Tom & Henry Herbert: 'I thought you had to chop up mint with a knife and fork'

 

My earliest food memory...

Tom (right in picture): Helping my dad put jam in doughnuts in the family bakery. If I did a good job, I was allowed to jam the last one on my own. I'd always double-jam it, so jam oozed down my chin.

Henry: My grandfather's mint sauce, because he used to chop up the mint with a knife and fork. For ages, I thought that was how you had to do it!

My store-cupboard essentials...

T: A big sack of good stone-ground flour, a sack of oats for porridge, and Vitam – it's the German version of Marmite and it's slightly easier to take in the morning. I also at the moment really like Lahloo smoky tea: it's a bit like lapsang and it's warming like a smoky fire.

H: A good vinegar – because the acidity excites the mouth and can bring food alive, whether that's soups, gravies, or stews – Worcester sauce, a slab of pancetta and mustard: I get through at least half a kilo of Dijon a month.

My favourite cookbook...

T: Elizabeth David's French Provincial Cooking. I've lived off it for the past year: my dad gave my wife a copy two Christmases ago, and she set about a plan to cook her way through it and write a blog, as in the film Julie & Julia.

H: Nose to Tail Eating, the St John cookbook, which had a big impact on me when I was learning to cook. [Fergus Henderson] opened my eyes to the idea that food doesn't need to be fussed up – you just need top-notch ingredients and to make sure they're cooked well.

My culinary tip...

T: Make sure you knead your dough properly. Many home bakers don't knead it enough to develop elasticity, so it can't hold the gas given off by yeast. It won't rise then, and your loaf will end up like a hard brick.

H: If you're making scrambled eggs, don't add salt until the very last minute, because it breaks down protein in the egg white and will make them go sloppy.

My top table...

T: River Station, which is a great place for a special occasion; it's right in the heart of Bristol, with brilliant views over the river. Also, Koya, the udon-noodle place in London. It's really reasonable and amazingly good.

H: The Hobbs House Bistro [in Chipping Sodbury]: the meat comes from me, so it's a great opportunity to see how it tastes. One of the most memorable meals I've had was in a Normandy market town with my wife a couple of years ago. We saw an old man wandering around the market with a veg box before going into a little restaurant, so we went there for lunch. There were only six tables and I was so blown away by the food that I researched it and found out he was a former three-Michelin-starred chef from Paris who had retired and just opened this little restaurant for three lunches a week.

The strangest thing I've eaten...

T: I was quite weirded out by the story behind argan oil, which is this amazing oil I had in Morocco. Apparently, there are these goats there that climb trees and eat the argan nuts and the oil is made by crushing them once they have passed through the goat. That might be why it's so expensive: you have to pick them out of goat shit!

H: Jellied eels. It was one of those things I thought I had to try, but they were pretty horrific. And crocodile steak, which I had in a South African restaurant in London: it was very fishy and rubbery.

My pet hates...

T: " Gourmet" burgers in gastropubs where there's a big old bap – they may even call it sourdough or ciabatta – no sign of the burger and it's piled up with so much stuff that it's held together with a stick.

H: Tinned fish, particularly tuna. It's dry and smells horrible, and I just don't understand why people like it so much.

Tom and Henry are the respective owners of the Hobbs House Bakery and the Hobbs House Butchery, both in Chipping Sodbury, Gloucestershire. The brothers are currently starring in the Channel 4 series 'The Fabulous Baker Brothers'; a spin-off book is out now, published by Headline, priced £20

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
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

    Recruitment Genius: Casual Visitor Experience Assistants

    £7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: To work within the Visitor Experience Departm...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

    Tribal gathering

    Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
    Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

    Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

    Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
    10 best trays

    Get carried away with 10 best trays

    Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
    Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
    How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

    Heavy weather

    What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
    World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

    World Bodypainting Festival 2015

    Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
    alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

    Don't call us nerds

    Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
    How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

    How to find gold

    Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
    Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

    Not born in the USA

    Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
    10 best balsamic vinegars

    10 best balsamic vinegars

    Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
    Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

    Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

    Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
    Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

    Greece referendum

    Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
    Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

    7/7 bombings anniversary

    Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?