Algarve, Southern Portugal
Samantha Milner and her husband Dominic are the founders of the successful food blog and review site, RecipeThis.com. Living in Portugal has helped define their Mediterranean cooking style that includes plenty of veggies and grass-fed and pasture raised meats.
IN THE KITCHEN WITH SAMANTHA MILNER
Tell us about yourself:
HI! I’m Samantha Milner, the founder of Recipe This. I live in the Algarve in southern Portugal with my husband Dominic and our 3 kids. We have Kyle who has just turned 18, Sofia who is 5 and Jorge who is 3.
British born, we moved to Portugal in the summer of 2008 for better weather and a better standard of life and now live in our country cottage with beautiful views of the mountains and just 20 minutes to the ocean.
Since 2005, I have been making a living on the internet. What started out as a bit of fun on eBay has grown over the years into thriving businesses. My husband Dominic joined me in 2008 and we have been working side by side ever since.
With a passion for food and blogging, we decided to sell our other websites and focus on food and that is when Recipe This started in the November of 2015. It focuses around cooking with kitchen gadgets with a focus on the air fryer, instant pot, slow cooker, soup maker and blender.
I love the 80/20 rule and about 80% of our recipes are healthy and would be suitable for Paleo, whole30, keto, Weight Watchers and Slimming World.
As well as growing a food blog, I am also passionate about the Paleo diet and love to feed my family delicious healthy meals.
How did you get involved in cooking?
When I met my husband and we moved in together, I could not cook. I could cook a few things, but not enough. My mum raised me on processed foods, and I would watch her make my dinner either in the microwave or with a kettle. That meant that when I left home my limit was a homemade lasagne or spaghetti Bolognese.
I was 18 years old at the time and I decided to learn.
I watched Jamie Oliver on the TV and took pointers from Dominic who was a chef back then. By the time we got married just before my 21st birthday I could cook and loved it.
Describe your cooking style:
I would call my cooking style mainly Mediterranean. Living in Portugal has played a part in this and I love nothing more than baked chicken with Mediterranean vegetables or pumpkin soup.
Or the way that on the Mediterranean every meal includes plenty of vegetables and how many vegetables such as tomatoes, pumpkin and zucchini are in season all year.
How did you learn about grass-fed meats?
I first learned about grass fed meats when my local butcher introduced me to them. I tried sirloin steak that was grass fed and I couldn’t believe the taste of the meat. It was the nicest steak I had ever eaten, and I was hungry for more.
Though my local butchers didn’t have much choice, that’s why I love US Wellness Meats for giving people so much variety at an affordable price.
What is your favorite recipe featuring grass-fed meat?
As an air fryer lover, it must be steak. Steak tastes amazing when cooked in the air fryer and is so easy to cook to your liking.
I love to cook air fryer steak with air fryer garlic potatoes as it is very similar to the steak and potatoes offered at one of my favourite restaurants. We then enjoy a Saturday night supper together with the kids and it’s better than going out.
You’re stranded on a desert island; luckily, you’re stranded with your top 5 ingredients and one must-have kitchen tool:
The kitchen gadget would have to be the Instant Pot because it travels well and is so easy to make a whole range of recipes in.
The ingredients would be garlic, white wine, onions, a whole chicken (US Wellness Meats of course) and parsley and I would cook an Instant Pot Rotisserie Chicken. It would then be perfect for dinner and for leftovers the next day.
Best cooking secret/tip/piece of advice you’ve learned:
Teach your kids young. Don’t wait. Do it NOW. There are so many cultures around the world where the mum teaches her children to cook from toddler age. They then become good cooks as adults and often don’t have any obesity related problems.
Yet in the richer countries this doesn’t happen.
By teaching our kids to cook young, not only will they have a great skill, but they can be taught to eat healthy. They will love fruit and vegetables because it is what they have always eaten, and you won’t have that fussy kid that refuses to eat anything but chicken nuggets.
My son Jorge who is 3, has his own kids knife set, knows how to do more in the kitchen than I knew at 15. This has all been because he sat on the kitchen worktop as soon as he was able and watched what I did and learnt.
I wish I had been taught to cook at an early age and learned about different foods. Though Jorge is making up for it and has tried more different foods at 3 than I had tried by age 30.
Plus, because he has helped with the cooking process, he will eat anything!
If you have kids or grandkids have them in the kitchen with you and just see the difference it will make to them eating healthy and following a healthy lifestyle like you.
What’s your favorite quote/song for culinary inspiration (if any)?
I love this quote by Martin Scorsese “If your mother cooks Italian food, why should you go to a restaurant?” It is so true. If you are cooking wonderful food at home and you can sit down together as a family, then it is as good as being at a restaurant. Yet there is a lot less expense. We eat out maybe once a month, sometimes less and it is so nice to sit around a dining table together and enjoy family time while enjoying great food.
We made it our New Year Resolution back in the beginning of 2018 to do this and we have stuck to it ever since.
Anything else you want to share?
Kitchen gadgets are my favourite way of being healthy and following a balanced diet. It is what helped me and Dominic lose over 140 pounds and is how we cook on a daily basis.
Over at RecipeThis.com you will find over 600 healthy recipes that use either the Instant Pot, air fryer, slow cooker, blender or soup maker. We can’t wait to share our recipes with you and show you how to make healthy onion rings, or delicious homemade one pot meals.
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