Waitrose & Partners Weekend Issue 641

WeekendFREE Issue 641 | 16March 2023 RAISING DOUGH The Great Celebrity Bake Off returns with 20 famous faces p3 WARDROBE WIZARD How to make money from a clearout of your clothes p5 ALESHA DIXON Bringing up strong daughters and the healing power of Strictly p10 OFFERS Enjoy savings on selected products fromWaitrose p48 SPOILT FOR CHOICE Breakfast in bed, roast with all the trimmings, a gorgeous cake and this orange an – make it a Mother’s Day to remember, p2, p24, p26 & p40

2 16 MARCH 2023 News&Views Mums love it when their children bring them breakfast in bed onMother’s Day – but they’d secretly rather have it at the table, according to a poll commissioned by Weekend. We asked 1,000mothers with children aged between five and 18 about the annual brekkie tradition, and whether they dread the crumbs, the cold food and the clearing up, or whether they’re happy to be treated to the bedroom ‘surprise’. Nearly two-thirds (63%) said they’d had breakfast in bed brought to themby their kids before, and the heartwarming consensus is that they almost all like it, with 87% in favour. The most popular reasons given were: that it’s nice to have (38%); it makes the day feel special (25%); SUNDAY SURPRISE AHEAD FOR MUMS Our Mother’s Day poll reveals what recipients think of the annual breakfast in bed tradition – and the unusual options on offer. By Emma Higginbotham ‘More than a fifth of mums had been presented with food with bites taken out’ and it’s exciting for the little ones (24%). Yet while mums love havingMother’s Day breakfast made for them, nearly half (40%) said they’d actually rather have it at the table, as opposed to 29%who prefer it in bed, 28%who had no preference, and 4%who wouldn’t want breakfast made for them by their children at all. The dine-at-table option is favoured by Stuart Heritage who, in this month’s Waitrose Food magazine, goes head to head with his wife – fellow journalist RobynWilder – over whether breakfast in bed is a sumptuous treat or a chaotic ordeal. He points out that the combination of a tray and an undulatingmattress is a recipe for amessy disaster: “Shift your weight by even a fraction and themilk in the cereal will slosh out of its bowl and the teacup will transform into an arbitrary scalding device,” he writes. “Youmay as well try to eat your breakfast o a horse’s back.” Robyn, on the other hand, loves breakfast in bed – in a hotel setting, that is. With two sons aged five and seven, she admits to being “a little afraid that, to them, this may constitute a 6am sausage roll lobbed at my head,” and has issued some helpful instructions, including “I must not be bounced on,” and “a post-breakfast napmust be assumed”. Sausage rolls weren’t named in Weekend’s survey, but trusty tea and toast were.Whenwe asked mums what was likely to be on their breakfast in bed tray, toast was the top answer, followed by tea, then juice, co ee, cereal, pastries and pancakes. And it seems the children are keen to be involved in thewhole process – a quarter of mums said their kids watch themeat their breakfast, and 22%said they get stuck in and eat it too. At times, the little ones miss themark, though. More than a fifth of mums had been presented with food with bites taken out, 20%had been given sweets for breakfast, and others had been o ered toy food, cake, crisps, even sandwiches. Another 14%had smiled their way through ‘inedible or unidentifiable’ food, and whenwe asked about the strangest things they’d been served, answers included ‘cucumber’ and ‘a single After Eight’. For guidance on what mums would really like to eat thisMother’s Day, Waitrose Food has four recipes for breakfast treats: kimchi cheese croissants, no-bake breakfast bars (fudgy oat squares with lemon and rose petals), soft-boiled eggs with chilli oil and honey yogurt, and butterlacquered brioche toast with poached rhubarb, as well as tips for preparing the ultimate fry up. TheMarch issue of Waitrose Food is in stores now, free to myWaitrose members SPECIAL DAY Robyn Wilder loves a breakfast treat RISE AND SHINE If you’re not keen on doughnuts for brekkie, drop hints for eggs in honey yogurt or no-bake breakfast bars Cover Photography: Ant Duncan, Food styling & recipes: Marina Filippelli, Styling: Max Robinson, Art direction: Corrie Heale

