Jamie Oliver’s Food Escapes – Amusing Recipes for Everyone!

Do you like to travel? Because I really do. Probably I could spend months traveling from one country to another, soaking their culture, culinary traditions and discovering new flavors. Maybe that’s why I’m so in love with Jamie Oliver’s FOOD ESCAPES. With this book I can travel around the globe sitting on my couch and taste new exotic dishes right on my kitchen. This is amazing how delicious, vivid and amusing Jamie can write about food he cooks. I swear I get tons of inspiration from each page.

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Jamie says: “If I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s to follow my gut. After hopping on a cheap round-trip flight to Morocco and spending a few short but brilliant days tasting my way through the markets and alleyways of Marrakesh, my instincts were telling me I had to take more of these trips. All those new flavors, sights, sounds and smells were like a breath of fresh air to me, and I came home excited and full of new ideas… which is where this book comes in.”

I’ve picked two of my favorite Jamie’s recipes to share with you right now.

Creamy mushrooms

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“From Jamie Oliver Food Escapes by Jamie Oliver. Copyright (C) Jamie Oliver, 2010, 2011. Photography copyright (C) David Loftus, 2010, 2011. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.”

This is a small snack or a lovely little starter. Feel free to use this recipe with any good eating mushrooms you can get your hands on. I’ve noticed that it seems to be compulsory around the world to cook wild mushrooms simply, in a pan with butter, oil, garlic, some sort of herb, salt and pepper. I can’t argue with that method – it does give delicious results – but the nice thing about this recipe is that with all the juices that naturally cook out of the mushrooms and mix with the butter, you only need to add a touch of cream to get a sauce that gives the illusion of being really creamy when it’s actually not. I think this is best served bubbling in the pan with some chunks of bread, but it could also become a layer in a lasagne, be spooned over steak or pork, get tossed with pasta or be paired with beef strips and rice for a sort of stroganoff. What a treat.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • a small rustic loaf of bread, to serve
  • 12 ounces chanterelles
  • a small bunch of fresh curly parsley
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • olive oil
  • ½ a red onion, peeled and finely sliced
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup half and half
  • 1 lemon

Method

Preheat your oven to its lowest setting and pop the loaf of bread in to warm through. Spend a few minutes gently brushing along the underside of the mushrooms to get rid of any bugs and dirt that might be hiding there. This is well worth the effort. Finely chop your parsley, stalks and all, reserving a few of the leaves.

Put the butter into a large hot pan and as soon as it starts to melt add a drizzle of olive oil, the mushrooms, sliced onion and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Stir everything around and cook for about 8 minutes, or until the onions have softened and the mushrooms are starting to caramelize and take on color.

Add the chopped parsley, then pour in the half and half. Continue to stir and cook for another minute, until the liquid has come to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for a minute before removing from the heat. Add a good squeeze of lemon juice, have a taste, and add more salt, pepper or lemon juice if it needs it. Take your bread out of the oven and tear it into big chunks. Divide the mushrooms between your plates and scatter over the reserved parsley leaves. Serve with your chunks of bread on the side to mop up all the creamy mushroomy juices, and tuck in!

Souvlaki (Wicked kebabs)

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“From Jamie Oliver Food Escapes by Jamie Oliver. Copyright (C) Jamie Oliver, 2010, 2011. Photography copyright (C) David Loftus, 2010, 2011. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.”We Brits often think of kebabs as a guilty pleasure. But, having seen the love and attention that goes into preparing a proper Greek kebab, I can assure you there is nothing to feel guilty about. It’s all about quality ingredients and fresh zingy flavours. I’d always thought dried mint sounded a bit naff, but actually it turned out to be very delicious and it really helped create a more authentic taste. A few of these with some cold beers would be wicked. Cook them on a barbecue or in a griddle pan, depending on what’s easier for you.

Ingredients

  • 3 sweet pointed peppers
  • 8 flatbreads, to serve
  • 4 sprigs fresh mint, leaves picked
  • 1 small bunch fresh dill, chopped (stalks and all)
  • red wine vinegar
  • Greek extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, to serve
  • For the kebabs

  • 800 g higher-welfare leg of pork, shin if you can get it, cut into 2cm chunks
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 100 ml good-quality olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • For the tzatziki

  • ½ large cucumber
  • 200 ml fat-free natural yoghurt
  • 1 small clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 heaped teaspoon dried mint
  • 1½ teaspoons red wine vinegar

Method

If using wooden skewers, cut 8 to fit your griddle pan and soak them in a tray of water to stop them burning. Put all your kebab ingredients into a bowl and use your clean hands to mix everything together really well. Cover with clingfilm, then pop into the fridge for 30 minutes, or longer if you want the flavours to get a bit more intense.

Meanwhile, blacken the peppers directly over the flame of your hob, in a hot dry griddle pan or under a hot grill. Turn them every so often and when they look almost ruined, pop them into a bowl, cover with clingfilm and put to one side to steam for 5 minutes or so – this will help their skins to come off.

Make your tzatziki by coarsely grating the cucumber into a sieve set up over a bowl. Add a few good pinches of salt, then use your hands to squeeze out as much water as you can. Pour the water away, then tip the cucumber into the empty bowl and add the yoghurt. Pound the garlic in a pestle and mortar with a good pinch of salt until you have a paste, and spoon that into the bowl with the cucumber. Add the dried mint and red wine vinegar and mix really well. Have a taste to make sure you’ve got the balance right, then put aside.

Preheat a griddle pan or grill on a high heat. Thread the skewers through the marinated pork pieces, leaving little spaces between them so that the heat cooks everything evenly. Cook the kebabs on the screaming hot griddle or grill for about 8 to 10 minutes, turning occasionally until done on all sides. Warm your flatbreads in the oven or in a hot dry pan while your kebabs are cooking.

Just before your kebabs are ready, peel and deseed your blackened peppers, then tear them into strips and put them into a bowl. Roll up your mint leaves, finely slice them and add to the bowl along with the dill. Add a few splashes of red wine vinegar, a pinch or two of salt and pepper and a lug of extra virgin olive oil. Toss and mix together, then have a taste to check the balance of flavours. Cut your lemon into wedges.

Put a dollop of tzatziki and the meat from one skewer on each warmed flatbread. Top with some of your pepper mixture, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a good squeeze of lemon juice. Life doesn’t get much better.

“From Jamie Oliver’s Food Escapes by Jamie Oliver. Copyright (C) Jamie Oliver, 2010, 2011. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.”

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