60 seconds with Prue Leith


By Ella Walker

Prue Leith is a legend. The mind behind the prestigious Leiths Cookery School, a novelist and Great British Bake Off judge, she's back with her first cookbook in 25 years. While the recipe collection, Prue: My All-time Favourite Recipes, is packed with dishes she hopes everyone will make at home, we grilled her on her own eating habits...

 Your death row meal would be... Oysters and treacle tart.

The thing you still can't make is... I'm not very good at filigree icing - I wouldn't like to make a wedding cake. I used to make them but it took me ages. It's so fiddly and I get bored. My husband always says my food tastes fantastic but leaves something for the presentation. Well, I think food should look wonderful because it is wonderful, not because it's been decorated. I hate decorated food; I like food to just land on the plate and look so delicious that you want to eat it.

Your favourite store cupboard essential has to be... I couldn't live without chopped tomatoes in tins, soy sauce, tinned chickpeas, frozen puff pastry - I sometimes make it if I'm really feeling like it and I've got time, but mostly I get it out the freezer - and then I have frozen spinach always, and frozen mash, which you might think absolutely disgraceful but honestly, there's some really good frozen mash around.

If you get hungry late at night, the snack you'll reach for is... Greek yoghurt with a bit of honey and a few almonds on top.

Your signature dish is... I should think it's soup. I make soup out of everything all the time, soups and salads. I make staff lunch every day, so we have a lot of soup and salad. 

Preferably your eggs would be... I like poached eggs and I like them soft in the middle.

If you were getting take out you'd order... Probably a Persian wrap. I don't normally like wraps - most wraps are half-cooked - but I like the Persian middle, a bit spicy, lamb, pomegranate...

The ultimate hangover cure has to be... Bread and butter - stodge.

You cannot stomach... I like nearly everything, I love haggis for example and I love offal. What I don't like is badly cooked food. For example, I hate slimy porridge when it's been sitting around and it's slippy. 

Prue: My All-time Favourite Recipes by Prue Leith (Bluebird, €25) is out now. Photography David Loftus.

Catherine Devane