3 16 MARCH 2023 G O O D N E W S I N B R I E F This week’s uplifting stories fromAnna-Marie Julyan Chip, chip, hooray Fish City in Belfast has been crowned the Fish & Chip Restaurant of the Year, while Whiteheads Fish & Chips in Hornsea, East Yorkshire, is Fish & Chip Takeaway of the Year in the latest industry awards. Both chippies are Marine Stewardship Councilcerti ed, with Fish City winning the environmental and sustainability award too. Winning streak Waitrose won the 2023 International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Wine Supermarket of the Year for the second year running. Six wines won gold and ve silver in blind tastings, including best ‘treat yourself sparkling’ for No.1 Brut Special Reserve Vintage Champagne (£35.99/75cl, Waitrose Cellar) and best ‘back to nature’ white for Reyneke Organic Chenin Blanc (£9.99/75cl). The buying team has four masters of wine – more than any other supermarket. Eco innovations A PhD student making sustainable rope from British wool is one of 50 Women in Innovation Awards winners, each scooping £50,000. Kate Drury sources biodegradable wool to replace plastic rope. Other winning businesses include one aiding science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning among displaced children and another upcycling waste cosmetics into watercolour paints. Elephants never forget When a German zoo reunited two elephant mothers with their daughters after a long separation, it con rmed what scientists believe – elephants do have a long memory. The mothers froze on scenting their daughters’ dung, then celebrated with ‘greeting ceremonies’ – unwinding their trunks, clicking tusks and touching one another’s eyes and mouth. David Schwimmer is more used to making people laugh than baking – but that didn’t stop the himbraving The Great Celebrity Bake O . The actor, who is best known for his role as Ross in Friends, heads an impressive list of 20 stars competing in aid of Stand Up To Cancer. In the first of five episodes, David faces former LittleMix singer Jesy Nelson, comedian RoseMatafeo and King Gary actor TomDavis. Olympic diving goldmedalist TomDaley and Strictly favourite AJ Odudu bake for glory in future weeks. Davidmight recreate his biggest showbiz fail inmeringue for one challenge, but the competitive Bake Off tent heats up with friendly competition 25% A quarter of the global population fetches water from a stream, a pond or buys it, says the United Nations. Almost as many go to the toilet in the open or use unsafe latrines. We can help change this by using water supplies in a sustainable way, according to the organisers of World Water Day. Held annually on 22 March, this year’s campaign – Be The Change – highlights the value of small #WaterActions, such as curbing use in homes and eating locally grown foods, which require less water for production and transportation. Anna Shepard CROSSING LAND AND SEA IN SEARCH OF THE ULTIMATE SCONE Awoman has completed a National Trust scone-tasting odyssey lasting 10 years. SarahMerker, of Isleworth, west London, enjoyed her 244th scone at the Giant’s Causeway inNorthern Ireland this month. She embarked on the adventure with her husband Peter in 2013, with the goal of eating and ranking scones at National Trust sites across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and reviewing themat nationaltrustscones.com. Peter died of cancer in 2018, but Sarah completed the journey as a way to pay tribute to him. Her book, The National Trust Book of Scones, features 50 scone recipes from National Trust experts around the country. Sarah Ricketts non-baker seems to have impressed. “He’s such a nice guy,” says judge Paul Hollywood. “He’s a big fan of Bake O and took it quite seriously. He wanted to do well.” In the signature challenge (hot water crust savoury pies), David achieves the impossible by dazzling Paul with tofu. Inspired by his daughter Cleo, who is vegan, the actor made a bean curd and veg filling. “I’m not a fan of tofu, but I was surprised how tasty that was,” admits Paul. Whether David will be named Star Baker remains to be seen, but he was thrilled to take part. “I came to chip in for charity,” he says. “I lost a grandmother to cancer, my daughter lost a grandmother to cancer, my sister is a cancer survivor, so it’s important tome.” David’s rival Rose bakes at home, with Samoan coconut buns a speciality of hers. “My strength is creativity,” she says. “I can improvise. My biggest weakness? I cannot follow instructions!” she admits. Katherine Hassell The Great Celebrity Bake O for Stand Up To Cancer starts on Sunday (19March) at 7.45pm on Channel 4. channel4.com/su2c PROVING GROUND Star names include David Schwimmer (below) and Rose Matafeo (below left) Photographs: Getty Images, Channel 4/ Mark Bourdillon, Sarah Merker, Maja Smend, Food styling: Matthew Ford, Styling: Luis Peral

16 MARCH 2023 5 News&Views JOIN THE ONLINE MARKET Etsy, eBay, Depop and Vinted are the most popular selling sites, says Vicky (inset) of financial advice website MoneyMagpie. “Set up an account, describe your item, include images, name your price and wait for a bid.” Withmore than eight millionUK users, Vinted is free for sellers. “eBay charges a fee when your item sells, around 13%of the total amount,” says Vicky. Circular fashion brand Depop was a hit with younger people when it launched in 2011, but is now gaining popularity with all ages. LIST IT CAREFULLY Vicky recommends putting lots of e ort into your listing. “Take good MAKE MONEY FROM YOUR WARDROBE Anna Shepard picks up expert advice fromVicky Parry of MoneyMagpie on how to profit froma clothes clearout quality images, ideally with a white background, then describe the item in as much detail as possible,” she says. “Include the fabric, brand, style, washing instructions, original retail price and how long you’ve owned it.” Be realistic about pricing and make sure you are upfront about any damage, such as missing buttons. TAKE THE RENTAL ROUTE If you’ve bought a smart outfit for a special occasion, then never worn it again, consider renting it out. “Many of us have clothes that we don’t wear, but seem too good to remain unworn for most of the year,” says Vicky. These can be rented out via companies, such as Hurr Collective, which powers the John Lewis womenswear rental service, or By Rotation. BAG A BONUS IN STORE My John Lewis members can take in five pre-loved clothing items and the retailer will recycle or reuse them as part of its FashionCycle scheme. It accepts shirts, T-shirts, jumpers, trousers, shorts, dresses and some childrenswear. In return, you get £5 o fashion or homeware when spending £20 or more. “You need tomake the new purchase on the same day you bring the clothes back,” Vicky adds. SELL YOUR SHOES Contrary to popular belief, secondhand shoes can fetch a decent price. “Forget designer platformheels, themost consistent sellers are practical shoes – because everyone needs them,” says Vicky. “There are also bigger profits to be made from cheaper shoes, as youmay be able to get almost as much or more than you paid for them.” Try Facebook Marketplace or AsosMarketplace. HIDDEN ASSETS There’s a growing market for your unwanted clothes It costs 28p for charityMagic Breakfast to provide a school or nursery child with a nutritious start to the day – or at least it did a year ago. Since then, costs have gone up by 20%, but the charity has decided to absorb them. It has renegotiatied supplier contracts, securedmore food donations, and sought greater e ciency, Magic Breakfast chief executive LindseyMacDonald explains. Now it’s enlisted the help of TV cooks Nadiya Hussain and Shivi Ramoutar, alongside actors Larry Lamb and Russell Tovey for the Great Big Breakfast, which asks people to host fundraising breakfasts from 17-30 April. As costs have risen, the need has surged. An estimated 3.7million children su ered food insecurity in January, double the figure from 2022, according to The Food Foundation. Magic Breakfast provides toast and bagels, beans or bowls of cereal to 200,000 children at 700 schools and nurseries each day. Sta and volunteers at each onemake sure it’s available to all, stigma free. A further 2,000 schools are on its waiting list. “It’s somuchmore than food,” explains Lindsey. “Some children come in with hoods up and heads down. Some children come in cold or wearing damp uniforms because they have no heating. Others come tearing in. But you see themall sitting at the table, chatting with their friends and teachers, slowly regulating and getting the start to the day they need.” Seemagicbreakfast.com– a suggested £3 donation is enough to provide a child with a nutritious breakfast for two weeks. Anna-Marie Julyan How to help children start the day right From lambing to leavening and bailing to basting, discover what life at a farm-to-fork restaurant is really like in a new podcast, Seasoned, from chef Tommy Banks (right). The 10-part series goes inside Tommy’s Michelin-starred The Black Swan in Oldstead, North Yorkshire, which is supplied by his family’s farm. It features celebrity interviews with comedian Mel Giedroyc, Junior Bake O host Ravneet Gill and broadcaster Andi Oliver, who don their wellies and get stuck into lambing, feeding and foraging, while also discussing seasonal ingredients, their food passions and favourite recipes. Anna Shepard SEASONAL PODCAST SHEDS LIGHT ON FARM LIFE START UP Nadiya Hussain is backing the campaign Photographs: Getty Images, Shutterstock, Miles Watts, Andrew Hayes Watkins

