Delia Smith

 14 Jul 2017  Blog

Celebrity cook Delia Smith didn't always aspire to a career in catering. After leaving school with no qualifications, she tried out several jobs including hairdressing, retail assistant and travel agent, before finally entering the restaurant business at the age of 21.

Delia has achieved book sales of more than 18 million. She champions traditional ingredients and basic cookery for everyone. When she uses products on her television shows, they can sell out in 24 hours in shops across the UK - a phenomenon marketers have called "The Delia Effect".

Early career

Her first job in the catering industry was by no means glamorous - she started out as a pot-washer at a restaurant called The Singing Chef in Paddington. She was promoted to waitress and then started assisting with the cooking.

In her spare time, she read plenty of cookery books to gain more knowledge, trying out new recipes on the family with whom she lodged. Her big break came in 1969 when she took a job as cookery correspondent for the Daily Mirror magazine, where she met her future husband, Michael Wynn-Jones, who was deputy editor. She then began writing columns in the Radio Times and the Evening Standard.

TV series

Delia's television career took off in 1973, when she began hosting Family Fare, followed by Delia Smith's Cookery Course. This ran for three series and the accompanying books sold more than two million copies.

Her book, One Is Fun, was about cooking for singletons. It was an instant hit in 1985, leading to a television series of the same name.

In 1995, she was awarded an OBE and in 1996 she invested in her other love, football, by becoming a director of her much-loved Norwich City Football Club - she remains a director of the club today.

Delia retired from TV in 2003, claiming today's viewers prefer to be entertained rather than being taught how to cook. However, she was persuaded to make a brief comeback in 2008 for her series, How To Cheat At Cooking. She also runs a website, Delia Online, where she shares hundreds of recipes.

All of Delia's recipes are based on traditional, healthy ingredients - in particular, her mouth-watering desserts are prepared using plenty of fresh fruit.

Healthy fruit

One of her favourite fruits is the versatile blueberry, which comes as no surprise since it provides a host of health benefits and is packed full of nutrients.

Blueberries are free from sodium and contain potassium, magnesium and calcium, all of which can contribute to reducing the blood pressure naturally. A 2013 study published in the British Medical Journal suggests that eating three servings per week of certain fruits, including blueberries, can also help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 7%.

Eating blueberries can help lower cholesteral, reducing the risk of heart disease. Also, the vitamin C, vitamin A and phytonutrients found in blueberries are antioxidants which help protect cells from free radical damage and inhibit tumour growth.

Blueberry recipes

Delia has created many recipes using blueberries - such as her raspberry and blueberry crumble, blueberry and pecan muffin cake, blueberry crumble fromage frais ice-cream and Delia's Dairy Cream with a compote of blueberries in marsala. All of the recipes are available on her website.

The fresher the blueberries, the better they will taste, so if you're able to grow your own, there's nothing fresher than picking them in the garden and bringing them into the kitchen to transform into a delicious dessert! The last thing you want is for birds to get to your crop before you do, which is why we recommend using Henry Cowls' fruit cages and bird netting

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