women

From making jam tarts at Mum’s side to the thrill of producing your first full meal, the delight of mixing together ingredients and producing something delicious is hard to beat. Four well-known women share the moment they fell in love with cooking

 “I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t working in the kitchen”

Food writer and presenter Gizzi Erskine has loved Asian flavours since she was young, thanks to her globe-trotting mother.

My mum is an absolute inspiration to me – she’s an amazing cook and was always ahead of her time with food. She grew up all over the world, so was quite fearless when it came to ingredients. When I was small, she’d have her friends round for dinner and cook these exciting dishes using spices and coriander – which back then were seen as a bit weird! They’d stay up chatting until late and I would sit on the stairs, thinking how glamorous they were. I’d say myself, ‘When I grow up, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.’

Because she was a single mother, I can’t remember a time when my sisters and I weren’t helping out with the cooking, and peeling vegetables like little Cinderellas! To keep us entertained, she’d have us make jam tarts or decorate biscuits. I look back so fondly on those times now. Friday nights were special because my sisters and I got to choose our dinner – it was always Chicken in Weeds, which she’d honed from a Madhur Jaffrey recipe.

Description: The ‘weeds’ in Gizzi’s recipe are actually coriander

The ‘weeds’ in Gizzi’s recipe are actually coriander

When I was about 20, we went to Thailand for Mum’s job as a PA and I learnt to cook properly. Walking round the markets made me feel really excited. I started cooking with Asian ingredients and it felt really natural to me.

Now I make Chicken in Weeds for my friends, just like Mum did. That’s the nice thing about recipes – you can pass them on. It’s the biggest ego boost when soneone says, “Mmm, that’s lovely – give me the recipe!”

Gizzi’s Chicken in Weeds

“Don’t be put off by the name – it’s not really cooked in weeds, just tons of coriander”

Hands-on time 20min. Cooking time about 50min. Serves 4

·         5cm (2in) piece fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped

·         4tbsp vegetable oil

·         8 skinless chicken thighs, bone in

·         1 onion, finely chopped

·         5 garlic cloves, finely chopped

·         200g (7oz) fresh coriander, finely chopped

·         1 long green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

·         1/2tsp cayenne pepper

·         2tsp ground cumin

·         1tsp ground coriander

·         1/2tsp ground turmeric

·         300ml (1/2 pint) chicken stock

·         2tbsp lemon juice

1.    Put the ginger and 4tsp water into a food processor and bliz for 30sec. heat the oil in a large pan and brown chicken in batches. Set the chicken aside on a plate.

2.    Add onion to the pan and cook on a low heat for 10min, or until golden. Add purée1e ginger and garlic; cook for 30sec. Add coriander, chilli and spices. Season and cook for 1min.

3.    Return chicken to pan, along with any juices from the plate. Add stock and lemon juice, then cover and cook for 30min, turning chicken halfway through. If the sauce is thin, cook with the lid off until it’s thickened up a bit. Check the seasoning; serve with rice.

Description: serve with rice.

Serve with rice.

Per serving

305cals, 20g fat (4g saturates), 4g carbs (3g total sugars).

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