Cookbook review - 7 Ways by Jamie Oliver

more than a year ago

One of the world's most famous cookbook authors and TV chefs, Jamie Oliver has helped transform how an entire generation approach the kitchen. Sure, there are those who have always been devoted to the culinary arts, building up bookshelves of veritable libraries of cookery related literature and diligently making their own preserved lemons. And then there are those who follow 'The Naked Chef', lapping up his keep-it-simple approach to the kitchen, that also extols the virtues of spending extra for high-quality ingredients and making use of some time-saving 'cheats' every now and then.

5 Ingredients was one of Oliver's most successful books of recent years,  a book which he says was all about getting 'maximum flavour with minimum effort'. Building on the same non-nonsense, easy to plan approach of 5 Ingredients, in his new book 7 Ways Oliver seeks to make things even easier providing solutions for harried home cooks who frequently find themselves quickly veering towards another takeaway because they just don't have the time.

The new book champions 18 ‘hero’ ingredients that Oliver's research team identified as among the most popular items shopped weekly in British supermarkets, and provides a week’s worth of recipes for each. Most recipes come with short ingredients lists and with seven different ways to make use of each 'hero' ingredient the idea is that you'll usually be able to find something to cook with what you already have in the fridge.

We found Oliver's recipes very easy to follow and quick to whip up (although we advise keeping a close eye on how much chilli is required, in some cases a teaspoon would suffice where a tablespoon is listed). We also enjoyed the nutritional lowdown accompanying each recipe, which Oliver explains is there to 'allow you to make informed decisions about what you're eating'.

If you are in the market for a book packed with new easy everyday dishes to try this year, 7 Ways hits the mark. Published by Penguin Books 7 Ways is now available in all good bookshops.

To get you started here are four highlights from the new book to try this week centred around steak, broccoli, whole chicken and salmon fillet.

Beef Wellington for 2

Puff pastry, spinach pancakes & mushroom pâté
Serves 2
Total time: 1 hour 3 minutes

1 red onion
250g mixed mushrooms
1 x 230g quality fillet steak
olive oil
1⁄2 a bunch of thyme (10g)
2 large free-range eggs
1 mug of plain flour, plus extra for dusting 100g baby spinach
1 x 320g sheet of all-butter puff pastry

Peel the onion and roughly chop with the mushrooms. Put a 30cm non-stick frying pan hot on a high heat. Season the steak with sea salt and plenty of black pepper and rub with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Turning with tongs, sear the steak all over for 2 minutes in total, then remove to a plate. Return the pan to a medium heat with the onion and mushrooms. Strip in the thyme. Cook for 15 minutes, or until soft, stirring regularly. Blitz in a food processor until spreadable, season to perfection, and remove. Blitz 1 egg, the flour, spinach, a pinch of salt and 1 mug of water in the processor until smooth. Put your pan back on a medium heat, rub with oil, then pour in a thin layer of batter. Cook for 1 minute on each side without colour. Tip on to a plate to cool. Cover the leftover batter and chill for breakfast or brunch.

Preheat the oven to 220°C. Sit your pancake on a large sheet of clingfilm. Evenly spread over the mushroom pâté. Place the steak in the centre, then gather up the clingfilm and twist into a parcel. Sit the wrapped steak (clingfilm discarded) on the pastry, 2cm from one side. Eggwash all the pastry, then fold and mould the excess over the wrapped steak, leaving a pastry border around it. Trim to 2cm, pinch the edges to seal, eggwash, and decorate with the trimmings, if you like. Cook on the bottom of the oven for 25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden on top and crispy underneath, for blushing, juicy beef. Rest for 2 minutes, then serve.

