“Mothership Sunday Roast Chicken” from “Save With Jamie”


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMaureen: Sunday lunch starring roast chicken! My favourite!

Nicholas (10): I love roast chicken. I bagsy* one of the legs. (For those readers among us who are unfamiliar with this fantastic British word, it means “claim”.)

Tim: I get the other one.

Maureen: Fair enough. What does everyone think?

Andrew: I’m not sure about the carrots.

Maureen: When you say, “not sure,” do you really mean, “I don’t like.”

Andrew (14): Well, no. Before I wasn’t sure. But now that I’ve had a few bites, I now know I mean I don’t like them.

Nicholas: I don’t like them either, and you know how much I like carrots.

Maureen: What don’t you like about them. Is it all the orange zest?

Nicholas: I guess so. I just prefer the other type you always make.

Maureen: OK. I’ll go back to the usual way the next time. I’ve been making that version, with carrots and honey, for years. That’s a Jamie recipe too. (Important note: I spent a good amount of time following this Sunday lunch trying to find exactly what Jamie book our beloved carrot recipe  is from, but to no avail. So I’m pretty sure it’s a Jamie recipe, but now I have to proof to back it up. This is the problem with having more than 150 cookbooks. Things can get muddled over time.)

Tim: The chicken is good, but I can’t see how it’s much different from any other roast chicken we’ve had over the years.

Maureen: I think the ability to be creative with a roast chicken recipe is somewhat limited. This version is fine and it works. The good thing about it, particularly for less confident cooks, is it includes directions on all the side vegetables to have with it. That’s a nice touch.

Nicholas: Other than the carrots, which we already decided we didn’t like.

Maureen: Fair enough. (Looking at the nearly empty serving platter). There’s one problem with this recipe though: We’re supposed to get two meals out of it.

Tim: Ha! Well, we do have a teenage boy at the table, and we are greedy when it comes to roast chicken, so maybe that’s the difference.

Cook’s Notes: Once I followed Jamie’s instructions to the letter, I realised that amendments were going to have to be made, otherwise we were going to end up having a variation of brown water on top of our chicken. So after I added just plain water, and tasted the flavourless “gravy,” I added the necessary amount of chicken stock cubes. So if you do make this, don’t add 600 ml of boiling water, add 600ml of chicken stock. You can thank me later.)


“Mothership Sunday Roast Chicken” from “Save With Jamie”

Jamie’s Great Britain – our verdict

Maureen: I think frankly all his best books are behind him.

Kirstin: So true. I don’t like his vision of Great Britain.

Maureen: And he just modified a lot of his older recipes. And most of his older recipes were better anyway; in fact all of his older recipes were better.

Kirstin: I have to admit I didn’t cook much from this book. I really struggled to find anything I wanted to eat from it.

Maureen: And the problem was that almost all of the recipes were weekend elaborate meals, not ones that you could bang up on a week night.

Kirstin: And none that our children were going to like, to be honest. Indeed I kept cooking from Bill this month because there were more recipes I wanted to try. And the kids loved those!

Maureen: The other thing that killed me about this book because you know this is going to be a Christmas bestseller but it’s his worst book to date. Which is saying a lot after the 30 minutes. The shame of it is that Lucas Hollweg‘s book was so much better and it will sell a mere fraction of the copies this one will sell.

Kirstin: I was going to give my copy away but managed to get a stain on it…gah! It’s going to have to go to a charity shop.


Jamie’s Great Britain – our verdict

“Early Autumn Cornish Pasties” from “Jamie’s Great Britain”

Andrew (12): I like this very much. I can’t fault it in any way.

Tim: How does it compare to Goddard’s Pies? (Editor’s Note: We faithfully buy Goddard’s Pies every weekend for lunch at Greenwich Market. We especially love the cheese and onion. Not a Cornish pasty, but delicious just the same.)

Andrew: Goddard’s Pies are very good, but these are also very good.

Nicholas (8): Goddard’s Pies are better.

Andrew: You’re digging your own grave!

Tim: It’s Halloween! He’s getting into the spirit of things by digging his own grave!

Maureen: I like it a lot more than I thought I would. I wasn’t sure about baking the skirt steak– I didn’t think it would cook completely– but it worked.

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“Early Autumn Cornish Pasties” from “Jamie’s Great Britain”

“Toad in the Hole” from “Jamie’s Great Britain”

Or to be more accurate, maybe we should call it, “Deconstructed Toad in the Hole.”

Tim: I thought Toad in the Hole was supposed to have the batter and sausage together.

Maureen: Yes, me too. It doesn’t seem like it would be Toad in the Hole when it’s this way– with the batter separate from the sausages. This seems more like sausages with a side of Yorkshire pudding.

Tim: What’s the point of doing it this way? Maybe it’s to mess up more pans.

Continue reading ““Toad in the Hole” from “Jamie’s Great Britain””

“Toad in the Hole” from “Jamie’s Great Britain”

“Fresh Tomato Soup” from “Jamie’s Great Britain”

Andrew (12): Is this a Jamie Oliver recipe?

Maureen: Yes. We’re still eating from the delights of Great Britain’s kitchens. Why do you ask?

Andrew: Because it looks… interesting.

Maureen: Good interesting or bad interesting?

Andrew: In the middle interesting.

Maureen: Hmm. So what do you think?

Andrew: It’s a bit too tomatoey. All I can taste is tomato and nothing else. So that decreases its grade slightly.

Maureen: Jamie says that it “pays respect to that iconic Heinz tinned soup that we’ve all grown up loving.” But if I wanted Heinz tomato soup, I would just buy some. It would save me a lot of trouble.

