Book Review: Jamie's Ministry of Food

Out of all my cookery books, this is the one I’ve used most, and it’s the one I’d recommend you buy first if you’re looking to get into cooking – click here for more details. I have to say that I don’t set much store by the sort of supposedly easy cookery books for students that there seem to be so many of these days. The recipes are usually both cheap and easy, it has to be said, but mostly this is because there are only three ingredients and they’re all horrible! I think there are other, better ways to save money without compromising on flavour – by investing in a couple of herbs or spices to make simple recipes interesting, for example – and ‘easy cooking’ is a relative term I think.

This book is the perfect tome to hold your hand when you’re first learning. For starters, it’s a great mixture of classics that everyone loves and should know how to make (chicken fajitas, chili con carne, spaghetti bolognese) and delicious new things to learn (the lamb rogan josh has been my favourite new discovery). The recipes are also set out really clearly, and most of them, instead of having one big picture of the final product, have a series of pictures showing the recipe in progress so you can check what you’re doing is right. Finally, it has a collection of useful bits and bobs such as how to make the perfect rice, delicious and interesting side dishes, salad dressings and sauces, and a chapter of super-quick meals for when you can’t be bothered faffing around in the kitchen for an hour.

This book is brilliant – it’ll set you up with everything you need, from quick & easy recipes (perfect for nights in) to recipes that look terribly impressive but are actually really easy (perfect for impressing people).  If you only want to buy one recipe book, buy this one! But be warned, it might get you so addicted to Jamie Oliver you end up buying all the others too…