#8: Confession...We Fell In Love With Jamie Oliver

Things are different over-seas, including The Food Network. Something you should know about me is that I love The Food Network. I believe Ina Garten is my cooking fairy God Mother (and Julia Child is my cooking Great God Mother, if that's a thing) and I have honestly learned so much from watching various TV shows, even if I'm falling asleep to them. I love having it on in the background, especially while I'm cooking...or grabbing a bowl of popcorn and getting really into the competition shows, such as Chopped. Unfortunately (fortunately?), we live frugally so we do not have cable so I must get my Food Network fix from whatever is available to stream -- and there's not much :( BUT, while we were traveling in the UK, we had unlimited access to The Food Network and *bonus* it was in English. Praise the Lord! 

To our pleasant surprise, we realized it was just a tad bit different. There was no Giada, no Paula Dean, no Iron Chef...but there was still Ina Garten (phew), Guy Fieri, and our new friend, Jamie Oliver! We developed this routine when we were working on The South Farm (read all about our experience here) where we would shower off all the chicken poop, soil, veggie clippings, etc. grab a cuppa' tea and watch a few cooking shows to decompress. Then, we would go downstairs and feel all inspired to cook dinner for ourselves, our host and the other Workawayers! Then, when we did another Workaway on a homestead, we stayed in our own little trailer oasis and during our lunch break, we would grab another cuppa' tea (we were in the UK, tea ran through our blood!) and watch Ina Garten and a Jamie Oliver show. Now, Ina already had my heart but Jamie had to win me over. Well, lets just say it didn't take long to do that! There were 2 shows of his that we fell in love with! 15-Minute Meals -- he would get an entire meal on the table complete with a main course, side dish and beautiful plating in 15 minutes! The way he cooks is so artistic, so brave and so adventurous. Plus, his English charm was pretty fun to watch. Another one of his shows that we adore is called Jamie at Home. It takes place on his beautiful, bountiful garden and in his home kitchens. Yes...kitchens with an S. He has one outside in his garden, in the house, and I think one in his garage? I'm not sure (but I'm pretty sure I already sound creepy enough so I don't need to do the research to find out exactly). What I appreciated most about that show was that it was rustic, raw and really inspired us to have a bustling garden of own some day. He isn't afraid of a little soil getting in his food or cooking a lasagna in his outdoor pizza oven. He seems fearless and everything he made looked so incredibly delicious. 

Our cozy abode at our Workaway in Axminister, England! We made everything from a traditional English breakfast to a Sunday roast in that baby!

Our cozy abode at our Workaway in Axminister, England! We made everything from a traditional English breakfast to a Sunday roast in that baby!

So, what did we do with our new love for Jamie Oliver? Well, we mostly just watched and marveled at his creations and said to one another "oh we should TOTALLY make that!" and truth is, we haven't made much....but we have made some! 2 of our absolute favorite dishes are Chicken Tikka Masala & Homemade BBQ Sauce with pork ribs. Oh boy, they are both total winners in our book and we will probably be making them f.o.r.e.v.e.r. 

The first time we made the Chicken Tikka Masala, we were at our housesit in Plymouth for the holidays. While we were in England, we ate curry weekly and couldn't get enough of the warm spices that heated us from the inside out, because we were freaking freezing in the UK for about 3 months straight. Neither of us had made much curry in our days, but one day, we decided to bust out our hosts beautiful Le Creuset red pot and give curry laced with creamy coconut milk, vibrant spices, and fresh veggies a whirl! After watching Jamie make a big pot of his own, we followed his instructions and cooked up a batch ourselves. It was so delicious and made for a wonderful dinner with even better leftovers! After that, we made it several more times -- we even made it for a family dinner at a Workaway for 20 people! And then again in Bali where the coconut milk was bursting with creamy coconut flavor.

We didn't end up attempting the BBQ sauce until our journey brought us back home to the states. Before heading to the sunshine in California, we made a pit stop in Boise, Idaho to reunite with our family and share a week of stories, hugs, and tons and tons of meals. My brother had just gotten a new job and we wanted to celebrate with a good ol' American meal of ribs, corn, and watermelon salad. In the back of my mind, I had stored this BBQ sauce recipe from Jamie at Home and it was such a hit! The flavors are simple, but complex once paired with each other. Also, it tastes unlike any other BBQ sauce I have had...and I work at a BBQ restaurant so that says a lot! Since that fateful night, we haven't looked back. This is now our go-to BBQ sauce and I so wish I could take credit for it, but alas, I cannot. However, I have made some modifications on it so I guess now it has a Call spin! Because I love you all, I will share my secret-not-so-secret-recipe for amazing BBQ pork ribs. Enjoy!

Pork Ribs with Homemade BBQ Sauce

4-6 servings / 2 hrs & 20 min to make (unless you marinate)

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 4 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
  • 5 whole cloves OR 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • Bunch fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • Bunch fresh rosemary, leaves picked
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced 
  • 1 bulb garlic, broken into cloves and peeled
  • 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup organic tomato ketchup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil
  • 10 bay leaves
  • 4 1/4 pounds pork rib racks

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (unless you have time to marinate, which isn't necessary, but helps intensify the flavors).

2. In a food processor, mortar and pestle or a blender (I use a Ninja), blend up the cumin, fennel seeds, paprika, cloves, salt, pepper (to taste), thyme leaves, rosemary leaves, orange zest and garlic until it is all combined. It won't be a paste, but more like a finely minced mixture. 

3. Grab a roasting pan and combine the juice of the orange, balsamic vinegar, ketchup, honey, olive oil, bay leaves and your spice mix. Grab a whisk and combine all those fragrant flavors together!

4. If your ribs do not fit in the roasting pan as one piece, cut in half or quarters. Place in the roasting pan and completely coat them in the marinade. Place whatever is left over of your orange in the roasting pan too - the orangey steam will help keep the ribs tender! Now, you can either marinate them covered in the fridge for up to 24 hrs, or you can just get straight to cookin'! I usually prep mine in the morning, and marinate them until ready to cook. The choice is yours! 

5. Once all your meat is coated in that deliciousness, cover with foil and bake in the oven for 1 1/2 hours, until the meat is tender. Remove from oven, take off the foil and baste the ribs with the juices and sauce still in the pan. Turn your oven to broil, place the ribs back in and let the top get a little caramelized -- about 5-10 minutes depending how high you have your broil. 

6. Gather up your friends and family and serve those babies up straight from the broiler! We usually serve them with some creamy coleslaw, Hawaiian rolls and corn. Yum!

**if you are a grilling master, skip the broiling part and throw them on the grill to get the caramelization! Don't forget to baste the ribs with sauce as you grill them.

**above is my interpretation of THIS recipe, incase you want to reference or want to make it exactly how Sir Jamie Oliver does! 

Until next time & next recipe,

Lisa Call