Our Verdict – “Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube”

imagesMaureen: Where do we start?

Kirstin: It was an interesting experiment.

Maureen: Interesting is one way of putting it.

Kirstin: There’s definitely a technique for doing food tube cooking. But I don’t think they’re designed for you to cook from, really.

Maureen: I agreed with Tom when he said that these videos were mostly about entertainment, not about cooking…

Kirstin: …which is weird. I don’t watch food programmes for entertainment.

Maureen: Do you watch them at all?

Kirstin: No.

Maureen: I’ll watch them, but only if they’re people I really like, Nigella and Jamie, and also if I happen to be home and available when they’re on TV. But as far as going on You Tube to find a recipe to cook tonight? Forget about it.

Kirstin: There were some good recipes. I liked the chicken stir fry and the fish was good too. But the problem is I would often get lost watching bloopers videos instead.

Maureen: You can’t make a dinner form a bloopers video. I think the bugbear of this whole exercise is the lack of a printed recipe I can find easily.

Kirstin: I don’t need a printed recipe, just a list of ingredients easy to find. It’s not rocket science.

Maureen: At least if the ingredients were listed below the video, you’d could figure out what you needed to make it and what you had to shop for, then you could watch the video just before or while you’re making it. You wouldn’t have to watch the video with a pen and a piece of paper, which got annoying after a while.

Kirstin:  Exactly. I’m flummoxed as to why they haven’t done it.

Maureen: If this is the future, I don’t like it.

Kirstin: There’s other things they could do to make it better. They could group the recipes together by theme, like Asian recipes or Italian or chicken or whatever.

Maureen: If it was Fish Friday and I wanted to make some fish, it would have been nice if they were all in one place so I could find them easily. Instead, they were all over the place and difficult to find.

Kirstin: There were some good recipes on there, they were just hard to find. Some of the people on here are great. Gennaro is very funny. I like him

Maureen: I love Gennaro. Everything he makes is delicious..

Kirstin: Maybe the future of cooking is still in a cookbook. Ii’ve tried recipes on kindle and the iPad and that doesn’t work. On the iPad, the screen goes sleep and you’ve got mucky hands and you don’t want to touch it, so it just becomes difficult. It’s just so much easier with a book. The only books I buy now are cookbooks.

Maureen: It was an interesting exercise, but Food Tube seems like a propaganda tool for Jamie Inc.

“Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube”
Overall Grade (A- F): (Maureen) F. I don’t think it really works as a culinary exercise.  (Kirstin) D: It was interesting. I’m glad we did it.
Best recipes: Maureen: Meatball Sub! Kirstin: Salmon.
Grade for Photography (A-F):  Not applicable, since we just watched videos all month. Video is the future, apparently.
Any disasters? No.
Bookshelf or Charity Shop Donation? Again, not applicable.


Our Verdict – “Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube”

“Asparagus Risotto” from “Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube”

IMG_6992When I made this dinner, I knew this would be a sure thing. There isn’t often in life where you can be certain that “A Sure Thing” will materialise– see the 1985* movie with John Cusack if you don’t know what I’m talking about– but this is one of those times.


We’ve always loved risotto. I’ve been making it since we were first married– it was a recipe from Bill Clinton’s White House, so that tells you how long ago that was. After we moved here in 1999, I made it again (and again and again) when I watched Jamie Oliver do it on his first series, “The Naked Chef.”

I’ve got the method down pat now. Gennaro Contaldo, the star of this video, does a good job of showing people how to best make risotto, if they’ve never done it before. Two of the unique things he did in his version of asparagus risotto were first to cut the asparagus into slivers, and then to take the tips and cut them in half vertically. Excellent tips, both.

This was a sure thing. Everyone loved it. At the end of the video, Gennaro takes a bite and says, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” I feel exactly the same way whenever I have risotto. Love it.

If you’d like to see the video yourself, it’s here:

“Asparagus Risotto” from “Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube”

“Meatball Sub” from “Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube”

IMG_7016Maureen (while admiring the sandwiches and plating them up): This is going to be SO GOOD.

Nicholas (12): Can you provide a written guarantee for that?

Maureen: Ha. You’re funny. Go sit down.

[Now sitting at the dinner table, and we’re eating outside on the patio because the weather in London has been spectacular.]

Andrew (15, taking a bite): This. Is. GLORIOUS.

Maureen: See? What did I tell you? I couldn’t agree more.

Nicholas: This is good, but messy to eat.

Maureen: Well, sure, but that’s part of the fun. When I was growing up, meatball subs used to be one of my favourite things to eat. Of course, growing up in Northern New Jersey, they knew how to do both a meatball and a sub, so it made for some good eating.

