Hard & Fast

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We’re sharing a taste of The Fast 800 Keto recipe book, as seen on Channel 4’s Lose A Stone In 21 days by Dr Clare Bailey who is on tour with her husband Dr Michael Mosely this month

Creamy broccoli, ginger and coriander soup

A light soup with the warming qualities of coconut, ginger and coriander running through it. The recipe makes enough for four but it keeps well in the fridge or freezer.

Serves 4, Prep 5-7 minutes, Cook 15-20 minutes.

Ingredients

1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped, 40g fresh root ginger, roughly chopped (no need to peel)

1 and half tbsp oil

1 head of broccoli, roughly chopped

1x 400ml tin coconut milk

Vegetable stock cube

15g fresh coriander

40g flaked almonds, toasted, to garnish

Cook’s tip:

Add a protein top-up if you like. Fried diced bacon or feta cheese would go well

1. Place the onion, ginger and olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and saute for three or four minutes until softened

2. Add the broccoli, coconut milk, stock cube and 800ml water (simply refill the empty tin twice). Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Remove from the heat, add the coriander and blitz with a stick blender until completely smooth. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve, topped with flaked almonds.

Persian love cake



Loosely based on a Persian Love Cake, this enchantingly exotic concoction lives up to its name. not sure I do it justice, but it certainly goes down well, with its tangy, orange-flavoured topping, and rich, nutty base. High in protein and nutrients, it has no added sugar, is low-carb and feels like a real treat… Enjoy

Serves 8, Prep 30 minutes, Cook 30 minutes

Ingredients

100g dried figs, finely chopped

60g coconut oil or butter

Two medium free range eggs

60g shelled pistachio nuts, roughly chopped

Two medium oranges, zested and juiced

100g almonds

1tsp ground cinnamon

1tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 tbsp free-dried raspberries

1 tbsp cider vinegar

For the icing

60g cream cheese

1tsp honey

1tsp lemon zest

Cook’s tip:

This freezes well (so you don’t need to eat it all at once, as Michael is frequently tempted to do). You could use a loaf tin liner if you have one.

1. Preheat the oven to 180C / Fan 160C/ gas 4. Line the base of a 20cm x 10cm loaf tin with parchment paper.

2. Place the figs, coconut oil and eggs in a bowl and blitz with a stick blender for about a minute, until creamy but retaining some texture.

3. Stir in 40g of the pistachios, the orange juice, half the orange zest, the ground almonds, cinnamon, cardamom, bicarbonate of soda, half the dried raspberries and a generous pinch of salt. Mix well, then add the cider vinegar and mix again.

4. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and bake for about 30 minutes until cooked through and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Turn out of the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.

5. To make the Topping, mix the remaining orange zest with the cream cheese, honey and lemon zest in a small bowl. Spread it on to the cooled cake, then sprinkle the remaining chopped pistachios and dried raspberries on top.

Emily Roux’s packed lunch recipes

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Chef Emily Roux and Lexus have rustled up some posh packed lunches to enjoy in the car or on your next road trip!

Typical packed lunch fare such as pasties, soggy sandwiches and packets of crisps, can be bland and unappetising, so Lexus has teamed up with renowned chef Emily Roux to create some gourmet recipes that are perfect to eat in the car. Emily’s carefully crafted, delicious creations are easy to prepare and perfect if your picnic has been rained off, or if you’re waiting for a ferry or Eurotunnel.

Emily has honed her culinary skills in some of Europe’s most acclaimed restaurants and today is the co-owner of Caractère restaurant in London’s Notting Hill. She has used her expertise to create simple recipes that can add an element of delicacy and luxury to your packed lunch.

Wasabi crab tartlets

Ingredients:
• 250g double cream
• 70g milk
• 5g wasabi powder or paste
• 4g salt
• Two egg yolks
• One whole egg

Other ingredients:
• 270g pack of ready-made filo pastry
• 20g melted butter (for brushing)
• 100g picked crab (white, brown, or mixed according to preference)
• Zest of one lemon
• Fresh chives, mint leaves, coriander, or other herbs to suit personal taste
• Salt, pepper, olive oil

