What’s for Supper – Easy Easter lunch

We have so much skill in our group of Leiths and Cordon Bleu trained teaching chefs.

We also still love cooking at home and recipe sharing and talking about what we have made remains a daily joy.

Of course there are days and nights when we are too tired to feel inspired and that’s when leftovers come into their own. The more you cook from scratch, the more delicious leftovers you have and the less money you spend on food.

Cold chicken is a shared all time favourite and we all like roasting more than we need just to make sure there is cold chicken. Enjoying it with a dark rye, mayonnaise, sweet pickled gherkins, jalapeño peppers, pickles or mustard is just so good.

Of course you can also pick the scraps off the carcass and use it in fragrant Thai style noodle soups, curries, salads or pies. The options are endless.

Today’s recipes comes from our chef Caroline Sandford, whose wonderful teaching has inspired so many over the years, not least those who have taken our 8-week course where we teach all the classic essentials for those seeking a slightly more professional grounding in the art of cooking.  A mother of 6, now all teens and young adults, we are in awe of Caroline’s serene and unflappable approach to any challenge. These recipes reflect the style of cooking that has sustained her very lucky family over the years. Good, simple ingredients, delicious and healthy dishes and often using store cupboard ingredients.


Curried Parsnip Soup

Approx. 50g butter

1 onion chopped

1 clove garlic crushed

1 teaspoon mild or medium curry powder

4 parsnips cubed

Approx. 30g flour

1 tbs flour

1 litre chicken stock well seasoned

Milk and / or single cream

Salt and pepper


Lemon juice

Chives chopped


Soften onion in butter, add garlic. Add curry powder, cook few mins. Add parsnips sprinkle in flour and cook a little more. Add the stock and leave to simmer gently until parsnips are cooked. Blend in processor or using a stick blender. Add milk/ cream to achieve right consistency. Season to taste, with salt , pepper and lemon juice.  Garnish with créme fraîche and snipped chives.


Homemade Baked Beans

1 onion finely chopped
1 Stick of celery finely chopped
1 clove garlic, puréed with sea salt
A small squirt of tomato purée
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Approx. 150 ml passata
Soy sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tin cannellini beans, drained
Salt and pepper
Flat leaf parsley
  1. Soften onion and celery in a little sunflower oil. Add garlic followed by tomato purée and paprika, cook for a minute, then add passata, soy, brown sugar. Reduce a little, check seasoning then add beans to heat through. Garnish with parsley. Quick and delicious.


Roast chicken

1 whole chicken

1 lemon

A few wedges of onion (optional)

Hard herbs such as thyme, tarragon or rosemary

Sea salt and ground black pepper

Olive oil or butter for the chicken skin

  1.         Set the oven at 190C.
  2.         Prick the lemon a few times with the tip of a knife
  3.         In the roasting tin, pour a tablespoon of sunflower oil
  4.         Add to it a very generous few pinches of salt and pepper
  5.        Roll the lemon in it, then push into the chicken carcass
  6.        Push in the herbs
  7.        Place the chicken in the tin
  8.        Drizzle a little olive oil or smear some soft butter over the chicken and season with salt and
  9.        pepper
  10.        No matter how small the chicken, roast for an hour.
  11.        For a medium chicken (1.2-1.5kg) roast for 1 hour 15 min
  12.        For a large chicken (1.5-2.5kg) roast for 1 hour and a half
  13.       To check that the chicken is cooked, remove the tin from the oven
  14.       Insert into the thickest part of a thigh, the tip of a knife and gently press on the thigh
  15.       The juices that run out should be clear. If pink or red, put it back in the oven and check    again after 10 minutes.

Remove the roasting tray from the oven and let the kitchen sit to cool down for 10-12 minutes.   This will keep it juicy. It will still be very warm, just not piping hot when you carve it. The chicken meat should be succulent, tender and moist. Far too often chicken is served way past its “done” point which means the meat is dry and dull. Cold chicken, and any leftover roast potatoes and veg is one of life’s absolute joys. With dark rye and mayonnaise it is addictively good. You could roast two smaller chickens instead of one larger, to make sure there is plenty for leftovers.

What’s for supper tomorrow

An easy Easter Sunday lunch of confit salmon, oven fried cherry tomatoes, in my case served with a celeriac mash. I need to use up the final celeriac of the past 5 months. Such a delicious and versatile root vegetable which has been a weekly, sometimes daily ingredient in my winter cooking both at home and in the café. I now turn my eyes and thoughts to that most special of seasonal crops – asparagus