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FIRST BITE

A FRESH START WITH TOM KERRIDGE

Kick off your 2019 in delicious style with these flavour-packed recipes from Tom Kerridge’s new book

Cook nourishing and delicious food for the whole family with Tom Kerridge’s crowd-pleasing recipes

 

For renowned chef Tom Kerridge, the birth of his son Acey was the motivation he needed to change his eating habits. “A few years ago, I was stuck in a rut,” he says in his latest book, Fresh Start. “Making poor choices about what, and how much, I consumed. Coupled with a hectic work life and long hours, this was doing me no favours.” The founder of Michelin-starred pub The Hand and Flowers, and a hugely successful cookbook author and TV chef, as his career skyrocketed Tom found himself skipping breakfast, then turning to high-sugar foods to compensate.

“I was massively overweight,” he continues. “I needed to make a lifestyle change and I wanted to be a good example to my son.” After losing weight, Tom is on a mission to share some of the good-for-you, family-friendly recipes he loves, in the hope he’ll motivate families to cook more from scratch. “Although this isn’t a ‘diet’ book, without doubt you’ll be encouraging better health for you and your family by cooking more of your own food,” he says.

Tom insists this isn’t about recreating restaurant-style dishes, but simple, tasty meals that are easily achievable during a busy working week.

If you’re inspired to cook more this year, get started with three recipes from the book, below. First up, a chicken and barley soup that’s just the thing when it’s chilly outside. “Make a big batch for a comforting supper, or take it to work in a flask for an easy lunch,” suggests Tom. Fiery Mexican-style corn cakes, meanwhile, “make a relaxed breakfast-meets-lunch dish” and a hearty butternut squash pasta bake is, “rich and creamy, and a great way of getting a big portion of veg into your family without them even noticing”. Above all, says Tom, remember to enjoy cooking. “The goal is to serve up tasty, home-cooked recipes for you and your family, and spend some proper time together.”

Fresh Start by Tom Kerridge is out now (£26, Bloomsbury Absolute)

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Chicken and pearl barley soup

“Dried mushrooms lend lots of flavour here: they’re a great store cupboard ingredient to have on hand for soups, sauces and casseroles”

Serves 6

4 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
4 celery sticks, diced
2 courgettes, diced
2 leeks, trimmed, washed and diced
2 litres fresh chicken stock
1 litre water
A bunch of thyme sprigs, tied with string
2 bay leaves
250g pearl barley
40g dried porcini mushrooms
1.5kg free-range whole chicken, spatchcocked or quartered, skin removed
200g cavolo nero, tough stalks removed, chopped roughly
250g frozen peas
Sea salt and ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, to drizzle
30g parmesan, freshly grated, to serve (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a large flameproof casserole dish over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, celery, courgettes and leeks and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until softened.

Pour in the chicken stock and water and add the thyme, bay leaves, pearl barley and dried porcini. Stir and bring to a gentle simmer.

Lay the chicken in the casserole, season generously with pepper and simmer gently for 1 hour, turning the chicken over halfway through cooking.

Lift the chicken out of the broth onto a plate and allow to cool a little. Remove and discard the thyme and bay leaves from the broth. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bone and shred into bite-sized pieces.

Bring the broth back to a simmer and stir in the cavolo nero and peas. Cook for 2 minutes, then return the chicken to the soup and stir well. Taste to check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.

Ladle into warmed bowls and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Best served with grated parmesan.

 

Corn cakes with Mexican beans

“These corn cakes are made from an easy batter with beaten egg whites to make them really light and fluffy”

Serves 4

For the Mexican beans
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
400g tin chopped tomatoes
400g tin kidney beans, rinsed
100ml water
Sea salt and black pepper

For the corn cakes
340g tinned sweetcorn kernels, drained (285g drained weight)
4 spring onions, thinly sliced
75g mature cheddar, grated
100g self-raising flour
50g cornflour
2 large free-range eggs
80ml whole or semi-skimmed milk
1–2 tbsp olive oil, for frying

To serve
1 ripe avocado, peeled, stoned, quartered and sliced
1 lime, cut into 4 wedges
A handful of coriander

For the beans, heat the oil in a sauté pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and stir for 1 minute. Sprinkle in the spices, stir for a minute, then add the tinned tomatoes, kidney beans and water. Simmer gently for about 15 minutes, until slightly reduced and thickened.

Meanwhile, for the corn cakes, preheat the oven to 140°C/120°C fan/gas mark 1. Put the sweetcorn kernels, spring onions, cheese, flour, cornflour and a little salt and pepper into a bowl and mix well to combine.

Crack the eggs and separate the yolks into one bowl and the whites into another very clean medium bowl. Add the milk to the egg yolks and beat well, then pour into the corn mixture and mix until well combined. Using an electric hand whisk, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, then gently fold into the corn mixture.

Cook the corn cakes in batches. Heat a little oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. When hot, drop 3 or 4 tablespoons of the mixture into the pan, placing them well apart. Cook for 2-3 minutes until bubbles appear on the surface, then flip and cook for 2-3 minutes on the other side. Transfer to a baking tray; keep warm in the oven while you cook the rest of the batter, adding more oil as necessary, to make about 20 cakes in total.

Just before serving, gently reheat the beans. Serve the corn cakes with the Mexican beans, avocado slices, lime wedges and fresh coriander.

 

Creamy butternut squash
pasta bake

“This is all about the toppings: crunchy seeds and breadcrumbs, sweet chunks of squash and nuggets of acidity from the sun-blushed tomatoes”

Serves 6

1kg butternut squash, cut into chunks (about 2cm)
1 tbsp olive oil
500g macaroni
Sea salt and black pepper

For the cheese sauce
60g butter
60g plain flour
1 litre whole milk
1 tbsp liquid aminos
60g parmesan, finely grated
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

For the topping
A handful of sage leaves
40g sun-blushed tomatoes, chopped
50g fresh breadcrumbs
2 tbsp pumpkin oil (or use olive oil)
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds

Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas mark 7. Line a large roasting tray with baking parchment.

Place the squash in the roasting tray. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Cook on the top shelf of the oven for 25 minutes or until the squash is tender and browned at the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly for a couple of minutes (keep the oven on).

Tip three-quarters of the roasted squash into a blender and blitz to a purée; set the rest aside.

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the macaroni and cook until almost al dente (2-3 minutes less than the time suggested on the packet).

Meanwhile, for the sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute, then whisk in the milk and cook, whisking until the sauce thickens slightly. Lower the heat and add the liquid aminos, parmesan and nutmeg. Stir until the cheese has melted, then stir through the squash purée to make a rich, smooth sauce. Take off the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Drain the macaroni, add to the sauce and stir well. Tip into a large, deep baking dish, about 25 x 30cm. Scatter over the rest of the squash, the sage, sun-blushed tomatoes and breadcrumbs. Drizzle with the oil. Place on the middle shelf of the oven, turning on the oven grill at the same time. Bake for 10 minutes.

Take out the dish, scatter the pumpkin seeds evenly over the surface and return to the oven for 5 minutes or until golden. Serve at once, with a green salad.

Editor: Heather Taylor / Photographer: Cristian Barnett

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