Wednesday, 25 February 2015

11: Jamie Oliver, Happy Days with the Naked Chef - Cooking the Books

Starter:     Onion Baguette

Main:        Chicken in Milk

Dessert:    Pancakes – USA stylie (Jamie’s words, not mine!)

jamie happy days

Starter: Onion Baguette

Easiness: 6/10

Taste: 6/10

Make again: 6/10

Cheats & Changes: I used my own basic bread recipe

I see bread boards on the starter menus time and time again now, so here’s one you could add to yours! Jamie doesn’t use a typical French Baguette recipe, so rather than use his basic bread, I used mine which I know works well.

Make your bread as per the recipe until you’ve finished the first prove.

While it’s proving, make your onion mixture. Finely slice white onions and garlic, pop into a pan with olive oil and cover until beginning to soften. Once they are turning translucent, remove the lid and let the water evaporate. When soft but not coloured, remove from the heat, add a splash of white wine vinegar and leave to cool.

Ready for the Oven


Once the dough has had its first prove, shape into baguettes on a well floured flat tin and rub the onion mixture into the top of each one. Leave until doubled in size then slide the tray into a hot oven for about 20 minutes or until they sound hollow. The onions will burn a little, but it doesn’t hinder flavour. For a crispier crust, sprinkle with water too. They are good, but would be improved even more by adding some of the onion mixture to the dough itself before shaping, just make sure there’s very little moisture left in it.


This is the perfect sort of bread for dipping into the juices from today’s Chicken in Milk post too.

Main: Chicken in Milk

Easiness: 9/10

Taste: 8/10

Make again: 8/10

Cheats & Changes: none

Now, I know this doesn’t sound appealing; certainly not as tasty as slow cooked ham in cola, or something stickily similar, but I had a whole chicken, so…


The recipe's here but it’s a fairly simple combination of ingredients: sage, cinnamon, lemon, garlic and milk. You brown the chicken on a snug fitting lidded casserole, tip out excess fat, shove in the rest of the ingredients and cook. I left mine for a slightly shorted time than the recipe as I didn’t want dry chicken. I had a 1.6kg chicken that I left in for 1hr20m. Then removed from the heat, and left to sit with the lid on for about 10 minutes before serving. The meat fell off from the bone and was incredibly juicy. And although the milk sauce splits due to the lemon zest so you end up with curds and whey, which don’t necessarily look very appealing, the taste is really lovely, especially if you dip the onion baguette!

Dessert: Pancakes

Easiness: 5/10

Taste: 8/10

Make again: 5/10 much simpler recipes out there with the same basics and flavour

Cheats & Changes: none

This is a great recipe to whip up for pudding, although is more convoluted than the usual American pancake recipes as you whip the egg whites to create volume and air to help the pancakes puff up. I’d never choose to make this recipe as I think pancakes should be quick and easy, without having the pre-whip egg whites, etc. This also means it’s more difficult to use the mixture the next day as the whites are flat again by then. I’d normally just make a big jug of my usual one thicker with less liquid, that way it stores well in the fridge for a couple of days, but do cover it up. You can the add fruit as you go to whatever taste you fancy that day, and it makes for a super-quick and easy breakfast, especially if the frying pan is left out from the night before!

American pancakes with blueberries

Photo courtesy of

The recipe is online here and I chose to add blueberries to the mixture before cooking, then sprinkle cooked cakes with icing sugar and drizzled syrup. You can never have too much sugar! I ate mine before taking pictures but they did look fairly similar to the Jamie ones above! If you’re looking for a more ‘fun’ idea for pancakes, have a look at my Peppa ones.

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Merlotti x

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