Cooking the books

Over the last few weeks I’ve been testing out not quite a new cookbook but a new cooking app from the man himself Jamie Oliver.


I’m not one that enjoys paying money for apps, I’m currently seeing how long I can hold off paying anything for Minecraft versus how much pressure I’m under for it on a daily basis.  Having said that I thought that £4.99 for said app, called Jamie Oliver’s Ultimate Recipes, was not altogether a bad proposition.

As the blurb says “for one upfront price, this deluxe version of Jamie Oliver’s recipes helps us serve restaurant calibre-food anytime.”  Not quite sure about the restaurant calibre part but you get the picture.  It includes more than 600 recipes with step-by-step photos and videos.

There are different ways of using the app but it’s primarily ordered by “collections” – see above for the vegan example – which I find quite a useful way of approaching it.  You can find sections for fish, soup, latino, eggs, cocktails, all manner of different subjects and then a range of recipes within that category.

Within the recipes you’ll find the usual ingredients list and then a step by step guide to cooking it.  Personally I find this step by step – where each step is on a different page – slightly maddening.  I find that I keep having to read ahead to see what’s going to happen and then back again several times and I’d prefer to just have it written out so I can scan it.

This could well just be me not being that fantastic at sticking to what I’m supposed to be doing but in some ways it feels a bit patronising.  The first step for example is often, “Before you start, make your table look respectable – get the cutlery, salt and pepper and drinks laid out nicely.”  And I’m thinking, that’s all well and good Jamie but this has got to be on the table in 15 minutes or all hell is going to break loose.


On a positive note, the step by step element allows you to quickly change the number of people you’re cooking for which instantly changes the quantities in the recipe which is neat and useful.

As for the recipes themselves, this being Jamie Oliver you probably have a good idea already of what you’re going to get.  I find that there are a lot of things in there which frankly feel like far more effort than they are worth (like complex sides, I mean who has the time????) but in amongst all of that you’ll always find good, family-friendly recipes which, whilst they’ll probably never be dinner party fodder, are good for everyday when you’re sick of fish fingers (if that’s even possible).

Over the weeks we have tried, the creamy macaroni cheese which, whilst not exactly ground-breaking was really fab, the baked veg briyani which I was not massively keen on but bizarrely the kids really loved, the mega homemade cheeseburgers which were perfectly fine but probably not the best burgers I’ve ever had and also the bolognese ragu which, again, wasn’t exactly unique but was a good recipe nevertheless.IMG_5971.JPG

All in all if you’re looking for a good source of fairly straightforward recipes which you have half a chance of convincing kids to eat then I think this is a relatively cheap, good place to start.