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Book Review: Jamie Oliver’s Super Food Family Classics

super-food-family-classics-cover-on-eatlivetravelwrite.comIf you’ve followed me on Instagram over the past little while, you’ll have noticed I’ve been cooking from Jamie Oliver’s latest book, Super Food Family Classics. While the book is released here in Canada today, it’s been out since the summer in the UK and I ordered it from there, unable to wait the extra months and also wanting a book with metric measurements! 

Jamie always has great smoothie recipes. This one’s a “Super Green”:

Jamie Oliver super green smoothie on eatlivetravelwrite.comThe Sausage Pasta with Broccoli, Chili and Sweet Tomatoes is a fabulous twist on a meat-heavy pasta sauce:

Jamie Oliver sausage pasta with broccoli, chili and sweet tomatoes on eatlivetravelwrite.comThe (Red) Chicken Curry with Aubergine Corn, Cashews and Lime was a great way to use up my end of summer eggplant:

Jamie Oliver chicken curry with aubergine corn, cashews and lime on eatlivetravelwrite.comAnd the Batch Minced Meat Ragu goes a really long way!

Jamie Oliver batch minced meat ragu on eatlivetravelwrite.comI’ve cooked a couple of the recipes with my boys’ cooking club as well – English breakfast frittata

Puffed and cooked Jamie Oliver English breakfast frittata in progress on eatlivetravelwrite.comand the 7-veg tomato sauce:

Kids reaching for Jamie Olivers 7-veg tomato sauce on eatlivetravelwrite.comAll these recipes have been fabulous!

Super Food Family Classics is Jamie’s “healthy family cookbook” containing recipes that are “easy, super-tasty and packed with goodness”. In this book, Jamie’s taken classic comfort food dishes and re-worked them to fit into his “super food philosophy” meaning that the meals will “tickly your tastebuds, [be] super delicious and will fill you up, but every one of those meals is totally balanced and will help to fuel, revive and energize you.” It’s a book designed to encourage you to eat healthy versions of the comfort food you love whatever your definition of “family”.

Organisation

The book contains eight chapters – Breakfasts (all under 400 calories per serve), Quick Fixes (meals you can “get on the table in 25 minutes or less” – so probably a little longer for the average person!), Healthy Classics (comfort food dishes, freshened up “super food style”), Salads (full of colour, texture and flavour), Curries and Stews (hearty meals that won’t weigh you down), Traybakes (clever, prepare-ahead meals where the oven does most of the work), Pasta and Risotto (easy meals featuring pantry staples), Soups (filling and nutritious) and a bonus “Kitchen Hacks” chapter (teaching you tips and tricks to cook smarter and batch make items which prepares you for future meals).

Jamie’s Super Food Philosophy

There’s also Jamie’s signature “super food” information chapter called “Health and Happiness” .  Just like the “Live Well Section” in Everyday Super Food”, this chapter includes information about nutrition, food and well-being and how they are all linked. Jamie subscribes to the philosophy that “Balance is absolutely key. If you can balance your plate right and keep your portion control in check […] you can be confident that you’re giving yourself and your family a really great start on the path to health” and this chapter discusses ways you can do just that.

As well as summing up the top tips from Everyday Super Food, this chapter covers: the idea of the balanced plate, the importance of actually chewing (and savouring and enjoying) your food, how to treat our GI tract kindly for better health (some simple tips), the importance of fibre and how to get more of it in your daily diet (most of us are not eating enough), how to improve bone health, the importance of hyydration, facts about sugars (they aren’t all equal and most of us don’t realise how much is hidden in foods we buy), tips for cooking with kids, how to deal with fussy eaters, tips for budget-friendly shopping as well as information about equipment recommendations that will help you get dinner on the table faster (you’d be amazed at what a food processor can do to speed things up!). There’s SO much information in here but because it’s written in Jamie’s engaging and approachable style, it feels easy to understand and apply to our everyday life. It’s a good amount of information but not overwhelming.

The recipes

This is definitely more sophisticated family food than your average family cookbook. When I think about my favourite Jamie Oliver cookbook, it’s probably still the Food Revolution cookbook because of the simplicity of the recipes and ingredients called for and for this reason it’s still the book I recommend most when people ask me for a “good basic cookbook” or if people want to get started cooking with their kids. Don’t get me wrong though, I LOVE the recipes in Super Food Family Classics and they are prefect for my no-kids family of two. I mean, on a weekend, I am actually very likely to whip up “Crispy Rice Pancakes with Curried Chickpeas, Eggs and Coconut Salsa” for Neil and myself. But do I see a busy mum choosing that for breakfast? Maybe not.  I guess it all depends on what your definition of “family classics” is and what your family likes to eat.

That said, there are SO many great recipes in here for busy families (no matter how many people that means) – I love the Traybakes chapter because it’s all about advance-prep then letting the oven do the work for you (again, the recipes are not your usual traybakes – Sicilian Fish Bake with Aubergine, Tomatoes, Pine Nuts and Raisins or Mango Teriyaki Salmon with Brown Rice and Chili Cucumber Pickle for example might be more adult-friendly dishes) and the Kitchen Hacks chapter because it’s all about making big batches of things like pasta sauces, chicken nuggets fish fingers, chicken stock, pesto, curry pastes and even a couple of sweet treats (stewed fruit and iced lollies-popsicles). There are a lot of options for prepare-ahead meals which I am sure anyone (not just parents) will appreciate.

