Everyday Super Food by Jamie Oliver
‘Recipes for a healthier happier you’
So I thought I would check out Jamie Oliver’s ‘healthy food’ recipes in his latest book, Everyday Super Food. Those who know me personally will know that in the past I have ‘dabbled’ in cookery, and I have always respected Jamie’s skills as a chef. Despite his controversial push for a tax on sugar, Mr. Oliver has done wonders in the past, most notably his work with schools to provide healthier meals to children. With that background and reputation, I was expecting to find some real gems in this book…. and I did!
After a brief introduction explaining why Jamie decided to create healthy recipes focusing on nutritional value, the book breaks into 5 main sections:
- Snacks & Drinks
- Live Well
As you can see, Everyday Super Food has the usual categories for a cookbook plus an extra ‘Live Well’ section, which I will cover later on.
On turning to a random page in the book, I’m greeted by a tempting picture of delicious squash daal, special fried eggs & poppadoms (article featured image). My first impression is that the picture quality is really good, definitely good enough to entice me into having a go at making the food, although I’m not sure my skills would produce something as good looking! However, you can tell that a lot of work has gone into the book.
Under the recipe name, there is a little caption outlining why the ingredients are so super. An example from the random page: ‘Red split lentils are a brilliant source of nutrients, including iron, which we need for making blood cells to transport oxygen around the body, helping to prevent us from getting tired‘. On checking a few more pages I can see that these captions run throughout the book, which is absolutely brilliant! Not only does it tell you a bit more about the ingredients, it educates you so that you will remember for future food choices.
The majority of recipes serve 2, apart from the snacks and drinks, which are more aimed towards bulk production for later storage. The recipes themselves are quite easy to follow, with the ingredient list always on the left of the page. Everyday Super Food is set out like a standard cookbook, however when you get to the bottom of each recipe you notice the nutritional value tables. Obviously this book would look pretty silly without them, but I think every cookbook should have them! Jamie has put in the nutritional information for calories, fat (including saturated fat), protein, carbohydrates, sugar and fibre on every single recipe – great stuff.
So the recipes are good, pictures are good, nutritional values are good. Are there any negatives? Well, not really. Or at least not in my opinion. It was pointed out to me that there are quite a few fish dishes included in the book. I like fish and most fish is really, really healthy so I thought this was a good thing. I guess if you don’t like fish then it’s not so good. There is however plenty of other ‘meat’ options (chicken, beef, etc.) as well as plenty of vegetarian recipes included.
Another slight downside is that some of the recipes are quite… exotic? I’m not sure that’s the right word but what I mean is that there are some ingredients included that you won’t find at the local supermarket. Not even at Sainsbury’s.
- Griddled steak & peppers, herby jewelled tabbouleh rice
- Roasted carrot & squash salad millet with apple, jalapeño & pomegranate
- Bombay chicken & cauli, poppadoms, rice & spinach
- Fro-Yo fruit yoghurt with nuts and seeds
The Live Well section.
At the back of the book Jamie has included a little section on healthy living. He aims to educate his readers in his philosophy for the book, and give them a basic understanding of living a healthy lifestyle. In this section he mentions things like a balanced food plate, the importance of water, the power of protein, etc. He also writes a little about lifestyle choices such as alcohol and sleeping patterns. Definitely worth a read!
To sum up…
I think the book is great! I guess you kind of know what you’re getting with a Jamie Oliver book – good quality recipes from a good chef. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro in the subject of healthy food, this book has something for you. I picked up my copy fairly cheaply on Amazon here (about £10).