Sisters and culinary Goddesses, Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley, both live in London. They write regular columns for Vogue and the Guardian, and their first book ‘The Art of Eating Well’ is published by Ebury Press   

Where did you both learn to cook?
We’ve always loved food and early on realised the relationship between good food and good health. Our parents definitely set us off on the right foot. It wasn’t that mum and dad talked about “eating clean” as such, but they were pretty old-fashioned and junk food was rarely on the menu. Our mum was an intuitive and resourceful cook, always making full use of everything with very little waste. As we grew older, eating out with friends and picking up food on the go became the norm. We soon realised that our ‘convenient’ options didn’t make us feel as good as home-cooked food did.This inspired us to make healthy food that was as delicious as it was good for you.

Where did you grow up and what are your childhood memories of family mealtimes?
We grew up with a Filipino mother and an Army father in Army barracks in the UK and Germany. Our parents were both sticklers for eating proper meals and avoiding waste. We rarely ate out at restaurants, but loved trying new foods from different cultures, whether from local shops and delis, while at friends houses, or when travelling. We were used to eating frugally and adventurously – and though mum was efficient, everything was made with love and care. We ate lots of vegetables and there was always a pot of something delicious on the stove, or leftovers in the fridge to pick at and put together. Whenever friends came around they always went straight to the kitchen to see what delicious morsels they could find!

What were you doing before you became cooks?Jasmine: I worked as a model for more than 15 years, a profession that made me very aware of my food choices and health.

Melissa: I travelled the world as a fashion brand manager and then worked in marketing for gastropubs and bars.

Where do you see yourselves in 10 years time?
Melissa: Big question. I’d love to be doing a lot of what we do now – cooking, sharing recipes, meeting people all over the world, helping people feel healthier and happier and I hope I’ll have a family of my own!

Jasmine: I feel really fortunate that I’ve been able to turn my passion for living well into an occupation, with my boyfriend Nick as well as my sister – a real family affair. In 10 years time I’d still love to be doing what we are doing now but with a few kids thrown into the mix. We’d love to create Hemsley + Hemsley wellness hubs for teaching and sharing, and we’ve started already with our small urban weekend retreats called The Mind Body Reset with our friends Yasmin Sewell and Gary Gorrow, so that’s the focus and the dream!

What’s your favourite place to eat in the world?
Melissa: For me it’s our mum’s house. I love her big stews and her baked stuffed fish (recipe in our book ‘The Art of Eating Well’)

Jasmine: London’s full of great places such as Brunswick House in Vauxhall, Elliots in Borough, and Rochelle Canteen in Shoreditch. I love any traditional food; hidden gems serving good, local produce in local surroundings. I get excited by farmers markets – especially in other countries where you can find all sorts of delicious delicacies which are also very inspiring for our recipes.

What’s your top culinary tip?
We have two…

1. Make your own Bone Broth – Homemade bone broth is packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, collagen and keratin, and is an easy, frugal way to nourish yourself on a daily basis. The healthy fats in the broth help you to assimilate important vitamins including vitamin D. Easy to make in bulk and kind on the pocket. We use homemade Bone Broth as the base for many of our soups, stews, casseroles, quinoa risottos or wherever a savoury recipe calls for stock or water. (Recipe below.)

2. Spiralize your vegetables – This is a key way to consume more veg. You can swap out pasta noodles or spaghetti for Celeriacetti (long strands of Celeriac). It’s also a good way of eating raw vegetables, for example by topping a gazpacho with some Courgetti (spiralized courgette). It’s easy to do and a fun way to get children and guests in the kitchen and involved in meal preparation. If you don’t have a spiralizer, use a julienne peeler or your regular peeler.

What ingredients do you always have in your cupboard?
1. Coconut oil – We cook with it, bake with it, add it to smoothies and even moisturise our skin and hair with it!

2. Organic ghee – Another great saturated fat. Ghee, or clarified butter, is like coconut oil in that it is heat stable meaning the chemical structure is not readily altered or oxidised when used for cooking.

3. Turmeric – Detoxifying, anti-inflammatory and beautifully bright, we add turmeric spice to soups, stews, juices, smoothies and curries. It’s also a key ingredient in our Pep Up Tea (a zingy alternative to coffee!)

4. Cauliflower – OK, it’s in our fridge rather than cupboard but we love this versatile veg. Grate it to make cauliflower rice, use as the base of our Flower Power Pizza, or make cauliflower mash to top your warming shepherd’s pie.

5. Apple cider vinegar – Choose raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, also known as “with the mother.” It promotes better digestion, aids heartburn, helps with calcium absorption and alkalizes the body. We love it in salad dressings, dips and sauces, and it’s something our Mum always championed growing up

6. Finally, always in the fridge (or being made on the hob), Bone Broth (see above).

What is your perfect family meal?
Melissa: Either Courgetti Ragu with Kale Caesar Salad followed by Black Bean Brownies or something like Shepherds Pie with Cauliflower Mash (I always make two and put one in the freezer) served with a simple salad like a big watercress and avocado salad, or our recipe called Quicker Than Toast (the best courgette salad that takes a minute to make!)

Jasmine: An outdoor spread full of colourful salads, satisfying mains and refreshing desserts. My ideal picnic menu would probably involve Duck Tamarind Lettuce Wraps, Papaya, Halloumi and Watercress Salad, some Carrot and Flax Crackers and Mung Bean Hummus. Pablo’s Chicken Drumsticks always go down well, too. To drink – some gorgeous wine, or if it’s a family celebration then our Blueberry Lavender Lime Vodka cocktail made with coconut water which is pretty and pink. For dessert, it would have to be the super easy Avocado Lime Cheesecake which looks and tastes impressive, and gets everyone talking!

Bone Broth Recipe
Makes 3–4 litres depending on your pan size

Ingredients
2–3 kg beef bones, chicken carcasses, lamb bones (usually free from the butchers) or use the saved bones from a roast, such as chicken, lamb shoulder or bone marrow bones

Optional
A generous splash of apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice (this can help to extract the minerals from the meat bones)

2 handfuls of any onions, leeks, carrots or celery ends
1 tbsp black peppercorns
A few dried bay leaves

Method
1. Place the bones and any optional ingredients into a large stainless steel cooking pot and cover with cold water. The water level should cover the bones by 5 cm whilst still leaving room at the top of the pan.

2. Cover with a lid and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, lid on, for at least 6 hours for chicken and 12 for beef or lamb, skimming off any foam that rises to the top. The longer the bones simmer, the more nutrients are released. We like to boil the chicken carcass for up to 12 hours until the bones begin to crumble and keep beef bones going for 24 hours until they look as if they were washed up on a beach.

3. Fresh chicken carcasses from the butcher usually have a fair amount of meat on them. We tend to poach the carcasses for 20 minutes, then pull off the meat (and save it for another meal like a chicken salad or chicken pho) before returning the carcasses to the pot and continuing to simmer to make broth.

4. Strain the liquid, using a fine mesh strainer for poultry. Use immediately or leave to cool before storing. Bone broth will keep in the fridge for several days or up to a week if you leave it undisturbed, as a layer of fat will form on the surface and keep it sealed from the air.

Notes
YOU CAN USE A SLOW COOKER (on high for 12 hours or more) OR PRESSURE COOKER (for at least 3 hours).

FREEZE IN BATCHES FOR USE DURING THE WEEK – use glass containers and leave room for expansion.

BEEF BONES produce a lot of nutritious fat. Skim some of it off the broth and save it in a jar for roasting or frying.

hemsleyandhemsley.com

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