Even we single-minded toilers in the YOU kitchen occasionally look up from our marble worktops to acknowledge that there is a wider world out there – and if it involves a few celebrities, so much the better.
This handsome cookbook scores on both counts. It has been published in aid of Women for Women International, a charity set up in 1993 to support women affected by war in countries such as Rwanda, Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia and South Sudan.
WfWI has helped over 400,000 women rebuild their lives after suffering brutality and tragedy, many of them losing homes, husbands and children.
The charity has enabled them to learn skills, find employment, earn money, enjoy independence and gain self-respect. Some of their harrowing stories are told here, a stark reminder of just how fragile civilisation can be.
But overall this is a joyous and hopeful book, which celebrates WfWI’s achievements and the common bond we all share through food.
It includes recipes from people involved in humanitarian causes, and from a handful of well-known chefs such as Jamie Oliver, Yotam Ottolenghi and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. More likely to satisfy the appetites of shameless celeb watchers are contributions from the likes of Dame Judi Dench, Emma Thompson, Meryl Streep, Mia Farrow, Nelson Mandela, Robin Wright and Sir Paul McCartney.
Their recipes are simple and credible, which makes this a book worthy of a place on your kitchen shelf. But that is almost beside the point; all profits from the sale of Share will go towards funding WfWI’s continuing work, which is reason enough to buy it.
Share: The Women for Women International Cookbook, edited by Alison Oakervee, is published by Kyle Books, priced £25. To buy for you.co.uk’s special offer price, click here.
Annie Lennox’s porridge
The purist’s porridge always has salt – with maybe the addition of a little bit of cream from the top of the milk – but it can be a great base for all kinds of delicious toppings, such as toasted coconut, demerara sugar, honey, maple syrup, cinnamon, lemon rind, sultanas. It’s cheap, it’s nutritious, it’s comforting and it makes you glow!
- 100g pinhead oats or rolled oats
- 600ml milk or water, or equal parts milk and water
- milk or cream, to serve
- toasted coconut, demerara sugar, clear honey, maple syrup, ground cinnamon, grated lemon zest, sultanas
- Place the oats in a large heavy-based pan with a generous pinch of salt. Pour in the milk or water and bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring continually with a traditional spurtle or wooden spoon.
- When the porridge starts to thicken, reduce the heat and simmer until the oats are cooked through and the porridge is smooth, stirring occasionally with the spurtle or wooden spoon to stop it sticking to the pan. Serve with a little extra cold milk or cream poured over the top and with a topping of your choice, or a spoonful of the spiced fruit compote (see below).
Spiced fruit compote
- 3 fruit tea bags
- 1-2 tsp clear honey
- ½ cinnamon stick
- pinch of ground allspice
- 250g dried mixed fruit such as apricots, apples, pears, prunes, figs and cranberries, roughly chopped
- natural yogurt, to serve
- Place the teabags in a pan, pour over 300ml boiling water and stir in the honey. Add the cinnamon stick and allspice. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the mixed fruit and then simmer for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to steep until ready to serve. Remove the teabags and cinnamon stick before serving.
- Serve spooned over porridge or on its own with natural yogurt.
Trudie Styler’s spaghetti al aglio e olio
I absolutely love Italy, and Sting and I spend as much time as we can at our home in Tuscany. This pasta dish is classic Italian simplicity. The flavours of fine olive oil, garlic and spicy chilli flakes combine perfectly to create the ultimate comfort food with a kick that keeps you coming back for more. A generous shaving of good Parmesan completes the dish, and all in about 10 minutes flat. A delicious quick lunch or simple supper that anyone can make – equally scrumptious with wheat-free pasta, quinoa or rice spaghetti.
- 450g dried spaghetti
- 175–225ml extra virgin olive oil
- 6–8 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 ½ tsp chilli flakes
- finely shaved Parmesan cheese, to serve
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water for about 8–10 minutes or until barely tender but firm to the bite. Drain and reserve about 4 tablespoons of the cooking water. Set aside and keep warm.
- Return the pan to a medium heat and pour in the extra virgin olive oil. Add the garlic and chilli flakes, then reduce the heat and immediately add the drained hot pasta and the reserved cooking water. Toss and stir so that the oil and water emulsify. Serve immediately, topped with grated Parmesan and accompanied by a bitter leaf salad
Cook’s tip Pasta cooking water is the secret ingredient of this dish. It has a unique flavour, a combination of the salt and high starch content.