Review of Jamie’s Italy – Jamie Oliver

Posted: October 2, 2018 in cookbook, Review
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Ever since working at the River Café for Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray, Jamie Oliver has had a serious passion for Italian food. Now, ten years later, Italy and its wonderful flavours continue to have a major influence on his food and cooking. In Jamie’s Italy, Jamie travels this famously gastronomic country paying homage to the classic dishes of each region and searching for new ideas to bring home. The result is a sensational collection of Italian recipes, old and new, that will ensure Italy’s influence reaches us all.

On the menu is an array of magical ingredients and Mediterranean flavours all combined in Jamie Oliver’s inimitable way. From Parma ham to Parmesan, from pannetone to panzanella, Jamie’s Italy will transport you to Italy or at least bring Italy home to you.

Jamie’s Italy

Jamie Oliver

Michael Joseph

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jacqui

This is the book that goes with Jamie’s Italy, his latest TV series, but rather than the episode by episode format, it begins in traditional fashion with antipasto and ends with dessert. The recipes are interspersed with pictures and stories from Jamie’s favourite Italian nonnas – I was quite touched by the story of the last Jewish nonna of Pitigliano, and by Jamie’s efforts to keep her recipe for Jewish Artichokes alive by including it in the book. There are plenty of pictures throughout, illustrating most if not all of the recipes; and a number of techniques are demonstrated in step-by-step format. It’s not really a guide to Italian cooking as such, it’s way too quirky for that, but it does cover all the bases – there are recipes for risottos, for pizzas, for gnocchi, and many recipes for pasta – including methods for making your own orecchiette and agnolotti from scratch.     Now, I know that Jamie Oliver isn’t everybody’s favourite celebrity chef, but I will say this, he does know how to write a good recipe, and somebody has thoroughly tested these. I didn’t have great hopes for the chocolate chickpea cake, but it sounded quirky and I knew my geeky friends would enjoy guessing the weird ingredient. I should not have worried, it proved to be one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve ever made; still moist and tasty ten days later when I finished off the last little bit, forgotten in the tin.

The book itself is a fairly hefty hardback, which sits flat on the bench mainly by virtue of sheer weight. There are over two hundred recipes inside, many of them quite new to me at least, and some I doubt you’d find anywhere else. Not a book for beginners perhaps, but definitely one to expand your Italian repertoire.

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