Posts Tagged ‘Jamie Oliver’
‘Ewww, I don’t like this,’ James declares, without even touching it. ‘I want a peanut butter sandwich.’
Over the past year I’ve taken steps to lift my game in the kitchen … and if I’m honest it had a fair way to lift.
I invested in a miracle machine, otherwise known as The Thermomix and I enrolled in a 10-week cooking course at the Jamie Oliver Ministry of Food in Ipswich, Queensland.
The wonder that is the Thermomix needs an entire post all to itself to satisfactorily explain why it is so wonderful. Custard, pastry, dips, bread, sorbet, Thai curry … you name it this thing makes it (with a small amount of help from me). Maggie Beer eat your heart out.
So today I will focus on the Jamie O cooking school. The man’s a genius. I first interviewed him back in 2000 in his pukka tukka Naked Chef days. But for me his best work has come more recently through his food revolution, which teaches the masses how to cook well on a budget. That’s what his Ministry of Food is all about.
It offers cheap ($10/class) lessons in cooking basic, wholesome meals on a budget.
Over the 10 weeks we cooked a green chicken curry from scratch (paste and all), we roasted a chook (amazing), we did a mean stir fry and much more. I actually enjoyed myself and have found a new interest (I won’t go so far as to say passion) for cooking.
So when the opportunity arose earlier this year to meet Jamie again and interview him I accepted, keen to see how the pro deals with the big issues … getting his kids to eat his meals.
He’s a father of four – three girls and a boy – and he’s always putting up great pictures on Instagram of his kids and their family veggie patch.
He may have cooked for celebrities, Presidents and Prime Ministers, but he told me that some of his toughest customers are at home. Happily I discovered that if he doesn’t serve meals that are the right shape and colour his kids won’t eat them. (So glad I’m not the only one facing this problem).
Here are his top tips for being a star in the kitchen.
Today is Wednesday, which means tonight you’re probably serving the family risotto.
It’s a great mid-week option. Tomorrow you’ll probably do a stir-fry, or maybe some Mexican, before the day I like to call ‘Forget about it Friday’. As in forget about cooking, shall we get pizza?
New research reveals we mums and dads are horribly boring when it comes to cooking for the family.
It’s not a case of what’s in the fridge … our meal choices are dictated by what day it is.
Mondays and Tuesdays are chicken and pasta days. Saturdays are the day we go all Maggie Beer and serve a special meal – pork belly is popular at the moment (thanks Masterchef).
Sunday is the day we channel Nigella and do some baking … apparently.
I read this research, conducted online at www.taste.com.au , and thought two things.
‘Thank God I’m not the only mum stuck in a dinner rut’ and ‘What, your children actually eat pork belly? Get out of here!’
The research went on to say that most people have between eight and 15 recipes in their repertoire. I have counted mine and if you’re willing to classify eggs and soldiers and baked bean and avocado sandwiches as dinner items then I can just scrape in at 10.
Having children has been shocking in many ways but the biggest shock for me was the realisation that there were now two extra people relying on me to cook a decent meal … every bloody night.
Here in the Fassifern Valley the potatoes are being harvested. Last night we sat down to some beautiful roasted tatties, grown by Farmer Rob for Kalfresh, dressed with herbs from my veggie patch.
I drew on a simple recipe I learned while studying at the Jamie Oliver Ministry of Food. Jamie recommends par-boiling the potatoes before roasting and then shaking them up a bit to mash up the edges. Then when you go to roast them – make sure they’re covered in salt, pepper, olive oil and herbs first – they really crisp up.
I steamed these potatoes last night before putting them in the oven. They tasted amazing. Possibly not technically in line with our protein-only diet … but hey one night off is allowed. Isn’t it?
So when I was invited to take a cooking class with the Naked Chef himself – Mr Jamie Oliver – I said ‘Yes’ quicker than you can take the cover off a frozen dinner.
My husband Mr Bean was a happy man, ‘Yee ha, she’s learning to cook, she’s learning to cook,’ he sang.
Didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d be one of 20 in the class, being conducted infront of an audience of 500. Not sure how much of an effect the class was going to have on that night’s dinner plans, but hey I’ll give anything a go.
So on Saturday I rolled up to Jamie’s Ministry of Food in Ipswich. It’s a centre that runs low-cost cooking classes for people like me … and for people not like me. I mean those who can cook but want to get better. And those who’ve never even boiled an egg before. And all of the people in between.
It’s been open for about a year and is run by a small staff and a huge group of volunteers. It’s all about equipping people with the skills they need to cook healthy, balanced meals.
Great idea, great centre, great day.
After the class – which was also attended by the Premier Anna Bligh (I’m in good ‘can’t cook’ company) – I met Jamie, who despite being horribly jetlagged was lovely and generous with his time.
I made a not bad chicken fajita and have signed on for a 10 week class starting May. Until then I have my new love – my Thermomix aka the Miracle Machine. That’s a post for another day.
Here’s some piccies from the day. Scuse by bedraggled look – I got absolutely drenched while on the hunt for caffeine (addiction is bad … for your health and your hair) … and yes I’m currently in my ‘pink phase’ as evidenced by the glasses, the necklace and the watch.
Here’s a great music/photo mashup of the day by Destination Food.