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
tech
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
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

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Telesales Manager. Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Day In a Page

    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
    US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

    Meet the US Army's shooting star

    Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
    Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

    Take a good look while you can

    How climate change could wipe out this seal
    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

    Farewell, my lovely

    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
    Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

    Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

    Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

    John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
    Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

    Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

    The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
    The 10 best pedicure products

    Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

    Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

    Commonwealth Games 2014

    Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
    Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

    Jack Pitt-Brooke

    Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
    How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

    How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

    Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game