>> Former England rugby player and now analyst for Sky Sports and Telegraph columnist Will Greenwood, 41, says even Heston Blumenthal couldn't persuade him to take up cooking!
The idyllic image of a large family gathering around a table for dinner is something Will admits has only happened with his wife's influence. "Caro is the one who cooks, shops and encourages us all to eat together," he explains. "For me, coming from Blackburn, and having been a professional sportsman, eating has always been about a means to an end."
At Sedbergh School, Cumbria, where Will boarded between 1985 and 1991, and where he cut his teeth as a rugby player, he says: "Food was about fuelling up, about the break-time fight for the toaster. I do remember the lively banter when we'd all sit down together at lunchtimes though - it was good for coming together, which we do as a family now."
Will was one of three and has three children of his own, but his role as family chef has been limited to barbecues "because they're about meat; rugby is a protein based sport. Healthy eating is essential in professional sport but as far as cooking goes, I've cooked three meals in 41 years."
And these three meals were the same dish - battered chicken breasts, which he cooked for Caro. "I thought it was time to cook for her because I was fed up of being abused as a bad husband! Until then, I'd only ever cooked bacon and eggs, but only for mates. I'm trying and learning, but I'm failing miserably! I went skiing with Heston Blumenthal recently and we talked about cooking but even he couldn't inspire me!"
Will felt he had to cook for his wife at some point, though. He opted for this Jamie Oliver recipe because, as he explains: "It was the first one that I saw when I opened the book and it looked fairly simple. I followed it to the letter and served it with a salad of leaves, pomegranate seeds, a lovely dressing, mangos, Greek yoghurt and lime coulis. This was a tip from a friend though. I'm never going to be creative in the kitchen and I cooked this three times because my wife liked it so much. I was on to a winner so stuck with it."
You can see Will in August at Sport Fest 2014, a family camping weekend with the opportunity to train with and watch sporting legends, attend health sessions and benefit from other entertainment - www.sport-fest.co.uk
Breaded chicken breast
>> Serves 4-8 (depending how much chicken you like)
"I love fish and as soon as Andrew Parker, our head chef at George's (who previously worked under Michael Wignall who has the 2 Michelin starred Latymer in Surrey), put this on the Autumn/Winter menu I tried it and fell in love with it. It's a light, healthy dish too and I like the way it's wrapped in cabbage and the chickpeas and the mustard sauce go perfectly with the cod. It's a classy, tasty dish which I'll be having all year round!"
- 4 chicken breasts (slice horizontally into 2 slices)
- 2 beaten eggs (season with salt and pepper)
- Approximately 1 cup of flour
For the breadcrumbmix:
- 2 cups of fine breadcrumbs
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- A little olive oil for frying
- Dip the chicken breasts into the flour,making sure the chicken is completely coated. Shake off any excess flour.
- Dip chicken into the beaten eggs then into the breadcrumb mixture. Gently pat the breadcrumbs onto the chicken to help it stick.
- Pop them in the fridge for about 30mins
- Fry in a little olive oil, over a medium heat, till golden and crispy. Serve, with a mixed salad and garlic salad dressing.