6 16 MARCH 2023 News&Views FAST FOOD In focus As observant Muslims prepare to fast for Ramadan, author and cook Anisa Karolia tells Tessa Allingham about the part food plays during the holymonth When Anisa Karolia was just eight, her first stop after school would be her late grandmotherMariam’s house. It smelt so good, she recalls, especially during Ramadan. Samosas and pakoras being deep fried, and curries bubbling gentlymeant that iftar – themeal eaten to break the day’s fast – was approaching. She would hurry to get there. “Everything was always so tempting,” says the food blogger, cook and author whose practical recipes are gathered in her debut publication The Ramadan Cookbook. “There would be dates, and phirni [a sweet ground rice-based pudding] setting in saucers on the windowsill, sprinkled with poppy seeds, grated coconut and cardamom. When I make phirni now, I do it just like that.” Being eight, Anisa wasn’t obliged to fast during Ramadan, but chose to. “My grandmother would whisper: ‘I know you’re fasting, but if you’re hungry I’ll get you some food. I won’t tell anyone.’” TheMuslimholymonth of Ramadan, which begins at sunset onWednesday (22March) and ends at sunset on 21 April this year, is one of prayer and reflection. It’s observed by 25%of the world’s population – almost two billion people – and requires that no food or drink is consumed in daylight hours. Anisa says it’s a ‘physical and ‘It’s such a special time. It teaches children about kindness and looking out for each other’ spiritual detox’, but that fasting is just one aspect. “It’s a time to increase one’s patience, to put more emphasis on charity, kindness, generosity, removing bad habits and starting good ones. More than hunger, it’s the thirst that’s di cult, especially if Ramadan falls in the summer.” Anisa speaks from the Leicester home she shares with her husband Adamand their three children aged 11, 13 and 16, and where preparations for publication day are running parallel with those for Ramadan. She’s filling her freezer with snacks for iftar and planningmeals as she describes the routine: “We wake early for suhoor, the pre-dawnmeal whichmight be omelette with tomatoes and feta, a banana and date smoothie, toast, tea and plenty of water. It sets us up for the day of fasting. We have prayers, our normal work, shopping – but that’s a bad idea while fasting – and I try to fit in a nap.” At sunset, the fast is broken with the iftar meal. Anisa’s in-laws come over and samosas – chicken with jalapeño or piccalilli are favourites – justfried pakoras and energy-giving dates are shared. Watermelon and coconut water help rehydration, and the table is laden with lamb-filled keema pies, curries, kebabs, pasta dishes, flatbreads, rice and salads. Desserts might include amango or rose falooda, or syrup-drenched gulab jamun. Four weeks later, the joyful celebration of Eid that marks the end of Ramadan takes feasting to the next level. “It’s such a special time,” says Anisa. “We share food with neighbours, share blessings, a tradition that we’re carrying on with our children. It teaches themabout kindness and looking out for each other.” Anisa’s descriptions of crisp, sweet samosas

7 16 MARCH 2023 Donna Leon is one of my favourite crime writers. Her books are gentle, taking you on a journey around her adopted city of Venice in the company of Commissario Guido Brunetti. They’re not crime novels of gore or bonesnapping suspense. I amalways grateful to her for her ability to write within thematrix of crime fiction – where bad people get their comeuppance – without leaving toomany literal open wounds. And what I love about her is that she is 80 and didn’t write her first book until she was 49. That matters because it means her voice has always been rather wise. Two writers on this year’sWomen’s Prize for Fiction long list did not get published until they were in their fifties. Jacqueline Crooks is 59 and her novel Fire Rush is set in 70s London and took her 16 years to write. Louise Kennedy’s novel Trespasses is also a love story from the 70s, set across the religious divide of Northern Ireland. Of course, not all fine writing benefits from time spent on the planet. There are plenty of authors who should have retired their typewriters a while back, but it’s important to recognise the late-in-life literary accomplishment and to cheer it on in a week where we have been told fewer children are reading books than ever before. One in three secondary school boys see reading as some kind of punishment. I’mnot suggesting you give thema novel written by someone old enough to be their grandmother, but surely by keeping books in sight, being read by all ages – and seeing someone lost in the joy of them– helps in the fight against illiteracy. Good fiction will always remain the only formof storytelling where you can actually stand in someone else’s shoes – without the filter of the camera, or the hard sell of an ad break. It’s where we learn that we are not alone with our vulnerabilities, hopes, dreams and fears. I met Donna Leon last week and she didn’t disappoint. She said that she wrote her first Commissario Brunetti book out of curiosity, having been to the opera in Venice with a friend who joked about a conductor dying inmysterious circumstances. It sparked a germof an idea and over the next eight months Donna wrote her story, popped it in a drawer and didn’t do anything with it until a friend persuaded her to send it o to a competition – which she won. She had read books all her life and knew how to write them. And so the brilliant wheel of literacy turns. I wish Crooks and Kennedy the very best of luck. May the best woman win. Fi Glover and Jane Garvey’s show runs on Times Radio from3-5pm, Monday to Thursday. @fifiglover ‘Good fiction is where we learn that we are not alone with our vulnerabilities, hopes, dreams and fears’ FI GLOVER The journalist and broadcaster has her say Inmy opinion FOOD OF LOVE The lamb biryani recipe from Anisa’s book (main); with husband Adam (top); rose milk tres leches cake (above); crispy pakora (left); Anisa (far left) filled with cream, coconut, nuts and dried fruit, traditional kheer, and the biscuity comfort of justbaked sa ron nankhatai are evocative: “Crumbly on the outside, buttery, chewy in themiddle… so delicious. I think lots of people celebrating Eid can relate to the smell of biscuits just out of the oven.” Lamb biryani, with its layers of rice andmeat, or a generous lamb curry will be centre stage at themain Eidmeal, where dishes are laden with memories. “My grandmother used tomake the lamb curry,” says Anisa. “It’s my aunt Khadija’s speciality now. Shemakes the best version I’ve ever tasted.” The biryani is nowmade by Anisa’s mother-in-law, Yasmin, but Anisa remembers fromher childhood, how her grandmother would be up early: “I would watch and give themasala a taste test. The house would smell so good.” It wasn’t until after the birth of her third child that Anisa started to share her love of food and everyday cooking with a wider audience. She would bake cakes and teach cookery classes from home (the pandemic stopped that), but found a fitting home on social media, where her YouTube and Instagram channels reach some 247,000 people. “Family and followers then started asking: ‘Have you got a book?’ I’man introvert, but it was a dream to havemy own book,” she says. “We are always looking for inspiration for Ramadan food.” The Ramadan Cookbook is the culmination of a year’s work. Anisa developed the 80 recipes during the evening, fitting writing in between family and other commitments, including her job at a local special needs school. Despite the title, recipes are not just for Ramadan. The snacks, curries, fusion dishes – such as her children’s favourite sweet and sour prawns and sticky lamb chops – desserts and cakes work year-round. They include her father’s favourite beef bhuna, ever-popular butter chicken, and some of her YouTube hits such as chickenstu ed bread rolls. Anisa’s tone is practical and warm, explaining how tomake perfect basmati rice, how to fold samosas and how tomake simple roti or masala mixes, with ideas for batch-cooking too. Her sweet tooth is fromher father, she says, and childhoodmemory is bound with joy in recipes for lamingtons – shemakes the cubes of sponge dipped in jelly and rolled in desiccated coconut every Eid – and school dinner cake, a simple iced traybake with sprinkles. Anisa’s cooking is coloured by the women in her life, and her extended family’s diverse heritage. “I was born and raised in Leicester withmy younger brother,” she says. “Mymother learnt to cook from her mother, who grew up inMalawi then lived in Surat [Gujarat, India] before coming to Leicester as one of the first immigrants in the 50s.” She includes her grandmother’sMalawian recipe for a casserole of chicken, mogo (cassava) and corn, her mother-in-law’s chicken balti with a savoury hint of fenugreek, and her aunt’s naan gosht. “I’m lucky to have elders who encouragedme to cook. I feel blessed.” The Ramadan Cookbook (Ebury Press), is out now. Find Anisa on YouTube @cookwithanisa Photographs: Ellis Parrinder

