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
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Parker says: 'I once had a taster use the phrase 'smells like the sex glands of a lemming'. Who in the world can relate to that?'
food + drinkRobert Parker's 100-point scale is a benchmark of achievement for wine-makers everywhere
News
i100
  • 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

    SFL Group: Video Project Manager

    £24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reservations Assistant - French Speaking

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager - World-Famous London Museum

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...

    Day In a Page

    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
    How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

    How to make your own Easter egg

    Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

    Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

    Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

    Cricket World Cup 2015

    Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
    The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing