Carolyn Robb was Personal Chef to TRH Prince and Princess of Wales, Prince William and Prince Harry for ten years. When it came to refined taste in the culinary realm, she took it to a whole ‘royal’ level! Carolyn “always enjoyed packing up picnics. Whilst sometimes they were as simple as a sandwich and a piece of cake packed in a shoulder bag, they were often more substantial.” And building on that, she created a Royal-themed picnic, with simple and practical recipes from her recently launched cookbook, The Royal Touch: Simply Stunning Home Cooking From A Royal Chef.
After her term as the Personal Chef to HRH Prince Charles, Carolyn spent two years in Dubai, where she was also a culinary consultant to a number of premium hotels, a food critic and host of a culinary based radio show. “One of the aspects of Dubai that I most enjoyed,” she tells us, “was the truly cosmopolitan society and the availability of almost any cuisine that you could wish to eat…” So, when it comes to refined Middle Eastern taste, Carolyn knows about that too. Taking a look at the Royal picnic recipes, we realized several would make a fine addition to an Iftar menu, so, how about having a meal with a royal touch? Here a few ideas, but make sure to get your hands on The Royal Touch cookbook soon (more details at the end of this article, with a special surprise for your readers).
Curried Chicken Salad With Fresh Mango & Toasted Cashews: ‘Coronation chicken’ was originally created to celebrate HM The Queen’s coronation in 1953. This recipe is Carolyn’s interpretation of the dish, with chicken, bell peppers, a tangy sweet dressing and a while lot of yummy ingredients.
Asparagus, Swiss Chard & Goats Cheese Tart: A must in the starters department, this tart is accompanied by a simple salad and minted new potatoes. To make it simpler to prepare, the filling can be made up according to taste and with ingredients you have on-hand.
Soda Bread: May we say, if this loaf tastes as good as it looks, we’re in for a treat! Carolyn made her soda bread almost every day when she was the royal chef. Very quick and simple to prepare, it is best eaten freshly baked, but tastes equally good the next day.
Lime, Raspberry & White Chocolate Drizzle Cake: How good do aromatic limes with tangy raspberries and sweet velvety white chocolate sound?! A good idea for suhoor. Serve it with a dollop of thick cream or Greek yoghurt, and possibly replace raspberries by blueberries or blackberries, according to your berry preference.
We asked Carolyn if she thinks some of her recipes will be appreciated by food lovers in the Middle East: “I think that universally, food lovers are up for trying new things, so even in less cosmopolitan parts of the Middle East, I hope that the pictures in the book will tempt readers to try the recipes.”
And about coming up with or having cooked a Middle Eastern recipe or dish for members of the Royal family (we like us some inside information from time to time!), she says: “Whilst I didn’t cook up an entire Middle Eastern meal, I did incorporate some popular local ingredients regularly into my food. Dates and pomegranates were a favourite to include in cakes and desserts. I created many variations of Baklava and also Manakeesh style bread. I loved using Zataar (thyme) with warm bread and with simple fish and chicken dishes. Halloumi cheese was another favourite,” admitting with a joking tone that although the cheese originated in Cyprus, it seems to have crept into many Middle eastern dishes. To our delight, we might add!
A special gesture from the publishers to the Ping community: 35% off the list price of Carolyn’s new cookbook The Royal Touch. Go to www.antique-acc.com, create a log in account and insert the promo code: ROYAL to avail the discount.