By Prudence Wade

Kate Humble never planned on writing a cookbook – an odd thing to hear from someone who is currently promoting their first one.

“I’m not a ‘grown-up cook’,” the wildlife and nature presenter confesses. “I just make food because you need to eat to keep alive. I don’t have any kind of pretensions of being the next Nigella or anything like that – I don’t have the figure for it, anyway.”


Home Cooked: Recipes From The Farm by Kate Humble (Gaia, £25). PA Photo/Andrew Montgomery.

While Humble, 53, might not have gone to culinary school, she’s being as modest as her name suggests. In fact, her first cookbook – Home Cooked: Recipes From The Farm – was written after fans of Channel 5 show Escape To The Farm With Kate Humble practically demanded it. On the show, she had small segments cooking the simple food she ate every day – and people lapped it up.

“Around that time [2020], everyone in the world was making sourdough bread,” Humble remembers. “Apart from me, it turns out – I tried like everybody else, and I killed more sourdough starters than I would care to admit.”

Frustrated by everyone’s “smug photos” of sourdough on social media, one of Humble’s friends introduced her to an easy, foolproof soda bread recipe. Humble shared this recipe on her show, and her simple style of cooking struck a chord with viewers – and ultimately led to her first cookbook.

Recipes from her mother permeate the book – the person who taught Humble how to cook. This was when you couldn’t easily order a takeaway – particularly not in the rural area where Humble grew up.

This informed how Humble cooks today and what you’ll find in her cookbook. It’s arranged into seasons for two reasons: “The ingredients you’re going to get are probably going to be at their best if they’re seasonal, and the recipes you find per season are all actually what you want to eat at that time – I don’t particularly want to eat a big, heavy stew in the middle of summer.”


Roast lamb with garden veg, oregano and feta recipe from Home Cooked: Recipes From The Farm by Kate Humble (Gaia, £25). PA Photo/Andrew Montgomery.

Roast Lamb With Garden Veg, Oregano and Feta

Serves 6

1 leg of lamb, about 2kg

2 garlic cloves, sliced

Olive oil

A handful of rosemary and thyme sprigs

A generous glass of red wine

400g broad beans in their pods, or 200g frozen broad beans

300g French beans

100g peas (fresh or frozen)

Leaves from 3 sprigs of oregano

Zest of 1 lemon, juice of half

Olive oil

50g feta

Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C. Make sure your lamb is at room temperature before you cook it. With a knife, make small, deep cuts all over the leg of lamb and push a slice of garlic into each one. Rub over some olive oil and season well with salt and pepper.

Put the rosemary and thyme sprigs in the bottom of a roasting tin and place the lamb on top. Put in the oven and cook for about one hour and 10 minutes if you want your lamb to be pink or for longer if you want it cooked through. Remove from the oven, put the lamb on a board and let it rest for 10 minutes or so before you carve it.

Remove the rosemary and thyme sprigs from the tin and put it over a high heat on the hob. Add the wine to the juices and let it bubble for a moment or two to form a thin but tasty gravy. Pour into a jug and keep warm.

Cook the broad beans (shelled, if fresh) in boiling water for about two minutes. Drain and tip them into a bowl of cold water. Slip off the skins to reveal the bright emerald green beneath. Set aside. Cook the peas briefly in boiling water, drain and set aside. Trim the tails off the French beans and steam or plunge into boiling water and cook until they are al dente. Drain and put in a bowl together with the broad beans and the peas.

Finely chop the oregano leaves and add all but a few (saved for garnish) to the vegetables. Add the lemon zest and then drizzle over a bit of olive oil to make the vegetables glossy, but not swimming in it. Squeeze over the lemon juice, season with salt and pepper and mix gently. Tip into a pretty serving bowl, crumble over the feta and scatter with the remaining oregano leaves. Carve the lamb, pour the gravy over the slices and serve the vegetables alongside.


Clementine cake with an orange and pomegranate salad recipe from Home Cooked: Recipes From The Farm by Kate Humble (Gaia, £25). PA Photo/Andrew Montgomery.

Clementine Cake with Orange and Pomegranate Salad

Serves 8

375g clementines or tangerines

Oil for greasing

6 eggs

225g golden caster sugar

250g ground almonds

1 heaped tsp baking powder

For the salad:

6 oranges

1tsp orange blossom water

2tbsp pomegranate seeds

2tbsp toasted flaked almonds

Some mint leaves, shredded

For the cake: Boil the whole fruit (in their skins) in a pan of water for one to two hours until soft. Let them cool, cut in half and remove the pips. Purée the fruit halves – skins and all – in a food processor until smooth. Preheat your oven to 190C and grease and line a 20 centimetre springform tin.

Beat the eggs, then stir in the sugar, almonds and baking powder. Once well mixed, add the fruit purée and stir until the fruit is evenly distributed. Pour into the prepared tin and cook for one hour. Let it cool in the tin on a wire rack.

For the salad: Peel the oranges carefully, making sure you remove all the pith, then slice them into discs about five millimetres thick. Arrange them in a dish. Sprinkle over the orange blossom water and the pomegranate seeds. Just before serving, add a scattering of toasted flaked almonds and shredded mint leaves.

Home Cooked: Recipes From The Farm by Kate Humble is available now