My life on a plate - Gary Barlow

Singer Gary Barlow shares the recipes that remind him of his childhood in Cheshire and the must-try dishes he would pass on to the next generation

My life on a plate - Gary Barlow

One of the UK's most accomplished and successful singer-songwriters, Gary and his wife Dawn, recently celebrated their 17th wedding anniversary. They have three children, Daniel, 16, Emily, 14, and Daisy, eight.

The recipe I grew up with...

Cheshire potatoesI had a happy childhood in Cheshire: my parents were one of the few couples in history who never argued and we always had dinner together as a family. My older brother Ian and I were taught to sit at the table and eat with a knife and a fork. It was strict in a nice family way. We weren’t well off, but we weren’t poor. My dad had two jobs, so we had a colour telly before anyone else and a record player. My mum and dad loved music and we used to listen to The Beatles, Abba and the Bee Gees. Dinner had to fit between dad’s jobs, so we’d eat early at 5pm. He worked as a product manager, then in the evening he’d work on a farm doing tasks like getting the cows in from milking.

One of my childhood memories is sitting at the table eating Cheshire potatoes. Cheshire potatoes are the absolute best – light, fluffy and sweet. In the first two or three weeks of the season, you get all the little ones, and you don’t have to peel them, just scrub, boil and eat with bacon and a bit of butter. You don’t need anything else: that is a dinner from heaven, right there.

Try this mouth-watering side dish of Cheshire potatoes yourself.

The recipe I’d like to pass on...

Roast chicken pieMy mum was the cook and we had a rota of evening meals that never changed – Monday was fish fingers, Tuesday hamburgers. Friday was the night I looked forward to most because there was no school for two days and we had chicken pie. I love pastry, it's warm, it's filling, it's British. A pie is a treat now but, whenever I go to mum's, I always request chicken pie. I'd love to pass that recipe on because, when I went to live on my own, it was one of the first things she taught me to make. 

My greatest fear is going back to where I was in 2002, when I didn’t have a record deal and I was very fat; I don’t want to use the F-word but I am going to have to, because I was. So Dawn and I are pretty strict with our own eating. At the moment we are loving Persian and Thai food. I often do a Thai fish curry. I know the basics and I make it up as I go along, and often cook one a day in advance. A curry always tastes better the next day and, because I’m out all day working, I cook stuff to take with me. I also do a really good spag bol and sneak in a bit of Worcestershire sauce; that always gets clean plates. I try not to be a food fascist around the kids. We’ve never forced them to eat anything they don’t want to. Dawn and I often eat separately from the children, as I frequently don’t get in until 7pm or 8pm, so unfortunately family meals aren’t quite like the ones I remember from childhood.

If you're looking for comfort food, this roast chicken pie is the perfect recipe.

Read more of our life on a plate series...

My life on a plate - Tom Daley
My life on a plate - Laura Trott
My life on a plate - Elaine Paige

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

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