I had to get it! There was really no holding me back. It had to become a part of my kitchen otherwise, I just could not function. Who cares if I have several of them lining not only my kitchen shelves but also bulging out of various cupboards around the house. I am talking about yet another cookbook. AHHH!
Do you now understand the feeling? The book I am talking about in particular is nothing less than the new cookbook from one of my favorite men with aprons - Jamie Oliver and his Cook with Jamie. Jamie, I wish I could! Cook with you, honeybuns! As I could not I went out and bought your book.
For those of you who sampled his last book - Jamie's Italy will certainly know why I have this crazy passion about Jamie Oliver's books. They are beautifully photographed and choc-a-full of fantastic and useful information.
Cook with Jamie is no different. It is his seventh book in about just as many years. I own almost all of them and in my eyes, Jamie embodies the spirit of good food. His dishes are made using fresh, whole food, prepared simply with a Mediterranean flair. His jovial, conversational-style of writing and recipes that offer everything from haute cuisine to decent, down-to-earth food really makes him a culinary titan.
This book, in which he says should have actually been his first, offers everything from recipes, to useful tips on how to sharpen knives, select kitchen equipment and a guide to being a better ingredients shopper. The recipes range from extremely easy to the rather more time-consuming and complex and there are entire sub-chapters devoted to carrots, peas, broccoli and cauliflower! He has revisited some older recipes and invented some scrumptious-sounding new dishes.
In his own words:
"It's the biggest book I've ever done, and I've really tried to make it a timeless, modern-day classic."
Well whatever he aimed to do with the book, I now have it on my shelf. One thing is sure though it is not the ordinary cookbook. You need time to read this one through.
I've been cooking a lot from it lately. This was one of the first recipes that caught my eye. The pairing of fish and black olives struck me as incredibly delicious and light. In the original recipe Jamie uses cod, I used trout filets instead. Combined with lemony mashed potatoes, it was all about going back to a warm summer holiday on the Mediterranean.
Although olives are harvested in September, they are available all year round. They give any dish they are added to that wonderful zesty taste. Versatile, they can be added to salads, pizza, meat and poultry dishes. The olive is the fruit of a the olive tree, also known as Olea europaea. This tree is native to coastal areas of the eastern Mediterranean region. They are also grown in Lebanon and other Middle Eastern countries.
Before olives can be eaten they require special processing to reduce the bitterness. Processing methods vary with the variety of the olive, cultivation region, and the taste desired, texture and color to be created.
The black olives are olives that have been allowed to ripen fully on the trees. However, not all of the black olives available were black to begin with. Some processing methods expose unripe greens olives to the air, and the subsequent oxidation turns them a dark color.
The coloring of the olives are due to different processing methods, which includes fermentation and curing in oil, water, brine or salt. This not only causes the olives to turn black, purple, brown, red, or yellow, but it also effects the skin texture, causing it to be either smooth and shiny or wrinkled. There is a huge variety of olives available on the market today, some of the best are Kalamata from Greece, Moroccan oil-cured, Nicoise olive and Manzanilla. You will find a fantastic list of the different varieties of olives on The Cook's Thesaurus.
Olives delay the effects if ageing and protect against rheumatoid arthritis. Olives are also linked to a reduced breast cancer risk. They are a good source of vitamin E, which neutralizes free radicals in all the fat-rich areas of the body. Olives also contain a variety of positive active phytonutrient compounds, which have significant anti-inflammatory properties. Furthermore, the nutrients in olives help to prevent heart disease by preventing the oxidation of cholesterol.
Selecting and Storing
Traditionally olives are sold in jars or cans, but in some good stores you might find them sold loose and in bulk. If you do buy in bulk you have a fantastic opportunity to experiment with different types and varieties.
You will find olives mostly whole, however it is also common for them to be pitted and stuffed with garlic, cheese or almonds. When purchasing in bulk maker certain that the store has a good turnover. Check that the olives are covered in brine as this keeps them moist and fresh.
They will remain fresh when stored in airtight containers and cooled in the refrigerator.
More about olives on Wikipedia
Medical Uses of olives.
Grilled Trout with Olive Sauce and Lemon Mashed Potatoes
Adapted from Jamie Oliver's Cook with Jamie
4 Trout fish filets each approx. 200g without skin and bones
1 small twig rosemary
Zest of 2 lemons
A dash of lemon juice
For the Olive Sauce:
2 large handfuls of black olives - pitted and coarsely chopped
1 small handful of mixed herbs - finely chopped
1/2 red chili - seeds removed and finely chopped
1 garlic clove - finely chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
Fresh cracked pepper
A good dash of extra virgine olive oil
A small amount of balsamic vinegar
For the Lemon Mashed Potatoes:
1 kg potatoes - steamed and peeled
6 tablespoons extra virgine olive oil
Milk - like warm
Juice of one lemon
Salt and pepper
Using a mortel and pestle grind the rosemary, sea salt and lemon zest coarsely. Rub the fish filets with this and covered place in the refrigerator to marinate for an hour.
In the meantime prepare the olive sauce by adding all the ingredients in a bowl except for the vinegar. Mix well until everything has incorporated. It should have a chunky consistence. Now add the vinegar to your own liking and flavoring. Set aside.
Pre-heat the oven at 220 degrees Celsius shortly before you take the fish out of the fridge.
With kitchen paper, pat away the moistness of the fish and drizzle some olive oil over the filets. In a large ovenproof pan, heat up a small dash of olive oil and fry the filets on each side for just 2 minutes. Place the pan in the oven and bake for another 6-8 minutes, turning the fish once half way through.
Using a potato masher mash the potatoes finely. Add the olive oil and a good swig of milk and mix using a whisk until smooth. Finally add salt pepper and lemon juice to taste.
Serve the fish on pre-warmed plates with a good serving of the olive sauce and mashed potatoes. Pair this with a chilled Riesling!
This knocked the socks off all three of us!! The olive sauce is wonderfully aromatic and the gentle seasoning of the fish made this a delightful dish. The proverbial icing though was combining this with the lemon mashed potatoes. Incredible! Since then I have made the mashed potatoes similar to this twice. Scooping a forkful of fish with the olive sauce and then a dollop of the potatoes into my mouth was a blissful experience. This one comes with my highest recommendations.
Another thing I adore about Jamie is the way his measurements are not exact - a handful of this and a dollop of this - gives a perfect outcome nine out of ten times.
Yes, I am recommending this book. Since then I have cooked with Jamie's new book a few times and each recipe was brilliant.
This was something new - new book and a new flavor experience and that is why a perfect dish for Sara's Weekend Cookbook Challenge - Something New.
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