The modelling industry doesn’t always have the best reputation for being au fait with nutrition. Late nights, lithe limbs, sex, drugs and alcohol – those are the stereotypes we find endlessly fascinating.
But model-turned-nutritionist Rosemary Ferguson has successfully switched all-out hedonism for veg juicing and non-stop partying for an appreciation for plant-based living.
Discovered in a McDonald’s on Oxford Street aged 15, Ferguson went on to become part of the Nineties New York set, modelling for Prada and Miu Miu, appearing on the cover of Vogue and The Face.
Eating right wasn’t always a top priority. “To be honest, I didn’t think about food much back then,” muses the 45-year-old.
She “started green juicing to try and put some credit in the bank, as it were”, and then in her 30s, studied and qualified in nutrition. Since then, when it comes to food, she has “approached it in a whole new way”, she says.
“I believe in balance – a bit of everything and feeling well,” explains the Cotswolds-based writer. “You can’t have a good time unless you are feeling well, and that’s why I love food and nutrition – it’s truly amazing what food can do for you.”
“I have two vegans in my house and one pescatarian, and my diet is 85 per cent vegetarian,” says Ferguson, who is married to artist Jake Chapman, of the Chapman Brothers.
“I love what you can do with plant-based food,” she notes.
“It is a lighter way to eat,” she adds – not to mention that “eating less meat is better for our planet”.
She first started cooking properly as a new mum, after having her first daughter (she now has three girls) – “and then I was hooked!” she recalls. “It is a huge responsibility feeding a little person; I loved working through all the ingredients and putting them together.”
You can see why she set up healthy junk food brand, FILTH, with chef Gizzi Erskine.
When she’s not training for a marathon, running her nutrition clinic (“helping people on their way to wellness”) and her 5 Day Plan programme, Ferguson says she loves “being in my kitchen, I love being outside running and I love being with my family and friends.
“Oh, and I am very happy watching films in bed,” she adds – which seems a very agreeable way to spend the rest of winter.
Here’s a recipe for a speedy supper for everyone to dig into.
“This dish is full of prebiotic properties from the shallots that will help to support the gut and is great for circulation,” explains Ferguson.
“It’s also high in beta carotene, which is wonderful for the skin, great for eye health and the immune system.”
ROAST BUTTERNUT SQUASH
1 bag of Strong Roots Roast Butternut Squash Chunks
10 shallots peeled and halved
5 rosemary sprigs
Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the date and cranberry relish:
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
60g dates, pips removed & roughly chopped
100g fresh cranberries
Pinch of coconut sugar
1 lemon, juice and zest
Freshly chopped parsley to garnish
For the butternut squash, preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Place the Roast Butternut Squash Chunks, shallots and rosemary on a lined baking tray.
Drizzle with oil, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and roast for about 25-30 minutes, or until golden-brown and cooked through.
In the meantime, to make the relish, put the red onion in a saucepan with a little oil and fry for three to four minutes before adding the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, dates, cranberries, two tablespoons of water, the sugar and lemon zest and juice (to taste). Simmer for about six to eight minutes.
When the butternut and shallots are cooked, arrange them on a serving platter and spoon over some of the relish. Garnish with the chopped parsley.