Jamie Oliver offers recipes for a happier, healthier you »

And makes it easy in Everyday Super Food

By Kerry Scambler
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Everyday Super Food by Jamie Oliver.

Everyday Super Food by Jamie Oliver.

 

Major birthday milestones often prompt some soul searching and, at times, some big changes in life, even it seems for celebrity chefs. Approaching his 40th birthday, Jamie Oliver paused and pondered life's aims. His conclusion was that the best chance we can give ourselves to achieve our life's goals is to have good personal health.  

So he set out to provide a resource to "help you get it right on the food front, most of the time"  in Everyday Super Food.

In his introduction, Jamie Oliver says he wanted to "create a super-safe place celebrating delicious nutrition, achievable meals that will help you cook your way to a healthier, happier, more productive life." 

Each recipe in the book has been developed to reflect the 'balanced plate' philosophy but it's also about food that will "first and foremost tickle your taste buds and fill you up."

Whilst writing the book, he was studying for a nutrition diploma and consulted a myriad of nutritionists and scientists in his efforts to make it relevant, informative and importantly, eminently usable.

He also travelled to places where people live longer and are healthier, to see what might be in their diet or lifestyle that contributes to this longevity.

I'm relieved to report that this isn't a lecturing style of cookbook, not that you’d expect a sermon from Jamie Oliver! After the introduction come the recipes, each with an introductory paragraph of the salient points for the main ingredient(s) and – importantly for this home cook – a glorious photograph to inspire.

At the end of the book is a section called 'Live Well – a healthier happier you', which offers practical advice and key information on health, nutrition and wellbeing.  The balanced plate, the stupendous properties of fruit and veg, carbs, proteins, fats etc are all explained in an easy reading manner as are the benefits of sleep and movement.

It's easy reading and as Jamie says, if we only pick up a few pointers and recipes, he's done his job.
 

What's to like about Everyday Super Food

Recently having a toasted ham, cheese and chilli sandwich for breakfast made me realise how much of a habit we can get into with our home breakfast menus. I'd certainly never tasted chilli in the am before! Of course, many cuisines aren't wedded to the toast and cereal model but after this warm wake-up toastie and flicking through Everyday Super Food, I think it’s time to climb out of a rut…

So my starting point was Jamie's recipe for Magic Poached Egg, Smashed Avo and Seeded Toast to start my new week. After fighting the clingfilm and remembering to keep my fingers away from my eyes after cutting the spring onion (I'm not always at my brightest in the mornings!) I sat down to one damn fine breakfast that kept me satisfied well past my usual morning tea urges. There's something refreshing about a warm egg, cold avocado and tomato with spring onion. OK Jamie, good start!

There are at least 30 recipes for breakfasts (up to 400 calories), lunches and dinners (each up to 600 calories) plus sections on snacks and drinks. Quite a few are a base for further options, for example:

  • Granola Dust that can then be used in a smoothie, pancake base, a hot drink, with yoghurt and fruit etc.
  • The Super Protein Loaf offers up 15 different toppings.
  • There are four variations on scrambled eggs (one of these includes mushroom and Marmite which might be an acquired taste!).
  • And another four variations on both cucumber stick and poppadom snacks.
  • Plus six salad snack bowls.

All the recipes look healthy, colourful and easy to cook up plus, if you’re counting calories, there's a ready-made nutritional panel included for each one.

I bought this book for my partner who enjoyed watching the TV show, but it's been a bit slow to reach the front of the reading pile. I'm glad it finally made it and am now looking forward to dishing up some different and healthier options.

Perhaps we'll start with Sizzling Moroccan Prawns, Fluffy Couscous and Rainbow Salsa; or Griddled Steak and Peppers with Herby Jeweled Tabbouleh Rice, and then there's home-made Nut Butters…

I've also picked up a few tips from the 'Live Well' section and have a jug of Watermelon and Basil Water chilling in the fridge and a glass on hand to sip – and not just in summer!

It really didn't seem hard to quickly take on board a few tips, so Jamie's hope that we can all do a little better doesn't seem unreasonable. Definitely a good investment and now pushed well up the cookbook pile.
 

Everyday Super Foods by Jamie Oliver is published by Penguin Random House (UK, 2015; hc, 312pp, RRP A$55.00). It available from good bookshops or find online via booko.com.au


Read the media release for Everyday Super Food here »

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