I was pleased about reviewing this book. I could be confident that the recipes cooked wouldn’t result in me bulging out of my trousers as can be the case when I’m testing recipes. All the dishes looked around the 500 calorie mark which calorie wise would fill me up without jeopardising my waistline.
We really really enjoyed cooking from this book. It’s beautiful to look at and the photos are so tempting – it was fun picking dinners and largely fun cooking them too. I would say that it’s more of a weekend cookbook – although the recipes are easy they are a little fiddly and you might not be in the mood for that after a long day at work. My other caveat is that the recipe descriptions occasionally gloss over a process without giving full instructions. For example – when making samosas you are told to put your filling onto the filo pastry and ‘make samosa shapes’. Well it ain’t that easy! Even after watching a few videos on YouTube I was still struggling! So we had samosa lumps. Oh yes, my very final piece of advice is use more spices than Jamie Oliver suggests. Our curries would have been a bit bland if we hadn’t.
I can honestly say every recipe we cooked was a blinder, so sorting the 8 we cooked into ‘favourites’ and ‘runner ups’ is going to be hard, but here we go.
- Harissa roasted aubergine, pomegranate and pistachios – this dish was MAGICAL! Firstly it looked magical with the jewelled effect of the pomegranate seeds, but the taste was exquisite, the smoky aubergine with the sweetness and tartness of the pomegranate was something else.
- Skinny carbonara, smoky bacon, peas, almond and basil. You can’t argue with a guilt free carbonara. I’d go as far as to say this was better than the heavy overly creamy classic. The pea puree, bacon and almond provided all the flavour you needed without the heaviness of the traditional cream. And you still get a creamy kick from the yoghurt and egg that are thrown in at the end.
- Beef, onion and sweet potato samosas – I was delighted that we actually made samosas (however lumpy they were!) – what an achievement. And the spicy meat mix was so tasty.
- Delicious squash daal and special fried eggs – I loved this – the egg was fried in garlic, chillies, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves – and I agree – the egg really was special – it was alive with flavour.
The Runners Up
Truthfully, nothing really deserves to be a runner up, I should really have done 8 favourites!
- Mighty mushroom curry – a superbly creamy and spicy curry – absolutely no sorrow here about having no meat – the flavour and wholesomeness of the dish was quite enough.
- Seared golden chicken, mint sauce and spring veg fest. This was gorgeous and fresh and I loved the creamy saltiness of the feta that was sprinkled on at the end. My only complaint is where are the carbs? I was still hungry after.
- Crumbed pesto fish, roasted cherry vines, spuds and greens – just plain excellent – fish and veg can be a pretty bland and virtuous dish. Not this one! The crunchy breadcrumbed pesto took all the worthiness of this dish away and twisted it into something exciting.
- Bombay chicken and cauli, rice and spinach – this was very tasty and cauliflower roasted in cumin and black mustard seeds was a revelation.
Writing this up has made me extremely sad that this review is over and that I have to move onto another cookbook – Jamie Oliver Everyday Super Food I will return to you I promise! I’ve been flicking through and there are too many recipes I still want cook. Every recipe we tried was inspiring, colourful, beautiful, delicious and healthy. You can’t really ask for more.