Marcus Wareing’s cauliflower and spiced coconut soup

So, I obtained a new cook book! As they say, start at the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start!’, so I did! The very first recipe in Marcus Wareing’s new book, ‘Marcus at Home’, is a cauliflower and spiced coconut soup. This recipe is dairy free, simple as anything and tastes delicious! I actually deviated slightly from the recipe in the book, but this is a really tasty starter, or with some lovely fresh bread, a lovely lunchtime meal – ideal for work, too!


Jamie Oliver’s Spanish tortilla

This is a really good recipe to have in your locker a week before payday when money might be a bit tight. A handful of relatively cheap ingredients (potatoes, eggs and onion) and you’ve got a tortilla the size of an average pizza.

I served this with a simple Spanish salad with some chorizo and goats cheese, the saltiness of the cheese and chorizo cuts through the density of the tortilla.

This recipe is a great base, and would work really will with some peppers or chorizo going straight into the tortilla.

Find the recipe here.

Gennaro Contaldo’s perfect tomato and mozzarella linguini

Simple, fresh and delicious, this is a great recipe to keep in your locker for midweek speedy dinner. The freshness of the tomatoes and the little hum of chilli is great. However, the star is the mozzarella, which melts and adds some creamy goodness to the dish!

You can get the recipe by watching Gennaro at work here on YouTube.

Novice mac and cheese

Mac and cheese is comfort food lovliness, isn’t it!

Perhaos the best thing about England’s rubbish weather is that we can eat most of the stodgy, warm wonders most of the year round. This recipe serves four; that’s dinner for two and lunch the next day sorted!


  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 350g macaroni
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 500ml whole milk
  • 300g mature cheddar (cheddar)
  • 50g Parmesan


  • Heat your oven to 180C
  • Get your pasta boiling in a large pan of salted water. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan and bang in the garlic and mustard, cook for one minute, then stir in the flour. Cook the flower/mustard mix for a further minute, then gradually whisk in the milk until you have a lump-free sauce. Simmer this for five more minutes, whisking constantly until thickened. Take off the heat, then stir in all the cheddar and half the Parmesan into a cheesy gloopy mass.
  • Stir the cooked pasta and some seasoning into the cheesy sauce, then tip into a large ovenproof dish. Chuck over the rest of the parmesan and bang in the oven for 20 minutes until crisp on the top and golden.
  • Eat it


Novice tomato and basil soup

A classic winter warmer served up with a lovely hunk of olive bread.

Bringing in a few of your five a day, this is a great recipe that provides enough for four servings. That’s dinner each and lunch the next day in your thermos. This will keep in the fridge for a few days and can be frozen, too.

Novice notes

For this recipe, you will need:

  • A stick blender or liquidiser
  • A ladle


  • One onion
  • One stick of celery
  • One carrot
  • One clove of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 400g tin plumb tomatoes
  • 4 fresh medium tomatoes
  • Handful fresh basil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Greek yoghurt (optional)


This won’t cost much, less than a fiver easily.


  • Get a litre of water into the kettle ready to boil, put a large saucepan on a medium to high heat with one table spoon of olive oil
  • Peal and roughly chop the onion, carrot and celery and add to the pan when hot. Pop the garlic in your crusher, skin on, and crush into the pan.
  • Pop the lid on and cook for 10 minutes or until the veg is nicely softened. Boil the kettle.
  • After 10 minutes, crumble in the stock cube, then add 800ml of boiling water. Stir it all up.
  • Next, pour in the tin of tomatoes and add the fresh tomatoes.
  • Bring to the boil on a high heat, then reduce to a low heat and simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes.
  • When cooked, stir in the basil, take off the heat and allow to cool for a couple of minutes.
  • Blend with the stick blender, or transfer carefully to a liquidiser.
  • Spoon into bowls and top with a drizzle of Greek yoghurt.

Novice avocado and pancetta salad with pine nuts and balsamic dressing

This is a delicious salad that will visually impress your family and friends, as well as tasting great. Quick, simple and tasty – the novice chef’s mantra! The below recipe makes six portions


  • 12 pancetta slices (don’t by the cubes, they don’t really work for this)
  • 50g of pine nuts
  • balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • 6 ripe avocados
  • 4 handfulls of spinach leaves


Avocado’s aren’t the cheapest item, but you can get six for around £4. The pancetta, depending on the quality, can be bought for £2-£3 – so while this isn’t the cheapest salad, you’re getting more than a garden salad, and serves six people.


  • Peel and quarter your avocado, if you don’t know how to do this, there is a good video by Chef Rich Jacobs on YouTube. Lay your avocado on a serving plate. You may wish to spread this out over two plates – your salad your rules.
  • Fry your pancetta in a frying pan until crispy and set to one side to cool. Turn the heat down and lightly toast your pine nuts in the same pan.
  • While the nuts cook, on top of the avocado, place your spinach leaves. Don’t be tight with your spinach, but don’t bury the avocado.
  • Place the pancetta neatly, or however you like, on top.
  • Your nuts should now be cooked, so sprinkle them on top of the salad and pancetta.
  • Drizzle over a good quality olive oil and some balsamic and season lightly with salt and pepper.
  • How good does that look?