Sasha Gill (2014) is a fifth-year medic at Lincoln. She is also a vegan cook, creating plant-based dishes inspired by the foods of India, China, Thailand, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia. She shares her mouth-watering recipes and photographs on her blog, The Sasha Diaries, and with her 41,000 followers on Instagram (@thesashadiaries).
Sasha’s first book, Jackfruit and Blue Ginger, will be published by Murdoch Books in January 2019. You can pre-order it now through Amazon.
What motivated you to adopt a plant-based lifestyle?
Initially I did it because I loved animals and really didn’t want to eat them anymore, so I went vegetarian. When I learnt a little more about the dairy/egg industry, I decided to cut out all animal products because I just didn’t agree with the way animals were treated even if they weren’t being reared for meat. But I have stayed vegan because I’ve realised that it’s just a whole lot better for the planet, and I feel great eating this way!
What influences your recipes?
I take a lot of inspiration from all the flavours I grew up with in Singapore, and if you’ve ever been to Singapore, you will know what I am talking about. It’s a melting pot of all the different cuisines across Asia, and I have been lucky enough to grow up eating all these amazing dishes. So I try to work that flavour profile (all the spices and herbs) into my cooking.
How do you juggle your studies with your cooking and blog?
I like to cook and write in my free time, I know some people can find cooking stressful, but for me it is a nice way to unwind in the evenings when I am back from the hospital. My blog is really the perfect marriage of my love for cooking and for photography!
How did you adapt to College accommodation and the lack of a kitchen?
I spent all of sixth form without a kitchen, so living without one in the first and second year of university wasn’t difficult at all because I mastered the art of microwave cooking. You can make pretty much anything in a microwave! In third year I pretty much lived in the kitchen - I was thrilled to be able to bake again!
Do you have a favourite recipe/ingredient to cook with?
I love aquafaba - if you’ve watched the vegan episode of the Bake Off, you will know what I am talking about. It’s the slightly viscous liquid from a can of chickpeas. It whips up just like egg whites, and makes an incredible vegan meringue or macaron. I also use it when I bake; it makes cakes and breads really lovely and fluffy. I have no idea who thought to try whisking up the liquid from chickpeas - but trust me, it’s kind of magic.
Here is a babka recipe I love, and the bread is ridiculously light and cloud-like all thanks to aquafaba!
Photos by Sasha Gill