By Kylie Archer
Before I begin, let me be honest. There are two types of people in the world. Those who love Jamie Oliver and those who despise him. Personally I love him. Wholeheartedly.
However, I don’t wholeheartedly love this cookbook. I also don’t wholeheartedly love the TV show of the same name. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not falling out of love with Jamie, I just feel slightly let down by this book.
I find it difficult to read. Each recipe reads less like a recipe and more like a schedule. If you want to do only one section eg stuffed Cypriot chicken but don’t want to do the pan fried asparagus and vine tomatoes, cabbage salad, st clements drink and the vanilla icecream float then the recipe is a bit of a jigsaw. Plus it will probably still take the half hour, because it is in doing all the bits together that you produce the most exciting meal and that you economise best on time.
Some of the ingredients are difficult to source. Part of the benefit of living in the UK when we were there, was the sheer volume of supermarkets. Within 2kms of my flat in Hampstead there was a Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Sainsburys, Morrisons, Waitrose and a Budgens. So if one didn’t have the frozen mango chunks you needed for the frozen mango yoghurt….you traipsed somewhere else (quickly and on efficient public transport…but I digress). Some things like watercress are hard enough to find here, let alone prewashed and trimmed…and those frozen mango chunks? I’ve never seen them here.
I’ve made the Broccoli Orecchiette, the Mustard Chicken and also the Cauliflower Macaroni – they were yummy, they were done in 30-ish minutes and they did look just as good as Jamie’s rendition, so there isn’t any flaw in the book, or the recipes. Also there are 50 full meals in the book, so if you did one per week (except at Christmas and Easter) you’d have an interesting full meal once a week. I would have to skip the Liver and Bacon though, even when it is cooked by Jamie…
I love the concept and you can actually get the meals done in 30 minutes, but they are 30 intense, concentrated minutes. Not thirty minutes with a toddler and a newborn! If you’ve got someone to mind the kids, knock yourself out.
Having said that, there are over 5 post-it notes of recipes that I want to cook, so if anyone wants to mind my kids so I can have some time alone with Jamie…just drop me a note!
6/10 – Great idea, good solid recipes.
Buy the book here.
What do you think? Do you love or not-so-love Jamie Oliver? Do you have all his cookbooks? Do you agree with Kylie’s review? How would you rate them?
About our Kylie:
I’m a mother of two, educational designer, and self-confessed cookbookaholic. My husband had to build an ikea bookshelf just to house all of my cookbooks.
I make my own cheese, pasta, jam and icecream. I haven’t yet MamaBaked, but would love to start a group in my area. In the meantime, I’m trying to perfect some “big batch” recipes of my own and cooking vicariously through MamaBake’s Facebook page.