In case you missed last week, the cook along book club has moved on to a new book: Cook with Jamie. Jamie Oliver claims it is his guide to making you a better chef. We’ll be the judges of that!

The first meal I attempted was the Baked Lamb Shanks from page 162. I’ve tried making Lamb before but this was by far the most flavourful and easy to do. I liked the flavour much better than anything I had done previously – not as gamey. I ended up using broccoli in with the veg – great flavour, a little mushy but still very tasty. Jamie vs Jodi – mine may not look as pretty but I’m sure it tasted just as awesome!

Next up, Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken page 190. While not my first time making chicken by any means, this was my first time spatchcocking a chicken (taking out the back bone so that the chicken lies flat and is able to be cooked faster on a grill. Loved this method! Even though it set of my fire alarm twice. That thing is pretty sensitive. I didn’t find I tasted much of the marinade, but the chicken was moist and the skin was crisp – great dish.

With the chicken I made Whole baked carrots page 312 and Potato Rosti page 302. The carrots were amazing – loved the flavour, the ease of cooking – everything. I can’t wait to make these again.

The potatoes tasted great – but I had issues making them flat and crisp so that I could cut them into pie pieces. In the end I just used a spatula and ended up scooping them onto the plate. A little haphazard maybe but the flavour more than made up for my horrid presentation.

Next up was Gnocchi from page 112. This didn’t turn out all that great. It tasted amazing, but next time I think I need to add more flour. They held their shape while cooking, but they couldn’t handle draining or having pesto sauce added to it. See for yourself – tasted like awesome gnocchi, looked like baby food.

The Raw Beetroot salad on page 36 turned out amazing. I used goat cheese instead of feta because I’m just not a huge fan of feta to start with. Loved the colour, the sweetness and how it played with the cheese. Fantastic. The one other thing I did was cut back on the olive oil in the dressing – I think I used about half.

The Chargrilled Tuna from page 214 was another lemon and oregano dish (like the chicken), this time I thought I got a lot of lemon flavour but not nearly enough oregano. This more than likely has to do with the fact I substituted dried oregano for fresh – but still, I wasn’t in love with this tuna. It wasn’t bad, but I wont rush to it again.

Finally we come to the Short Bread cookies on page 412 – the crowning achievement of this week. I made half a batch since I knew I would end up eating most of them. Not because everyone didn’t like them, but because I have the biggest sweet tooth and least amount of will power in the house – a dangerous combination. Loved these cookies – light, buttery all the things short bread should be. I had to use a pastry cutter to mix the dough because I’m impatient and wouldn’t wait for the butter to become room temperature… but what’s new? With a sweet tooth and little will power is it any surprise that I’m also impatient when it comes to making desserts?

All in all a good week – the food has been great and I’m looking forward to making these next dishes for next week:

– Simple crunchy side salad page 27 with Sicilian dressing page 24
– Pan Roasted Salmon page 212
– Onion Gratin page 333
– Ravioli of Pecorino, Potato and Mint page 102
– Rib Roast of Beef with Beetroot and Horseradish page 154
– Rosemary Straw Potatoes page 306
– Roasted Cauliflower with Cumin, Coriander and Almonds page 342
– Mushroom Risotto page 131
– Chocolate Brownies page 384

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