ArchiveOctober 9, 2022

One Cookbook by Jamie Oliver

I’m just the biggest fan of Jamie’s – I don’t even need to write Oliver – you all know who I mean. 

I was first introduced to Jamie by the late Rose Gray of the River Café in London in the early 1980s.

When I raved about the exquisite lunch, a sublime spinach rotolo I had just eaten, Rose brought me into the kitchen to introduce the young chef with tousled hair and a mischievous grin who had cooked my lunch, saying, ‘Watch this boy, he’s going to go far…’

A few months later in 1999 Jamie hit our TV screens with his first series, The Naked Chef, it caused a sensation and suddenly it was ‘pukka’ rather than naff for young lads and lasses to cook. Soon after the series, the cook book The Naked Chef (which he wrote when he was 18), flew off the shelves, it sold over 1.2 million copies by the end of the year 2,000.

Jamie was on a mission….

In 2002 he established the Fifteen Foundation, a program that gave underprivileged youths the opportunity to experience a career in the culinary industry at his Fifteen Restaurant in London.

Jamie then turned his attention to the shocking quality of school dinners and the TV series Jamie’s School Dinners documented the challenges he faced training a group of school cafeteria workers but helped to launch the overwhelmingly successful Feed Me Better. 

On and on he went urging Governments both here, and in the US to feed our children healthy wholesome food. Jamie Magazine and twenty-five restaurants followed…

Sadly in 2019 the whole of the Jamie Oliver group became insolvent – a bruising experience for all concerned. Jamie may have lost a fortune but not his vision and capacity for hard work. His absolute passion to fight childhood obesity remains undimmed and has led to the UK Government’s new obesity strategy which he hopes will include banning junk food advertising.

There is so much more about this chap who started out as a special-needs kid in school and went on to write 30 cookbooks and to sell over 15 million.

But this article is to tell you about Jamie’s new book,  One, Simple One-Pan Wonders. It’s a cracker, as Jamie might say in his ever-punchy parlance. It’s packed with budget friendly recipes that you can rustle up any time.  Meals to get novice cooks started minimum prep and washing up, big on flavour, all cooked in just one pan or tray. This may well be Jamie’s most user-friendly cookbook and that’s saying something from an ‘aged’ fan girl.

Here are a few recipes to whet your appetite…

‘One, Simple One-Pan Wonders’ by Jamie Oliver, published by Penguin Michael Joseph

Buddy’s Pasta Bake

Broccoli, cheesy sauce and garlic bread crispy bits.

Serves 8

2 heads of broccoli – 375g (13oz) each

4 cloves garlic

1/2 – 1 teaspoon dried red chilli flakes

1.5 litres (2 1/2 pints) semi-skimmed milk

100g (3 1/2oz) baby spinach

100g (3 1/2oz) Cheddar cheese

500g (18oz) dried pasta shells

100g (3 1/2oz) garlic bread

Preheat the oven to 200˚C/400˚F/Gas Mark 6.

Cut off and discard the tough ends of the broccoli stalks, trim the green florets into 3cm (1 1/4 inch) pieces and put aside, then roughly chop all the remaining stalks and place in a food processor. Peel and add the garlic, then blitz until fine. Place a large shallow casserole pan on a medium heat. Once hot, go in with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the chilli flakes, to taste. As soon as they start to sizzle, tip in the blitzed broccoli stalks. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then pour in 1 litre (1 3/4 pints) of milk. Pour the remaining 500ml (18fl oz) of milk into the processor with the spinach and crumble in the cheese (I wanted this to be healthy, but now’s the time to add the extra cheese if you want it more indulgent). Blitz until smooth, pour into the pan, then bring to the boil and season to perfection. Stir the broccoli florets and pasta shells into the sauce and boil for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.

Tear the garlic bread into the processor (there’s no need to clean it first) and blitz into crumbs. Sprinkle over the pasta bake and transfer to the oven for 15 minutes, or until golden and bubbling. Delicious served with a fresh green salad.

Seasonal Swaps

Go festive and swap out the broccoli for Brussels sprouts – blitz half for the sauce and quarter the rest to add with the pasta. Embrace Christmas cheese board cheeses and try a cheeky crumbling of chestnuts in the garlic bread crispy bits.

Tender Glazed Lamb Shanks

Sweet peppers, new potatoes, olives, garlic and parsley.

