also the author of the cookbook Great Vegan Meals for the Carnivorous Family, as she grew up in a traditional meat-eating family and is also the only vegan in her family. (Same here Amanda!) She is currently blogging, working as a photographer and as a regular contributor to Nourish magazine.
Check out my conversation with Amanda below. I love how beautifully thoughtful and relatable her responses are, and feel grateful for the opportunity to share them with you here.
My Goodness Kitchen: A warm and cozy spot for rustic yet elegant food
When did you start to cook and what about the process itself kept you interested in it?
I was a late bloomer to cooking – I didn’t really pick up a spoon until my early 20s. Looking back, I feel like I missed an opportunity to spend time in the kitchen as a kid. My Mum was always in there. There are 6 kids in our family so a big part of growing up was seeing her in front of the stove tending to giant pots of split-pea soup, chicken casserole with cheese scones or Irish stew.
I had an aversion to meat even back then, so I didn’t recognise the commitment it took on her part to create interesting meals for us every day. I was too busy complaining about the meat floating in gravy thing. And her food was interesting. She wasn’t afraid to try new things and for a large family living in a Catholic neighbourhood in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne, that was unusual. My mum was a foodie – I just didn’t recognise it for what it was back then.
She did teach me a few dishes – I remember it being super important to me to know how to cook an omelette of all things – but I think her influence goes beyond lessons. My best friend often says that food is my love language and I know that comes from my mother. Food was her creative outlet – she travelled the world in a bowl – and her meals were a love letter to her family.
I travelled in my 20s right out of university and food became a touchstone; something that not only tied me to my current place, but where I’d come from too. It wasn’t a conscious choice, it just happened.
I experimented with simple dishes at first, but it wasn’t long before food became a full-blown obsession. And it still is. I read cookbooks like novels and love learning new things because in cooking, there is always something new to learn. Food resolves the two sides of my personality – the creative and the geek that is desperate to know how things work.
Describe your process of recipe development. How do you come up with fresh and new ideas on a regular basis?
My recipe development process varies. I may have a few weeks where it feels like I am inspired by absolutely everything. A “traditional” recipe referred to in a movie might drive me to work out a way to veganise it. A veggie or herb in our garden inspires an impulse to create something from scratch. Food porn will generally get me going. During those creative periods I will draft recipe ideas, test as much as I can, make a lot of scribbles on any paper I find lying around – I am old school and take notes with pencil and paper – and generally create.
The flip side to that productivity is the time where it feels like I can’t hold on to a cohesive idea. I used to get down on myself during those periods but now I try and take this time to learn. By taking lessons or immersing myself in a field of cookery like pastry or vegan cheesemaking, I find the inspiration comes back around pretty quickly.
During the creative peaks I try and generate as much “material” as I can so that I can coast a little during the down times and invest in myself more.
Having said that, I contribute to Nourish – a vegan magazine here in Australia – and if I’m on a deadline I do whatever it takes to produce. Food porn, old family recipes veganised … whatever works, you know?
Define your own style of cooking.
Oh, I’m definitely a homestyle, comfy food, hanging-in-the-kitchen-barefoot kind of cook. Cooking for others makes me feel like I’m giving them a big hug, so I guess that’s my style. Big hug cooking.
Describe the best dish you’ve ever made.
There’s lots of dishes I’ve loved and I’m proud of, but these little pies are everything I love about cooking. They are warm and comforting and straight-up delicious but they’re also something you could you serve to guests. They’re a little bit elegant without being stuck up.
I’ve had readers tell me that they can’t cook – which, I steadfastly disagree with, I think everyone has a good meal in them – but these little pies are within every cook’s reach. They are simple and approachable. They’re a friendly pie.
I also love using vegetables as a meat substitute and these pies use oyster mushrooms – they are a dead ringer for chicken in this recipe.
Do you have any culinary heroes?
How long have we got? Roy Choi. I love his “don’t overthink it and just fucking cook” style. I also love a man who swears as much as I do. It’s my dirty little secret that I’m a soccer- mum-potty-mouth.
Anna Jones is awesome. She draws inspiration from so many cultural backgrounds but creates dishes that are simple, approachable, nourishing and quintessentially her.
I’m also a closet Nigella fan. I love her words. Anyone that can say “soft, warm and voluptuous – like an 18th century courtesan’s inner thigh,” without being ironic is a brave person.
Oh, and Hetty McKinnon! How did I almost forget Hetty McKinnon? She’s a wonder.
If you could choose anyone to cook with in the kitchen, who would it be?
My women. My small circle of queens who know me best and love me anyway. They love my weaknesses, my strengths and my bullshit. Some are family, some were hand-picked by me (or I by them) and I adore them.
Even the ones who say they can’t cook.
If you could throw a party for anyone, who would be there and what would the menu look like?
Oh, family and friends barefoot in our yard in early Summer. We lost our Mum to dementia late last year and for the four years before that, we were charged with keeping her memories alive for her. Creating memories – whether with the family you’re born into or the one you make for yourself – feels more vital right now.
So, for this memory, a hillside harvest. A long wooden table piled high with fresh tomato salads, greens from our veggie patch and pitchers of boozy lemonade or punch. If there’s a Vodka Mule going, I’ll take one of those too.
We have this neat portable woodfire pizza oven, so I think we’d make sourdough pizza bases and top them with almond ricotta, caramelised onions and pear with peppery rocket, and maybe a grilled eggplant pizza with a spicy Shatta sauce drizzle and yoghurt. Ooohh, I’d like to try a shawarma pizza too – I make shawarma from jackfruit and it’s so good. I think that would work. Finally, pineapple and coconut cupcakes because I made the recipe not too long ago and I just love them right now.
We should probably have some good white wine too but to be honest if this were real, I’ve been into the lemonade already by this stage and I’m too sozzled to know what’s good.
And music. Lots and lots of music.
Stay in touch with Amanda!