Jamie Oliver's 7 Ways has arrived. We put three recipes to the test…
This is what happened when we tried recipes from Jamie Oliver's new cookbook, 7 Ways
THE concept behind Jamie Oliver’s new cookbook, 7 Ways, is to take staple ingredients we already have in the cupboard and elevate them to new heights.
He champions 18 ‘hero’ ingredients and provides a week’s worth of recipes for each – that are likely to stretch your culinary imagination slightly. Think Bombay jacket spuds, crispy sweet and sour salmon, a prawn toast toastie, and a steak sandwich, Japanese-style.
To see just how versatile, tasty and straightforward Oliver’s latest offering is, we tested three recipes (hero ingredients: eggs, peppers and chicken breasts). Here’s how we got on…
:: Claire Spreadbury tested:
Sunshine egg salad
I do eat a lot of eggs (mainly because I’m vegetarian) and always have them in stock. But I do use them in a lot of the same old ways – poached and plonked on toast, whisked up into a frittata or crustless quiche, or simply boiled to dippy perfection. But on a hot, summery day, this ‘sunshine salad’ makes a great midweek meal.
Though I most definitely always have eggs in, there were other ingredients in this recipe I had to buy specifically. Spinach and yogurt are generally in the fridge, and I do try to keep a packet of cooked mixed grains in the cupboard, but the jarred peppers (I would normally just roast my own – and if you had time, you still could), pomegranate and especially the dukkah, needed to be sought out especially.
I bought my ingredients from Ocado and they came to more than £15, but to be fair, I’d only need to buy a few more eggs and I could make the entire recipe again with what’s leftover.
Making the recipe is pretty straightforward – as is Oliver’s style. You only really need to toast the dukkah then cook off the grains and peppers, wilt the spinach and poach the eggs. The only part that didn’t quite work out was the juicing of the pomegranate, which just didn’t happen. The tiny amount of juice I did manage to get out of it squirted its way across my worktop.
It did take me almost twice as long to cook than the 15 minutes he suggests, but again, I think that’s pretty commonplace – a combination of Oliver being super-speedy at throwing a recipe together, and me being uber-slow.
But, no matter, the finished dish was utterly delicious – and hugely elevated by the dukkah and pomegranate, so genuinely worth seeking out those extra additions.
:: Ella Walker tested:
My kinda butter chicken
Butter chicken is not, admittedly, the most exciting curry out there, but for an easy weeknight bowl of something comforting, it’s a solid choice for a ‘fakeaway’.
This one relies on fridge staple chicken breasts, which did leave me slightly apprehensive… Cooking chicken breasts can be a risky business – so often they go from pinkly raw to dry and tough, seemingly skipping the ‘just right’ stage entirely. Thigh, or just roasting a whole bird and shredding the lot tends to be tastier, but Oliver tries to mitigate any issues with a thick yoghurt, garlic, ginger and garam masala marinade, which definitely helps. Charring the chicken on either side also brings a depth of flavour and pleasing smokiness that might be lacking otherwise (there’s no whole ground spices involved).
Talking of charring, there’s a lot of whipping things in and out of a hot pan; you char tomatoes and chillies, then sub in the chicken, then swap them back, and back again – if you’re not on it, you can end up using half your plates before you’ve even laid the table. However, from start to finish, it’s a pretty swift operation, and the only ingredient I needed to make an effort to track down was cashew butter. And it would have ended up quite mild if we hadn’t used homegrown cayenne chilli peppers.
We scooped up the sauce with toasted pitta, and I added a handful of chopped coriander and a spritz of lime for a bit of acidity, zing and greenery. Some mango chutney wouldn’t go amiss either. Substantial and straightforward, if not revolutionary.
:: Prudence Wade tested:
Sticky miso peppers
My style of cooking is definitely on the heartier side of things, which means I don’t have quite as many light recipes in my repertoire. So Oliver’s recipe for sticky miso peppers really appealed – it’s ideal for warmer weather.
I had all the ingredients in my cupboard and fridge, except for the wasabi peas – although not everyone will have miso paste handy, but it’s definitely worth buying as a spoonful of the umami flavour can jazz up anything from Bolognese to salad dressings.
As a loyal follower of Oliver’s recipes, I’ve come to expect them to be quick and easy – which is exactly what this one was. All you have to do is char the pineapple and tofu in a pan, separately glaze the other ingredients with miso and leftover pineapple juice, and plop everything on top of cooked noodles. There was plenty of flavour, the sweet and salty played against the umami very well, and it took just as long to make as advertised (which feels like a rarity for many recipes).
