I Followed Jamie Oliver’s Recipes for a Week, and My Life Has Changed Completely
Hi everyone! My name is Natalie, and I’m interested in cooking. I love making all sorts of meals at home, and I also enjoy watching famous chefs, like Jamie Oliver, create their masterpieces. But I’d never tried to recreate his dishes, thinking I wasn’t good enough.
So, I decided to do an experiment, and for one week, cook one meal a day, using the recipes from Jamie Oliver. Every meal had just 5 ingredients, aside from the always-needed ones, like oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper.
Messy meatball buns
Ingredients: burger buns, fresh ground beef, mozzarella, pesto sauce, and canned plum tomatoes
How to make:
1. Tale 400 grams of ground beef, add salt, pepper, and 4 tsp of pesto. Mix together.
2. Form the meatballs and fry them on medium heat with olive oil for around 5 minutes, turning them from side to side.
3. Add a can of plum potatoes and the juice from a mozzarella pack. Boil.
4. Cut mozzarella in circles, and put a circle on each meatball. Cover the frying pan with a lid and stew it until the cheese melts.
5. Cut the buns and toast them a little.
6. Rub the bottom part of the bun with 1 tsp of pesto, put 3–4 meatballs on it, and cover it with the top bun.
7. Serve with tomato sauce.
Jamie spent 21 minutes cooking the burgers, I needed around 40. But it was only because he does certain things in the blink of an eye. For example, he easily turns the meat by flicking the pan. I needed a spatula for each of the meatballs.
I liked the idea of not adding all the ordinary ingredients to the meat: eggs, onions, and breadcrumbs. The meat was still juicy and in one piece. And I had never used mozzarella brine before.
My family enjoyed lots of sauce, you can dip the buns in before eating. I think you can use regular tomato paste instead of canned plum tomatoes. But don’t even think of not using pesto: this sauce makes the taste truly original.
Chicken in peanuts
How to make:
1. Zest 2 limes.
2. Take 2 pieces of chicken fillet and cut slits on one of the sides.
3. Rub olive oil over the chicken breast, add salt and pepper, and half of the lime zest.
4. Put the fillet with the cut side on a hot pan. Fry at medium-high heat.
5. Mix 2 tsp of peanut butter and the juice of 1.5 limes. You can add a little water: the sauce should be a bit liquid.
6. Add 4 ground cloves of garlic and 2-3 chili pods.
7. Pour the sauce onto the chicken and put it into the oven for 6 minutes.
8. Before serving, sprinkle the dish with olive oil and add the remaining lime zest.
When Jamie removed the chicken from the oven, it had a beautiful crust. In my case, the paste was still soft after 12 minutes, so I kept the dish in the oven for 10 more minutes. So, the cooking time went from 12 minutes to 22. Of course, my entire apartment smells like fried peanuts.
As for the serving, it was a complete failure, as you can see in the photo. But don’t just judge it by the look. I’ve never tried chicken as good as this. Peanut paste, lime peel, and chili created a storm of flavors! But I was the only one in my family that ate it because nobody else likes such spicy food. If I decide to cook it again, I will add less chili.
Warm carrot grain salad
Ingredients: baby carrots, 1 pomegranate, fresh mint, feta cheese, mixed cooked grains
How to make:
1. Fry 350 grams of carrots in olive oil for 15 minutes. If the carrots are small, you don’t need to cut them.
2. Cut the pomegranate into 2 halves, squeeze the juice of one of them into the salad dish. Add salt, a bit of olive oil, and red vinegar — this is your dressing!
3. Take the top, leafy half of the mint, and chop it into a bowl.
4. Fry the boiled grains (250 grams) to remove the moisture.
5. Put the mint, carrots, and grains into the dressing and stir.
6. Use the seeds from the second half of the pomegranate and add them to the salad.
7. Crumble or grate 40 grams of feta cheese and add them to the salad.
It took Jamie 18 minutes, because he used pre-cooked mixed grains. I needed 40 minutes in total.
I had very high expectations for this salad because the ingredients were very unusual, and I thought my taste buds would be shocked. But I was disappointed: it’s edible, but not very tasty. I’d argue with Jamie about serving the salad as a separate meal. My family likes it as a side dish. The mint was their least favorite part.
Pork and mash gratin
Ingredients: pork fillet, potatoes, cheddar cheese, prosciutto, fresh sage
How to make:
1. Cut 800 grams of potatoes into big pieces, pour boiling water into the pot, and boil them until they get soft.
2. Put a mix of salt and pepper on 400 grams of pork fillet, and fry it in olive oil on high heat for 3 minutes, turning from side to side.
3. After removing the pork, put the sage into the pan and the oil for a minute.
4. Grate around 40 grams of cheese.
5. Mash the potatoes, add salt, a bit of olive oil, and 20 grams of cheddar. You can add a little water.
6. Put the mash and the pork into a baking dish with the meat in the middle. Sprinkle the mash with the cheese you have left and put it into the oven for 10 minutes.
