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For me, without a doubt Jamie’s best book to date
on 28 August 2014
If you can’t tell from the title of this review, I am so very impressed by this book. I own a lot of Jamie’s other books and certainly do like them, but I love this one for so many reasons…
I have posted a more in-depth review below as well as a full recipe list at the very end of this review but for those out there (and I know there are many of you) that want a quick summary of what’s hot and what’s not about this book, these first few paragraphs are for you.
What I LOVE about this book:
- The feel of the book, a small thing to some but the textured hard cover is lovely as are the individual recipe pages on good quality paper.
- The recipe images, there is an abundance for every single recipe, they are informative and inspiring (please see image uploads to see what I mean).
- The recipe formats and layout – you instantly see at the left of each recipe:
Number of servings
Time to make
Calories per serving
- Jamie’s intro at the beginning of each recipe, full of enthusiasm and instantly explains what the recipe is if unsure (a Pierogi is ‘basically a Polish boiled dumplin’… news to me!).
- The nutritional section at the back of the book, I always like to know the nutritional value of what I’m eating, it won’t spoil my chocolate brownie but it will make me balance my nutrition or exercise accordingly for the rest of the day.
- The recipes themselves are all dishes I WANT to and CAN make. See the recipe list at the end for yourself as this is pure opinion but these dishes are all my family’s kind of food and there is a great variety.
If you are not familiar with Jamie Oliver and his books I’d recommend trying out the trial recipes which are posted on The Times Newspaper’s website if you have access, at the moment there are 8 on there which, when you consider the book contains 100 recipes, it’s a great example of the type and styles of recipes in the book and it’s what we did.
Now normally in the first few paragraphs I’d write about things I dislike or I think could be improved with the book. Here I am struggling, really struggling. It’s sincerely everything I personally would want for in this type of book about comfort food; a nice variety of great looking food, with easy to follow conversational methods as well as hundreds of great images to inspire and educate. I sincerely don’t know what to put here for negatives. The book does, in my opinion, exactly what Jamie sets out for it to do, it’s a book I will definitely reach for when I want to make a weekend treat.
Ok and now for my even more in-depth review for those that are still with me, which I feel I must caveat with a statement about how I always try to look for constructive improvements a book / author can make for the reader, but sincerely in this instance it really is all positives, hence the 5 stars, I would wholeheartedly recommend it to Jamie Oliver fans and comfort food fans alike.
Firstly, as I mentioned previously, the book is a delight to behold, with a textured cover (I have uploaded a few images of this and a typical recipe page on this amazon product page!) and as with all of Jamie’s books that I have purchased, which is most of them now, the images from page to page are absolutely beautiful.
With there ‘only’ being 100 recipes in this rather thick book, you can see how multiple pages are dedicated to one recipe and with that are beautiful images as well as some great tips and information from Jamie every now and again.
This combination of images and great information (all with the usual great design and fonts Jamie puts into his books), make Comfort Food an absolute joy to browse and read even if not intending to cook from it anytime soon.
The book is split into the following 6 main recipe sections:
Good Mood Food
Pick Me Ups
Within each section there is a great variety of recipes so if looking for something specific it might be best to use the index at the back of the book. Worth noting the index has a nice touch whereby it marks recipes that are suitable for vegetarians with a ‘v’.
Where on earth Jamie gets his inspiration and invention from is beyond me considering we own at least eight of his books and have yet to feel like there are any repeats or rehashes from other books.
There is also a nutrition section at the back of the book, which lists calories, fat, saturates, carbs and sugar for every recipe. At the end of the nutrition section it acknowledges that the nature of comfort food means the recipes are often indulgent, but as a reader I sincerely appreciate just being informed on what I am eating.
Now on to the main thing for me with any book, the recipe pages and trials of the recipes.
