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Chris Baber’s best-in-season recipes

From crispy chilli beef to apple crumble muffins, discover the Chris Baber recipes that put seasonal ingredients centre stage

Crispy chilli beef

“Bring the flavours of your favourite takeaway home with my crispy chilli beef that’s amazing served with fluffy rice and steamed pak choi.”

Serves 4

  • 2 large rump steaks (about 240g each)
  • 50g cornflour
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 45g pack M&S chopped chilli, ginger and garlic
  • 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 4 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 large oranges, zested and juiced
  • 3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • ½ bunch spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely sliced
  • Cooked rice, to serve
  • Steamed pak choi, to serve

Cut the beef into thin strips, pat dry with kitchen paper then toss in the cornflour, and set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat, fry the M&S chopped chilli, ginger and garlic for 1-2 mins, not letting the garlic burn, then add the hoisin, white wine vinegar, zest and juice of the oranges, sweet chilli sauce and soy sauce.

Bring to the boil and then simmer for around 5 mins until you have a thick, sticky sauce and have reduced the liquid volume by half. Place in a bowl. 

Heat a clean large non-stick frying pan or wok until very hot, then add 3 tbsp of vegetable oil, before adding the steak to stir fry for a few minutes until it takes on colour.

Pour in the sauce, toss together and cook for another couple of minutes until the sauce is sticking to the beef. Garnish with chopped spring onions and extra chilli. Serve with the rice and steamed pak choi.

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Prawns with ginger and spring onion

“Packed full of fragrant ginger flavour and with juicy king prawns, this dish is set to be a new family fave.”

Serves 4

  • 2 x 165g packs raw king prawns
  • 4 tbsp white wine
  • A pinch white pepper
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil, for frying
  • Thumb-sized piece ginger, peeled and cut into fine matchsticks
  • ½ 90g jar M&S soy, ginger & garlic paste
  • 1 bunch spring onions, trimmed and cut into 2cm pieces
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 300g basmati rice, cooked per pack instructions

Add the prawns to a bowl with 2 tbsp of the white wine, a pinch of white pepper and sesame oil. Mix together and allow to marinate for 15 minutes (or at least 5).

Heat 1 tsp vegetable oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat, fry the prawns in their marinade for 2 mins until they are just pink but not fully cooked. Remove from the pan.

Add 1 tsp more vegetable oil to the pan, fry the ginger for 2 mins over a high heat then add the prawns back to the pan. Cook for a minute, then add the remaining white wine, let it bubble away and reduce by half.

Mix the soy, ginger & garlic paste and cornflour with 4 tbsp water, add to the pan with the spring onions. Cook for a final minute until thickened. Serve with basmati rice.

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Pumpkin, taleggio and caramelised onion tart

“My cheesy pumpkin tart is delicious served with a simple side salad and an extra dollop of caramelised onion chutney,” says Chris.


Serves 4


1 roll M&S puff pastry
1 M&S pumpkin
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp dried sage
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
200g M&S taleggio, cut into thin slices
115g (½ jar) caramelised red onion chutney


Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas mark 7, and line a baking sheet with baking paper. Lay the puff pastry on to the baking paper and score a border 2cm in from the edge with a knife, not cutting all the way through, then prick the pastry within the border all over with a fork.

Peel and chop the pumpkin into 1.5cm chunks, place on to another baking sheet, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then scatter over the sage and garlic. Mix together well with your hands to evenly coat the pumpkin in the oil.

Place the pumpkin and pastry trays in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove both from the oven.

Use the inside of a spoon to press down and flatten the pastry inside the border. Evenly distribute the cheese and pumpkin around the pastry inside the border.

Dollop teaspoons of the caramelised red onion chutney around the pumpkin and cheese.

Reduce the heat to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6 and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the pastry crust is golden and the cheese is melted.

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Apple crumble muffins

“These fluffy muffins have a delicious cinnamon crumble top for added sweetness and crunch. They’re super simple to make too!” says Chris.


Makes 12 muffins


For the crumble
75g plain flour
25g butter
¼ tsp cinnamon
25g muscovado sugar
25g pecans, crushed
25g oats

For the muffins
300g self-raising flour, sifted
100g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 M&S Select Farms apples, diced
250ml milk
2 eggs
100g butter, melted
2 tbsp maple syrup


Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6. Line a muffin tin with 12 muffin cases.

To make the crumble topping, add the plain flour, butter, cinnamon and sugar to a mixing bowl. Rub together with your fingertips to form a breadcrumb consistency, then stir in the crushed pecans and oats. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, mix the sifted self-raising flour, caster sugar, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Then add the diced apples and mix together.

In a separate bowl or jug, gently whisk the milk with the eggs, melted butter and maple syrup.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon to form a smooth batter, taking care not to overwork it.

Using a tablespoon, spoon the batter mix into the muffin cases, filling them to just below the top of the case. Scatter some of the crumble topping over each muffin.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until risen, golden and a skewer inserted into a muffin comes out clean. Allow to cool before serving.

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