Inspired by Jamie Oliver's classic family cookbook, Super Food Family Classics, a team of Happy Foodies are cooking from the book all week. So how did our home cooks and their kids get on with this new lot of Jamie recipes...
Who: Lotte Huckle, Digital Content Producer
What I made: Smoky Veggie Chilli
What I thought: It’s something of a challenge, trying to slip a vegetarian meal past my family. They’re meat-eaters, through and through. So when I picked up a copy of Jamie Oliver’s Super Food Family Classics, I was determined to find a veggie recipe that I could pass off as just another version of a family favourite. When I saw the recipe for Jamie’s Smoky Veggie Chilli, I knew I’d struck gold. Who doesn’t love a chilli? And who could refuse the little cheese-stuffed spuds served alongside? Nobody… I hoped.
In something of a rush I simplified the recipe by skipping the veg charring stages, but found with an extra dash of paprika, the chilli still had a gorgeously smoky flavour and thanks to the inspired addition of cocoa powder, a deliciously rich one too.
The verdict? It was a success! Only halfway through dinner did a family member and look up and ask if the meal was completely vegetarian. When I revealed it was, they shrugged and went back to cleaning their plate. Now that’s a win in my book.
Top tip – if your brood is also reluctant on veggie meals, take them on a 3-hour walk beforehand. Then they’ll inhale just about anything you put in front of them. Worked a treat for me.
Who: Julia Pal, Senior Digital Marketing Manager, Cookery
What I made: Chicken and Chorizo Bake, Peppers, Sweet Potatoes and Spuds
What I thought: Oh thank you, thank you Mr Oliver. As a working mother with two averagely fussy primary school age kids, I have a predictably short list of recipes that I know I can throw together on a weeknight and dish up without too much fuss or complaint. With this Chicken and Chorizo Bake from Super Food Family Classics, I now have another to add to the list.
The chorizo stock is this recipe’s stroke of genius. It doesn’t look or smell particularly pleasant when first prepared (especially if, like me, you try to use a Magimix to make it and end up spraying it all over your kitchen) but, once added to the roasting tray with the chicken, spuds and peppers, it starts to work its magic. During the cooking process, all the ingredients in the tray soak up just enough of the stock to take on its rich, warming flavour. They also remain temptingly moist, with crispy, gnarly edges on top. It’s worth taking the time to make the additional toppings to add to the basic bake once you’ve served it. The yoghurt adds a welcome creaminess, the almonds give crunch and the chilli and cayenne pepper deliver a kick of heat. I made some plain green beans to go with the dish, and would definitely recommend this to give a balance of flavours and textures.
This dish was a hit with my whole family. The smallest and fussiest eater picked out the sweet potato but, other than that, there were clean plates all round. I’ll definitely be making this again: just like the Crumbed Pesto Fish from Jamie’s Everyday Super Food cookbook, it’s going to become part of my regular repertoire. I’m truly grateful, Jamie!
Who: Tara King, Children's Social Media Producer
What I thought: Salmon, rice and broccoli is one of our family stapes (along with tomato pasta, bolognese and chicken tray bakes) so it was interesting to take these familiar ingredients and give them a new twist with these naturally sweet and zesty flavours. A shop bought teriyaki sauce is usually sugar laden, very sweet and sticky and it was great to make a naturally sweet and sticky version with mango.
There’s a bit of chopping at the start of the recipe but the finishing 5 minutes in the tray is so easy. While cooking your rice you chuck the mango, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and lime into a food processor and blitz. Once cooked, tip the rice into a big grill-friendly oven tray and then whizz your salmon pieces through the sauce and lay on top. Trim the spring onions and broccoli, douse in the sauce and then lay around the tray. Bung under the grill and cook for 12-15 minutes. Keep an eye on it though as fish sometimes cooks faster than planned.
While this was grilling away, I made the pickle with the mango skin and cucumber.
After a busy day playing cricket we were all starving. At first the kids eye-balled the brown rice and charred broccoli, but they gave the dish a good go and ate all the fish. The zesty flavour was slightly more popular with the grown-ups than the kids (but mine are fusspots). The pickle wasn’t so popular with any of us – although this is probably due to my chopping skills.
As a busy mum cooking and serving everything in one big tray was a joy and made washing up super-easy. You could decant into a pretty dish for a get-together too. I loved the lime and mango marinade and the groundnut oil added a delicious base flavour to the rice too.
One tip - use the ripest, almost expiring mango so it’s really juicy. Mine was a little bit on the hard side so I added extra lime to make it more juicy.
