Jamie Oliver's new book Together is full of memorable meals

Jamie Oliver and his family making memories over the dinner table. Picture: David Loftus
Jamie Oliver and his family making memories over the dinner table. Picture: David Loftus

Developed throughout successive lockdowns, Together: Memorable Meals, Made Easy is an optimistic and celebratory book that aims to provide oodles of inspiration and delicious recipe ideas for the special moments and celebrations with friends and family we have all been looking forward to.

"Together is a real homage to the great home feast, something I have really missed sharing with friends and family over the past year," says Jamie Oliver.

"So many people find real joy in a shared meal, have rediscovered a love of cooking or perhaps even given it a go for the first time.

"So this book is all about arming readers with easy recipes for dinner parties, celebrations, special occasions, or just a good old get together with their nearest and dearest. I wanted the recipes to feel like a culinary light at the end of the tunnel, where food can be enjoyed and savoured. This is about giving you an excuse to get the people you love around the table again."

  • Together by Jamie Oliver is published by Penguin Random House (c) Jamie Oliver Enterprises Limited (2021 Together).

Dukkah roast chicken

Warm pomegranate gravy dressing

Dukkah roast chicken with warm pomegranate gravy dressing. Picture: Paul Stuart

Dukkah roast chicken with warm pomegranate gravy dressing. Picture: Paul Stuart

Serves 6

  • 1 x 350g jar of small preserved lemons
  • 1 fresh red chilli
  • 1 bunch of rosemary (20g)
  • 1 pomegranate
  • olive oil
  • 1 x 1.5kg free-range whole chicken
  • 1 tablespoon runny honey
  • 3 tablespoons dukkah
  • red wine vinegar
  • 140g wild rocket

ON THE DAY: I like to time this so the chicken is coming out of the oven to rest just as my guests arrive. Preheat the oven to 180C. Get a roasting tray that will fit the chicken fairly snugly. Halve, deseed and finely chop 4 preserved lemons and place in the tray. Roughly chop and add the chilli, strip in the rosemary, then halve the pomegranate and squeeze all the juice through your fingers into the tray. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then the chicken, season lightly and rub all that flavour over the bird, getting into all the nooks and crannies. Pour 150ml of water into the tray around the chicken and roast for 1 hour 20 minutes, or until golden and cooked through, basting halfway with the tray juices. Remove, cover and leave to rest for 30 minutes in the tray.

TO SERVE: Move the chicken to a serving platter, drizzle and brush with the honey, then scatter over the dukkah. For the dressing, skim off and discard a spoonful of fat from the tray, then place the tray over a medium heat on the hob, add 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar and simmer until thickened, scraping up all the sticky bits and loosening with splashes of water, if needed. Pour through a sieve into a little jug. Serve with the chicken and a bowl of rocket. Great with my Smashed aubergine and Roasted squash recipes, which you'll find in the book.

VEGGIE LOVE: Use 1 cauliflower (800g) instead of chicken for veggie guests - use just 2 preserved lemons in the marinade, then roast and finish it in exactly the same way as the chicken.

PRESERVE THOSE LEMONS: Preserved lemons don't last that long once the jar's open, so what I do is pour all their liquor into a blender, deseed and add the lemons, then blitz until smooth. Freeze in ice cube trays ready to jazz up stews, salads, couscous, rice, roasts and dressings.

ENERGY 248kcal FAT 8.5g SAT FAT 1.7g PROTEIN 38.2g CARBS 5g SUGARS 4.5g SALT 1g FIBRE 1.1g

Precious pear tart

Almond frangipane and ginger nut crust

Precious pear tart with almond frangipane and ginger nut crust. Picture: David Loftus

Precious pear tart with almond frangipane and ginger nut crust. Picture: David Loftus

Serves 12 with leftover pears

  • 200ml elderflower cordial
  • 4cm piece of cinnamon stick
  • 4 fresh bay leaves
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 large orange
  • 12 small ripe pears
  • 240g soft unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 150g ginger nut biscuits
  • 200g blanched almonds
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • vanilla ice cream, to serve

GET AHEAD: Get yourself a deep pan that will snugly fit all the pears in one layer. Pour in the elderflower cordial and 300ml of water, then add the cinnamon, bay and cloves. Use a speed-peeler to add thick strips of orange peel, then squeeze in the juice. Peel the pears, then trim the bottoms off to give each one a flat base. Sit them in the liquor, cover with a scrunched-up sheet of damp greaseproof paper and simmer gently on a medium heat for 20 minutes, or until soft. Remove the pears from the pan and leave to cool. Gently reduce the syrup until thick, then cool, cover everything and refrigerate overnight.

