Home Cooking Tips From Catering Pros Tart London

Home Cooking Tips From Catering Pros Tart London

Founded by Lucy Carr-Ellison and Jemima Jones, Tart London has created food for some of the most influential names in fashion, from Kate Moss to Sienna Miller, Cara Delevingne to Gisele Bündchen. Following the success of their Evening Standard column, hit cookbook and a deli in Belgravia, the doors to the first Wild By Tart restaurant opened last year. Here, they tell us how to recreate the same delicious, seasonal food at home, as well as sharing three of their favourite recipes.

Bella Howard

Tell us, how did you get into food?
We both grew up wanting to spend most of our time in the kitchen. We picked up inspiration from all sorts of places and people, and our food is expressive of that: laid back, fun and – we hope – delicious. However, it all began with learning most of what we know from watching our mums cook. As for wine, well, we got that from our dads.

How would you describe your cooking style?
We are constantly evolving and learning. We cook food that excites us, ingredients that we know work well together, and elevate that with combinations of spices, flavours and textures. We’re always looking for that play on contrasts. We cook with good-quality ingredients and are always on the lookout for new local suppliers with an interest in sustainability or craftsmanship. Seasonality is important to what we do, too. Tart is all about exploring tastes and textures – through the presentation and combination of dishes, and contrasting and complimentary colours.

What are your top tips for easy mid-week suppers?
Pasta, pasta, pasta – with plenty of garlic, chilli, anchovy and greens. We also love to make a roast chicken with aioli and greens – which you can then make a broth to keep you going for the next few days. We also love cleansing Asian noodle dishes with lots of mushrooms and spices, and making braised lentils or beans with woody vegetables and herbs that can keep for a few days in the fridge. At this time of year, we also opt for spicy laksa-style soups with blitzed squash, carrot and coconut milk – with plenty of crunchy toppings and chilli oil on top.

In your view, what are the most underrated meats and fish?
For meat, it would have to be wild venison – it’s gamier and stronger in flavour than beef. We often serve it raw as a carpaccio, even in the winter months. We also like to slow cook different cuts to create rich, warming stews for the cooler months. As for fish, it would definitely be hake and trout.

Is there a way to make easy, vegan dishes?
One of our favourite styles of cooking is Indian vegetarian cuisine. The food is exciting and full of flavour, and you don’t feel like you are missing anything. When it comes to creating the perfect salad, look for contrasts in textures and temperatures – and don’t forget to add a great dressing.

We’re all trying to make our food healthier. Do you have any tips?
People should be more mindful about having a vegetable and legumes-heavy diet. For example, don’t boil vegetables – steam them because boiling saps their nutrients. Also, seasonality is so important. Ingredients that are in season are extra delicious, rich in nutrition and carry the vibrant colours of the time of year.

What oils do you like to use when you’re cooking?
Our favourite – and most used – is probably olive oil. It’s one of the most important ingredients we use. It enhances the flavours of nearly all our vegetable dishes and salads, as well as soups and grilled meat and fish. That said, we use a whole different range of olive oils in our cooking. Lighter olive oils for cooking, and deeper olive oils for finishing. We also make our own infusions and herbs oils such as basil, dill and coriander, citrus oils and chili oil, too.

What do you think people always get wrong or use too much of?
If we had to pick, some of our biggest bugbears are raisins in savoury food, sweetcorn from a tin and big pieces of mushy carrot in a stew.

Can you recommend three good cookbooks everyone should have on their shelf?
A Year In My Kitchen by Skye Gyngell, A Change Of Appetite by Diana Henry and Plenty More by Yotam Ottlenghi. They’re all brilliant.

Asian food is delicious but seems tricky to do well yourself – do you have any tips?
Supermarkets now have a much better selection of fresh and dried Asian goods, so it’s pretty easy to pick up lime leaves, lemon grass, miso paste and spices. Even better, recipes don’t have to be to the exact measurement or seen as scary, there are many dishes which are simple and quick to cook. Rick Stein, Diana Henry and Jamie Oliver all have easy-to-follow Asian recipes in their books.

