Successful executive placement agency, Pimento Connection is continuing to show its support for the Armed Forces community by holding a special book signing to celebrate the launch of the high-end cookbook, Cooking with Heroes, created by the Royal British Legion.

The upcoming book signing for Cooking with Heroes will take place at Brokers Wine bar in London’s Leadenhall Market at 11am on Wednesday 21st July and will be attended by the Lord Mayor of London William Russell, as well as Celebrity Chef, Cyrus Todiwala, who has contributed a recipe to the book.

Cooking With Heroes has been created in partnership with St James’s House publishing to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Royal British Legion (RBL). The cookbook has contributions from serving members of all three Armed Forces, including military chefs, who have provided delicious and authentic recipes from 100 places around the world in which the RBL has operated. Each regional recipe is accompanied by a fascinating profile of a hero specific to that location – a service man or woman, or civilian – whose contribution to life will be remembered through the ages.

Also featuring contributions from celebrity chefs such as Jamie Oliver, Rick Stein and The Hairy Bikers this high-end cookbook will be raising money for the Royal British Legion, the UK’s largest military charity. All proceeds from books sold at the event will be donated to the RBL to help the Armed Forces charity continue its vital work.

Pimento Connection, an award-winning defence employer recognised company, is an official sponsor of the cookbook. Looking forward to the book signing and Pimento’s involvement, Cliff Allum, Global Director, ] says, “Pimento is very proud to be associated with this project. As former servicemen ourselves we know the benefits of hiring a veteran.  They bring so much more to a company than just qualifications. As for the cookbook, I think it was Napoleon who once said that an army marches on its stomach. With recipes such as these I suspect he may have been right.”

Ben France, Head of Corporate Partnerships at The Royal British Legion says, “The RBL is excited to be working in partnership with St James’s House on Cooking with Heroes in our centenary year, and we are grateful to Pimento and all the sponsors who have made this project possible. The donations raised from this event will be used to provide life-long support and better futures to serving and ex-serving members of the British Armed Forces, their families and dependents through hardships, injuries and bereavements in the years to come.”

St James’s House (company no: 04132980) will donate 100% of net profit from retail sales (£5 from the £19.95 RRP) to the Royal British Legion, a registered charity (number 219279). Contributions will go towards the RBL’s lifechanging work supporting those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces and their families. Available to purchase here: https://www.stjamess.org/product/cooking-with-heroes/

Check out three of the recipes from the cookbook below…

Region: Glasgow

Author: Sophie Thompson (Guest Chef)

Cullen skink

The legendary Cullen skink comes from the small fishing port of Cullen on the east coast of Scotland. The word “skink” means a soup or an essence. The local fishermen would smoke the smaller fish of their catch and these, with some locally grown potatoes, formed their staple diet. This is a recipe that I learned from my Scottish grandmother, Granny Megsie. The aroma of Cullen skink takes me right back to Granny’s kitchen and the vision of an array of socks drying on the bar of her old coal-fuelled Aga.

gluten-free

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

Serves 4

350g (approx.) smoked haddock fillet

2 medium bay leaves

1 decent sized onion, chopped

900ml water

500g potatoes, peeled and quartered

575ml full-cream milk

1 vegetable stock cube

40g butter

Salt and cracked black pepper

Chopped chives, for a bit of a spruce at the end!

Method

  • Put the haddock, bay Leaves, chopped onions and water into a pan and bring to bubbling then reduce the heat – gently poaching your fish for about 10 mins.
  • Peel and chop your potatoes in readiness.
  • Lift your haddock fillets from the pan with a fish slice and remove the skin – returning the skin to the broth (skink!) and simmer this uncovered for 25 mins.
  • Flake the poached haddock and leave too cool.
  • Strain the fish stock (I leave the bay leaves in) and return to the pan adding your peeled and chopped potatoes – cook these until properly tender.
  • Remove the potatoes from the liquid letting them steam in a sieve whilst you add the milk and veg stock cube to the pan.
  • Bring this liquor up to a gently rolling simmer.
  • Roughly mash the tatties with your generous knob of butter – and then whisk the buttery rough mash in to the pan until the soup is thick and creamy.
  • Add your flaked haddock and heaps of cracked black pepper.
  • Garnish with your chives – I tumble my chives in a drizzle of olive oil to make them shine!
  • Serve with fresh torn hunks of bread.

