Welcome to Jamie Oliver-land

If you’ve been reading this blog for a little while then you’ll know that Jamie Oliver is one of my favorite chefs.

So I made an effort to find a few of his restaurants when we were in London. High on my list was Union Jack’s which is tied to his Great Britain cookbook. Here’s the vegetarian catch- I have to rethink he’s classic British recipes not only to convert them, but reinvent them to make them veg. So alas, the menu turned out not to have the adventurous veggie eating I was hoping for. I ended up just cruising by and taking pictures while it was closed.

I loved the decor because it reminded me so much of his cookbook.





We dropped by his pop-up Jamie’s Diner late one night for dessert. I think it was suppose to be a twist on the Route 66 diner notion, but that twist ended up being- Surprise-dinosaurs!



John had rosemary sprinkled “chips” and a cream soda (which was really good) and I had a lemon pie with a dandelion soda. The pie was good, but I wanted a vat of the whipped cream.



I’m not going to lie, we weren’t wowed.


But that’s why it’s a pop-up right? They did have these lovely words painted on the wall.


We made sure to stop by a Jamie’s Italian. We ate at one when we were in Leeds 2 years ago and had a fantastic meal.
This time John had squash stuffed ravioli that reminded me of candy wrappers.

There were beet chips involved which went really well with the pasta.

I had a cheese tortellini primavera which was light and nice. And yes, those are mushy peas under the pasta.


But let’s be honest- what we came for was dessert.
John had the Epic Brownie which included amaretti ice cream and, brace yourself, caramel amaretti popcorn on top.


I had the ice cream combo I fell in love with in Leeds: a scoop of honey, salted caramel, and vanilla with warm butterscotch and crushed honeycomb on the top.

Oh my.

Jamie Oliver-land mission accomplished. Now where can I buy some of that smashed honeycomb?


Savory Apple and Cheese Pie

I’ve been wanting to make this recipe for Apple and Lancashire Cheese Pie for about a year, but it always gets lost among all the other things I decide to make– Well, no more!

The first problem I ran into was I couldn’t find in Lancashire cheese in my local international cheese department. Since it’s a type of cheddar I decided to mix to cheddars together:



It worked out fine, but I’m still curious as to what Lancashire cheese tastes like…

Ok here’s the recipe!

Preheat oven to 375.
Peel and thinly slice 3 potatoes (1/5 pound-ish)


Add them to a saucepan of boiling water. Add a dried veggie broth cube to the water. Boil for 3-4 minutes then drain and set aside.


Thinly slice 4 apples into disks. I used honey crisp, because why the heck not?


And then slice 2 shallots.


Grate or buy pregrated 8.8 oz’s of Lancashire or sharp cheddar cheese.


Earlier in the day I thawed out a box of puff pastry (16/17oz) 2 sheets. Roll one sheet out until it’s 1/2 to a 1/4 inch thin. Set aside on a greased cookie sheet (or a cookie sheet covered in parchment, which is what I used) and roll out the other piece of pastry. You’ll want the stretchier, biggest piece for the top.

You’ll then layer your slices. Add a layer of potatoes to the pastry dough on the cookie sheet. Leave enough room at the edge for sealing later. Season with sprinkles of thyme, garlic salt and pepper.



On top of the the first layer of potatoes and seasoning, add a layer of apples and shallots.


Then add a layer of cheese and more seasonings. The seasoning measurement is really up to you and how flavorful you like it. I like flavor, so I kept sprinkling.


Repeat all layers again until you use up almost all your potato, apple, shallot, and cheese. Don’t add the second piece of puff pastry- that’s for the big finish!


I had two layers, almost three.

Slightly beat one egg. Brush the edges of both pastry pieces with a little egg. Save the leftover egg for later.

The Big Finish – Lay you other puff pastry crust on top of your layers.


Seal the edges and brush the top of the pastry with the leftover egg.

I laughed because it kind of looks like a mammoth ravioli!


Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden and puffy.


Then it’s ready!


We had ours with a warm lentil salad and a spicy mustard based dressing and glass of stout ale.


Melty cheese and apple wrapped in pastry warmed up our winter cold night. I’m glad I finally tried the recipe!

Hello Kedgeree

So I read on-line that the first meal in the opening scenes of season 1 of Downton Abbey is a breakfast of Kedgeree. Not traditionally a veggie meal, BUT, that doesn’t tend to stop me when it comes to my love of British food.

Trusting my ever faithful Jamie O. I tweaked and twisted his recipe to become a veggie Kedgeree that would make Carson proud.

Serves 4

First, I chopped the veg and tofu:
1 white onion, a handful of cherry tomatoes, and I used garlic infused tofu instead of mackerel. You see there that I sliced the tofu more than chopped it because I wanted it to flake more like fish.


I cooked my white jasmine rice -4 servings.


While my tofu and onion got a little brown and crispy in two tablespoons of olive oil.


I got out the hard boiled 4 eggs I had prepared earlier in the day. John doesn’t care for soft boiled and though those seem to be more traditional, we went with hard boiled because a happy husband is a happy thing.


