There could hardly be a more appropriate cookbook for our current moment than Together, the latest offering from Jamie Oliver. If, like so many people, you spent your time in lockdown fantasising about the dinner parties, back garden feasts, and family gatherings you’d host once restrictions lifted, Together was written with you in mind. The recipes and menus in this book were designed to help you reconnect with loved ones through the medium of food, whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or just having a handful of close friends around for a casual meal. Here are ten things we think you’ll really love about the book.
From the book
Together: Memorable Meals, Made Easy
Rediscover the joy of being together with 120 easy recipes for gatherings big and small
Find complete menus for every occasion with mix and match dishes
From summery feasts to winter comfort food, steak nights to picnics
- Celebrate the joy of gathering
After battling through lockdowns and social distancing restrictions, the idea of gathering with the people we love feels more precious than ever. Together is a cookbook dedicated to bringing people together through food. Whether it’s a date night meal with a partner, a weekday dinner with your immediate family, or a celebratory feast with a dozen friends and relatives, Together will help you do it with ease and style.
2. A user-friendly menu format
Each chapter of the book represents a carefully thought-through menu, consisting of savoury and sweet dishes chosen to complement each other. Jamie will show you what side dishes to serve with your roast, which dessert will go with your chosen main course, and which cocktails will work with your pre-dinner nibbles. You’ll find everything from a brunch menu to a taco night menu, some organised in a traditional starter-main-dessert format, others designed as family-style sharing feasts. Each chapter starts with a menu card for that particular meal – Jamie recommends taking a photo of the card and using it as an invitation to your guests.
3. Beautiful photography
Jamie’s books never fail to please the eye as much as the taste buds, so it’s no surprise that Together is an aesthetic triumph. With a mixture of food photography and joyous, dynamic lifestyle shots, the images in this book are guaranteed to inspire as well as to instruct.
4. A focus on seasonality
Together is a book to inspire you right through the year, from those sun-soaked high summer meals to the cosy, festive gatherings of midwinter. Jamie’s menus include an al fresco lunch, bursting with bold, vivacious flavours, a portable picnic meal, a harvest-inspired spread to mark the beginning of autumn, and a lavish festive feast. As Jamie himself is quick to point out, “shopping in season always allows your food to be more nutritious, more delicious and more affordable.”
5. Dinner party success, minus the stress
“Make your menu work for you – when your best mates are coming over, you want to be in the thick of it, having fun, not slaving over a hot stove”. We couldn’t agree more with this sentiment from Jamie, and one of the things we love most about Together is how the recipe methods are signposted to make sure your gathering is as stress-free as possible. The user-friendly instructions are broken down into things you need to do to “get ahead”, things you need to do “on the day”, and finishing touches “to serve”.
6. Room for spontaneity
While prepping in advance can be key to a relaxed hosting experience, we have to agree with Jamie when he writes: “Often the best gatherings are unplanned”. To equip you for spontaneous entertaining, Together has a whole chapter dedicated to last-minute feasting, with instructions on how to put together a quick and easy antipasti, an effortlessly elegant creamy pasta dish, and a sumptuous French toast with melted chocolate, peaches, and ice cream.
7. Plenty to satisfy a sweet tooth
There are some truly divine desserts in this book, each of them carefully chosen to bring harmony and balance to the menu it belongs in. Think: a chocolate semifreddo with hazelnut brittle to cool your palate after a Mexican-inspired feast, a pear and ginger tart to round off a harvest-themed meal, and a silky, chocolate orange crème brûlée served up after a romantic dinner for two.
8. Flexible, adaptable, and suitable for everyday cooking
Each dish in the book works as part of a menu, but you can also pick and choose dishes to build your own meal. This is a book you can dip into for everyday inspiration as well as for special occasion feasting. Jamie writes: “I’ve written each individual recipe so it works not only as a component in the wider meal, but as a standalone dish, giving you as much flexibility as possible.”
9. Packed with inspiration for the festive season
When it comes to Christmas food, Jamie never disappoints, and Together is no exception. In the chapter titled “Celebration Roast”, Jamie goes all-out with a lavish three-meat roast, a flavoursome veggie crown, crispy hasselback potatoes, banana panettone pudding, and more.
10. The book will be accompanied by a TV series
Jamie will return to Channel 4 to walk viewers through a selection of menus from Together. As well as cooking for his loved ones, the series will see Jamie open his home to the frontline heroes of the pandemic, from NHS staff to delivery drivers. Keep an eye on The Happy Foodie’s website and social channels; we’ll be posting recipes from the show as it is broadcast.