Foodie Tales: Stylist-Turned-Chef Kitty Coles
  • HOME

Foodie Tales: Stylist-Turned-Chef Kitty Coles

The eco-minded chef shares her favourite low-waste chicken recipe

Kitty Coles, the food stylist-turned-chef, is on a mission to use up leftovers 

Q&A with Kitty Coles

What’s your food philosophy? 

You don’t need expensive ingredients to make something delicious. Simple, seasonal ingredients are the main things that make it possible for me to write recipes that are basic but big on flavour. 

What was the first dish you learnt to cook? 

Shortbread. My parents owned a restaurant called Coles for 25 years and I started to make it with my mum – who made all the desserts there – when I was about ten. 

What’s your favourite in-season ingredient? 

Leeks. They are my forever favourite – and they’re so infinite in ways to cook them. Recently I’ve been lightly poaching them, before shredding them and tossing them with a vinaigrette. Sweet soft leeks with a sharp dressing. A perfect side. 

Your go-to throw-it-together dinner? 

Scraps pasta. Or my green sauce with pasta or beans [both featured in Make More With Less].

What’s in your fridge right now? 

Too many jars. Chicken stock, roast chicken. And a lot of herbs. It’s always such a mish mash from testing and photo shoots – that’s the reason I’m so passionate about leftovers. 

What restaurant should everyone should try before they die? 

Contramar in Mexico City (or the French House upstairs in Soho if you can’t get a ticket to Mexico). 

Which cookbook do you refer to the most? 

I live and breathe cookbooks as a food stylist and recipe developer… but ironically I rarely cook from them. But I’d say Ixta Belfrage’s Mezcla was the most delicious book I’ve worked on. She’s amazing at flavour. 

What’s one amazing way of using up leftovers you’d recommend to our readers? 

Blitz up old bread and fry in butter with sesame seeds and sugar! Sprinkle over ice-cream and thank me later.

Recipe: Leftover Chicken Tacos

Leftover chicken tacos

Ingredients:

Serves 4

  • 1⁄2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1⁄2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp chipotle paste
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 350g leftover roast chicken
  • 100ml water
  • Sea salt 

To serve:

  • 1 onion
  • 1⁄4 cabbage, thinly shredded
  • 4 limes (juice 2)
  • 8 medium tortillas
  • A few tbsps of pickled jalapeños or 2 fresh, sliced

Method:

  1. Toast the coriander and cumin seeds in a dry frying pan until fragrant, then pour into a pestle and mortar and coarsely grind. Add the chipotle paste and a glug of vegetable oil and mix. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or casserole dish over a medium heat. 
  2. Add the onions with a pinch of salt and gently fry for 20 minutes, adding more oil if you need to until the onions are really soft and slightly caramelised. Put some time into cooking the onions as this is such an essential part of the dish. The more love you give the onions, the better it will taste. Stir in the garlic and fry for a further 2–3 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken and chipotle mixture and continue to fry for a minute before adding the water. Allow to bubble and thicken up for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat. Peel the onion and then use a vegetable peeler to peel the flesh from the root end, creating very thin layers of onion (yes, I saw this on Instagram like the rest of us and love it – no need for a scary mandoline!).
  4. Place the onions in a bowl with the cabbage, add the lime juice and a pinch of salt, then scrunch everything together with your hands. Warm the tortillas in a hot, dry pan or directly over a gas flame for a few seconds on each side, then stack on a plate. Serve the chicken and cabbage salad with the tortillas and jalapeños, allowing everyone to help themselves.

Make More With Less is out 4 April (Hardie Grant, £22)