At the weekend, is there a classic twist on a cooked breakfast you’d recommend?
Definitely baked eggs, with lots of interesting spices and flavours. We love something bubbling out of the oven – maybe something a little cheesy and spicy – with good-quality sourdough to mop up all the juices. We’re also big fans of brunch. On our own brunch menu, we’ve jazzed up the classic dippy eggs with taleggio and truffle – a simple, wholesome weekend breakfast.

What are the best starters to prepare in advance?
Fish carpaccio. You can pre-slice it and then just dress and garnish it at the last minute.

What are some of the simplest ideas for puddings that still have the wow factor?
We love to make a big beautiful pavlova adorned with seasonal fruits. And little individual puddings in pots, like possets and panacotta infused with fruit, herbs and spices and garnished with elegant toppings.

Are you a fan of a cheese plate?
Cheese is very important to us – we love it. The vast variety of tastes and textures is mind blowing. We use it throughout our menus. One of our favourite things to do is go to La Fromagerie and get lost tasting all the samples. We’re obsessed with their truffled brie, comte, napoleon and tomme de savoie.

What are some of your top dinner party menus?
When it comes to dinner party menus, we usually pick a culinary vibe. Our go-tos are fresh and classic Italian, or a feast-for-the-eyes Middle Eastern or Indian spread with lots of dips, zesty salads, buttery grilled flatbreads, marinated grilled meat and fish and something spicy and saucy.

Finally, what’s your secret to a really good party?
Making sure you invite a crowd of carefree, fun friends to let loose and get things started. Remember, it’s always better to over-invite so you don’t risk the venue looking empty. A good playlist, too – music is key. Think up a good drink to start the night, preferably a strong margarita and, of course, some delicious nibbles to soak up the booze.
 Inspired? Here are three Tart-approved recipes to try now…

Spring Green Risotto

Serves 4


● 1 white onion, finely diced
● 1 celery stick, finely sliced
● 2 garlic gloves, finely chopped
● 2 bay leaves
● 200g of risotto rice
● 200ml of white wine
● 2 tbsp of butter
● 50g of grated parmesan
● 1lt of chicken or vegetable stock
● 500g of fresh peas
● 1 big bunch of basil, roughly chopped
● 1 small bunch of mint leaves
● 1 small bunch of parsley leaves
● 1 tsp of mustard
● 4 slices of parma ham (optional)
● 200g of ricotta
● ½ garlic clove
● Zest and juice of 1 lemon


1. Heat your chicken stock, and add the herbs: parsley, mint and half the basil and peas. Heat for no more than 3-5 minutes. You don’t want to overcook your peas. Take off the heat and take out half of the peas, and keep aside to use later. Whiz the stock with everything in it in a blender, as well as the mustard (optional).
2. Over a medium heat, warm a little olive oil and 1 tbsp of butter. Add your chopped onions, celery, garlic and bay and stir. Sauté for around 5 minutes until translucent. Add your rice and keep stirring for a good few minutes, until the rice has infused in the flavour and gone
translucent – then pour in your wine and let it cook off, keep stirring.
3. Turn the heat down, keep stirring and ladle your green stock in, slowly. Fry your parma ham, so it’s nice and crispy, and keep to one side on a kitchen towel.
4. Lightly beat your ricotta with the crushed garlic, lemon zest and juice. Season.
5. We like to keep this risotto loose, a bit more on the soupy side. So, loosen if it needs it, with an extra ladle of water. Then stir in the rest of the butter, parmesan and reserved peas.
6. Serve with a dollop of ricotta, a crispy piece of parma ham and scatter roughly chopped

Store Cupboard Vegetable Dhal

Serves 4


● 1 onion, chopped
● 2in piece of ginger, grated
● 3 garlic cloves, sliced
● 1 tbsp of cumin seeds
● 2 tsp of coriander seeds, crushed
● 1 tbsp of curry powder
● 1 cinnamon stick
● 1 tsp of turmeric
● 1-3 (depending on how spicy you like it) whole birds eye chilies, deseeded chopped
● 1 large bunch of coriander, stalks chopped
● 1 handful of chopped up dried apricots
● 400g tin of tomatoes
● 400g tin of coconut milk
● 500ml of stock (chicken or vegetable)
● 200g mixture of lentils, e.g. red, orange, yellow​

