I love a good cookbook and every year I seem to acquire a new Jamie Oliver Recipe Book. There is something a little special about them; I love how he tells stories through the food he loves and the photographs are always beautiful, full of delicious food and people he loves enjoying it. I remember my parents buying his very first book, The Naked Chef, and since then it has become a bit of a tradition for one of us to get a Jamie cookbook as a Christmas gift.
I can already see Jamie’s Comfort Food becoming one of my favourites! I love his recipes but sometimes they are a little better suited for special occasions when you can put the time and effort in, however there are plenty of recipes in this book which I could easily cook on any day of the week. In fact, I did, the first thing I tried from it was the Insanity Burger as I already had all the ingredients in and as soon as I saw the picture I had to try it. My mouth is watering now just thinking of it; my husband declared it the best burger he has ever had and it was so easy to make. I don’t think I’ll ever cook a burger any other way.
As Jamie says himself this book is ‘All about those simple, delightful guilty pleasures we all love.’ So many of the recipes remind me of childhood and home cooking but they have been given the Jamie Oliver treatment. The book is split into six chapters, Nostalgia, Good Mood Food, Pick Me Ups, Ritual, Guilty Pleasures and my particular favourite, Sweet Indulgence. Each recipe has a little personal introduction and plenty of gorgeous photographs. This is one of my pet peeves in cookbooks, when they don’t have enough pictures of the food so I love that this book is overflowing with them! This might be a little strange but I also think the cover is perfect, it feels a little like fabric and reminds me of my Mum’s old cookbooks from the 70’s!
As soon as the book landed in my house it was poured over by my family so I decided to cook a family lunch from it. I borrowed my Mum’s kitchen and dining room as she has the space to fit us all in. I wanted to cook something that we could all enjoy so I went with Ultimate Arrabbiata, Tear ‘N’ Share Garlic Bread and (saving the best for last) Peanut Butter & Jelly Brownies. We all love Italian food and pasta is the perfect comfort food for me, my mum has cooked us pasta for as long as I can remember! The Tear ‘N’ Share Garlic Bread caught my eye as soon as I looked through the book, my version was definitely more ‘rustic’ than Jamie’s version but it tasted incredible, so much so that it will be difficult to go back to shop bought versions now. Both the Arrabbiata and Garlic Bread I found simple to cook, they just needed more preparation time but once I had everything ready it was really stress-free. Jamie himself calls the PB&J Brownies ‘an outrageous little recipe’ and he isn’t wrong. These were so, so good that I just I just couldn’t stop eating them even when I was full. Again I needed to put a little more effort in than I do with my regular brownies but they were absolutely worth it and the peanut butter custard topping very nearly didn’t make it to the baking tray, me and my husband could have easily eaten it by the spoonful! I would buy the book for this recipe alone!
There are plenty more recipes I want to try; the methods are always so detailed that I feel confident in trying something new and cooking something from scratch that I would usually buy. The Sticky Chinese Ribs look delicious and I know we would all love the Proper Veg Lasagne. If you are a big Jamie Oliver fan then this is a must buy, if you haven’t tried one of his books before then this would be a great one to start with. It certainly helped to make our family meal a big success and the food was enjoyed by all four generations round our table!
Disclaimer – I was sent a copy of Jamie’s Comfort Food to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.