“Jamie does…” — our verdict


So, it’s the end of May and it’s time, glass of wine in hand, to give our verdict on this month’s cookbook, “Jamie does…”.

Anna: I think that if I hadn’t been doing this project, I probably wouldn’t have cooked anything from it by now. So I’m glad we did, because I’ve got some recipes I’ll do again. But the recipes are just too wordy on the page, so it’s kind of a flick-through book, look at the pictures, look at the titles, then see the page is too dense with words and conclude: that’s too much bother. But actually the kefta can be done on a Wednesday night. Case in point: tomorrow lunchtime I have a bag of spinach that needs eating, some pecorino, and Peter has got me a lovely loaf of sourdough from St John. So I’m going to make the lovely Greek greens for lunch, the starter we had. And I’d never have thought of doing that. The layout makes the recipes look complicated, and it makes them look as though they’ll take a long time to make. They’re very verbose, because he’s writing the way he talks. It’s great when you’re watching him on telly, but not in a book.

Tom: He is, of course, simply dictating the book rather than writing it, rather as you are now. Oh, the irony.

Kirstin: Yes, and I made that honey cake again. It was really easy. Bish bosh, as Jamie would say. Easier than the recipe makes it look. I’ll definitely use that book again. I’ll do some of the recipes in winter, because they are more wintery. Everything we did worked. It was a good book to start with.

Anna: But we ran out of recipes to try.

Kirstin: That was because of the weather; if it had been cold, we would have done different recipes.

Anna: And you ruled out anything with fruit in it, so that knocked out all the Moroccan stuff.

Kirstin: Fruit? It just shouldn’t be there. It’s just… no!

Anna: And the French stuff was all too rich. I would try that confit of duck, but… three litres of duck fat? I exaggerate. But it was a hell of a lot.

Kirstin: We’ll do that one in the autumn. You can’t have confit in May.

Anna: So, that’s it. Don’t be afraid to try the recipes. Don’t be put off by the words. It’s by no means his best book, but not his worst. Jamie does… nicely, thank you. Yes!

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“Jamie does…” — our verdict

“Arctic Char Parcels” from “Jamie does…”

Having done lots of Greek recipes, we wanted to cook something else from this book that was appropriate for a weeknight, preferably with fish. But we couldn’t get arctic char, so we had to use salmon instead.

Kirstin: This one looked relatively easy, and I’m always tired after work on Wednesdays, so it has to be something straightforward. And it’s all in a bag, like old-style Jamie. Everything is in the bag: the carbs, the veggies and the protein.

Anna: The Scandiwegian thing was not why we chose it, but it has a secondary benefit for Kirstin.

Kirstin: I’m curious, I’m interested in Scandiwegian food. It’s the new thing. Mediterranean was in, then the Atkins diet, now this. There’s lots of weird breads, which I’m not particularly interested in. But Moomins would eat it. Continue reading ““Arctic Char Parcels” from “Jamie does…””

“Arctic Char Parcels” from “Jamie does…”

A lovely day for a Greek feast

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. Continue reading “A lovely day for a Greek feast”

A lovely day for a Greek feast

“Kefta (Lovely Meatballs)” from “Jamie Does…”

Our first recipe from this month’s cookbook, “Jamie Does”, is kefta, a meatball recipe from Marrakesh.

Anna: I chose this one because I was looking for something I could cook easily midweek that didn’t involve a million obscure ingredients. It was very quick to make; it probably took me 10 minutes to make the kefta mix, 10 minutes to roll them out, probably less, and the salad was all just raw ingredients. You have to leave the mixture in the fridge for half an hour, so in total it was 20-30 minutes of preparation time. And I cook slowly. So it’s definitely something you could make midweek. They were really good! And you could do them on the barbecue. The smell reminds me of Turkey, lovely and summery. I suppose if I’d been to Morocco it would smell of there too. I’d give it 7/10.

Kirstin: I think it’s great and I would make it again; perhaps for a lunch. It was really good with red wine. (The wine we drank was Borsao Seleccion 2008.) I’d also give this 7/10.

Verdict: Would we make this again? Yes!


“Kefta (Lovely Meatballs)” from “Jamie Does…”

Cookbook of the month, May 2010: “Jamie does…”

So, our first choice is Jamie Oliver’s new cookcook, “Jamie does…” (followed the names of lots of countries). This got us thinking about Jamie’s previous books, and which ones we liked and disliked.

Anna: I like the first three Jamie books because of the simplicity of the recipes. I still make recipes from those books regularly: the spag bol, the tray-baked salmon, the chocolate pots. New Year’s Eve, I did the pancetta-wrapped fillet of beef, ten years after he wrote the recipe for it.

Kirstin: We had that one on New Year’s Day! Continue reading “Cookbook of the month, May 2010: “Jamie does…””

Cookbook of the month, May 2010: “Jamie does…”