Continue reading ““Fresh Tomato Soup” from “Jamie’s Great Britain””

“Fresh Tomato Soup” from “Jamie’s Great Britain”

“White Pepper Skate” from “Jamie’s Great Britain”

Georgia: The fish was epic. And it tasted… fishy!

Tom: I liked the spicy crust. What was in it?

Kirstin: Fennel and white peppercorns. Miles said he didn’t like it, but he ate all of his!

Ella: I don’t mind it, but I don’t really like the crusty bit.

Kirstin: Turn the fish over! There’s more!

Ella: I’ve had enough, thank you.

Tom: I don’t think there’s a tidy way to eat skate.

Kirstin: And I watched the video on Jamie’s website of how to remove the bone! I can’t understand why the fishmonger doesn’t do that. But it was super easy to do and you know, if I’m stuck in a jungle trying to remove bones from a skate, I know what to do…

Tom: Would you make this again?

Kirstin: No. It’s too much of  a faff.

Ella: I wouldn’t eat it again, unless my life depended on it.

Tom: If you had to cook skate, would you cook this recipe?

Kirstin: No, I’d stick with Jamie’s old recipe, with radicchio and pancetta in it. I used to cook that every week and it was yum!

“White Pepper Skate” from “Jamie’s Great Britain”

“My Nan’s St Clement’s Cake” from “Jamie’s Great Britain”

Anna: You know, this reminds me of the sort of cake you’d get at a village fair, with a cup of tea for a £1.  All proceeds to the NSPCC or something.

Kirstin: What, you mean a BRITISH village fair?

Anna: Exactly.

Kirstin: That sort that you got during the War, in Downton Abbey? For cheering up the troops? Did Mrs Patmore make it?

Anna: Daisy made it. She wept into the batter as she thought of our William at the Front. Surrounded by Germans one minute, back in Downton the next.

Kirstin: But she doesn’t love William! Or… does… she??!!

Anna: So, we’re agreed then. This cake is as British as Downton Abbey.

Kirstin: And possibly a little bit drier than it could be. I feel it should be moister.

Anna: Just living up to its wartime village fete image then. Haven’t you heard of rationing?

PostScript: We baked this last week before the tragic news of our William’s passing. Poor Daisy!






“My Nan’s St Clement’s Cake” from “Jamie’s Great Britain”

“Happy Fish Pie” from “Jamie’s Great Britain”

We didn’t talk about this recipe very much, as our dinner conversation quickly veered into the territory of “What souveniers do you want from China?” (Answer: A panda. Or if that’s not possible, chopsticks) and jokes (Here’s the best one: A panda is eating in a restaurant, when all of the sudden he shoots his waiter and leaves. A policeman chases after him and says, “What do you think you’re doing?” to which the panda replies, “Hey, I’m a panda. Look it up in the dictionary. I eat shoots and leaves.”) I think there’s some good value in the blog today– food AND jokes!

It’s no surprise that a recipe for fish pie was included in “Jamie’s Great Britain.” I think fish pie is as classic a British recipe as it comes. As he says in the introduction, “Fish pie is one of the cornerstones of great British comfort food.”

Fish Pie is definitely classic British cooking. Before we moved here 13 years ago from the United States, we never had a fish pie in our life. But that all changed after I bought a copy of “The Return of the Naked Chef,” Jamie’s second book. “Fantastic Fish Pie” is just that– fantastic. The page in my cookbook has all manner of splashes and stains on it. I have notes from October 2001 on the page, meaning that I’ve been making this dish for 10 years. We all love it. It is firmly in the autumn/winter rotation of dinners here. If you’d like to make it yourself, there’s a link to the recipe here.

So how does this version stack up with the original? It doesn’t stack up, unfortunately. Our view might be tainted by the fact that we haven’t tried many any other fish pie recipes. (Why branch out when you found one you’ve love?) This version isn’t dramatically different from that one, but where it fails is it doesn’t include the two things that make the original so good: handfuls of spinach and boiled eggs.

Continue reading ““Happy Fish Pie” from “Jamie’s Great Britain””

“Happy Fish Pie” from “Jamie’s Great Britain”

“Crackled Pork Belly with Mash and Sweet Onion Scrumpy Sauce” from Jamie’s Great Britain

Mick: That pork was fantastic. It melted in the mouth!

Liam: The onions are like tagliatelle.

Kate: Tasty! Mustard-infused tagliatelle. But from my point of view the pork was a little fatty.

Liam: That’s just because you are doing weight watchers! The crackling was really nice.

Tom: I don’t care about the fat as long as there’s crackling. And there was.

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“Crackled Pork Belly with Mash and Sweet Onion Scrumpy Sauce” from Jamie’s Great Britain

“Cauliflower Cheese Soup” from “Jamie’s Great Britain”

Andrew (12): This smells like Thanksgiving dinner.

Maureen: You’re right. It does. It must be the sage, the thyme and the rosemary. There’s lots of that on Thanksgiving.

Andrew (surprised): Hey! Not bad! It smells like Thanksgiving dinner and it tastes like Thanksgiving dinner.

Maureen: What do you think, Tim?

Tim: I like it.

Maureen: What do you like about it?

Tim: I like that it tastes like Thanksgiving dinner.

Maureen: You are not allowed to steal Andrew’s best lines.

Continue reading ““Cauliflower Cheese Soup” from “Jamie’s Great Britain””

“Cauliflower Cheese Soup” from “Jamie’s Great Britain”