INTERVIEW: Grandmother's Figs

I get beyond excited from getting to know people who follow their dreams and are passionate enough to make them happen. Last week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Anastasija Jegorova, author of her personal food blog. Trust me when I say that, by any means, this not another food blog; her writing is full of insight and there's even music, too. Enter Grandmother's Figs. Here, she has come up with a delicious variety of vegan, gluten-free, and plant-based recipes, all delicious & nutritious. I fell in love with her approach to eating clean, for she thinks that is one of the foundations to love and respect one self, whoever breathes that becomes a hero to me, in an instant. She says, “Happiness is in so many places, one of such should be your vibrant plate”, which for me is so true and pretty booming with my philosophy for A Joyous Life. You will not only find the photography to be stunning, and the recipes to be ridiculously yummy (!), but you will also feel inspired by her fresh take on balancing all things studies, friends/family, and modern life. You can easily tell she is a beautiful person from the inside out – her love for leading a natural lifestyle and nourishment must definitely have something to do with that. She’s someone clearly driven by her passions, and that makes anyone, at any age, a complete charm. Here, we talk from all things music, beauty routines, to Headspace and good food, of course.

Name: Anastasija Jegorova

Hometown: Riga, Latvia

Current location: London, UK

Occupation: Student, freelance photographer, food blogger, happy Homo sapiens.

What does a day in the life look like for you?
Since I moved to London, days have been quite chaotic for me. Usual weekdays are somewhat like this: struggling to get out of bed in the morning, then drinking hot water with lemon, doing some yoga stretches and meditating before breakfast (I use Headspace app - it does marvelous things) and maybe search for some inspiration on Pinterest if I haven’t been struggling to get out of bed for too long. Then I usually prepare my lunch box and head off to university. When I come home, I bake/cook something and read different sources on nutrition, my favourite blogs, edit some photos & scribble some recipe ideas down. Sometimes, before going to sleep I will hit the gym.

On the weekends, if I am not studying, I get all the ingredients and start shooting my recipes, then edit photos, and watch some movies while sipping on a tea.

Now, what would your perfect day look like
Spending quality time with my family in the nature, taking lots of photos, picnicking and hugging. Or a whole day in the kitchen creating, dancing, singing and shooting. 

Spicy Chia and Goji Jars

What sparked your passion for leading a natural lifestyle?
I always loved nature, but I didn’t pursue healthy eating until I was 15-16. It all started with a teenage girl who was constantly self-loafing, not being happy with her body and determined to lose weight. I lost the weight I wanted quit quickly, but I started reading all sorts of (wrong) sources and eventually after a year, I headed into the right direction.

Who inspires you personally?
There are so many amazing people out there! Sarah B from My New Roots and the loveliest family behind Green Kitchen Stories are the two who really stand out for me. But I am very much inspired by the nature itself and all the endless resources we are given to play with. 

Pumpkin Crème

Pumpkin Crème

How would you describe your eating philosophy? Any things you love eating and things you don’t? 
I try not to get all fanatic about eating exclusively healthy, but rather trying to remind myself that I want to stay as close to nature as possible. My food philosophy is much about keeping a balance between natural lifestyle, healthy foods, busy city life, and indulgences that we want from time to time. I am still learning to listen to my body and keep it clean from the inside.

I love simple things and can get all excited about one perfectly ripe and smooth avocado. I don’t eat meat and seafood, but on occasion, if I feel like it, I will have some salmon. And I try to avoid any refined products - you won't find white flour and white sugar in my pantry.

How did you come up with the name, Grandmother’s Figs?
I was struggling with the name for my blog, and when I headed to buy some figs for my first recipe, I had this lovely grandpa (!) sell me the ripest figs I’ve ever had. My mom before hand suggested that I name the blog Mother’s Figs. The two events ‘collided’ and Grandmother’s Figs it was. It has somewhat of a symbolic meaning too - ‘Grandmother’s’ being delicious comfort food and ‘Figs’ being healthy seasonal nutritious twist. 

Your recipes are unbelievably good! Can you talk about the process from start to finish? From getting all the ingredients to the beautiful pictures you post on Grandmother’s Figs?
Merci! It usually starts on a subway - meaning, I write my ideas on the way to/from the university, sometimes inspiration just strikes because of what I see or try and I note my ideas down. Then I will choose which one I would like to experiment with, try it out a few times if I am unhappy with the result. On the day of the photo-shoot, I will head out for ingredients and sometimes even find/buy some elements I want to you is my styling (e.g. flowers). I start by doing ‘in the making shots’ as I cook, and then the final dish. If I am in Riga I will blackmail one of my sisters or my mum to be my hand-models.