9 16 MARCH 2023 News&Views Tomost of us, this e-tricycle is simply a three-wheeler powered by a lithiumbattery. But to Pauline Ndlovu, a 47-year-old dairy farmer in Zimbabwe, it’s a game changer. She lives in Rusitu Valley, Chipinge, a mountainous rural area. The e-tricycle saves her the pain of walking twice a day, carrying heavy silver milk cans on her head, to a collection centre seven kilometres away. Called the Hamba in Shona – the language spoken bymost Zimbabweans – Pauline can put nearly 30 litres of milk in its cargo section and drive through deep gorges and over steep slopes to the centre inMayfield. “By saving time and energy, the Hamba has boostedmy business,” she says. “I feel empowered. I feed and clothemy children without relying onmy husband.” Pauline is one of 12 women out of 25 dairy farmers using the e-tricycles in Chipinge. “They had to leave several litres of milk at home because of transport problems,” says Fadzai Mavhuna, a project manager at the social enterpriseMobility for Africa. “They weremaking a huge loss by taking only what they were able to carry. There is an increase inmilk delivered since introducing e-tricycles.” Farai ShawnMatiashe FARMERS ARE A DRIVING FORCE The big picture Photographs: Farai Shawn Matiashe

10 16 MARCH 2023 News&Views What’s it like having Alesha Dixon – singer, dancer, presenter, reality TV judge, author, activist and all-round one-woman creative industry – as amum? “Azura, do you want to answer that one?” says Alesha, batting the question across the room to her eldest daughter. There’s a pause while Azura, nine, considers her verdict: “Cool,” she says, eventually. “I guess.” Alesha greets this less than ringing endorsement with her trademark Sid James cackle. “She’s really not bothered,” she says. “When I take her to Britain’s Got Talent, she’s not that fussed about the show. For her, it’s all about the play dates with Amanda [Holden]’s daughter and Simon [Cowell]’s son.” Azura’s three-year-old sister Anaya, meanwhile, has the unique distinction of having been heralded to the nation live on television by Ant and Dec, who broke news of Alesha’s second pregnancy during amusical number on BGT in 2019. “At first, the ideamortifiedme,” admits Alesha. “But then I thought, actually it’s really cool, to be able to say tomy daughter: ‘Look, this is how you were announced to the world – by television royalty!’” Although Alesha still lives in her home county of Hertfordshire, life for Azura and Anaya is very di erent to their mother’s experience of growing up in a single-parent family inWelwyn Garden City. “I often say I’d like to come back as Azura,” she laughs. “She has a great life.” It’s something Alesha and her husband, dancer and choreographer Azuka Ononye, try to remind their children of every day. “Every night before bed, we hold hands and we say a little prayer and we give thanks – for our health, for each other, for our life. That’s all I’ve ever wanted really – a safe space wheremy children can grow up feeling secure and loved. That’s the best you can do, isn’t it, as a parent?” Safety and security couldn’t always be relied on during Alesha’s own childhood. She was – and remains – close to her mumBeverly, a hairdresser who raised her alone after her dad left when she was four. But she witnessed distressing scenes of domestic violence fromher mum’s abusive live-in boyfriend. “There weremany times inmy childhood when I didn’t feel safe,” she says. “I can still remember the feelings I had when I was eight, nine, 10 – they’re really real. We should never underestimate the emotional journey young people are going on in their own little world.” In recent years, Alesha, who has six half siblings, has touched onmany aspects of this journey in a series of bestselling children’s books cowritten with author Katy Birchall. Her latest, LunaWolf: Animal Wizard, combines themes of cultural heritage and blended families with Alesha’s lifelong love of animals to tell an action-packed mystery story about a girl who fights for justice with help froma pack of superpowered pets. “I can’t believe it’s takenme tomy seventh book before writing one about animals,” she says. “It’s an adventure, and it’s entertaining and fun, but it’s also highlighting some serious issues. A lot of the themes in the book come froma genuine place of sadness at some of the things I’ve seen.” If this sounds like just another pop star platitude, then rest assured Alesha is not afraid to walk the walk when it comes to animal welfare. A former vice president of the League Against Cruel Sports, she’s worked with the RSPCA, done undercover filming withWorld Animal Protection, and even travelled to Romania to rescue two brown bears froma ‘hellhole’ zoo. “That was really heart-wrenching,” she recalls. “Seeing how these poor bears were being treated was horrific. But to see them come out of those cages, and be taken to a bear sanctuary, where we got to spend some time with them, was just themost amazing feeling. “It’s really important that children start learning how to respect animals, and treat themwith kindness,” she adds of her inspiration for the book. “Most of the dogs I grew up with were rescue dogs. They’ve always been part of the family.” After 20 years in the spotlight, Alesha Dixon is a woman firmly in control of her own destiny – and determined to give her daughters the security she couldn’t always rely onwhen she was young. By Paul Kirkley SAFE AND LOVED’ ‘ALL I’VE EVER WANTED WAS FOR MY CHILDREN TO FEEL

