“As a cook and lover of good food, I go on instinct. I’ll taste anything…and wait for my tongue to talk to my brain. Great food is about how you feel, not where you’re from.” – Jamie Oliver
OMG, I love him.
Jamie Oliver has a new cookbook out called Great Britain; 130 of his favorite British recipes, new and old. TLC Book Tours asked if I’d like to review it. Darn tootin’, I wanted to.
This isn’t just any ‘ol cookbook. This is a COOK. BOOK. Loaded with pictures for every single recipe (love that!), and shots of people and landscapes. Stories, blurbs, and quotes fill the pages. It’s a cookbook you actually read, letting every page envelope you.
If there’s one criticism, the layout of the recipes are inconsistent, some formatted horizontally, while others are vertical. And the directions tend to be in one run-on fashion, making it more challenging to separate the steps. But in all fairness, this book could also be filed under art, and those aspects play into that.
After looking through the pages, is it any surprise that I chose a dessert to try first? Paleeze. Right when I saw coconut, I knew.
I also have my eye on the scones, poached pears, and honey comb. And there’s plenty of savory dishes I’ve earmarked – his Smoked Haddock with Poached Egg (poached. egg. hello.), Spinach on Toast (sigh), Asparagus with Poached Egg and Smoked Salmon (there’s that egg again!), Creamed Mushroom Soup (pass me a spoon), and the Sunday Roast Steak (yes, please.) Dare I even mention the Crackled Pork Belly? Ah lawdy.
Jamie Oliver’s Jammy Coconut Sponge
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
• 1 cup of unsalted butter (2 sticks)
• 1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
• 4 large eggs
• 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• a splash of milk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 cup dried sweetened coconut
• 1/2 cup best quality raspberry or blackberry preserves*
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly coat an 8×12 inch cake pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Cream the butter and sugar together until lovely, pale, and fluffy. Then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Gently fold in the flour and baking powder, add a splash of milk and the vanilla. Mix again, but do not overmix. Pour into the cake pan and cook for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out almost clean. Let cool completely.
If your preserves are extremely dense and not easily spreadable, place them in a small microwave-safe bowl and cook for 10 or so seconds to loosen the up a tad.
Once cake is cooled, turn it out onto a board, spread the jam all over with a palette knife or thin, flat spatula. Sprinkle the coconut over the top and serve with tea, custard, or all by itself!
*NOTE: Jamie, being the professional chef that he is, made his own blackberry jam with 9 ounces blackberries, 2/3 cup sugar, and juice from 1/2 a lemon. Mashing it together in a small pot and simmering it down for 20 minutes, then letting it cool. I just bought raspberry preserves in a jar for ease.