Fancy joining Jessie and Lennie Ware at the dinner table? You can with this exclusive extract of Table Manners recipes from their new book, which is full of funny stories and nostalgic dishes.
JESSIE: Marmite sits high on my list of everlasting loves. A poached egg doesn’t taste right without Marmite spread on buttery brown toast, and my offering to any late-night gathering in university halls was Marmite, crunchy peanut butter and grated cheddar cheese on toast. I’ll have it with marmalade, avocados, anything… It is the gift that keeps on giving.
My husband Sam introduced me to this Marmite carrot soup, a no-nonsense recipe passed down by his father Pete. It has saved many a miserable Saturday afternoon with a side of cheese and Marmite on toast. It’s so simple and quick to make. Sam likes the soup quite thick, but if you prefer it thinner you can use more stock or just add some boiling water when you come to blend it.
LENNIE Jessie likes to add a red chilli to the breadcrumbs and coriander; I don’t like heat so I always leave it out, but it’s delicious either way. Serve with a nice green salad – rocket, spinach and watercress would be good – and small new potatoes.
LENNIE These classic flavours create a beautiful tart to serve up at the dinner table. It looks great, tastes delicious and is so easy to make.
JESSIE For me, a rack of lamb is the food of love. My first Valentine’s meal with my now husband was when we were 19. In fact, our first Valentine’s Day fell two dates into our courtship a year earlier. It was a Friday night and I had made plans with my friend Amber months before to go on a single girls’ Valentine date in Brixton. So I promised both Amber and Sam I would see them and drank half a bottle of Amaretto for a little Dutch courage. As I slurred a nervous ‘hello’ to his parents in their living room, I was a bag of nerves. Should I have got him a card? Were we actually going to ‘watch a film’ in his bedroom? Would the Amaretto stay down on an empty stomach? But what really threw me was, do I eat the barbecue chicken pizza (my favourite) with the garlic dip ordered by my suitor and risk food in my teeth and foul breath before our potential first kiss? I was so hungry but I weighed up all the risks and resisted, pretending I had already eaten. After the film had finished, he drove me in his mum’s car to Brixton and there we had our first kiss, all five seconds of it, as Amber interrupted us with the fifth call of the night.
The following Valentine’s Day was our ‘anniversary’ so I rustled up a rack of lamb and dauphinoise potatoes. The dish was a declaration of love, so it made sense to try to woo domestic goddess Nigella Lawson with a rack of lamb when she guested on the podcast. I will never forget her sucking on those bones.
This dish is rather easy but looks incredibly fancy. Serve with coco de paimpol or haricot beans and greens.
LENNIE I first tasted coco de paimpol beans at Skye Gyngell’s restaurant Spring. In season during summer and early autumn, they have a wonderful creamy texture. They’re only grown in Brittany, so if they’re not available, I use tinned white haricot beans to serve on the side.
JESSIE The first time I tried this was at one of many Sunday afternoon gatherings with our friends the Sweeneys. The moment it touched my lips, it was love. This dish gives you everything: the sweet and the sharp, salivating taste buds and the depth of Mediterranean divinity. This recipe was my first foray into confident entertaining (I think all my university friends tired of Marbella Chicken by the third year). It’s a definite crowd-pleaser. I have even won over those irritating people who don’t like sweet and sour flavours together with a plate of this. Everything can be prepped the night before, so you can be the host with the most and assume the title of ‘effortless cook’.
JESSIE Instagram can sometimes be good for the soul, especially when it comes to food. My friend once posted a night out, showing a butter-poached new potato with a little sour cream and caviar on the top. It looked equally ludicrous and divine. So I decided to try butter poaching, but adding something extra. I bought smoked rapeseed oil from a local farmer at the Bridport Food Festival and it has been the best addition to nearly everything. Serve these with simple pan-fried fish and salad or dress them up with sour cream and caviar.
JESSIE We first had this in the Old Bailey, where we had been invited by a judge (an old Manchester friend of my mum’s) to join him for a formal ceremonial lunch. Seven months pregnant and desperate for any booze, I happily wolfed down the rum raisin crème brûlée. When we went to make crème brûlée for actress Hayley Squires, we made literal flames.
LENNIE This recipe caused Jessie and I to have a culinary dispute. She was too handy with the blowtorch that was extremely fierce and not well attached. It was chaos in the kitchen with flame throwers setting fire to the crème brûlées. I had to take over, with disastrous results, and it was nearly mama brûlée – but we laughed until we couldn’t breathe.
JESSIE We felt this needed to be included in the book as a motivation to all new cooks: ‘If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again’ (if you haven’t set fire to yourself in the process).
JESSIE People have requested this recipe the most after hearing about it in the Ed Sheeran episode. My doctor brother Alex says that this triple shot of chocolatey goodness is more like a ‘triple threat’ to your cholesterol levels, but don’t let that stop you from making it. Get creative! Add whatever you like to your brownie batter. Generous chunks of white, milk or dark chocolate will all work well, as will roughly broken-up Oreo cookies or any other chocolate confectionery. I generally add three things to mine, hence the name. These brownies are best if they’re slightly undercooked, so they still retain their gooeyness. What you want is a brownie that gets stuck to your teeth when eating it.