December recipes: Comfort & joy

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We’re offering a taste of Christmas at River Cottage by Lucy Brazier with foreword, essays and seasonal recipes from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, published by Bloomsbury, Priced £22.

Brandade with breadcrumbs

Ingredients:

• 450g fillets of sustainably caught white fish, such as whiting, pouting, pollack, cod or haddock
• 375g floury potatoes, such as King Edward, peeled and cut into even sized chunks
• 40g unsalted butter
• 1 large garlic clove, chopped
• 150ml milk
• 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 75g coarse breadcrumbs
• Flaky sea salt and black pepper

Prep: 25 minutes | Cooking: 15-20 minutes | Serves: 4-6 as main, 8-10 as starter

Method

First, lightly salt the fish. Slice the fillets off their skins and check for remaining bones. Sprinkle a thin, even layer of salt on a board, lay the fish fillets on top, then sprinkle over a further light covering of salt. Leave for 15–20 minutes & rinse off the salt under a cold tap. Pat fish dry with kitchen paper. While it’s salting, cook potatoes in boiling water for 15–20 minutes until tender; drain and return to hot pan.

Melt the butter in a large pan over a low heat, add the garlic and sweat gently for a couple of minutes. Add the rinsed fish to the pan and pour over the milk. Bring slowly to a simmer, cover and cook very gently for another couple of minutes or until the fish is cooked through. Scoop the fish out of the pan with a slotted spoon onto a plate, leaving the hot milk behind.

Add 2½ tbsp of the extra virgin olive oil and a few grinds of pepper to the hot milk in the pan, then tip in the hot potatoes and mash thoroughly. Break the fish into flakes and mash roughly with a fork then add to the potato mash and stir well. Taste and add more pepper if you like.

Preheat the oven to 190°C/Fan 170°C/Gas 5. Spoon the brandade into a shallow ovenproof dish. Mix the coarse breadcrumbs with the remaining 1½ tbsp olive oil and scatter over the surface of the brandade. Bake in the oven for 15–20 minutes until golden and piping hot.

Red cabbage & beetroot pickle

Red cabbage is a familiar element of Christmas lunch. It is often braised, which makes it an easy dish to cook ahead of time, freeze and then reheat at the last minute. I think it is always good to have at least one vegetable you can get on the table with the minimum of fuss but I prefer my cabbage crunchy. This recipe is exactly that, injecting a fresh zing into the Christmas feast and the days that follow. I usually make mine several weeks in advance. You don’t even need to decant it from its glass jar, just plonk straight on the table.

Ingredients:

• 420g beetroot, peeled and grated 500g red cabbage, sliced
• Finely grated zest of two oranges
• 10g cumin seeds, toasted and bashed
• 5g caraway seeds toasted and bashed
• Five juniper berries, lightly crushed

For the pickling liquor:
• 700ml cider vinegar
• 20g coriander seeds, toasted
• 20g fennel seeds, toasted
• 10g black peppercorns
• 20g salt
• One dried red chilli (optional)

You will also need:
• A sterilised 1.5 litre Kilner jar

Prep: 60 minutes | Cooking: Five minutes | Makes: 1.5 litres

Method

First, prepare the pickling liquor. Put all the ingredients into a saucepan, pour on 200ml water and slowly bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and set aside to infuse for an hour.

Meanwhile, put the beetroot, red cabbage, orange zest and spices for into a bowl and toss to mix.

Bring the infused pickling liquor back to the boil, then pour it through a sieve straight over the veg mix. Stir to combine.

This pickle is nice to eat as soon as it cools, but ideally should be packed into a sterilised 1.5 litre Kilner jar, sealed and left for a couple of weeks. It will keep in a cool, dark cupboard for up to six months; once opened, it needs to be stored in the fridge.

We have two copies of Christmas at River Cottage by Lucy Brazier with foreword, essays and seasonal recipes from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, to giveaway this month!

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November recipes: Passage to India

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We’re sharing a taste of From Gujarat With Love – 100 Authentic Indian Vegetarian Recipes by Vina Patel

There is a very special story behind this dish and I must share it. It was one of the first dishes I ever learnt to make (I like to call it the Bachelor’s Dish!) and one of very few I had in my culinary arsenal when I got married and moved to the States. I was an inexperienced cook and served it to my husband’s friends for dinner one night along with fresh hand-rolled roti. I watched them wolf it down, thinking it was typical of hungry young men – but later realised they truly loved it! I shared the recipe with them and was (and still am) delighted to hear they often make it for their families. As a tradition, I serve it every time they visit us, some 30 years later. I love how food connects people, creating lifelong friendships.

