Another big week of cooking with Jamie Oliver! Got to say the past few weeks have been weird – its been a long time since I’ve tried so many new recipes (that I wasn’t creating) and it feels good to be trying new things.

Case in point, the Root Vegetable Salad (page 43). What a fresh, amazing salad. It was so nice to have another salad that didn’t focus on lettuce as the main ingredient. I went a little easy on the chili’s – opting to roast and put in the dressing whole, then remove once it was spicy enough for my taste rather than chopping it up and putting it into the dressing forever more. The mint and the beet and carrot – fresh and fantastic, it’s a combo I didn’t know I would love!

Next up is the Old School Pork Shops from page 179. I got to say that I found the pork chops themselves to be nothing that special. Good, cooked well but nothing crazy. But those apples topping the pork – ooohhh snap – they made the dish! Eating a bite of pork with those apples was heaven… a bit without was regular old pork chops. I bow to the power of the all mighty apple.

But then comes Saturday Afternoon Pasta (page 64). Amazing! It actually managed to feel like comfort food without adding pounds of cheese (or chocolate… one of the two is usually needed for me to feel properly comforted). There were layers of flavour in this dish and it would have been a snap to make, if I were better at handling chilis. Here is a handy tip I picked up – to get the burning chili off your hands (thus out of your eyes or mouth because you will eventually forget about it and touch one of these areas), pour a little milk over your hands, then wash them. It will work, maybe not until the chili heat is gone, but you can always add more a couple of hours later when the heat comes back. 

The Pot Roasted Poussin from page 189 was tender, awesome and A LOT of food. To be fair I ended up using Cornish Rock Hens because I couldn’t find Poussin (which are baby chickens) and they might have been a bit bigger. But the flavour was just incredible – everything in great balance. The only thing that would have been better is if I had access to a food processor while cooking to make the red wine and sundried tomato sauce. Instead it was more of a wine sauce with wine infused sundried tomatoes. But such is life cooking at the cottage.

Next up, Buttered Peas with Crunchy Bacon, page 320 and Cheesy Peas from page 324. Both a great, quick and easy way to add flavour to a rather ordinary side dish. I found this to be one of the easier vegetable side dishes, something I could pull off while in the midst of other cooking easily. Very nice.

And to reward ourselves for all that hard work… Carrot Cake (page 387). Oh dear lord. What an amazing cake. Rich, moist and the lime in the icing is to die for. My only complaints – my lack of will power and the size of this cake. I should have made a 1/2 recipe. It doesn’t skimp on the butter, which is all I could think as I plowed through this cake. At least there are carrots – that makes it kind of good for me right? Right?? Well, now I have a marvellous recipe to break out for special occasions – or any occasion when it’s not just me and hubby eating an entire cake to ourselves.

This takes us to next week!
– Sausage Fusilli, page 72
– Ragu of Tiny Meatballs, page 92
– Pan Fried Sirloin Steak, page 158
– Crispy Duck with Spiced Plum Chutney, page 198
– Jumbo Shrimp, page 262
– Proper Custard, page 402

Happy Cooking!