This post is in support of the Waitrose #AutumnWarmers campaign. Details below.
Have you ever had an idea that pesters you until you make it a reality? You go about your daily tasks, head down in work, or beetling about ferrying kids hither and yonder, but still the thought doesn’t leave you. It drifts into your mind as you fall into a deep slumber. And then you wake to it, this chirpy, invisible bird sitting on your shoulder. Such ideas are not infrequent with me. Not always good ideas, I should add (the less said about my “brilliant” idea for a gridded floor with interchangeable floor tiles the better). Unsurprisingly they are mostly concerning food and, as I am that old, experience lets me know whether they are worth pursuing.
But I really wasn’t sure about this one. I’m not indulging in false modesty either. I genuinely wasn’t sure. Continue Reading
I am a lucky bunny, I am. Everyday I get to not only do what I truly love, but sometimes others want to pay me for it, or give me stuff. ;-)
Being a food blogger I am frequently offered products for review. As I am more about the recipes, I tend to turn down most of what comes into my inbox. Sometimes I have to laugh – as with one of today’s messages: would I like to review a butcher’s pack of meat? (??!!) Or, recently, would I not absolutely jump at the chance of ploughing my way through a giant box of chocolates? Actually “yes” to the latter but a) it doesn’t fit with my blog, b) it takes me two weeks to eat a modest bar of chocolate… Continue Reading
One of the things I love most about autumn is the fact that I can legitimately enjoy soup. Of course, one can enjoy soup at any time, but as I hail from a hot climate the idea of soup in the summer jars. Badly. To me it feels like wearing a wool coat and Uggs to the pool. Just wrong.
For work, I make soup pretty much year-round (Scots expect it, as it is quite cool year-round, save that one Tuesday in July that catches you out). Sometimes gazpacho or this beetroot, fennel and cumin soup, or a kind of soup stew hybrid that doesn’t mind being served at room temperature. Even if the thermometer barely troubles the high-teens Celsius, I would never think of ordering soup at a cafe until sometime deep into September. Not until the nighttime temperatures plunge and the daytime is hallmarked by a golden light not seen since last year will I even contemplate something to be supped with a spoon.
I am willing to bet that you haven’t had a lasagne like this. Open lasagne, yes, perhaps. One made with lacy-edged chickpea pancakes (farinata/socca), cut into strips? Probably not.
This unusual take on an Italian classic was inspired by gazing lustfully and hungrily at an image of Donna Hay’s courgette and ricotta summer lasagne, as published in a recent Times Saturday supplement magazine. Although I have yet to make any of her recipes I do enjoy riffling through the soothingly photographed, stylish images by Australia’s food-styling doyenne – whether in her eponymous magazine, or in The Times.
Donna’s recipe called for bought lasagne, bought pesto, and was somewhat of an assembly-job – which is often attractive on a weekday. Who doesn’t need and deserve a little convenience now and again?
I had just that day been experimenting with socca recipes for a client and, in a lightbulb moment, I just thought, this will work. Not quite running to the kitchen, I did jot down notes and let it stew in my head overnight. In the morning I set about gathering the vegetables from the garden and mixing my batter. Before I knew it what you see on this page took shape. Continue Reading
I am a bit behind this week in my posting. This should have appeared yesterday but I had an unexpected – and very happy – experience on Wednesday that has thrown me off course a bit. You will hear/read much more about it later in the year but, in case you didn’t catch my Instagram or Facebook posts, I spent three hours in the company of one of the world’s most famous chefs, Jamie Oliver.
For his upcoming third series of Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast with his mate, farmer Jimmy Doherty (Jimmy’s Farm), Jamie has deliberately eschewed the formal media and got some of us food bloggers and vloggers onside, to not only participate in the show, but also to get the word out about it. I will leave the rest for another post (with exclusive Jamie recipes!), but meantime here is a link to Jamie’s Facebook page, with a short, cheeky, behind-the-scenes video about the filming day. You can just see me in a “blink and you will miss it” shot at about the one-minute mark.
The three hours filming will be cut to fit into a much broader show on Scottish langoustines. But even if I end up on the cutting room floor, it was an unforgettable experience – but more about that later. I hope you are intrigued!Continue Reading
Growing up in Florida there wasn’t much opportunity for blackberry picking – too warm you see. Even in cooler Tennessee, where I was born and where my grandparents lived, I never managed to head up to the tree-covered hills just over the road – hills no doubt smothered with wild berries and mushrooms during the late summer and early fall.
Bears. Or rather, tales of bears put paid to intrepid trips with baskets and thick cotton gloves.