11 16 MARCH 2023 Photographs: © Helen McCardle

12 16 MARCH 2023 News&Views What’s the current pet count chez Dixon? “We had seven dogs at one point,” says Alesha. “It’s a bit like kids, once you get past two, youmight as well have three or four – it’s all the same chaos. Andmymum lived in an annexe attached to the house, so we could split thembetween the two properties. “Unfortunately, over the last couple of years, we’ve had to say goodbye to some of our beloved pets. We’re down to two dogs now – two golden cocker spaniel brothers called Prince and Paris. They’re very naughty boys.” LunaWolf also draws on Alesha’s mixed Jamaican and English heritage. “I think it’s really important the book represents that side of me, culturally,” she says. “Luna’s nan is actually named after our nan, Clementine, who came over fromJamaica to Tottenham, andmade the best rum cake and stew peas soup. The only point of di erence is that Luna’s mumwas raised in Jamaica, whereas withme it was my dad.” It’s also a story about grief, and blended families, in which Luna is still processing the death of her mum, while trying to accept a new stepmumand brother. “I think as human beings, by default, we’re always looking for things we can relate to, and identify with – something that helps us understand how we’re feeling,” reflects Alesha. “Children, especially, need emotional outlets to help themmanage all those things. “It’s therapeutic for me, too,” she adds. “That’s one of the privileges you have as a creative person – whether you’re writing a song or a book, you’re o oading a piece of your soul. You’re allowing things to come out. Because sometimes the only way we grow and heal is to face something. Sometimes you’ve got to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. It’s OK to face things that don’t feel good. Because guess what? Something good’s gonna come out of the other side.” At 44, Alesha is living testimony of someone who’s come out the other side. Having found fame in her early twenties as one third of UK garage-R&B trioMis-Teeq – whose signature hit Scandalous remains pure, precision-tooled pop perfection – Alesha’s world fell apart three years later when her new husband, Michael ‘MC’ Harvey of So Solid Crew, embarked on a very public a air with singer Javine Hylton. At the same time, she was dropped by her record label, who scrapped the release of her debut solo album following the inexplicable flop of her ominously titled – but frankly banging – single Knockdown. (Seriously, if you haven’t heard this lost masterpiece, head to YouTube immediately.) “My twenties were a lot of trial and error – learning a lot about myself, making a lot of mistakes,” reflects Alesha. “It’s di cult, because I was also travelling the world and experiencing somany amazing things. But it was such a whirlwind – being in a band, which was super intense, and making bad choices, bad relationships… It was all just too much, and of course you come down with a big crash. Which I did. And in a weird way, it becomes themaking of you, doesn’t it? Because you either stay down or you get back up stronger. Those were the two choices I had.” Her saviour, when it arrived, came in the shape of a little show called Strictly Come Dancing, which Alesha entered in 2007 as an underdog – up against a strong field of household names – before going on to lift the glitterball trophy with pro partnerMatthewCutler. “I still can’t find the words to describe that moment,” she says, more than 15 years on. “When we won, andMatthew pickedme up and spunme round, and Rule theWorld by Take That was playing, I looked up at the ceiling, at all this glitter falling onme, and I just had this overwhelming feeling of: ‘Everything’s going to be OK now.’ Because up until that point I’d felt quite lost. “And it wasn’t just winning, it was deeper than that. It was the healing that happened just by doing the show – the discipline of practising for 10 hours a day for four months. Because I genuinely just wanted to dance. I needed to dance. I needed to do something joyful. And that show is joy. The Strictly bubble is real.” Two years later, she was invited back as a Strictly judge (not an uncontroversial move, as the 64-year-old Arlene Phillips was pushed out tomake way for her), and her solo music career finally took o with her album The Alesha Show and hit singles The Boy Does Nothing and Breathe Slow. Since when, she’s barely looked back. ‘You either stay down or you get back up stronger. Those were the choices I had. In a weird way, it becomes the making of you’ EYES ON THE PRIZE Alesha Dixon (right) and with Matthew Cutler (below) on their way to winning Strictly CENTRE STAGE Alesha as part of Mis-Teeq (below) and alongside new judge Bruno Tonioli in the latest series of Britain’s Got Talent (right)

