Saturday, 10 January 2015

6: Jamie Oliver–Jamie’s Kitchen–Cooking the Books

Starter:      Potato, Celeriac & Truffle Oil Soup

Main:         Pappardelle with Amazing Slow-Cooked Meat

Dessert:     Clementine Chocolate Salad

I think it’s about time we began with one of the Jamies. I have so many, but seem not to have previously used this one.  It was one of the first books after his Naked Chef series and ran alongside his setting up of the restaurant, Fifteen: a scheme whereby people who hadn’t made the best start to their lives were given a second chance to learn new skills cheffing.


Starter: Potato, Celeriac & Truffle Oil Soup

Easiness: 7/10, peeling a celeriac can be quite interesting

Taste: 6/10

Make again: 7/10

Cheats & Changes: Leave out the truffle oil and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil instead


This soup recipe is fairly basic but, I’ll admit it, I hate truffle oil. It tastes of rubber and, in my opinion, doesn’t really enhance anything. I once ruined a ham, cheese and egg Leon-style pot with it, so am in no hurry to use it again. In fact, I left it out of this recipe completely and simple drizzled with a good quality extra-virgin olive oil to finish the soup. I am also fairly new to celeriac…a friend made a celeriac mash several months ago though, and since then, I’ve been smitten. Having said that, I think there are good and bad years for these vegetables and this season, they seem fairly watery and less intense in flavour.


Boil onion, potato and celeriac with stock. Flavour with thyme, salt and pepper, add some cream and re-boil, then puree. Due to the flavourless celeriac, I’d double quantities of this whilst leaving the potato weights the same. Add a little more stock to keep the texture though.

Main: Pappardelle with Amazing Slow-Cooked Meat

Easiness: 7/10

Taste: 8/10

Make again: 8/10

Cheats & Changes: a teaspoon of sugar to take the bitterness from the tomatoes.

DSC_0438 (2)

Now, I'm not going to cheat, so I will let you into a little secret. I bought myself a post-Christmas pick me up for the kitchen: I just couldn't resist a KitchenAid and since my little hand mixer died shortly beforehand (I'm sure it didn't have anything to do with me going on and on about how lovely a shiny, boysenberry KitchenAid would look) I felt it was a perfectly justified investment! And it has been. I've already made two different doughs, one for steamed buns to hold duck and another for my usual crispy white tear and share bread, and also tried Gino's Lady's Kisses biscuits from a couple of weeks ago...all have worked brilliantly so far, so I have no reason to doubt that trying it out with my pasta attachment will go just as smoothly!

basic pasta

The lovely thing about this book is that Jamie also gives a simple egg pasta recipe and ideas about how to handle it, including how to use the pasta rollers and cutters and how to shape it. So I looked at that, and the suggested recipe in the KitchenAid manual and also found this little post demonstrating someone else’s experiences and method for using the mixer to help. I’ve decided it’s basically a case of 100g and 1 egg per person of pasta. A sprinkle of salt if you’d like and then you only add water spoon by spoon until it comes together. I needed a few as I tried the KitchenAid recipe which had an extra 10g flour per person, but guess it depends on how big your eggs are!


800g braising meat

handful fresh chopped rosemary and thyme

1 small red onion

4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1 carrot

1 celery stalk

2 glasses Chianti

2 400g tins chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp pearl barley

grated cheese and a fat slice of butter

Finely chop all your veg. Fry off your meat – I used braising steak, but you could choose from venison, lamb, boar or joints of pigeon or hare – then add herbs, onion, garlic, carrot and celery. Continue to fry until softened then pour in a couple of glasses of red wine. Simmer until the liquid has almost cooked away. Add chopped tinned tomatoes, pearl barley and just enough water to cover the meat by 1cm and I added a teaspoon or so of sugar too to take the bitterness from the tomatoes, as I do with any tomato based sauce. Place a cartouche and pan lid on top and leave on a really low heat for 2-3 hours. If it’s too liquid still, leave the lid off on high for it to reduce for a few minutes. Once the meat flakes into deliciously tender strips, allow to cool slightly and pull apart all the meat, removing bones and skin if necessary, before returning to the pan and leaving to keep warm. Add a fat slice of butter and large handful of cheese to melt whilst you cook the pasta – a few minutes in a large pan if using fresh - drain and add to the stew to combine before serving.


This really was delicious and, if you’ve chopped the veg, or even cheated and bought pre-chopped, and made the pasta previously, it’s really a case of adding to a pan and leaving it to do it’s work. I was worried it wouldn’t hold enough depth but the addition of cheese and butter at the end really did lift the flavours.

I’m going to begin a ‘How Do I Use My New KitchenAid?’ little set of posts as I begin to use it to, hopefully, help others along the way, so look there for more detail regarding the pasta making itself. I’ll add a link once completed.


Dessert: Clementine Chocolate Salad

Easiness: 7/10

Taste: 7/10

Make again: 7/10

Cheats & Changes: Vanilla extract with seeds rather than scraped pod seeds


This doesn’t have the same name, but is essentially the same recipe from the book. Feel free to use whichever orangey fruit you prefer and as much or as little of the other ingredients as you’d like too. And why not crumble a Flake over the top, or your favourite chocolate bar? This would be lovely with a broken-up Crunchie! I tried to follow the recipe exactly, but did use Madagascan vanilla extract in the syrup rather than seeds from a vanilla pod. It involves slicing the fruit, sprinkling flaked almonds and chopped mint over the top, making a quick syrup with sugar, water and vanilla, then pouring over and topping with grated chocolate.

It had a Turkish / Greek aspect to it, and despite the mix of several flavours, each was distinct and worked well against the other. If you have the ingredients to hand, this is a very quick ‘light’ alternative to a dessert, and perfect for serving to many on a platter for sharing.

All that remains to be said is Happy New Year. I hope this year time slows slightly and that I remember to live and treasure every moment.


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Merlotti x

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