Monday, 30 November -0001

Feed me, I'm hungry

Need some ideas on cooking for a houseful of holiday children? Try some quick, easy recipes from Fay Ripley’s latest bestselling book

Written by Clare Russell

Food makes Fay Ripley happy – food, and handbags and her teeth-whitening kit. Well, she’s an actress, so you’d expect all that. What you might not expect is that Fay, one-time star of the television series Cold Feet and currently doing sterling work as a TV mum in a Tesco advertising campaign, has also produced two bestselling cookbooks.

Her latest, What’s For Dinner? Is the follow-up to Fay’s Family Food – voted Mumsnet Best Cookery Book 2011 – and promotes the same kind of simple, no-nonsense, child-orientated food that grown-ups also find appealing.

It’s a great book to have on hand, then, for the start of the Easter holidays, when visiting grandchildren or returning students demand filling, speedy, easy-toproduce food on a production-line basis. Thus, writes Fay in her introduction, ‘I’m passing on 100 no-fuss recipes from my kitchen to yours that make it easy to cook tasty, simple food that everyone will enjoy – you included. I’ve stuck to ingredients that you can actually buy and store-cupboard dishes you will use time and again.’ She’s not fussy if you’re missing some of the ingredients, either, which is always a relief for the hard-pressed domestic cook. food-mar30-05-176
Fay has divided her book into days of the week, Monday to Friday, and the weekend. A typical Monday chez Ripley will see her eating pea and bacon soup, Ping Pong chicken noodle salad, chocolate banana bread and recession granola – all eminently userfriendly. A final section entitled ‘Corner Shop’ includes dishes ‘I have knocked up over the last few years using my local store: quick naan pizza, Peasant’s Pasta, pear pudding, sultana bran crispies, fig bruschetta…’ and is designed for those last-minute purchases made in between leaving work and doing supper for six at home.

Cheese and tomato frittata, cabbage and bacon fry-up, and almond crescent biscuits will give you a flavour of Fay’s book.

What’s For Dinner? by Fay Ripley is published by Collins, priced £20.

Mini cheese and tomato frittata


Makes 12

6 large eggs
2 courgettes, trimmed and finely chopped
1 tbsp freshly chopped chives
60g Gruyère, finely grated
120ml milk
12 cherry tomatoes, halved

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tray with baking paper. Lightly beat the eggs, add the courgettes, chives, Gruyère and milk. Season and mix together. Ladle the mixture into the holes, top each one with two halves of cherry tomatoes and bake for 20 minutes until firm and golden on top. Serve warm.

Now that’s a fry-up


Serves 2

¼ French stick
2 tbsp olive oil
80g pancetta, cubed
15g freshly chopped sage leaves
1 x 240g bag of ready-sliced cabbage and leek
2 large eggs


Preheat the oven to 160C/gas 2½. Tear the bread into bitesized pieces and toss in half the oil. Bake for 10 minutes until crisp and golden. In a large frying pan, fry the pancetta in the remaining oil until crispy. Add the sage for a minute, then the veg and fry until cooked (about 10 minutes). Poach or fry an egg to top the cabbage mix. Serve with the croutons.

Fig in a pig on garlic bruschetta


Serves 4

4 ripe figs
4 knobs of Taleggio cheese
4 slices of parma ham
4 slices of rustic bread
1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
olive oil, to drizzle
rocket leaves, to serve

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Cut a deep cross through the top of each fig. Push a knob of cheese into the cross and roll up the fig in a slice of ham with the top peeping out. Roast for 10 minutes. For the bruschetta, toast the bread. While hot, rub with the garlic and drizzle with oil. To serve: scatter rocket on the bruschetta and top with a fig. Drizzle with more oil.

Little greek Almond Moons


Makes about 20

200g ground almonds
140g caster sugar
2 large egg whites
½ tsp almond extract
80g flaked almonds
icing sugar, for dusting


Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Mix the almonds and sugar. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites with the almond extract into soft peaks. Fold the two mixtures together to form a soft dough. With damp hands, roll a small teaspoon of dough into a little log, roll in the flaked almonds and bend into a crescent moon shape. Repeat the process. Put the crescent moons on to the baking tray and bake for 15-18 minutes until lightly golden. Cool and dust with icing sugar.

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