Potato and Pea Curry

Ingredients:

• 3 tbsp oil
• 3⁄4 tsp cumin seeds, slightly crushed or roughly ground
• pinch of asafoetida
• 1⁄2 tsp ground turmeric
• 1 1⁄2 tsp chilli powder
• 570ml/20fl oz/21⁄2 cups water
• 2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm (3⁄4-inch) cubes
• 250g/9oz/2 cups shelled petits pois or peas, thawed if frozen
• 1 1⁄2 tsp Coriander-cumin Powder
• 3⁄4 tsp Garlic Paste
• salt, to taste
• 3 tbsp chopped coriander (cilantro)
• 1 tbsp chopped garlic scapes (optional)
• Roti, to serve

Method

Heat the oil in a deep saucepan over a medium heat and add the cumin seeds. Once they begin to crackle, add the asafoetida, ground turmeric, chilli powder and water. Bring to the boil, then add the potatoes, peas, coriander-cumin powder, garlic paste, and salt to taste.

Cover partially with a lid and cook for 12–14 minutes over a medium heat. Uncover the pan and add the chopped coriander.

Reduce the heat to low and cook for another two minutes, stirring occasionally. Add another 60ml/2fl oz/1⁄4 cup of water if needed.
Stir in the chopped garlic scapes, if using, and remove the pan from the heat. Serve with roti.

SPICY PEA CROQUETTES KACHORI

Every recipe tells a story, and this one is no exception. When I was pregnant with my youngest, my mother-in-law would make kachoris for breakfasts at the weekends. We feasted on them until we couldn’t eat any more. Here, the coconut adds a lovely Surti element. A food processor speeds things up, if you have one.

Ingredients:

For the filling
• 5cm (2-inch) piece of fresh ginger
• 3 green chillies, stems removed
• 450g/1lb/3 1⁄2 cups shelled petits pois or peas, thawed if frozen
• 1 tbsp oil, plus 700–950ml/24–32fl oz/3–4 cups oil, for deep-frying
• pinch of asafoetida
• 3 tbsp raisins
• 3 tbsp cashew nuts, roughly chopped
• 2 tbsp grated fresh coconut or sweetened coconut flakes
• 10g/1⁄3oz/1⁄4 cup finely chopped coriander (cilantro)
• 3⁄4 tsp garam masala salt, to taste
• 2 tsp fresh lime juice 1 1⁄2 tsp sugar

For the dough
• 200g/7oz/1 1⁄2 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
• 3–4 tbsp oil
• 5 tbsp plus 2 tsp warm water
• chutney, to serve

For the filling, peel the ginger and blitz with the chillies in a blender or food processor for 1 minute. Add the peas and blitz for 15–20 seconds to a coarse consistency.

Heat the tablespoon of oil in a non-stick frying pan or skillet over a medium heat. Add the asafoetida and cook for 5–7 seconds. Add the pea mixture and cook for 2–3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium-low.

Add the raisins, cashews, coconut, coriander, garam masala and salt and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and sugar and mix well. Remove the pan from the heat. Allow to cool slightly so the mixture is easier to handle. Shape into 12 balls, approximately 4cm (11⁄2 inches) in diameter and set aside.

For the dough, combine the flour and oil in a bowl. Mix well and add the warm water. Knead for 2–3 minutes until the dough is smooth and soft. Add a little more water if needed. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion into a disc, about 10cm (4 inches) in diameter.

Take the filling portions and arrange one in the centre of each dough disc. Bring the sides of the dough together like a parcel and pinch the top to seal. Trim off any excess dough from the pinched end.

Heat the oil for deep-frying in a deep saucepan over a medium heat.

To avoid overcrowding, carefully lower in half the kachori and deep-fry for 2–4 minutes, using a slotted spoon to move them around, until they are golden all over.

Using a metal slotted spoon or skimmer, transfer to a tray lined with paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining kachori, then serve hot with your favourite chutney.

 Extract credit: From Gujarat with Love: 100 Authentic Indian Recipes by Vina Patel (Pavilion Books). Image credit to Jonathan Lovekin.

