Jamie Oliver 7 Ways

Jamie Oliver needs no introduction having become a household name ever since he first bounced onto our screens back in 1999 – yes 21 years ago! He has written over 30 books, sold 15 million copies and is the second-best-selling British author, behind J. K. Rowling. His latest offering JAMIE OLIVER 7 WAYS was published last August and an accompanying tv series started recently on Channel 4. As this book was top of many people’s Christmas list we thought it a good place to start our Cookbook Challenge.

The book is split into 18 sections, each focusing on a particular food stuff such as chicken, sausages, broccoli, eggs and mushrooms. These foods have been chosen specifically because they appear in people’s shopping baskets on a regular basis. Each section then provides you with 7 recipes (one for each day of the week) using that particular food. An advantage of this is that if you have had to buy a lot of one particular foodstuff then you have a number of recipes to choose from to use up the glut. And you certainly get your moneys worth as that adds up to over 100 recipes. Pudding lovers beware though as there are no sweet recipes in here …

Each recipe is given a double page, one for the ingredients and method, and one for a large, beautifully styled picture of the finished dish – which does give you something to aim for! One of the many positives of this book is that the list of other ingredients needed for each recipe is quite small (never more than 8) and tend to be things that will either be found in your storecupboard or easily sourced at your local shop. The visual ingredients key down the left hand side of the page is a nice touch.

We chose a range of recipes to try out. Each method was simple to follow, the estimated times to prepare and cook were spot on and you didn’t need any specialist equipment. An extra bonus was that many of the recipes can be cooked in one pan or tray, which is great for the busy cook.

Care has obviously been taken to make sure the recipes are as nutritionally balanced as possible, and most of the things we cooked for a main meal were under 500 calories per portion (the nutritional info is given at the bottom of each recipe). You won’t find a lot of cream or butter in the recipes, instead reduced fat creme fraiche, cottage cheese and natural yogurt are used. This may be why we found a few of the recipes a bit lacking in flavour. In future we will just up the seasoning and herb quota a little.

We did learn a few new tricks such as using bread to thicken sauces, cottage cheese to make quiche and brushing filo pastry with watered down pesto instead of butter was a revelation. But some things such as the pizza base made out of just flour and water didn’t really cut the mustard.

To be honest this isn’t our favourite Jamie book, but would be great for someone who needs some new inspiration for everyday foods, particularly during the week when time may be tight. If you are an experienced cook then you may not find it challenging enough, but it would be invaluable for students or anyone else on a limited budget as it allows you to bulk buy a particular item and make a number of different dishes with it.


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