WHEN Rochelle Humes married JLS pop star Marvin, she was given a very special family gift – his dad’s favourite recipe.
She said: “We would always call into their house and get a bowl of Saturday Soup, which is something we eat every weekend in Jamaican and Caribbean culture.
“I’d always wanted to know how to make his dad’s version. So when Marvin and I got married, his dad — who is a chef — taught me.
“It was almost like a parting gift, like, ‘You’re in charge now’.”
It also meant it was time for Rochelle to step up as the host in the family.
The mum-of-three said: “It was like passing on the baton, but also saying, ‘We’re coming to you now because we’ve been doing this for our son his whole life’.” The soup is one of the treats in the TV host’s first recipe book, At Mama’s Table, out this month.
Rochelle cooked up her book as a way to keep occupied in lockdown, without ever considering it could be a real possibility.
The 32-year-old, who found fame in girl band The Saturdays, said: “During lockdown we all thought of ourselves as chefs, didn’t we?
“We were all knocking up banana bread. A friend said to me, ‘If you’re looking for something to do with your time, you should write down all your recipes for your kids. Something every child wants is their mum’s recipes.”
Rochelle was taught the basics of cooking by her mum Roz Wiseman, who raised the singer and her three siblings as a single parent in Barking, East London.
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Rochelle, who presents BBC One’s Saturday night music quiz The Hit List with husband Marvin, still keeps them in mind raising her two daughters, Alaia-Mai, eight, and Valentina, four, and baby Blake.
Feeding her three kids is a source of joy for Rochelle, even the messy mealtimes that come with weaning her 11-month-old son.
She said: “Blake’s at that stage where if he’s a bit tired he’ll lob the bowl though he’s still hungry. When it happened the other day I sat him in the bath and fed him the last of his dinner while he was distracted. Marvin came home and I was like, ‘Yep, this is where we’re at with mealtimes, eating in the bath’.”
Despite being an excellent cook, Rochelle admits she is not much of a baker. Viewers might remember her appearance on The Great Sport Relief Bake Off in 2014, when she accidentally put salt in her Eccles cakes instead of sugar.
She said: “I looked in the oven and thought I’d bloody nailed it. Then I realised my mistake when I tried one. I begged Mary Berry not to try it. Paul Hollywood was coughing and spluttering after he ate it.”
Here we share some of Rochelle’s recipes, and get more in tomorrow’s Fabulous magazine.
- Extracted from At Mama’s Table, by Rochelle Humes, (Vermilion, £20), out on October 14
THIS is a really fun lunch-making activity for the kids, who will love to get involved packing their own wraps. It is really colourful and full of the good-for-you ingredients.
It is really colourful and full of the good-for-you ingredients[/caption]
You can include any other extra salad ingredients that you have in the fridge, such as sliced peppers or half a boiled egg.
I like to keep this veggie, but you could add some chicken. They also make a healthy and convenient lunchbox option.
Prep: 10 minutes
- 4 wholemeal wraps
- 4tbsp hummus or 150g shredded cooked chicken breast
- 45g Cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 large carrot, peeled and grated
- 60g red cabbage, coarsely grated
- 125g little gem lettuce, shredded
- 8 cherry tomatoes on the vine, quartered
- Olive oil, for drizzling
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
METHOD: Lay the wraps flat on a board and spread each with a tablespoon of hummus, if using. Arrange the filling ingredients on each wrap, making neat strips of each of the cheese, carrot, cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes and chicken, if using, then drizzle a little olive oil over any adult portions and season with salt and pepper.
Arranging the fillings in this way will create a pleasing rainbow effect that your kids will love.
Roll up the wraps, then cut each one in half. These are now ready to serve, but will keep well in the fridge or packed away in a lunch box until later in the day.
For first-stage weaning: Serve the wraps deconstructed, with the grated vegetables, a spoonful of hummus and the wrap sliced into strips.
For older children: They will enjoy these as they are, but reserve seasoning and olive oil for adult portions.
THAI GREEN CURRY
THIS deliciously fragrant curry is always a favourite. I love the colour, spiciness, and texture. To save time I always use shop-bought curry paste and there are some really high-quality ones available in the shops.
I love the colour, spiciness, and texture[/caption]
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20-25 minutes
- 1tbsp vegetable oil
- 500g skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 aubergine, cut into 2cm pieces
- 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and finely sliced
- 2 tbsp good-quality Thai green curry paste (check label for allergens)
- 1 x 400ml can light coconut milk
- 200g green beans, trimmed and halved Cooked jasmine rice, to serve
- Lime wedges, to serve
METHOD: Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok over a medium heat, then add the chicken and aubergine and cook, stirring continuously, for 5 minutes.
Add the pepper along with the curry paste and 1tbsp of the coconut milk. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the pepper has softened and the paste is fragrant.
Add the remaining coconut milk to the pan and stir to combine. Bring the mix-ture to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover with a lid and leave to cook for 5 minutes.
Add the green beans to the curry and stir through, then cover again and cook for 5 minutes more until the chicken is cooked through and the veg are tender.
Spoon the curry into serving bowls and serve with jasmine rice alongside lime wedges for squeezing over.
For first-stage weaning: The curry paste is too spicy and salty for young kids, so fry off some of the chicken and vegetables separately, then blend to a purée with a little coconut milk or natural yoghurt. Serve with rice.
For older children: Serve with a dollop of natural yoghurt.
PORK RAMEN NOODLE SOUP
THE best family dinners are full of flavour, nutritious and super-simple to prepare, and this ramen ticks all of those boxes. It is also light, but really comforting. My kids love eating with chopsticks, so we always have a few pairs in the house – just be prepared for some mess.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
- 2tbsp sesame oil
- 200g minced pork
- 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 2 thumb-sized pieces ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- ½ tsp Chinese five spice
- 2tbsp soy sauce
- 1 bunch spring onions, white and green parts finely sliced
- 400g medium egg noodles
- 2 large eggs
- 1-2 star anise
- 2 litres chicken or vegetable stock
- 4 pak choi, halved
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
METHOD: Heat 1tbsp of the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the pork mince, garlic, ginger, Chinese five spice, soy sauce and white parts of the spring onions and cook, stirring continuously, for 5 minutes until the meat has browned and is starting to cara-melize. Tip the spiced pork mixture into a bowl and keep it warm while you prepare the other elements.
Bring a pan of water to boil and add the eggs and noodles. Cook for 6 minutes, then drain the noodles and set aside.
Rinse the eggs under cold water for a couple of minutes, then peel off and discard the shells and cut the eggs into halves. Meanwhile, return the pan that the pork was cooked in to the heat with the remaining tbsp of sesame oil.
Add the star anise and fry briefly until fragrant, then pour in the chicken or vegetable stock. Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and add the pak choi. Leave to cook for 4 minutes until the pak choi is tender. To serve the ramen, divide the broth, noodles, pork and egg halves between 4 bowls. Scatter over the green parts of the spring onions and serve hot.
For first-stage weaning: The soy in this is too salty for very young children, but they can have some chopped hard-boiled egg, which you could purée with some of the noodles and cooked veg.
For older children: Older children can enjoy this as it is, just use a reduced-salt soy sauce when preparing the ramen.