We have two copies of Vina Patel’s From Gujarat With Love –
100 Authentic Indian Vegetarian Recipes to giveaway this month!

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October recipes: Sweet spot

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Ravneet Gill’s Sugar, I Love You: Knockout Recipes to Celebrate The Sweeter Things in Life, is out this month.

For your eating pleasure, I spent weeks testing variations of chocolate cake. I knew what I wanted: something wonderfully moist, a touch bitter, light, quick-to-make and beautiful. The perfect lazy person’s cake. It had to be a gleaming beauty!

Lazy Person’s Cake

Ingredients:
For the wet cake mix
• 175ml light olive oil & extra
• 2 eggs
• 175ml buttermilk
• 170ml boiling water
• 5g/1 tsp instant coffee

For the dry cake mix
• 125g caster sugar
• 125g light brown sugar
• 80g cocoa powder
• 230g plain flour
• 5g/1 tsp sea salt flakes
• 10g/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
• 5g/1 tsp baking powder

For the malt chocolate ganache
• 150g 70 per cent cocoa solids chocolate, chopped
• 50g 55 per cent cocoa solids chocolate, chopped
• pinch of sea salt flakes
• 300g double cream
• 1 tbsp malt extract (alternatively use black treacle, maple syrup or honey)

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 160°C fan/180°C/gas mark 4. Grease two 20cm (8in) cake tins with oil, then line with baking paper. Weigh all the dry cake mix ingredients & stir with a whisk (if the sugar is lumpy, you’ll have to sift it.).

2. Weigh all the wet cake mix ingredients, except the water & coffee, into a large bowl and whisk. Make the coffee in a cup, pour it into the wet ingredients bowl and stir. Add the dry mix to the wet mix and whisk to combine. Divide the mixture evenly between tins. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool for 20 minutes before flipping on to a wire rack (allow to cool fully before ganache).

3. To make the ganache, put both the chocolates and the salt in a large heatproof bowl. In a saucepan, heat the cream with the malt extract until steaming but not boiling. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and leave for 1 minute. Use a whisk to stir from the middle outwards – so as not to whisk in any air – until silky & beautiful. Let ganache sit for 10 mins.

4. Take a large plate with a lip. Place a cooled cake on the plate and spoon over enough ganache to cover the top. Don’t worry if it spills over the edges, we kind of want this. Place the next cake on top. Pour the remaining ganache all over, without a care in the world. Use a spoon to guide it over, making sure plenty of ganache is falling down the sides. Put the cake in the fridge for 20–30 minutes.

5. Remove from fridge and, using a small offset palette knife, scoop up the set ganache from the edges of the plate and spread over the sides to create a smooth finish. It really is that easy and effortless.You’ll have your friends thinking you really care…

This cake keeps best in an airtight container at room temperature for three days. If kept in the fridge, allow to come to room temp before eating – it’ll be nicer! I recommend mircowaving a slice for 20 seconds & pouring cold cream all over it.

We have two copies of Ravneet Gill’s Sugar, I Love You to giveaway this month!

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September recipes: Coffee & banoffee

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This September, Macmillan Cancer Support’s iconic Coffee Morning event is back on Friday 24th September, however you plan it and whatever your baking talents (or lack of) host your coffee morning your way and help raise millions to support the growing number of people living with cancer

The smallest gesture really can make the biggest difference to those affected by cancer, and every year Macmillan supporters up and down the country help raise millions of pounds just by taking part in Coffee Morning.

M&S, headline partner of Macmillan Cancer Support’s Coffee Morning, want to inspire you to get in the kitchen for this worthy cause by providing a delicious recipe for their M&S Banoffee Banana Bread with Caramel and Popcorn Sauce. So pop your apron on, grab your whisk and give this delicious recipe a go!

Banoffee Banana Bread with Caramel and Popcorn Sauce

Ingredients:

• 25g salted caramel popcorn
• 250g mascarpone
• 150g icing sugar
• 45ml caramel and toasted popcorn flavour sauce
• 2 ripe bananas
• 30g pecans
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 180g self-raising flour
• 20ml black treacle
• 2 medium eggs
• 150g light muscovado sugar
• 100g unsalted butter

PREP:  15 minutes

COOKING: 40-45 minutes

Method:

1. Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line a 19cm loaf tin.

2. Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, or a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one a time, along with the treacle and mix well.