Tim: I think the meatballs get a little lost, with the cheese and the tomato sauce.

Maureen: Always the contrarian.

Tim: It’s true.

Maureen: I can see why you’d say that, but I disagree. I think the extra sauce and the extra cheese is all part of the experience. I see that you’ve followed Gennaro’s instructions to put the rocket salad in the sandwich. I didn’t do that as I thought that was sacrilege.

Andrew: Remember that great meatball restaurant we went to in New York City last summer?

Maureen: That place was great. What was it called?

Nicholas: It was called The Meatball Shop.

Maureen: Good memory! It does what it says on the tin. I would definitely go back there again, and I would definitely make this again. Do you guys agree?

Boys [in unison]: YES.

Tim: Sure, but maybe with less sauce.

Note: If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times this month: it does my head in that they can’t list the recipe, or at least list the ingredients, in the text underneath the video on FoodTube. Oddly, there is a recipe for this on Jamie Oliver’s website, but it’s not the recipe that’s in this video– perhaps there’s more than one version of the meatball sub– so I won’t link to it here.

However, if you’d like to see the original video, it’s here:

“Meatball Sub” from “Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube”

“Cajun Rice & Barbeque Chicken Burrito” from “Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube”

IMG_6994Andrew (15): Is this a Jamie Oliver recipe?

Maureen: Indeed it is.

Tim: What’s with the feta cheese?

Maureen: Jamie said to use feta cheese on the burritos. What Jamie wants, Jamie gets. I know it’s a bit strange, but I started thinking about it, and feta isn’t unlike the crumbled cheese they use at Wahaca, so I went with it.

Nicholas (12): I think it’s good.

Andrew: Me gusta!

Maureen: It’s appropriate that you would use Spanish to describe how much you like this dish, since we are having burritos.

Tim: The spciy rice is good.

Maureen: It’s a variation of the cowboy rice we like so much, though in this case, you use pre-made rice. This is because the recipe was sponsored by Uncle Ben’s, which strikes me as a bit strange, but there we are. Despite use the pre-made rice, it’s made significantly better with the addition of fried peppers and onions. Yum.

Nicholas: We should definitely have this again.

Andrew: I agree.

Maureen: The only change I made is I didn’t make it with leftover turkey tossed in barbeque sauce, since we didn’t have any turkey. So I fried up some chicken with fajita seasoning, like I usually do, and that worked a treat.

Tim: Huzzah for burrito night.

Maureen: Indeed.


If you’d like to watch the original video, see it here:

“Cajun Rice & Barbeque Chicken Burrito” from “Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube”

“Stir Fry Chicken Noodles by the Dumpling Sisters” from “Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube”


Ella: I like the chicken. But I don’t like the carrots or broccoli.

Kirstin: But you have to eat them anyway please.

Miles: Yes, everything is edible.

Ella: Everything is edible. Once.

Kirstin: The chicken is lovely and succulent. I would certainly consider making this again. But I would definitely have liked the recipe posted somewhere. It’s a right old faff getting the ingredients sorted from the video. She had some neat tricks about steaming along the way which I loved too.

“Stir Fry Chicken Noodles by the Dumpling Sisters” from “Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube”

“Real Spaghetti Carbonara” from “Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube”


Kirstin: This is apparently the real spaghetti carbonara by Antonio Carluccio.

Tom: I like it.

Kirstin: It’s good and simple. Perfect for a summer day. No cream, just yummy Italian ingredients. I went to Lina Stores to get the pecorino in Soho.

Tom: Miles, you might find it easier to twizzle your fork with the pasta against a spoon. Like this.

Miles: Spoons are for the weak, I tell you! For the weak!

“Real Spaghetti Carbonara” from “Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube”

“Double Chocolate Cookies” from “Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube”

Processed with VSCOcam with n1 preset

Kirstin: Miles was off sick today so we thought we would make some chocolate chip cookies. What did you think of them, Miles?

Miles: I liked smashing up the maltesers because I’ve never used a hammer when cooking before! And the hammer had spikes on it too.

Kirstin: Excellent. Did you like the cookies?

Miles: Yes. I would definitely like to have these again.

Kirstin: I liked the malted chocolate aspect to these. And of course the video was loud and full of mad music. Also, I have no idea who Alfie Deyes is, so clearly I am getting old.

Here’s the video if you want to have a go.

“Double Chocolate Cookies” from “Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube”

“Quick Chicken Korma” from Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube”


Ella: I like it!

Kirstin: Oooo, Ella. Really?

Tom: This is yum.

Kirstin: I’m kind of getting the hang of the whole video thing, even though I couldn’t seem to get my onions as caramelised as she did. You have to watch it a bit beforehand if nothing else, so you know when to pause it.

