Oliver has grown, along with his garden
Jamie at Home 7.30pm, LifeStyle Food
THERE was a time, way back in The Naked Chef days, when all that mockney cockney, luvvly jubbly stuff just made you want to give Jamie Oliver a damned good slap. Fastforward less than a decade, and how times have changed. After singlehandedly taking on Britain’s food culture, producing countless cookbooks and television shows, putting out a line of cookware and picking up an MBE along the way, the 33- yearold boy from Essex is now everybody’s food hero. And more power to his elbow. Oliver’s latest series, Jamie at Home, which makes its subscriptionTV debut on LifeStyle Food tonight, is perhaps the best illustration so far of how Oliver has matured into a passionate and compelling advocate for fresh, organic produce.
The main ingredients featured in this series are plucked from his expansive organic garden, overseen by gardener Brian Skilton who, aptly, bears more than a passing resemblance to fictional British TV scarecrow Worzel Gummidge.
These are whipped up into tasty, fresh and healthy meals by Oliver in his rustic kitchen.
Tonight the focus is on peas and broad beans, some of the simplest things to grow, says Oliver, as he sits among the foliage popping the delicate legumes from their shells.
Beans on toast ( a towering stack of crushed fresh peas and beans, mint and pecorino with a ball of fresh mozzarella perched on top), a fresh and herby version of falafel and a quick plate of spaghetti and meatballs appear effortlessly, and may be just as easy to prepare at home. Good news
Cockney ascent: Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver in
Add potatoes, prop up the bag against a handy wall, and Bob’s your uncle
indeed for those finding themselves low on tins of Heinz.
This episode, as with the rest of the series, is interspersed with shots of a sketchbook containing photos of produce from the garden. There are cartoon illustrations with cutesy handwritten notes, including ‘‘ Any idiot can plant broad beans and peas’’, and, in a thought bubble emanating from a picture of a hungry toad, ‘‘ Come a little bit closer, slugs.’’
There are also handy tips for the large section of the population that doesn’t own a Chelsea Flower Showworthy garden, as Oliver does. Grow bags, for instance, are great for tiny spaces. Simply wedge in a couple of potatoes, prop up the bag against a handy wall, and Bob’s your uncle: a potato crop in no time.
Oliver’s trademark exuberance remains very much in evidence in this series, even when studying some ladybird larvae ( one of the good guys, according to the laconic Skilton).
But somehow it doesn’t grate so much these days, not even when Oliver repeatedly refers to his host of garden pests as Mr Slug, Mr Snail, Mr Pigeon and so on.
Perhaps, like Oliver, we’ve all grown up a bit.
Jamie at Home