Serves 4

4 lamb shanks – roughly 400g (14oz) each

1 bulb of garlic

6 mixed-colour peppers

1 lemon

800g (1lb 12oz) baby new potatoes

8 black olives, stone in

1 teaspoon runny honey

half bunch of flat-leaf parsley – 15g (3/4oz)

Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/Gas Mark 4.

Place a large deep casserole pan on a high heat. Season the lamb shanks with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper, then fry in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, turning until browned all over. Meanwhile, halve the unpeeled garlic bulb across the middle and tear up the peppers into big chunks, discarding the seeds and stalks. Add both to the pan, then use a speed-peeler to add the lemon peel in strips. Go in with the potatoes, halving any larger ones, then squash, de-stone and add the olives, also stirring in a splash of liquor from their jar. Mix together well, cover, then transfer to the oven for 1 hour. Mix up again, and cook uncovered for another hour, or until the lamb is tender.

Remove from the oven. Mash the soft garlic cloves into the stew, discarding the skins, then season to perfection with salt, pepper and a thimble of red wine vinegar. Brush the honey over the lamb, then pick over the parsley leaves and serve.

Go Veggie

Simply swap the lamb for quarters of scrubbed celeriac, treating it in exactly the same way, and chuck in a jar of drained chickpeas.

Rosemary Roast Chicken

Sweet leeks, garlic, cider, butter beans, crème fraîche and Stilton.

Serves 4

1kg (2 1/4lbs) mixed chicken thighs and drumsticks, skin on, bone in

3 cloves of garlic

3 leeks

3 sprigs of rosemary

250ml (9fl oz) nice cider

1 x 400g (14oz) tin of butter beans

30g (1 1/4oz) Stilton cheese

3 tablespoons half-fat crème fraîche

Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚/Gas Mark 4.

Put the chicken into a large cold shallow casserole pan and place on a high heat. Fry for 10 minutes, or until golden all over, turning regularly, while you peel and finely slice the garlic, and wash, trim and very finely slice the leeks. Pick and roughly chop the rosemary leaves, then add to the pan with the garlic and leeks, season with sea salt and black pepper, mix well and cook for a couple of minutes to soften slightly. Make sure the chicken is skin side up, then pour in the cider, half drain and add the beans, and roast for 45 minutes or until the chicken pulls easily away from the bone.

Move the pan to a medium-high heat on the hob. Bomb in the little nuggets of Stilton and add the crème fraîche. Mix well, simmer for just a few minutes, then you’re ready to serve. I like it just as it is, or with a side of steamed greens.

Toffee Apple Buns

Soft and sticky with vanilla and cinnamon

Serves 12

500g (18oz) strong bread flour

1 x 7g (1/4oz) sachet of dried yeast

100g (3 1/2oz) dried apple slices

4 eating apples

1 level tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

100g (3 1/2oz) Demerara sugar, plus extra for dusting

100g (3 1/2oz) soft unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing

Mix the flour and 1 level teaspoon of sea salt in a large bowl and make a well in the middle.

In a jug, mix the yeast into 300ml (10fl oz) of lukewarm water and leave for a few minutes. Now, gradually pour the mixture into the well, bringing in the flour from the outside to form a dough. Knead on a flour-dusted surface, picking the dough up and slapping in back down, for 10 minutes, or until smooth and springy. Lightly oil the bowl, sit the dough back in, cover with a clean damp tea towel and leave in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Finely chop the dried apple. Peel, quarter, core and finely slice the fresh apples. In a bowl, scrunch all the apples with the cinnamon, vanilla and sugar. Stretch the dough out on an oiled work surface to 30cm x 50cm (12 inch x 20 inch). Evenly spread over the soft butter, scatter over the sugared apples and drizzle over any juices. Starting from the long side closest to you, roll the dough up into an apple-filled sausage. Slice into 12 equal pieces. Generously butter the inside of a 28cm (11 inch) non-stick ovenproof frying pan and dust with a little sugar. Sit the rolls in the pan, swirl side up, cover with a clean damp towel and leave in a warm place until doubled in size again.

Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚/Gas Mark 4.

Dust the buns with a little sugar and bake at the bottom of the oven for 30 minutes, until golden and sticky. Turn out onto a board and serve.


Past Letters