Creamy broccoli risotto

Oozy Gorgonzola, zingy lemon & vibrant parsley oil
Serves 4
Total time: 40 minutes

1.5 litres organic veg or chicken stock 1 head of broccoli (375g)
1 onion
olive oil
2 anchovy fillets in oil, from sustainable sources 300g risotto rice
1⁄2 a bunch of flat-leaf parsley (15g)
1 lemon
extra virgin olive oil 60g Gorgonzola cheese

Bring the stock to a gentle simmer over a low heat. Trim the tough end off the broccoli stalk, cut the florets into small pieces and finely chop the remaining stalk. Peel and finely chop the onion, then place in a large high-sided pan on a medium heat, along with the chopped broccoli stalk and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cook for 10 minutes, or until softened, stirring regularly, then stir in the anchovies, followed by the rice to toast for 2 minutes. Add a ladleful of stock and wait until it’s been fully absorbed before adding another, stirring constantly and adding ladlefuls of stock until the rice is cooked – it will need 16 to 18 minutes. Halfway through, stir in the broccoli florets. Meanwhile, tear the top leafy half of the parsley into a pestle and mortar and pound into a paste with a pinch of sea salt. Squeeze in half the lemon juice and muddle in 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.

Crumble most of the cheese into the risotto, squeeze in the remaining lemon juice, beat together, then season to perfection. Add an extra ladleful of stock to make it oozy, then turn the heat off. Cover and leave to relax for 2 minutes. Crumble over the remaining cheese, drizzle with the parsley oil and serve.

Cumberland roast chicken

Roast potato, parsnip, leek & sage traybake, pear & watercress
Serves 6
Total time: 1 hour 45 minutes

1.2kg potatoes 2 parsnips
2 leeks
olive oil
1⁄2 a bunch of sage (10g)
3 higher-welfare Cumberland sausages 1 x 1.5kg free-range whole chicken
1 pear
85g watercress

Preheat the oven to 180C. Scrub the potatoes and finely slice, then wash, trim and finely slice the parsnips and leeks. Place it all in a 30cm x 40cm roasting tray, and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, a pinch of sea salt and black pepper and the sage leaves (reserving the stalks and a few leaves for later). Squeeze the sausagemeat out of the skins and scrunch together. Pull up the chicken skin at the tip of the breasts and use a spatula to gently separate the skin down the breast meat, then poke half the sausagemeat into each side, smoothing it out as you go. Secure the skin with a cocktail stick. Rub the chicken all over with a pinch of salt and pepper and 1 tablespoon of oil. Stuff the sage stalks into the chicken cavity. Place the chicken directly on the bars of the oven with the tray of veg underneath, and roast for 1 hour 20 minutes, or until everything is golden and cooked through.

With 10 minutes to go, sprinkle the reserved sage leaves over the tray of veg, so they crisp up nicely. Very finely slice or coarsely grate the pear, and toss with the watercress. Sit the chicken on the veg and serve everything together at the table.

Easy salmon en croute

Tasty spinach, baked red pesto sauce & lemon
Serves 4
Total time: 55 minutes

1 onion
olive oil
4 cloves of garlic
500g frozen spinach
1 x 320g sheet of all-butter puff pastry
4 x 130g salmon fillets, skin off, pin-boned, from sustainable sources 2 large free-range eggs
1 heaped tablespoon red pesto
1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 220C. Peel and chop the onion and place in a large non-stick pan on a medium heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Peel, finely slice and add the garlic, then cook for 10 minutes, or until softened, stirring regularly. Stir in the spinach, cover, and cook for 5 minutes, then remove the lid and cook for another 5 minutes, or until all the liquid has cooked away. Season to perfection. Unroll the pastry and place it, still on its paper, in a baking tray. Spread over the spinach, leaving a 5cm border all the way around. Sit the salmon fillets on top, 1cm apart, then use the paper to help you fold in the pastry edges to snugly encase the salmon, leaving it exposed on the top. Beat the eggs and use some to brush the exposed pastry, then bake at the bottom of the oven for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat the pesto into the remaining egg. When the time’s up, pull out the tray and pour the egg mixture over the salmon and into the gaps. Return to the bottom of the oven for a final 15 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the egg is just cooked through. Serve with lemon wedges, for squeezing over.

Subscribe to our free weekly Johannesburg In Your Pocket newsletter for all the latest news and reviews about what's new in Joburg!


Connect via social media
google sign in button
Leave a comment using your email This e-mail address is not valid
Please enter your name*

Please share your location

Enter your message*
Put our app in your pocket
This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more here. AGREE