Book reviews by Mobilism's Book Review team
Dec 5th, 2016, 6:03 pm

TITLE: Jamie Oliver's Christmas Cookbook
AUTHOR: Jamie Oliver
GENRE: Non-Fiction, Food & Drink, Cookbooks, Festive & Seasonal Dishes
PUBLISHED: 20 Oct. 2016
RATING: ★★★★★

PURCHASE LINKS: Amazon iBookStore

Description: Jamie Oliver's Christmas Cookbook is packed with all the classics you need for the big day and beyond, as well as loads of delicious recipes for edible gifts, party food and new ways to love those leftovers. It's everything you need for the best Christmas ever.

Review: Unless you have been living under a rock, it’s hard to ignore British Chef Jamie Oliver on the telly, he has been on his game for almost 20 odd years, starting from a weird coincidental unscripted appearance in the documentary, 'Christmas at the River Cafe' where he worked, proceeded on with his first TV show ‘The Naked Chef,’ and the rest as they say is history. With Christmas Cookbook, life has come full circle for him in a way!

Christmas is the time of celebration, time with Family, get-togethers which are centered around food…Jamie Oliver's Christmas Cookbook is a 400-page-plus festive saga of celebration! It’s an amalgamation of his culinary journey so far, is loaded with the Oliver families fun-filled holiday pictures from throughout the years. The book is dedicated to his Nan; he shares a funny Christmas story and reminds everyone that no family holiday is perfect but as long as everyone is together and laughing on all the things that didn’t go right everything would be alright.
One year, she was so excited to get her mitts on the stuffing that her paper crown caught fire on a candle, in turn setting fire to her heavily hair-sprayed blue rinse. I clearly remember recoiling in horror at what Dad had to do to put her out, but we were all relieved when the fire was extinguished, and the meal soon carried on with gusto. And that’s Christmas for you – it never goes according to plan. But as long as you keep laughing, it will all be alright.

It’s the go-to book for Christmas, it contains a whole variety of recipes divided into 14 sections by type of food such as Entrées, Mains, Gravy, Trimmings, Salads, etc etc. It starts with an equipment chapter, as the explains how at times many people underestimate the cooking equipment sometimes, also are lovely tips or pointers at the end of each recipe which tells you either any variations you can do on it or how the said recipe can be prepared in advance and freezed.
One of the best bits of advice I can give you to avoid big-day stress is to check your equipment a few weeks in advance, and make sure you have all the kit you need. I can’t tell you how many stories I hear about people going to cook their turkey and realising that they don’t have a tray big enough for it, or that they’ve gone the other way and bought a tray that doesn’t fit in their oven! Good, basic kitchen equipment is widely available, so it’s easy to get kitted out.

One entire chapter includes interesting alternatives to the traditional turkey, including beef, ham, venison, lamb, salmon! There is even a detailed guide chart to roasting and cooking various kind of meats towards the end. Jamie Oliver's Christmas Cookbook even has a Veggie & Vegan plate section & Vegetables section thrown in for entertaining people with dietary restrictions, and - hold your breath - a whole section on Potatoes! I mean who doesn’t like a potato, it’s my favourite vegetable so call me bias…it includes 8 different ways to make them. My favourite is the Baked Mash & My Pommes Anna, which is his take on the french classic potato cake.

1.6kg Maris Piper potatoes
½ a bunch of fresh rosemary(15g)
½ a bunch of fresh thyme (15g)
100g unsalted butter
1 fresh horseradish root, for grating (or 3 teaspoons jarred grated horseradish)

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Peel the potatoes and finely slice 3mm thick, ideally on a mandolin (use the guard!), or with patient knife skills. Pick and finely chop the rosemary leaves, and strip the thyme leaves into a little pile.

Melt the butter in a small pan, then generously brush it all over the inside of a 26cm non-stick ovenproof frying pan. Take a bit of pride in beautifully arranging enough potato slices in the pan to cover the base, slightly overlapping them as you go. Brush with butter, sprinkle with a little rosemary, thyme, sea salt and black pepper, then finely grate over some horseradish. Keep repeating the layers in this fashion until you’ve used up all the potatoes, keeping the last layer simple with just a coating of butter. Place on the hob over a medium heat for 10 minutes to start crisping up the base, jiggling the pan occasionally, then transfer to the oven. Roast for 30 minutes, then remove from the oven and use the flat base of a smaller pan to carefully press and compact it all down. Return to the oven for another 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.
When done, slide out or bang upside down on to a board or platter – both sides are so beautiful I can’t pick my favourite way to serve it! Slice up and enjoy.

It has a Festive Pudding section and Afternoon Tea & Treats section to satisfy people’s sweet tooth with tradition recipes and contemporary thrown in as well such as Jaffa Cake, Cannoli, Churros, Billionaire’s Shortbread, Brownies, Amalfi Cake to name a few. It has many international recipes including but not Bahn Mi, but surprisingly no panettone, or stollen, a tad bit disappointing considering his specialisation in Italian.

There are some very nice and practical sections on utilising the leftovers, and making your own cute edible gifts including your own Hot Chocolate mix which is my favourite!

200g quality dark chocolate (70%)
10 tablespoons quality cocoa powder
5 tablespoons Horlicks powder
5 tablespoons cornflour
5 tablespoons icing sugar
2 pinches of ground cinnamon

To make the hot chocolate mix, finely grate the chocolate into a bowl. Add all the other ingredients and a good pinch of sea salt, mix well, then decant into jars.

For each portion of hot chocolate, you’ll need 1 heaped tablespoon of mixture and 150ml of whole milk. Simply pour however much milk you need into a pan and bring to a steady simmer over a medium heat. Whisk in your hot chocolate mix and leave it to bubble away for a few minutes, or until you achieve a gorgeous, thick, almost claggy texture, which will be totally knockout. Pour into your mugs, and enjoy.

ONE FOR THE GROWN-UPS - Add a splash of brandy or Cointreau for a festive finish.

Jamie Oliver has been campaigning to reduce obesity levels across the country but this book if definitely not reining in its calorie count for taste this festive season, there has been no skimping on any sort of fat, oil, butter, or lard. But having said that each and every recipe of his contains a picture with detailed nutritional information so that the calorie-conscious can keep track of how much you're eating during the festive season. It is definitely a tried and tested Holiday Cookbook set to become a Christmas Bestseller and Classic or rather a Christmas Bible for even the uninitiated given the attention to detail and vast collection of recipes.

Jamie Oliver's Christmas Cookbook will definitely be a brilliant addition to any Christmas cookbook collection!
Dec 5th, 2016, 6:03 pm