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Feed your family for £12 with Chris Baber

From a Thai-inspired curry to veg-packed shepherd's pie, discover chef Chris Baber’s delicious (and budget-friendly) January family recipes that are perfect
Chef Chris Baber in the kitchen

Meet Chris

“I’ve always loved food,” says Chris, who’s been cooking up a storm in the M&S kitchen to create some family-friendly recipes for you to enjoy. “Growing up in Hexham, Northumberland, I used to cook dinner for my mum and dad every day. I trained with Atul Kochhar at his Michelin-starred London restaurant, but my real passion is inspiring others and making home cooking accessible for everyone.”


Fragrant red Thai curry

Fragrant red Thai curry

“This fresh, flavour-packed, Thai-inspired curry is a super-quick option for weeknight family dinners – the colourful veg provides plenty of vitamins and nutrients”
See the recipe

“A Thai red curry is a real favourite of mine, and here, I’ve given it a twist with sweet potatoes, beansprouts, baby corn and perfectly in-season brussels sprouts grown in Lincolnshire by M&S Select Farmer George Read – they all add amazing colour and flavour.”

Serves 4
Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

    • 4 sweet potatoes, diced into 2cm pieces
    • 1 pack (180g) M&S 4 Thai red curry paste shots
    • 2 tins (400ml each) reduced fat coconut milk
    • 1 lime, zest and juice
    • 1 pack (200g) M&S baby corn and mixed vegetable selection, veg cut in half
    • 500g brussels sprouts, roughly chopped
    • 300g beansprouts
    • 1 tbsp honey
    • 2 packs (250g each) M&S microwave basmati rice
    1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan or wok over a high heat.
    2. Fry the sweet potatoes for 3 minutes until lightly golden.
    3. Add the Thai red curry paste shots and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
    4. Stir in the coconut milk and lime zest and bring to the boil.
    5. Add the baby corn and mixed vegetables and brussels sprouts, and simmer for 5 minutes.
    6. Add most of the beansprouts, saving a few to garnish.
    7. Mix in the honey and the juice of half the lime, then cook for another minute.
    8. Serve with the rice and finish with an extra squeeze of lime juice and the remaining beansprouts.
Za’atar roast cauliflower with herby couscous salad

Za’atar roast cauliflower with herby couscous salad

“Middle Eastern flavours take centre stage in this quick veggie recipe – I’ve paired tender roasted cauliflower with a fluffy couscous salad and added some aromatic za’atar seasoning”
See the recipe

“This is a great vegetarian dinner to brighten the darker evenings at this time of year. Made with cauliflower grown on the fertile soils of Lincolnshire by M&S Select Farmer George Read, herby couscous salad and a dash of M&S tamarind and chilli ketchup, it’s packed full of colour and flavour.”

Serves 4
Prep time: 3 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

    • 1 cauliflower, cut into large florets
    • 3 tbsp M&S za’atar seasoning
    • 1 jar (280g) M&S roasted peppers
    • ½ vegetable stock cube
    • 500g couscous
    • 1 lemon, zest and juice
    • 1 red onion, finely sliced
    • 1 tin (400g) chickpeas, drained
    • 25g fresh parsley, roughly chopped
    • 1 tbsp Greek yoghurt
    • 2 tbsp M&S tamarind and chilli ketchup
    1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas mark 7.
    2. Put the cauliflower florets into a roasting tin, drizzle with oil and scatter with 1 tbsp za’atar seasoning. Mix, then add 100ml water to the tin.
    3. Bake for around 30 minutes, stirring halfway through, until caramelised and tender.
    4. Remove the peppers from the jar, reserving the oil, and roughly chop.
    5. Mix the ½ vegetable stock cube with 450ml boiling water.
    6. Put the couscous into a large mixing bowl. Add the peppers, lemon zest and red onion and mix everything together.
    7. Pour over the stock. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave for 8-10 minutes until the stock has been absorbed, then mix well with a fork.
    8. Add the chickpeas, the parsley and the juice of half the lemon along with 4 tbsp oil from the jar of peppers and stir.
    9. Divide the couscous mix between serving dishes and top with the roasted cauliflower. Scatter with the remaining za’atar seasoning and drizzle with the yoghurt and the tamarind and chilli ketchup.


Ultimate Mexican bean tacos

Ultimate Mexican bean tacos

“Tacos are the perfect Friday-night family meal – my veggie version stars hearty sweet potato strips and kidney beans, with red salsa and chimichurri adding a spicy kick”
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“I’ve always loved making tacos, and this recipe is one of my favourite ways to enjoy them. Sweet potatoes, kidney beans and avocado are brought together by M&S red salsa and chimichurri, which add a lovely hit of Mexican spice. It’s all perfectly finished with a sprinkling of mature cheddar – yum!”

Serves 4
Prep time: 3 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

    • 3 sweet potatoes, sliced into strips
    • 1 onion, roughly chopped
    • 1 tins (400g) red kidney beans, drained
    • 3 tbsp M&S red salsa
    • 15g fresh coriander
    • 1 lime, juice only
    • 1 pack (8) M&S soft tacos
    • 4 tbsp M&S chimichurri
    • 1 little gem lettuce, shredded
    • 1 avocado, smashed
    • 80g M&S British lighter mature cheddar, grated
    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4.
    2. Place the sweet potato strips on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 20 minutes.
    3. In a large frying pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over a medium-high heat and fry the onion for 2-3 minutes, until soft.
    4. Add the beans and stir fry for 1-2 minutes before adding the red salsa, keeping the jar. Fill the empty jar with water, give it a shake, then add the water to the pan.
    5. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the coriander and the lime juice.
    6. Heat the tacos and spread each with ½ tbsp chimichurri, then layer the beans mixture, lettuce and avocado on top.
    7. Finish with grated cheese and serve with the sweet potato fries.
Lentil and mushroom shepherd’s pie

Lentil and mushroom shepherd’s pie

“With an abundance of seasonal veg, this meat-free twist on a British classic makes for a warming family meal in the winter”
See the recipe

“For me, this really is the perfect vegetarian meal during the winter. It’s so nutritious and full of flavour – the hero ingredient is those delicious mushrooms, grown in Yorkshire by M&S Select Farmers.”

Serves 4
Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour

    • 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
    • 4 sprigs thyme
    • 2 onions, finely chopped
    • 2 carrots, finely chopped
    • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
    • 300g white mushrooms, finely sliced
    • 1 tbsp tomato purée
    • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
    • 350ml vegetable stock
    • 1 tin (300g) green lentils, drained
    • 2 packs (450g each) M&S mashed potato
    • 350g green beans
    1. Heat a splash of olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic, thyme, onion, carrot and celery. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes until the veg begins to soften.
    2. Add the mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes, then stir in the tomato purée and cook for another 30 seconds.
    3. Add the chopped tomatoes, stock and lentils. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low.
    4. Cover and simmer for 35-40 minutes, until the lentils are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Add a splash of water if the pan becomes too dry.
    5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 160°C fan/180°C/gas mark 4. Heat the mash according to the packet instructions.
    6. Transfer the lentil mix to an ovenproof dish (or keep in the pan if it’s ovenproof). Spread the mash evenly over the lentil mix, then fluff it up with a fork. Season with salt and pepper and cook in the oven for 5-10 minutes, until crispy.
    7. Divide between serving dishes and serve with the green beans on the side.