We did however have natural, free-ranging adventures during our extended summer visits. On my grandparent’s sprawling farm ran a pebble-studded creek (like a wide burn, if you are Scottish and reading this). At the time it was thrilling to explore, but thinking about it now I realise how uniquely blessed my sister and I were to be able to tramp nearly half a mile though high grass, around the fishing pond, skirt the well house, through a herd of cows, say hello to the bull in his field, and clamber down a steep, red clay bank to jump into freezing cold clear water. Would that happen today? I don’t think so. Continue Reading
The arrival of a new Jamie Oliver cookbook on the bookshop shelves (or in Amazon, if you must) is always cause for excitement. Usually its supporting TV show (this time, the 6-part Jamie’s Super Food, on Channel 4) has us all clamouring for pasta (Jamie’s Italy), grits and collard greens (Jamie’s America), or ready-cooked chickens (Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals). But this time, the man who slid down his banister and into our hearts back in 1999, is back with a book with a difference. The difference being an epiphany of sorts. And a newly slim-line physique.
As he approached 40, Jamie seems to have been evaluating his work-life balance and his health, including the big issue of sleep – or lack of it. Seeking advice and help from real nutrition experts (as opposed to self/media-appointed gurus and skinny models), Jamie has used the information he gleaned from dieticians, doctors, professors, nutritionists and researchers, as well as from the Diploma course he is doing in Nutrition (how cool is that?) to produce a truly stunning book. A book that is still trademark Jamie – colour, big flavours, relative ease and accessibility – but with added vegetables, and less salt, sugar and fat. All of his previous books are, for the most part, good examples of their genre. But this one will probably find the most widespread praise and interest. He has caught the zeitgeist of healthy eating, but in his own full-throttle way.
Divided very simply into Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks/Drinks, this omnivore but veggie-centric book also ends with a well-researched and accessibly written section titled Live Well. This brief but important closer covers everything from portion sizes, sleep, celebrating good carbs (yes!) and snapshots of what he learned from visiting people and places with the longest, healthiest lives. It’s perhaps too basic for some, but is a good starting point for many people who only bought the book because it is by Jamie.
There are some things I don’t completely agree with – the emphasis on dairy (dieticians love dairy); the Balanced Plate makeup (I advocate a less-fussy and more veggie 1/2 plate veggies, 1/4 lean protein, 1/4 starchy whole carbs + fruits). But I had a smile on my face as I read this section, knowing that Jamie has the power to change things for the better. He did so with school meals, he is hopefully doing so with sugar. As Jamie says in the book, “you can really make positive, sustainable change just by doing the odd thing differently, building on small new habits.” You can if Jamie helps make those around you want to do so too. Changing the eating landscape would be quite a feat.
While he hasn’t quite given up the banister-sliding, scooter-driving personality, Jamie has certainly grown up in this health and nutrition focused book.
image courtesy of Penguin
Contents Summary: as above, very simple.
Who Is This For?: Jamie fans; those wanting accessible, healthy, unique recipes with an emphasis on flavour and variety; omnivores and part-time veggies (or veggies who don’t mind meat in their books); calorie-counters as there is a brief nutritional analysis with each recipe. He also makes sure that Breakfasts are under 400 calories, Lunch/Dinner under 600 and Snacks under 100.
Who Is This Not For?: restaurant-difficult recipes (i.e. show-off stuff); vegans and firm vegetarians (there is a fish head or two involved here); those wanting detailed nutrition and health information. But this is a primarily a recipe book after all.
Fun Fact 1: Jamie did most of the photography himself, with the influence of his old mate, David Loftus, in evidence. Crisp, bright and lush images. Damn his talent!
Fun Fact 2: this book contains 97 vegetarian recipes and 39 vegan recipes.
Stand-out Recipes: most appeal, but these four particularly stand-out to me.
Squash Dahl Special Fried Eggs – he makes the squash dahl into a freeform pancake on which to lay a beautifully runny egg. The best image in the book, imo.
Indian Roast Cauliflower, Pineapple, Chilli Coronation Dressing – roasted cauliflower has become almost cliche but Jamie blindsides us with inclusion of half a pineapple alongside that roasting cauli, and blows us away with a kicking mango chutney sauce (the Coronation part)
Roasted Squash Laksa Bake with Chicken, Lemongrass, Peanuts and Rice – the amount of chicken (two thighs) is really almost a seasoning. This looks like it could easily be vegan just by excluding the chicken and maybe adding some edamame beans.
And, I have made the Berry Pocket Eggy Bread, which was mighty delicious and very clever, but too ugly to snap! Plus it didn’t last long enough to snap. ;-)
Jamie is always good on Italian flavours, so when Penguin asked me to review the book, I thought I would choose this simple but quite stunning dish to try.
