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Cook With M&S Food and Chris Baber

Inspired by our new range of over 100 Cook With M&S ingredients, all designed to make cooking dinner easier, chef Chris Baber has created these easy, speedy family recipes. Take a look and bid goodbye to that ‘what do I make for dinner?’ dilemma

Meet Chris Baber

“I’ve always loved food,” says Chris, who’s been cooking up a storm in the M&S kitchen to create some family-friendly recipes for you to enjoy. “Growing up in Hexham, Northumberland, I used to cook dinner for my mum and dad every day. I trained with Atul Kochhar at his Michelin-starred London restaurant, but my real passion is inspiring others and making home cooking accessible for everyone.

“I'm all about giving people kitchen confidence, and Cook With M&S shortcut ingredients help to provide that. They're all about adding flavour to the food and can be super little time-saving shortcuts – these secret ingredients will ensure your dishes taste amazing, every time."

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Baked eggs with Spanish paste

“Baked eggs make for a great weekend brunch or light evening meal. The kidney beans add real texture to this dish, while the Cook with M&S Spanish paste adds lovely sweet and smoky flavours.”

Ingredients (serves 4)

Olive oil, for cooking
250g cherry tomatoes
150g chestnut or white mushrooms, sliced
1 red onion, finely sliced
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
3 tbsp Cook With M&S Spanish paste
400g tin of kidney beans, drained
A few generous handfuls of kale, roughly torn
200g of chopped tomatoes
4 eggs
100g feta, crumbled
1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced

Preheat the oven to 200˚C/180˚C fan/gas mark 6.

Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan and blister the tomatoes over a high heat for 3-4 minutes. Shake the pan now and again, making sure the tomatoes are blistered all over, then set aside.

Sauté the mushrooms, onion and pepper in a little olive oil over a medium heat for around 10 minutes, until the mushrooms are golden brown and the onions are softened and sweet. Add the Cook With M&S Spanish paste and heat off for a minute or so, then add the beans, kale, blistered tomatoes and chopped tomatoes, heating and stirring for a few more minutes.

Pour the mix into a large ovenproof pan, making four small wells in each corner of the pan. Crack an egg into each well and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, depending on how you like your eggs. Finish with crumbled feta and fresh chilli.

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Warm smoked salmon salad with herby potatoes

"This is a really good, wholesome meal. The smoked salmon complements the herby baby potatoes perfectly to add real depth of flavour to this easy dish."

Ingredients (serves 4 as a starter or two as a light lunch or main)

1 pack Cook With M&S herby new potatoes
180g green beans
60g watercress
250g Hot smoked salmon slices
4 generous tbsp (1/2 a pack) M&S balsamic beetroot
½ bunch of fresh dill, finely chopped, plus extra to serve


For the dressing

2 tbsp crème fraiche
4 tsp horseradish sauce
Zest and juice of ½ lemon, plus an extra squeeze to serve
Pinch of salt and pepper

Microwave the potatoes according to the packet instructions, then set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Blanch the green beans in salted water for 4 minutes, until tender. Meanwhile, make the dressing by mixing together the crème fraiche, horseradish, lemon zest and juice, along with a sprinkling of salt and pepper, until well combined.

To assemble the salad, layer the watercress, potatoes, salmon, beans and beetroot on to a big platter, spooning over the dressing as you build up the layers.

Finish with a final few spoonfuls of dressing, a squeeze of lemon juice and a few fronds of fresh dill.

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Italian braised lamb

 "This is a lovely, hearty dish for a chilly autumn night. The Cook with M&S smoked tomato paste really brings out the smoky flavours of the olives and tomatoes."

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 M&S lamb roasting joint (490g)
2 red onions, roughly diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery sticks, diced
1 tsp dried oregano
A pinch of salt and pepper
1 105g jar of Cook With M&S smoked tomato paste
150ml red wine
400g tin chopped tomatoes
10 black pitted olives, sliced
100ml water
1 vegetable stock cube
150g cooked puy lentils

Preheat the oven to 180˚C/160˚C fan/gas mark 4.

Heat 1 tsp of olive oil in a lidded casserole dish over a medium-high heat and sear the lamb for a minute or so on each side, turning the meat regularly until it's nice and golden. Remove the lamb from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, add ½ tbsp more oil if needed, then add the onion, carrots, celery and oregano, and season with salt and pepper. Turn the temperature down to a medium heat and cook for 5-8 minutes until all the vegetables have softened. Add the Cook With M&S smoked tomato paste and cook out for 30 seconds.

Add the red wine to deglaze and cook for another minute until most of the liquid has gone. Add the chopped tomatoes and olives, then stir in the water and stock cube.

Simmer on a medium heat for 3-4 minutes, placing the lamb back on top.

Cover the dish with the lid and bake everything in the oven for 30 minutes, until the sauce is thickened. Remove the lamb to carve, then stir in the pack of puy lentils and simmer for a few minutes until everything's heated through and the sauce is slightly thickened.

Serve with either crusty bread, mashed potato, polenta or steamed greens.

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Squash and blue cheese Dauphinoise

"This is a rich and flavourful dish to serve as a hearty side or vegetarian main. Brimming with the fantastic flavours of blue cheese, garlic and squash, it works really well with the creamy potatoes."

Ingredients (serves 4)

2 large baking potatoes
200ml semi-skimmed milk
300g whipping cream
4-5 garlic cloves, grated
500g Cook With M&S butternut squash slices
200g stilton
50g breadcrumbs
Handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas mark 7.

Slice the potatoes thinly (around half a centimetre thick), leaving the skin on and halve the butternut squash slices so they are slightly thinner.

Add the milk, cream and garlic to a pan and bring to the boil. Crumble in half the stilton, then turn off the heat and stir everything together well until all the cheese has melted.

Layer the potatoes and butternut slices into an ovenproof dish and pour over the creamy mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes.

Remove the foil, and sprinkle over the breadcrumbs, chopped parsley and remaining stilton.

Return to the oven for a further 15 minutes until everything is golden and bubbling – and the vegetables are tender when sliced with a knife.

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Leftover turkey katsu curry

"This is a great way to use up any leftover turkey you might have from Christmas. Serve it with lime wedges, fresh coriander and rice. Or, for something a little different, this also tastes lovely on a jacket potato or with naan bread."

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium white onion, finely diced
2 medium (or 1 large) sweet potatoes, half grated, half diced into 1cm pieces with the skin left on
350g leftover cooked turkey, shredded
190g (1 jar) Cook With M&S katsu curry paste
400g tin coconut milk
150ml water
75g frozen peas
Lime wedges, fresh coriander and cooked basmati rice, to serve.

Heat the vegetable oil in a deep, lidded frying pan. Fry the onion and sweet potato for five minutes over a medium heat, until softened and golden.

Add the leftover turkey and Cook With M&S katsu curry paste and fry for 2-3 minutes to heat through.

Add the coconut milk and water, then cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes until the sauce is reduced and thickened. If it's looking too thick, add a little more water. Add the peas and simmer for a further five minutes.

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Introducing our new range of over 100 ingredients, designed to make cooking dinner easy

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