Easy dinner recipes for the whole family

Easy dinner recipes for the whole family

l don’t know anyone who doesn’t love this – indulgent love on a plate,” write Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Richard Jones in their new book, Love. Food. Family.

If you have a lot of mouths to feed at dinner, you can’t go wrong with this hearty mac and cheese.

Mac and cheese with crispy sage bread crumb topping

Serves: 8


150 g salted butter

5 cloves garlic, finely chopped

6 tbsp flour

1½ tbsp English mustard powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

6 bay leaves

2L semi-skimmed milk

600 g dried macaroni

300 g cheddar cheese, grated

100 g Parmesan cheese, grated

200 g panko breadcrumbs

15 sage leaves

150 g ball of mozzarella

Olive oil, to drizzle

Salt and black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 200C (425F), gas mark 7. Place butter and garlic in a large saucepan and melt over medium heat, then add flour and stir until incorporated. Add mustard powder, paprika and bay leaves, reduce heat and cook, stirring constantly, for five minutes.

2. Gradually add the milk while whisking to avoid lumps. Bring the sauce to a boil and let it simmer over low heat, making sure to stir it often.

3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for six minutes.

4. Remove the bay leaves from the sauce, drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Remove from heat, stir well and add two-thirds of the grated cheeses. Season well with salt and pepper.

5. Pour the mixture into a 30 × 20 cm baking dish, sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and place the sage leaves on top. Spread the rest of the grated cheese on top and tear the mozzarella on top. Drizzle with olive oil.

6. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and crispy.

Cod and chorizo ​​stew

Quick to make but full of flavor

(Issy Croker)

“We love this stew. It’s quick to make, but full of flavor (and tastes even better as leftovers the next day),” write Ellis-Bextor and Jones.

Here’s how to make it for your clan.

Serves: 4


2 tbsp olive oil

200 g cooking chorizo, cut into bite-sized chunks

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 red bell peppers, deseeded and finely chopped

1 tsp coriander seed

1 tsp fennel seed

400 ml red wine

1 tbsp tomato puree

2 x 400 g cans of diced tomatoes

½ tsp dried chili flakes

200 grams couscous

1 vegetable stock cube

300 ml boiling water

400 g cod fillets

½ bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves

1 lemon, cut into wedges

Salt and black pepper


1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and toss in the chorizo. Saute for a few minutes or until it starts to release a little of its oil, then add the onion and garlic and cook for a further five minutes.

2. Add the celery and bell pepper, along with the coriander and fennel seeds and cook for a further five minutes. Pour in the wine and let it evaporate a little, then add the tomato paste, sliced ​​tomatoes and dried chilli flakes and season with salt and pepper.

3. Meanwhile, bring the kettle to the boil. Place the couscous in a medium mixing bowl. Place the stock cube in a measuring cup and pour the measured boiling water over it and stir well. Pour 200 ml of the stock over the couscous and cover or place a lid on it. Let it steam for five to eight minutes.

4. Pour the remaining stock into the tomato pan and bring to the boil. Carefully place the cod fillets in the sauce so that they are mostly covered, then put a lid on the pan and simmer for five minutes.

5. Stir the couscous with a fork. When the fish is nice and flaky, serve the stew with a pinch of parsley leaves, lemon wedges and some fluffy couscous on the side.

Our wedding tiramisu

The perfect romantic dessert

(Issy Croker)

Ellis-Bextor and Jones got married in Italy — and they think 90 percent of the decision to get married there was based on Italian food.

“Tiramisu is our kind of pudding,” they write in their cookbook, Love. Food. Family. “Sweet but not too sweet, creamy but not too creamy and light enough to have seconds. Please.”

Serves: 8


2 free-range eggs, separated

100 g caster sugar

450 grams mascarpone cheese

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

150 ml whipped cream

A splash of fresh lemon juice

300 ml freshly brewed coffee (warm, not hot)

100 ml dessert wine

200 g Savoiardi biscuits or lady fingers

50 g hazelnut chocolate, finely grated

Cocoa nibs (optional)


1. Separate the whites and yolks into two large mixing bowls.

2. Add half the sugar to the egg yolks and beat until smooth and slightly paler. Add the mascarpone and vanilla pods and beat until smooth. Pour in the cream and continue beating until fully incorporated.

3. Squeeze a little lemon juice into the egg whites and beat until you have soft peaks. You can do this by hand or use an electric whisk. Fold the egg whites into the mascarpone mixture and mix until well incorporated.

4. Pour the hot coffee into a shallow dish, along with the dessert wine and remaining sugar. Place two dollops of the mascarpone mixture in a 25 × 15 cm dish and swirl it around to coat the bottom of the dish.

5. Soak a few ladyfingers in the coffee mixture for 10 seconds, or until slightly soft but not falling apart. Place the soaked fingers on the mascarpone layer and continue this soaking and layering process until all the ingredients are used up and finish with a layer of the mascarpone mixture.

6. Finish with the grated hazelnut chocolate and cocoa nibs. Place in the fridge for an hour before serving. You can also make this ahead of time and keep it in the fridge overnight.

‘Love. Food. Family: Recipes From The Kitchen Disco’ by Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Richard Jones (published by Hamlyn, £20; food photography by Issy Croker).