Feeding the soul

Lucy Lord advocates real food, cooked simply and well and enjoyed mindfully. Photos: supplied
Lucy Lord advocates real food, cooked simply and well and enjoyed mindfully. Photos: supplied
If it makes you happy, you should eat it. Lucy Lord’s food philosophy is that simple.

She is known for her healthy recipes packed with fresh ingredients and flavour, yet accessible for the average office worker or busy family.

Lord describes herself as a self-taught home cook who could not scramble much together aside from an omelette until well into her 20s.

She knows it’s never too late to start and is now a proponent of real food, cooked simply and well and enjoyed mindfully.

Lord does not believe in labels for food, such as good or bad or clean or any ways people restrict their diet.

In her latest book Cook for the Soul she builds on the foundations of her first cook book Food for the Soul, a best seller, by keeping recipes simple and approachable.

"More than just the food we eat, I want to help improve our whole experience of food, from buying to how best we store it, cooking it, sitting down and enjoying it and making the most of leftovers."

She includes guides on what to have in the pantry, how to organise the kitchen to make the most of the space, and handy utensils.

"Our environment is everything. These tips have helped me keep a smooth running kitchen, no matter how big or small."

She is another cook who is a proponent of batch cooking so there is always a dish on hand on those busy days when the last thing people feel like doing is cooking.

The book

Extracted from Cook for the Soul by Lucy Lord (HarperCollins, RRP $37.99). Photography by Martin Poole.

Sticky toffee pudding with hot toffee sauce

My all-time favourite dessert has to be sticky toffee pudding. If it’s on the menu, I’ll always make room. A soft, lightly spiced sponge studded with dates and enough warm toffee sauce to sink a ship. Rich and indulgent, it’s just the ultimate comfort food.

Serves 12

Time to make 1hour, 10min

180g dates, pitted and roughly chopped

160ml boiling water

220g self-raising flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp baking powder

80g unsalted butter, softened

160g soft dark brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 Tbsp black treacle

2 large eggs

100ml whole milk

Good-quality vanilla or toffee ice cream, to serve

For the toffee sauce

120g unsalted butter

240g light brown sugar

200ml double cream

1 Tbsp black treacle

Pinch of salt



1. First, put the dates in a large bowl and cover with the boiling water. Leave for 30 minutes to soften. Use the back of a fork to mash together roughly.

2. Preheat the oven to 200degC/180degC fan and grease and line a 20cm ovenproof dish with butter.

3. Sift the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder together into a large bowl. Set aside.

4. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the vanilla and treacle and beat again to mix. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating between.

5. Add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and gently fold until just combined, being careful not to overmix. Add the milk and mashed date mixture, gradually, stirring until everything is mixed in; it will be a thin mixture but this is what were looking for!

6. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.

7. For the sauce, add all the ingredients to a large saucepan over a medium heat until melted together. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for a few minutes, stirring often, until thickened.

8. Remove the baked sticky toffee pudding and leave to cool slightly, then use a skewer to prick holes all over the sponge and pour over most of the toffee sauce, keeping some in a jug for people to help themselves to.


Store the sponge in an airtight container for up to 5 days; keep the sauce separate. Freeze the sponge, wrapped in cling film then foil, for up to 3 months. Defrost before using. Add 120g roughly chopped pecans. For a boozy twist, add up to 60ml of brandy or rum to the toffee sauce.

Overnight French toast tray

Thank your past self the morning after the night before with this sweet and special brunch dish. Prepare it in advance, allowing the bread to soak up all of the sweet milk and then bake. Serve piled high with seasonal fruits and lashings of maple syrup. Of course, this can be made and baked in one go, but there’s something so relaxing about opening the fridge in the morning and having this ready to go with minimal work needed. Baked in one tray, there’s minimal washing up too. Place in the middle of the table and watch it disappear.

Serves 4-6


60g butter, plus extra for greasing

100g soft light brown sugar

4 Tbsp maple syrup

225ml milk

4 large eggs

1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste (or use vanilla extract)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

8 slices of bread, halved diagonally

40g demerara sugar

To serve

Strawberries or other berries

Maple syrup

Mint leaves

Icing sugar


1. Grease a 23cm×33cm baking tin with butter.

2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low heat.

Add the light brown sugar and maple syrup and gently stir until the sugar has dissolved. Pour this into the prepared baking tin.

3. Whisk the milk, eggs, vanilla and cinnamon together in a shallow bowl. Fully submerge each triangle of bread into this milky mixture, then arrange in the baking tin, allowing the slices to slightly overlap if necessary. Pour any of the remaining milky mixture over the top. Wrap the tin in foil and refrigerate overnight (or let it soak at room temperature for at least 30 minutes).

4. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 210degC/190degC fan and remove the French toast tray from the fridge. Before it goes in the oven, peel back the foil and sprinkle the top with the demerara sugar. Recover with the foil and bake for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 10-15 minutes until the bread is toasted and golden and there is no more liquid in the tin.

5. Remove from the oven and leave to slightly cool before serving. Serve warm, topped with berries, maple syrup, mint leaves and a dusting of icing sugar.



Use any thick sliced bread. I prefer white sourdough or brioche, or use gluten-free bread. Use any milk alternatives. Try scattering over chopped nuts before baking. Or dot with 170g cream cheese.

Guinness chocolate brownies with Baileys buttercream frosting

With a malty sweetness and deep, luxurious colour, Guinness (much like coffee) is the perfect addition to the rich and slightly bitter simmered down to a reduction that locks in all of the flavour notes and baked in with the brownie batter. The baked brownie is topped with a delicious, velvety buttercream with the boozy tang of Baileys. This is for my Irish friends who treat me like family.

Makes 16

Time to make 1 hour

440ml Guinness

180g unsalted butter

210g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)

120g plain flour

1 tsp salt

240g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or use vanilla extract)

3 large eggs

For the Baileys buttercream

160g unsalted butter

420g icing sugar

Pinch of salt

½ tsp vanilla bean paste (or use vanilla extract)

120ml Baileys



1. Pour the Guinness into a saucepan, place over a medium heat and simmer for 20 minutes until reduced by three-quarters. Pour into a heatproof bowl and set aside. Preheat the oven to 200degC/180degC fan and grease and line a 20cm square baking tin with baking paper.

2. Using the same saucepan, gently melt the butter and dark chocolate together over a low heat, stirring to mix.

Remove from the heat when they are almost melted as they will continue to melt together off the heat.

3. Mix the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Add the vanilla, then mix in the eggs, one at a time, to combine.

Pour in the melted butter and chocolate, with the reduced Guinness, folding together until just mixed.

5. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes it’s OK if the middle is still jiggly as the brownies will continue to cook out of the oven. Cool completely.

6. For the buttercream, use a hand-held electric whisk to beat the butter for a few minutes until light and fluffy.

Add the icing sugar, a little at a time, and whisk on a medium-high until all the sugar has been added.

Add the salt and vanilla, then gradually add the Baileys until the consistency is soft but stable, like toothpaste.

Spoon or pipe on to the cooled brownies. Best served chilled, so keep in the fridge and remove 30 minutes before serving.


If you don’t want to use Guinness, swap with 120ml freshly brewed coffee. Store for up to 3 days in the fridge. Unfrosted brownies can be frozen after baking, Wrap tightly in cling film and freeze for up to 3 months.

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