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Category Archives: Jamie Oliver

it’s chriiiiiiiiiiiiiistmaaaaaaaaas!

With some time off work, this is the time for me to catch up on some writing, you lucky people.  What better time to sit down and discuss the phenomenon of festive food and it’s televisual counterpart.

I began my journey with the legend herself, Ms Fanny Cradock.  There were two quick episodes on Good Food Channel, one focusing on mincemeat, t’other on Christmas pudding.  In episode one, our main ingredient is described as “the Cinderella of Christmas” and such delights as mincemeat pancake, galette and OMELETTE (eggs with flakes of butter, nothing else) are created, right before our eyes through a fog of icing sugar.  Icing sugar on everything and about a centimetre deep too.  The speed in which she works is pretty astonishing: no messing about.  Fanny would do very well in the omelette challenge with James Martin, I can tell you.  Eggs are mixed together, pastry unfolded and costume jewellery glistens in grease.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the 1970’s.  The next recipe is for a tart.  Pastry is lowered into a shallow, round cake tin and filled with mincemeat.  Fanny cracks on saying “I’m not going to explain it all to the older people, you know all this stuff.”  Nice to see – basically, “you’re all old enough to know how to make bloody pastry and form it into a tart shape, now let’s get on with it”.

We move swiftly on to a Swiss roll filled with, yep the ‘meat.  The sponge is pre-prepared and handed over by Sarah (aka Poor Sarah) and various maxims are uttered such as “everything is so much better when you know how”.  Thanks.  We are advised that you need a good quality rolling pin – not one with handles though: “that’s the best kind, the professional kind.  Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to get a rolling pin in your stocking”.  If I did, I might be lucky enough to hit my husband round the head with it.

Fanny and Sarah

Delia Smith is a more recent Christmas icon.  Carsmile still swears by her instructions for turkey or goose from the ‘Complete Illustrated Cookery Course‘ 1992 edition (originally published in 1978).  As is the way on speciality channels, we are served up a whole evening of her 1990 series, Delia at Christmas.  This particular episode began with the words “I don’t agree with vegetarianism…” but she humored us with a selection of recipes for cheese terrine, stuffed peppers and ‘sausage’ (cheese and herb) rolls.  An issue with the screening of classic shows is the aspect ratio as Delia invited a friend over to explain the delights of fizzy wine.  “You don’t have to stick to Champagne,” said the very wide sommelier, “there’s other fizz out there like Cava or this stuff from India!”  I’m not sure if I was more excited about the Indian wine or the amazing shoulder pads.

The following installment was the legendary “36 Hours of Christmas” and I started to wonder why programmes continue to be made on the subject of Christmas turkeys.  People moan about dry, tasteless meat but once you know the best way to do it, why bother with anything else (“everything is so much better when you know how”)?  Now we are acquainted with Delia’s technique, I don’t care about Gordon’s recipe or even Jamie’s version.  But the more shows I watched, the more I noticed the seemingly endless ways of cooking the festive bird.  Lorraine places a bag of frozen peas on the breast before it goes into the oven to slow down the time it takes that part to cook, Nigella sticks her poultry in a gigantic red bucket (to match her silky, red dressing gown) with herbs and spices to add moistness and don’t even get me started on the stuffing controversy!

Read the rest of this entry »

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jamie, jamie and the magic touch

Seeing as my earlier Nigel Slater post had me singing XTC constantly, I don’t hold much hope with this one (look it up, kids)!

So, the inimitable Jamie Oliver is back on our screens with not only his ’30 Minute Meals’ (coz that clearly wasn’t fast enough) but also his ’15 Minute Meals’.  All Jamie, all the time.  I think even I might struggle with all the excitement.

There was a recent elimination task on Oz MC; cooks had 30 minutes to grab ingredients from the pantry and cook whatever they liked.  The bottom three moved on to the next round and had 20 minutes to do the same.  The bottom two then had a whole FIVE minutes to rustle up a storm in the kitchen.  Pretty crazy scenes, I can tell you.

