I suppose Jamie Oliver is a bit like Marmite, you either love him or you hate him. Yes, he can be a little full on to watch on TV but personally he’s one of my favourites and I own pretty much every book of his, which are all fab (with one exception – I really didn’t get on with the 30 minute meals book!). It’s the style of photography which I feel really make his recipe books stand out and make you want to spend time reading them, and the recipes are always really simple to follow (and pretty successful too). I also think he’s done a lot to appeal to a male audience – he certainly encouraged my younger brother to develop his cooking skills when he was a teenager (which I now have the benefit of when we are invited to dinner!). So, when Comfort Food came out I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. Father Christmas must of misplaced my list this year so I bought it as a treat to myself last week.
I was only a few pages into the first chapter before I’d earmarked two or three recipes I had to try – one being the baked beans recipe. It looked so simple and most likely a case of you never needing to buy a tin of Heinz again. I made them for lunch yesterday, it takes an hour or so to put together but the end result is delicious, we topped them with some super crispy smoked back bacon, mmm.
There’s no reason to shout the Trade Description Act at this book – it does exactly what it says. It’s full of classic comfort food, mixed in with a dash of nostalgia. A lot of the recipes are the sorts of classics my mum first taught me to cook – Shepherd’s Pie being one. But the recipe in this book offers a real twist (potato on the bottom, sides and top) and as much as I like to stick to the family recipes, it’s always good to try something new. Jamie has included a recipe for ‘proper porridge’ which I also tried out yesterday, it was a bit time consuming compared to the usual method I normally use in the morning, but it did turn out very different to what we usually have. That said, it didn’t go down that well with the hubby, I think we’ve been spoilt with my mum’s trusty recipe, which uses a lot more milk so is a bit richer so I think we’ll be sticking with that for now.
We’ve already marked the page to try the Chicken Shawarma in the summer over the BBQ – a lot of the recipes in this book look great for entertaining with friends, the Ghanaian Groundnut Stew for one looks amazing and could be a real crowd pleaser. Bread and butter pudding is one of my favourites and the Bonkers Bread and Butter Panettone Pudding Tart is high on the list of recipes to try next.
All in all, I’d say this is Jamie Oliver back to his best – a varied mix of scummy recipes that all look easy to attempt at home. Well worth a space on the bookshelf.