It’s rare for me to venture out these days, juggling three children is proving to be, hmmn, quite a challenge. However, I did manage to jump on a train and head into the big smoke for a night out in London, getting home just before my carriage turned into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight! The event that lured me into town Jamie Oliver’s Comfort Food book launch at his cookery school, Recipease in Notting Hill.
As you may imagine, this was a party and a half, with a lavish display of Comfort Food-style celebration cakes, as well as a selection of savoury recipes from the book, including Irresistible Pork Buns, Polish Kiełbasa (there’s a recipe for how to make your own at home in the book), Beef and Barley Buns, Massaman Curry and hand-made Ravioli. There was also craft beer, wine and bespoke cocktails on tap. And if that wasn’t enough, we were also offered cured meats from Cobbled Lane Cured and following the success of the Truffle Cheddar experiment, we were treated to more Westcombe Dairy cheese.
Mr Oliver himself was in attendance, making the time to speak to almost every guest and signing bespoke copies of the book – customised with spray paint by Barnaby Purdy. Alongside Jamie were some of his friends and staunch allies – David Loftus, Gennaro Contaldo, Andy Appleton from Cornwall’s Fifteen and Ed Loftus – pastry chef extraordinaire. The event also gathered together the Food Tube crowd, the Drinks Tube crowd, a hand-picked selection of top bloggers, vloggers, instagrammers and the online editorial team behind JamieOliver.com.
It was a truly interactive, high-speed, fun-filled bash!
Comfort Food is Jamie’s sixteenth book. There has also been a television series running alongside the release which I’ve loved tuning into. Unlike a couple of Jamie’s previous books where the emphasis has been on speed, Comfort Food is all about rainy day recipes or perhaps the slower pace of weekend cooking, with chapters named Nostalgia, Good Mood Food, Pick Me Ups, Ritual, Guilty Pleasures and Sweet Indulgence. It’s a book that, I think, still captures Jamie’s love of cooking for family and friends, in the same way that he loved doing as The Naked Chef, but with even more gusto and a nod to some of the best ‘comfort food’ dishes from around the world. The photography, as always, by ‘Lord’ David Loftus, is first-rate, with Jamie endorsing David as “the best food photographer in the world.” Few would disagree.
At home, I’ve really enjoyed cooking some of Jamie’s Comfort Food recipes. I’ve had a go at making the Polish Pierogi from the book, filled with cabbage, potatoes and cheese – my kind of comfort food! I’ve also bookmarked the section on Making Kiełbasa. I made the Chocolate Celebration Cake for the school Christmas fair. On Boxing Day, I’ll be making the Overnight Roasted Pork Shoulder and with the leftovers, I’m going to have a go at making these Irresistible Pork Buns as served on the night.
It was also a great opportunity for me to catch up with some of Jamie’s editorial team and his online writers, including Aimée from Simple Bites, who had flown over from Canada. I’ve loved writing all of my online recipe features for JamieOliver.com this year and I’m looking forward to sharing some hugely exciting content in 2015. Cheers!
Christmas Features for JamieOliver.com
If you have some time over the weekend, why not have a go at making my nostalgia-inspired Creamy Sea Salted Fudge? Find the recipe here – I’ve had tons of positive comments, emails and feedback on this one!
And just in time for Christmas entertaining, I’ve shared my recipe for Vegan Mushroom Risotto Cups, which is the perfect recipe to have up your sleeve for vegan, vegetarian and/or gluten-free guests. Find the recipe here.
I’m off to snuggle up with my signed copy of Comfort Food and to chose some more recipes to make over the holidays.
Make sure it’s on your Christmas wish list! Have a read of Sarah’s December reviews for some more ideas, too.
A huge thank you to Jamie, Jim and the team for the invitation to this very enjoyable evening.