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 165°C fan (325°F/gas mark 4).
2. Brush each layer of filo with melted butter, stacking at least four sheets on top of each other.
3. Press and cut to the dimensions of your tart moulds.
4. Bake each filo stack in the moulds, with pressure on top, for between seven and 10 minutes (or until crispy and golden). To create the weighted pressure, ideally use the same-sized mould inserted one into the other; alternatively, baking beans will do the trick.
5. Leave to cool and lower the oven temperature to 165°C fan (325°F/gas mark 4).
6. Meanwhile, use a handheld blender to blitz all the wasabi cream ingredients together. Pass the mixture through a sieve for a smooth finish.
7. Once the tartlets have completely cooled, pour in the cream mix, filling to halfway.
8. Bake in the oven for a further 15 minutes until the mixture has cooked through and solidified.
9. Leave to cool – the tartlets are designed to be eaten at room temperature.
10. Season the crab to your taste and add any chopped fresh herbs that take your fancy.
11. Top tartlets with seasoned crab.

For a vegetarian alternative, replace the crab with mushrooms or courgette shavings and fresh herbs.

Dark chocolate crinkle cookies

Temperature and timing are very important with this recipe, so it is best to have all the ingredients weighed out before you start.

Ingredients:
• 200g dark chocolate, finely chopped
• 125g unsalted butter, diced
• 150g caster sugar
• 100g light brown sugar
• Two eggs
• 130g plain flour
• 3 tbsp cocoa powder
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1tsp sea salt (for sprinkling)

Method:

1. Line two baking trays with baking paper and preheat the oven to 175°C, fan oven (350°F/gas mark 4).
2. Place the butter and chocolate in a basin over a bain marie or a saucepan of gently boiling water, ensuring the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir occasionally until the mixture is fully melted.
3. Remove the bowl from the heat and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the eggs and sugars on medium-high speed, for five minutes.
4. Once the eggs and sugar have been mixing for exactly five minutes, pour in the chocolate mixture and mix for a further minute or so to combine.
5. Meanwhile, mix together the dry ingredients, then add to the mixer bowl, mixing briefly until just combined.
6. Use an ice cream scoop to form the cookies. The batter will be a little on the wet side. Make sure to leave plenty to space between each cookie on the baking tray, as they will spread as they cook.
7. Sprinkle each cookie with a little flaked sea salt before placing into the oven and baking for 12 minutes. The cookies will come out of the oven with a wonderful, crinkled look and a slightly domed shape. They will collapse a little as they cool but this helps form that perfect fudgy centre.
8. Sprinkle on a little sea salt to taste and let the cookies cool for at least 20-30 minutes.

Green goodness in watercress season

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Watercress is abundant at this time of year and it’s packed full of goodness with many health benefits

Grilled Nectarine & Feta Salad (pictured above)

Classic cassoulet

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Italian delights from Gennaro Contaldo’s

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We’re sharing a taste of Gennaro’s Cucina: Hearty Money-Saving Meals from an Italian Kitchen by Gennaro Contaldo, out now published by Pavilion Books

Ä Linguine alla puttanesca

This typical Neapolitan dish is sometimes referred to as pasta alla marinara or simply as con olive e capperi, which are com-mon ingredients is this part of Italy. The name Puttanesca came about in the mid-20th century it was claimed that this dish was served in the brothels of Naples – puttana means ‘whore’ in Italian. Another theory was that a restaurant owner on the island of Ischia put together this dish when a group of late-night customers asked him to make una puttanata qualsiasi – in other words, make whatever you’ve got to hand. And that is exactly what he did with the ingredients he found in his kitchen. Whatever the reason behind its title, this spicy pasta dish is quick and simple to prepare with store cupboard ingredients.

Ribollita

This traditional hearty Tuscan soup is perfect for using up vegetables and stale bread. It was born out of a necessity to make meals go further and last longer. It was probably also made to be eaten for several days, hence its name Ribollita, which means “to reboil”. You can use any type of cabbage, spring greens and spinach and basically any vegetables you have.

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February recipes: Batch of the day!

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Here’s a taste of Suzanne Mulholland’s The Batch Lady: Cooking on a Budget, out now, published by HarperCollins

She says in the introduction to this book: “As I became a busy working wife and mum I realised that those skills are also very much needed in our home environment too. We’re constantly playing the juggling game that is modern day life, and it can be stressful as we try to manage budgets, feed our families well, and get nutritious meals on the table that offer variety and keep everyone happy. That, combined with trying to reduce packaging, reduce food waste and eat less meat, can have our brains spinning.

