...the reason for 'Jamie's Great Britain: over 130 Reasons to Love Our Food', is revealed on the dust-jacket flap (copied here in full, as it is not on the Amazon product detail, at the time of writing):
~ 'This book is really special to me. It has been a long time coming, but sometimes it takes years of looking at other countries to realise how wonderful your own actually is. I grew up in one of the first true British gastropubs, which my Mum and Dad still run today. For me, the heart and soul of real British cooking is food that makes you happy and puts a smile on your face. And that's what I want to share with you: the real essence of British food, done properly. Over the years, our food culture has embraced loads of different flavours and influences from all the people who have settled here and made this country their home. I hope the food in this book reflects the open-mindedness of our culture as well as the beauty of Great Britain. There are over 130 of my favourite recipes here, some are indisputable classics, some are my versions of the classics, some should be classics but just haven't been made famous yet and others I've made up by picking from the great bounty of regional produce. Writing this book has been a real labour of love, and whether you're from Brighton, Brisbane or Berlin, if you love food, I think it will offer you a little taste of happiness.' ~
And Jamie, with his Sunday Roast...grins at you from the picture on the dust-jacket. The naked book is simply blue with white block titling, 'JAMIE'S GREAT BRITAIN' on the spine, only.
Measuring in around 19.5 cm x 25 cm and some 4 cm deep, this is a well-produced, weighty tome, written the typically 'JO' way. In between the covers are 407 matt pages, split over main chapters:
sandwiched between an introduction & a concise index which is usefully enhanced with a 'V' for vegetarian and in a bold font for the illustrated dishes. Jamie's 'thanks page' is present, as always.
A colourful double-page spread opens each chapter with an illustration on one page and Jamie's intro on the other, then it is straight into the recipes, starting with 'one-pan breakfast'. The blurb and recipe for this one is in a mix of pastel colours which is faintly irritating and, initially, my heart sank.... but a quick flick through reveals that these are in the minority, fortunately. The accompanying photo looks satisfying enough (if this is your scene), and is complete with teapot, cup of tea and a bottle of HP sauce which pops up later on too, (although, 'Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce' gets a double-page spread ahead of the inevitable recipe for, 'a sarnie', in the shape of a 'Worcestershire Beef' one, which, surprisingly, uses brisket!) Turning over to 'Bubble & Squeak', the recipe is easier on the eye with the main text in black on a white page and this sets the format for the majority.
Each recipe opens with the main capitalised title and accompaniments (if applicable). Typical JO banter comes along next, followed by the number of servings and the list(s) of ingredients and the method. Tips and variations are included where applicable, sometimes in the form of a PS tip at the bottom of the recipe. Childhood memories recalled and informative little snippets, generally regional, are dotted throughout the book. The colourful publication is interspersed with a good number of photographs, including some of the dishes and ingredients, along with on-location shots and Jamie & family, from 'Lord' David Loftus.
'There is nothing like a delicious warming soup when the seasons start to turn'.
No truer words have been spoken, in my opinion, and Jamie's 'My Scotch Broth' from pages 54 & 55, uses 2 x 350g lamb shanks and serves 8. Jamie uses the 'falling-off-the-bone lamb', as an accompaniment called 'Pulled Lamb on Grilled Toasts', giving an overall satisfying crunch and making a deceptively hearty meal to say the least! Lately, I have really got into cooking with shanks and was happy to also find 'Guinness Lamb Shanks', on pages 264 & 265, served with 'Sticky Dark Gravy & Fresh Mint Dressing' and this recipe is very hard to beat on flavour.
'Shredded Rainbow Salad', from pages 84 & 85, lives up to the opening note of 'being one of the nicest & quickest salads you could ever make'. It uses beetroot, red cabbage, carrots, cabbage, pears, parsley or mint and shelled walnuts.
'Shepherd's Pie', from pages 238 & 239 'pays homage to our long-suffering dairy farmers' (hence the extended recipe title of 'Vs Milkman's Pie') and the Jamie 'tweak', is using veal in this tasty recipe. Arguably, there is the odd recipe that you might not expect to find in this book, but Jamie justifies its inclusion in his own way, e.g. 'Yemeni Pancakes' as he 'was introduced to the style of pancake by the ladies of the Yemeni community in Cardiff's Tiger Bay, where they have been made for over 200 years now....'
Similarly, 'Roasted Veg Vindaloo' is in because of Jamie's work with the Goan community in Leeds, where he learned that 'vindaloo, a curry famous all over the UK, is actually from Goa but has European roots. That part of India was, for many hundreds of years, actually under Portuguese control. It was the Portuguese who introduced vinegar to Goa and put the 'vin' (vinegar) in vindaloo ('loo' was the garlic).....'
A small taste of the other recipes contained within:
* Bubble & Squeak * Glasgow Potato Scones * Breakfast Crumpies * Light & Spicy Kedgeree * Fresh Tomato Soup with Little Cheddar Soldiers * Minted Courgette Soup * Mighty Mulligatawny * Chestnut Pumpkin Soup * Crunchy Allotment Salad * Warm Crispy Duck Salad * Heavenly Salmon Salad * Granny Smith's Pork & Rice Salad * Epic Roast Chicken Salad * Baby Yorkshire Puds with Creamy Smoked Trout and Horseradish Pâté * My Prawn Cocktail * Wee Scotch Eggs * Breaded Scampi Bites * Toad-in-the-hole * Happy Fish Pie * Pale Ale Fondue * Easy Pork Scratchings * Sizzling Lamb Lollipops * Easy Essex Haggis * Jerk-dressed Bristol Pork * My Nan's St Clement's Cake * Earl Grey Tea Loaf * Queen Victoria Sponge * Rainbow Jam Tarts * Charming Eccles Cakes * Crumbliest Scones * Wonderful Welsh Cakes * Leigh-on-Sea Sole with Crispy Black Pudding & Creamy Clapshot * 3-Ways with Fresh Oysters * Lincolnshire Poacher Pie * Early Autumn Cornish Pasties * Steak & Kidney Pud * Hearty Oxtail Stew * Incredible Roast Goose * Welsh Surf & Turf * Pease pudding * Seared Venison Loin * Honey-Roasted Lemon Rabbit with Offal Skewers * Flying Steak Sandwich * Tasty Shredded Brussels * Irish Champ * 4-Ways with Asparagus * 4-Ways with Mashed Potato * Perfect Poached Pears * Chocolate Orange Steamed Pud * Retro Arctic Roll * Citrus Cheesecake Possets * Ecclefechan Butter Tart, with a Dollop of Whisky & a Ginger Cream * Flapjack Crumble * Chocolate Pudding Bombe * The Best Piccalilli * Sunday Lunch Sauces * Homemade Mayonnaise
Not forgetting.....a tribute, or two, to royalty in the form of 'Kate & Will's Wedding Pie', from pages 232 & 233 and, to celebrate June 2012:
'ER's Diamond Jubilee Chicken', on pages 146 & 147.
Jamie's Great Britain was published to coincide with the TV programme of the same name and there are, currently, some of the recipes and 'how to' videos on the JO website.