Jamie Oliver is no stranger to foodies the world over. The (now) celebrity chef burst onto TV screens in 1999 with his first TV series The Naked Leader.
Since then, the maverick culinary icon has gone from strength to strength – from writing a slew of cookbooks to opening a string of restaurants and even promoting healthy dining in restaurants. UK schools.
Along the way, he has also filmed numerous cooking shows, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution for Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals.
In his last cooking show in six episodes Jamie Oliver: TogetherOliver shines a light on the kind of food that brings people together for all kinds of occasions and is based on his best-selling cookbook of the same name.
“I mean, the word Together conjures up so many feelings now, doesn’t it? It’s what we’ve all missed and longed for, to be with our family, friends and community again after all the events of the past year.
“My new show is a true celebration of great food that you can share with your loved ones. But it’s not just about eating — it’s about spending time together and, ultimately, making memories. I see my job here to make it as easy as possible for you to move forward, plan and cook amazing dishes, so you can spend as much time as possible with your guests,” he says.
Each episode focuses on feasible meals for different occasions, from curry nights to picnics, family meals and more.
There’s plenty to whet the appetite on the show, from sublime tangerine cake to the perfect steak, garlic-roasted tomatoes, chocolate semi-freddo and slow-roasted shoulder of lamb, among a slew of nirvanic comfort food.
“Throughout the series you’ll see me cooking a range of different dishes, from summer parties to curry night. Some meals have a lot of lovely elements, others are more about a few highlights and a few supporting actors, but With each one, I’ll walk you through the preparation step by step, showing you how I prepare things for my friends and family, so you can recreate it for you and yours,” he says.
Ultimately, Oliver says the Covid-19 pandemic and the chaos that followed in its wake has also allowed people around the world to learn to appreciate their loved ones in whole new ways. And one of the important ways people show their love is through food – something family man Oliver understands all too well.
“I think being stuck at home, which a lot of people have been, has made us wonder what’s really important. I know for a lot of people, myself included, slowing down a bit has been a good thing. It encourages us to embrace the little things in life that give us pleasure, and I know that food has brought a lot of people a lot of joy. It reminded me that sitting around the table to eat together is something very special,” he says.
Jamie Oliver: Together airs on BBC Lifestyle on Tuesdays at 7.25pm, on UnifiTV channel 512 and BBC Player | Astro Channel 717.
JAM POT SHRIMP COCKTAILS
For 6 persons
1 clove of garlic
4 slices of superior wellness smoked pancetta
100g of breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons farmhouse mayonnaise
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
3 tablespoons tomato ketchup
2 small gem lettuces
200g ripe cherry tomatoes
1 punnet of watercress
1 ripe avocado
100 g cooked brown prawns, sustainably sourced
200 g cooked peeled prawns, from sustainable sources
TO DAY Peel the garlic and chop finely with the pancetta, then place in a nonstick skillet over medium heat with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Add breadcrumbs and fry until crisp and golden, stirring regularly. Let cool.
For the sauce, whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, ketchup, half the lemon juice and a pinch of Worcestershire and Tabasco sauce, then season to perfection, taste and finish.
Finely grate the lettuces. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with a teaspoon, then cut into 1cm dice. Cut the cherry tomatoes into quarters. Chop the watercress. Halve and pit the avocado, squeeze the flesh in a blender with the remaining lemon juice and blend until smooth, loosening with a little water if needed, then season to perfection.
Line up six clean, wide-necked jam jars or glasses ready to fill. Divide the lettuce between them, followed by the cucumber and tomatoes, pressing down gently as you build up the layers. Pour in the fresh and crispy pancetta breadcrumbs, garnish with watercress, then sprinkle with
prawns and prawns. Drizzle with sauce and add a pinch of cayenne pepper to each. Pour over the blitzed avocado, cover and you’re done.
MANDARIN DREAM CAKE
For 16 people
250g unsalted unsalted butter
250 g runny honey
250g self-rising flour
200g ground almonds
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
6 large free-range eggs
100g icing sugar
optional: plain yogurt, to serve
TO DAY Preheat the oven to 180°C and generously grease a 2 liter non-stick cake tin. Put the remaining butter in a food processor with the honey, flour, almonds, vanilla paste and a pinch of fleur de sel. Crack the eggs, finely grate the mandarin zest (saving a little for garnish) and mix until smooth. Pour the mixture into
the Bundt pan, scraping it off the processor with a spatula, then shaking the pan to level it. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown and a knife inserted comes out clean. Leave to rest for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and let cool completely.
Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, then squeeze and stir in enough tangerine juice to make a thick stream. Drizzle or pour over the cold cake, tossing a few drops on the sides artistically, then sprinkle over the reserved zest. Peel the remaining tangerines and cut them into slices, to serve on the side. A dollop of yogurt also goes well with it, if desired.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a loaf tin, a 25cm loaf tin lined with parchment paper will do just as well.
Together by Jamie Oliver is published by Penguin Random House © Jamie Oliver Enterprises Limited (2021 Together). Photography: Levon Biss.