“This book was packed full of hearty recipes designed to fill your freezer (and your belly!) with tasty food that could be put on the table with little fuss. My second, The Batch Lady: Healthy Family Favourites, focussed on making the comforting family food we all love a little bit healthier.”

Roast butternut squash with a couscous crust

Prep: 10 minutes | Cooking: 70 minutes | Serves: Four

Ingredients:

• Glug of olive or vegetable oil
• One large butternut squash, topped, tailed, cut into quarters and seeds removed
• ½ cup (100g) couscous
• ½ cup (120ml) boiling water
• 100g feta cheese
• Juice of one lemon
• Two heaped tbsp pesto
• Eight cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• Olive oil, for roasting

Roasting butternut squash in this way brings out its natural sweetness and delicious earthy flavours. Bulked up with fluffy couscous this is substantial enough as a main meal, but would also work as a side dish or even a dinner party starter.

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/gas mark 4. Add a glug of oil to a lipped baking sheet. Place in the oven to warm.
2. Once the oil is hot, add the butternut to the tray, turning to coat in the oil as you do. Bake for 40 minutes, turning halfway through, until the squash is golden and just tender.
3. Transfer the couscous to a large bowl and pour over half a cup (120ml) of boiling water. Cover and set aside for five minutes, then fluff the couscous up with a fork.
4. Crumble the feta into the bowl, then add the lemon juice, pesto, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

If you’re cooking to eat now… Spoon the couscous mix over the roasted squash and return to the oven for another 30 minutes. Divide the wedges between serving plates and serve. Zhuzh it up with a good drizzle of balsamic glaze.

If you’re making ahead to freeze… Set the squash and couscous aside until cooled to room temperature, then transfer the squash wedges to a large freezer bag and the couscous to a smaller bag. Seal the couscous bag and then place inside the bag with the squash before sealing. Label and freeze flat for up to three months.

Then… Remove the squash and couscous from the freezer and place in the fridge to defrost, ideally overnight. Once defrosted lay the squash on a foil-lined baking sheet and spoon over the couscous. Transfer to an oven preheated to 180˚C/350˚F/gas mark 4 and bake for 30 minutes, until piping hot all the way through. Serve as above.

Mexican beef nacho topper

Prep: 10 minutes | Cooking: 8-10 minutes | Serves: Four

Ingredients:

• Splash of vegetable or olive oil
• One cup (115g) frozen chopped onions
• 1 tsp frozen chopped garlic
• 250g minced beef
• 1 x 30g packet taco seasoning
• 1 x 395g tin mixed beans in chilli sauce
• 2 tbsp tomato purée 
• One cup (175g) frozen sliced peppers

To serve:

• One 200g bag lightly salted tortilla chips
• One cup (90g) pre-grated Cheddar cheese
• MAKE IT Veggie! Replace the beef with a plant-based mince of your choice.

Cheesy, spicy and loaded with flavour, this is the ultimate sharing dish for when you have lots of hungry mouths to feed. If you’re feeding more than four, this is easy to scale up by simply doubling or tripling the ingredient amounts.

Method:

1. Heat a splash of oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and mince and cook, stirring, for about five minutes, until the onions are translucent and meat browned.
2. Drain any excess fat from the pan, then return to the heat and add the taco seasoning, beans, tomato puree and sliced peppers. Give everything another stir to combine, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and leave to cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes. Remove from the heat.

If you’re serving now… Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/gas mark 4. Transfer the tortilla chips to a large baking dish and warm in the oven for five minutes, until crisp. Remove from the oven and ladle the chilli over the top. Scatter over the grated cheese then return the dish to the oven for 6-8 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Put the dish in the middle of the table for everyone to enjoy. Zhuzh it up… Scatter over some fresh coriander and serve with guacamole and pickled jalapenos alongside.

If you’re making ahead to freeze… Leave the beef chilli to cool to room temperature, then transfer to a large, labelled freezer bag and freeze flat for up to three months.

Then… Remove the bag from the freezer and leave to defrost in the fridge, ideally overnight. Once defrosted, tip the beef chilli into a large saucepan over a medium heat and reheat, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes, until piping hot. While the chilli is reheating, warm the tortilla chips then assemble the Mexican Nacho Topper as described above.