Region: Cheshire

Author: Senior Aircraftsman James Kerr (RAF)

Asparagus & Cheshire cheese soup with apple & walnut loaf

Cheese soup was originally a peasant’s dish using cheap ingredients to make a tasty meal, here we use it to celebrate Cheshire cheese, the famous dairy speciality of the region. It is one of the country’s oldest recorded cheeses mentioned as far back as 1580 and claimed to be included in the Domesday Book. Other fantastic produce of the region are asparagus and apples, which are perfect to incorporate into this dish – the crumbly, tangy and salty cheese paired with asparagus makes a fantastic and unique soup which is only enhanced when paired with the wholesome, almost sweet, nutty soda loaf.

Vegetarian

Preparation Time: 20 minutes for the loaf & 15 minutes for the soup

Cooking Time: 30–40 minutes for the loaf & 30 minutes for the soup

Ingredients

Serves 6

For the apple & walnut loaf

30g self-raising flour

130g wholemeal flour

50g brown sugar

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

½ tsp salt

50ml olive oil

½ orange, finely grated zest only

1 egg, beaten

150ml tepid milk

2 cooking apples, cored and coarsely chopped or grated, with skin

60g walnuts, coarsely chopped

For the asparagus & Cheshire cheese soup

1.5 litre vegetable or chicken stock

680g asparagus, trimmed and roughly chopped

40g butter

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, roughly chopped

2 stalks of celery, roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

85g flour

100ml single cream

450g Cheshire cheese, grated plus a few small cubes for garnish

Salt and pepper

Method

To make the apple & walnut loaf

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a baking tray with butter and dust lightly with flour.
  • Place the flours, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, and salt into a mixing bowl and mix until combined.
  • Make a well in the centre of the dry mix, add the oil, orange zest and beaten egg and gradually add the milk; mix well, by hand or in a stand mixer with a dough hook, until a rough dough has formed, add a little more flour if the dough is too wet and sticky, you may not need all of the milk.
  • Add the apples and walnuts and knead into the dough until it is smooth.
  • Shape the dough into a neat round, place onto the tray and bake for 30–40 minutes until well browned and crusty; transfer to a wire rack to cool.

To make the soup

  • Bring three-quarters of the stock to a boil in a large saucepan, add the asparagus and cook until tender; drain the asparagus reserving the stock.
  • Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan or casserole over a medium heat, add the onion and celery and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes until they start to soften, add the garlic and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the flour, cook, stirring constantly, to a blonde colour, add the stock, including the stock reserved from cooking the asparagus, a little at a time and cook, stirring constantly, until smooth.
  • Add the single cream and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
  • Pour the soup into a blender (it might need to be blended in a couple of batches), add the cooked asparagus and pulse the mix a few times before blending until smooth.
  • Pour the soup into a clean saucepan, bring to a simmer and stir in the grated Cheshire cheese until melted; season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve

  • Ladle the hot soup into bowls, sprinkle the top with a little diced Cheshire cheese and serve with the warm apple and walnut soda loaf.

Region: Jamaica

Author: Able Hand Catering Services Kevin Cordice (RN)

Ital soup

Ital soup is a vegetarian meal intended to improve your health and energy. Ital, meaning natural and clean, is said to be a belief of Rastafari and avoids the death of God’s creatures by consuming food grown from the earth around them. Using simple and delicate flavours using plant-based foods is popular in Jamaican cuisine; this dish will give you a taste of the Caribbean you won’t forget.

Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes–1 hour

Ingredients

Serves 4

400ml coconut milk

400ml water

1 onion, cut into 2cm dice

2 plum tomatoes, cut into 2cm dice

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 scotch bonnet chilli, finely chopped

1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp cracked black pepper

1 tsp ground allspice

1 large carrot, cut into 2cm dice

1 medium sweet potato, cut into 2cm dice

1 medium cassava or potato, cut into 2cm dice

½ butternut squash, cut into 2cm dice

1 bay leaf

50g jackfruit, cut into 2cm dice (you can use canned if fresh is unavailable)

1 plantain, cut into 2cm dice

6 okra, cut into 2cm slices

10g coriander, coarsely chopped

Method

  • Pour the coconut milk and water into a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the onions, tomatoes, garlic, chilli, thyme leaves, turmeric, black pepper and all spice.
  • Simmer for 3 minutes then add the carrot, sweet potato, cassava and butternut squash and bay leaf; continue to simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Stir in the jackfruit, plantain and okra and simmer for a further 15-20 minutes.
  • If you prefer a thicker soup simmer for a further 10-15 minutes
  • Remove the bay leaf and add the chopped coriander to serve.

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