● Choice of vegetables: (choose between or mix)
● 1 large aubergine, cubed
● 1 large cauliflower, cut into florets
● 2 sweet potatoes, cubed
● 1 small squash, deseeded and cubed
For the tarka (optional):
● 1 tbsp of coconut oil, or oil
● 3 garlic cloves, sliced
● 1 tsp of cumin seeds
● 1 tsp of nigella seeds
● 1 large red chilli, sliced
● 1 small bunch of curry leaves

For the green chutney:
● 5 tbsp of yoghurt
● 2 tbsp of desiccated coconut
● 1 small bunch coriander
● 1 small bunch mint
● Zest and juice of 1 lime
● 1 garlic clove
● 1in of peeled ginger
● 1 green chili, deseeded
● 1 tsp of ground cumin
● Salt


1. Cook your onions, ginger, cinnamon sticks and garlic on a low heat until translucent, then add (turning up the heat) your cumin, crushed coriander seeds, chili and fry for a good 5 minutes, stirring and making sure not to burn.
2. Then add the turmeric, curry powder, vegetable of choice, apricot and cook for a further 5 minutes, allowing everything to caramelize a little, followed by the tomato, coconut, stock and lentils. Let that simmer for 45 minutes. Add a squirt of honey if desired and season with salt and pepper.
3. While this is cooking, make the tarka if you plan to. Spoon the coconut oil into a pan and then add the garlic chips, chilli, cumin seeds, nigella and curry leaves. Cook on a low heat, stirring, until the garlic turns golden. Leave to one side, keep warm.
4. To make the green chutney, put desiccated coconut into a cup and submerge in boiling hot
water, just to cover. Once cooled and softened (around 20 minutes), drain and add to a blender.
5. With the remaining chutney ingredients. Blitz until smooth. Tip: It’s best served a few hours after resting.
6. When ready to serve, spoon the dahl into bowls, spoon over the tarka and dollop on the chutney.

Tarty Puttanesca With A Crispy Caper Gremolata

Serves 3


● 4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
● 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
● ½ tsp of dried chilli
● 1 tbsp of minced parsley stalks
● 5 anchovy fillets, chopped
● 2 tbsp of pitted black olives, roughly chopped
● 150ml of white wine
● 400g tin of good quality tomatoes
● Juice of ½ a lemon
● 1 big pinch of grated parmesan
● 300g of linguine
For the caper gremolata:
● 2 tbsp of capers, dried on paper towel
● 1 garlic clove, minced
● 2 tbsp of dried breadcrumbs (or panko crumbs)
● 1 small handful parsley leaves, minced
● 1 red chilli- deseeded and minced (optional)
● Zest of 1 lemon


1. Over a medium heat, heat the olive oil with the garlic and dried chilli. As it begins to colour add the anchovies and parsley stalks. Allow everything to break down in the oil, then add the white wine and reduce a little. Then add the olives and tinned tomatoes. Season generously and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
2. Cook the linguine according to pasta instructions, till al dente.
3. Add the linguine to your sauce (once the sauce is cooked) and add a good ladle of pasta water and cook for a further minute. Add a big pinch of grated parmesan and squeeze of half a lemon, and mix in. Finish in a little olive oil and take off the heat.
4. In a separate pan, heat a few tbsps of olive oil. When hot, add the capers and allow to crisp up for a few minutes. Then add the garlic and breadcrumbs – let this go golden. Season. Spoon onto kitchen towel to drain oil off and cool. Place into a bowl and add the minced parsley, lemon zest and chopped chilli. Spoon this generously over your pasta and serve.

While the deli and restaurant remain closed amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis, you can place an online delivery order here.

Alternatively, order A Love Of Eating: Recipes From Tart London here.


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