Cookbook Review: Jamie’s Great Britain by Jamie Oliver

My rating: 3 ½  stars

(3 for taste, 4 for trying)

An epic tome dedicated to that oxymoron –  “British Cuisine”




Jamie’s done a tremendous job of compiling Great Britain’s signature dishes into one giant book. The problem is, the food tastes pretty crap.

Is it the book or the cuisine?… Is it you or is it me?… She’s just not that into you… Just saying….

Now because of the Christmas season, Mum demanded I make shortbread. She wanted to package it in her new Costco faux Tupperware and give the whole package as a gift to our Anglo relatives.  Where better to go for a recipe that Jamie’s Great Britain!

The shortbread recipe gave a plain recipe and three variations. Problem is they were so dry that both types sent my mum into a hacking fit and she sprayed me with part digested cookie crumbs (shudder).

They were also crying out for salt – “SALT!”   There were also some errors in the recipe that really annoyed me (grumble, hacking cough)…

Tell me what you think of the recipe.

SCOTTISH SHORTBREAD from Jamie’s Great Britain by Jamie Oliver

  • Regular shortbread.
  • Makes 12 pieces of shortbread
  • 200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 50 g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling over
  • 125 g unsalted butter

Chocolate Orange and Caraway

  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 30 g good quality dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids (Note: annoyingly Jamie doesn’t say what to do with it so I just chopped it)
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds

Preheat the oven to 170C 325F gas 3. Mix the flour and sugar together in a mixing bowl. Rub in the butter with your thumb and forefinger, then add your chosen flavourings (if you’re using chocolate or seeds you might want to push these into the dough at the end after you’ve rolled it out) and squash, pat and push it into a dough. Don’t knead it, you just want to pat it down flat. Push or roll it out until its 1 cm thick – do this directly on to a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper so you don’t have to move it. Once it’s in the shape you like – which could be square round or a few small finger shapes – feel free to thumb or pinch the edges. If it splits or tears, just press it back together  but remember, the less you work the dough the shorter and better the biscuits will be.

[Note Annoyingly Jamie doesn’t recommend resting of chilling the dough so it’s a sandy mess to handle. If I were you I would wrap and chill the dough prior to baking]

If you want to score lines on the shortbread so that you can click the business off into pieces later, you can. Sprinkle over some caster sugar, then pop the baking sheet into the oven and cook for 20-30 mins. Keep an eye on it- you want a lovely light golden colour. Leave to cool then put away in a tin or serve. These will be delicious for two or three days and make a lovely present for someone special.


These were just ok.  I thought perhaps I should make another recipe but I failed to feel inspired. The book is printed on matt paper with very busy dark photos. All the food looks the one shade of brown – even the vegetables and desserts.

Is this the best of Britain? I hope not.

Here are some snaps for the book. If you love British food and feel rather sentimental about it then this book is for you. You can read it while you watch your Blu-Ray copy of Dad’s Army.  The rest of you, this book is for Jamie fans only.

Below: 1.Glasgow potato scones with best scrambled egg and smoked salmon; 2. Humble Pea & Ham Soup with a dozen fluffy little dumplings; 3.Mighty Mulligatawny; 4.Baby Yorkshire Puds with creamy smoked trout and horseradish pate

Below: 1.Wee Scotch Eggs, 2.Toad in the Hole, 3. Easy Essex Haggis Neeps & Tatties Shepherd’s Pie Style,  4. My Nan’s St Clement’s Cake.

Below: 1.Queen Victoria Sponge, 2. Scottish Shortbread, 3. Charming Eccles Cakes, 4. Kate & Will’s Wedding Pie with Beeef and Beer Filling and Unbelievablt Pastry

Below: 1.Ecclefechan Tart with dollop of whisky and ginger cream, 2. Joyful Trifles, 3. Chocolate Orange Steamed Pud

Shopping: I parted with my hard earned dosh on this book. You can as well at these links. I’ve done the research and at the time of post these are the best prices.



  • Leah
    December 18, 2011 - 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Are you sure you got the Shortbread recipe right?
    It’s missing a vital, essential ingredient that all shortbread is made with – RICE FLOUR.

    • admin
      December 18, 2011 - 5:34 pm | Permalink

      Hi Leah, you’ve made an excellent point. I’ve gone back and double checked Jamie’s recipe and definitely he uses no rice flour.

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