3. Gently fold in 2 tbsp flour, to loosen the batter. Fold in the remaining flour, baking powder, pecans and bananas.

4. Pour half the batter into the tin. Drizzle 40ml of the caramel sauce on top, then pour the remaining batter into the tin.

5. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool.

6. To make the icing, whisk the icing sugar with the mascarpone until smooth and creamy.

7. When the loaf has cooled, spread the icing on top and finish with an extra drizzle of the remaining caramel sauce and the salted caramel popcorn.

 

Do something amazing today sign up to host a Macmillan Coffee Morning at coffee register.macmillan.org.uk

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August recipes: Rays of sunshine

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We’re serving up two dishes from Sunshine Kitchen: Delicious Creole recipes from the Heart of the Caribbean by Vanessa Bolosier, published by Pavilion Books.

Carnival equals sweet fritters! These treats are traditionally served in the Caribbean every Sunday throughout January and until Ash Wednesday.

Banana & rum fritters

Ingredients:

• Four ripe bananas
• 60g/2¼oz/5 tbsp golden granulated sugar
• Two eggs
• 125g/4½oz/1 cup plain (all-purpose) flour
• 1tsp baking powder
• One vanilla pod, cut in half lengthwise
• Grated zest of one lime
• A pinch grated cinnamon
• A pinch grated nutmeg
• 1tbsp white rum
• 1 litre/1¾ pints/four cups sunflower oil
• 1tbsp icing (confectioners’) sugar

PREP:  2 minutes

COOKING: 5 minutes

MAKES: 20-30

Method:

1. Peel the bananas, put them in a bowl and mash with a fork. Whisk in the sugar and eggs, then the flour and baking powder. Using a small knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and add to the mixture, then stir in the lime zest, cinnamon, nutmeg and rum.

2. In a deep pan, heat the oil over a medium heat until it reaches 180°C/350°F, or until a cube of bread browns in 30–40 seconds. Make sure the oil doesn’t get too hot and start to smoke. Gently drop tablespoonfuls of the batter into the oil and cook for about 2 minutes on each side, turning occasionally, until dark golden all over.

3. Scoop the fritters out of the oil and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve hot.

♥ Tip
I like to add a tablespoon of unsweetened desiccated (dry) coconut to my banana fritters to add texture.

Creole rice

Ingredients:

• Two eggs
• 2tbsp vegetable oil
• Onion, very finely chopped
• One spring onion, very finely chopped
• Four garlic cloves, very finely chopped
• 1⁄2 tsp Colombo powder
• 1⁄2 tsp tomato purée (paste)
• 500g/1lb 2oz/21⁄2 cups jasmine rice
• A can (about 300g/101⁄2oz) sweetcorn, drained
• 500ml/18fl oz/two cups water
• Two chicken stock cubes
• A bay leaf
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Colombo powder:

• 2 tbsp coriander seeds
• 2 tbsp ground turmeric
• 1 tbsp cumin seeds
• 1 tbsp mustard seeds
• 1⁄2 tbsp fenugreek seeds
• 1 clove
• 1 tbsp garlic powder

PREP: 15 minutes

COOKING: 32 minutes

MAKES: 4

Method:

Creole rice (also called riz melangé) is a housewife’s godsend. When she serves this — to which you can add chicken or fish — it means she was either in a rush, or just used whatever was in her cupboard. It’s also a favourite to bring when spending a day on the beach with the family and barbecuing some chicken wings in situ.

Many of the migrants who arrived around 1862 came from southern India and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), so this is how their spice mix acquired its name. Make your own by putting all the spices in a spice grinder or mortar & pestle and grinding to a fine powder. Sieve it, keep in an airtight container and use within two or three months:

1. Put the eggs in a saucepan of cold water, bring to simmering point and simmer for 7–10 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. Set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion, spring onion, garlic, Colombo powder and tomato purée and cook until the onions start to soften.

3. Add the rice and corn. Stir to coat the rice. Add the water, cubes & bay leaf and stir well. Season. Cover and cook over a low heat for 25 minutes, stirring two or three times so the rice doesn’t stick Cut each egg into six and stir into the rice.

