The dog house
A peek into Jasmine Hemsley’s kitchen
Ilive in a live-work space in Elephant and Castle in London. The kitchen is in the middle, with a full wall of windows opposite it. They look out on to a railway arch and huge block of flats, though, so while there is nice natural light it’s only at specific times of day.
We have three rescue dogs – Arjuna, Bheema and Julie (1), who is sitting here on a chair I got at a Wimbledon car boot sale for £8. I’m a magpie for colour and character – I love a car boot. My parents travelled and loved things that could tell a story; I come from a family of collectors.
I particularly love big, bold, masculine pieces. The clock (2) is French vintage, from the Fifties or early Sixties. It was originally designed to hang outside a jeweller’s, so it has a robust exterior case.
On one side of the kitchen there’s an orange retro kitchen unit (3) – an eBay find. The others were originally very dark brown, and when we stopped doing the Hemsley and Hemsley catering, I celebrated by painting them white.
I also replaced my knives with a set of Viners (4) – the old ones were completely bashed, and I realised that the kitchen block I kept them in was a really unhygienic thing.
The slow cooker (5) is from Netherton Foundry – I discovered them in my early 20s and I still use this pot two to three times a week. I have two salt and pepper sets I love by Alessi
(6) on the right, and Tom Dixon (7) on the left.
I live near two florists, and I’m always salvaging anything they throw away – I go past the bins every day, and my partner Nick knows to pick stuff up for me too: bouquets, bamboo used on shoots, all my Christmas trees, and my mother’s too … In the summer my flat becomes an orchid hospital. They’re so popular in hotels, but without proper care, they fade, so I rescue them. When you see 20 orchids upside down in a bin, you can’t help it … I have about 50 plants (8), and my vases (9) are in constant rotation.
The ceramic dogs are Mexican candlestick holders and have names – Jason and John. My best friend says they’re the ugliest things she’s ever seen.
I’ve been learning about spices (10) for the past five years, as a means of protecting yourself on a daily basis. And since I’ve learnt that coffee doesn’t really agree with me – it sends me loony – I use my coffee pot for hot water, which is a very important Eastern medicine remedy.
When I discovered ayurveda, the oldest healing system in the world, it was 2001 and health was all about fitness: punitive gym sessions and restrictive eating programmes, low-fat and lowcal. Ayurveda, on the other hand, was a whole new language. And the gamechangers for me were the power of the gut – recently acknowledged in the west as the second “brain” and centre of immunity – and the importance of digestion. The idea is that every meal is an opportunity to fortify your body and boost energy.
My mission is to introduce ayurveda and impart a deeper understanding of its principles and styles. For example, why milk and sugar, which have become the outcasts of modern health philosophies, can be good and nourishing in their whole form when properly prepared, and why, according to ancient ayurveda, animal foods such as meat and stock have a place in our diet.
Since every person is uniquely different, as well as ever-changing, it is all about natural guidelines. These include the following:
• Fresh is best
• Don’t eat the same foods for more than two meals in a row.
• Eat in moderation.
• Say yes to real fats and natural sweeteners, according to how you feel on a daily basis.
• Respect the food, the time of day, the seasons and your digestive capability.
• Let vegetables and fruit make up 50 to 60 per cent of your daily food intake.
• You can eat all kinds of foods, but minimise those that are not helpful for your constitution – eat them once a week, for example.
• Cooked foods are easier to digest.
• Stick to warm or hot drinks and food.
Crucially, though, it’s about reconnecting to your own intuition at your own pace. Deciding what works for you is just one of the joys of this philosophy.
Pink pepper lamb hotpot with sautéed red cabbage and mint
Inspired by Lancashire hotpot, this recipe renders a medley of ingredients, including tougher cuts of meat, into a melt-in-the-mouth, easy-to-digest dish. I’ve added pink peppercorns, which are one of my latest favourite flavours in the spice pantry. Slightly sweet and reminiscent of juniper berries, they are often paired with mild-flavoured white fish and asparagus, but here they shine with sweet squash, turnips and lamb.
Because lamb can often be quite fatty, I like to serve hotpot with a sauteed red cabbage salad, its pink colour offering a nod to the pink peppercorns that have disappeared into the layers of the hotpot. It’s also perfect with mint for freshness and a chutney or two.
500g diced lamb, mutton neck fillet or shoulder
Salt and black pepper
1½ tbsp butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
½ large butternut squash (about 600g), peeled and cut into 5mm slices 150g turnips, cut into 5mm slices 1½-2 tbsp pink peppercorns, crushed 4 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
2 bay leaves
1 large leek, sliced into 5mm rounds 500ml bouillon stock
For the red cabbage
1 tbsp ghee
1 tsp black mustard seeds
300g thinly shredded red cabbage 15-20g mint leaves, chopped
½-1 tbsp lemon juice sea salt, to taste
1 Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/gas 3. Season the meat lightly.
2 Butter a 24cm high-sided casserole dish and arrange a third of the sliced butternut squash and turnips in the bottom. Season with a little of the crushed pink peppercorns and sprinkle with thyme. Lay the meat on top and add the bay leaves, then season in the same way, followed by the leek, also seasoned with pink peppercorns and thyme.
3 Arrange the remaining slices of squash and turnips on top of the leek like overlapping fish scales, and season with salt and pink peppercorns. Pour enough stock over the top to come just up to the base of the topping (lift up a piece to check), then brush with the melted butter.
4 Cover and bake for 2 hours, then uncover and bake for another 30-40 minutes, or until the top is golden and crisp.
5 Around 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time, make the sauteed red cabbage. Heat the ghee in a large frying pan and add the mustard seeds. Saute them until they begin to pop and become fragrant. Add the red cabbage and saute for 10-15 minutes, or until just tender, adding 1-2 tbsp water if needed.
6 Toss through the other ingredients and serve immediately alongside the hotpot.
▲ East by West: Simple Recipes for Ultimate Mind-Body Balance by Jasmine Hemsley is out now, published by Bluebird (£25).