Food & Wine

As Prue Leith says in her Foreword to this wonderful book, ‘the Hallmark of a good cook is relaxed confidence’.  No one knows this better than Sarah Willes, who, for over thirty years, through her BLUES agency, has supplied all manner of holiday cooks, from top chefs for the rich and famous, to more modest cooks, making hearty casseroles for hungry skiers.

With all-time favourites from the Blues bank of cooks, as well as contributions from well-known cooks such as Josceline Dimbleby and Sally Clarke, the recipes in this book are easily achievable, satisfying to cool, and truly delicious to eat’.


I have known Sarah Willes for at least thirty years, since she started Blues as a catering business, from her house in Fulham, and it has now become one of the important agencies supplying experienced Chefs to large banks and City institutions, successful companies, and the professions, as well as private chefs to high net worth individuals, who live an international lifestyle.

However, as the title says, the recipes which we are reproducing from this new book, are for ‘relaxed family holidays’, from Skiing holidays in the Alps, to beach holidays in Cornwall, so we hope you will enjoy them as much as we do.

For the next few months, we will be reproducing a selection of the best recipes from  this book, and if you would like to obtain a copy, subscribers to The Vintage Magazine can buy it direct from Blues Agency at the special price of £12 (twelve pounds) each, to include postage and packing.

Robert Jarman


Aubergine and Feta Dip

This dip also goes really well with barbequed lamb.

Makes:  One medium sized bowl of dip

Prep time:  10 minutes

Cooking time:  45 minutes


  • 2 aubergines
  • 150g Feta cheese
  • 100ml olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley

Pre-heat the oven to 220°C.

  1. Roast the whole aubergines on a baking tray for 45 minutes, until the skin is wrinkled and the flesh is completely soft and coming away from the skin.
  2. Put the aubergines in a bowl and cover with cling film.  Leave to cool slightly.
  3. Take the aubergines out, peel the skin off and place in a food processor with the feta.
  4. Whizz until smooth, then slowly add the olive oil, followed by the salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon.
  5. Serve in a bowl topped with chopped parsley.

Davina Mulford

Beetroot and Horseradish Dip

Makes: a small bowl of dip

Preparation time: 5 minutes

  • 250g cooked and peeled beetroot
  • 100g cream cheese
  • 3 heaped tsp horseradish sauce
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the beetroot, cream cheese, horseradish sauce and lemon juice into a food processor, or use a hand held blender. Blend up the ingredients until as smooth as possible.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add a little more lemon juice if desired.

Decant into a bowl and place in the fridge.

Scatter over toasted flaked almonds if you like, and serve with toasted pitta bread and carrot sticks.

Hattie Deards

Lyn Wood’s Wasabi Pea Dip

Fresh tasting and unusual – perfect with cheese biscuits.

Makes: medium sized bowl of dip

Preparation time: 5-10 minutes

Cooling time: 30 minutes


  • 175g peas, fresh or frozen
  • 200g crème fraiche
  • 50g cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp wasabi paste (to taste)
  • 1 small red chilli, deseeded and chopped (optional)
  • Sea salt

Cook the peas in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes, and drain.

Add the peas, crème fraiche, cream cheese and wasabi paste to a food processor or use a hand held blender.  Blend the ingredients together until smooth.  Taste and season with sea salt.

Spoon the dip into a bowl, mix in the chopped chilli and refrigerate until needed.

Lyn Wood


Tabbloueh and Frittata

Goat’s Cheese and Sun-dried Tomato Frittata

Another vibrant recipe taken from Darina Allen’s book Easy Entertaining.  This frittata is seriously colourful and inviting.

Serves: 6-8

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 15-20 minutes


  • 8 large free range eggs
  • A large handful of chopped parsley
  • A handful of chopped basil and thyme
  • 110g chorizo, cut into small chunks
  • 40g grated parmesan
  • 300g sun-dried or sun-blushed tomatoes
  • 25g butter
  • 110g goats cheese
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Whisk the eggs together in a large bowl.  Add the chopped herbs, chorizo and the parmesan cheese, and stir it all together thoroughly.
  2. Add the tomatoes, cutting any particularly large ones in half, and stir gently.  Season the mixture well with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the butter to a large non-stick frying pan.  When it starts to gently bubble, add the egg mixture to the pan, and turn the heat right down.  Cut the goats cheese into walnut size chunks, and scatter them over the top of the egg mixture.
  4. Cook the frittata extremely slowly for around 15 minutes – the underneath should start to set, but you do not want it to burn.
  5. When the bottom is set and the top is still runny, turn the grill on to a medium to low heat.  Place the frying pan under the grill and cook for a few minutes, until the egg has fully set and the surface is very slightly browned.
  6. When the frittata is cooked, slide it on to a plate, and serve it warm with a large green salad.

 Darina Allen

Kali’s Quinoa Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh, but just a little bit different.

Serves: 4-6

Preparation time: 25-30 minutes


  • 200g quinoa
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cucumber, cut in half lengthways and seeds removed
  • 2 small red onions, finely chopped
  • Large bunch parsley
  • Large bunch mint
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Boil the quinoa in enough stock or water to well cover it for 20 to 25 minutes until just cooked.  Drain and tip into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Juice the lemons and pour the juice over the warm quinoa, add the olive oil and mix well. Half the cucumber lengthways and scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon, then chop the cucumber into cubes.  Add it to the quinoa along with the chopped onions.
  3. Chop the parsley and mint, either by hand or in a food processor, and stir into the quinoa, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Kali Hamm

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013