Lorraine Pascale is a bit of a Marmite character. People either think she swans around looking pretty, making overly simple food (that as a former model she probably doesn’t eat), or that she’s an inventive yet practical cook who just happens to look as good as her dishes.
I oscillate between the two camps. Some of the recipes in her latest offering, Lorraine’s Fast, Fresh and Easy Food (BBC2, 8.30pm, 20 August) were not my cup of tea. The butternut squash and sweet potato lasagne, for one, involved a rather too innovative take on béchamel sauce (though you can’t deny substituting it with ricotta cheese is a shortcut). And the milk chocolate element of the chocolate mousse with raspberries made it look rather the wrong shade of brown, if you know what I mean.
But for all the superfluous shots of Pascale wandering around in fab outfits (and they were fab, sigh), I think she does exactly what she says on the tin: make fast, fresh and easy food that the average (aka lazy) cook will not only want to eat, but will easily be able to cook.
Yes, ‘cook’ is sometimes bit of a misnomer. Take the chocolate lollipops, made by crushing “chocolate biscuits” (clearly Oreos), adding chocolate spread (or should that be a particular brand of hazelnut spread?) and dipping the frozen mixture into melted chocolate and nuts or sprinkles. But you wouldn’t say no, would you? And some of the recipes that did require cooking looked even more delicious, like the tangy sweet and sour pork balls with peanut rice. On balance, then, more style AND substance than style over substance.