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Cook with Chris Baber

On a mission to make cooking easier and more delicious, chef Chris Baber creates simple, speedy family recipes. Plus, Chris has developed 12 recipes for the new Cook with M&S cookbook. Get a taster below and say goodbye to the “what shall I make for dinner?” dilemma

Meet Chris Baber

“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." 

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See Chris’s latest recipes

Tandoori chicken

“A homemade version of the fiery Indian takeaway favourite – marinate the chicken for at least two hours for maximum flavour”

Serves 4

Prep time: 15 minutes (plus 2 hours marinating)
Cook time: 60 minutes

Ingredients
300g Greek yoghurt
190g jar Cook with M&S hot madras paste
1 tbsp honey
1 lemon, juiced
1 whole medium chicken
1kg new potatoes, halved
Small bunch coriander, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
Watercress, to serve

Method
Mix half the Greek yoghurt with 2 tbsp Cook with M&S hot madras paste, along with half the honey and half the lemon juice.
Score the chicken 0.5cm deep 3 times across each breast, roughly 2cm apart, and 3 times across each thigh and leg. Cover the chicken in the yoghurt mix and allow to marinate for 2 hours, or overnight.
Once the chicken has marinated, roast according to packet instructions, until the chicken is cooked, the skin golden and crisp, and the juices run clear. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving.
Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in a pan of water for 20 minutes, drain and allow to steam dry in the colander.
Add 2 tsp of madras paste to a pan, fry for 2 minutes on a low heat then toss in the potatoes, along with half the remaining lemon juice and the chopped coriander.
Finally, mix the remaining Greek yoghurt with the chopped cucumber, the remaining lemon juice and honey, and a pinch of salt.
Serve the chicken with the spicy potatoes, the cooling yoghurt dip and a side of fresh watercress.

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Pan-fried pork chops

“Made using tender British M&S Select Farms pork and served with vibrant seasonal veggies, this dish is perfect for summer dinners in the garden”

Serves 4

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients
4 pork chops, at room temperature
2 tbsp olive oil
40g Cook with M&S garlic and herb seasoning
1kg new potatoes, halved
1 bunch (25g) mint, chopped
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tbsp butter
200g asparagus, ends removed
1 tbsp honey

Method
Rub each pork chop with a generous drizzle of olive oil, then cover with the Cook with M&S garlic and herb seasoning. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes according to packet instructions. Once cooked and drained, add the fresh mint, lemon zest and butter, and toss together.
Heat a glug of oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat.
Add the pork chops to the pan and fry for around 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until golden and cooked through. Once cooked, remove from the pan on to a plate and rest for 5 minutes.
While the pork chops are resting, cook the asparagus in a pan of boiling salted water for 5 minutes, then drain.
Place the frying pan that was used for the chops back on the heat, add the lemon juice and honey, scrape off any bits from the bottom of the pan and let it bubble away for 1 minute. Add the pork back to the pan and coat in the pan juices for maximum flavour.
Serve the pork chops with the potatoes and asparagus, drizzling over any juices from the pan.

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Smoky chorizo prawn paella

“Featured in the new Cook with M&S cookbook, this one pan-wonder is deliciously smoky thanks to the Cook with M&S roasted red pepper paste”

Serves 4

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes

Ingredients
3 tbsp olive oil
130g diced chorizo
1 onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
190g jar Cook with M&S roasted red pepper paste
400g paella rice
100ml white wine
1l chicken stock
140g pack M&S peeled large king prawns
Flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Lemon wedges, to serve
M&S roasted garlic mayo, to serve
Chargrilled sourdough bread, to serve

Method

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chorizo and fry for a few minutes, then add the onion, red pepper and garlic, cooking until sweet and translucent.

Stir in the Cook with M&S roasted red pepper paste and add the paella rice. Pour in the wine and completely reduce before pouring in the chicken stock. Reduce the heat to a simmer and leave to cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

Once the rice is cooked, add the prawns and heat through for another 5 minutes. Finish by scattering over some parsley. Serve with wedges of lemon for squeezing, dollops of M&S roasted garlic mayo and chargrilled sourdough bread.

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Mini pitta pizzas

“Quick, simple and totally tasty. Get the kids involved with adding their favourite toppings to the pittas”

Serves 4

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients
190g jar Cook with M&S roasted red pepper paste
4 small pitta pockets
170g M&S marinated mozzarella balls
1 tbsp M&S green pesto
170g pot M&S deli chargrilled peppers
170g pot M&S deli slow-roasted vine tomatoes
Basil leaves
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method

Preheat the oven to 210°C/190°C fan/gas mark 6½.

Spread the Cook with M&S roasted red pepper paste evenly over each pitta pocket.

Mix the mozzarella balls into the green pesto. Top the pittas with the mozzarella, chargrilled peppers and slow-roasted tomatoes, to your liking.

Place the “mini pizzas” on the middle shelf of the preheated oven and cook for 10-12 minutes.

Once cooked, scatter the basil leaves over the pizzas and finish off with a drizzle of olive oil.

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Meatball and mozzarella bake

“Meet your family’s new favourite pasta dish that’s prepared in a flash and full of Italian flavour. Try making a double batch and reheating the next day for a fuss-free lunch or dinner”

Serves 4

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes

Ingredients
340g dried penne pasta
3 tbsp olive oil
12 M&S Italian meatballs
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Handful fresh basil leaves
190g jar Cook with M&S roasted red pepper paste
690g jar M&S Italian tomato passata
1 fresh mozzarella ball, drained and torn into chunks

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6.

Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil and cook the pasta for 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole over a medium heat. Drop the meatballs into the oil and fry for a few minutes, until golden brown all over.

Add the garlic and half of the basil leaves to the casserole and fry for 1 further minute. Add the Cook with M&S roasted red pepper paste and the passata and bring to the boil. Remove the casserole from the heat, stir in the cooked pasta and season.

Dot the mozzarella chunks over the top, drizzle with oil and scatter over the remaining basil leaves. Place in the preheated oven for 5 minutes, until the cheese has melted. Serve.

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