Home Cooked by Kate Humble

If you haven’t come across her before, Kate Humble is a broadcaster/presenter working mostly for the BBC and mostly with wildlife and science programs. She’s also a walker, a farmer, and a fantastic storyteller…and she’s who I’d like to be when I grow up.

Given that so far this year I’ve read three of her books: A Year of Living Simply, Thinking On My Feet and A Friend For Life (a fabulous book which I’ve just finished listening to) I had to also read Home Cooked.

Separated into seasonal sections each recipe conjures an image – not just of the food, but of the life that goes with the food.

In the Spring section I can imagine clomping through the woods and foraging my own wild garlic to make wild garlic pesto or spring chicken with wild garlic and new potatoes. The self-saucing pudding with orange and lemon will be just the thing for a simple but zesty finish to a meal when the days are warm but the nights haven’t yet got the humidity that summer brings. I make a mental note to buy more heads of garlic at the farmer’s market so I can preserve some roasted garlic in oil.

Moving through to summer I’ve bookmarked her roast lamb with garden veg, oregano and feta for Easter Sunday. The courgette, lemon and chilli risotto and quick pickled cucumber are also at the top of my must-make list.

As for autumn and winter, I’ve bookmarked almost every page. I’ve already told you about her beer bread, (in the pic below it’s served as her cheese on toast which is so much more than cheese on toast) and the recipe for lentil and tomato soup is below, but this long weekend I’ll also be making the apple crumble ice cream and pork and apple cider stew. Also on my list is the chilli jam, bacon jam (yes, I know!), spiced pear crumble and blackberry and apple meringue… plus so much more.

As I read the introductions and the recipes themselves I’m imagining that Welsh farmhouse in the Wye Valley, maybe a flagstone floor, a large kitchen range, and hunkering down weather. The Welsh have a word for it – Cwtch (pronounced ‘kutch’, to rhyme with ‘butch’). It means cuddle or hug, but it also means feeling safe, warm, and comforted. And that’s exactly what this cookbook is.

While very few of the recipes in here are revelational, there’s a happy mix of quick-fix dishes, and let the oven do the heavy-lifting kind of dishes and I absolutely adore it – so much I’m replacing my digital copy of this one with a hard copy I can flick through and stick post-it notes in. As for whether it deserves space on your bookshelf? You need this book if…

  • You can imagine a life in a Welsh farmhouse with dogs, a fabulous kitchen range, and an appetite from walking a lot with the dogs up fells and through woodlands without a dodgey ankle.
  • If you love home-style, minimal-fuss, home-cooked food for proper seasons
  • You like a book that’s been photographed beautifully

Don’t buy this book if:

  • You’re really not in it for the story
  • You’re after dishes you haven’t seen before or dishes cooked in ways that are new and exciting

Lentil and Tomato Soup

What you need…

  • a glug of olive oil (not your good extra virgin) or something like rapeseed/canola
  • 1 onion, diced finely
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 250g dried red lentils
  • 1 litre vegetable stock (fresh or from a cube)
  • 500g tomato passata
  • 160ml can coconut cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

What you do with it…

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the onions with a good pinch of salt (the salt will stop them from taking on too much colour). Sweat them down for about 5 minutes until they become soft and translucent and then follow with the ginger and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes. tip in the garam masala and cumin seeds and mix well. By now your kitchen should be smelling amazing.

Add the lentils and stir them through everything and then pour in the passata, stock and coconut cream. Bring to a simmer and cook on gentle heat for 20-25 minutes, stirring every now and then until the lentils are soft.

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

13 thoughts

  1. I love Kate Humble but haven’t read any of her books so I must rectify this. I love the image of a Welsh farmhouse kitchen but my bones tell me the reality would be cold, damp weather for most of the year which would make me miserable! Living the dream through books and TV programs whilst I live in the sunshine suits me better 😃


    1. It’s a bit like that isn’t it? When you read some of her books and she talks about days where even she can’t get outside…


      1. Yes and talking to some of my friends in the UK they’ve had a lot of rain the past few weeks! But I think it is improving with sunny but cold days. I do miss seeing the Spring lambs.


  2. This seems like a book made for my climate where we really do cook for the seasons. I have not heard of her but will look and see if she is on my library app. Bernie


  3. Sadly she’s not on the library app. As to that I am still fighting to get Kobo set up so I can finish reading Philly Barker Investigates. The reading app let me read a sample and request it but at this moment they don’t “own” it so I’ve asked them to get it. I can’t wait to finish the story. Loved the opening of it.


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