Shape I’m In: Angeline Ball, TV cook

SINGER, actress and more recently TV cook, Angeline Ball is a woman of many parts. 

Shape I’m In: Angeline Ball, TV cook

That she is a whizz in the kitchen should come as no surprise to those who watched her chop and stir her way to a five-star award three years ago in RTE’s The Restaurant, a series renowned for its exacting food critics.

Her next outing as a TV cook is on TV3’s Home Cook’s Academy. She didn’t have to be asked twice. “I jumped at the chance,” she says. “I see it as a way of indulging in my hobby and, going forward, who knows, we might come to France, have a little road trip or do a book. It’s so different from acting. For me, it’s very naturalistic.”

Though always interested in food, she was a vegetarian in her 20s, it was her French partner’s family who taught her about the art of fine dining. “ I certainly upped my game when I met Patrice — and especially with my French mother-in-law who seemed to be able to do everything, from DIY to making curtains to making incredible dishes.

“I got a passion for it then and started to really look into cooking and cookbooks and adapting recipes. ”

In keeping with Continental customs, every year she spends the month of August en vacance in France. This summer she is staying in her sister-in-law’s “beautiful house in Avignon”. There is one drawback: “It’s very hard to keep your figure when your in France,” she says.

When not cooking up a storm, she lives in London with Patrice and their two children, Katie, 11, and Maxim, five.

* Home Cook’s Academy, TV3, 8.30pm, Thursday, September 4.

What shape are you in?

About a year ago I found my niche — reformer pilates. The equipment you use looks a bit like a rowing machine. It’s designed to improve your core and your stamina and I absolutely adore doing it.

Do you have any health concerns?

Cholesterol — heart problems run throughout my family. My dad died from a heart attack when I was 12. It makes you understand life is not forever and you’ve only got one body.

What are your healthiest eating habits?

I really like smoothies and juices. A fairly straightforward juice would be apples, carrots and celery. And I drink tons of water.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?

I think a little of what you fancy does you good every now and again. I love pasta, I love cheeses, I love chocolate. Yesterday, this lady made us this incredible apple tart. I had a big slice and I would have gone for three more but I stopped myself. I think you’ve got to put the brakes on.

What would keep you awake at night?

Worries about health and psychological issues. My daughter is changing schools, she is going into secondary, and I would worry how is she going to be. I worry especially about what is happening in the Middle East — you see some horrible pictures of children.

How do you relax?

I love walking and cooking. When all around me is going crazy, I’m just looking into a pot. I try a little bit of meditation. I also find exercise relaxes me.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Marilyn Monroe, Truman Capote, Robert Mitchum, Gene Kelly, Grace Kelly, Madonna, Robin Williams, Rihanna and David Norris.

What’s your favourite smell?

Lilacs. They remind me of my childhood. When I first met Patrice I told him I loved lilacs — you can’t buy them and they only come for a short season. When he invited me to his place for dinner, the living room was full of lilacs.

What would you change about your appearance?

I’d like to be taller — I’m 5ft 6ins. And to have piano-long fingers but these hands can do a lot.

When did you last cry?

Last week, when I arrived at the airport in France and I hugged my children. They were tears of happiness.

What trait do you least like in others?

It has to be rudeness. No matter what you do for a living, everyone deserves respect.

What trait do you least like in yourself?

I’m a worrier. Sometimes it’s hard not to worry.

Do you pray?

I’m not a practising Catholic but sometimes, in times of need, I might revert back to a prayer. Lately it’s more of an affirmation, putting positives rather than negatives out there. When you do that your life seems to go better.

What would cheer up your day?

My kids being happy and dirty and exhausted at the end of the day.

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