Sobell House cookbook Matt Allwright Q&A

Liz Nicholls

recipes

Matt Allwright, one of the stars whose recipes are featured in Food & Wellness: The Sobell House Vegetarian Cook Book, shares his thoughts about local life, good causes and consumer rights…

Q. Hi Matt. It’s great that you’ve been involved in the new Sobell House cookbook. What’s your recipe? “It’s the chilli jam I make every year. I grow my own chillis and I never know quite how hot it’s going to be until its done. Last year it was so hot that you just had to show the jar to a piece of cheese, and that was enough, even with the lid on…”

Q. Is there anything you eat or don’t eat? “I eat everything. Not a massive fan of avocado, but I’ll cope. I’m a grateful diner, and I eat with gusto. I had a real problem with beetroot for years, and now it’s one of my favourite things, so it just goes to show nothing’s really off-limits. Christmas is traditional. There is too much at stake to mess with the formula.”

Q. Why is Sobell House a great charity, deserving of support, including yours? “My good friend Tom is the music therapist at Sobell House. They don’t see our last days and weeks as a waiting game. They see it as an opportunity to help find meaning, to tell a story to heal the spirit and calm the mind. I would love to think that when the time comes, we could all have someone to help us write songs, to tend gardens, to do whatever we think is significant, and to give us the chance to share important ideas and feelings with our loved ones. That’s proper work.”

Q. You’re familiar to millions as a defender of consumer rights… Do rogue traders really make your blood boil? “We always start the process by meeting someone who has been affected by the actions of the trader. You can’t ignore that face-to-face experience. From that point the whole team knows it’s their job to confront the rogue to get answers. I don’t’ feel anger, more a sense of duty to hold to account and bring change. I don’t like letting people down, especially when they’ve taken a risk to talk to us. Also: if you are born with the annoying ability to ask questions when running backwards or being jet washed, you’d better use that power for good.” 

Q.  Do you feel that as a nation we’re bad at fighting for our rights or complaining? “Not everyone feels they can speak out enough when things aren’t right. When someone tries to impose a way of life on us, or harms with their actions, we can be submissive, or worry about the consequences of standing up for ourselves or others. That’s how bullies get their way, and I’ve always grown up hating bullying. Sometimes you need someone to point out what’s wrong, even if they risk being unpopular by doing so. I try to make my point firmly but politely, bearing in mind that my view is not the only one. You’re much better off if you can find middle ground, but with some people that’s just not possible.” 

Growing up

Q. How was your experience of growing up in Berkshire? “Berkshire was always good to me. I was lucky to have a comfortable home in a fun town full of music and friends supported by parents who loved me. I met my wife on the streets of Reading when we were both at school. That’s the most important thing that’s ever happened to me, so thank you, Berkshire.”  

Q. What are your favourite aspects of life in Berkshire, and where are your favourite haunts? “I’m lucky that I meet a lot of volunteers through the Pride of Reading Awards and the other organisations I work with. There are so many people who help others because it’s right – not seeking recognition or advancement. These people see the instinctively try to fill the gaps left by society, and they far outweigh the rogues and bullies. Haunts? I love the river. The slipway at Aston near Henley on a spring morning is hard to beat.”  

Q. Your dog Ozzy looks cute! Is he? What’s been the most rewarding, and most frustrating, aspect of being a dog owner? “Ozzy is my first dog, and I could never have imagined how wonderful he’d be. He’s transformed family life. Dogs are the greatest gift, like someone decided to parcel up the best bits of humans: loyalty, playfulness and enthusiasm, and then cover them in fur. He barks far too much, eats anything and smells dreadful.”  

Q. We’re also supporting Launchpad Reading this month. Why do local heroes working to prevent homelessness also deserve our support, especially at this time of year? “I’ve been a patron of Launchpad for years. The work they do, to help people find homes, and then support them in those homes, is incredible. All charities, particularly local ones, are struggling right now, due to the cost of living crisis. Anything we can do to help Launchpad and others continue and extend their work, will have a huge effect on someone, somewhere, who doesn’t live that far away, and has had some bad luck. So please, donate, volunteer and spread the word.” 

Q. Who is your favourite author? “George Orwell. Most people think of the darkness and dystopia of 1984. They don’t always see the humour or the love of nature in his writing which stems from his childhood in Henley and Shiplake. Everywhere tries to lay claim to Orwell, but from clues in his writing it seems to me that Berkshire was where he was happiest, fishing in the river, walking alone through the woods and fields, identifying birds and plants.”  