How do you fit cooking into your daily life?
It fits itself in! Passion for cooking has become such a big part of me that I don’t function well without experimenting in the kitchen. I somehow always find the way to bake cookies (at night), make big batches of salad (in advance), and make a hearty breakfast in the morning. 

What ingredients are you convinced makes everything taste better?
A touch of sea salt, a squeeze of lemon, and a drizzle of olive oil. 

How do you practice beauty from the inside/out?
Meditation. When you are at peace with yourself you are more beautiful from the inside and the outside. 
Eating healthy. And I love making small gifts to my friends and family for no reason.
Drinking lots of water. And a good night sleep.  

Breakfast Exhibit-A

Breakfast Exhibit-A

What’s a typical, healthy: Breakfast, lunch and dinner for you? 
Breakfast. Goat’s yoghurt with granola and a green smoothie
Lunch. Salad with avocado, tahini and seasonal vegetables or fruits.
Dinner. What ever is in the fridge. Dinner is the only meal that is never typical. 

What are your go-to snacks?
Carrots/cucumbers with hummus, a green smoothie, 1/2 an avocado with some sea salt, some nut-butter with apple, 70% dark chocolate.

How do you stay fit, do you have any exercise routine? (What is it and how often do you practice it)
In London, my exercise routine is extremely random varying from a week where I would hit the gym every night to do cardio and weight training there, to only jumping up and down the escalators on tube stations and some yoga stretches in between (at home, not on the subway. Would you call that urban yoga, though?). 

In Riga, it is much more organized: 2-3 functional training workouts and 2 yoga sessions per week. 

How do you decompress from a long day? 
At home, it’s hugging with my family, works every time. A good movie and some comfort food after doing yoga stretches will do the trick too. 

What is your favourite dish to cook, and why?
I don’t really have one, I love to experiment and come up with new things to express my creativity. 

What are your favourite cities for food, and what do you eat on each?
London has been so far so the coolest place, because of so many healthy places and cafes to go to. 

Creamy Tahini & Roasted Pepper Pasta

Creamy Tahini & Roasted Pepper Pasta

Any Italian little village for a good authentic pizza and local wine.

What travel destinations are on your bucket list?
The list goes on and on. At the top are Iceland, Australia, and Bali.  

Say you’re having a night-out with friends, what’s your drink?
One glass of red wine. Classy.

Can you please share with us your skin care routine? Any specific brands you love? 
In the morning I wash my face first with ice cold, then with warm water. Sometimes I make a huge cup of chamomile tea, freeze it into ice cubes (together with the flowers) and wipe my face with one cube until it completely melts and is absorbed into my skin. As a tonic, I would go for apple cider vinegar distilled with water, and finish off with aloe vera gel as a moisturizer. If I feel that my skin is dry, I use coconut oil instead. In the evenings, I use a Clarisonic brush, and finish off with a tonic. I don’t put any creams in the evening to let skin cells breathe at night. To fight blemishes I use tea tree oil and coconut oil is my make up remover. 

So as you see, I don’t use cosmetic brands for my skin care right now but everything you could eat! 

Carrot & Orange Salad with Zucchini Ribbons 

Carrot & Orange Salad with Zucchini Ribbons 

5 things you can’t live without…

  1. Avocado

  2. My big camera 

  3. A Vitamix blender 

  4. Dark chocolate

  5. Coconut oil

All time favourite book/cookbook and movie?
So far, I absolutely love Sarah B’s new cookbook, it’s a keeper. 

There are so many amazing movies out there… but 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ is one of the very favourites. 

In the kitchen, do you have any rituals, for example listening to music...? 
I always dance around and sing along in the kitchen, and if I am angry or feel negative emotions I try to avoid cooking otherwise the dish will be not as delicious. Positive happy vibes is my ritual in the kitchen. 

Beetroot, Parsnip & Coconut with Horseradish

Beetroot, Parsnip & Coconut with Horseradish

5 songs on your current playlist:
Fire meets Gasoline by Sia x 5. On repeat.  

What’s your motto?
My mottos keep changing in reflection to what I am going through at the given moment. 

Right now it is ‘Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it’. When I think of this phrase, it reminds me to stay in harmony with myself and keep up the awesome positive vibes. (Ed note: great recipe too for living AJL!)

Coconut-Banana Bread with Frosting

Coconut-Banana Bread with Frosting

Do you have any other projects besides the obvious? (Hehe, graduating from Law School)
I have lots of ideas for GF I want to start working on as soon as I am done with my exams, and I am planning to work on an organic farm as soon as I find the right time for it. 

When feeling homesick, what dish “brings you back” home?
Ratatouille using my grandma’s recipe. 

And lastly but never the least, what makes you joyful? A Joyous Life, what does it mean to you?
Being happy with yourself, staying close to the family and sharing your love with others. And EATING delicious healthy food, of course!