OPEN A Love Of Eating, the debut cookbook from bespoke caterers and food columnists, Tart London - aka Lucy Carr-Ellison and Jemima Jones - and you'll feel like you've been tipped directly into summer.

There's a charred mackerel salad with broad beans, chicken burgers layered with pickled cucumber, and a spicy chilled avocado soup that all scream dinner outside.

"It's quite easy, comfort food," says Jones, 30. "It's the kind of food Lucy and I make when we get in from a very long day."

It's also all rather pretty. "Whatever your budget, you can always make your dishes beautiful," notes Carr-Ellison, 31. "It's just taking that one second, finishing it with a herb or chopped chilli. I think that's achievable."

The pair became friends while both living in New York in their early-20s. "I felt like I was the only one who cooked - I'd try and force my American friends into having dinner parties," Carr-Ellison remembers. "I would lay the table as you would here and have people round, and suddenly they'd be putting on the TV and watching the Super Bowl. I was like, 'They just don't get it'."

Fortunately, Jones did - and they eventually teamed up to launch Tart, a bespoke catering company, largely feeding crews on fashion and photography shoots, a world they were already familiar with (Carr-Ellison as a photographer, Jones as a model and assistant). The brand name was a result of walking onto shoots carrying crisply baked tarts: "It'd be, 'Here come the kitchen tarts', so Tarts stuck," says Carr-Ellison.

They've since catered for some pretty famous names, from Kate Moss and Stella McCartney, to Penelope Cruz ("I've got the biggest girl crush on her," says Jones. "Giving her breakfast, I was just speechless. She asked me a question and I blushed a whole new colour of red!") and Robbie Williams ("I was in such awe, and so proud because he had seconds of my chicken dish," remembers Carr-Ellison).

Fashion and food aren't entities you'd automatically assume were a natural fit though, but Carr-Ellison is firm: "Everybody has to eat. We came into it just at the time when the idea of just drinking champagne and having a lettuce leaf was changing. People wanted to look good and feel good, and they needed energy throughout the day."

Jones adds: "Food was always quite a depressing thing on shoots... It would either be a takeaway from around the corner, a cold sandwich, or these industrial pans of overcooked pasta bakes and salads that had been dressed five hours before, they were so limp."

Tart offered a no-brainer alternative. The duo would arrange a pop-up kitchen, plug in their induction hobs and cook on the spot, whether that was in horse boxes without reliable electricity, or watching fashion photographer Tim Walker (who got them their first catering gig and has written the forward to the cookbook) shoot surreal scenes. "Whatever stresses there were during the day, you were giving people happiness - it was really exciting but utterly exhausting," Carr-Ellison remembers.

They admit - as neither of them are professionally-trained chefs - that there was a lot of learning on the job, including Googling Jamie Oliver recipes if someone requested something they didn't know how to make. "You're always learning," says Carr-Ellison. "Still, if I ever have a question, I call my mum."

Their mums, they say, are their earliest inspirations - swiftly followed by the likes of chefs Skye Gyngell and Lucy Boyd of Petersham Nurseries fame, and food writer Diana Henry.

"My mum's an amazing cook; I spent my childhood sitting on a counter top watching her," says Jones, who, from a young age, knew how to make a mayonnaise or a bechamel sauce, and recalls tucking into "lots of griddled fennel salads, [and dishes with] lots of olive oil and chopped parsley over them - it was yummy".

Carr-Ellison grew up in Northumberland ("I feel like we just got tahini two years ago"), where English fare was very much on the menu: "The fish man still comes on a Thursday morning, we have amazing smoke houses and are just by Lindisfarne, which has wonderful oysters. Other than that, it was really good Sunday lunches and toad-in-the-hole."

The girls' current focus, aside from A Love Of Eating, is their soon-to-be launched London restaurant ("Right now, it's pretty hectic," explains Jones), but their favourite thing to do is just discuss food between themselves.

"The only thing we talk about, from the beginning of the day to the end, is food," says Carr-Ellison.

"That extra little crunch you got on top of a ceviche..." picks up Jones wistfully. "It's like, 'Oh my god, I went to this last night and tried this, with this pickled rhubarb...'," continues Carr-Ellison. "It's so bizarre that it never gets boring."

They certainly make a change from beef burgers.

"This burger feels fresh and different - and it's on the healthy side, as far as burgers go," say Lucy Carr-Ellison and Jemima Jones, of food company Tart London. "You could make it even lighter by ditching the bun, keeping the onions raw and enjoying it as a salad - perfect in the summer straight off the barbecue.

