The Knackered Chef talks everything Herne Hill.

I’m ferociously passionate about certain subjects and community is without doubt a subject close to my heart. I’m a real believer in people, in fact there's nothing better after a hard day to grab a pint and to sit outside the Commercial opposite Herne Hill train station just watching people as they branch off to their respective homes after a hard day at work. I like to guess what people do for a living, only a stone’s throw away from the center of the Universe and a great connector for Surrey, Herne hill really is the place to be. Like an army of worker ants they hurry from the arch of the station, some happy, some sad, you can see the stress on some, and relief that the day is finally over on others, if you’re lucky you can spot some interesting faces, all going home to be with their families or loved ones and some even alone.

 Home is where the heart is, and great food is the center of it, every evening for me is a joyous occasion. I have owned and run three restaurants as well as being involved in several food and drink ventures over a career spanning twenty five years. An old hand you would say, long and punishing hours, relentless pressure with a million and one things that could go wrong at any given time. Finally free from the ties of that lifestyle I have moved to the Herne hill area and now work at my own pace with food and drink still very near to my heart. The odd pop up here and there and I teach children how to cook among my many interests and commitments. I have the pleasure of cooking for my family every night and what an honor it is to sit at the table with them and enjoy a well cooked meal. It’s important for families to sit together laugh and talk, children enjoy and parents get frustrated when they won’t eat peas, we as a generation work long hours and although rewarding we sometimes can isolate our children without knowing. I didn’t see my oldest for almost five years and the time I did get I was either asleep or grumpy because I was too tired to play or sit and listen to him read.

Now I permanently have an eight year old stuck to one leg and my three year old to the other, I’m still very grumpy but in a nice way and I have one leg bigger than the other,  my children have their dad back, family means a lot to me.

Halloween is a lovely family celebration children dress up and so do us adults what better way to use that old pumpkin than to make pumpkin bread we had endless fun making it this year and it’s slightly different to making pumpkin soup all the time.

I’ll be on my travels next week talking to local business’s asking them about life in Herne Hill and what it means to them and some of their favorite foods with another recipe for your autumn cook book.


Makes: 2 loaves

  • 425g pumpkin puree

  • 4 eggs

  • 250ml vegetable oil

  • 150ml water

  • 600g caster sugar

  • 450g plain flour

  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

    Pumpkin Puree                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Cut your pumpkin into small cubes and place them in a pan add quarter cup of water cook on a medium heat for about 15/20 minutes stirring occasionally (have a glass of wine whilst waiting) blend to puree and pass through a sieve.

Prep:15min  ›  Cook:50min  ›  Ready in:1hr5min 

Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Grease and flour two 20x10cm loaf tins

 In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.

Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared tins.

Pop it into the oven haveanother glass of wine.