He may be slightly heavier of jowl, gruffer of voice… quiffier of hair, but Jamie Oliver still knows how to give good food TV (Jamie’s Money Saving Meals, C4, 8.30pm, 2 June). And in this new series, he’s back to what he does best - using his cheeky chap appeal to show us how to cook, rather than lecturing us on what not to.
The emphasis - clue’s in the title - was on meals costing on average less than £1.60 a head to make - an unashamed focus on affordability Tesco for one will be aware is not as outdated as talk of a return of consumer confidence suggests. Happily for all those traumatised by endless college meals of beans on toast, there were no beans, chickpeas or pasta in sight; this was proper grown-up, delicious-looking nosh.
First up was a piri piri pork belly, which he scored with a Stanley knife, before “muddling” in some olive oil with some seasoning and declaring: “The oil will transmit the flavour of the bay, so it’s literally like plugging a guitar into an amp.” Literally.
Needless to say, the end result looked far superior to anything I’ve ever managed. Oliver also showcased some ingeniously simple and quick recipes such as hungover noodles (of course, hangovers were not something he endorsed), which featured a grated frozen chilli (a brilliant idea), and made clever use of Sunday lunch leftovers (I’ll be trying the lamb biryani).
The message? Constraints on your budget aren’t a constraint on your creativity, they’re a spur to it - which made this worth watching even if you’re not on one.