From celebrities raving about the benefits of using crystals to Joe Wicks’ exercise classes dominating lockdown back in 2020, recent years have seen a shift where wellness has entered the mainstream.
With health and wellbeing dominating conversations like never before, more and more people are looking for ways to help improve their mental health along with their physical fitness.
And now Sunday Times bestselling author, Lucy Lord’s second delicious cookbook, Cook for the Soul is bursting with fresh recipes that are guaranteed to lift your mood and encourage you to connect with family and friends via food.
Whether you have 20 minutes or two hours, here she shares a selection of her favorite recipes that will put the joy back into cooking…
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Nectarine and burrata salad with garlic croutons and a balsamic dressing
- 2 slices of white bread
- 2 garlic cloves, halved
- 250g bag of rocket
- Handful of basil leaves
- 3 just-ripe nectarines, stoned and cut into wedges
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 ball of burrata (or use 200g mozzarella pearls)
- Pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
For the dressing
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Start by making the croutons. Grill (or toast) the slices of bread until golden. Once toasted and while still hot, rub the halved garlic cloves over each side, then use a sharp knife to slice the toast into cubes.
- Combine all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together with a fork.
- Toss the rocket and three quarters of the basil together in a serving dish and set aside until you’re ready to assemble the salad.
- Place a griddle pan or large non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Put the nectarine wedges in a bowl, drizzle over the olive oil and use your hands to lightly coat the fruit in oil. Once the pan is hot, place the nectarines cut side down in the pan. Cook for 2 minutes on each side until golden and charred.
- To assemble the salad, lay the griddled fruit over the rocket and basil, then tear over the burrata. Scatter over the croutons and drizzle over the dressing. Finish with a grind of black pepper, a pinch of salt, chilli flakes (if using) and the remaining basil.
Peach, honey and thyme tarts
- 375g ready-rolled puff pastry sheet
- 180g cream cheese
- 4 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or use vanilla extract)
- 3 peaches, halved, stoned and sliced into thin wedges
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 egg
- Honey, for drizzling
- Fresh thyme leaves
- Icing sugar, to serve
- If you are using frozen pastry, defrost overnight in the fridge or at room temperature for about an hour. Don’t unroll it until all of your toppings are ready. Preheat the oven to 240°C/220°C fan.
- Unroll the puff pastry onto a large baking sheet lined with non-stick baking paper. Use a sharp knife to slice the sheet into 6 even rectangles, then score a border (about a finger width) around the edges of each piece of pastry. This will puff up into a beautiful, flaky crust.
- Put the cream cheese into a bowl and use a hand-held electric whisk to beat until smooth. Add the icing sugar and vanilla and beat again until combined. Use a spoon to spread this mixture on to each tartlet, avoiding the border you have scored. Top each one with wedges of peach and sprinkle over the brown sugar.
- Use a pastry brush to brush the borders with the beaten egg; this gives the pastry a shiny, golden finish. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp and golden and the base is cooked.
- Once baked, remove from the oven then generously drizzle with honey and sprinkle with thyme leaves. Just before serving, finish with a dusting of icing sugar.
Mac and 3 cheese
- 600g elbow macaroni pasta
- 120g butter, plus 2 tbsp
- 2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
- 90g plain flour
- 1 liter whole milk
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 400g strong Cheddar cheese, grated
- 200g Gruyère cheese, grated
- 120g Parmesan cheese, grated
- 120g panko breadcrumbs
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Chopped parsley, to garnish
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan and grease a large ovenproof dish (approx 33 x 23cm).
- Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than stated on the packet. Drain, then drizzle and toss with a little olive oil to keep from sticking together.
- Melt the 120g butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the garlic and stir for about a minute until aromatic. Add the flour and gently combine with a balloon whisk until the mixture looks like wet sand. Cook for about 1 minute, whisking all the time, then gradually pour in the milk, whisking until you have a smooth sauce. Simmer for 5-7 minutes (keep whisking) until thick and velvety, similar to condensed milk. Remove from the heat, stir through the mustard and season.
- Stir through two-thirds of the grated cheeses, adding a handful at a time and stirring to mix together. Tip the drained, cooked pasta into the saucepan (or mix both in a large bowl), season with salt and pepper to taste and then pour the pasta mix into the greased baking dish.
- Melt the 2 tbsp butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat and add the breadcrumbs, stirring to coat. Cook for a couple of minutes until golden and crisp.
- Scatter the remaining cheese over the pasta mix, followed by the breadcrumbs. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and crisp. I like to put this under a very hot grill for the last few minutes, so that the top of the macaroni has a golden, crunchy crust. Scatter with parsley and let it stand for 15 minutes before serving.
Extracted from Cook For The Soul by Lucy Lord (HarperCollins, £16.99)
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