My Life In Food: Prue Leith

'If I could take one thing to a desert island, it would be chilli sauce. Ideally Nando's Piri Piri'

After beginning her career cooking lunches in a cupboard at solicitors McKenna and Partners, Leith opened her own catering business, followed in short order by a restaurant and then her cookery school, Leith's School of Food and Wine.

Having previously written columns for several national newspapers, she is now satisfying her "writing bug" as an author. Prue will be discussing her autobiography at The Bespoke International Taste Extravaganza 2013 at the Cotswold's House Hotel and the Noel Arms in Chipping Campden from 27 January – 3 February. Tickets: thebite.co or 01386 840330

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

I'm too lazy to knead bread, so my most used thing would be my bread maker. My least used is an ice-cream machine. I make ice cream quite often, but never bother to use it. I do it in the old-fashioned way instead.

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

I'd go to a farmers' market and spend it on veg and a chunk of cheese, then make a homity pie. It's basically a potato and cheese pie, but you can make it with any root vegetable by layering it up with cheese and bacon. Served with a really nice strong salad.

What do you eat for comfort?

Comfort food needs starch or fat, so something like macaroni cheese because it's got everything. I try not to eat it too often, though, because like most of the world I always seem to be half a stone overweight.

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

I'd have bread because there's more variety, unless I lived in Peru. They have about 300 different varieties of potatoes. If I'm stuck with King Edwards though, I'd take bread.

What's your desert island recipe?

A chilli sauce – can I take Nando's Piri Piri? If I've got to make it, I'd do a basic tomato sauce and just add chilli. The nice thing about chilli is that it cheers up even the dullest food.

What's your favourite restaurant?

Bentley's Oyster Bar, Richard Corrigan's place. I like his food because he buys really good ingredients and doesn't overly mess about with it. It's very old fashioned, I've been going there for 40 years, it's a bit like a club. I like to sit up at the bar and order a tray of oysters while they're preparing my meal.

What's your favourite cookbook?

I love Nigel Slater's books, in particular his Real Fast Food, which is great.

Who taught you to cook?

When I was an au pair in Paris, the mistress of the house didn't really teach me, but I watched her and learnt. I went shopping with her on the first morning and when she went into three different bread shops to buy baguettes, croissants and cake, I asked her why. She looked at me as if I was crazy and told me she went to the best shops for each. She obeyed what I consider to be the principles of cooking: buy the best you can afford, buy it fresh and local, mess it about as little as possible, cook it as late as possible so it's fresh and then sit down and talk to people while you eat.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
News
Stencil graffiti depicting slain cartoonists, from left; Wolinski, Cabu, Charb and Tignous, on a wall near the Paris headquarters of 'Charlie Hebdo' (Getty)
newsMurdered Charlie Hebdo editor's defiant, impassioned final work
News
peopleHe really doesn't like the Tories
Life and Style
food + drink
Sport
football
Life and Style
Could what you wear affect your job prospects?
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver and Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, in a scene from Avengers: Age Of Ultron
filmReview: A great cast with truly spectacular special effects - but is Ultron a worthy adversaries for our superheroes? spoiler alert
News
Ukip council candidate Peter Endean poses with leader Nigel Farage
news
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Guru Careers: Front of House Receptionist / Receptionist

    £21K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Front of House Receptionist to provide th...

    Recruitment Genius: Bid / Tender Writing Executive

    £24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executives / Marketing Communications Consultants

    Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a number of Marketi...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive

    £20000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established business ...

    Day In a Page

    Ed Miliband interview: 'There is only one party standing up for the integrity of the UK'

    'There is only one party standing up for the integrity of the UK'

    Ed Miliband talks zero hours contracts, non-doms and the NHS
    Libya's criminals undermine attempts to prop up a collapsing state

    Libya's criminals undermine attempts to prop up a collapsing state

    It's not just people-smuggling rackets, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Global warming: Experts say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100, with cataclysmic results

    Scorched Earth?

    Scientists fear 6C rise in temperature by 2100 - with cataclysmic results
    Miriam Gonzalez Durantez: Lawyer, wife of Nick Clegg and a secret food blogger

    Miriam Gonzalez Durantez

    Lawyer, wife of Nick Clegg and a secret food blogger
    Charlie Hebdo editor's final book: 'Letter to the Islamophobia Frauds Who Play into the Hands of Racists'

    Terror couldn't silence him, and nor will death...

    Murdered Charlie Hebdo editor's defiant, impassioned final work
    General Election 2015: On the campaign trail in Rochdale – the town globalisation left behind

    On the campaign trail in Rochdale

    The town globalisation left behind
    Bugsy Malone is back: Plenty of splurge guns but no twerking teens

    Bugsy Malone is back

    There's plenty of splurge guns but no twerking teens in the Lyric Theatre's reopening production
    Should we be drinking milk? Arguments for and against dairy

    Should we be drinking milk?

    Arguments for and against dairy
    Ivor Novello awards 2015: Meet James Napier, the backroom hitmaker for Sam Smith and Clean Bandit

    Meet James Napier

    The backroom hitmaker for Sam Smith and Clean Bandit is the hottest name in pop you've never heard of
    14 best girls' summer dresses

    14 best girls' summer dresses

    Whether they're on the beach in the south of France or in the garden at nan's house, there's a dress to keep them cool, comfortable and looking fabulous
    David Haye interview: Thought of Las Vegas lures Haye back to the ring

    Thought of Las Vegas lures Haye back to the ring

    Having overcome an injury that seemed to have ended his career, the heavyweight realised there were things left undone – a fight at the spiritual home of boxing
    Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

    Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

    His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
    'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

    Open letter to David Cameron

    Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
    Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

    You don't say!

    Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
    Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

    So what is Mubi?

    Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time