Thursday, May 13, 2010

Jamie's Food Revolution - New Cookbook

I had a lot of inquiries about my Menu plan Monday post where I mentioned that I had a new cookbook. Well I hadn't made any recipes yet, so I really couldn't weigh in. I've been kind-of burned out on cooking, lately. This has a LOT to do with tummy troubles I have been having that I begin to suspect are due to a recently developing lactose intolerance.

For my birthday I got Jamie Oliver's cookbook. Jamie's Food Revolution a book that sort-of goes along with the recent ABC television series (You can still watch the full episodes online, here at ABC's website)

So now that I have made three recipes out of the book, I would have to give it a mixed review.

Tonight we had Broccoli and Pesto Tagliatelle page 46. The family liked it well enough, but I thought that it would have more flavor than it did, and I nearly doubled the amount of cheese and green pesto. I did forget to add the fresh basil until after we were eating. It was certainly quick to throw together with not too many ingredients. I used Spinach Tagliatelle, we like spinach and that was the only tagliatelle I could find at the market. I will probably make it again.

On Monday I made Chicken and Leek Stroganoff page 34. The recipe is listed as taking 19 minutes. It was quick, but cutting up the chicken & leeks took me a bit of time, and I had bought mushrooms already sliced (I had to slice mushrooms it seems to take an eternity if you are going to have a decent volume of them in your dish. When I tasted the sauce in the pan I thought the leeks had given it the flavor of a heavenly elixir, not so much as we ate the dish. Robert and I ate it, and I think you could solve the flavor issue by using TWO leeks instead of one & chicken broth in place of water when you add the white wine. But Ethan flat out refused to eat it because he said it had no taste. And you know, neither the subtle wonderfullness that leeks impart, nor the meaty goodness of mushrooms hold much sway with a 11 year-old boy.

On Friday I made British Beef and Onion Pie page 175. It called for a previously unheard of British product called Marmite. Even Robert was unfamiliar with it, and his Dad is from England. But I found the stuff at H.E.B. the market that has International foods up and down both sides of the aisle. I also made a number of rookie goofs in getting this recipe on the table. On Thursday I had a hard time with Ethan's homework & was behind hand getting dinner started so that I cooked the veggies only & Robert brought home Panda Express for Dinner. On FRIDAY when I went to finish the rest of the dish I discovered that I missed beef broth on the recipe list but I could hardly call my husband with a take-out emergency a 2nd night in a row, so I used chicken broth with a beef bullion cube thrown in. THEN I had read the instructions to see that it had to bake for 40 minutes & planned for that. But missed the little detail about simmering the pot for ONE HOUR prior to making it into a pie. Oh dear!

So finally my beef pie was ready for its crust. The recipe says to let the filling cool before adding the crust, but that was out of the question due to time. So I put the crust on hot, it melted, fell into the center of the pie, the broth seeped out the steam hole so the pastry was under water the whole of the 40 minute baking time. I spooned out all the doughy pie crust, tossed that & we ate the filling in bowls like beef stew. What a disaster ...that is until we tasted it. What wonderfully beefy flavor (remember I used chicken broth!) How on earth had this happened, I cook all the time with onion, carrots and celery but never have they tasted like THIS. Do you think it was the Marmite? Or the dish knowing that it had a lot to make up for? It was so good that I immediately ran out and bought beef broth and more ground beef! I'm making it again tomorrow or Friday. I also greatly suspect this is what prompted to me to think that 221 Baker Street Pub & Grill might not be jam packed on Mother's Day.

So I have to give the Jamie Oliver book a mixed review. Two easy lacklustre dishes and one heavenly where have you been all my life time consuming one. There are a lot of photos and a lot of fish dishes (fish dishes a drawback for me as I don't eat fish) but quite a number of shrimp dishes which pay me back for the fish. So I'll keep at it. And to me the beef pie is worth the cost of the book. Especially as you can also make it as a shepherd's pie!

I'll get up some recipes in the coming days, but at least now you have the book review.


Carrie said...

Hmmm, thanks for the review. And I'm with you, I don't cook fish. I go to a fish fry every once in a blue moon and I'm good.

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