Today we prepared a Greek feast from this month’s book, “Jamie Does”. The starter was “Delicious Dressed Greek Greens on Toast”. The main course was “Souvlaki (Wicked Kebabs)” with Greek salad. The dessert was “Sweet and Lovely Honey and Pistachio Cake”.
Anna: I would like to point out that we chose this menu before Jamie did this exact menu on the telly. Honest.
Kirstin: The starter was very easy to prepare. And it was delicious. I would definitely make that again. The cheese and spinach was delicious.
Anna: I would make that if I had a night in on my own. The combination of pecorino and spinach… spinach is my favourite, and we had to use it because we don’t have a ready source of Greek greens in south east London. And the pecorino has that saltiness. I give it 9/10. Quick and yummy.
Kirstin: Yeah, I give it a 9. The guinea pigs and the rabbit liked the leftover spinach!
Anna: Kirstin prepared the souvlaki this morning.
Kirstin: I’m never good at marinating meat in the morning, before breakfast. It was yummy. But it wasn’t as nice as the meatball recipe. The tzatziki was easy to make, and it was sensational. Overall I give it 6/10.
Anna: I give it 5/10. It was more of a faff than the meatballs, because I had to do those peppers as well. That took about 45 minutes this afternoon, because you have to let them burn on the grill. Then clingfilm them, peel them, ripe them apart. Yes, they taste great, but it’s a faff, so it’s not a weeknight thing. Shortcut: get your marinated peppers from the supermarket.
Kirstin: The salad was good.
Anna: That was easy. It was just chip-chop. As staples go, if I was making a Greek salad I’d use that recipe. But we chopped up the feta because it looked weird as a block. It just looked unappetising. The dessert was so easy to make, it was brilliant. It’s just as he says, you bung everything in a bowl and the batter is ready in five minutes. The topping was easy, and it’s yummy, and it would feed 12 easily.
Kirstin: I was a bit worried about all those pistachio nuts on the top, to be honest, when I saw him do it on the telly, but it was so moist, and it works really well with the Greek yoghurt and the strawberries. I’d make that again. I got the feeling that the Ancient Greeks could have made that. I’d give it a 9.
Anna: I was thinking the same thing! It’s like old Jamie. Not that difficult to do, but looks good and tastes fantastic, and gives the impression that you’ve spent ages doing it. My only concern is that his recipes are so wordy now. When you are flicking pages, the impression you get it is the recipes are really long. With Nigella, she’s really wordy in the introduction part, but the recipe itself is only ever a paragraph long. Jamie’s early books weren’t so wordy. Now he’s started to write his recipes the way he talks on the TV. There’s no clear markers for the different parts of the recipe — the souvlaki, the tzatziki and the peppers. If I go off and do something else in the mean time, like sunbathe as I did today, then I have to study the recipe again to find where I was. But the end product is brilliant.
Kirstin: It wouldn’t be difficult for him to write tzatziki in bold.
Anna: Instead, it’s “while your lovely peppers are grilling on the doo-dah, you go and get your doo-dahs”. But writing as if he’s doing it on a Greek beach, or something.
Tom: I liked it, but I preferred the Bill Granger starter from the other day. What was that?
Anna: That was crostini was ricotta with salsa verde. Why did you prefer it?
Tom: It was stronger, more direct. I agree that the meatballs the other night were better than the souvlaki. The cake was great, though.
Verdict: Would we make it again? Greens on toast: Yes! Souvlaki: stick with the meatballs. Greek salad: Yes. Honey cake: Absolutely!