Georgina Campbell's Cookery Feature - No-Cook Cooking!

The No-Cook Cookbook (Quercus Books, €24.99/£20.00; also available in Kindle, £13.99; Foreword by Donal Skehan).Following on the success of her first book, No-Bake Baking, it was only a matter of time before the impossibly talented and retro-stylish Sharon Hearne-Smith topped it with an even better one, and the time has come - enter The No-Cook Cookbook (Quercus Books, €24.99/£20.00; also available in Kindle, £13.99; Foreword by Donal Skehan).

In lesser hands this is exactly the kind of book that many of us would be wary of, given all the short cuts and pre-prepared ingredients that go with the territory. But Sharon - who is a member of the Irish Food Writers’ Guild and lives in Dublin with her husband and their little girls, Pearl and Poppy - has nearly two decades of experience of ghost writing, recipe testing and food styling for high-profile cookbooks, food magazines and TV cookery programmes.

And that knowledge and experience shows, in gimmick-free recipes based on wholesome fresh ingredients that she somehow transforms into beautiful, nutritious and noticeably healthy dishes.

The short cuts taken often involve substituting high calorie conventional ingredients with fresh, low calorie and often gluten-free alternatives - the ribbons of courgette that are used instead of pasta in the ravioli dish below, for example.

Sharon Hearne Smith

There are 100 recipe in the book, and the range of dishes is wide, covering all meals (even entertaining) and everything from snacks and (very pretty) canapés, to soups, cheats’ pizza, easy sushi and ceviche, and variations on many other familiar dishes. The salads are especially appealing, as might be expected, and the vegetarian dishes are a real strength.

Sharon’s No-Cook Pantry guide gives handy checklists that will make life a lot easier, also suggestions for Useful Kit (notably several types of blender, and mandolin/slicers) and No-Cook Menu Ideas for everything from picnics to garden parties and even Christmas classics (yes, seriously).

Surprisingly, perhaps, not all dishes are cold - kitchen allies like boiling water and hot stock play their part in this but it’s an ideal book for summer (keeping the kitchen cool is one of the advantages cited). Many of the recipes are ideal for picnics - and also for packed lunches, which will come in very handy for family members heading off to school or work.

Fun and practical, no-cook cooking could become a hobby with Sharon Hearne-Smith at your side.




Combining beef and blueberries in a salad might sound unusual, but they make a surprisingly happy couple. The vinegar in the dressing cuts through the sweetness of the fruit, while the distinctive taste of feta pulls everything together. Try to source good-quality beef slices that are nice and pink - the meat in the photo is spiced beef. Speaking of happy couples, this is a great starter for a romantic meal or dinner party - just increase the quantities if you've got guests. If not eating straight away, keep the dressing separate until ready to serve.


125g blueberries
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 x 215g can chickpeas
75g mixed salad leaves
Small handful of fresh
mint leaves 25g roasted hazelnuts,
roughly chopped 125g cooked beef slices l00g feta cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Place half the blueberries in a mini-blender with the oil, redcurrant jelly and vinegar. Blitz until as smooth as possible. Season to taste.

Drain and rinse the chickpeas and place them in a large bowl with the remaining blueberries, the salad leaves, mint and hazelnuts. Chop or tear the beef into bite-sized pieces if necessary and add to the bowl. Give everything a good toss.

Divide between serving plates or bowls and crumble the feta cheese on top. Drizzle with the dressing and serve immediately.


RICOTTA & ALMOND COURGETTE RAVIOLI with crushed tomato sauce

RICOTTA & ALMOND COURGETTE RAVIOLI with crushed tomato sauce

Because this easy no-cook version of ravioli is made from courgettes, it is gluten-free as well as very low-carb. Yellow courgettes are ideal if you want your ravioli to resemble the real thing, but regular green courgettes work perfectly well. It is important to make the courgette strips as thin as possible so that they stay in shape when folded. You can use ground almonds in the filling if you prefer, but it really is worth going to the effort of blitzing toasted flaked almonds for the extra flavour they bring to the dish.


