Jamie Oliver is a firm believer in home cooked meals that are cheaper and more nourishing than anything available on Swiggy and Zomato. “It’s never been easier to fix that urge for food at the click of a button,” he says.
His new cookbook 7 Ways released by Harper Collins in India last month features recipes that one can easily recreate at home with ingredients available in the kitchen. In a career spanning almost 20 years, 7 Ways is Oliver's 24th book. The chef believes that one of the biggest obstacles which comes in the way of home cooking is non-availability of ingredients. So, he did a research of the items which feature regularly on weekly grocery lists in western cooking. There were 18 ingredients including cauliflower, chicken breast, salmon fillet, eggs, potatoes, broccoli and mushrooms. Then he conceived seven ways to cook each ingredient. With eggs, one can make an Indian-inspired frittata and eggy crumpet. With mushrooms, there's Toad-in-the-Hole, risotto and soup. With fish, there's tacos and fishcakes.
To encourage readers to cook more, he shortlisted the most popular takeout dishes and suggested recipes for them. There's peri peri chicken, hoisin pork, pizza and cheesy spaghetti which can be made with ingredients that are readily available at home. He named these dishes “fakeaways.”
“If you cook from scratch yourself, the chances of you saving money is huge. Even cheap takeaways are pretty expensive when you’re buying it for four people," the chef said, and added,“I’ll try and write a recipe that can lure you into having a go. And ultimately, that’s what it’s all about: trying to keep cooking skills alive.”
The chef launched a cookbook in the pandemic as people took to cooking more at home. He has kept a tab of the steady rise in sales of kitchenware and baking goods. With the recipes, he tries to keep things interesting. For instance, Oliver does more than slice the avocado into a salad: He makes an avocado hollandaise, an avocado tempura, and bakes avocados with shrimp.
“I’m trying to represent different cooking methods, different costs and different color, different flavor profiles,” he told them. “One of my jobs in this book was to try and help celebrate the ingredient, but break the monotony of the same old dish every week.”
Now, he is working on a TV show that's based on the book. It is being shot at his home where he wants to highlight how simple and therapeutic cooking can be. In an instagram video on his page @jamieoliver, the chef says, "Above all, I just wanted to bring out something gentle. Something that you could control. Something that you could use to feel better."
With inputs from The Associated Press (AP)