Last week I had the privilege of travelling to some of the Jamie’s Ministry of Food Centres. I am always so impressed with the work that all of the staff are doing in the centres to teach many people all over the country how to cook from scratch. The centres also provide great opportunities for volunteers and students who are studying nutrition. Here is an update from the Jamie’s Ministry of Food Centres:
Claudia is from Portugal and she is currently studying Public Health and Nutrition at Leeds Metropolitan University. She is thoroughly enjoying her time at Jamie’s Ministry of Food in Leeds and she says that the greatest lesson that she is learning is how to pass on the knowledge of good food and how to cook it to others. Claudia says “The work placement has been great and it has far exceeded my expectations. I never thought of teaching cooking lessons to other people until I came here and started to work with everyone at the centre”. I also caught up with Simon the Centre Manager when I was there. He said that they have been very busy lately and there has been some great public events where the staff have been able to showcase the classes that are taught in the centre. Recently they had a stand at the “Leeds Loves Food” festival. The team demonstrated to the crowd how easy it is to make delicious and nutritious lunches and how there are so many benefits to making your lunch. They demonstrated 8 recipes with around 30 people at each demonstration. The team also demonstrated on the main stage one of the very popular recipes that is taught within the centre – “Sizzling beef stir fry”. Simon is also very excited about the family fun day of cooking that is being held at the Jamie’s Ministry of Food location in Armley which is just outside of Leeds. This event is being held on the 6th of July.
The team at Jamie’s Ministry of Food in Bradford have been as busy as ever. Centre Manager Soraya The centre is in the spotlight recently as Bradford Council are looking at ways to tackle obesity and including the centre in their research. Soraya who is the Jamie’s Ministry of Food Manager recently went to an NHS led meeting where she shared information on what classes are offered at the MOF centre focusing on learning how to cook from scratch and cooking on a budget. Whilst I was visiting Bradford I met a young student by the name of Lewis from Tong High School. I was so impressed with the way that Lewis was helping the trainer during the cooking class – he looked so confident and happy working in the kitchen. I spoke to Lewis after the class and he said that he has loved his time doing work experience and that his dream is to be a Chef one day. Since being at the Centre Lewis has helped teach disabled people how to cook and he has also worked with young people from the YMCA who are having challenges at school.
Travelling up to Jamie’s Ministry of Food in the North East I had the pleasure of meeting the new trainer there Edel. Edel studied Food and Human nutrition at Newcastle University and she is passionate about teaching people about good food and how easy it can be to cook it. She is definitely in the right place as the Jamie’s Ministry of Food Centre in Newcastle offers loads of cooking classes. Speaking to Edel she says that her favorite thing to cook is Mexican food. It’s great to see and meet trainers from such varied backgrounds working at the Centres. Edel has loads of experience working in the food industry and great to see that she has found her home at the MOF centre in Newcastle.
For more information on Jamie’s Ministry of Food.
Jamie's Ministry of Food
The series was based in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.  Oliver aimed to make the town "the culinary capital of the United Kingdom" and tried to get the town's inhabitants to learn how to cook fresh food and establish healthy eating as part of daily life. 
The title of the show is a play on the Ministry of Food that existed during the Second World War to help people eat well despite food rationing. A companion cookbook of the same name was also released.
The 'Pass It On' campaign also featured in this series with the local townspeople being taught a selection of recipes and passing them on to family members and friends.  The concept of the 'Pass It On' campaign was that if Oliver taught 8 people how to cook some simple recipes, and they each 'passed it on' to 2 people, then in 15 steps, the whole of the town would be cooking. Oliver also organized several other 'Pass it On' events in workplaces and at social gatherings.
The 'Pass It On' campaign has a small following on the social networking website Facebook which has a group and fan page with users signing up to chart their progress. 
During the series, Oliver uses several different activities to get people cooking. He focuses on individuals teaching friends, workplaces providing cooking lessons, and the council providing free cooking lessons and information. All the events and initiatives were designed such that they could be repeated and copied elsewhere, without Oliver's involvement.
- He teaches a small class composed of students who can't cook and asks them to pass the recipes they learn on to 2 friends each. The class is composed of single mothers on benefits, busy working parents, bachelors, and an elderly man, all of whom responded to an advertisement in the local paper advertising free cooking classes for people who couldn't cook at all.