The recipe pages are laid out in a great manner for me, as mentioned before each lists number of servings, prep time and calories. The first two certainly help when flicking through for inspiration and considering when I want to make these meals. Though most I think would be made on a weekend owing to their indulgent nature, there are plenty around the 30 / 40 minute mark if you wanted to do some mid-week too.
We actually did the chicken tikka masala mid-week and it was very true to time (I’m usually a little slow to prep anyway but the recipe states 1hr 20mins and I was about 1hr 30mins after having marinating overnight), and more importantly it was delicious. The recipe states serves 6 – 8 and it did 4 adults and two hungry teenagers comfortably.
My wife also baked the peanut butter and jelly brownies, as big fans of peanut butter in our household these were nothing short of phenomenal, it seems so obvious that nuts and chocolate work so well together but these really worked better than we had hoped and a real hit.
Well in summary, I really do think this book is fantastic. I expected it to be good as we have continued to like all of Jamie’s books and always find ourselves going back to them, I have no doubt we will do the same with this one but I will post an update in a few weeks’ time with how we get on.
Chicken Tikka Masala
Beans on Toast
Curried Fish Pie
Retro Layered Salad
Giant Sausage Roll
Jerk Ham, Eggs and Chips
Mushroom Soup and Pasta Bake
Big British Meatballs
Posh Pot Noodle
Mini Fish and Chips
Condiments; curry sauce, tartare sauce, mushy peas, let’s chat pickles (not a recipe )
Shawarma accompaniments; amba sauce, silken houmous, tabbouleh, pickled veg
Double Whammy Toad in the Hole
Mum’s smoked Haddock
Good Mood Food
Gorgeous Gado Gado
Irresistible Pork Buns
Ultimate Crab Cakes
Happiness is a Bacon Sarnie
Ghanaian Groundnut Stew
Best Cornbread and Chipotle Butter
Hot Smoked Salmon Club Sandwich
Gnocchi and Squash Sauce
Greek Egg and Chips
Pulled Pork and Sweet Potato Hash
Bloody Mary Beef
Pick me Ups
Best Bun Cha Bowls
Spinach, bacon and pine nut salad
Ultimate Black Daal
Blushing Spaghetti Vongole
Pho Sure, it’s Good
Chicken Broth, Veg and Pesto
Kushari Al Forno
Drinks; Bellini, Tom Collins, Mojito, Smokin’ Bloody Mary
Winter Nights Chilli
Gyoza with Crispy Wings
Cassoulet de Essex
Royal Pasta Dough
Crispy Duck Lasagne
Proper Veg Lasagne
Ossobuco Alla Milanese
Risotto Allo Zafferano
Cooking and Serving Kielbasa
Mayonnaise Four Ways
Overnight Roasted Pork Shoulder
Mighty Greek Moussaka
Salt and Pepper Squid
Number One Toasted Cheese Sandwich
Butter and Sage Gnudi
Lobster Mac and Cheese
Tear n Share Garlic Bread
Southern Fried Chicken
Aubergine Parmigiana Sandwich
Sticky Chinese Ribs
Super Eggs Benedict
Chicken and Mushroom Pie
Beef and Barley Buns
Unbelievable Provencal Bake
Next Level Steak and Onion Sandwich
Dreamy Marshmallow Pavlova
Scrumptious Sticky Toffee Pudding
Pineapple Upside-down Cake
Chocolate Celebration Cake
Double Vanilla Ice Cream
Mint Choc Chip Ice Cream
Salted Caramel Ice Cream
Rum and Raisin Ice Cream
Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream
The Jaffa Cake
Amazing Apple Pie
Jamaican Ginger Cake
Devil’s Double Choc Malt Cookies
Bonkers Bread and Butter Panettone Pudding Tart
Rhubarb and Potted Custard
Brazilian Teardrop Doughnuts
Beautiful Black Forest Gateau
Tutti Frutti Pear Tarte Tatin
German Coffee Cake
Peanut Butter and Jelly Brownies
Ultimate Hot Chocolate