Cook from the Book: Stirring Slowly

To celebrate the publication of Georgina Hayden's debut cookbook, Stirring Slowly, we've gathered up a team to cook from the book all week. With Stirring Slowly's mantra in mind - recipes to restore and revive - each cook has chosen a dish they've forgotten how to enjoy and fallen in love with the cooking process all over again, thanks to Georgie and Stirring Slowly

Who: Lottie Huckle, Digital Content Producer

What I made: Lentil, Feta and Spinach Fritters

What I thought: I’ve fallen into a bit of a lunch rut. Day after day I find myself tucking into leftover dinner from the night before. And while the dinner was often delicious, there’s something about cold curry eaten from a Tupperware at your desk that just doesn’t cut it. And it doesn’t make lunch feel special. If I’m guilty of neglecting any meal – it’s lunch.

Enter Georgie Hayden’s Stirring Slowly and with it a renewed intention to give my lunch box a little more love. Hungry for inspiration, I flicked through the book, drooling over the dinner, breakfast and baking recipes on my way, and came across these Lentil and Feta Fritters. They seemed to fit the bill – quick, easy, versatile and potentially lunchbox friendly.

The first time I made this dish I had them hot out of the pan at home, but on the second attempt I took them in to work and enjoyed them cold. I’m happy to report they’re delicious both ways – bold with the salty flavours of feta, earthy lentils and fresh, fragrant herbs. I could harp on about how this recipe took no time at all and was a doddle to make, but I found the real advantage from cooking from Stirring Slowly is Georgie’s encouragement to peruse the cookbook and find a recipe you’re happy to make both the time to cook and the time to enjoy – her encouragement to sit back and savour the mouthful and the moment. So do try this recipe from Stirring Slowly, try as many as you can, and I hope you reclaim your enjoyment of eating too.

stirring slowly review

Who: Mikaela Pedlow, Editorial Assistant

What I made: Chicken Soup

What I thought: I’m prone to the Sunday blues. I start to fixate on how another week has rushed past and the next will shortly take off at full-speed. A weary feeling creeps in… and with it the temptation to stay absolutely still on the couch, let the Euros final play on mute, order disappointing takeaway. I love Georgina Hayden’s book because it has transformed moments like these – when I am worn-down and flailing for a pause button – and shown me how to reclaim a sense of calm and wellbeing.

Last week I was taken down by a treacherous summer cold. I love tangy, punchy flavours and had been looking forward to trying the Roasted Sticky Plum Chicken as a Sunday treat, before I completely lost my appetite (rock bottom, clearly). The best resort seemed to be chicken soup, which has always been my family’s standard solution to a cold. After years of diligent soup-sipping while feeling sorry for myself, I was a little reluctant. It didn’t help that the July sun was finally out and I wanted to be slurping down a cold Pimms, not plain broth. But having been awed by several of the Stirring Slowly recipes already, I took a small leap of faith.

Pay no attention to Georgina’s humble claim that this is a ‘classic chicken soup’ recipe. It is so much more exciting: both comforting and refreshing, warm and zesty. The combination of cinnamon and lemon is genius. And so fresh! This is a soup for all seasons that could cure flu, heartache, homesickness, malaise. It was also a pleasure to make. The pot simmers away, its contents building in flavour, tenderizing and making little fuss, and there are gorgeous herby dumplings to add at the end.

Spending two-and-a-bit hours on this gem was restorative for ‘the soul’ and my immune system, and I can’t wait to make it in future for poorly loved-ones. Though I wouldn’t wish a summer cold on anyone!

courgette cake recipe

Who: Penelope Liechti, Rights Manager

What I made: Courgette, coconut and cardamom loaf with honey butter

What I thoughtI’ve been cooking from Georgina Hayden’s wonderful book ever since the first pages arrived back in the bleak tail-end of winter, and her “Quick and light” chapter in particular has been the salvation of many an after-work supper.

This time though I really wanted to tackle the mayhem that is a typical breakfast in my house – with everyone dashing off to work, school or countless weekend activities and errands, there never seems to be time for all of us to sit down together. When we do, I’ll be making Georgina’s caramelised apple pancakes, but in the meantime I chose the pleasingly alliterative courgette, coconut and cardamom cake for everyone to grab as they leave the house, as not only is it cake (which means my children will hoover it up without so much as a suspicious look) but it contains actual vegetables (a tick in the good parenting column) and my husband will love the twist of cardamom.