- He holds a 'Pass it On' style cooking lesson at the football field with men who signed up during the last football match (98 out of a crowd of 5000 signed up). He teaches 2 people a dish, who then each teach 2 more people, and so on.
- He organizes a large-scale 'Workplace Pass it On' activity that several local large employers sign up for. During one day, 1000 people learn a new, simple dish. The employees teach each other the dish in groups of 50.
- He organizes small cooking lessons where one of his students teaches a small group of people in the workplace how to make a recipe. The idea is that companies could organize these types of quick lessons during lunch breaks.
- He sets up a 'Ministry of Food' headquarters in the town square. The centre provided cooking demonstrations and recipes. Eventually, he hopes the town council will fund its continuing existence.
- He has his original class of students organize block parties with their neighbours, where they will teach some recipes.
- He organizes a Food Festival and invites neighbouring city councils to come learn about what they've been doing, in hopes that they will set up their own programs to help people to learn how to cook.
The series particularly focuses on a few members of his class of students.
Natasha Whiteman is a 22-year-old single mother of two, living on benefits. Prior to the show, she had never cooked a meal for her kids. They ate take-aways for dinner, primarily kebab and chips with cheese and the drawers in her refrigerator were filled with chocolate bars. She turns out to be one of Oliver's most willing students. She even started a small vegetable garden on her own initiative after learning that her little girl thought kebabs came from a plant. By the end of the series, Natasha showed such a flair and enthusiasm for cooking that Oliver helped her get a placement at the local catering school.
Claire Hallam is another mother of two, living on benefits. Prior to the show, she was eating 10 packets of crisps a day and didn't even know what boiling water looked like. She acknowledged that her family ate take-away for dinner 4 nights a week. By the end of the series, her fridge is filled with fresh produce and she's added a table and chairs to the kitchen.
Mick the Miner had never cooked a meal in his life. The first dish he ever cooked was when he learned the prosciutto chicken dish during the 'pass it on' lesson at the football pitch. He then joined Oliver's cooking class and became an enthusiastic cook and supporter of his campaign.
Julie Critchlow, who vocally opposed Oliver's activities in Jamie's School Dinners, also appears on the show. Jamie asks her to help out by giving her honest opinion of what will and won't work, since he recognizes that he'll have to convince pessimists and critics like her if he's to succeed.
As of May 2009, 16 town councils have expressed interest in setting up their own Ministry of Food Centres.  Currently there are five areas that have active centres - Bradford, Leeds, North-East, Rotherham and Stratford 
Vanilla Cheesecake – Ministry of Food. Pass it on.
Time for my favourite dessert from the Jamie Oliver Ministry of Food book. The vanilla cheesecake. So good it almost makes me say nom. But I hate that word so no.
It’s a recipe which has never failed for me although the description calling it a “vanilla” cheesecake is a little deceptive as the citrus flavours in the cheesecake burst through with every mouthful. In his book Jamie adds a raspberry coulis topping – I never have. I’ve never felt it needed it.
So without further ado you will need:
150g butter, plus an extra knob for greasing the tin
200g Digestive biscuits
100g rolled oats
1 vanilla pod
600g cream cheese
150g caster sugar
300ml double cream
Grease a 23cm springform cake tin with butter and set aside. Wrap your digestives in a clean tea towel and then, using a rolling pin, bash them up until you have fine crumbs or you could whizz them up in a food processor for less mess.
Put a pan over a low heat, add the oats and toast them gently until they turn darker in colour. Cut the butter into cubes and add it to the pan along with your biscuit crumbs. Gently stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture combines. Remove from heat and spoon into your cake tin, smoothing it out evenly.
Gently push down on the biscuit base using the back of a metal spoon, or your hands – you want it to be flat and even. Put the base in the fridge to chill for at least 1 hour.
Cut your vanilla pod in half lengthways and gently drag the edge of your knife along the insides of the pod to scrape out the seeds.
Put all the cream cheese into a mixing bowl, and add the vanilla seeds, caster sugar, lemon and orange zest and the juice from the lemon. Give it all a good stir until nice and smooth.
In another bowl, whisk your cream until it gives you soft peaks. Add half of it to your cream cheese mixture and fold it in. Then fold the remaining cream in. Once everything is blended, spoon the mixture over the biscuit base and smooth it out.
