Last years Jamie Oliver's offering in the cookbook line was Jamie’s America. It accompanied a TV series on Channel 4, I didn’t manage to see all of it, but what I did see was good, although some of it was disturbingly thought provoking. I hope they re-run it, as I would like to catch the episodes I missed. My only criticism of the series would be that I’d have liked to see some more cooking.
This is definitely not an issue for the book, because it’s jam packed. It is divided into Chapters covering the six areas visited by Jamie on the TV: New York, Louisiana, Arizona, Los Angeles, Georgia and Wildwest. I love American (and Canadian) cookbooks, and was really interested to see what Jamie’s take on American food would be. I expected some glitzy, glamorous, you know, restaurant style food for part of the book; but not a bit of it, all good home cooking.
My favourite section of the book is hands down Wildwest, it just suits how I cook. Don’t let that put you off the rest though, as there are recipes in all the chapters that I would fancy trying.
I seem to recall reading last year somewhere (although I can’t remember where) that Jamie’s book last year was to be a Christmas one. Well that was obviously nonsense! Although, if the standard of his Jamie’s Family Christmas episodes in 2009 were anything to go by he has it in him to do a fabulous Christmas cookbook…doesn’t look like it’ll be this year either, ah well maybe next year!
Mind you at the moment Jamie has two new books out this year, firstly one from Spring time Jamie Does, another travel cookbook, covering six European countries, armchair – or rather cooker – adventuring without even getting on a plane for those of us who buy the book. Later in the year he has a fast cooking cookbook coming out, I can hardly keep up!
Back to the current post though, I’ve enjoyed cooking the recipes here, not least because I do like a bit of travelling in my cooking, and I’m not talking about out of season goods travelling round the world, although sometimes I succumb to them. I like to do traditional dishes from here, but also like to make things that hail from thousands of miles away. For me it keeps food and cooking interesting and alive. For some reason I was particularly taken with the fruity puddings in ‘Jamie’s America, but everything was good.
Fruity, crispy, fresh, light, zingy and yummy!
A spin of Eve’s pudding named after one of Jamie’s cowboy friends that he met. It’s a tough life, the life of a cowboy – I had no idea. Well, that’s not strictly true, I had an idea, but it was way off base! I made this when we were in need of some serious comfort food, and this hit the spot, with a splash of cream.
Southern Pecan and Apple Salad
The pecans here are caramelised, and they are tremendous in this salad, perfect partners for the apple and there is a orange dressing.
The base of this with its juicy peaches, lime, ginger and vanilla was really gorgeous. Complemented by the crispy topping and spongy bit.
Peach Cobbler Recipe
From Jamie’s America by Jamie Oliver published by Penguin Michael Joseph in 2009.
My Notes: I’ve upped the soft brown sugar a little to 55g, but Jamie’s recipe suggests 40g. I often substitute vanilla extract for seeds, but here the seeds are really worth the money. He also cooks it at a higher temperature, preheat to full blast, and turn down to 190oC / 375oF/ Gas 5 when the peaches go in. My oven would burn it at that high heat! You’ll need a food processor.
8 ripe peaches, halved, stoned and cut into slices
1 vanilla pod, halved and seeds scraped out
zest of 1 lime
55g soft brown sugar
zest and juice of 1 orange
2.5cm fresh ginger, peeled and grated finely
40g pine nuts
100g self raising flour
50g caster sugar
100g unsalted butter, from the fridge
Icing sugar for dusting
Cream or ice cream
1. Preheat your oven to 190 oC / 375oF/ Gas 5. Toss the peaches with the vanilla seeds, lime zest, sugar, orange juice and zest and ginger. Take care not to break up the peaches. Place in a baking dish and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until softened a bit.
2. Meantime make the topping. Into the bowl of a food processor place the pine nuts, and whizz briefly. Leave them in the bowl and add the flour, sugar and a pinch of salt. Whizz again briefly. Add in the butter cut into small cubes, and pulse in short bursts until it looks like breadcrumbs. Tip into a bowl and add about 2 tablespoons of water and mix to a firm dough.
3. When the peaches have cooked take out of the oven and add 2 to 3 fl oz of water, mix round gently, taking care not to break up the peaches or burn yourself! Dollop 6 spoonfuls of the dough (use it all) ontop of the peaches and return the dish to the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until bubbling and the cobbles are golden.
Dust with icing sugar, if you like and serve.