My life on a plate - Jamie Cullum

Everyone has a dish that brings back childhood memories - and one to pass on to the next generation. Here the jazz musician shares his favourite recipes.

My life on a plate - Jamie Cullum

Jamie Cullum, the singer-songwriter, has won many awards and sold more than 10 million albums since he first appeared on Michael Parkinson’s chat show in 2003. He married Sophie Dahl, the model, in 2010. They live in Buckinghamshire with their two young daughters. Jamie’s headlining Cornbury Festival main stage, in Oxfordshire, on Friday 8 July (visit cornburyfestival.com). His BBC Radio Two music show is on Tuesdays at 7pm.

'The recipe I grew up with...

...is chicken soup & matzo balls. My paternal grandmother always had a steaming bowl of "Jewish penicillin" ready for us whenever we visited her. 

'She was born in Prussia, now part of Poland, and during the Second World War she became a refugee in Jerusalem, where she met my grandfather, who was in the Army. Although my father was born in Jerusalem, the family then settled in the UK. After their terrible wartime experiences, many Jews were frightened to embrace their faith or history, so my dad was brought up in the Church of England. 

'However, certain things persisted from the family's Jewish roots - including the chicken soup. My grandmother used to boil a whole chicken, add vegetables, including celery, onion, and carrot, a big tomato to give it a bit of colour, a bay leaf, salt, 10 whole peppercorns and some fresh parsley. I was a bit nervous about it because I wasn't used to eating all parts of the chicken - I just wanted the nice white meat. I would filter out the bits I didn't want but I loved the broth.

'Chicken soup is something that I cook to this day, although - unlike my nan - I strain it. My dad likes a matzo ball, so when my parents come, I always make the dumplings.'

Try Jamie's recipe for traditional Jewish chicken matzo ball soup.

The recipe I'll pass on...

'When Sophie and I first met, we bonded over a love of food, and we still often cook together. She was impressed by my selection of cookbooks. It's not an uncommon thing in musicians. I know a lot who like cooking - because of the unsociable hours, you have to be able to cook for yourself, and be pretty creative.

'I like tackling things that are perceived as hard to do. A really good life skill to have, and one that I've perfected, is poaching an egg. When they're a bit older, I'll show my children, Lyra and Margot, five and three, exactly how to do it (although the oldest one is already quite good at cracking eggs and dropping them into the pan!) This recipe is one of my favourites.'

Try Jamie's poached eggs on avocado & feta toast recipe.

What are the recipes that remind you of home? Let us know in the comments below...

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