Ainsley Harriott is back on our screens with a new show and cookbook – but this time he’s swapped the Caribbean for the Mediterranean.
The much love chef has embarked on a journey spanning the far corners of the Med and has returned with some delicious recipes and easy techniques in tow.
And now that we’re all spending more time cooking due to self-isolation and social distancing, there’s no better time to turn up the music and have some fun in the kitchen.
“We chose the Med, because we wanted to be a little bit different,” he said in an exclusive interview with Prima.
“If you think of the amount of programmes we watch on TV these days a lot if chefs have explored France and Italy, but no one has tapped into the likes of Corsica and Sardinia yet, Seville, Granada. Places like Marrakech and Jordan.”
At the time of the interview, Ainsley spoke about how he wanted to bring of the Mediterranean cooking techniques he learned back to the UK, but adjusted for cooks here, who may be looking for a quicker and easier way to achieve certain Med-inspired meals.
Now that we are in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, finding shortcuts for favourite recipes is just what we need. And since most holidays are cancelled for the foreseeable, some blue skies and bright flavours are exactly what we need to keep the wanderlust at bay.
Ainsley celebrates everything from simple salads and dips to everyday favourites like pasta and risottos, satisfying meats, flavoursome vegetarian mains and light fish dishes.
“You there is a feeling that when you go on holiday, everything kind of slows down. But the people around you are working and feeding themselves,” he explained.
“So it’s just reminding people the simplicity of taking fresh ingredients that you don’t have to do too much with sometimes.
“We love the idea of a simple Italian pasta dish or a simple salad because the flavours speak for themselves – bit of mozzarella, tomato, nice bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, maybe a sprinkling of basil.
“Why is it easy?” he asked. “Because it’s colourful, it’s all about the product and if we can right.”
The 63-year-old urged that his new books an series is primarily about “giving people ideas”.
“Instead of saying, ‘hey, this is a Mediterranean food, this is how you do this, this is how you do that', because there are some recipes that do take time and love and hours and there’s ones that can be done easier, I do them right in front of you.”
Ainsley's Mediterranean Cookbook is available now
BUY NOW Waterstones - £20
Some delicious recipes featured in the book include Corsican mint omelette, Moroccan vegetable and sesame seed parcel and a courgette, lemon and pecorino spaghetti.
Ainsley's Mediterranean Cookbook the series airs on ITV on Sunday at 10.30am.
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