COCK!

’15 Minute Meals’ begins with a visual riot of a title sequence.  Buffalo Stance blasts out of my speakers as our host flings basil, crushes chillies and generally makes a split-screen mess.  I pity poor old Jules who, I presume, has to clean up after him.  Read the rest of this entry »

 

making plans for nigel

I admit to not being the biggest Nigel Slater fan.  I will certainly look at his tasty recipes in the Guardian or Observer but have avoided his writing and previous television programmes.  It’s the Nigel/Nigella problem; flowery, over-the-top language that I try to steer clear of.  Just tell me what ingredients to buy and how to make it taste bloody nice.  That’s all I need.  I am a simple creature.  Do I really need to know that the bananas displayed in your huge kitchen/diner are ambrosial or the folding in of the lavender scented sugar takes you back to a time you fell asleep in your nanna’s airing cupboard?  I am certainly not a fan of Gordon’s method: “ADD CHEESE.  MIX.  WHACK IT IN THE OVEN. DONE!” … just somewhere in between would be perfect.  In my head, this means Jamie Oliver (without the ‘bruv’s or ‘pucker’s, innit?) but I know many who disagree.

I have warmed to Nigel with his recent programmes that focus on different themes (citrus or classic comfort food for example) or give advice on what main meal to cook on day one and magically use the leftovers for days two to five.  A homely Sunday roast chicken can go a long way!  This particular episode dealt with the topic of abundance.  A glut, if you will.  Mmmmmm, glut. Read the rest of this entry »

 

whinging pomms

The nights are putting in but I still get my hit of glorious sunshine in the form of Australian Masterchef.  To make me feel at home this week the producers brought a little bit of Britain to Sydney.

Once a week George and Greg give an hour long masterclass.  They remind us of what was in the mystery box and make some helpful suggestions.  Occasionally a guest will appear through the huge MCK (as they call it) doors.  This week, as soon as Greg introduced the guest ‘chef’ as an ex-model, I knew Ms Pascale would sashay through the kitchen with a big smile towards her Kitchen Aid.

The contestants look thrilled as always (there MUST be times when they have no idea who the head chef or food critic is but they hide it well) and Beau looked particularly delighted to see her; Read the rest of this entry »

 

friends with benefits

I often ask myself ‘why am I not friends with a chef off the telly?’

I am certainly friends with people who love to entertain, people who make a mean cocktail and people who do wonders with smoking and pulling stuff but, sorry, you’re no good to me until you’ve got your own show.  The ultimate experience would go something like this:
J: “Alright Fanny, it’s Jamie!  What you up to next week, bruv?  I’m doing my new show on Spanish food and need some of me mates to pop over and stuff their faces with my loverly grub.  You up for it?”
F: “Well, I suppose.  I was planning to clean out the cat litter, arrange my CD collection … yeah, why not?  Do I have to look hip?”

Many a time has my attention wandered as Nigella glides through her house with plates of food for a group of random people.  Are they neighbours being thanked for the inconvience of the film crew traipsing around?  Are they friends who are happy to appear on television looking like poshos?  Or are they actors?  Maybe, in the case of Maria McErlane, they’re all three!  I see Maria round Nigella’s ALL THE TIME.  How often does she return the favour do you think?

I’ve also spotted a familiar face or two round Jamie’s, playing with the kids or being manly with a barbeque.  Maybe Nigel doesn’t have any famous friends.  Or any friends.

Oh, go on then Nige – I’LL BE YOUR FRIEND  🙂

 

 

a little taster

The most annoying thing in any programme is the tasting. If Jamie Oliver spends five hours making a chilli I doubt he’s going to taste it and say “meh”. Nigella will tell you what you already know – her salted caramel hot chocolate is better than sex, or something. I don’t need to see these cooks or chefs frown in orgasmic wonder at how darned good it is.

In Fanny Towers, appreciation is shown with the occasional “MMMMMMM!” followed by a high five.  That’ll do me.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2012 in Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson