Meet Hemsley + Hemsley, the It-Brits Making Healthy Cooking Easy

Hemlsey Hemsley Good Simple

Clarkson Potter

Long before bone broth and ghee were trending, sisters Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley were evangelizing such healthy, wholesome ingredients through their London-based food consultancy service, Hemsley + Hemsley. Fast forward six years, and the Vogue-approved private chefs (who pen a column for the UK edition’s site) have become just as popular as the nutritious items they cook with.

The duo first shot to prominence in 2014 with the release of their first cookbook, The Art of Eating Well, which championed nourishing food and natural fats as diet staples throughout its 150 grain-, gluten-, and refined-sugar-free recipes. Its best-selling success led to the release of the duo’s Hemsley Spiralizer, cooking and consulting for a roster of undisclosed A-listers, and catering high-fashion events for Louis Vuitton, Vivienne Westwood, and Chanel.

But the Hemsleys show no signs of stopping as their second cookbook, Good + Simple, makes its US debut today. “It’s all about making eating well accessible, affordable, enjoyable, and simple to incorporate into your daily life,” says Melissa. “All of our recipes reflect this—it’s good, tasty, and nutritious food that’s hassle-free and simple to make, whether you’re an absolute novice in the kitchen or a professional chef.”

We caught up with the pair to chat about the book launch and their first-ever café at Selfridges in London and even got them to share a couple of “good and simple” recipes for you to try at home for yourself.

StyleCaster: You’ve grown up eating healthily, but have your fans commented on how your recipes have changed their lives?
Jasmine Hemsley: All the time—that has to be one of the biggest highlights of our jobs. We’ve heard so many—often very personal—stories from our readers of how our food philosophy has completely changed their way of eating for the better, and how it’s had a really positive effect on their own relationships with food in general. They’re thrilled to find themselves feeling happier, healthier, more energized, and so grateful to have found a way of cooking really good, nourishing, and delicious food at home with minimum fuss.
Melissa Hemsley: Not only that, but our recipes have converted even those that don’t like “healthy” food or don’t think they need it, because when food is this delicious and good for you, it’s a no-brainer. We have delicious dessert and sweet recipes that are free from refined sugar—like our Cannellini Vanilla Sponge Cake with Chocolate Avo Frosting or Tahini Date Fridge Fudge—which will satisfy even the biggest sweet tooth.

Melissa Jasmine Hemsley

Clarkson Potter

How important is social media to you and your business?
Melissa: Oh, it’s so important—wherever we go, our laptops and phones go with us! We share recipes, tips, and tricks for eating well; important news; and photos of our cooking, great new restaurants, meals, and places that we’ve discovered on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube. It’s brilliant because we get direct feedback from our readers, and we can respond directly to them every day. Social media is also often the inspiration for new recipes, as people frequently ask us to reinvent their favorite dishes with a healthy Hemsley twist or come up with a new meal featuring a particular ingredient that they love.

Tell us a bit about your new café at Selfridges in London.
Jasmine: Hemsley + Hemsley at Selfridges opened in April in the brand-new Body Studio in Selfridges, London. It’s our first-ever café and we’re ridiculously excited about it! Our menu shows off old and new favorite dishes from both our cookbooks, as well as brand-new, exclusive recipes that we’ve created especially for the café.

What should we be paying attention to food-wise this year?
Jasmine: Slow cookers. It might not sound like the most exciting trend, but trust us, it’s life-changing! The slow-food trend extends right to the way it’s cooked, and this simple piece of equipment does that hard work for you—tenderizing even the toughest cuts of meat until they melt in the mouth, melding the flavors slowly, trapping the flavor of herbs and spices. And it never fails; it’ll make a great meal every time—even if it’s the lousiest cook making it! It’s a low-energy appliance and makes for very economical cooking that will impress any guest that comes to dinner. We have lots of slow-cooker recipes in Good + Simple. Some of our faves include a Slow-Cooked ‘No Fry’ Chicken Curry and Slow-Cooked Smoky Apple Pulled Pork; we make them for friends all the time and everyone assumes you’ve been working hard in the kitchen for hours to prepare it.
Melissa: As well as that, one of our favorites for this year is Cauliflower Rice. We introduced it in our first book, The Art of Eating Well, and now in Good + Simple we have recipes for making it three totally different ways, and they’re all as simple and delicious as each other. Our Egg-Fried Cauli Rice, in particular, is a great one to whip up when you’re feeling peckish late at night! It’s so versatile and a brilliant, simple way to swap refined white rice for more nutrient-dense vegetables. Even people who don’t usually like cauliflower have fallen in love with it, and it’s one of the quickest dishes you can make. We actually demoed it recently, cooking all three versions in just five minutes to a very enthusiastic audience who cheered us all the way.

Ready to start cooking healthy? Here are two of the sisters’ favorite recipes from their new book.

Huevos Rancheros

Clarkson Potter

Huevos Rancheros (serves 2)

Ingredients

4 large handfuls of spinach, roughly chopped
4 eggs, medium
1 large handful of fresh coriander, leaves and stalks, roughly chopped
1 small handful of grated mature Cheddar

For the Tomato Sauce

1 large onion, diced
1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil
2 garlic cloves, diced
2 red peppers, halved lengthways, de-seeded and sliced into strips
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
A pinch of cayenne pepper or finely diced fresh red chili, to taste
2 x 400g tins of tomatoes or 800g fresh tomatoes (1lb 12oz)
200ml water/scant 1 cup (100ml if using fresh tomatoes)
Sea salt and black pepper

For the Guacamole

1 large ripe avocado
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of ½–1 lime
2 spring onions or 1 small handful of fresh chives, chopped
1 handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped.

Instructions

1. First make the tomato sauce. Fry the onion in the ghee or coconut oil over a medium for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened.

2. Add the garlic, peppers, bay leaves and spices to the pan and cook for another 2 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes and water, season generously with salt and pepper, then stir everything together and leave to simmer for 10 minutes until reduced to a thick, rich sauce.

4. Meanwhile, make the guacamole. Halve and stone the avocado, then scoop out the flesh and roughly chop. Place in a bowl and stir in all the remaining ingredients and seasoning. Set aside.

5. Check the seasoning of the tomato sauce, adding extra salt, pepper and cayenne/chili as needed, then stir through the spinach and cook for a few minutes until just wilted.

6. Use a spatula or a spoon to make four wells in the tomato sauce mixture and crack an egg into each. The eggs will poach in the sauce and cook in about 4 minutes (lid on) for set whites and runny yolks.

7. Scatter over the coriander and cheese. Serve immediately (as the eggs will keep cooking) with big heaped spoonfuls of guac on top.

Green Goddess Noodle Salad

Clarkson Potter

Green Goddess Noodle Salad (Serves 4)

Ingredients

300g buckwheat (soba) noodles (10.5 oz.)
1 tbsp EVOO
300g broccoli florets or purple-sprouting broccoli, asparagus or green beans (10.5 oz.)
1 medium green cabbage or bok choy leaves finely shredded
1 medium fennel bulb, finely sliced
1 cucumber, halved lengthways, seeds scooped out and flesh chopped
4 spring onions, finely sliced
1 large ripe avocado, sliced
2 handfuls of fresh green (such as watercress, baby spinach, sliced lettuce or leftover cooked kale)
1 small handful of nuts (such as cashew nuts, peanuts or almonds) or seeds (such as sesame, sunflower or poppy seeds), preferably ‘crispy activated’
4 large handfuls of fresh herbs (such as coriander, mint or basil, or a mixture) roughly chopped

For the Dressing

Grated zest and juice of 2 limes or 1 lemon
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
5 tbsp EVOO
1 garlic clove, grated
4cm piece of fresh root ginger (unpeeled if organic), finely grated
2 tsp tamari
A pinch of cayenne pepper or chili flakes (optional)
Sea salt and black pepper

Instructions

1. Cook the buckwheat noodles in a large pan of boiling water according to the packet instructions (about 7 minutes). Use two forks to tease the noodles apart during the first minute of cooking.

2. When they are tender, drain and rinse under cold water for 15 seconds. Drain again and then toss in the EVOO in a large serving bowl to stop the noodles sticking together. Set aside.

3. Using the same pan, after a quick rinse, steam the broccoli (or other vegetable), covered with a lid, in 4 tbsp. of boiling water for 4 minutes until tender.

4. Whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a bowl or shake in a jar with the lid on. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then drain.

5. Add the raw veg. spring onions and avocado to the noodles with the greens and steamed broccoli. Pour over the dressing and mix everything together. Top with the nuts or seeds, toasted in a dry pan for a minute if you like, and the fresh herbs.

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