7. Put the prosciutto pieces around the meat, add sage, and put it all back into the oven for another 2 minutes.
I was expecting guests that evening, so I decided to try this dish. I used a bit more pork and replaced sage with rosemary. Jamie says to not peel the potatoes, so that’s what I did, but I used young potatoes. And it was great! My guests ate all the pork and mash, they loved the cheesy flavor and also wondered how long I marinated the meat because it was very soft. And I didn’t marinate it at all!
Jamie cooked it for 30 minutes, including 10 minutes for baking. He didn’t specify the temperature, so I set the oven at 370°F. I knew that my oven wouldn’t bake the meat in just 10 minutes, so I waited a little longer. I increased the baking time by 10 more minutes, and I also needed more time to cut the vegetables and boil the potatoes. In total, I spent 45 minutes on the meal.
Crunchy prosciutto slices make the meal feel more Italian, but you can do without it and still have a good dinner.
Crispy squid and smashed avocado
How to make:
1. Pour a centimeter of olive oil into a pan.
2. Cut 250 grams of squid into slices to make rings.
3. Put the squid into the flour so that it covers the inner and outer edges of the ring.
4. Deep fry the squid for 3–4 minutes and add salt.
5. Mash 1 avocado with a spoon, add the zest of 1 lime, and squeeze the juice. Add salt and pepper.
6. Put the mash on a dish, add the squid rings, sprinkle with chili sauce, and decorate with a lime piece.
7. Eat with your hands, dipping into the mash.
Jamie cooked for 20 minutes, and I needed around 27 because I needed to fry the squid in turns as I didn’t have a big enough pan. I also didn’t use whole meal flour and used regular instead, so my rings didn’t turn out as golden.
I’m not sure about the idea of adding the juice of an entire lime — it was very sour, and some people might not like this flavor. But together with the chili sauce, it’s quite good. I liked the recipe in general: the squid was very tender and crispy, and the avocado added to the seafood taste.
Sticky chicken wings
Ingredients: chicken wings, teriyaki sauce, sesame seeds, chili, green onions
How to make:
1. Fry 2 tbsp of sesame seeds until they turn golden.
2. Put the chicken wings in the same pan, fry on medium heat for 1 minute on each side.
3. Add 1–2 chilis and 4 tbsp of teriyaki. Add boiling water to cover the wings.
4. Stew for 30–40 minutes, turning the chicken occasionally.
5. When the water evaporates and the sauce starts to thicken, add 1 tbsp of vinegar. This will prevent the sauce from sticking to the pan.
6. Add the chopped onions and fried sesame seeds to the wings.
Jamie took 46 minutes to cook this meal. I needed just around 2 minutes more because I actually do need a spoon to know how much sauce I’m adding.
The meal turned out exactly as promised: tender meat and delicious crust. My family loved the wings, and I will make them again. I think you can replace the teriyaki sauce from the supermarket with home-made, based on ginger, honey, and vinegar.
Chocolate rye cookies
Ingredients: rye bread, dark chocolate, butter, eggs, sugar
1. Break 100 grams of chocolate into pieces and melt it.
2. Grind 100 grams of bread without the crust.
3. Add 2 eggs and 50 grams of sugar to the bread and stir.
4. Add 100 grams of butter to the chocolate and stir until it’s fully melted.
5. Combine the chocolate and the bread mixture, put them into a piping bag, and pipe the cookies onto parchment rubbed with olive oil.
6. Bake in an oven at 390°F for around 10 minutes.
7. Sprinkle each cookie with coarse salt.
Jamie cooked for 28 minutes, I cooked for 40. He was doing 2 trays of cookies at the same time, I only had one. This is probably the simplest recipe in terms of the accessibility of ingredients because you can buy them at any grocery store. And the cooking itself is easy enough.
While the cookies were in the oven, the kitchen smelled of chocolate. And Jamie also promised that using actual bread instead of flour would make the middle very soft. And it was! The crust was crispy, and the middle was very tender. The salt only accentuated the flavor.
I will make more of these because this is a great way to use your stale bread and create a dessert.
1. The recipes are perfectly real. All of the 7 dishes I made were eaten to the last crumb. Yes, I didn’t like the warm carrot salad as much as the other dishes, but it was still good enough.
2. Jamie promised the cooking would be easy, and it’s true. In each of the cases, the process was very simple, even though I’m not a professional cook.
3. As for the speed, it wasn’t as fast as I thought. Not everyone can do certain things like Jamie does. Besides, ordinary people don’t have all the equipment to do several tasks at the same time.
4. Almost all of the recipes have some ingredients you might not find in your local supermarket. In order to cook exactly what Jamie does, you might need to walk around food markets, or order certain things online. For example, prosciutto.
5. Jamie taught me to look at leftovers differently: feta brine and old bread can actually be used. And potato peel doesn’t make the meal worse. Quite the opposite.
Have you ever cooked anything using the recipes of famous chefs? If yes, what was your experience like?