Q. Can you tell us a bit about your love for Bracknell Bees? “The day the ice rink closed was terrible for the community. We loved watching the team play, and being part of the wonderful world of hockey. The players were rough and tough on the ice, but patient and thoughtful with the kids who were learning the game. I imagine they’ll build flats on the site at some point, but the families that live in them won’t have anything as great as the rink to keep them happy.”  

Q. Finally, if you could make one wish for the world, what would it be? “Just tolerance, really. Understanding that just because someone doesn’t think, sound or look like you, or come from where you do, it doesn’t make them some sort of threat. We might have lost a bit of that.” 

The Sobell House Vegetarian Cook Book is out on 8th November. To buy a copy of this 128-page paperback for £17.50 visit Sobell House or buy from Waterstones and Amazon.

November recipes: French Kiss

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Cathy Gayner’s Recipes from Le Rouzet – An English Cook in France, is out now, in aid of Age Unlimited. Here’s a taster…

Walnut tart

Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
Serves: Four generously

Ingredients

For the pastry:
• 110g butter
• 140g flour
• 30g icing sugar
• 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

For the filling:
• 20g butter
• 200g golden syrup
• 100g walnut halves
• A pinch of mixed spice
• 100g mixed peel
• Four madeleines (or soft amaretti), crumbled
• One egg, beaten

Method

This is very much part of Le Rouzet menus in the early autumn, when our walnuts are beginning to ripen and every tree seems to have a red squirrel perched in it, noisily eating our supply. It’s like a sophisticated treacle tart, but not heavy, and is really worth making, even if you don’t have large quantities of walnuts to use up.

Put all the ingredients for the pastry into a food processor and mix until the dough forms a ball. Press the dough into a 20cm tart tin with a removable base. Prick the pastry all over really thoroughly, even up the sides (this will prevent shrinkage), then chill in the fridge.

Cook in a preheated oven at 180C/ fan 160/ gas 4 until golden.

Melt the butter and syrup in a pan and stir in all the other ingredients. Pour into the pastry case and cook at 190C/fan 170C/gas 5 for 15 minutes.

Cool in the tin but as soon as you can, loosen the edges of the tart or it will get stuck. Serve with crème fraiche.

Cheese biscuits

Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 10 mins
Makes: 40

Ingredients:

• 250g extra-mature Cheddar, cut into chunks
• 250g salted butter, straight from the fridge, cut into chunks
• 250g plain flour
• Tabasco
• Dijon mustard
• Salt & pepper

Method

I have dozens of recipes for cheese biscuits, but these are the ones the family insist on and I always have some in the freezer, ready to bake.

These amounts fit into my food processor perfectly; don’t be tempted to do more in one go, as it just won’t mix properly.

Put the cheese, butter and flour into the food processor and add 12 shakes of Tobasco, a heaped tablespoon of mustard, 25 grinds of pepper and two teaspoons of salt. (This is just a guide!).

Whizz all this up in the food processor and, as soon as the mixture forms a ball, stop and divide it into three parts.

Lay out three large bits of cling film and put a ball of cheese mixture on to each. With damp hands, roughly shape each ball into a sausage. Then roll up each parcel in the cling film and holding one end tightly, with the other hand, the thumb and first finger forming a circle, ease the dough along
the cling film, so you have a long, even sausage measuring about 30cm long
and 5cm across.

Freeze these parcels until you’re ready to use them (don’t attempt to cut them unless they are very cold; they will end up squashy). When you’re ready to cook, take the parcels out of the freezer and heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. By the time they have reached the right temperature, the cheese sausages will have thawed enough to cut into 2cm slices.

Line a tray with baking parchment and arrange the slices on it. Cook for about 10 minutes until golden brown; you can move them on to a serving plate straight from the oven without them coming to any harm.

They are best eaten on the day they are cooked, but if you have any left over, they freeze beautifully.

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October recipes: Rice up your life!

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We’ve teamed up with The Rice Association to offer you some seasonal inspiration to jazz up a store-cupboard ingredient.

National Rice Week is back this September (12-18th September), and to help you Rice Up Your Life we have some delicious and easy new recipes to tempt you to try a new rice dish.

