Thursday, February 13, 2014

Cookbook Review: Save With Jamie

Jamie Oliver just keeps re-inventing himself and this time, he’s gaining inspiration from the feedback provided by social media. In his new book, Save with Jamie, he writes, “This book exists because you guys asked for it. Through your requests on, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, the need for delicious, exciting food that’s not hard on your wallet was very clear, so I listened. “

Jamie Oliver does social media well. From Food Tube to Google Plus, daily recipes on his Facebook page, live tweeting trips to the USA to promote Food Revolution or openings of new restaurants in the UK and incredible Instagram photos, he is definitely one interesting chef to follow.

Save With Jamie was available in Canada at the same time Food Network Canada began airing episodes of the TV program of the same name, much to my delight. Jamie’s latest offering is extremely useful both in the mostly easy and yet creative recipes, but also ones that are relatively inexpensive to make or easy to stretch.  There are the usual sections devoted to chicken, beef, fish, lamb and  a great vegetarian section, but I think the real gems are in the bits of advice peppered throughout the book on how to stretch things such as veg, chilies, how to joint a chicken, what to do with leftovers, and what to look for in a butcher or fishmonger. For those wanting to cook more from scratch but aren't sure where to start, this book hits all the bases. In fact, I'd say that this book is even better than Food Revolution, if I had to choose.

The real gold in this book, however, are in the bonus recipes at the back. Eight quick, no brainer recipes that serve one or two seem like something you wouldn’t need to put in a cookbook but the ideas are brilliant. Meaty, buttery, herby mushrooms on toast? Yes, please. I've made these twice, even adding things like fresh parsley, bacon, and fresh cracked pepper. My family immediately wolfed them down, licked their fingers, and asked for more.  I also love how throughout the book there’s so much variety in flavours. Whether it’s Asian, Italian, or Indian, there are so many choices here you’ll never be bored. 

This book is very useful. The recipes I’ve tried have all turned out very well and my family cleaned their plates. There are bits that are decidedly British-lamb is not inexpensive here in Canada by any means, so cooking it is more of a luxury than money saving, but I can over look that. There are a few ingredients that may be a little more difficult or expensive to find such as self rising flour, but one can make their own by adding 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder to each cup of flour. I also found that you can buy a small bag at Target, of all places. (which incidentally also carries some of Jamie's other products)

Overall, so far I have really loved this book. There’s a lot here for both novice cooks and more experienced, with lots of great flavors and healthy dishes you can make on a weeknight for your family. I can’t wait to dive back in and find more to make-and really, that’s the whole point, isn’t it? You want a book that will be interesting and useful, which will inspire you to hit the kitchen and cook.

Without question, Save With Jamie delivers exactly that. 

Recipes from the book: 

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