13 16 MARCH 2023 As well as being a pop star and an author, she’s worked as amodel, had her own perfume and clothing range and campaigned on issues ranging fromdomestic violence to gender equality – all on top of an extensive television CV spanning everything from RuPaul’s Drag Race UK to the upcoming Eurovision final in Liverpool, which she’s set to cohost with GrahamNorton, Ted Lasso star Hannah Waddinghamand Ukrainian singer Julia Sanina. It has, she admits, been quite the journey, from turbulent twenties to fearless forties. “I used to be afraid of everything. Even picking up the phone andmaking an inquiry used to petrifyme. I was outwardly very confident, but inside I was the total opposite. Now I’ve got to a point where nothing scares me. There is not a single human being I would be intimidated to have a conversation with. I’ve recognised that when I face something, rather than try to suppress or ignore it, it shifts me to a better place. I’ve figured out the codes, so to speak.” As if to prove the point, Alesha recently parted company with her manager of 14 years. “He always managedme with no contract – that’s how good a relationship we had. But it got F O O D B I T E S to a place, at the end of 2021, where I just felt: ‘Do you know what? I can do this now.’ So I’ve set upmy own production company, I’ve createdmy own record label. I don’t want to be signed, I don’t to want to bemanaged. But I’ve always been a driving force,” she notes. “It was always more of a business partnership than amanager-artist relationship. I’ve always beenmy own sort of satnav.” This was true even in 2007 – for all her stated fear of picking up a phone, it was Alesha who knocked on the BBC’s door to ask about doing Strictly. “I approached a booker on the show and said: ‘Could we have ameeting and a chat?’” she recalls. “So I kind of carved that out for myself.” After three series on the Strictly judging panel, Alesha hopped channels to join Simon Cowell and co on Britain’s Got Talent. More than a decade on, she’s still there – but this year will be on buzzer duty without fellow judge DavidWalliams, who stepped down after being recordedmaking o ensive remarks about some of the show’s contestants. “I haven’t spoken about it, but of course I’mdeeply saddened, because David is a great friend,” says Alesha. “I love himverymuch. We started the show together, and I’ll miss himdearly.” Showbiz kerfu es aside, is it fair to assume Alesha is currently living her best life? “I’m livingmymost exhausted life,” she laughs. “But yeah, I’mvery blessed, and I don’t forget that. Every day, I’mgrateful for where I’mat. I’ve still got that itch – I’malways looking for ways to push the needle. I can’t ever switch o from ‘what’s next?’. But I’malso trying very hard to be present. If you spend toomuch time planning the future, you’re in danger of missing out on life’s small, beautiful moments. So I have to remindmyself to enjoy each day.” LunaWolf: Animal Wizard (Scholastic) is out now Tell us more about Nan Clementine’s Jamaican cooking She was famous for her rum cake. It was legendary. I don’t eat meat any more, but she used to cook jerk chicken, curry goat, aki and salt sh… And hard food, as we call it, which is yam, banana, dasheen and breadfruit. My nan was the best cook I know. What’s your go-to dish to cook? I like to make curries – anything that’s got Scotch Bonnet pepper in is a winner for me. I like lots of seasoning, lots of avours – jerk seasoning, smoked sweet paprika… I’ve been a pescatarian for about 11 years, so I also like to make aki and salt sh. Or sometimes I switch it out for mackerel. What’s your favourite type of restaurant? I really like Japanese food. I love most cuisines, but if we’re going into town for dinner, nine times out of 10 it will be Japanese. ‘If you spend toomuch time planning the future, you’re in danger of missing out on life’s small, beautiful moments. I have to remind myself to enjoy each day’ Photographs: Mark Chilvers/ BBC, Shutterstock, Getty Images

16 MARCH 2023 14 Selected postcodes. Subject to availability. Delivery charges apply. MOTHER’S DAY SUNDAY 19 MARCH WAITROSEFLORIST.COM

15 16 MARCH 2023 Food&Drink ALISON OAKERVEE Partner & food and drink editor Like a lot of families, we always try to get together for Mother’s Day. With three generations around the table, there’s one thing I can count on to please everyone – a Sunday roast. It doesn’t have to be traditional though, and this week’s roast gammon with a zesty mango and black bean salsa is a crowd-pleaser that’s a bit di erent (and takes advantage of our save 25% on your Mother’s Day roast o er too). We’ll still have room for cake at teatime, so I’m making Martha’s cardamom and blood orange cake. I second her advice to buy a Bundt tin too – they make even the simplest cake recipe look special. What’s For Dinner? p16 Short Cuts p21 Too Good ToWaste with Elly Curshen p23 The Best withMartha Collison p24 Mother’s DayMenu p26 What I’mCooking withLeyli Homayoonfar p31 Very Important Producer p32 Wine List with Pierpaolo Petrassi p34 Art direction: Corrie Heale, Photographs: Ant Duncan, Food styling: Marina Filippelli, Styling: Max Robinson

16 16 MARCH 2023 Photographs: Sam Folan, Food styling: Jennifer Joyce, Styling: Max Robinson, Art direction: Pippa Paine What’s for dinner? If you’re in need of easy, affordableweeknight meals, look no further – these brilliant dishes make themost of our Essential products

