Food story - My life on a plate JAMIE CULLUM.
Jamie Cullum, the singer-songwriter, has won many awards and sold more than ten million albums since he first appeared on Michael Parkinson's chat show in 2003. He married Sophie Dahl, the model, in 2010. They live in Buckinghamshire with their two young daughters.
'The recipe I grew up with is chicken soup & matzo balls. My paternal grandmother always had a steaming bowl of "Jewish penicillin" ready for us whenever we visited her.
'She was born in Prussia, now part of Poland, and during the Second World War she became a refugee in Jerusalem, where she met my British grandfather, who was in the Army.
'Although my father was born in Jerusalem, the family then settled in the UK. After their terrible wartime experiences, many Jews were frightened to embrace their faith or history, so my dad was brought up in the Church of England.
'However, certain things persisted from the family's Jewish roots -- including the chicken soup. My grandmother used to boil a whole chicken, add vegetables, including celery, onion and carrot, abigtomatotogiveitabitof colour, a bay leaf, salt, ten whole peppercorns and some fresh parsley. I was a bit nervous about it because I wasn't used to eating all parts of the chicken -- I just wanted the nice white meat. I would filter out the bits I didn't want but I loved the broth.
'Chicken soup is something that I cook to this day, although -- unlike my nan -- I strain it. My dad likes a matzo ball, so when my parents come, I always make the dumplings.'
Chicken matzo ball soup
SERVES 6-8 PREP 30 mins plus overnight chilling COOK 4 hrs MORE EFFORT
1 chicken with extra giblets
3 chicken stock cubes
1 bay leaf
4 carrots, sliced
2 onions, peeled, root intact
2 celery sticks, sliced
1 swede, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 small pack parsley, roughly chopped
challah bread, to serve (optional)
For the matzo balls
11/2 tbsp fat from the chicken soup
1 egg, beaten
100g matzo meal
1 Wipe the chicken with kitchen paper and put in a large saucepan with the giblets. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer. Skim away any scum with a large spoon or ladle every few mins for about 30 mins until no more comes to the surface. Crumble in the stock cubes and add the bay leaf, peppercorns and vegetables.
2 Bring to the boil again, then reduce the heat to very low. Cover and simmer gently for 3-3 1/2 hrs.
3 Leave the soup to cool a little, then transfer to the fridge overnight.
4 Once chilled, the fat from the soup will rise to the top. Save 11/2 tbsp for the matzo balls and set aside, then use a large spoon to remove as much as you can. Remove the chicken, shred all the meat, then add it back to the pan. Put the soup back on the heat and skim away any remaining fat while you bring it to the boil.
5 Meanwhile, make the matzo balls by combining the fat, egg, matzo meal and 1/2 tbsp warm water. Stir into a paste, adding a little more water if needed, then chill for 10-15 mins. Roll into about 12 small balls. Dampen your hands if the mixture is too sticky.
6 Drop the matzo balls into the soup for a few mins. Scatter with parsley and serve with challah bread, if you like.
BENEFITS folate * 2 of 5-a-day PER SERVING (8) 375 kcals * fat 20g * saturates 5g * carbs 18g * sugars 7g * fibre 4g * protein 28g * salt 1.4g
The recipe I'll pass on
"When Sophie and I first met, we bonded over a love of food, and we still often cook together. She was impressed by my selection of cookbooks. It's not an uncommon thing in musicians. I know a lot who like cooking -- because of the unsociable hours, you have to be able to cook for yourself, and be pretty creative.
'I like tackling things that are perceived as hard to do. A really good life skill to have, and one that I've perfected, is poaching an egg. When they're a bit older, I'll show my children, Lyra and Margot, five and three, exactly how to do it (although the oldest one is already quite good at cracking eggs and dropping them into the pan!). This recipe is one of my favourites."
Poached eggs on avocado & feta toast
SERVES 2 PREP 5 mins COOK 5 mins EASY
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 large eggs
1 tsp chilli flakes
juice 1/2 lemon
2 slices of sourdough
1 Fill a large saucepan with water, add the vinegar and bring to a hard boil over a high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat so the water is simmering, then use a spoon to swirl the water into a whirlpool. Crack in both eggs and cook for 21/2 mins.
2 Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mash the avocado, feta, chilli flakes and lemon juice, and season well with black pepper. Toast the bread.
3 Pile the avocado and feta on the toast, then put a poached egg on top of each.
BENEFITS vegetarian * folate * fibre * 1 of 5-a-day PER SERVING 517 kcals * fat 31g * saturates 9g * carbs 37g * sugars 3g * fibre 6g * protein 20g * salt 1.8g
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