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Farm to Foodhall: The Magic Ingredient


Discover our brand-new children’s book, which will keep kids entertained and help them learn about where their food comes from – available in store now for just £5
Farm to Foodhall children’s book

This summer’s must-read children’s book

Farm to Foodhall: The Magic Ingredient is our beautifully illustrated new book, published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, aimed at children aged 4-9. As well as a wonderful story, it also contains recipes and activities – perfect to keep little ones entertained over the summer holidays. It’s available in M&S stores and on Ocado now.

Fantastic food stories

The story follows 12-year-old Amalia, who wants to cook her grandad a special birthday feast. Amalia, Grandad and their dog, Milo, visit six M&S Select Farms around the UK to learn about the food produced there, and along the way they search for the ‘magic ingredient’ Grandma used to speak of when she cooked.

Illustrated map of the British Isles from Farm to Foodhall
Illustration of a young girl, farmer and two cows

What does Amalia learn?

Amalia’s adventure helps her learn what makes our M&S Select Farms so special. She sees how our strawberries and cherries are grown in harmony with nature, how a vertical farm can grow lettuce and how bees make honey. She also discovers how our farmers encourage wildlife on their farms to protect the environment, the importance of reducing food waste and how our farmers look out for their animals’ welfare.

A note from HarperCollins Children’s Books

“We’re delighted to have worked with M&S on this truly collaborative project, creating a book that will not only entertain children but also deliver important learnings on sustainability and the journey of food from farm to Foodhall. This is a book for young readers that we hope will inspire long-lasting conversations about responsible farming and the joys of food prepared with care and love,” says Juliet Matthews, colour publisher, HarperCollins Children’s Books.

Illustration of young girl meeting a chicken farmer
Baking utensils

Get kids cooking!

There are lots of delicious recipes in the book, from brioche bread-and-butter pudding to coconutty chicken curry. Our Farm to Foodhall merchandise, from £3, will inspire kids to give the recipes a go. Available in store, the range includes a smart tote bag, baking utensils and mixing bowl.

Recipe inspiration: Indian style honey cakes

Try our easy recipe, made with the M&S Select Farms honey Amalia learns about in the book.

1. Preheat oven to 190°C/170°C fan/gas mark 5 and line a square cake tin with baking parchment. Beat together 200g yoghurt, 160ml vegetable oil, 225g caster sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract until smooth.

2. Sift 300g plain flour with ¼ tsp bicarb and 1 tsp baking powder then beat into the cake ingredients. Pour into the prepared tin then bake for 40 minutes. Once cooked, cool on a wire rack.

3. Combine 2tbsp caster sugar with 50ml water in a saucepan and dissolve over a medium heat. Turn up the heat and boil for 2 minutes before stirring in 1 tbsp honey. Prick the sponge with a fork and drizzle over the honey syrup.

4. Heat 160g strawberry jam in a pan with a splash of water until loosened, then stir in 1 tbsp honey. Spread over the top of the cake then sprinkle over desiccated coconut.

 

Slices of Indian honey cake on a tray
Victoria sponge with honey buttercream on a plate

Recipe inspiration: Victoria sponge with honey buttercream

Combine M&S Select Farms strawberries and honey in this twist on a classic.

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4 and grease and line 2 x 20cm cake tins.

2. Beat 175g butter, 175g caster sugar, 3 eggs, 175g self raising flour and 1¼ tsp baking powder until smooth. Divide between the tins and bake for 25-30 minutes, until well risen. Remove from the tins and cool.

3. Beat together 100g icing sugar with 200g butter until smooth, then stir in 100g honey.

4. To assemble, spread the top of one cake with strawberry jam, then cover with fresh strawberries. Place the second sponge on top, spread or pipe with the buttercream, and finish with fresh strawberries and edible flowers (buy edible violas in store), if you like.