Spelt spaghetti has an incredible nutty taste and is a great alternative to regular spaghetti as it’s high in wheat bran fibre, or beta-glucans, which help keep our cholesterol levels in check
½ a bunch of fresh thyme (15g)
4 cloves of garlic
½–1 fresh red chilli
500g ripe mixed-colour cherry tomatoes, on the vine
250g best-quality ricotta cheese
320g dried spelt spaghetti
4 handfuls of rocket
optional: balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Pour 3 tablespoons of oil into a small bowl. Run the bunch of thyme under a hot tap for 3 seconds to reawaken it, then shake dry and strip the leaves into the oil. Peel the garlic, then finely slice it with the chilli and add to the bowl. Finely grate in the lemon zest, add a pinch of sea salt and black pepper and mix together. Lay the cherry tomatoes in a 30cm x 40cm baking tray. Rub the flavoured oil all over the ricotta and place in the centre of the tray, then gently rub the remaining oil over the tomatoes. Add a splash of water to the tray, place in the oven and roast for 45 minutes, then remove. With 10 minutes to go, cook the spaghetti in a pan of boiling salted water according to the packet instructions.
Lift the ricotta out of the tray, then shake the tomatoes off the vines, discarding the stalks. Add half a mug of pasta water to the tray and gently shake to loosen all the sticky goodness from the base. Drain the spaghetti and toss straight into the tray with a squeeze of lemon juice, season to perfection, then break that beautiful ricotta over the top. Sprinkle over the rocket, toss together well, then serve. My missus likes this with a little drizzle of balsamic, too.
Everyday Super Food by Jamie Oliver is published by Penguin Random House
ⓒ Jamie Oliver Enterprises Limited (2015 Everyday Super Food) Photographer: Jamie Oliver
>>Find out more about Jamie Oliver (and other brilliant chefs) on The Happy Foodie.<<
****GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED****
I’m really happy to say that I have 4 copies of Jamie’s Everyday Super Food cookbooks to give away, courtesy of Penguin Random House.
Terms and Conditions: This giveaway is open to any reader of Kellie’s Food To Glow. Entrants must be age 18 or over. The winner will need to respond within 7 days of being contacted; failure to do this may result in another winner being selected.
The prize is offered and provided by Penguin Random House. The prize is to win a copy of Jamie’s Everyday Super Food, RRP £26. There is no cash alternative and the prize is not transferable. Please note that all measurements in this edition are metric.
There is no entry fee and no purchase is necessary to enter this giveaway. The promoter (Kellie’s Food To Glow) reserves the right to cancel or amend the giveaway and these terms and conditions without notice.
Entry into our giveaways will be deemed as acceptance of these terms and conditions.
The four winners will be drawn using a random number generator 0n Friday, 18 September at 12 noon GMT. Multiple comments will not be counted.
To Enter: It couldn’t be easier (no Rafflecopter! No Gleam!), just please leave a comment below (nothing rude!).
**Thanks so much to Penguin for inviting me to review this book, and to allow me to print this recipe and images for readers of Kellie’s Food To Glow. Although I was asked to review Jamie’s Everyday Super Food, I was not asked to write a positive review. As always, all opinions are completely my own.**
Like us humans, plants long for light and warmth. In the depths of winter, both us and plants tend to hibernate – them waiting for the first pale, watery sunlight to unfurl tightly-knotted shoots; us hunkered down and longing to shed heavy jackets and wooly layers.
Spring brings treasures of delicate flavours, blossoms and colours – curls of pea shoots, tufts of radishes leaves, those anticipated first spears of asparagus. Come summer it is a free for all of texture, rapidly expanding leaves and roots, and bright vivid swathes of colour. Continue Reading
Poor old cucumber. Not a serious contender nutritionally (all that water you see), an afterthought for the salad bowl, grudgingly eaten as batons and dipped into no-fat dip as a dieter’s punishment. In other words, a bit low on the food totem pole.
But it has been getting a bit more love recently. Not big love, like freekeh, or dirty burgers or courgetti. But big enough if you are a cucumber. You may have even been indulging in a bit of cucumber appreciation yourself if you are a water drinker like I am, and trying to keep it interesting. Hm, now there’s an adjective usually never associated with cucumbers. Continue Reading
I can’t believe it is almost the end of August. I’m not ready to let it go.
One of the reasons is that here in Scotland we are experiencing a late burst of summer, after a rather underwhelming (okay, quite miserable) July and early August. Out of necessity I have shed my jeans and sweaters for shorts and flip flops, and my consumption of fruit and salads is at an all-year high. Nights – still long so far north – are newly sultry and uncomfortable; cooking at the hob is minimal. This may not sound a big deal to many of you, but here in Scotland such moments are rare enough to be of note. Continue Reading