"We do love the whole fun of a burger, though, using your hands to eat and generally making a bit of a mess! We like to mince our own meat, as it has a better texture and flavour. Do try to get hold of the chipotle in adobo sauce, too; it really takes the burger to a whole new level. You can buy it from big supermarkets or online."

Here are two of their favourite recipes to try at home...


(Makes about 10)

700g chicken (minced or not; use a mixture of breast and thigh)

10 spring onions, finely chopped

4tbsp finely grated Parmesan

75g peeled and grated fresh ginger

4 cloves garlic, crushed

Large bunch of coriander, stalks and leaves chopped

1.5tbsp rice wine vinegar

3tbsp toasted sesame oil

1.5tbsp soy sauce

2 limes, zest and juice

groundnut oil (or other flavourless oil), for frying

For the pickled cucumbers:

2tbsp rice wine vinegar

1tsp caster sugar

1/2 cucumber

1tsp toasted sesame seeds

1 red chilli, sliced

For the maple-chipotle mayonnaise:

6tbsp mayonnaise

5 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (or 1tsp smoked paprika and 1tsp harissa)

1 lime, zest and juice

1tsp maple syrup

Salt and pepper

To serve:

Burger buns (we like to toast them a little)

2 Little Gem lettuces, leaves separated

2 plum tomatoes, cut into 1cm slices

2 red onions, sliced into thin half-moons and fried until crisp


1. First make the pickled cucumber. Mix the vinegar and the sugar together until it dissolves. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the cucumber lengthways, working all the way round but stopping when you get to the seeds. Pour the vinegar mixture over the cucumber strips and toss; set aside. When you are ready to serve, lightly toast the sesame seeds and scatter over the cucumber along with the chilli.

2. Make the mayo: put the mayonnaise in a blender with the chipotle peppers, lime zest and juice and maple syrup and season.

3. If you are using minced chicken then simply place in a bowl. If not, roughly chop up your chicken meat, removing any gristle, and pop into a food possessor. Pulse until it is just minced - you do not want to form a paste. Add the rest of the burger ingredients to the minced chicken, season with salt and pepper and combine. Using your hands, shape into about 10 burgers and place on a plate, then flatten slightly with your hand (you don't want them too thick as they must cook fully all the way through, unlike traditional beef burgers).

4. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the chicken burgers and cook, in batches, for four minutes each side - they should be well seared. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper (we would always check one by cutting in half to make sure they are fully cooked - do not serve pink).

5. Serve in toasted buns with lettuce, tomatoes, crispy onions, a generous dollop of the smoky mayo and the pickled cucumber on the side.


Give cheesecake a break in favour of this decadent tart.

"This is one of our best desserts - it might even be Jemima's favourite," say foodie duo, Lucy Carr-Ellison and Jemima Jones of Tart London. "It is exactly what you want in a dessert, with a crunchy nutty base, luxurious creamy centre and a tart lift from the raspberry.

"White chocolate and cardamom are a match made in heaven, we are always pairing them - try making white chocolate and cardamom ice cream, it's divine."

(Serves 12)

200g pecans

200g hazelnuts

175g unsalted butter, melted

2 pinches of sea salt

250g mascarpone

100ml double cream

300g good-quality white chocolate

1tsp vanilla extract

1tsp ground cardamom

250g raspberries


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Spread both the pecans and hazelnuts out on a baking tray and roast for about 15 minutes until nicely golden. Remove and set aside to cool.

2. Place half the nuts in a food possessor and blitz to a fine powder, then put into a bowl. Blitz the rest of the nuts to a rough crumb, then mix with the powdered nuts. Add the melted butter and a pinch of sea salt and stir to combine. Tip the mixture into a 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin and press firmly up the sides and into the bottom of the tin. You want the base to be crunchy and quite thin, rather than a thick crust. Chill in the fridge while you get on with the filling.

3. Put the mascarpone, double cream, white chocolate, vanilla and cardamom into a pan and warm over a low heat, stirring all the time to let the chocolate melt, then add a pinch of salt and remove from the heat.

4. Pour the chocolate mixture into the base. Return to the fridge and leave to set for about one hour.

5. Put the raspberries into a sieve suspended over a bowl. Use a spoon to press the raspberries through the sieve, leaving the seeds behind in the sieve. Once done, take the nearly-set tart out of the fridge and use a teaspoon to dot blobs of the raspberry puree over the tart. Turn the teaspoon over and drag the dots a little to create a pretty, swirled effect. Return to the fridge for another two hours to set completely.

n A Love Of Eating: Recipes From Tart London by Lucy Carr-Ellison and Jemima Jones, photography by Laura Edwards, is published by Square Peg, priced £25. Available now