I added the rice to the tofu and onion, then the spices to the mix: 2 tsp curry, 1 tsp turmeric, a shake or two of pepper.


Because my eggs where hard, I chopped them up. I halved the tomatoes and added them to the pan (which was now cooking on low heat).



Oh, and don’t forget the “scatter” of parsley when you add the eggs next!


I stirred it all up into one giant, yummy, yellow breakfast for dinner.


This is a seriously hearty meal in disguise, so be ready! You’ll want to eat a few helpings, but the heartiness will win in the end.

We also had the last of my Yorkshire puddings from the freezer reheated in oil and butter in a skillet. That worked out so much better than the microwave!



The customary greens…


And I had a new-to-me British ale that was left at our house by a friend.


I have never seen so many instructions on a beer can. They were worth it .



See, when I blog first thing in the morning it just makes me not want to go into work and cook the meal all over again. Alas, someone had to pay the grocery bills.

Good-bye for now, Kedgeree.


Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Dining Week: ER Coronation Tofu!

For our second night of celebration dining I decided to make Jamie Oliver’s ER Diamond Jubilee Chicken, but without the chicken. Since I’ve never had the classic coronation chicken I had no idea what to expect (and then I substituted garlic tofu on top of that!)

I was worried it was going to be more of a mystery jubilee than a regal jewel, but as all of Jamie’s recipes turn out (even with my American-Vegetarian finagling) it was really good!

First I cut the tofu and marinated it juice from one lemon, some fresh pineapple chunks, a thumb-sized piece of diced fresh ginger, 4 diced garlic cloves, and some olive oil. I only let it sit for around 30 minutes. Keep the marinade! You’ll need it later.


Then I sautéed the tofu until golden and crispy in more olive oil.


Then added all the spices. Hang on to your crowns: 1 tsp of coriander, 1/2 TBSP of garam masala, 1/2 a tsp of turmeric, 1/4 a tsp of chili powder, 1/4 of a tsp of red chili flakes (add more if you want it spicier- we’re mild people at our house). Wow, it seemed like a lot more when I was making it.


After cooking in the spices ( 5 minutes or so) I added a cup of chopped fresh pineapple, a handful of cashews, 1/2 a tsp of cumin seeds, 1 TBSP of sesame seeds, and 3 or 4 sliced green onions.
I also added back in my marinating mix.


The last steps- squeeze juice from one lime and lightly stir in a TBSP of plain yogurt (don’t skip the yogurt, it adds a richness you won’t want to miss!)


Oh! And I almost forgot the mini yorkies! I made Yorkshire puddings for the first time. Jamie recommended a mini muffin pan and that’s what I went with.


They’re basically like popovers, but a little denser. The smoking hot oil in the muffin pan freaked me out a little, but it turned out to be pretty easy and yummy.



The whole meal included: the jubilee tofu on top of cucumber slices, butter onion sweet rice, salad and the Yorkshire puddings.



Ta until tomorrow!

Let’s eat British! A Breakfast Butty , my favorite meal from yesterday

Our British inspired meals continue with a vegetarian take on the Jamie Oliver’s Breakfast Butty!


I used tempeh bacon, eggs cooked until they could be folded, Kerrygold Dublineer cheese, and of course a healthy dose of ketchup with worchestershire sauce.
I’ve really started to like my ketchup this way- it’s tangy and sweet at the same time. A “Butty” is a sandwich, made with two soft pieces of bread. I used Russo rolls because of their buttery flavor. I like my Butty’s and I can not lie…yes, I went there.


Sunday Night Dinner: Let’s eat British all Month! Will and Kate Beer and Barley Pie

A photo from Jamie Oliver's Great Britain

So my good friend Kendra gave me Jamie Oliver’s new cookbook, Great Britain. This was a very kind and generous gift because 1) I love British food 2) I love Jamie Oliver’s recipes and 3) I can’t get this cookbook in the US.

This means that, yes, I have to do metric conversions in order to use the cookbook, BUT that’s what APP’s, the internet and good old-fashioned guesstimation is good for, right?

So far I’ve made Crumbliest Scones, Breakfast Buttys (veg of course) and Will and Kate’s Beef and Beer Pie (substituting a few things to fill in for the beef). I’ve decided that March is “eat British” food month at our house, so get ready for a few United Kingdom inspired meals. This will be no surprise to any of my family members as I have been an anglophone since I was thirteen.

Something I love about the Brits is that when they make a savory “pie” it’s pretty much straight up one filling. Where we Americans will throw in carrots, celery, peas, and other things with our chicken, pork and beef pies, they stick to the base ingredient and add just a little something extra.

Mr. Oliver spiced his up a bit with the gravy ingredients which helped for my vegetarian version. I have to admit that I was really nervous about making pie dough using the conversion calculator. Pastry dough is tricky, finicky and pretty much by the book cooking. So if anything was going to go wrong, the pastry dough stood a strong chance of going awry. It didn’t, thank the cooking gods, so John got to have dinner and no kitchen meltdowns occurred.

Here’s how I made a vegetarian version of  Will and Kate (and yes that stands for THE Will and Kate) Beer and Barley Pie.

