We spoke to the blogger about her food philosophy, following a hormonal imbalance diagnosis...

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Residing in the beautiful Italian countryside, Valentina Solfrini splits her time between being a graphic and web designer and aspirational food blogger. Five years ago, Valentina was diagnosed with a form of hormonal imbalance, forcing her to consume daily doses of heavy medication.

Valentina took it upon herself to improve her nutrition by focusing on food that is unprocessed, nutrient-rich and balanced. Before she knew it, her body stresses were relieved and she decided to start sharing her love for the kitchen and delicious Italian recipes on her blog Hortus Natural Cooking.

Here, the food blogger shares her personal food philosophy and what she hopes people will take away from her site…

What do you hope people will take away from your blog?

I hope my blog can inspire people to see the beauty in simple, fresh ingredients and learn more about them. We are often hindered by our own ideas – most of us think that cooking is complicated, expensive and way too much work, but it is not like that at all. Most of all, I would love to inspire people to learn more about what they eat, the ingredients they use, and the labels they should read.

Which 5 things would we find in your fridge?

Definitely homemade almond milk, a ripe avocado, crispers packed with leafy greens and lettuce, homemade nut butters, and olives marinating in olive oil, garlic and herbs (my current obsession). I’d also like to point out how there are always bowls of something soaking on my counter, be it nuts, seeds or legumes.

What’s your personal food philosophy?

I do my best to eat ‘clean’, local foods and support local businesses – I’ll always choose produce, cheese, honey etc. from the farmer next to my house, even if it cannot be labelled organic, rather than organic produce that has travelled a lot. But I realise that it is not always possible, so I think that we should try our best to adhere to our beliefs and learn about what we eat, but not be too harsh or extreme with ourselves. It is important to see food as a way to nourish our body and soul in a peaceful way, so that it can benefit us and make us happy!

What’s your top cooking tip?

Plan ahead, but do not be afraid to experiment with what you have. I believe that you can always prepare something nice, even when it seems like there’s no food in the house. Planning ahead will teach you to always keep something in your pantry, so that you can resort to it when fresh ingredients are lacking. Most importantly, cook in good company if you can and always make it fun!

Where do you get your recipe ideas?

From magazines, people, Pinterest…everywhere! My two favourite sources are my collection of magazines from the ‘80s and ‘90s, and restaurant menus. I love to just go and read random menus if I’m out for a walk in town.