About the Book:
British food has never been more ready, or able, to impress.”
About the Author:
I do love a good cookbook. I read them much like a read a novel. There is much to be learned within the covers of cookbooks – even if I never use a recipe I pick up tips and tricks and taste combinations I might never have thought of. Some of my favorite dinners have come out reading different recipes and combining pieces of them to come up with a whole. I am a collector of cookbooks and my shelves hold one more now.
Jamie Oliver’s Great Britain is a beautiful cookbook full of stunning photography. Being a visual person I adore such books. They don’t make for better recipes but they do make for more enjoyable paging. It is also helpful to a cook, in my opinion, to have a photo of the finished dish. At least for this cook. Photos, alas, are expensive and many great cookbooks don’t have many but Mr. Oliver is a famous chef and his cookbook is crammed with photographs that make you drool. I was a happy woman making my way through the book. A very happy woman.
As to the recipes? They are pretty straightforward but this is not a cookbook for a beginner. It is a book for someone who has a bit of a clue as to what goes on in a kitchen. With instructions that include using a “knob” of butter and a “lug” of olive oil and cooking something until it is done you can certainly see that a certain knowledge would be required. But for a cook comfortable in the kitchen, for a cook that is looking to prepared simple, yet not so basic good English food this is a keeper of a cookbook. It is a collector’s cookbook for sure and I am thrilled to be adding to my shelves. There are many recipes that I will try and play with as time goes on. From the simple like the Fresh Tomato Soup I show you here to the Honey Roasted Lemon Rabbit that I will try as soon as I get another rabbit in my hands.
If you are a cookbook lover, if you love watching Jamie Oliver on the TV (and I must admit that I have not seen his show – the horror!), if you have someone that loves cookbooks – this is a great book to buy as a gift or to grace your collection.
As I looked through this beautifully photographed book I saw several recipes that I wanted to try but when I came upon the Fresh Tomato Soup I knew I had found my test recipe.
It had nothing to do with the 15 boxes of tomatoes in my basement. I knew it would be delicious!
For the Soup:
1 large carrot, peeled and quartered
3 cloves garlic, peeled
4 1/2 lbs large, ripe tomatoes
a few sprigs of fresh basil
sea salt and ground pepper
white wine vinegar (I used rice wine vinegar ’cause that’s what I had)
5 – 6 tablespoons light cream (I used goat’s milk)
For the Cheesy Soldiers:
a loaf of crusty bread (I had some Italian in the freezer that I had made)
a few sprigs of fresh thyme (I used dried)
1 oz freshly grated cheddar cheese (erm, I went a little cheese happy)
Preheat the oven to 350°
Put the carrot, garlic, tomatoes and most of the basil (reserve a few smaller leaves for garnishing later) into a blender and blitz up until smooth – you may need to do this in two batches. (TWO?! How big are the blenders in England?! I needed to do this in several batches.)
Pour into a large saucepan, season well, then leave on medium low heat for about 20 minutes to tick away and thicken up. Stir occasionally.
While that is happening cut the crusty bread into finger size soldiers (roughly 4″ in length and 1/3″ thick). Spread these around a large baking sheet and scatter over a few bruised and twisted thyme sprigs. Sprinkle the cheese all over, then add a few good swigs of Worcestershire sauce. Drizzle over a lug of olive oil, toss and cook in the oven for around 10 – 15 minutes
or until the bread is crisp and golden and the cheese has melted all over it.
Meanwhile, bring the soup to a boil, have a taste and adjust the seasoning to perfection with a pinch of salt and pepper and a drizzle of white wine vinegar. Stir in half of the light cream and serve as is – semi-smooth – or blend one last time for a silky smooth soup. ( I served as is being a lazy soul.)
The soup was DELICIOUS! It was unbelievable fresh tasting and we gobbled it up! The recipe suggests using the ripest tomatoes you can find – overripe even. The cheesy soldiers were a perfect accompaniment. There were leftovers and it tasted even better the second day. I played around a little and on the next night I took some albacore tuna and lightly breaded it in panko and fried them ’til they were just golden. They were still pink in the middle. I made a balsamic reduction to drizzle on top…
I put the crispy tuna in the soup with the balsamic syrup drizzled on top and it was heaven in a bowl. To keep with the cheesy theme I made baking powder biscuits with cheddar in them
They were delicious with the soup.
This recipe is so simple, yet brings out the best in the tomatoes I know I will be using it over and over again come next year’s harvest.
You can see the Tour Schedule HERE
You can purchase Jamie Oliver’s Great Britain on Amazon.com
One lucky reader will win a copy of Jamie Oliver’s Great Britain! How do you win? It’s easy! Just hop on the Rafflecopter. Good luck everyone!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: I received a copy of Jamie Oliver’s Great Britain from TLC Book Tours gratis. Any opinions expressed are my honest opinions and were not impacted by my receipt of the free book. I received no monetary compensation for this post.