TEN QUESTIONS WITH THE HEMSLEYS + A GREEN GODDESS NOODLE SALAD
The Hemsley sisters are as warm and wonderful as people can be. They share my feeling that wellness and deliciousness go hand in hand, so we’ve shared many happy suppers together. They are kind and generous and champion other ladies. Their enthusiasm has led to them being wildly successful and to them getting their very own TV show. I am so excited that, finally, one of our channels here in the UK has decided that good-for-you cooking has a place on TV. Hats off to you two Jasmine and Melissa.
What did you have for breakfast?
Jasmine: I love eggs so this morning I made a quick scramble with watercress and a cup of Pep-Up tea, I try to organise any meetings around breakfast time so that I can enjoy the Quinoa Courgette Toast topped with avocado, feta and a fried egg or our egg and probiotic ketchup flaxseed breakfast buns at our cafe in Selfridges.
Melissa: I had half a green vegetable-based smoothie on my way to a Barry’s Bootcamp class and the other half afterwards along with some Quinoa Kettle Porridge, which is a super easy portable breakfast recipe from our book Good + Simple.
What’s your most used cookbook/ reference book?
Jasmine: A book that I remember really opening my eyes to the benefits of natural fats, unprocessed foods and probiotics was Nourishing Traditions – a text book with traditional recipes from around the world. It was that eureka moment where I realised that the food we grew up with – Mum’s home-cooking, which included butter, fatty cuts of meat, liver and plenty of eggs – made us feel so good compared to the cereals, soy milks and margarines that had become all the rage.
Melissa: Although I loved watching cooking shows when I was younger I didn’t learn to cook until I was in my twenties and once I started I couldn’t stop. I’ve got a Madhur Jaffrey cookbook that I go back to often to try and understand spices and all the many ways to use them and blend them. I’ve got a lot of time for searching out new spice mixes wherever I go.
What’re your three favourite ingredients?
1.Bone broth. It’s the nourishing basis of our favourite go-to meals – soups and stews – no bread needed! Also delicious for sauces and ragus, we love this as a delicious elixir in a mug with a little sea salt and lemon juice too.
2.Lemons. Fresh, full of vitamins, and brings colour to your kitchen it lifts flavours, makes the perfect marinade and helps cut cravings. We start the day with warm water with a squeeze of fresh lemon. We always have a lemon in our handbag when we’re flying.
3.Mung beans. Cheap and take on any flavours. Great for stews, dips, curries and our favourite mung dahl and you can sprout them really easily for salads.
Where’s your favourite place to eat?
Jasmine: We live in South London and both love the Canton Arms in Stockwell, the menu changes every day, the ingredients are top notch and they celebrate nose to tail eating while being a really friendly relaxed neighbourhood pub. Otherwise I’m always up for eating Al fresco – I try to eat outside in the fresh air, even if it’s on my doorstep as often as possible!
Melissa: We are really lucky in London, there are so many great place to eat out. I love The Cornwall Project at The Newman Arms and for a variety of sharing plates and something special, Elliot’s in Borough market is great. Now of course you’ll always find me at our new space – Hemsley + Hemsley at Selfridges – enjoying all my favourites! The cafe fully reflects the H+H ethos with a menu of signature dishes from both our books, as well as some new ones to tuck into
Where do you find inspiration for new dishes?
The initial inspiration comes from a whole host of places. We love travelling and trying new foods but some of our most popular recipes come from requests for favourite dishes reworked with whole foods to make them nutrient dense as well as nostalgically/emptionally comforting! We love reworking a classic such as pizza, burgers, spaghetti bologniase while keeping the recipes simple
Where is your favourite place? (A shop, a beach, a village, a café …)
Jasmine: I love Ibiza, some of my favourite people live there and I love going back off season with my boyfriend to explore the many beaches and enjoying them all to ourselves! It’s lovely for hiking and inspires creativity.
Melissa: My mum’s house in Surbiton.
Who would you most like to cook for?
Jasmine: I love cooking for and with my friends. If I could wish for someone in particular to hang out with it would probably be Alan Watts. I’d cook a really simple meal and then settle in for some good stories and profound wisdom!
Melissa: Maybe Arianna Huffington, I admire her a lot as a female businesswoman and firm believer in the positive impact sleep can have on your productivity. I recently read her book The Sleep Revolution and loved it.
What’s your favourite smell?
Jasmine: Sounds a bit weird whichever way I write this but the smell of loved ones – especially the smell of babies skin! And I love the smell of baking, especially on a cold day.
Melissa: I love the smell of garlic gently frying in butter.
How do you find working together so closely as sisters?
Jasmine: It’s great because you get to hang out whereas before we starting working together we only saw each other whenever there was a family event or we needed to kip at each other’s! I think that the nature of the work also helps because good food, wellness and cooking is very family orientated/suited to family. We don’t have an office thank goodness- that would be akin to sharing a bedroom when we were young and tempers would fly!
What does ‘eating well’ mean to you?
To us it means simple, wholesome, home-cooked food that’s delicious, using a variety of nutrient-dense ingredients.We enjoy all the natural fats that come from our foods; including quality dairy and grass fed meats alongside extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds. Our recipes are based on vegetables, usually with clever twists to make eating them fun and even easier, while being free from gluten, grains, refined sugar and hydrogenated vegetable oils. The provenance of our food as well as mindful eating and good digestion are all key the the H+H philosophy and we don’t count calories. This is about a way of eating that leaves you feeling happy, healthy and more energised – eating well the holistic way.
GREEN GODDESS NOODLE SALAD
300g buckwheat (soba) noodles
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
300g broccoli florets or purple-sprouting broccoli, asparagus or green beans
1 medium green cabbage or pak choi, leaves finely shredded
1 medium fennel bulb, finely sliced
1 cucumber, halved lengthways, seeds scooped out and flesh chopped
4 spring onions, finely sliced
1 large ripe avocado, sliced
2 handfuls of fresh green (such as watercress, baby spinach, sliced lettuce or leftover cooked kale)
1 small handful of nuts (such as cashew nuts, peanuts or almonds) or seeds (such as sesame, sunflower or poppy seeds), preferably ‘crispy activated’
4 large handfuls of fresh herbs (such as coriander, mint or basil, or a mixture) roughly chopped
FOR THE DRESSING
Grated zest and juice of 2 limes or 1 lemon
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, grated
4cm piece of fresh root ginger (unpeeled if organic) finely grated
2 tsp tamari
A pinch of cayenne pepper or chilli flakes (optional)
Sea salt and black pepper
Cook the buckwheat noodles in a large pan of boiling water according to the packet instructions (about 7 mins). Use two forks to tease the noodles apart during the first minute of cooking.
When they are tender, drain and rinse under cold water for 15 seconds. Drain again and then toss in the EVOO in a large serving bowl to stop the noodles sticking together. Set aside.
Using the same pan, after a quick rinse, steam the broccoli (or other vegetable), covered with a lid, in 4 tbsp of boiling water for 4 minutes until tender.
Whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a bowl or shake in a jam jar with the lid on. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then drain.
Add the raw veg. spring onions and avocado to the noodles with the greens and steamed broccoli. Pour over the dressing and mix everything together. Top with the nuts or seeds, toasted in a dry pan for a minute if you like, and the fresh herbs.
Good + Simple by Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley (Ebury Press) £25 hardback
Eating Well with Hemsley + Hemsley starts Monday 9th May at 8pm on Channel 4
Image: Mark Writtle