Tag Archives: Jamie Oliver

Cross about the ‘C’ word

Is anyone else upset about the ‘C’ word?   It’s everywhere. It’s October, for God’s sake.   We’ve got Halloween and Bonfire Night on the horizon, but Christmas is suddenly obscuring everything.

Tescos are admitting that it’s early, but they’re already talking the up the ‘C’ word and trying to flog us yet more toys with endless plastic parts and ugly teddies.  Does anyone else think that they’re sailing perilously close to giving the game away about Father Christmas?  I know the nippers should be in bed of a Sunday night, but we’re in the grip of the X factor and giving us grown-ups ‘suggestions’ in the ad breaks has prompted some uncomfortable questions from my suspicious six-year-old.

Suddenly alerted to the fact that it’s Christmas before we know it, this seems to be the fortnight when everyone uses up the vouchers that they were given last Christmas before they expire.

Getting or giving an ‘experience’ or a hobby-related present always seems like a good idea, come Christmas.  It ticks many boxes.  It requires no wrapping, or queuing in shops and is eco-friendly.  Plus, enticing someone to think about themselves as having a hobby other than drinking vast quantities of booze has quite an appeal at that time of year.  But let’s, be honest, all voucher/hobby-related presents are a right pain in the neck.

Two friends had to schlep up the West End to  use up their theatre tokens this weekend.  With the weather as it was, the whole thing was a damp squib from start to finish.  Another pal went on a knife skills course, at which (since he’s a very good cook) he learnt precisely nothing, but had to spend the day with a random assortment of loonies.  Another texted from a seaweed spa day, which sounded rather unpleasant (and stung a bit from what I can gather).  Whilst here, an elderly friend served up a tooth-dissolvingly sweet crumble that had been rustled up at a Jamie Oliver cookery course.

We’re no different.  Our thing is the pottery.

When I booked it last December, it seemed like a great idea for the perfect gift for my beloved spouse.  He claims to have excelled at pottery at school and was pleased with my generous gesture of a taster ‘sesh’ for the two of us. Who needs posh crockery, when you can make your own? I was thinking.

In fact, we both had ideas of signing up to the follow-on course and be regularly doing some pottery of a Tuesday evening and wandering out to the pub for dinner afterwards.  It seemed like such a wholesome, jolly vision and yes, I’ll admit, I did have a bit of a me-as-Demi-in-Ghost-in-those-dungarees fantasy.

But real life is just too busy.  And with three kids, two jobs and all the bleedin’ homework, when are we ever going to be able to coordinate being out of the house at 7pm, for some therapeutic pottery together?  Oh yes.   October.

So voucher gifts for me this year.  And can someone PLEASE stop me thinking about Christmas?

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Viva Jamie


We like playing Pre-recession, Post-recession in this household. It’s all subjective, of course, but it’s fun once you get into it.

For example, Pre-recession destinations include Ibiza and Iceland.  Post-recession places include Norfolk and Paris (so un-trendy for so long, but now oddly desirable again).

Jordan is Pre-recession.  Fiona Bruce is Post.

TV shows in the Pre-recession category include everything associated with Gordon Ramsay, Grand Designs and Top Gear.

Jules Holland is Post-recession.  As is Glee.

You get the idea.

And I think, on balance, Jamie Oliver comes out as Post-recession too. And this is from a girl who rails against the cult of the celebrity chef.    Yep.  Hands up. I’ve done a U-turn about Jamie.  And I don’t think I’m the only one.

When he first came out and did that whole moped malarkey and became Sainsbury’s whipping boy, everyone got sick to the back teeth of him.  He was called a ‘fat-tongued ****’ if you remember.  A lot.

I never really believed he had all those ‘mates’ in his trendy loft apartment.  I always thought they called him the fat-tongued thing behind his back.

Nobody liked him.  In fact, I can recall a drunken night back in the last century when we burnt Mr O’s first cookery book in the garden.  Sacrilege for writers to burn books, I know and very mature, however our vitriol knew no bounds.

But credit where credit is due.  Jamie does so many thinks right.  Not least of all, his latest cookery show, where he’s been doing a whistle-stop tour around Europe and bringing us the best recipes.  And contrived though it all must be, many of the situations he gets into seem very real.

Most admirable of all, however, to my mind, is that he actually eats what he’s made on the show.  He’s not waiting for the lowly public to taste his creations, he actually shoves the just-cooked food in his own gob.  Inspirational.

We live around the corner from Jamie’s Recipease shop.  It’s pink.  Being a Dad of girls, I suspect one of his kids chose the colour.  But as a shrine to all things Jamie, it works. The staff there are uber-friendly, the food is delicious.  It’s also very handy for birthday and Christmas pressies.

They used to have pizza stations where you could take the kids to make a pizza and they’d wrap it up for you and you could cook it at home, but mercifully, the kids have been banished, such is the demand for cookery lessons.  Jamie, it seems, is not only good at putting his ideas into practice, he’s happy to adapt them too.

Perhaps Jamie should do courses in how to be successful, as well as how to cook the perfect risotto. Dave and Nick could pop along after work with the new cabinet. After all, Jamie survived the last government and came out on top with shed loads of wonga.  Wouldn’t it be nice if the new government could say the same thing too?

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