ON THE DAY: Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly grease a 25cm loose-bottomed tart tin with butter. Blitz the ginger nuts into a fine crumb in a food processor, pulse in 40g of butter, then tip into the tin, patting it across the base and a little up the sides. Blitz the almonds until super-fine in the processor. Add the remaining butter, along with the sugar, eggs, vanilla paste and flour. Blitz until combined, then spoon evenly into the tin. Cut into six of the pears from the stalk down to the base at 1cm intervals, then fan out, nestling the pears into the frangipane, like in the picture. Spoon a little reserved syrup over each pear, then bake the tart for 50 minutes, or until golden and cooked through (covering the edges with tin foil if they start to get too dark).

TO SERVE: Slice and serve warm or cold with the remaining syrup, for drizzling, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and maybe a little glass of amaretto or vin santo.

ENERGY 444kcal FAT 29g SAT FAT 12.3g PROTEIN 6g CARBS 42.7g SUGARS 34g SALT 0.2g FIBRE 1.8g

Scrumptious garlic bread

Parsley, lemon and cream cheese

Scrumptious garlic bread with parsley, lemon and cream cheese. Picture: David Loftus

Scrumptious garlic bread with parsley, lemon and cream cheese. Picture: David Loftus

Serves 12

Who doesn't love garlic bread? And this tear and share style is always a winner. I've written the recipe for 12, because it's an easier quantity of dough to work with. What I like to do is make up both trays of bread, then whack one in the freezer, ready to bake another day - you won't regret it.

  • 1 x 7g sachet of dried yeast
  • 500g strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • olive oil
  • 50g white or wholemeal bread
  • 1 big bunch of flat-leaf parsley (60g)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • 200g light cream cheese
  • extra virgin olive oil

GET AHEAD: You can do this on the day, if you prefer. Pour 325ml of tepid water into a large bowl. Add the yeast and mix with a fork for 2 minutes. Pour in the flour and a good pinch of sea salt, then use a fork to mix until you can't move it any more. Now, get your clean hands in there and bring it together as a ball of dough, adding more flour, if needed, to stop your hands and the dough sticking. Knead on a flour-dusted surface for 5 minutes, or until silky and elastic. Shape into a rough ball, place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean, damp tea towel, and prove in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, tear the bread into a blender and blitz into crumbs. Rub two 20cm x 30cm trays with olive oil, then evenly scatter over the breadcrumbs. Tear the top leafy half of the parsley into the blender. Peel and add the garlic, then blitz until fine. Squeeze in the lemon juice, add the cream cheese, blitz again until smooth, then season to perfection, tasting and tweaking.

Knock the air out of the dough by punching it with your fist, then divide into two. One piece at a time, pull and stretch out on an oiled surface to 30cm x 50cm. Spread over half the cream cheese mixture, leaving a 5cm border along the longer side that's farthest away from you. Now, take your time to roll up the dough, starting in front of you, so you end up with a long Swiss roll shape. With a sharp knife, cut the roll into 18 pieces, then place in the tray, swirl-side up, arranging them fairly close together. Cover and prove in the fridge overnight (45 minutes, or until doubled in size, if making on the day).

TO SERVE: Preheat the oven to 220C. Uncover and bake on the top shelf for 20 minutes, or until golden. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil, to serve.

THE FREEZER IS YOUR FRIEND: With the second tray of garlic bread, shape and prove for 45 minutes, then cover and freeze until needed. Simply bake from frozen for 25 minutes.

ENERGY 191kcal FAT 3.6g SAT FAT 1.5g PROTEIN 6.9g CARBS 34.5g SUGARS 1.8g SALT 0.4g FIBRE 1.8g

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This story Why Jamie Oliver wants us to reconnect over food first appeared on The Canberra Times.