Saturday, November 12, 2011

Weekend Cooking: Jamie Oliver and me

Weekend Cooking is one of the easier posts for me to come up with ideas for. Generally there are a few different ideas that have been kicking about, then there are the recipes I find and end up sharing here, mainly because I want to be able to find them again next time I want to make them. Today's post is one that I have been meaning to write for a few months now but never quite managed .

I wasn't sure what to call this post because I am pretty such that Jamie Oliver has no idea that we are, you know, together in any way! I was going to go with Jamie and me, but it could have been awkward if my brother in law had of seen the post title on Facebook because his name is Jamie!

I have talked briefly in the past about my cooking skills or lack of them or more precisely laziness when it comes to cooking. I go through phases where I am quite keen on cooking but there will be lots of times when I can't be bothered and the little chef and I eat far too much takeaway. We were in that place back early last year and seemed to have been in that rut for quite some time when one weekend I was at home and I stumbled on a marathon session of the Jamie Oliver  Ministry of Food series on the Food network. I watched all weekend, and then I watched the repeats during the week. I was entertained, I was shocked, I was challenged, and over the period of the next few weeks I was once again more interested in cooking a bit more. That by no means indicates that I don't do far more takeaway than I should do, or that I cook as healthily as I should, but it does indicate that those elements are better than they were.

If I had one favourite participant in the Ministry of Food series it was Mick the Miner. I loved the look of surprise on this man's face as he realised that he could cook something delicious all by himself! Loved him! (Click here to watch Mick cooking something for himself for the first time in his life!). How could you not be inspired by that joy! And it was great to revisit him later in the series and see how much he continued to learn and love to cook.

I did decide that I was going to cook all the pass-it-on recipes that participants were taught and then asked to teach others as part of the series but in the end I only made a couple of them. One of these days I will try some of the others if I can remember what they are.

Of the pass-it-on recipes, I tried Parmesan Chicken Breast with Crispy Posh Ham and the Irish Stew. I really liked them both, although the little chef wasn't as keen on the chicken. I intend to try it again some time to see whether his taste has matured a little bit.

Here is Jamie Oliver cooking the Parmesan Chicken Breast dish.

I haven't always been a big Jamie Oliver fan, particularly when I look back at the early TV series with the over the top good old boy around town routine. However, I think we have been able to see him evolve from that into someone that is passionate and committed to making things better, who has persistence and endeavour to get things done. While I like the educational things that he has done over the last few years, I also do enjoy those books he has done which are purely about the joy of cooking, like his latest book Jamie's Great Britain.

Originally this post was going to be a review of that book plus what I have written here but I think this post is already going to be long enough so that might have to wait for another day! I already know that book is going to be my next cookbook purchase even though I have read it from the library. It will join the other couple of Jamie Oliver cookbooks on my shelf!

I was going to link to the recipe rather than just the video, but I can't find it online. If anyone wants an actual recipe, let me know and I will put it up in the next couple of weeks.

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs.


  1. I totally agree with you -- and if it weren't for bloggers like you I might never have given Jamie a second chance. While I liked his recipes from his early show, I didn't really like him. But since he has decided to use his name and fame to bring the message of good health and good food to the world, I've grown to respect him. I really, really need to get a hold of some of his newer cookbooks.

    Thanks for the links and the video.

  2. I am planning to review his latest book in a couple of weeks time, and might do 30 Minute Meals in a few week's time. That one has quite a different structure to a lot of other cookbooks.

  3. That's a good idea to get the book from the library to see if you want it enough to purchase it. For some reason, I never look at the cookbooks in the library. Have a great weekend and happy cooking!

  4. I love the Food Network, but for some reason I seem to have never seen his shows? I have seen one or two of the shows he's done for national t.v. I appreciate the passion he has for helping people to eat better :)

    I pretty much always get cookbooks out of the library first before I purchase them except for the few that I buy not so much for cooking out of them, but because of the text.

  5. Thanks for the reminder about Jamie and these videos. I watched this one and will definitely try it out. I have ‘Jamie’s Italy’ on the shelf but have yet to try anything from it. I think I’ll take a look now!

  6. Same, didn't originally love Jamie but now I really enjoy him. LOL that your BIL will mistake the title :)

  7. I'd rather eat it than cook it :)

    Happy blogoversary :)

  8. I am a big fan of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, but I haven't purchased one of his cookbooks - yet ... I love my hubby's reaction when he gives a recipe a whirl and it turns out great! Man in kitchen = sexy!
    Have a great weekend!

  9. I've always kinda gotten a kick out of Jamie's "over the top-ness" - he is passionate about his cooking! Thanks for sharing!

  10. I love Jamie's commitment to food education, and I really enjoy his new show about quick cooking. (At least, it's new here in Canada. It's probably been on in the UK for a couple of years.) He always gives me great ideas for my own meals.

  11. I'll confess ignorance of Jamie Oliver. I haven't seen any of the shows. I have followed your enthusiasm for him and honestly intend to check out one of his books from the library.

  12. I only recently watched a show by Jamie Oliver, the Food revolution. I very much enjoyed that one, so I think I will have to check out this as well :)

  13. I met Jamie at a book signing a few years back, and he was so charming! I really didn't know too much about him then, but he made me a fan.

    I was very surprised at how big the crowd was too. I think every British woman in NYC was at that signing.

    Really enjoyed your post!

  14. I've seen Jamie Oliver a time or two on television but have never really followed him. I love videos like this where the chef guides you through every step of a really simple meal...I'm going to see if any other videos are available online.

    Raw chicken really "freaks me out"...I wash my hands like crazy when I cook it...did anybody else notice that Jamie Oliver didn't wash his hands in between the chicken and the salad? Am I missing something?

  15. Oliver shows up in news stories here fairly often due to his crusade for more healthful school food. I was impressed when he took on the Los Angeles school district, and they made some improvements based on his critique. - Fay

  16. I agree-Jamie has evolved into a very interesting person and I would love to have lunch with him just to talk food.

  17. Fun post, Marg. I watched the whole video while I ate my lunch and made me wish I was eating that Parmesan Chicken and not a salad with radishes in it! LOL!

    Peppermint, PhD--YES! I noticed that too and was like, "oh, oh! no! Wait! WASH YOUR HANDS! ewwww..." He went from handling raw chicken to holding the entire wedge of parmesan cheese in his hand without washing! I'm hoping there was expert editing going on there and we missed the break in the video when the camera stopped rolling so he could wash his hands?

  18. I love Jamie Oliver's cookbooks, and this one's one of my favourites. You should try doing the Cheat's Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes (I really like adding an onion at the same time as the garlic) and the Macaroni and Cauliflower Cheese Bake. Oh yes, can't forget the Chicken Fajitas.

    I never did get to see this series on TV though.