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.
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!
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 Vine Tomatoes & Baked Ricotta
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.**
Oh, if you missed the first episode of Jamie’s Super Food, here’s the Channel 4 link (UK only, sorry). And to find out more about supporting Jamie’s action for a tax on sugary drinks in the UK, here’s more info and link to the petition.