If you haven’t heard of Jamie Oliver by now I’m not sure where you’ve been the past few years. He seems to be popping up everywhere at the moment – especially over here in Australia as he’s on TV, at the local supermarkets (on all the promotional materials) and in the department stores (they sell his fry pans and cooking utensils).
You know what I really love about Jamie Oliver? He is passionate about really good for you food.
You know what I really love about Jamie Oliver recipes? They are really accessible to normal family cooks like you and me. He doesn’t use a ton of fancy and expensive ingredients as he usually uses things I can pick up at the supermarket like cayenne pepper, polenta and cannelini beans.
If you’re new to cooking, or are looking for some great recipe ideas to help you improve your cooking, then grab a Jamie Oliver cookbook and spend an afternoon browsing the book for ideas. He makes every type of recipe under the sun, and if you can’t find one in his cookbooks, check out his website for more ideas.
Did you know Jamie Oliver also has a YouTube channel called FoodTube? He gets friends and colleagues to post videos and he posts some as well, and they all help you to improve your cooking and give you inspiration as well. In fact I used one of his FoodTube videos to make my World Cup Final Food in 2014.
In the recipes below I’ll show you how Jamie Oliver can be your professional chef mentor even though you’re not working for him.
Essential Jamie Oliver Meals to make you a better cook
Jerk chicken – 30 Minute Meals
Jamie’s Jerk Chicken is a great meal to teach you about using your blender (also called a liquidizer). Many recipes use sauces and sauces can be a tad intimidating to new cooks. But in this recipe you just throw everything in the blender and throw it over the top of the chicken before putting everything into the oven. Be warned though, that if you’re cooking this recipe with chicken breasts and not chicken pieces on the bone, you won’t need to leave them in the oven for as long as the recipe states (so make sure you check the chicken before you think it might be ready – especially if you’re browning it first).
Pregnant Jules’s pasta – 30 Minute Meals
When I found this recipe it was perfect for me because I love pasta but hate the meat in it. This is a great recipe to get some meat and veg into fussy eaters. The real trick of this recipe is that Jamie throws the mince in the food processor with the other flavour ingredients. Because the meat is minced so small, and its added to the tomato base the recipe is lighter and fresher, way tastier and for me it’s the best of both worlds where I can eat a tiny bit of meat without hardly noticing and my carnivore husband is satisfied as well. In fact, any of Jamie’s pasta dishes will teach you how to make a really good pasta dinner so try as many as you can till you get a handle on cooking it well.
Rosemary and Polenta Chicken – 15 Minute Meals
While Jamie makes this recipe in 15 minutes because he uses pre-made polenta that only needs grilling, I usually make my own polenta which takes 30 minutes to make and then refrigerate before I can cut it into pieces. The best part about this recipe is that it teaches you about flavour from unusual sources such as from the dried porchini mushrooms. If you can’t find them use normal mushrooms but you’ll have to add some extra flavouring like salt or stock powder. Again Jamie saves time with the blender sauce but what I really love about this recipe is that you use the sauce under everything else, and you can really adjust the vegetables to what you have on hand. This recipe is also a really good one for teaching you how to multitask!
Barbecue Baked Beans – Save with Jamie
This barbecue baked beans recipe from Jamie is not the kind of baked beans you eat on toast for breakfast – it is so much more! This is a meal you can make and use for various dinners and lunches throughout the week. This recipe teaches you that simple ingredients can make a delicious meal, and it shows you what batch cooking looks like. I use this recipe as is, or over jacket potatoes, or as the filling for a taco or burrito. This recipe can teach you what a versatile meal looks like so you can look out for others. It’s also a vegetarian meal that everyone will love.
Fish parcels – Cook
One of Jamie’s best cookbooks for new cooks is his cookbook called ‘Cook’. In it he shows you how the various animals are cut up and what the pieces are called. He takes you through some basic skills in the kitchen and shows you which ingredients you should have in your kitchen (my own list is here). In his fish parcels he shows you that you can pretty much add anything you like to the recipe as long as you place all the ingredients in a bag made from baking paper.
Roast chicken – Jamie’s Dinners
Learning to make a roast is an important skill. Here I’m suggesting you start with a chicken, but once you learn this then learn how to roast a piece of beef or lamb. This recipe from Jamie includes stuffing a lemon into the cavity of the chicken, and this is quite a common step in roast chicken recipes. It helps keep the chicken more moist as you cook it. Always remember that when you roast meat you’ll need to rest the chicken for 10 minutes at the end, so the chicken will continue to cook in these 10 minutes so don’t overcook it while its in the oven. I made plenty of mistakes when cooking chicken too, so go easy on yourself.
This is just a handful of Jamie Oliver meals that can teach you new skills. Experiment with other recipes of Jamie’s or just grab a cookbook and try something new today. Jamie Oliver has been a huge source of inspiration to me, and has helped me in my own cooking journey, so he might be able to help you in yours as well.
Which Jamie Oliver recipe do you love to make? My favourite is his rosemary and polenta pasta, but my husbands is his fish pie with peas mixed into the potato topping. What’s yours? Please leave a comment.