4. Remove the bay and serve hot, for example with chicken fricassée.

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July recipes: Tutti Fruity

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It’s barbecue season! We’ve teamed up with home economics star Jack Monroe & Del Monte to serve this sunny delight

Jack Monroe’s Del Monte® spicy pork belly with prune chutney

Ingredients:

• 1 (425g) can of Del Monte® prunes in juice
• Two fat cloves of garlic
• 1 tbsp light coloured vinegar – cider, red, white or rice are all fine
• 1 tbsp light cooking oil
• 1 tsp Chinese five spice
• 1 tsp fennel seeds
• 1/2 tsp coarse salt or 1/4 tsp table salt
• Plenty of black pepper
• 800g pork belly, sliced
• One large onion
• Two large stalks of celery

PREP: Prep: 6-24 hours

COOKING: Cooking: 40 mins, plus 10 minutes cooling time

MAKES: 4-6

Method:

1. Strain the prunes, putting the juice in a large jar with a lid for the marinade. Set to one side.

2. Peel and crush (or mince) your garlic and add to the juice, with vinegar and a little oil. Mix Chinese five spice, fennel, salt & peppe and add most of this to the jar. Lid tightly and shake to mix and emulsify. Pop pork into the smallest food-safe sealable container that will hold it and pour 3/4 of the marinade carefully all over. Refrigerate for six-24 hours (no more).

3. Make the chutney. Destone the prunes by gently squeezingthem & pop into a medium saucepan. Peel and halve, then very finely slice onion & celery. Add to the pan with the remaining marinade and an extra tbsp of vinegar. Bring to the boil, then reduce to simmer and cook until the veg is very soft. You may need to add a splash of water, so keep an eye to make sure it doesn’t dry out, but it should take around 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a clean, heat-proof jar, screw lid on while hot and leave to cool fully before popping in fridge.

4. When it’s time to cook the pork, take from the fridge for 20 minutes. Preheat your oven to 210oC, gas mark 6, with a shelf in the middle of it or just below. Transfer the pork to the small roasting dish and pour over the marinade to just below where the top fat layer starts. Rub the remaining marinade on the exposed fat. Pop the pork in for 10-12 minutes to crisp fat. Turn oven to 140oC, and cook further 90 minutes. Ovens vary, so check.

5. Place a wire cooling rack on top of a roasting tray with sides. Take pork from oven and place pieces on the wire rack to rest for 10 minutes.

6. For the gravy, mix 1tbsp each of oil / butter & flour in a small pan over a low heat. Gradually add the juices, stirring the whole time, and thin with stock or water as desired. Taste and season. Serve hot – it will thicken as it cools.

Jack Monroe’s Del Monte® mandarin, pickled bean, feta & herb salad

Ingredients:
For pickled beans:

• 1 can (400g) borlotti beans
• 1 can (400g) cannellini beans
• 1 small onion
• 6 fat cloves of garlic
• 1 tsp mixed dried herbs or a few sprigs of fresh thyme or rosemary
• 2 bay leaves
• 400ml light coloured vinegar
• 100ml light cooking oil
• 1 tbsp of salt
• Plenty of black pepper

For the salad and Mandarin dressing:

• One can (300g) Del Monte® mandarin segments in Juice
• Light-coloured vinegar
• Light cooking oil of
your choice
• Salt and pepper
• A handful of fresh basil
• A handful of fresh parsley
• 100g mixed salad leaves
• 100g feta or other Greek-style salad cheese

PREP: 30 minutes to prepare the bean pickle, four days to settle, 20 minutes to prepare the salad

MAKES: 2 or 3 as a main dish or 6 to 8 as a side

Method:

The pickled beans will need to be made well ahead; they start to come into their own about four days after bottling, but it is worth the wait!

1. Drain & rinse your beans. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Peel and very finely slice your onion and garlic, add. Measure in the dried herbs, mix & set it all to one side.

2. In a saucepan, combine vinegar, bay leaves, salt & pepper. Place on a medium hob ring on a high heat. Bring to the boil, then reduce to simmer. Add the bean mix and pour over the oil. Simmer for four or five more minutes. Remove the pan and stir well. Ladle evenly into clean, sterilised jars, filling to the neck to create an airtight seal. Fasten the lids immediately and leave to cool completely before transferring to the fridge. Gently turn the jars a few times at least once a day to redistribute the ingredients, before returning to the fridge.

3. To make the dressing: strain the mandarins through a fine-mesh sieve into a mixing bowl to separate the juice from the fruit. Pour the juice into a jar or bottle with a tight-fitting lid. Add an equal amount each of light-coloured vinegar and oil. Add a few pinches of salt and some pepper, and seal the vessel tightly. Shake well to emulsify and make your dressing and set it to one side.

