Jamie's Money-Saving Meals, Channel 4 - TV review


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The Independent Culture

Perhaps Jamie Oliver would be more appealing if he too had remained the chubby-cheeked Essex boy of The Naked Chef. In the new series of Jamie's Money-Saving Meals (Channel 4), it was apparent that a change had come over the TV chef. The premise of this show is that these days everyone is too cash-poor and time-poor to faff around with Nigella-style indulgence.

That obviously includes Jamie. He appeared stressed, distracted and rushed throughout this half-hour, like he'd squeezed filming into a brief scheduling window between saving the nation's school dinners and catering Kimye's wedding.

The one thing about Jamie 2014 that hasn't got any fancier is his banter. He's still personifying condiments ("Mr Chili Sauce, don't be shy") and doing impressions of dairy products. Eggs say "arrrghhh!" when you drop them in hot oil, apparently.

Would you trust this man to properly cost a budget family recipe? We were told that his piri-piri pork belly, "hangover noodles" and lamb biryani all "on average cost less than £1.60 a head". It looked delicious, but the impressive per-portion prices that flashed up on screen didn't seem to take into account some of the suggested "store cupboard" ingredients. You'd most likely have to buy fresh rosemary, fennel seeds and sesame seeds in large quantities, then use a little and waste the rest.

So the recipes on money-saving meals are probably slightly cheaper than the typical Oliver family fare, but they're not Jack Monroe-cheap, though, are they?