I will definitely be cooking this recipe again – but will mix everything through the noodles before serving. You can tell it was a good meal if that’s the only thing I’ll be changing.
:: 7 Ways by Jamie Oliver is published by Penguin Random House © Jamie Oliver Enterprises Limited (2020 7 Ways). Photography: Levon Biss. Below are three recipes from the book you can try yourself.
SUNSHINE EGG SALAD
Total time: 15 minutes
2 tablespoons dukkah
1 x 250g packet of mixed cooked
Half x 460g jar of roasted red peppers
200g baby spinach
4 large free-range eggs
Half a pomegranate
2 heaped tablespoons natural yoghurt
Put a large pan of salted water on to simmer for your eggs. Toast most of the dukkah in a large non-stick frying pan on a medium heat for 2 minutes, then tip in the grains. Drain, finely chop and add the peppers. Cook and stir for 5 minutes, season to perfection, then divide between your plates. Return the pan to the heat and quickly wilt the spinach. Season to perfection and divide over the grains.
Meanwhile, crack each egg into the simmering water in one fluid movement and poach for 3 minutes, or until cooked to your liking. Squeeze a little pomegranate juice into a bowl and ripple through the yoghurt, then bash the pomegranate half with the back of a spoon so the remaining seeds tumble out. Drain the eggs on kitchen paper, then place on top of the spinach. Spoon over the pomegranate yoghurt, then sprinkle with the remaining dukkah and the pomegranate seeds.
STICKY MISO PEPPERS, TOFU, PINEAPPLE, RICE NOODLES AND CRUSHED WASABI PEAS
Total time: 25 minutes
1 x 220g tin of pineapple rings in juice
280g extra firm tofu
2 mixed-colour peppers
4 spring onions
4 cloves of garlic
90g rice vermicelli noodles
20g wasabi peas
2 heaped teaspoons red miso paste
Place the pineapple rings (reserving the juice) in a large dry non-stick frying pan on a medium heat. Cut the tofu into four chunks and add to the pan. Let it all gently char for 4 minutes, then turn, char on the other side and remove, leaving the pan on the heat. Deseed the peppers, chop into 2cm chunks and place in the pan with ½ a tablespoon of olive oil, then reduce to a medium-low heat.
Trim the spring onions, chop the white halves into 2cm lengths and add to the pan, reserving the green tops. Peel, finely slice and add the garlic, then cook it all for 10 minutes, or until soft and charred, stirring regularly. Meanwhile, finely slice the green halves of the spring onions. In a heatproof bowl, cover the noodles with boiling kettle water.
In a pestle and mortar, pound the wasabi peas until fine. Mix the miso paste into the reserved pineapple juice, then pour into the pepper pan with a splash of water. Let it sizzle for a minute, then return the tofu and pineapple to the pan to glaze. Drain the noodles, divide between your plates and spoon over the sticky miso peppers, followed by the tofu and pineapple. Sprinkle with the sliced green spring onion and crushed wasabi peas, then tuck right in.
MY KINDA BUTTER CHICKEN
Total time: 40 minutes
2–3 fresh mixed-colour chillies
350g ripe mixed-colour cherry tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic
6cm piece of ginger
1 tablespoon garam masala
4 heaped tablespoons natural yoghurt
2 x 150g free-range skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons smooth cashew butter
Halve and deseed the chillies. Place in a large non-stick frying pan on a high heat with the tomatoes and blacken all over, turning occasionally. Meanwhile, peel the garlic and ginger, and finely grate into a large bowl. Add most of the garam masala, a pinch of sea salt and black pepper and 1 tablespoon of yoghurt. Deeply score the chicken breasts at 1cm intervals, then massage with the marinade.
Once charred, remove the tomatoes and chillies to a board, returning the pan to a medium heat with ½ a tablespoon of olive oil and the chicken. Cook and char for 10 minutes, turning halfway, while you pinch off and discard the tomato skins and roughly chop 1–2 of the chillies, to taste.
Remove the gnarly chicken from the pan and go in with the tomatoes, chopped chillies and cashew butter. Pour in 250ml of boiling kettle water and stir to pick up the sticky bits. Let it bubble vigorously for 2 minutes and once it starts to thicken, return the chicken to the pan, turning in the sauce for a final 2 minutes, or until cooked through, then remove to a board. Off the heat, season the sauce to perfection, then ripple through the remaining yoghurt. Slice the chicken and serve with the remaining chilli and garam masala.