College meals weren’t nice, to say the least. My recollections of liver at Crompton Home College [in Oldham] have been so unhealthy – it was like cardboard. It wasn’t till I used to be about 21 and doing Nearer on Broadway that I used to be launched to calf’s liver, superbly cooked at Joe Allen’s.

Rising up, my brother Michael and I all the time had a wholesome, balanced food regimen. We weren’t allowed sugary cereals or fizzy drinks – breakfast was porridge or Weetabix. Dad does a lot of the cooking nowadays however as my dad and mom have been each academics – he taught French whereas my mom taken care of children with particular wants – they each had the identical work schedules in order that they shared it. However Dad is a greater prepare dinner than my mum. Though Mum’s good too.

My food regimen as a toddler consisted of quite a lot of fish. Daddy is a eager fisherman, so we have been fortunate sufficient to have contemporary sea trout or salmon each week.

Each Friday we have been allowed to have ten sweets, the ‘tenpenny mix-up’, as an alternative of pudding. I cherished the white chocolate mice and the fizzy cola bottles. Though I don’t actually have a candy tooth, my mum does essentially the most glorious trifle with peach jelly, mandarins and home made custard. I nonetheless make it to at the present time.

Anna’s household would make quite a lot of Irish stews however she wouldn’t eat the greens

We had dinner collectively at residence each night time. That was crucial. We’d get residence, do our homework then all sit all the way down to eat. We had quite a lot of Irish stew, however I used to be a really fussy eater and wouldn’t eat many greens. For a complete 12 months, I’d solely eat mushrooms and Marmite. That was it! I’m unsure how I survived.

Yearly, we travelled to Brittany in northwest France for a month. I bear in mind consuming frogs’ legs for the primary time aged 4, however I refused to strive the snails. I used to be very spoilt by the crusty baguettes and heat croissants, as a result of once I got here again to England they by no means fairly tasted the identical.

If it have been all the way down to me, I’d have home made meals on daily basis of the week. However my job means I’ve to outlive on on-set meals quite a bit so it’s all the time a luxurious to get residence, prepare dinner and know precisely what’s going into my dishes.

My first port of name, although, once I’m simply again from a protracted time working within the US, is The Two Brewers, an old school pub on the entrance to the Lengthy Stroll in Windsor Nice Park. America doesn’t have a pub tradition and, if I can’t face cooking myself, it does a terrific roast dinner.

‘My first port of name once I’m again in Windsor is the Two Brewers Pub’

There’s an enormous distinction between meals on a small British manufacturing and a lavish American one. For the latter it’s like having a tuck store. If guests got here to see me, they couldn’t imagine that there was a lot selection. On some units, there are open grills the place you get swordfish and fillet steak. As opposed to some curled-up sandwiches and a packet of biscuits on the British one.

Joe Allen’s was my go-to in New York. I adore it. Once I was doing Nearer, Dame Judi Dench was on Broadway on the identical time and was very form and supportive. On a couple of events, she saved me a seat at her and Dame Maggie Smith’s desk. I preferred the late-night eating expertise after the present – one thing I found in America.

I bear in mind my brother coming to the set once I was doing Pushing Daisies. ‘I don’t understand how you’re doing 16 hours on a food regimen like this,’ he mentioned, and he created a wholesome shake for me. It has every part from kefir and frozen berries to walnuts, matcha powder and fish oil. Maybe he added that final ingredient realizing I used to be lacking my dad’s fish. I nonetheless have it each single morning. As a result of if you happen to’re in a make-up chair you’ll be able to’t actually eat, and you find yourself skipping meals, then you definitely’re ravenous at seven or eight at night time and eat the improper issues.

My consuming habits have modified vastly as I’ve bought older. I used to be a kind of annoying individuals who may eat no matter I needed and my weight would by no means change. However as I hit 40, the hormones kicked in. So now I eat very healthily.

I’ve an Aga at residence in Windsor, which I completely love. It makes life a lot simpler – simply chuck a stew within the oven, go for a stroll, come again and it’s all executed. Individuals suppose you’re a significantly better prepare dinner than you really are. They’re nice for roasts too.

I like tomatoes however I hate tomato ketchup. I additionally hate brussels sprouts. I believe it’s as a result of they have been all the time overcooked as a toddler and that scent put me off.

Once we return residence to my dad and mom in Rochdale, they all the time prepare dinner for us. My dad does ‘Granddad’ burgers for Gracie – my daughter, who’s 16 – and he makes the most effective cranberry sauce. Each Christmas, he makes her a load that can final for the 12 months. She has it with every part.

I all the time journey with Fortnum & Mason teabags and Marmite.

My final meal could be my Nana’s roast. She’s a terrific prepare dinner. Final Christmas, I requested her to write down all her recipes down. She’s 96 years previous and I needed to have the ability to prepare dinner her ginger biscuits, shortbread biscuits, treacle toffee and all the remainder. She makes the most effective gravy on the earth. And regardless of how exhausting I strive, it by no means fairly tastes like hers.

Charming The Hearts of Males is on Sky Cinema Premiere now. Monarch will probably be on our screens later this 12 months

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