Tom: Yeah, I’m not sure video cookbooks make a lot of sense to be honest. There’s a reason why it’s good to have everything written in a list, in a form that stays still on the surface in front of you and doesn’t interfere with your ability to play music while you cook.

Kirstin: Or have conversations with people. Because I had to keep doing that *hold on now while I find out what I have to do next on the video*.

Tom: So what does this tell you?

Kirstin: That we like cookbooks? And it’s interesting because I’ve tried getting cookbooks on my kindle and iPad and I still return to cookbooks…

Tom: No, it tells you that food tube is for people who like the idea of cooking rather than those who actually like cooking. So Jamie Oliver is someone who sells the idea of cooking.

Kirstin: Do you think he’s tried cooking along to a recipe himself?

Tom: He may have done, but the needs of television are different from the needs of those doing the cooking. Television is all about fast cutting. It’s incredibly unrepresentative. We saw that yesterday when he was making that salsa. He said chop, chop, chop and it was done in 3 seconds. Because it’s really boring watching someone chop up tomatoes.

Ella: Unless you have time travel. Or clone yourself to chop up the tomatoes and then hand them back to yourself once you’ve chopped them.

Kirstin: Indeed peeps.Indeed.

Here’s the link to the recipe I made because embedding has been disabled.

“Quick Chicken Korma” from Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube”

“Pan-Fried Salmon with Tomato Couscous” from Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube

Kirstin: So the whole cooking while food tube on is a bit of a laugh. It’s like Jamie’s in the room, cooking with you. But it means I can’t listen to music as I cook; only his annoying background music. I watched this a couple of times before I made it, because I couldn’t find the instructions anywhere in printed form. And the only way I could get the list of ingredients was also to watch it all the way through.

Tom: That sounds a bit annoying!

Kirstin: I do think they could at least put the list of ingredients underneath the video. Would be well helpful. Did you like it?

Tom: I did! I love asparagus and the salmon was super crispy.

Kirstin: Yes, he had a fantastic method for making the skin crispy which I shall be using again. Ella, what did you think?

Ella: I don’t like salmon. Much.

Kirstin: I know. But we’ve talked about this before and you need to have salmon on a weekly basis at least. I saw you trying some asparagus!

Ella: I liked that!

Kirstin: Good for you!

And here’s the video if you too want to make this yummy recipe.

“Pan-Fried Salmon with Tomato Couscous” from Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube

“Princess Charlotte Lemon Drizzle Cake” from “Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube”

IMG_6925I know Princess Charlotte is now more than a month old, but we actually weren’t celebrating her birth when we had this cake. We were having it because my friend requested lemon drizzle cake for this month’s book club, and I try to keep my friends happy. I hopped on to Food Tube and after much faffing around by watching other cake-related videos, I found this one.

It was divine.

However, I need to add several important caveats:

First, this cake and the Food Tube video don’t match up. The Food Tube video, which you can see here, was actually for Princess Charlotte Celebration Cupcakes. I was all set to make a nice batch of cupcakes, but then when I clicked through for the recipe on the website– because there’s no way I’m going to sit and watch and video and write down the ingredients and the method– the recipe was for the cake, with a small PS on the bottom if you wanted to make the Food Tube cupcakes. Since the cake looked so much nicer, I went for the cake.

Second, I think either in the rush to get the recipe out or the celebratory haze of a new British princess, the recipe wasn’t correct. Some ingredients make appearances in the ingredients list in the wrong place and the instructions were a bit vague at times.

Third, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention (and I’m sure I’ll be repeating this over the course of the month), the organisation of the Food Tube page is an absolute mess if you want to find something specific. The lack of an index, or any sort of central list of available recipes/videos, really is a bummer. I ended up wasting a great deal of time just trying to figure out what I wanted to make. I know people love Jamie Oliver, but do they really have that sort of patience to do all that mucking around?

Fourth, this probably will be a criticism that I repeat more than once this month, but I don’t understand why they didn’t just include the recipe under the video rather than making you click through to find it somewhere else. (Actually, I do know why they did that. Jamie Oliver is hungry for clicks on his own website, and by making you click over every time you want to find a recipe after watching it on Food Tube, it doubles his clicks. I feel as though he’s taking advantage of me.) It would be really nice if I didn’t have to go to yet another site to find the recipe of what I just watched. Think about it, Jamie.

Don’t get me wrong. The cake was delicious. It was just a Royal Pain to get there.

If you’d like to make the cake and celebrate Princess Charlotte’s birth yourself, click through this sentence to find the recipe on JamieOliver.Com.


“Princess Charlotte Lemon Drizzle Cake” from “Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube”