Hugh’s new dishes have a health kick

A few years ago, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall was startled to learn he had high cholesterol.

A lover of home-grown veg, the 49-year-old admits that his GP’s diagnosis took him by surprise.

“I thought I was basically healthy,” explains Fearnley-Whittingstall, “but then I thought, ‘Well actually, you do slap the butter on a bit too much on your toast and, if the cheese is out at the end of a meal and you’ve got a glass of wine on the go, you do go back for more’.”

The TV chef is now shifting towards recipes that don’t rely on wheat and dairy, writing up his findings in his new book, ‘River Cottage Light & Easy’.

Here’s one to try at home.

CREAMY ROASTED TOMATO SOUP

(Serves 4)

1.2kg tomatoes (the riper the better)

4-5 garlic cloves, chopped

3tbsp rapeseed or sunflower oil

75g cashew nuts, plus a few extra, to finish (optional)

200ml light vegetable stock or water

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Extra virgin hempseed or rapeseed oil

Dusting of paprika (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4.

Cut the tomatoes in half and put them in a large roasting tray. Scatter over the chopped garlic, trickle over the oil and season generously. Roast for 25 minutes, then scatter the cashews over the tomatoes. Return to the oven for a further 20 minutes until the tomatoes are soft and pulpy.

Tansfer into a blender, add the stock or water and blitz to a puree. Pass this through a sieve, which will remove any pips, or stubborn bits of tomato skin.

When you’re ready to serve, reheat gently. Ladle into bowls and finish with a swirl of extra virgin oil, plus a few chopped cashews a dusting of paprika and a sprinkling of pepper.