MARCUS Wareing is a serious chef. Whether you've watched him on MasterChef, Great British Menu, or in one of his three restaurants, it's a word you'd definitely use to describe him. And he wouldn't disagree.

"I am serious," says the 46-year-old father-of-four. "I'm serious because I need to take my job seriously, and because there is a lot at stake. I take everything I do seriously, but I also now enjoy a lot more and am a little more open-minded."

It's perhaps this new, (slightly) more relaxed persona that has brought about his latest release, Marcus At Home, which is fit to burst with recipes that very normal folk can try their hand at. And it's all been inspired by family cooking.

"The kids are not so young any more - they love their food and are growing up. It's really challenged me to do something I've never done before, which is focus on food at home," he said.

Fancy some relaxed, homely family food created by one of the best in the business? Tuck into these.

Pumpkin soup with maple-toasted seeds (serves eight)


1 pumpkin, preferably with blue/grey skin, 2kg approx

1 bay leaf

1 sprig of rosemary

125g butter

1tsp sea salt

250ml milk

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the maple-toasted seeds:

60g pumpkin seeds

1tbsp maple syrup

1/2tbsp olive oil, plus extra to serve

1/4tsp sea salt


Peel and quarter the pumpkin, reserving the skin and seeds. Cut the pumpkin flesh into rough 2cm chunks, and set aside.

Put the skin, seeds, trimmings, bay leaf and rosemary in a large saucepan. Cover with about 2.5 litres water, bring to the boil and simmer for one hour. Strain and reserve the stock.

While the stock is simmering, preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

To make the seeds, mix together the pumpkin seeds, maple syrup, olive oil and salt. Scatter evenly on a baking tray and bake for eight to 10 minutes, until golden. Remove and allow to cool, then roughly chop.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat, and add the pumpkin chunks and one teaspoon of salt. Cook for about five minutes, until the pumpkin starts to soften.

Pour in about half of the pumpkin stock and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, until the pumpkin is completely soft and starting to break down. Stir in the milk, remove the rosemary sprig and bay leaf.

Using a stick blender (or transfer to a food processor), blitz until completely smooth, adding more stock as required. Season to taste.

Serve the soup hot, scattered with the maple-toasted pumpkin seeds and drizzled with oil.

Braised cod with herb vinaigrette, toasted broccoli, sprouts and chestnuts (serves four)


4tbsp olive oil

4 thick skin-on cod fillets

250ml chicken or vegetable stock

1 head of broccoli, broken into florets

12 Brussels sprouts, quartered

2 garlic cloves, crushed

100g fresh or vacuum-packed chestnuts, finely chopped

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the vinaigrette:

1/4 bunch of tarragon, leaves picked and finely sliced

1/4 bunch of parsley, leaves picked and finely sliced

2tbsp capers, chopped

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

4tbsp white wine vinegar

150ml extra virgin olive oil

1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped


To make the vinaigrette, mix all the ingredients together and set aside.

Heat two tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over high heat. Season the cod well with salt and pepper and carefully place in the pan, skin-side down. Cook for a couple of minutes until the base of the cod is nicely browned, then turn over.

Pour in 200ml of stock and cover the pan loosely with foil. Reduce the heat and simmer for a maximum of five minutes, until the cod is just cooked through.

Heat the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil in a wide frying pan, over high heat until almost smoking. Add the broccoli and sprouts and fry until browned.

Pour in the remaining 50ml of stock and add the crushed garlic, then reduce the heat slightly. Cook for a few minutes until the vegetables are just tender, then stir in the chestnuts.

To serve, divide the vegetables between plates and sit the cod on top. Drizzle generously with the herbed vinaigrette and serve straight away.