Place your cheesecake in the fridge for at least an hour.
If you wanted to add a fruit topping or coulis then do so after the final chill just prior to serving.
This makes a huge chunk of cheesecake and its very rich so you don’t want to serve massive slices. Once you have made this once I am sure it will become your go to cheesecake recipe!
Get organised You may have the most luxurious kitchen in the world.
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To maximise the health, well-being and productivity of communities by transforming their food habits.
bought these, I will try to make them sometime
yoghurt, mini-sized milo drink, yakult, ferrero rocher chocolate
toasted, coon slices in between a baguette
if you like cookies & cream ice cream, try the Meadow Gold one – it’s a blue tub with a white lid – $7! it’s actually the best c&c ice cream I’ve had, surprisingly. couldn’t have found out about this if not for dinner at Karyn’s!
ingredients for the burger and the mediterranean salad
it was gooood! (i’ve scanned the recipes, burger and salad)
stuff for the finishing touches for the tandoori salmon
with chappati (instead of naan), yoghurt mix of cucumber + lemon juice + red chilli and I used Patak’s tandoori paste for the fish. recipe’s also from Jamie O’s Ministry of Food.
It’s going to be a stay-home weekend for me so I think there will be plenty more home-cooking which means more food photos!
Hi! I’m Melly. I share photos of my life & my handcrafted goods here. I live in Singapore & currently shooting with an Olympus Pen-F.
Books to cook with
Back after a cookbook-free break in the Dordogne. You don’t really need a cookbook there. Just add duck fat to everything.
Anyway, back into the cookbook piles, and a look at Jamie’s Ministry of Food cookbook.
Ministry of food is definitely his most basic cookbook. Aimed firmly at those who’ve never picked up a cookbook in their lives, it’s from 2008, which is post school food, but pre Jamie’s Italian and 30 minute meals.
Along with the accompanying TV programme, it was all about getting people cooking for health, money saving and general wellbeing.
What this does mean that there are some really nice shortcuts in here, some simple techniques, and clear writing. There’s also a few really clever bits where, for example, he gives you a basic stew recipe, and then a whole heap of variants of contents and toppings. So you’re taught the technique, and then shown how it applies to anything from a lamb and red wine hotpot to a chicken and white wine pie.
But for me I think he’s gone too far here. While I cook some recipes from it, the writing feels too condescending to make it an enjoyable book to read. I’m all for being straightforward, but there’s a way of doing it that doesn’t make your audience feel that you’re talking down to them. In this book even the font size is boosted a few points, as if to make the point that it’s all very easy. But hey, he’s the world’s richest chef with an MBE and his own South Park episode, so what do I know.
Anyway, after a fortnight of sturdy duck-based cuisine we were feeling fairly well confit-ed ourselves, so decided to go for a curry.
There’s a good range of recipes in the book – from korma through tikka masala to vindaloo. And a good balance between speed and flavour. For each recipe there’s the option of making a curry paste from scratch, or taking a good shop-bought paste and adding a few bits and bobs.
We went for the latter, and it worked well – not sure I’d bother with the time, expense and washing up of starting from scratch for this sort of dish.
If you can overlook the slightly early learning centre prose then the recipes themselves are easy to follow and clear, and there’s lots of pictures for each stage of each dish.
It’s a book that I do use from time to time, but to be honest this dish reminded me why I don’t use it more. There’s a few recipes that are fine, but almost all are replicated elsewhere, normally with a bit more flair and a few more flourishes. And given the lack of excitement I get from flicking through this one, it’s no surprise that it spends a lot of time fairly near the back of the bookshelf.
Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food
I'd totally recommend this book. I could barely cook either until i bought this and now i'm pretty mean in the kitchen! His recipes are very simple, healthy and most importantly very very tasty and there is such a great range to pick and choose from. I bought my copy second hand from Amazon.
Like you i am not a good cook (no offense meant) and a friend leant me his book I find it a lot of ingredients and seems quite complicated to me. But I also know a lot of peoplt love it.
I have a very basic minced beef meatball in tomato sauce recipe if you would like it, if you have not already got its basic yet tastes fab.
Jamie Oliver's Chicken Parmesan
jamie oliver stuffed peppers
I've got this book and it's fab
All the dishes in the book and really simple to do once you get going
I'm like you and have loads of childrens cookbooks that i use but i brought jamie olivers ministry of food the other week and i love it!