4. To make the salad: add your salad leaves to a large mixing bowl, along with
most of the chopped parsley and whole basil leaves. Using a slotted spoon,
add a generous amount of the pickled beans, then add your drained mandarins and crumble in your feta. Dress generously with the mandarin dressing, toss briefly to coat everything. Serve with more black pepper to taste and any reserved herbs to garnish.

Jack’s tip 1:

The beans will keep for two months in the fridge unopened, but use within a week of opening.

Tip 2:

The salad dressing will keep in the fridge for up to 10 days, shake it every few days to re-combine it and it will last a bit longer.

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Star Q&A: Paul Stellar

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Singer & dad Paul Weller, 63, opens up about his new album Fat Pop (Volume I), collaborations and a hopeful return to live music.

Q. Congratulations on the album! How was it born? “Most things become more apparent when you’re working on a record, so I don’t think I had a masterplan, I just wanted to make a record as I was facing a whole year or more of not doing anything, as all the live stuff had been cancelled.”

Q. You recorded in each of your homes, coming together at Black Barn studio in Surrey didn’t you? “In the first bit of lockdown, I was recording my vocal and a guitar or piano to a click track, then I’d send that to the band members… so there was a bit of to-ing and fro-ing until we could all get together. It was very weird, and I wouldn’t say completely enjoyable as little things kept coming back that we could have easily fixed if we were all together, but it enabled us to stay working. Getting together in person though, was special. I’d say like the first day of school, but I hated school, so it was more like the last day, a real f***ing joy.”

Q. With your huge back catalogue you like to keep it fresh don’t you? “I’m always trying to keep my own interest and not repeat myself, which when you’ve been recording music as long as I have, can be difficult. The older I get, the less cautious I am about trying things. There was a similar ethos in The Style Council, I just don’t think I had the chops to bring it off successfully at times. If I believe in something though, I want people to hear it.”

Q. What was it like working with your star collaborators Andy Fairweather Low and your daughter Leah? “It was so easy and natural with Leah. We were sitting around the night before and I was playing this song on piano. She’s doing an album just now that Steve Cradock is producing. Even without doing the proud dad thing, I can see she’s coming up with really good songs. Andy Fairweather Low? Well, it was a joy to have him on board. We sang together a couple of years ago on a charity thing round my way in Guildford and our voices went really well together, so we’ve often said we should do something together.”

Q. What’s on the horizon? “My only ambition is to have more of what I’m having now; life, music, family, children and all that. I don’t have long-term plans because, as we’ve discovered in the last year, there ain’t no plan. As long as I get a bit more of this, I’m a happy man.”

For the latest news on Paul’s tour dates and releases, visit paulweller.com

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June recipes: Cupcakes & kindness

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Dust off your baking bowls, whip out your whisks and unite against dementia by signing up for Cupcake Day

Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes

Ingredients:

• 125g Dark Chocolate (minimum 56% cocoa solids)
• 125g Unsalted Butter
• 1.5 tsp Instant Coffee
• 90ml Boiling Water
• 120g Plain Flour
• 30g Cocoa Powder
• 1.5 tsp Baking Powder
• 100g Golden Caster Sugar
• 150g Light Brown Sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 95ml Sour Cream
• 1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste

For the icing:

• 360g dark chocolate
• 450g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
• 450g icing sugar

PREP: 20 minutes

COOKING: 25 minutes

MAKES: 4

Dementia is set to be the 21st century’s biggest killer and affect 1,000,000 people by 2025. Each cupcake sold this Cupcake Day, June 17th, will help Alzheimer’s Society reach more people, find out more about how you can help at cupcakeday.org.uk

Method:

1. Set the oven to 160C/150C fan/Gas Mark 3. Set out 12 cupcake cases in cupcake trays.

2. Melt together the chocolate and the butter in a medium pan. Separately, mix the instant coffee with the boiling water and then stir into the chocolate mixture until smooth.

3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and sugar. Give it a quick mix to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream and vanilla extract.

4. Mix together the wet ingredients, then fold into the dry ingredients.

5. Fill each case 2/3 of the way up and bake for around 25 minutes or until firm to the touch and a skewer poked in the middle comes out clean.

6. Cool in the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

For the icing:

1. Melt the chocolate in a small pan and set aside to cool slightly.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter with the icing sugar until pale and creamy (at least 4-5 minutes).

