It’s 7am and in the middle of the ‘gotto-get-to-work’ rush I’m rummaging through the freezer trying to summon something for dinner tonight. Two sausages is all I come with. A quick glance at Jamie’s new book and a sweep round the pantry and I’m sorted with mini meatballs in a sweet tomatoey beaney casserole. You’d think that after 26 previous cookbooks Jamie Oliver would be running out of steam but this book proves he still has ideas in the tank. True, the five ingredients formula isn’t new, but it is still phenomenally popular as we juggle the everyday mission of fitting tasty, affordable food into our busy lives. Here he’s right across the perennially popular cuisines of the Mediterranean – French, Italian, Greek, Lebanese, Palestinian, North African and beyond. But wait, aren’t these cuisines already well known for their simplicity, squeezing healthy flavour from a few quality ingredients? Is there anything to see here? Well, there’s something about this bright, confident food and his down-to-earth delivery that feels

fresh and doable. There are some shortcuts to meet the five ingredients rule – frozen vege, jars of sauce etc – but that’s how most of us live. With only a limited pantry to play in I wondered if we were in for a dumbed down and insipid offering, but far from it – a dish of burnt leeks, creamy beans, prawns, ham and mushrooms, or blistered aubergine with quick pickled radishes and homemade hummus will be welcome on my table any day. Jamie’s trademark is food that is fun, thrifty and accessible, proving that great eating doesn’t have to be complicated.





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