Kitchen spy: Hemsley + Hemsley

Melissa and Jasmine Hemsley share a bowl of lamb and carrot meatballs with salad.
Melissa and Jasmine Hemsley share a bowl of lamb and carrot meatballs with salad. 

These two sisters are home cooks, their fun approach to clean living attracting hordes of fans first in Britain, and now, worldwide. They're grain-, refined-sugar- and gluten-free but embrace dairy, fat, chocolate and booze. Because they lack technical training and are hellishly busy with catering, cafe, publishing and private cooking commitments, their recipes are ridiculously easy and usually fast. This is their London studio kitchen based on all their favourite design features and many of their own props. Their second cookbook, Good and Simple, was released in Australia in March and their first television show, Healthy and Delicious, is screening on Foxtel.

The staples

My pantry 

Coconut oil is for nearly everything from stir-frying to baking to smoothies, and it has a natural sweetness which is great if you're trying to cut out sugar. We use olive oil for Italian recipes though and always use proper sea salt like Maldon for the minerals and complexity it gives to dishes. Mung beans are the most underrated pulse – nutritious, cheap as chips, can make anything go further and are more digestible than chickpeas.

My fridge

Eggs, lemon, butter, ginger, bone broth and loads of greens are all essential in both our kitchens.

I'm cooking

Last dinner at home

Courgette lasagne.  It's just cooked cannellini beans whizzed up with sun-dried tomatoes for the red sauce. The "bechamel" is ricotta, parmesan and an egg. And you just layer it all up with thin slices of courgette and bake it.

Secret vice

We don't have any! We drink wine and cocktails, we eat brownies and chocolate, fried chicken and curries. Our big thing is "no diet, no guilt".


I'm drinking

Jasmine: I love chicory. It has no caffeine, is deliciously bitter but not as bitter as coffee so it doesn't need sweetening and I just have it black. We like low-sulphur wines because you don't get a headache afterwards.

Melissa: We both love tea. I always make a huge batch of lemongrass or mint tea and chill some of it and drink it all day instead of water. And we start the day with bone broth because it's delicious, cheap and full of nutrition.

Saturday night tipple: We love a cocktail with vodka, coconut water, lavender and frozen blueberries as the ice cubes.

My toolkit

A spiraliser  for "courgetti" or other vegetable pasta substitutes, a box grater for cauliflower rice or quick grated carrot salads or frittata, a Vitamix for smoothies and soups and a cast-iron slow cooker from Netherton Foundry for stews and curries.

My inspiration 

We find it travelling and from our followers on social media. Childhood food memories are important too but we're always looking for ways to Hemsley-fy things – pack more vegetables in, make recipes better for you.

Kitchen highlight

Jasmine: I love my '60s burnt-orange kitchen units that I got from eBay. 

Melissa: I've got a very small kitchen but a lovely big window overlooking all my neighbours' gardens (sadly not one of my own!). I love the window sill space where I keep huge random jars and vases and Turkish souk bowls that I stack full of limes, lemons,  chillis and ripening avocados, tomatoes and fruit.


Jasmine: I love those Turkish red pepper flakes, they're really pretty with great colour but not too hot. As soon as you put on a drizzle of olive oil and a flourish of those the plate just comes alive.

Melissa: Moreton Bay bugs. We just tried them here in Australia recently and they were sweet and lovely.

Most memorable meal

Melissa: It was my 30th birthday feast in Istanbul recently. We ate at a favourite of the locals with a heaving table of dips, yoghurts, herb salads, grilled meats, whole baked fish, stuffed peppers and tomatoes, roasted aubergines and lots of those glorious pickled  chillis and onions. I love big flavours. I also discovered Turkish wine is delicious!

Jasmine: My first ever seafood platter in Paris 16 years ago with friends I still think about all the time.