Earlier this year I visited one of the most amazing women I know and the very definition of a thrifty Afropolitan! Hortense Julienne was born in Cameroon, West Africa; raised in France and is currently living in London. By day she is an event’s organiser but by night (and on weekends) she is a food blogger, activist and chef extraordinaire.
This particular time of year is very significant for Hortense; less than three years ago she embarked upon a Daniel Fast for Lent; (A vegan based diet on the fast conducted by the prophet Daniel in the Bible.)
Hortense decided to start an online food diary (blog) to document this journey whilst also using it as an opportunity to promote the virtues of vegan cuisine combating the stubborn stereotypes that it is often boring, bland and tasteless. Little did she know what God had in store for her on this 40 day journey.
Fast forward three years on and Hortense is now a prolific food blogger with several websites dedicated to her love of food and has had her work featured in the Times Newspaper, New African Woman Magazine, Premier Christian Radio and most recently the Voice Newspaper.
I went to visit Hortense at home and was blown away by her hospitality and all round thriftiness. I have known her for a while now and never cease to be amazed by her resourcefulness and the effortlessly stylish way with which she does it (must be that French Je ne sais quoi!). This visit didn’t disappoint. Hortense made lunch which consisted of several courses- all beautifully presented and tasting every bit as good as it looked:
And her thriftiness is not just reserved to cooking, this approach also comes to home décor too. Just look at this tea light candle holder (further below) which she made from a piece of wood taken from an old bed, covered in foil.
Similarly, in the past, Hortense has been known to recycle old greetings cards and bits of material, transforming them into lovely pieces of art which adorn the walls of her flat.
And if that’s not enough, she is also a big fan of charity shop hunting and showed me some of the amazing spoils she has found – which I will share for another post!
One of the most recent and exciting developments in Hortense’s journey to date has been the creation of her first booklet called the ‘Bank Cook’. The recipe book utilises ingredients from food bank packages- transforming them into sumptuous, nutritious meals offering both variety and dignity to food bank users. Hortense’s passion for food justice issues- namely seeing people on very low incomes eat well- is nothing short of inspirational and extends far beyond creating cute recipes; when she is not busy events organising, taking over the culinary world or using her thrifty ways to transform her home, Hortense volunteers at her local homeless shelter and has done so for almost 10 years.
So what motivates her to do what she does? Hortense cites her Christian faith as a huge motivating force and unsurprisingly her favourite Bible passage is Proverbs 31- a Godly woman who is both resourceful and enterprising.
Five minutes of wisdom with Ms Julienne:
On general thriftiness: “I like create to stuff from things people will happily throw away.”
On Food Banks: “Foodbank users are a section of society that the media often bash around- seeing all the cooks on TV I have not seen any reference to people on low incomes/ food bank users. God inspired me to do it.”
On her favourite shop: “My number one shop is charity shops. You can find the most original pieces and you can find designer pieces for less than £10. Tip: Don’t just go to one, go to a few and see what is out there.”
On her home: “My house is full of recycled items – I just love how things can be transformed.”
On being ‘skint’: “If you are skint all the time- don’t be afraid to use charity shops. If you are embarrassed then don’t tell anyone. You can find original pieces- you just need to learn how to put them together.”
On enterprise: “You have your own path- just go for it as long as you don’t put your rent money in it!”
On getting creative in the kitchen: “Just try and be creative- if it turns out good then great but if it doesn’t then you don’t have to do it again.”
To find out more about Ms Julienne’s work visit:
- TheBankCook.com to download the Foodbank recipe booklet
- All-Vegan.Blogspot.co.uk to view the exciting range of animal free dishes
- HortenseJulienne.com for all future developments of this rising star.