From bomba rice in Arroz De Marisco, Basmati rice in Turmeric Garlic Rice, long-grain rice in Middle Eastern Green Rice with Tofu Kebabs, risotto rice in Risotto Soup and to using leftover rice in Vegan Rice Pudding with Roasted Plums, there’s a new recipe that everyone can enjoy.

All types of rice offer equally good value as they are convenient, full of nutrients, easy to cook and versatile. In fact, rice is one of the few foods that can be enjoyed sweet or savoury, hot or cold and for every meal of the day, even snacks.

To find out more ways to make the most of rice and to discover what’s happening during the week this National Rice Week, visit riceassocation.org.uk and for even more tasty rice recipes, visit riceassociation.org.uk/recipes

Vegan Rice Pudding with Roasted Plums by Samantha Hadadi

Prep time: 5 mins | Cooking time: 15 mins | Serves: 2

For the plums:

• 1 tbsp maple syrup
• 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
• 300g ripe plums, stoned and sliced
• 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

For the rice pudding:

• 180g cooked leftover cooked or pouched Basmati rice
• 180-250ml plant-based milk e.g. cashew
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
• Pinch ground nutmeg
• 2 tbsp maple syrup
• 2-4 tbsp plant-based cream
• Optional: Flaked almonds to serve

Method

Start by preheating your oven to 180C / gas mark four and then prepare the plums. Whisk together the vanilla and maple syrup. Arrange your sliced plums on a lined baking tray, then drizzle with the maple syrup. Sprinkle over ground cinnamon, then toss to coat. Roast until juicy and oozing (around 15 minutes but check at 12 minutes). Set aside.

In the meantime, make your rice pudding. Add the cooked rice to a medium pan, then pour in 180ml of milk, as well as the vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and 2 tbsp of maple syrup. Stir well, then heat (on a low to medium heat) until thickened, creamy and the rice is soft (around 10 minutes) – add a splash more milk, if needed. Stir in the plant-based cream until you achieve texture desired.

Serve warm with flaked almonds and the plums and their juices.

Turmeric Garlic Pilaf by Your Food Fantasy

Ingredients:

• 350g Basmati rice
• 2 tsp turmeric
• Two star anise seeds
• Five or six black peppercorns
• Two or three cloves
• 1 inch cinnamon stick
• Two black cardamom
• 4 tbsp vegetable oil
• 1 tsp cumin seeds
• Two bay leaves
• Six or seven cloves garlic (sliced/chopped)
• Large onion (thinly sliced)
• 20g cashews
• 45g green peas
• 15g raisins

Prep time: 5 minutes | Soaking time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes | Serving: 4

Method

Wash and soak rice in water for minimum 30 minutes. Bring 1.2L of water to boil in a large saucepan, add soaked rice, turmeric powder, star anise seeds, black peppercorn, cloves, cinnamon stick, black cardamom, and 2 tablespoons of oil. Gently stir, then let the rice boil for 5-7 minutes.

Once rice is cooked (rice should soft) switch off the heat and drain in a colander. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Heat the remaining oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add cumin seeds, bay leaves and stir. Add sliced garlic and onion to it and sauté till they are golden in colour. Add cashews and sauté again.

Now add peas and sauté again. Cover the pan with lid and let peas cook for 3-4 minutes. Add raisins and sauté. Add cooked rice and mix well. Cover the pan again and let rice steam for 3-4 minutes.

Switch off the heat and serve the rice hot. Enjoy!

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Star Q&A: Tom Kerridge

Liz Nicholls

recipes

Michelin-starred chef & dad Tom Kerridge, 49, chats to Liz about life, loves and his Full Time Meals campaign with Marcus Rashford.

Q. Hi Tom! As this month is our education supplement, I wonder, did you enjoy school? “I loved school but it wasn’t necessarily the right thing for me. I had fun hanging out with mates but the academic system of remembering things and then repeating them wasn’t right for me. I felt much more at home at culinary college, vocational learning. I’m a using my hands, getting things done kind of person. But our son Ace loves school; he’s six so he’s making friends and loving it every day.”