3. Fold the chocolate into the mixture, and use to ice the cooled cupcakes.

Very Berry Vegan Cupcakes

Ingredients:

• 240g self-raising flour (or gluten-free flour)
• 220g caster sugar
• 5 tablespoons rapeseed oil
• 225 ml almond milk
• 190g fresh strawberry purée
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 50g dairy-free margarine
• 300g icing sugar
• 50g fresh strawberry purée
• Fresh strawberries for decoration
• Multi-coloured sprinkles (optional)

PREP: 20 minutes

COOKING: 15-18 minutes

MAKES: 12

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C for 15 minutes and line a cupcake tin with 12 large cupcake liners.

1. Sift the flour and sugar into a large mixing bowl.

2. In another bowl, blend the strawberry purée, oil, almond milk and vanilla extract.

3. Pour the strawberry mixture onto the dry ingredients and use an electric whisk to combine until the batter is smooth.

4. Fill 12 cupcake liners two-thirds full with the batter and bake for 15-18 minutes.

5. Set aside and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

6. To make the sumptuous strawberry icing place the margarine in a large mixing bowl and sift in the icing sugar in stages, whisking well to ensure the icing is fluffy and smooth. Add the pureed strawberries to the mixture.

7. Once the cupcakes are cool, spread or pipe the icing onto the cakes and decorate with multi-coloured sprinkles and a fresh strawberry. The fresh strawberries in the decadently fruity icing means it’s best to ice the cakes immediately before serving.

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Star Q&A: Danny Goffey

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Recipes

Liz Nicholls chats to musician & dad of four Danny Goffey, 47, who will star with his Supergrass bandmates at Englefield House in Theale as part of a series of gigs which have been postponed to July 2022…

Q. Hello Danny. It’s great that live music is back – do you enjoy playing the hits, getting the bangers out..? “I love getting my bangers out! Our songs are interesting and intricate enough that when you’re playing them, you’re concentrating and getting really into them. We did a tour before Covid, finished with a couple of gigs at Ally Pally and it felt… all right actually! Now playing live has a new meaning. Mind you, we’re doing a year of touring – maybe ask me at the end of that!”

Q. Do you know Englefield House? “I don’t. I moved to Oxford when I was 10 or 11. I went to school in Maidenhead and grew up around Cookham. It was a lovely childhood, mucking about in the woods, on the river, mad stuff.”

Q. Can you tell us about Oxford in the 1990s? “I remember loads and loads of pubs, characters. We had such a good laugh up and down the Cowley Road and in Jericho, at the Tavern, Freud’s and Raoul’s. Down Little Clarendon Street there was a place called Barcelona; I think I got thrown out for wearing pyjamas and acting really stupid. It was so free and easy compared to today.”

Q. Do you wish you kept a diary of those early days? “I suppose the beauty of mad off-the-wall moments is that you don’t remember them, which is sometimes the best way, haha! Some of those times were hectic and insane so it’s great not to be able to remember them. I’ve been writing my book to go with my new record so I’ve been reflecting on old times. I wish I’d written a diary from ages 16 to 20; how the band started, ins and outs. I’d recommend anyone starting something they think’s gonna be great to document it… Which everyone does these days anyway.”

Q. What’s your first memory of music? “Going through my dad’s rack of 45s, the Beatles, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Rolf Harris. Weird comedy records. The first band I got into were Dexys Midnight Runners; that was the first single I bought. I am crap with music nowadays; I haven’t got a record player or good stereo at the moment. I don’t listen to music much, it’s more Radio 4.”

Q. Have you felt insular during lockdown? “I’ve kept busy, with my album and book. It’s about an ageing semi-retired rock star and how he gets bullied by his family! I’ve spent a lot of time at a beach house, trying to fit decking. But I know it’s been really tough for a lot of people so I’m lucky.”

Q. What’s on your rider? “Me and Gaz tend to have a few vodka and Red Bulls before going on stage; it gives you a bit of an edge, lets you go a bit bonkers for a couple of hours. Wine and beers. A good coffee machine. We’re quite easygoing.”

Q. Who is your dream collaboration? “Ahhh, it’s endless. I’d loved to have worked on songs with Ian Dury. David Bowie. Years ago I wangled a way to play drums with Paul McCartney on bass for a Christmas album. That’ll do me.”