So far i've made the burgers (fantastic!) we had people over and i ended up making 20 and they were all gone by the end of the evening! so have made some more to put in freezer for quick meal later on in the month.
yesterday i made the Chicken Tikka Massala and hubby said it was so good that he never wants to buy a takeaway again as they'll never taste as nice!
i've made the bolaganise sauce (although i wish i hadn't put in the 2 tins of water in like he said as it made it too watery) and will be trying some of the other recipe's this week.
Jamie’s Ministry of Food - Recipes
The Jamie’s Ministry of Food program is delivered through a partnership with The Good Foundation. The program delivers hands on food literacy and cooking skills courses, in a friendly, supportive and fun environment.
Five-week and five-day cooking courses are delivered from a Permanent Centre in Ipswich, a Mobile Kitchen that travels across the state to different locations and through an Outreach program to communities.
‘Train the Trainer’ and ‘local recruitment’ programs are also available and are designed to help build the capacity of local communities and organisations to sustain ongoing delivery of food literacy and healthy eating and cooking messages.
The benefits of Jamie’s Ministry of Food go far beyond cooking. Many of our participants have stated they now have a healthier attitude towards food and a greater willingness to try new things. Social benefits also include a sense of belonging, the creation of new social networks as well as improved emotional connections with family and friends.
The program is committed to reaching the most vulnerable in the community including individuals/families on low incomes, single parents, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, young people, people with a disability and the unemployed.
The program is open to Queenslanders, 12 years and over. There is a cost associated with participating in the courses but course costs are at a significantly reduced rate for concession cardholders and students.
Like to learn more? Visit the Jamie’s Ministry of Food website
I remember the importance Jamie placed on giving each meal the respect it deserved.
Ministry of Food showed me things beyond making the meals themselves. Even now, a decade on, I remember the importance Jamie placed on giving each meal the respect it deserved: lay the table – whether you’re eating alone or cooking for eight. Savour the effort and love you’ve put in. It’s a routine I still follow now.
Jamie's Ministry of Food didn’t so much teach recipes, as help to give me a far broader confidence around food and flavour. It taught me the basic proportions of four essential salad dressings – the necessary verve behind a good salad – but also how to nuture in myself the instinct for cooking I’d seen in my mum.
These days, my kitchen looks much like any other: jars of dry goods and serving bowls jostle for space on the shelves, herbs grow on the window ledge. There’s not a lot of room for cookbooks, so Jamie’s Ministry of Food is tucked away in a cupboard.
Instead, that knowledge lives in my head, in the muscle memory I’ve developed from shaking oil and vinegar together in a jam-jar, in the meticulously ordered spices that occupy an entire drawer. It ekes out of the dinners I cook, even after a long day, and feel better.
This article is part of our A Book that Changed Me series.
Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food vegetable bhaji recipe anyone?
Someone made these at dd's Xmas party the other day - delicious - has anyone please got the recipe? Thanks!
stand by your bed, i had this book delivered today - will type it out shortly.
Oooooooooh thankyou, thats great!!
2 lrg carrots
10cm fresh root ginger
2 medium red onions
2 - 3 fresh red chillies
bunch of fresh coriander
2 teaspoons mustard seed
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 heaped teapsoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons sea salt
125g self raising flour
1 litre veg oil
a piece of potato
juice 1 lemon
Peel and finely grate of shred the carrots, ginger and red onions and put them into a large bowl
Finely chop the chillies and add to bowl
Roughly chop the coriander leaves and stalks
Add the mustard seeds, tumeric, cumin seeds, salt and chopped coriander to the bowl
Add the flour and 125ml of cold water and scrunch together well, using your hands until you have a nice thick mixture
Its best to make these in a deep fat fryer, or you can put a large pan on a medium to high heat and add the oil
Drop in a piece of potato - when it floats to the surface and begins to sizzle, the oil is the right temp
Remove the potato using a slotted spoon
Pick up a tablespoon of bhaji mixture, press it together tightly and carefully lower ity into the hot oil
Repeat until you have several on the go
Cook for 5 mins until crispy and golden
Remove the cooked bhajis using your slotted spoon and put them on kitchen paper to drain
Sprinkle with a little sea salt and a squeeze of lemon juice
Repeat for the remaining mixture