If 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”:
I’ve cooked a couple of the recipes with my boys’ cooking club as well – English breakfast frittata
and the 7-veg tomato sauce:
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.