2 large courgettes, preferably yellow
25ml extra virgin olive oil
l00g toasted flaked almonds
250g ricotta
50g vegetarian cheese, finely grated
Small handful of fresh basil leaves, finely sliced
75g wild rocket
Sea salt and finely ground black pepper


3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 shallot, peeled
1 garlic clove, peeled
300g vine-ripened cherry tomatoes, quartered
Large handful of fresh basil leaves, finely sliced

Mandolin (or vegetable peeler)
Potato masher

Slice the courgettes into long thin ribbons using a mandolin or vegetable peeler. You need 40 strips in total, at least 12.5cm long. Any trimmings can be used in a stir-fry, soup or salad. Toss the ribbons in a bowl with the oil until evenly coated, and set aside to soften while you prepare everything else.

For the salsa, place the oil and vinegar in a medium bowl. Finely chop the shallot and garlic, add to the bowl and whisk everything together. Season to taste, then toss the cherry tomatoes through. Using a potato masher, roughly mash them up a little so the juices squish out, making a sauce but leaving lots of texture.Finally, stir in the basil. Set aside while you prepare the filling.

Blitz 75g of the flaked almonds in a mini-blender to give fine crumbs. Tip into a medium bowl and add the ricotta, hard cheese and basil. Stir together well and season to taste. This can be made up to two days ahead.

Lay two pieces of courgette criss-crossed over each other on a clean board. Spoon a tablespoon (about 15g) of the ricotta mixture in the centre. Wrap the two ends of the bottom piece of courgette over the filling, followed by the other two ends to enclose. Turn the parcel over so it is seam-side down.

Repeat to make 20 in total, arranging 5 on each serving plate as you go. If making in advance, place them on a large tray lined with nonstick baking paper. These can be made up to two days ahead.

When ready to serve, spoon the tomato salsa over the 'ravioli'. Pile some rocket leaves on top, scatter with the remaining toasted flaked almonds and finish with a twist of pepper.


MEAT 'LOAF' with olive salsa

MEAT 'LOAF' with olive salsa

This is based on a New Orleans classic, the muffuletta, which is a sandwich traditionally filled with layers of deli meats, salami and cheese. This version is the ultimate meat feast, perfect for a picnic sandwich or a hearty work lunch. Use any cooked cold meats or salami that you like or have left over in the fridge.


1 round, white bread loaf (about 500g, 8cm high and 18cm in diameter) 150g each of cooked beef, ham and turkey slices
150g pastrami
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


75g pitted black olives
75g pitted green olives
50g sun-dried tomatoes (from a jar)
50ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
50g cornichons, chopped
1 large garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped
Small handful of fresh basil


4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ tsp clear honey, (optional)
75g mixed salad leaves
12 cornichons, to serve

Food processor
Small tray/wooden board
About 4 full cans of food to act as weights

To make the salsa, place the olives, sun-dried tomatoes, oil and vinegar in a food processor. Add the cornichons, garlic and basil leaves. Give everything a quick blitz so it is roughly chopped. Season to taste (the olives will probably make it salty enough). This can be made up to one week in advance and kept covered in the fridge.

Carefully slice the top off the loaf of bread (about a 2cm-thick piece). Pull the bread out from inside the loaf and the lid, leaving walls about lem thick. [The discarded bread can be used for breadcrumbs (recipes in the book give suggested uses), or saved for the ducks!]

Spread two thirds of the olive salsa all around the inside and the underside of the lid.

Trim any fat or sinew from the meat slices. Arrange half of the beef slices all along the bottom of the loaf, followed by half of the ham, turkey and pastrami. Spread the remaining salsa out evenly on top and then repeat the layers, this time working backwards with the pastrami first, turkey, ham and beef.

Pop the lid back on and wrap it really tightly with cling film. Chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight, with something heavy on top like a small tray or wooden board with some food cans on top as weights.

When ready to serve, remove the cling film, cut into four wedges and arrange on serving plates.

Put the olive oil, lemon juice and mustard for the dressing in a small screw-top jar. Secure the lid and shake vigorously. Season to taste and add the honey for a little sweetness, if you like. 

Arrange the salad leaves beside the meat loaf, drizzle with the dressing, add a twist of pepper and serve with a few cornichons.


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