My Life In Food: Bill Jordan, co-founder, Jordans Cereals

 

Along with his brother David, Bill Jordan founded Jordans Cereals in 1972 after falling in love with granola on a trip to California in 1969.

What are your most and least used pieces of kitchen kit?

Without any doubt at all, I'd say my big pan. I use it to make risotto, stews and, my favourite, paella. It's in the old style with a thick bottom that holds the heat. It takes up one of the big rings on my Aga. Least used? I'd say the microwave.

If you had only £10 to spend on food, where would you spend it and on what?

Well, you get more for your money at breakfast time, so I'd go then. It is probably my favourite meal. Where? I'd probably once have said a greasy spoon but, nowadays, if I'm near one I'd get a breakfast at the Whole Foods Market. If I was feeling healthy it would bsqae porridge or muesli. If not, then eggs and bacon on brown toast. I would, however, have it grilled, not fried.

What do you eat for comfort?

I'm so predictable saying this, but it would have to be a breakfast food. I love eating porridge in particular, at all times of the day. I cook it with equal quantities of water and milk, but never any salt. Five minutes on the Aga and then I throw on lots of maple syrup, and blueberries if they are around.

If you could only eat bread or potatoes for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

I would choose bread. I trained as flour miller, you see. My family, the Jordans, have been millers since 1885 and we only stopped in 1970, so bread flour is in my blood. When the local bakery packed up, my mum would make her own bread with our flour and it was so lovely, I remember it vividly. You could say it is a passion for me and my family.

What's your desert island recipe?

A simple chicken paella is the recipe I'd take to my desert island. You fry the chicken in a large pan for 20 minutes until it is nearly cooked through. Then you remove the chicken and put in the rice, rolling it around in the oil for about 20 minutes. Now slowly add stock, lots of it, bit by bit. Then cover and let it cook away for an hour.

What's your favourite restaurant?

I suppose I should say Pensthorpe Café on the nature reserve we live on in Fakenham, Norfolk. It has good, basic food, which is all sourced locally, which suits me as I don't like it when things get over-complicated. I like eating in pubs and this has the same atmosphere as a good one. It is a very jolly place to have lunch.

What's your favourite cookbook?

My favourite cookery book is English Bread and Yeast Cookery by Elizabeth David. She came to talk to me at the mill when she was writing it and I was busy telling her all about wholemeal flour, bran layers and the size of the wheat germ and then my father, John Jordan, walked in and just said "the pigs get the best of it". That was the only thing she put in the book.

Who taught you to cook?

My mother was quite important. The kitchen at home was connected to the mill and it was always full of the smells of home cooking. We used to eat Yorkshire puddings a lot as this was the way you'd tell if the wheat had sprouted or not. If it came out of the oven looking like a Yorkshire should, it meant the wheat you'd used as flour hadn't sprouted yet.

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