Dining In With… Sarah Edwards
Sarah Edwards, founder of Copper + Cloves, is a kindred spirit. Having created a home for herself in India, she has turned a passion for plant-based living into a hub and resource that we are the better for. Read on for intimate pointers, her dream vegan dinner party and more…
What kind of energy are you bringing into 2022?
I’m feeling positive—excited about where this year might take me and a lot more accepting of our ‘new normal’. I’ve pulled myself out of the mindset of wishing away what is or wanting to get to ‘the end’ so we can go back to ‘how it used to be’. I’m recognising when I slip into that way of thinking and steering myself to make plans and take risks despite the uncertainties. I feel grateful for the opportunities that are coming my way.
Your path to Copper + Cloves has been both organic and intentional. What are your thoughts on turning a personal philosophy into a professional one? Any advice for those keen to choose a similar path?
Thank you for such a lovely question. I really believe it's possible to turn a passion into work by starting small. Taking small but brave steps and building relationships with other passionate people. The best advice I can give is to trust the flow of your life and start doing more things that light you up—a stall at a flea market, a small event, ask to collaborate with someone you admire.
“I didn’t set out with a business plan or a clear idea of what I wanted Copper + Cloves to be."
I just loved cooking and bringing people together and so I started a monthly ‘yoga brunch.’ From there, I met people who shared my passions, organised more events, had the opportunity to conduct workshops and cooking classes, which eventually led to meeting The Organic World who had a physical space that they wanted to collaborate with a like-minded person to run. That’s how I now run my own organic-farm-to-table cafe within their store. It happened serendipitously.
Most mornings begin with...
Stepping outside for some natural sunlight within the first 10 minutes of getting up. I step onto my balcony with a glass of water and without my phone or sunglasses. This is something I learnt which is important for setting your circadian rhythm. Next is a walk or run with my dog Lily. We normally go to our cafe to ensure everything is good for the day and to have my morning pourover! Coffee features every morning. And I normally get a workout in before midday, otherwise it doesn’t happen.
What are some projects you're most excited about this year?
I’m excited about the next chapter of Copper + Cloves and getting back to creating experiences as things open up more. I just got back from Goa and we did a pop-up Sunday brunch with live music at a space called Barefoot in Parra, which had great vibes and was such a good experience. It reminded me how much I love creating and curating events and I’m reinvigorated to push that forward after laying low and not organising any events in 2021 due to the pandemic.
I’m also excited about the Creative Studio I co-founded at the start of 2021 called The Form Co and the projects we are working on. The opportunity to travel to beautiful locations around India to shoot for mindful, values-led brands.
“Travelling with work is such a privilege. I always have the best time with my co-founders. We are all obsessed with trying new food, finding the best coffee and love being in nature. We are very aligned so it’s more like travelling with friends."
The defining elements of a home kitchen and dining experience...
I was lucky to move into this apartment a year ago because it has tons of natural light and an open-plan kitchen with an island/breakfast bar. To me, that is the defining element of a kitchen I want to spend time and cook in.
“When I’m having people over, I don't want to be stressing out in a dark, closed off space while they wait for me at the table."
I want to pour them a glass of wine, pull up a stool at the breakfast bar so we can chat while I finish up. Seeing and experiencing the smells of the food in the final stages of preparation builds their appetite and anticipation. Open plan kitchen-dining situations can be hard to find in Bangalore, but for me it was a total priority. I told my broker to not even bother showing me properties without one!
An intimate vegan dinner party? Dream menu, guest list and a simple recipe…
Any dinner party at mine is going to be a kind of sharing feast. A big pot of something flavourful yet comforting—for example, my Moroccan channa one-pot stew with roasted cherry tomatoes—as the centrepiece. I would serve that with a loaf of warm sourdough, so that guests can use chunks of the bread to mop up the sauce. Alongside, caramelised, roasted vegetables in oven trays directly from the oven onto the table (which is why I love beautiful, ceramic or enamel oven-proof trays that double up as serveware). It’s a mix-and-match, serve yourself kind of situation.
It might be boring but my dream guest list is family and best friends from London all mixed with my people here in India. It was really hard not having those I'm closest to travel here the past two years, and the natural blending of groups that happens when borders are open.
“I dream of a big, relaxed dinner in my home where friends from my two worlds mingle, chat and share food together."
A dinner party recipe for a simple yet delicious side-dish: I'm currently obsessed with roasting cabbage until crispy and serving it drizzled with olive oil and scattered with herbs.
- Take a normal cabbage, wash it, and cut it down the middle, and then keep halving each section until you have 8 wedges.
- Arrange the wedges in a tray and season liberally with salt. Toss over ½ tsp of nigella seeds and ½ tsp chilli.
- Roast in the oven at 180C for 40 minutes, turning the cabbage wedges with tongs carefully half way through. The edges should curl up, become crispy, and be a dark golden brown.
- Serve in the roasting tray, drizzled with more extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and some freshly ground black pepper, as a side for a larger feast. Blend up a handful of fresh coriander, a few cloves of garlic, some salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon and oil into a rough paste and spoon this sauce over the roasted wedges.
I’m passionate about making simple, inexpensive and everyday vegetables into something delicious and satisfying and I can’t think of a better example than this dish!
What about Himêya resonates with you most?
Himêya’s conscious approach to sourcing and manufacturing resonates with me most. It is my kind of brand. To know that I can buy beautiful, modern products that focus on ethical sourcing of cotton and supporting local industry is reassuring. I started Copper + Cloves with a similar philosophy—sourcing organic local produce ethically and then creating innovative dishes that are intriguing and beautiful. It feels like a mirror of the Himêya approach to homeware!
“I just love the earthy colours and fabric textures. As you can tell from my apartment, I'm drawn to natural materials and neutral tones, and therefore the muted teal blues of the bed linen and the faded lilac of the towels are just perfect with my decor."
How would you describe your attitude towards stress? What are your coping mechanisms?
Stress is something I am learning to feel rather than just name and complain about. What does stress feel like? Where in the body do I feel it? As a heaviness in my chest, or a tightness around my jaw?
“If I tune into those feelings of stress for around 90 seconds with my eyes closed, attuned to the physical sensations, I often find the heaviness clears and I can cope better. My mind feels lighter and I am able to focus on the actions I need to take.”
Taking the time to do things in the morning before jumping on technology and work is one way I've improved my work/life balance. Whether that is tending to my plants, taking the time to make a slow coffee, or the best stress buster ever—cuddling Lily the dog! There’s actual research to prove time with your pet is an effective way to calm the nervous system, and so is spending time in nature without your phone (which I try to do periodically with trips to Kabini and Goa).
Favourite activity in bed?
Reading! I love reading, and for me, a dream Saturday night is an early night with a bedtime infusion, cuddly clean sheets and a good book.
On your bedside table…
My beautiful ceramic lamp from Minim Design, a bunch of novels, and a small plant (my apartment is full of plants). My room is full of framed photos of friends and family from London, India and around the world.
A culinary adventure you're looking forward to…
I want to travel to South America to experience the cuisine there. It is a region I haven't visited and I would love to incorporate the food techniques and ingredients into my own cooking. I have family ties to Brazil and now Uruguay so I would have lots of loved ones to visit too!