Q. Do you still get compared to McCartney? “Not as much as when I was younger. I look really mental at the moment with my long, wild hair.”
• To book your tickets visit heritagelive.net

Star Q&A: James Arthur

Round & About

Recipes

Liz Nicholls asks singer James Arthur, about music, mental health and more. His new single September is out on 11th June, via Columbia Records, taken from his as-yet untitled album out in autumn

Hello James – thank you so much for taking time to share your thoughts with our readers.

 

Q. Congratulations on the new album, and the single out in June. You must be really proud of these? “Honestly, I am so proud of this whole album. I made the whole thing at home during lockdown, and I never could have imagined the difference working in a space I felt comfortable in could have led to me being able to produce the best work I believe I’ve ever made.”

Q. As someone who suffers anxiety myself, and a huge fan of CBT thank you for being so honest about it. How are you feeling now? “I take it day by day, I’ve found really focusing on staying present is the most important thing for me, I can’t control the past or the future, and trying to do so only breeds anxiety, so I focus on being in the present moment and just being grateful for that. What advice would you have for anyone going through a dark time? Speak to someone, you will be so surprised at the support you will receive if you just let people in, all it takes is a text to someone saying ‘I’m really not feeling ok’ which might sound like a scary thing to do, but by doing that, you are no longer alone. There is also an amazing out-of-hours mental health helpline by the charity SANE (sane.org.uk) if you don’t feel like you can speak to someone you know.”

Q. What is your go-to album or song to lift your spirits & make you feel good? “Got to be Real by Cheryl Lynn is my jam.”

Q. What is your first memory of music? “My early childhood memories of music are of rock vinyls playing at my dad’s (Thin Lizzy, AC/DC etc) – also Prince, Michael Jackson and soul music on repeat at my mum’s.”

Q. How did you feel about fame when you were young? And how do you feel about fame now? “I don’t think I ever really thought about fame when I was younger – the greats that I looked up to, I didn’t necessarily see them as famous, I was just so inspired by their talent. I also think the concept of fame was very different when I was younger – people that were ‘famous’ were very untouchable, you knew nothing of them apart from their art, and fast disposable fame didn’t really exist, whereas now, with social media, people really have an massive amount of access to a person’s life and personality. I guess it’s a necessary evil. I don’t think of myself as famous which probably helps me, and I’m so grateful to have people who love my music enough that would consider themselves a ‘fan’ of me, but if I could do my job without being famous, I’d definitely take that option!”

Q. How do you take care of your fantas1c voice? Anything you don’t eat or drink, or exercises etc? “I learnt very quickly after back to back tours that if I want to sing the way I want to sing every night I have to look after my voice, so I do an hour’s warm-up before a show and then a cool down after the show too. Even with that, if I don’t have days of complete voice rest built into the tour my voice completely cuts out for a few days, and it’s the worst feeling in the world as there’s nothing I can do to make it come back but wait and rest. It’s one of the most frustrating things about touring for me, so it’s a constant balancing act.”

Q. You have said you miss touring – having had some rest time, are you ready to go & perform live now? “I cannot wait! I’ve got some festivals lined up this summer and I’m really hoping they go ahead.”

Q. Is there an upcoming /lesser-known artist out there who you want to give a shout-out to & urge us all to listen to their music? “Shotty Horroh – I’ve been shouting from the rooftops about this artist for many years and I will continue to do so. He’s the best MC.”

Q. Rule of six time: who would be your dream party guests to hang out or have dinner/picnic with, living or dead, real or fictional? “Kurt Cobain, Jay Z, Elvis, Cillian Murphy, Ed Norton, William Wallace.”

Q. Do you have a favourite book? “My two favourite books are Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig and The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.”

Q. What were your favourite saviours of lockdown: i.e. things that made lockdown life better? “FIFA was massive for me during lockdown – I put my gamer tag on Twitter and my requests went crazy. From that I managed to find five guys who have become my really good friends. We spent the first lockdown speaking for hours and hours while playing FIFA every night. I’ve never even met any of them, but I speak to them nearly every day, and having that escapism was massive for me during lockdown.”

Q. If you could make one wish for the world, what would it be? “I’d wish that people would be kinder to each other. I don’t even think that’s that big an ask.”

Q. Is there anything on your horizon or future ambitions you can tell us about? “There’s some exciting acting roles coming up for me, but I might get sacked if I talk about it so you’ll have to ask me again next time!”