Q. Your charity campaign with Marcus Rashford is very admirable; what’s your mission? “The big thing I’ve been involved in with Marcus is trying to end childhood poverty, trying to make sure kids from disadvantaged backgrounds are given those equal opportunities irrespective of their financial background. It shouldn’t matter where you’re born or what your background – I’ve love people from families who are struggling not to know: don’t be duped into believing you’re part of a system – believe you can achieve anything for yourself. The Full Time Meals campaign that we’ve put together is about using pocket-friendly ingredients and it’s for beginners or people who can’t or haven’t spent lots of time cooking before. It’s about confidence, which means less time cooking.”

Q. What’s the most surprising thing that fatherhood has taught you? “How hard it is! Parental guilt is a massive thing. I never thought I’d feel caught between two worlds, professionally and personally, paying your bills then the guilt of not being at home. Finding that balance is very difficult. Everybody feels that – but as long as the kid’s all right you’re doing all right!”

Q. Did lockdown highlight your love for your community? “We’re very lucky to live in Marlow. It’s quite an affluent town but it’s also very loving and giving, a very supportive environment. But it does also have its share of people who are needy and vulnerable in society. We made 1,000 meals a week for people from all different backgrounds who you wouldn’t normally see. It was incredibly worthwhile.”

Q. How are your dogs getting on? “Really well thanks. We’ve now got a French bulldog rescue called Zee and a puppy Labrador called Diddler. Marlow woods and common are great places for dogs – it’s like dog heaven with rope swings on trees.”

Q. What’s the first meal you cooked that blew your mind? “Spaghetti bolognese is one of those first meals everybody else cooks. I still adore it, especially if it’s been made the day before to allow the flavours to mature. My wife & I constantly argue over whether to put carrots in; I’m in the ‘carrots in’ camp.”

Q. What would you choose as your last meal? “It’s gotta be something brilliantly British like fish and chips or maybe roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.”

Q. What kitchen gadget could you not live without? “It’s always the simplest things that are the best, like a great knife and a good wooden chopping board. Or one of those speed peelers that works really well.”

Q. You look so fit & well – do you have any guilty pleasures? “You’re very kind but I have a daily battle like everybody else. My world is full of food which makes it very very difficult, no matter where I am in different spaces. I feel guilty about eating all of it! I basically try to go to the gym four or five times a week if not more to offset my eating. I give myself specific long-term goals. It used to be swimming a mile or doing heavy deadlifts – I like something to work towards.”

* For more about Tom, his restaurants and the Full Time Meals campaign at tomkerridge.com

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Star Q&A: Ainsley Harriott

Liz Nicholls

recipes

We chat to chef, TV presenter & dad Ainsley Harriott MBE, 65, about love, laughs & living well.

Q. Hello Ainsley! You’ve been cheering the nation up for decades. Do you work hard to take good care of your mental health or are you blessed with being a naturally positive person? “I think people who know me would say that I’m lucky enough to be naturally positive and I genuinely like to have a good laugh whenever possible. I shrug off disappointments fairly easily – it comes from years of following Arsenal…”

Q. What’s the first meal that blew your mind? “I remember my dad regularly taking us all to a Chinese restaurant in Soho when I was a kid. It was a much rarer experience in those days and I loved those meals.”

Q. You’ve had so much success as a writer. Whose books do you love? “Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings has always been an important book to me. As for cookbooks, I’ve always enjoyed anything by Ken Hom.”

Q. We’ve been loving watching your travels on your shows. If you had to pick anywhere in the world, where is your ‘happy place’? “Well, I just returned from a fabulous break at the Coral Reef in Barbados. It’s where I go to really relax, so I guess you could definitely call it my happy place.”

Q. Is there anything you don’t eat? Either because it gives you the ick or you steer clear of? “I’ve no idea why, but the only thing that disagrees with me is cucumber.”

Q. What kitchen gadget could you not do without? “I wouldn’t like to be without my late mum’s dutchie pot.”

Q. What’s your favourite piece of music? And what’s your first memory of music? “Picking one piece of music is impossible, of course, because it completely depends on your mood. I love a bit of Nina Simone – but then again, I often have Classic FM playing throughout the day. My earliest memory of music would be sitting under the piano while my dad, who toured the world as a professional musician, was playing.”

Q. What piece of advice to give to any parent trying to make ends meet in terms of feeding the family? “Plan and stick to a menu for the week. It helps to avoid waste and ought to reduce overbuying.”

Q. Finally, if you could make one wish for the world, what would it be? “The same as everyone else: an end to all the constant conflict and all the human misery that goes along with it.”

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