I’m just back from a whirlwind trip to Australia and I had the most amazing time. I finally got to see the fantastic Ministry of Food Centre in Ipswich and had the pleasure of meeting Premier of Queensland Anna Bligh, who’s been really supportive of Ministry of Food and the Good Foundation. I also got to see the brilliant new Ministry truck in Logan – so huge thanks to all the Ministry staff out there for making me feel so welcome.
Next was Sydney, where we had a big party at Jamie’s Italian with incredible food, brilliant service and 170 really lovely, interesting guests – the wonderful restaurant team did me proud. I also did a “secret” recording for Australian Masterchef. I won’t give anything away, but look out for the programme in June – it was a fantastic day.
Last stop was Melbourne, where I visited some of my retail partners and attended a news conference to announce a new Ministry of Food initiative in the state of Victoria, where we’ll launch a new centre and another truck later this year. It was a huge pleasure to meet the Premier of Victoria, Ted Baillieu, and the Health Minister, David Davis – these guys are imaginative, focused politicians and I wish we had more people like them here in the UK. I had an incredible time in all of these lovely cities, so thank you to everyone who made the trip such a success – you know who you are.
Back in the UK, with Easter just around the corner, we’re focusing on baking on the site this month, so if you fancy indulging yourself or rustling up a gorgeous treat for your loved ones, make sure you check out our selection of lovely recipes.
Big love, Jamie O xx”
Recipe of the Month:
Chicken and mushroom pasta bake
• 20g/a small handful of dried porcini mushrooms
• olive oil
• 4 chicken thighs, boned, skinned and cut into bite-sized pieces
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
• 350g/2 handfuls of mixed fresh mushrooms, cleaned and torn
• 200ml white wine
• 455g dried spaghetti
• 500ml double cream
• 200g Parmesan cheese, grated
• a sprig of fresh basil, leaves picked
I remember meeting a lovely old couple outside my parents’ puband
when they heard I was going to Italy they told me to make sure I cooked turkey tetrazzini-
I hadn’t a clue what they were talking about and then, by chance,
I saw a recipe for chicken tetrazzini in an old Italian cookbook
and it’s great – really tacky but gorgeous! Here’s my version…
Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6.
Put your porcini mushrooms in a bowl and pour over just enough
boiling water to cover them (approx. 150ml/5½fl oz).
Put to one side to soak for a few minutes.
Heat a saucepan big enough to hold all the ingredients,
and pour in a splash of olive oil.
Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and brown them gently in the oil.
Strain the porcini, reserving the soaking water, and add them to the pan
with the garlic and fresh mushrooms.
Add the wine, with the strained porcini soaking water, and turn the heat down.
Simmer gently until the chicken pieces are cooked through and the wine has reduced a little.
Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water
according to the packet instructions and drain well.
Add the cream to the pan of chicken, then bring to the boil and turn the heat off.
Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Add the drained spaghetti to the creamy chicken sauce and toss well.
Add three-quarters of the Parmesan and all of the basil and stir well.
ransfer to an ovenproof baking dish or non-stick pan,
sprinkle with half the remaining cheese and bake in the oven until golden brown, bubbling and crisp.
Divide between your plates, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese before serving.