17 16 MARCH 2023 Serves 4 Prepare 15 minutes Cook 20 minutes 260g pack Essential Spinach 1 tbsp Essential Olive Oil 2 Essential Leeks, trimmed and nely sliced 2 cloves garlic, crushed 200g pack Swiss chard or Essential Spring Greens, trimmed, stalks roughly chopped, leaves shredded 500g pack gnocchi 3 tbsp Essential Single Cream, from a 150ml pot (see tip) ½ Essential Lemon, scrubbed, zest 20g Essential Parmigiano Reggiano DOP, nely grated 1 Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. Place the spinach in a large mixing bowl, pour over a kettle of just-boiled water, leave to stand for 1 minute, then drain in a large colander. Press with a wooden spoon to extract as much water as possible, then set aside. 2 Heat the oil in a large ovenproof sauté pan or shallow casserole over a high heat. Fry the leeks, garlic and chard or spring green stalks with a pinch of salt, stirring regularly, for 5 minutes. Roughly chop the wilted spinach and add to the pan along with the shredded chard or spring green leaves. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more until the leaves have wilted. 3 Meanwhile, cook the gnocchi according to pack instructions, then drain in the colander. Tip the gnocchi into the pan along with the cream, lemon zest and most of the parmesan. Season and stir together over the heat, then scatter with the remaining cheese. Transfer to the oven for 10 minutes to nish cooking, then leave to stand for a couple of minutes before serving. Per serving 1332kJ/316kcals/8.7g fat/3.5g saturated fat/46g carbs/2.1g sugars/3.9g bre/11g protein/ 1g salt/1 of your 5 a day Creamy gnocchi with greens, leeks & lemon Serves 4 Prepare 15 minutes Cook 20 minutes 750ml sh stock 500g Essential Potatoes, cut into small cubes 3 sticks Essential Celery, thinly sliced 1 tsp smoked paprika, plus extra to sprinkle 1 bunch Essential Salad Onions 350g frozen Essential Sweetcorn ½ x 20g pack dill, chopped (optional) 250g pack frozen Essential Raw King Prawns 125g Essential British Smoked Bacon Streaky Rashers, thinly sliced 4 tbsp Essential Single Cream 1 Put the stock in a large saucepan with the potatoes, celery and paprika. Heat until simmering, then cover with a lid and cook gently for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. 2 Thinly slice the salad onions, keeping the green ends to one side. Add the rest to the pan with the sweetcorn and cook for 5 minutes more. Stir in the dill and prawns and cook for a further 5 minutes, until the prawns are pink, opaque and cooked through. 3 Heat a dry frying pan and fry the bacon for 5-6 minutes, until crisped. Lift out ½ the potatoes and prawns with a slotted spoon, then blend what’s left in the pan with a stick blender, until partially blended but not smooth. Return the potatoes and prawns. Stir in the cream, taste for seasoning, then ladle into bowls. Serve sprinkled with the reserved salad onion tops, the bacon, remaining dill, and a pinch more paprika. Per serving 1743kJ/415kcals/13g fat/5.1g saturated fat/ 40g carbs/6.1g sugars/10g bre/30g protein/1.5g salt/ 2 of your 5 a day Prawn chowder with crispy bacon COOK’S TIP For an extra punch of avour, stir in a thinly sliced fresh red chilli, a sprinkling of dried chilli akes or dash of chilli paste. You could use frozen Essential Alaskan Pollock Fillets instead of the prawns. Just don’t blend the sh. COOK’S TIP Use the leftover cream in the neighbouring prawn chowder recipe (right). Stir some shredded fresh basil leaves into the pan with the gnocchi for an extra aromatic hit of avour. Food&Drink Oil (olive or vegetable) Butter Milk Honey Sugar White wine vinegar or malt vinegar Stock cubes Flour (tbsp) Salt Black pepper Garlic Dried mixed herbs Chilli akes Tomato ketchup Tomato purée Wholegrain mustard Soy sauce Curry powder STORECUPBOARD ESSENTIALS Keep these staples to hand as the base for easy weeknight meals You can now add ingredients to your trolley direct from our online recipe pages. Simply sign in to your account, book a delivery slot and add what you need from the ‘Shop this recipe’ section further down the page. SCAN THI S CODE FOR EASYTO SHOP RECI PES

19 16 MARCH 2023 Serves 2 Prepare 5 minutes Cook 30 minutes 250g Essential Butternut Squash, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes 2 tsp Essential Olive Oil, plus a little to serve Few sprigs thyme, leaves picked (or use a pinch of dried) 175g Essential Cherry Tomatoes 4 Essential White Free Range Eggs 30-50g Essential English Goat’s Cheese, sliced or crumbled 50g Essential Spinach, washed and dried ½ Essential Lemon, juice, plus wedges to serve 1 Preheat the oven to 220°C, gas mark 7. Toss the squash with 1 tsp oil and the thyme leaves in a medium roasting tin, and roast for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, stir everything together, season and roast for 10 minutes more, or until the squash is tender and the tomatoes are starting to split. 2 Heat a nonstick frying pan with ½ tsp oil over a medium heat. Lightly beat 2 eggs with seasoning and add to the pan, swirling to coat the base. Cook for 2 minutes, or until just set, then arrange ½ the goat’s cheese over one side of the omelette. 3 Tip ½ the roasted squash and tomatoes on top, then fold over the omelette to encase the lling. Leave on the heat for 30 seconds to warm the cheese, then slide the omelette onto a plate. Place in the turned-o oven to keep warm, then repeat to make the second omelette. Dress the spinach leaves with a little oil, lemon juice and seasoning, then serve with the omelette and some lemon wedges for squeezing over. V Per serving 1371kJ/329kcals/21g fat/7.5g saturated fat/ 13g carbs/8.2g sugars/3.6g bre/21g protein/0.7g salt/ gluten free/2 of your 5 a day Roasted squash, tomato & goat’s cheese omelette Serves 2 Prepare 10 minutes Cook 25 minutes 2 medium Essential Courgettes, cut into 1cm slices 1 Essential Red Onion, cut into wedges 3 cloves garlic, 2 sliced, 1 crushed 50g Essential 50% Reduced Fat Soft Cheese 40g Essential Sundried Tomato Pesto 4 Essential British Chicken Thigh Fillets ½ tbsp Essential Olive Oil 300g Essential Sweet Potato, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks ½ x 20g pack tarragon, leaves only, roughly chopped (optional) 1 Preheat the oven to 220°C, gas mark 7. Put the courgette, onion and sliced garlic in a baking tray. Mix all but 1 tsp of the cream cheese together in a bowl with the pesto and season. 2 Open out the chicken llets and put ¼ of the pesto mixture inside each one. Roll up and place in the baking tray. Drizzle with the oil and season. Bake for 25 minutes, or until thoroughly cooked, the juices run clear and there is no pink meat. 3 Meanwhile, cook the sweet potatoes in boiling water for 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain, then mash with the reserved cream cheese, crushed garlic and seasoning. Divide between warm plates. Stir the tarragon through the roasted vegetables, if using, then serve with the chicken and mash, spooning any cooking juices over the top. Per serving 3044kJ/726kcals/30g fat/7.9g saturated fat/47g carbs/19g sugars/8.9g bre/63g protein/0.6g salt Chicken & pesto traybake with sweet potatomash COOK’S TIP This is easily doubled to serve 4. What’s left of the tarragon can be easily stored for another day. Put the sprigs into a lidded container lined with a little damp kitchen paper, or chop it and add to a dash of water in ice cube trays, and freeze. COOK’S TIP Any cheese would work well here – try Essential Brie, Essential Feta or grated mature Cheddar. A nonstick omelette or frying pan (about 20cm in size) makes cooking omelettes much easier, and usually means less fat is needed.