It was wonderfully simple to throw together, a therapeutic half hour pottering around the kitchen measuring out ingredients which then magically came together under Georgina’s guidance. No anxiety about the state of creaminess of my batter, and all easily doable by hand (so less washing up!). I usually struggle with baking times – my oven is not the most reliable – but for once when the timer went off the cake was perfectly done.

Unsurprisingly we didn’t quite have time in the morning to grill our slices as Georgina suggests, but it’s such a great idea I’m planning to serve it that way for tea over the weekend. Even au naturel it’s gorgeous, light and moist with a lovely crumb, and the honey butter accompaniment is an inspired touch. A great addition to the kitchen repertoire and another winner from Stirring Slowly.

quick noodle bowl recipe

Who: Naomi Mantin, Senior Press Officer

What I made: My Favourite Quick Noodle Bowl

What I thought: On weekdays at work, I start thinking about what I’m going to have for dinner approximately 12 seconds after I’ve finished my lunch. I often fantasise about planning slow-cooked masterpieces that have been marinating for years served with freshly baked bread and a smug green smoothie on the side, knowing full well that I will never be organised enough for that sort of behaviour. When I get in from work, bleary-eyed and stomach grumbling, I want something delicious and I want it straight away. I’m ashamed to say this usually means I end up reverting to sad packets of rice and shameful frozen pizzas. Georgina Hayden’s quick noodle bowl, however, has changed my world and saved my life. This vibrant little bowl of goodness is creamy, spicy, salty and good for you all at once, and takes no time at all. I had all my ingredients chopped, cooked, stirred, served and eaten in the time it would take to fish out a takeway menu, and my goodness was it more satisfying. Georgie really understands how to make quick cooking seem joyful, and leaves you with enough time to savour your meal with a glass of wine, pyjamas and Orange is the New Black afterwards. I found the recipe so straightforward that it’s now imprinted in my brain, and I’ll be thinking about having it again it before I’ve even eaten my breakfast tomorrow.

british summertime stack review

Who: Rowan Yapp, Editorial Director, Square Peg

What I made: British Summertime Stack

What I thought: Georgie begins the baking chapter in Stirring Slowly by saying 'for me baking is the ultimate form of kitchen therapy.' I totally relate to that and love getting lost in a baking project, especially because, as Georgie says, 'It's food that needs to be shared, which is surely one of life's greatest simple pleasures.'

I have young children and, while I love baking with them, it does kind of limit my repertoire to flapjacks and brownies. So I opted to make a bigger, more elaborate cake than normal - one which I could bring into the office and share with the team who worked on Georgie's book.

I chose to make the British Summertime Stack because I have a weakness for Eton Mess, and this recipe reads like that in cake form. Plus it's the height of summer, the sun is shining, Wimbledon is on the telly, London's streets and parks smell floral, and people are walking with a spring in their step. So I wanted to mark this strawberries-and-cream moment quickly before it rains! The cake was really fun to make. It has various different composite parts so it takes a bit of time but each is simple. Doing the final assembly and topping it with mint leaves definitely felt like a step beyond what I normally get time for at home. It was a treat to make as well as a delicious treat to eat.

Stirring Slowly review

Who: Chloe Healy, Head of Marketing, Vintage

What I made: Chocolate, Rye and Pecan Celebration Cake

What I thought: Being tasked with baking a cake for a loved one’s birthday is usually a task that fills me with horror. Sinking middles, burnt crispy bits or a soggy bottom. When the occasion is your dad’s 60th, the pressure is even greater! I turned to Georgie’s chocolate, rye and pecan celebration cake. Firstly, because Georgie baked cupcake versions and brought them to our first meeting (best meeting ever). Secondly, because the photo of the cake in Stirring Slowly has to be one of the most beautiful, celebratory-looking, special-occasion cakes ever. And thirdly, because Georgie has a way of making a recipe so straight-forward to follow, you feel like you’re in the safest hands, and far from a soggy bottom indeed. Hell, I even made the highly addictive sea salt caramel. I loved decorating it – I felt like a total pro caramelising the pecans and they added a real touch of theatre, as did the gold dust. Optional but great to mark a 60th birthday! The cake was delicious, it got devoured immediately. And the left over sea salt caramel was divine eaten with a spoon. Thank you Georgie and Stirring Slowly!

Want to find out more about the book? Click here! And if you want a taste of Stirring Slowly, check out Georgie's recipes for Roast Harissa Butter Chicken, her Favourite Quick Noodle Bowl and her marvellous British Summertime Stack.

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