I really like that the recipes are generally fairly short (even if the ingredient list might include some things that are not staples in your pantry) – no longer than a page – and that each recipe has a photo. I know that from cooking with kids, they like to see the end result so they have some idea of what they are aiming for and, to be honest, so do I!  Each recipe includes the active time which I appreciate – it’s always good to know what you are getting into before you start a recipe. The recipes also include nutritional information which, while many people may not feel this is part of a cookbook, knowledge is power and it’s very enlightening to take a look at the nutritional information of a recipe. They say you are what you eat but I truly believe if more people had a little more knowledge and understanding about what they are putting in their mouths, everyone’s health would greatly improve. This book goes a long way to helping people understand what’s in these dishes.

Conclusion

This is a book that people who love food and who care about their health (without wanting or having the time to delve into nutrition in great depth). It’s a book for people who are ready to eat better and who are looking for something beyond your usual “health” cookbooks. It’s got recipes full of colour and flavour and despite the fact that is has a number of recipes for more sophisticated palates, it does have something for everyone and for many occasions – chicken nuggets for the kids on a weeknight, salmon crudo for an adult dinner party, for example. It’s a gorgeous book (with photos shot by Jamie himself again) and images that make you want to make the food. I can’t think of a cookbook doing its job better if that’s what it’s achieving, right? If you’re new to Jamie’s “Super Food” philosophy, I’d definitely get Everyday Super Food and work my way through that at well.

Super Food Family Classics giveaway!

US/Canadian readers – enter to win one of FOUR COPIES of Super Food Family Classics. Details here.

super-food-family-classics-cover-on-eatlivetravelwrite.com

 

Purchase Super Food Family Classics for yourselves on Amazon (this link should bring you to the Amazon store closest to you). Or for free worldwide shipping, buy from The Book Depository.

Please note: The product links from Amazon and The Book Depository are affiliate links, meaning if you click over and purchase something, I will receive a very small percentage of the purchase price (at no extra cost to you) which goes towards maintaining eat. live. travel. write. Thank you in advance!

Disclosure: I am a sometime contributor to JamieOliver.Com, and a Food Revolution “Super Ambassador” for Canada, though I was supporting Jamie’s cause well before I was doing any of those things. If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you’ll know how much of a Jamie fan I am and how strongly I believe in his message. I was not asked to write about this book, I purchased it myself. Harper Collins are generously offering four copies for a giveaway but I am not being compensated in any way or in kind for writing this post or hosting the giveaway.

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11 Responses to Book Review: Jamie Oliver’s Super Food Family Classics

  1. Margaret October 4, 2016 at 08:16 #

    I’d ❤️ to win a copy of @jamieoliver’s latest book. I’m a huge fan! Also, with a family of four who’s always on the go between school, work, and multiple activities, it’s nice to know we can still eat well and healthfully.

    Also tweeted the contest @maggie820

  2. Marie October 4, 2016 at 10:01 #

    So happy to read your review! I admit I was kinda waiting for it before buying the book. What I love about his Super Food series is that it’s no-nonsense recipes. Exactly what I need and what I love to eat on weeknights (and even weekends!) Off to enter the giveaway in case I get lucky–otherwise I’ll be ordering it asap.

    • Mardi Michels October 4, 2016 at 21:12 #

      Thanks Marie – that makes me happy to think you trust my review so much 🙂 Good luck on the contest!

  3. Rosalba October 4, 2016 at 10:53 #

    Thanks for the blog, Mardi! It’s such an informative piece of work!
    I love the idea of including information about GI and other healthy tips for parents.
    It’s been my love for food, to create yummy dishes but healthy for my children and including them in the process. It’s how I grew up in an Italian family. I love that we continue this tradition with my own boys!
    The Food Revolution book is such a good resource for simplicity and goodness!
    Thanks again for sharing!

  4. Melanie October 4, 2016 at 12:48 #

    I love that you’re taking an extra step! I was a part of the montreal leg of Jamie’s food revolution three years ago and it was such a wonderful event! I love what he’s doing and what he stands for!

    • Mardi Michels October 4, 2016 at 21:10 #

      Yes, love Jamie and what he stands for too (not sure what “extra step” I am taking though?). I don’t remember the Food Revolution in Montreal three years ago – would love to hear more about that! (I’ve been an Ambassador for nearly 5 years myself) We’re always hoping Jamie might be here in Canada on Food Rev Day in May some year!

  5. Amanda ( Peppers &a Pennies) October 4, 2016 at 20:41 #

    What a lovely book! I never paid Jamie Oliver much attention, but my husband has been a fan for a while. Because of this, we went for dinner to one of his London restaurants when we were overseas this May and it was such a wonderful dinner! I got ribs as an appetizer and the hoisin sauce was amazing and the meat was cooked perfectly. Everything from the cocktails to the bread were superb and I would try his recipes in a heart beat!

  6. Diane Galambos October 4, 2016 at 22:12 #

    Sounds like a great addition to a cookbook collection. I have watched him since the days of the naked chef; I remember the episode where he made a meal for Jools which ended with their engagement. He used to slide down the bannister and take off on his motor bike etc. I still watch every episode of every show – love the xmas ones with his gran and kids. Here’s the thing. I cannot explain why – with over 100 cookbooks – I do not own one written by him!! You can change that ;-))

    • Mardi Michels October 5, 2016 at 05:43 #

      Thanks! I hope you enter the contest – sounds like you would love this book.

  7. Adam Segal October 5, 2016 at 00:06 #

    Excellent article, Mardi and that’S coming from a discerning writer!

    • Mardi Michels October 5, 2016 at 05:43 #

      Thanks, I work hard on my book reviews for sure.

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