Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Tasty Festival Fare ; Does Food at Summer Music Festivals Hit the Right Note? Jamie Oliver Lets Diana Pilkington in on His Ideas for Perfect Festival Grub

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Tasty Festival Fare ; Does Food at Summer Music Festivals Hit the Right Note? Jamie Oliver Lets Diana Pilkington in on His Ideas for Perfect Festival Grub

Article excerpt

JAMIE Oliver may be as British as tea and crumpets, but he admits he's a "bit of a newcomer" when it comes to music festivals. That great summertime tradition of getting covered in mud in a field while watching your favourite bands and drinking the beer tent dry has largely eluded the industrious TV chef.

"I've been to V quite a lot because that was local to us in Essex," he says. "But, for whatever reason, I've always just worked, so if I've had a day off I've needed to relax rather than get plastered for two days. So I've never got massively into the festival thing."

Nonetheless, the chef has strong opinions on the type of grub on offer at these musical extravaganzas. And with his own foray into the world of festivals, he is determined to feed the hungry masses something special. "Food at festivals has got better over the last 10 years, that's for sure. But it's still erratic and there's still an old-school set that turn up and rattle out the same old rubbish burger. That has its place, but it's not what we're about." The Big Feastival, which takes place at Alex James' farm in Oxfordshire, aims to be a "celebration of British produce". Chefs, including Valentine Warner and Gennaro Contaldo, will carry out cookery demonstrations, and well-known restaurants will serve the food. Meanwhile, thanks to Blur star James, bands such as Texas, the Guillemots and Razorlight will perform.

"My vulnerability is I'm not an expert in music, and I don't know the channels to go to, so Alex was a natural partner," Oliver explains.

Asked what makes the perfect festival food, the 37-year-old says: "Capping the price and making sure there's a diverse offer of meat, fish, veggie and international food. There has to be lots of choice."

Once festival fever dies down and autumn kicks in, Oliver will have another big project to present to the nation - a cookbook and TV show featuring 15-minute meals. It's an ambitious step up from his 30-Minute Meals book, which became the biggest-selling non- fiction title in UK history in 2010, and Oliv-er says it's the last time he cooks against the clock. "I'm glad it's all done - I won't ever do 'time' again but it was pretty much a response to the public, not just in Britain."

Try the dishes, below, from Oliver and some of his Big Feastival friends to get into the festival spirit at home.

Jamie Oliver presents The Big Feastival with Alex James on September 1 and 2. Visit thebigfeastival.com. Valentine Warner's recipe is taken from The Good Table published by Mitchell Beazley, priced Pounds 25.

RECIPES MOROCCAN-STYLE LAMB BURGERS, below, right (Serves 6) 600g quality lamb shoulder, minced Olive oil 6 soft baps, halved 6 heaped tablespoons fatfree natural yoghurt 1 heaped tablespoon harissa paste 1 lemon Extra virgin olive oil A handful of fresh mint leaves For the dry rub: 1 teaspoon sea salt 1 teaspoon black pepper Half teaspoon cumin seeds 1 teaspoon ground coriander 1 teaspoon ras el hanout or garam masala 1-2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika For the salad: 1 round lettuce, washed and spun dry Half bunch of fresh mint, leaves picked A handful of edible flowers (optional) 1 lemon Extra virgin olive oil Half pomegranate FOR the dry rub, pound all the ingredients in a pestle and mortar until combined. …

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