First, I substituted shiitake mushroom based Field Roast for beef. I used one quarter loaf and sautéed it crispy then set it aside.

I halved the filling on Jamie’s recipe (so I actually converted then halved it– I’m a crazy person). This worked out well for the 9-inch pie pan I was using. I mixed chopped 1 chopped red onion, 1 cup of portabella mushrooms, and a tablespoon of thyme, a tablespoon of rosemary and 1 bay leaf. With a dash of salt and pepper, I sautéed them for 10 minutes in 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

After the 10 minutes were up and the vegetables were nice and soft, I added the stout beer. I, of course, went with Guinness. One of my most favorite beers ever was a Guinness I had before I saw Romeo and Juliet at the Globe in London. After converting about 3/4 of a cup seemed right. I also added 1 tablespoon of tomato puree or diced tomatoes, 1 heaping tablespoon of flour, and 3 cup of vegetable broth. It looked like this after I stirred it all together.

You let it simmer on low (with the lid on) for 30 minutes. While it was cooking, I made the pie dough. Because the Will and Kate pie called for Suet (beef fat lard) and there wasn’t a sure-fire way around it, I choose to use another of Jamie’s pie savory pie dough recipes. This one was butter based and I’ve made a couple butter based pie doughs before so I felt a little more confidant about it.

This called for 2  1/4 cups-ish of flour, 2 sticks of butter, pinch of sea salt. Being the old-fashioned girl that I am I tend to do everything by hand, so I pinched my salt, flour and butter together, but you can, as Jamie suggests, just zap it in the food processor until the mixture looks like cornmeal. Then dump the loose mixture out on the a clean surface and make a pile, then a well in the middle of the pile. I added around 6 to 8 tablespoons of ice-cold water to the well. Carefully mix it together using your fingers until the dough comes together into a rough ball. Don’t get it too wet, dry is better! Then place in a floured bowl, cover with plastic wrap and “pop” it into the fridge for at least 30 minutes or until ready for use. The plastic wrap and the cold will help it come together in the end.

Scruffy ball of dough

Once my vegetable and beer mixture had cooked for 30 minutes, it was time to add a 1/4 of a cup of pearl barley. Stir it in (the mixture should be thickening) and put the lid back on for 30 more minutes on low.

When the 30 minutes are up, take the lid off and cook for 15 minutes more. Things should be really thick by now.

When the 15 minutes are up, add 2 tablespoons of tamari or Worcestershire sauce, 2 teaspoons of a mustard with some kick to it, and 1/4 of a cup of shredded cheddar cheese. Stir and remove from heat then mix in your cooked Field Roast (don’t forget it!)

Now it’s time to see if your pastry came together in the fridge. I will admit my dough needed a little more help, so I added 2 more tablespoons of water to moisten it. Cut your dough in half and roll it a 1/2 inch thick on a floured surface. I say 1/2 inch, but butter based dough isn’t stretchy in a rolling-pin kind of way, so close enough is good enough. Then cut to fit your pie pan.

Two hearts for two royal sweethearts

Add your filling.

I dotted mine with butter to help make up for the loss of the beef fat.

Now it’s time for the top crust! Same as before, but make sure to seal the edges to your bottom crust. Again, butter based dough makes this a little harder to do, but close is good. Use one egg and paint a light egg wash on the top crust then bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes or until slightly golden brown.

Yes, I’m going to say it, this pie is truly fit for a future king or Mr. Young the King of my heart…I’m glad  the most important one of them got to enjoy it!

I did finish off the stout and made a scrappy version of the English classic mushy peas along with sides of carrots and boiled potatoes! Jolly good if I do say so myself.

sunday night dinner: january 15, 2012 — beef wellington

miss maggie smith

“yummmy, yummmy, yummy”  is a maggie smith quote that we use quite often at meal time, even though it comes from gordsford park, it still seems appropriate for downtown abbey.  in the theme of fabulously everything british on sundays dad busted out beef wellington. honestly i think if you put anything in a puff pastry it just makes it a thousand time betters.

beef wellington

RECIPE (a la jamie oliver and art farris)

1 lb beef fillet

peppers, onions and dried apricots –diced to make 1 cup of mixture

8 slices of parma ham

dijon mustard for brushing beef fillet

puff pastry — one frozen sheet rolled out

egg wash

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 glass white wine

sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

extra virgin olive oil

1.  preheat oven to 390, season beef with sea salt and black pepper.  heat a pan with olive oil and fry beef on high heat until it is browned. let cool.

2.  mix peppers, onions, garlic,  and dried apricots to form a puree.  add puree with a glass of white wine to pan and cook till wine evaporates.

3.  on a piece of plastic wrap layer parma ham, puree and beef (brushing beef with mustard) cover with plastic and keep in fridge 30 minutes.

4.  unwrap meat.  roll out pastry dough and put meat in center.  egg wash the edge of the pastry  and roll up pastry.  turnover and egg wash over the top.  mark the pastry using the back of a small knife to make a cross hatch.

5.  bake at 390 for about 30-35 minutes. allow to rest before cutting and serving.