Who: Katya Shipster, Deputy Publicity Director
What I cooked: Cheat’s Pea Soup – Smoky Ham, Pasta, Mint & Feta
What I thought: We took this book with us on family holiday to France – the holiday mainly consisted of a constant pile of bread, cheese and wine, so this dish was a fantastic way to finish off a fairly heavy food day, with otherwise very little veg. We had been out and about and very busy all day – so cooking something for a hungry mob that took literally no time at all to prep once we got back in, was a total godsend. Most of the ingredients are fairly long lasting and live in the store cupboard or freezer – so I can see this is the sort of thing I would make in the future when I haven’t had time to do a specific food shop.
I was a little worried taste wise about the lack of stock in the soup – but the ham and wonderful feta more than made up for a full hit of flavour – plus the cracking mint finished it all off brilliantly. The crushed up pasta took a little while to get used to bashing up successfully – but I think I was just being too meek with the rolling pin initially; thinking about the current political turmoil meant short work for the rest. The pasta was also a brilliant addition – as it meant that although the soup felt very healthy it still filled up the hungry dads. We also used the leftovers (it serves a very generous 4) for a pasta sauce the next day for the babies’ lunch (aged 20 and 23 months) who both inhaled it. I used a hand blender, rather than a Magimix, as that was all the holiday home had – which also worked well. This dish was enjoyed so much, that we ended up also cooking the Breakfast Doughnuts the next morning – which also went down a total storm by all ages of the group – and such a holiday treat.
Who: Annabel Wilson, Marketing Assistant
What I made: Super Salad Platter
What I thought: My sister and I chose to make the Super Salad Platter after looking through the recipes and narrowing it down to just one. As soon as I saw the beetroot in the ingredient list I was sold as it’s my absolute favourite food - juiced, roasted or pickled! My sister loves sweet potatoes so this salad ticked all the boxes for a simple family lunch.
The steps were super easy to follow and once each ingredient was prepped and cooked it was a case of arranging everything beautifully on the plate (always my favourite part of cooking…) The bright colours from the beetroot, sweet potato and broccoli looked really appealing on the plate, and most importantly tasted amazing! The smooth texture of the avocado, crunch from the broccoli and soft cooked beetroot made sure each mouthful was full of flavour.
Definitely a great recipe for tasty lunches or a snazzy side salad!
Who: Colin Brush, Senior Creative & Digital Copywriter
What I made: Sausage, Broccoli, Chilli & Sweet Tomato Pasta
What I thought: Saturday evening. After a busy afternoon in the garden (Dad – doing something manly like, I don’t know, sawing wood, Daughter One – reading and blowing bubbles, Daughter Two – pulling the heads off flowers), we head into the kitchen to assemble the ingredients for dinner. First problem, we have no fresh oregano.
Daughter Two (two years, two months) is asked to go back into the garden to ask mum to get a sprig of marjoram. She walks out the kitchen with a shout of ‘No Daddy, rude!’ Looks like we’re on our own here.
We chop up the broccoli and throw the stems and the sausages into a pan of boiling water. (We’re eating with young kids so we ditch the chillies.)
While that’s happily boiling we do some slightly less happy chopping.
‘Daddy, it makes my eyes sting.’
‘No crying on the job.’
We take the sausages and broccoli stalks from the pan, allow them to cool and slice them up. Then it’s into the frying pan with the fennel seeds, followed by the onions and garlic where it all sizzles nicely. The carefully picked marjoram leaves go in, plus the vinegar and we stir it around a bit, trying not to spill it all over the cooker. Then it’s time for the tomatoes. They bubble away. Ooh, that smells nice.
The cooker’s looking a right state.
‘What now?’ asks Daughter One.
‘We let it cook for fifteen minutes and put the pasta and broccoli on.’
‘Fifteen minutes! That’s ages. I’m going to read my book.’
Daughter Two enters the kitchen and looks around suspiciously. She sees the boiling saucepan of tagliatelle and broccoli. She shouts ’Past!’ excitedly and leaves.
I finally manage to cajole Daughter One back into the kitchen for the assemblage, mixing in the parmesan and then we attempt to corral the rest of the family into the dining room for dinner.
Daughter Two, as expected, picks out the sausage and ‘past!’ and leaves everything else. Which means I at least managed to get two of the three vegetables past her in the form of the tomatoes and onion.
The sausage pasta goes down very well with the parents (with a glass or two of white wine) before I go back to deal with the trail of destruction left behind in the kitchen.
We didn’t manage to sneak the broccoli past the children but we enjoyed cooking together (despite the mess) and probably got Daughter One to try more than normal because she was involved in the cooking.