A backpacking trip to India at the age of 21 was the first of Sarah Nicole Edward’s many visits to India. Months volunteering at a community project in Kerala were her first toe-dips into this country’s incredible culture, cuisine and landscape. About 10 years after that first visit she decided to make the big shift. She currently works in the education not-for-profit space but in her free time cherishes cooking fresh, colourful, nourishing food. Armed with a Masters in International Development that opened her up to India’s economy and politics, she’s a Londoner invested deeply in cooking that reflects the melting pot that London is—different regional flavours coming together in unusual and complementary food pairings. “Well-being is more than just the food on our plates, it includes our mindset, emotional wellbeing and lifestyle,” she said of the overarching philosophy that surrounds her wellness venture Copper and Cloves, an online repository of all things homemade, natural and oh so good-for-you. “I think most people know what they need to do to be healthy, but that doesn’t mean it is easy to actually follow through with the changes. My approach is to support people to take small steps towards more healthful living, from whatever starting point, meeting them where they are,” she says.
Why Copper and Cloves?
When I moved to India, I started exploring all of the fantastic ingredients here—new fruits, vegetables, different millets and red rice. I started cooking for friends here in India and found they liked my food; they felt it was something different and new to them. So I set up Copper and Cloves to share my food with more people, on a mission to show that there is no reason why healthy food should be bland and boring. In addition to the cooking side of things, I am training to be a Health Coach. I have a degree in Psychology—my interest lies in behaviour change and how to support people to adopt healthier behaviours. I wanted the name of my venture to be contemporary and not too twee. I wanted to include a spice to represent India and the journey my cooking had been on. Visually, I find copper very appealing. So the name somehow fell into place.
Tell us about your recipe-making process.
I get inspired by the produce that is available. I really do believe in eating local- I had a steep learning curve when I moved to India, learning how to cook all the amazing produce available here. Learning how to make dosa was a challenge, but I loved it. I’ve learnt a lot about spices as well. It is all still incredibly exciting to me.
My aim is to use locally available produce and ingredients and incorporate those into my style of cooking which tends to be plant based, happy and nourishing- think warming oats, colourful salads and grain bowls. I bring in Mediterranean, Middle-Eastern and Asian flavours. I like creating different textures and contrasting flavours. For example I’ll roast some vegetables to get some caramelisation, whilst lightly steaming others to keep a crunch, and mix these with some warming, comforting lentils and quinoa. A fresh dressing brings tangy sweetness whilst crunchy nuts and seeds roasted with salt and spices bring texture and contrast. The combinations are endless.
Talk to us about the synergy between your personal brand of wellness and Nicobar.
Nicobar is described as a contemporary collection that is fresh, aspirational, curious about the world. There is a strong synergy between this and my style of food. I celebrate Indian ingredients and cooking styles, but prepare them in a fresh way, bringing in new flavours or methods.Nicobar’s focus on natural fabrics, the origin of raw materials and fairness in the supply chain really resonates with me. I believe when we connect with the origin of our food, and take the time to appreciate what it took to get it to our plate, we are naturally driven to make healthier choices and eat fresh, whole food.
For me Nicobar is about balance- beautiful items, a little bit of luxury but grounded in natural fabrics and styles. I strongly believe a pursuit of wellness does not need to take over your life, and can include all of your favourite things.
There’s a section called Healthy Events on your blog. What are those about?
I strongly believe that we need more healthy events available, so that people can do interesting things on the weekend, socialise with friends and meet new people, that don’t all revolve around going to bars. I love collaborating with other brands- I’m working with Bare Necessities Founder Sahar Mansoor on an Ethical, Healthy Living Workshop to help people move towards a more sustainable way of living- followed by a big nourishing brunch of course! I’m always looking out for other opportunities to work with wellness brands to collaborate to create unique experiences that centre around movement or healthy food- from yoga classes in interesting spaces, rooftop supper clubs, and cooking demonstrations.