21 16 MARCH 2023 Food&Drink SHORT CUTS OurVery Best Dine In ForTwo MAIN + SIDE + DESSERT SERVES 2 12 £ Ready in 40 minutes Serves 2 Preheat the oven to 200ºC, gas mark 6. Place the winter vegetables into a roasting tin and cook for 5 minutes. Stir to coat in the melted butter that comes with them. Add the chipolatas to the tray and roast for 25-30 minutes more, or until everything is thoroughly cooked and the vegetables are tender. Shake the tray halfway through. Meanwhile, cook the sauce and the kale, peas and ne beans according to pack instructions. Serve immediately on warmed plates. Delicious with some English mustard on the side. One-tray sausages with roast veg & redwine sauce Maple roasted winter vegetables British pork, honey & rosemary chipolatas Red wine & shallot sauce Kale, peas and ne bean layers O er ends 16 May. Selected lines only. Subject to availability. No.1 Parmigiano Reggiano & Tru e Chicken Kiev £8.80/530g No.1 Green Vegetable Medley £3.50/225g No.1 Salted Caramel & Chocolate Pro teroles £4.15/115g Photographs: Maja Smend, Food styling: Marina Filippelli, Styling: Tony Hutchinson, Art direction: Pippa Paine

CELLAR CL ICK, POUR, S I P Find the perfect drink for all occasions with more than 1,600 wines and spirits – many of which are only available at Waitrose Cellar. Order by the bottle or case and we’ll deliver, or you can collect from your local Waitrose Selected postcodes, Monday-Saturday 9am-6pm, excluding public holidays. Standard delivery costs £5.95, or free on orders over £150. Takes between 2-3 working days. Named day delivery £8.95, or free for orders over £250. Next day delivery orders to be placed by 9pm the previous day. Click & Collect at selected stores costs £3.95, or free for orders of £100 or more. Orders must be placed by 9pm for collection from 3pm the next working day. The 9pm order cut-off time for next-day delivery and Click & Collect is subject to change at busy times. Orders placed after 9pm on Friday and before 9pm on Monday will be available for collection from 3pm on Tuesday. Variations apply around bank holidays. See waitrosecellar.com for full terms and conditions WAITROSECELLAR .COM TROPHY WINE SUPERMARKET OF THE YEAR

16 MARCH 2023 23 Food&Drink Serves 4 Prepare 30 minutes + soaking Cook 35-40 minutes 250g Essential Cherry Tomatoes 1 leek, cut into slices 1 tsp Essential Olive Oil 50g Essential Butter, softened 60g Belazu Vegan Ve-Du-Ya Paste 1 clove garlic 200ml whole milk 200g Essential Feta 400g bread, cut into 1.5cm slices (I used two-day-old San Francisco sourdoughstyle bloomer) 40g Essential Mature Cheddar, grated 220ml double cream 2 Essential Free Range White Eggs Savoury cheese, leek & tomato bread pudding There are some simple and rather obvious uses for day-old or stale bread (see leftovers, below right). But this week, I bring you a rather special dish – one that depends on dry bread for structure. A savoury bread pudding is not a common thing in the UK, but strata – a layered, ovenbaked dishmade with bread, eggs, cheese, and sometimes veg or meat – is hugely popular in the US. It’s a great recipe for any time of day. You can do all the prep in advance, let the assembled dish rest in the fridge overnight, then pop it in the oven in themorning. I’ve used leek, vegan ’nduja and feta, but feel free to play around with fillings. The roasted tomatoes are pretty essential, but perhaps try substituting red onion, chilli jamandmozzarella for the other fillings. @ellypear BREAD Too good towaste withElly Curshen 1 Preheat the oven to 200ºC, gas mark 6. Toss the cherry tomatoes, leek and olive oil in a bowl. Season generously with sea salt akes and spread in a single layer on a lined baking tray. Roast for 20 minutes, until the tomatoes are starting to char and collapse. 2 In a food processor, blend the butter, vegan ’nduja, garlic, ½ the milk and 50g of the feta. Season with pepper. Spread over each bread slice, then cut into halves or quarters, depending on size. Leave any remaining mixture in the food processor. 3 Butter a deep, 20cm square cake tin or similar ovenproof dish and arrange a layer of the buttered bread in the bottom. Top with ½ the roasted tomatoes and leeks and sprinkle with ½ the Cheddar and 50g feta, crumbled in large chunks. Top with another layer of buttered bread, roasted vegetables, and nish with the remaining feta and Cheddar. 4 Pour the cream and remaining milk into the food processor (containing the leftover butter mixture). Break in the eggs and season well. Pulse a few times, to combine. Pour this mixture over the bread, pushing down a little MORE LEFTOVER IDEAS 1Avoid wasting any bread that’s destined for toast, by preslicing a loaf or loaves and freezing them as soon as you bring them home. You can then toast them directly from frozen. 2Make croutons for soup and salads by dicing stale bread and spreading them out in a single layer on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil, season and bake at 180ºC, gas mark 4, until the croutons are dried and really crunchy. You can also sprinkle dried herbs or grated parmesan over the bread before baking for croutons with extra avour. 3Pangrattato (meaning breadcrumbs in Italian) is one of my favourite uses for stale bread. Sometimes referred to as ‘poor man’s parmesan’, pangrattato is a mixture of fried breadcrumbs that are sprinkled over pasta dishes, in place of grated hard cheese. Simply tear bread up and pulse in a food processor until you have rough breadcrumbs, then fry in a mixture of olive oil and butter, until the crumbs are browned and crisp. Add some crushed garlic, if liked, and fry for 1-2 minutes more, then remove from the heat. The mixture will crisp up as it cools. S C A N T HI S CODE F OR MOR E R E CI P E S Photographs: Clare Win eld, Food styling: Troy Willis, Styling: Max Robinson, Art direction: Pippa Paine to ensure it soaks up the liquid. Set aside for at least 10 minutes, or overnight in the fridge. 5 Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4, then bake for 35-40 minutes, or until pu ed up, golden and piping hot throughout. It may take longer to cook if it was well chilled. Leave to cool for 5 minutes before serving in squares, with a big green salad. Leftovers can be covered with foil and reheated in a hot oven. V Per serving 3794kJ/912kcals/64g fat/40g saturated fat/54g carbs/9.4g sugars/5.6g bre/28g protein/3.1g salt