The children's cookery writer shares her recipes for success and happiness online.

Anyone who has ever wrestled with getting their children to eat anything that bears passing resemblance to a vegetable will know that it can be a Sisyphean task. Poppy Fraser understands the hungry-yet-picky paradox as well as the best of us, thanks to the lived experience of having four children. What she does better than the rest, though, is to plan for those tired and hungry moments meticulously well with her winning recipes, which can – best of all – be rustled up in a mere ten minutes. Cue then, 10 Minute Suppers For Children, her Amazon bestseller, which has just had another print run. It may have come out in 2015, but it’s pretty apposite as a response to the relentlessness of cooking day-in, day-out throughout lockdown. And, if you’re stuck on that, you can always sign up to her weekly email, which pings menu plans straight into your inbox.

Poppy, who grew up in the Highlands of Scotland, penned her first book, Fantastic Recipes from my Favourite People, in 2006. Since that time, she and her family have decamped from the capital to Dorset; she’s perfected her chocolate biscuit cake and won two gold stars from the Great Taste Awards for it; and she’s collated an anthology of poems for children, Promise Me The Stars. Between that and raising four kids, it’s been a busy couple of decades.

Here, she tells us how Shazam has encouraged and enabled her – strictly solo – loud singing sessions in the car; why strimmers and chainsaws have been her top lockdown buys; and she shares the extraordinary and unexpectedly touching experience of joining 400-strong live meditation sessions online.

Favourite website:

To Be Magnetic. I am a huge fan of Lacy Phillips and her work on the subconscious. I have used her self-hypnosis programmes daily for nearly a year, and it has had an axiomatic effect in all areas of my life.

Favourite app:

Shazam and Spotify, as ways of finding new tracks of music. I sing in a gospel choir when I am at home in Scotland (much to my surprise, they let me join as I'm severely out of tune) and to myself in the car every day. On an energetic level, when you sing you are releasing the nervous system. It is extremely uplifting, although not for anyone else who happens to be in the car! I usually have to wait until I'm on my own.

Favourite podcast:

Expanded Podcast with Lacy Phillips. Her latest podcast was with Zach Bush, and her interviewees are always inspiring and interesting.

Favourite YouTuber:

My meditation teacher's channel, Burgs. They are often live and they are always moving.

Last book you read:

Dying To Be Me by Anita Moorjani. Not my last book, but my favourite book as it taught me so much. It tells the true, awe-inspiring story of Anita's experience of surviving cancer. She now tours the world with her story, as doctors remain baffled and try to fathom her healing.

Favourite tweeter:

Mike Yeadon ex chief scientific advisor to Pfizer, until his account was hacked, and removed.

Favourite Instagrammer:

Tibbsj, who often has posts that make me laugh out loud.

Favourite tech gadget:

All my gardening tools were bought for last year's lockdown and have provided endless fun for all the family; strimmer, hedge-cutter and chainsaw. The chainsaw was the only slight disappointment as it said it was ‘suitable for women’. It arrived and was the size of a chocolate bar. However, I have still managed to use it (for cutting up logs the size of twigs) – so much so that the chain has now come off.

The most useful gadget on my desk:

My desk has been taken over by the children and is a sea of papers and work. I can't get anywhere near it.

Most inspiring digital resource:

My meditation teacher decided to do live daily meditations just before the last lockdown. Usually, I would go away for a week twice a year on a meditation retreat. Since lockdown, all the retreats have obviously been online, and it has been extraordinary how the experience has been just as powerful as they are in person. There are usually about 400 of us doing the online retreats. I don't want to think what lockdown would have been like without this support.

First thing you look at in the morning on your mobile:

I so want to be able to say I don't look at my phone until after breakfast, but I fail every day at this aspiration. I look at my emails/ Instagram/ the news/ the weather/ and now, the Daily Mail online. It teaches me that I can never say never about anything in life. Every single thing I've always thought looked awful, I have now done, so it's humbling.

Last thing you binge watched:

My mother is a television addict and the telly is on at home from 2 p.m. onwards. There is a television in every room of the house, except the loo. As a result of that I think, I don't watch telly at all. I'm desperately ignorant about any show or film. It's never been a part of my life. My mother paid for the television engineer to come at vast expense to have an aerial put on to our house, so that she could come and stay with us.

Social media allowed me to meet:

I get messages from people I don't know about the books, and about the hens I put up on Instagram, and I love these chats with people I don't know, about the things we share in loving. I'm hoping to meet Joe Dispenza, Greg Braden and Bruce Lipton on a course they are running. That is about as exciting it could get for me, to meet those experts.

Best digital advice:

I love my iPhone but otherwise I am very backward when it comes to technology. The computer man had to correct me when I took it in and said it had blown up. He said, ‘Can we just be clear here, it has not actually blown up’ and looked at me as if I had a mental problem. I love the way his mind works, what a logical genius he is fixing these devices.

My screensaver is:

I used to have the children but they would argue about who was on there, so it's of myself doing Qi Gong. I am a qualified Qi Gong teacher. It's an ancient form of self-healing exercise that has been around for thousands of years in China. I absolutely love it as it makes you feel better instantly, and is a source of huge stability and connection. I think now more than ever it is needed as a way of reconnecting to our environment, to each other, to oneself. I used to look at people in the park doing Tai Chi and wonder what on earth they were up to and now it's me .

Pet online hate:

The total lack of respect shown in different ways. The way we are wilfully manipulated through fear and negativity in the media. The impartiality of major news platforms that is so lacking.

Online rules:

I have set 15-minute limits on social media but find myself breaking my self-imposed rule within the first hour of the day usually.

Menu planning subscription

During lockdown, Poppy, like the rest of us, has found it a challenge to come up with tasty and inspiring meals ad infinitum for her children. So she’s decided to help out with a meal plan subscription. No more will you have that dreaded thought of what’s for supper. Every weekend, Poppy will email a menu plan and shopping list for the following week’s suppers. Once you’ve signed up to the subscription (£4 a month), you’ll get access to her 10 Minute Supper Instagram group where she will post pictures of the recipes being made. It's that easy. Problem solved.

By Nancy Alsop
March 2021

Gill Meller
Rosemary Shrager, Cook and Force of Nature
Daisy Upton, Five Minute Mum

Nancy Alsop


Nancy is a magpie for the best in design and culture.