I’ll be honest with you, I’ve been meaning to write this post since before Christmas and just didn’t get round to it, so apologies that it’s no longer brand new news – but I love Jamie Oliver’s Five Ingredients so much and have recommended it to so many people in person that I just had to give it a blog shout-out too. Plus, I figured that if, like me, you were lucky enough to get book vouchers for Christmas (I got a Mr B’s Emporium Reading Spa AND Waterstones vouchers, best Christmas ever) you might just be pondering what to spend them on…
I’ve always been a big Jamie Oliver fan. The first recipe book I ever bought, when I decided to properly get into cooking, was Jamie’s Ministry of Food, and the step-by-step photos, patient instructions and recipes for all the classic favourites (from roast dinner to lasagne to curries) gave me a huge confidence boost. From that point, I was hooked, and now have (quick pause to count) NINE Jamie Oliver books on the shelf, all well-thumbed and well-loved. But though Ministry of Food will always have a special place in my heart, I can say with absolutely no hesitation that Five Ingredients is Jamie’s best book yet.
|One of our favourite new recipes: Pork & Mash Gratin|
It’s such a simple concept: every recipe has five ingredients, not counting salt, pepper, olive oil or red wine vinegar (strictly the only extra additions – there’s no cheating). It’s a stroke of genius that could easily go wrong, but of course it doesn’t – out of all the recipes we’ve tried so far, we’ve only had one failure (the kale spaghetti, sorry, it just didn’t taste of much), compared to multiple dishes that have become instant household favourites (pork & mash gratin, one-pan fabulous fish, the incredible aromatic lamb curry, which I think we’ve had about five times already).
|It would probably be quicker to mark the recipes I don’t want to try (I’ll let you know if I find one)|
My husband, who isn’t especially confident in the kitchen, has been cooking up a storm from the Five Ingredients book, and the pages are thick with sticky notes marking the dishes we want to try next. Because of the short ingredients list, the recipes are always simple and almost always inexpensive, so I’ve been recommending it constantly to friends who love their food but get put off by the time and money so often required. The simplicity of the recipes also makes it easy to use them as a jumping off point for creative cooking, or to swap things around to make them suitable for restricted diets. The book is handily split into chapters according to the main ingredient, and it’s stuffed with mouth-watering photos.
Basically, it’s not just a clever concept to catch the eye – it turns out five-ingredient recipes are a brilliant idea for all sorts of reasons. Whether you’re a keen cook or a kitchen novice, I can’t recommend this one highly enough.