This is a paid advertorial with Tesco.
If you’ve been following my journey for a while, you’ll know that Jamie Oliver has played a monumental role in my life. I had the honour of working for him for 3 and a half years, and he gave me the opportunity to start my career on YouTube. But more so than this, Jamie is, like for so many others around the world, the prime catalyst for my obsession with food.
Jamie’s purpose is and always has been to motivate the masses to get back into the kitchen and enjoy cooking from scratch. Being an ‘average bloke’ at heart, he’s always acknowledged that we don’t always have the budget or time necessarily for slow roasted duck ragu with homemade pappardelle; in fact, the more complicated and laborious a recipe is, the less likely it is to inspire people to get into the kitchen. But it’s not only ‘recipes’ that hinder families eating better, it’s having the knowledge of what to buy in the first place.
Jamie has teamed up with another British icon, Tesco, joining forces to make it easier for the nation to eat well and live healthier lives. It’s about cooking great-value meals from scratch, filling your store cupboard with ingredients you can use time and time again, as well as helpful little substitutions that can help to reduce sugar, salt and excess fats – not to mention the cost of your basket.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. This is paid for advertorial – you’re just blowing smoke up the rear of the person lining your pockets. But being an ambassador for a big brand isn’t about doing jazz hands and backflips – it’s an opportunity to make a real difference.
This isn’t about driving sales, this is about directly talking to, inspiring and educating real people and families. How can you expect people to cook and eat well from scratch if they are falling at the first hurdle and buying all the wrong ingredients? For many families, pre-made meals are easier and cheaper – but how about we challenge ourselves to think differently for a week and see what fresh vegetables and affordable spices can do to excite every night?
So, in support of Jamie, I ask you to head to your local Tesco, pick up a recipe card and give something new a try!
I put their amazingly simple Mighty Mushroom & Kale Frittata to the test. This is a brilliant italian take on an omelette but puffed up in the oven to create beautiful creamy and crispy textures. In this one, mushrooms are the star of the dish giving it a deliciously hearty texture, making it a perfect meat-free family meal. To add to the creaminess, they’ve buddied them up with cottage cheese and light cheddar, garlic and crispy kale for a beautifully simple dish that is far healthier than it tastes…
Jamie was the first cooking show I’d ever watched, the first cookbook I’d ever owned and the first recipe I’d ever attempted – his ‘fantastic fish pie’ that my Mum thoroughly enjoyed (almost as much as she did scraping the half burnt bechamel from the stove for a week after). In the culinary world, he was a breath of fresh air and fit neither the practical housewife category nor the ruthless Michelin starred chef. He was authentic, approachable, passionate and… well… an Essex boy with a great palate, essentially.
As I grew older and fell more deeply in love with cooking (rather than just eating), Jamie’s journey fascinated me. He single-handedly caused a seachange in how we approached food at home (seemed to switch how we approached food), not just surmounting cooking as a ‘special occasion’ but rather eating ‘pukka’ grub on a weeknight with the most basic of store cupboard ingredients. With his reputation as the cheeky English chap and infectious appetite for all things delicious, he soon became a global icon in the food world. He was loved and hated, successful in his battle for better school dinners and even released a song with Sir Paul McCartney, Ed Sheeran and Hugh Jackman – not the usual you’d expect from a man in chefs’ whites. He has grown a family and an empire, yet always maintained a level of complete normality.
In 2014, when I began working for him as his social media manager, I’d never expected to really meet him. Perhaps a fleeting visit to show face? Day one, I was sat at my desk, diffusing my blatant ‘new-job’ nerves with pointless pen fiddling and reorganising my drawer for the third time when a chewy essex accent shouted ‘alright, Tiger!’ from across the room. Oh my greyhounds, he’s here! And the next day, and the next and… well, every single day he wasn’t in another country or on location filming. He wasn’t just the silent backer; he was the face, voice, mind and management of the whole company. Sitting in a room with Jamie discussing ‘what’s next’ is one of my favourite memories. He’s like a boy in a sweetshop, ideas overlapping one another, his eyes widening with boundless enthusiasm with every thought popping into his head.
A particularly poignant moment I had with Mr Oliver was discussing his mission. Why doesn’t he just make a TV show, sell some books and stop making enemies with the government over new healthy eating strategies? The answer: because that doesn’t change the things that need changing.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT…
- Using herbs like basil is a simple way to add big flavour to your meals, meaning you can cut down on the salt. They’re packed with lots of vitamins, minerals and fibre, as well as a super long list of reputed medicinal benefits. Pair all that with basil’s fragrant, sweet, slightly aniseed flavour – what’s not to love?
- Dairy is a fantastic food group to include in your diet to ensure you get a wide variety of nutrients, but be smart about your choices! By reducing the amount of cheddar and substituting it with cottage cheese, not only are you reducing the cost but it’s lower in fat and still full of protein calcium and vitamins in this veg-packed dish.
- All hail the kale! It may seem like a millennial fad, but Kale is a source of many essential nutrients, and it’s particularly high in vitamin K and vitamin C, both of which our bones need to keep strong and healthy. A portion of kale will provide you with your full daily amount of vitamin K, a vital vitamin that also helps us make the protein needed to clot blood. So this recipe is good for your tastebuds and for your tummy.
- Other egg-cellent news is that your frittata is high in protein and B12 thanks to the humble egg. Vitamin B12 is essential for keeping your metabolic and nervous systems healthy, whilst protein is great for muscle maintenance and repair.
SO ALL IN ALL…
I love Jamie Oliver.
I love Tesco and their commitment to helping the nation make better food choices.
I love this recipe and all the other incredible recipes in this campaign.
And I love you for making it to the end of this article.
Give it a go and share your pictures with us on @TheKatiePix, @TescoFood & @JamieOliver #TescoandJamie
Oh, and check out Jamie cooking up Mushroom Frittata live on Tesco’s YouTube channel, HERE!