A vogue for good and simple food

A vogue for good and simple food

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The Hemsley Sisters

The Hemsley sisters love cooking and gadgets. They pioneered the ‘spiralizer’ – a machine which adds a tempting twist to your veg.

The Hemsley sisters are as much chatterboxes as they are chefs, finishing each other’s sentences and chipping in all over the place.

“I am the big sister and she’s the bossy sister,” Jasmine, 36, explains wryly, pointing at Melissa, 30.

The healthy eating aficionados set up their company and lifestyle blog, Hemsley + Hemsley, together six years ago.

They were picked up by Vogue as columnists within weeks of starting out, their first book, The Art of Eating Well – famed for its Bone Broth and Black Bean Brownie recipes – was an international hit, and now they’re celebrating the release of their ‘second baby’, Good + Simple.

“Good + Simple is pretty much what it says on the tin,” buzzes Melissa.

“Everything that went into it had to taste very good, do you good, and be really simple to make, and that is pretty much how we cook anyway – from Monday morning to Friday night.”

“We are big fans of making life easy,” agrees former model Jasmine, who explains that they’re all about encouraging people to have a Sunday cook-cookoff, where you set yourself up for the week by making meal batches.

“Every time you cook, make double and pop it in the freezer, and then you don’t really think about takeaways,” says Jasmine with a grin.

The new book is full of healthy comfort food alternatives.

“You’ll find all your classic favourites reworked, like fish finger sandwiches. And the Full Monty, which is our full English breakfast,” chirps Melissa.

“And then Celeriac Carbonara – it looks the business,” finishes Jasmine.

The Celeriac Carbonara embodies what they’re all about: Vegetables, good fats and twists on the traditional – in this case, the pasta is replaced with ribbons of root veg.

“We love spiralizing!” Melissa says proudly, which is something of an understatement – since they, in fact, pioneered the spiralizer here.

They’ve even got Mary Berry using one: “I actually took a picture in Selfridges, and there’s a pile of our spiralizers and then there’s our book and Mary Berry’s book – I was like, ‘Yay!’

“I always thought we would never have anything in common with Mary Berry, because I can’t really bake,” Melissa continues. “We do bake ‘our’ way, but if someone asked me to bake Mary’s way I wouldn’t know how, because it’s too scientific.”

Although Berry isn’t doing it quite right, apparently… “She used the difficult spiralizer, the one that’s like a pencil sharpener, which is actually really annoying.”

Neither of the sisters were surprised by the success of the gadget, despite people claiming it was ‘gimmicky’ to begin with.

“Essentially, it’s a safer mandolin,” says Melissa, rolling her eyes – but admittedly they are horrified that you can now buy prespiralized veg (“It’s not right!”)

Their prediction for the next foodie obsession is cauliflower rice – there are three versions in Good + Simple – and they’ve already got their mum hooked.

“Our mum is Filipino and grew up on white rice and raised us on white rice,” Melissa explains with a laugh.

“She got really into cauliflower rice and was like, ‘I can’t understand how there’s cauliflower in the rice?’, and we were like, ‘No! It is cauliflower rice!’”

Feeling inspired? Try the following recipe from Good + Simple…

Cannellini Vanilla Sponge Cake

CANNELLINI VANILLA SPONGE CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE AVOCADO FROSTING

INGREDIENTS

  • 125g butter or coconut oil, melted, plus extra for greasing
  • 3 x 400g tins of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 9 medium eggs
  • 1tbsp vanilla extract
  • 220ml maple syrup
  • 5tsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • 90g coconut fl our
  • 2.5tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4tsp sea salt
  • 150g fresh raspberries, to decorate

FOR THE FROSTING

  • 4 medium ripe avocados
  • 5tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 8tsp raw honey (to taste)
  • 10tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2tsp orange extract
  • Pinch of sea salt

(Serves 25-30)
Preheat the oven to fan 180C/Gas mark 6, then line the bases of two 25cm-diameter cake tins with baking parchment and grease the sides with butter or coconut oil.

Blend all the ingredients for the frosting together in a food processor until smooth, adding a dash of cold water if needed, adjusting the flavourings to taste, then transfer to a bowl and set aside in the fridge.

For the cake, add the cannellini beans to the cleaned food processor bowl with the eggs, vanilla extract and maple syrup and blend until smooth. Add the remaining cake ingredients, except the raspberries, and blend to combine.

Divide the cake batter between the prepared cake tins, spreading out evenly and smoothing the surface. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes until well risen and lightly golden on top. (Check the cakes after 25 minutes and swap the tins between shelves, if necessary, as they will cook at different rates.)

Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before turning out of the tins.

While the cakes are cooling, gently wash the raspberries and dry them carefully using kitchen paper or leave to air dry (they must be thoroughly dry before adding to the cake).

Spread half the frosting on one of the cooled sponges, top with the other sponge and spread over the rest of the frosting. Store in the fridge and bring to room temperature to serve. Decorate with the fresh raspberries just before serving.

Hemsley + Hemsley Spiralizer

THREE OF THE BEST… tools for fruit and veg

Hemsley + Hemsley Spiralizer, from £20 (Amazon)
Join the spiralizing revolution with the sisters’ gadget. It’s sturdy, easy to clean and turns everything from courgette and apples to celeriac into tasty ribbons.

Joseph Joseph Handi-Grate, £15 (www.josephjoseph.com)
Not only is this handheld gadget quite cute, it will make sharp work of those more fiddly to grate vegetables, like radishes.

Alessi Apostrophe Stainless Steel Orange Peeler, £15.50 www.exitinteriors.co.uk
No longer will you have to grapple with an orange using your fingernails alone. This nifty device is classy to look at and smoothly slices through peel.

Good + Simple by Melissa and Jasmine Hemsley, Photography by Nick Hopper, published by Ebury Press, priced £25. Available now