Cook with Gordon and David

The PM and Opposition leader are just two of the famous names to donate recipes to a church cookbook

They have battled for the hearts and minds of the British public countless times, but now Gordon Brown and David Cameron have turned their attention to the stomachs of the electorate, providing rival recipes for a cookbook organised by a parish church in Yorkshire.

The Prime Minister's recipe for vegetable and mozzarella parcels – which he has apparently adored ever since it was served to him at Chequers – appears alongside the Conservative leader's rustic dish, Italian sausage meat pasta, in the Saints and Celebrities Cookbook, organised by the congregation of All Saints Parish Church in Ilkley, West Yorkshire.

Two of the parish's most enthusiastic foodies, Sybil Mussell and Dorothy Tinkler, wrote to almost 100 public figures asking them to contribute their favourite recipes and a food-related anecdote for the book to raise money to refurbish church buildings.

It features 97 recipes from contributors including Sir Cliff Richard, the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, and the author Jilly Cooper. Sir Cliff sent in an indulgent recipe for a chocolate dessert known as Transkei mud pudding, and a warning that the dish should only be served in small portions due to its richness.

The shadow Foreign Secretary, William Hague, sent the women his recipe for nettle soup, while the former cricket umpire Dickie Bird contributed a heartwarming steak and kidney pie. The church has already sold all 300 copies of the book for £5 each, raising £750 after expenses. However, if demand increases they hope to publish many more.

Ms Tinkler said: "It has been really interesting finding out who likes what, and who has the sweetest tooth – I would say that is definitely Sir Cliff Richard. Everyone we contacted got back to us and was very kind. We are delighted with the result and have some really interesting recipes."

The easiest recipe in the book – for two slices of toast – was sent in by Colin Buchanan, the former Bishop of Woolwich. The only rejection came from the Prince of Wales, who replied saying that he was unable to take part "due to the number of similar requests he receives".

Vegetable and mozzarella parcels; Gordon Brown


1 packet filo pastry

Olive oil

1 crushed clove of garlic

1 courgette

1 of each colour of pepper

1 red onion

250g mushrooms

8 cherry tomatoes

2 sprigs of basil

200ml passata

1 buffalo mozzarella


Cut all the vegetables into small pieces. Cook the onion, peppers and courgettes in olive oil with the garlic until soft. Add the cherry tomatoes and mushrooms. Stir in enough of the passata to bind. Leave to cool, add basil and torn pieces of mozzarella. Lay out filo pastry in two layers (brushed with a little oil or melted butter between) and cut into squares. Place a portion of the mixture in centre of each square and fold into parcels. Brush with a little oil or melted butter and bake in a hot oven at 180C until golden. Serve with a little of the tomato sauce.

Italian sausage meat pasta; David Cameron


Two chopped red onions

6 spicy Italian sausages

handful of chopped rosemary

1 seeded and diced red chilli

red wine

2 tins chopped plum tomatoes

Parmesan cheese

Penne pasta

pint double cream


Fry two chopped red onions in a large pan. Add the meat squeezed from the sausages. Throw in the rosemary and chilli. Turn up the heat and break up the sausage. Once the meat has broken up, add lots of red wine and reduce. Then add two tins of tomatoes. Reduce the sauce. Grate loads of Parmesan in a bowl, and once the pasta is ready (preferably penne) add together the Parmesan, the cream and the sauce.

Nettle soup; William Hague


2lb young nettle tips, 2lb spinach

1 pints of hot chicken or vegetable stock

cold milk

4 cold cooked sausages

3 tablespoons soured cream

3 tablespoons flour


Wash the nettles, and blanch with boiling water. Wash the spinach and add to the nettles. Pour over the stock, season and simmer for 45 minutes. Leave the soup to cool then blend. Mix the flour to a smooth paste with milk. Add to soup and bring back to the boil. Chop sausages into rounds and add to soup. Swirl in cream and serve.

Transkei mud pudding; Sir Cliff Richard


405g can condensed milk

284ml carton double cream

200g digestive biscuits

100g milk chocolate (e.g Aero)


Boil the can of condensed milk (unopened and completely covered with water) for two hours. Allow to cool overnight. Whisk the double cream until it stands in soft peaks. Slowly add the caramelised milk, one spoonful at a time. Mix thoroughly. Grate all the chocolate (saving a little for decoration) and, stir it in. Layer the mixture into a glass dish, alternating with the digestives, making three layers of each. Refrigerate overnight. Sprinkle over the remaining chocolate and serve.

Guacamole; Jilly Cooper


2 ripe avocados

quarter of an onion

3 large cloves of garlic

lemon juice

salt and pepper

Worcestershire sauce



Scoop the flesh out of the avocados into a bowl. Chop the onion very, very finely (almost 2mm squares if possible). Crush the garlic cloves. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper, and squeeze some juice out of the lemon and splash in some Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco – go easy on the latter. Initially with a knife, depending on how ripe the avocados are, mash the ingredients, but if a finer consistency is desired, use a large fork to continue mashing everything together.

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