Baked fruit for Jamie Oliver
“You need to have a mentor”. I heard this phrase numerous times while I worked as a journalist and wrote about business and enterprises. Coming from consultants, coaches and entrepreneurs, the sentence was always followed by explanations: a guru, a wise and expert consultant, someone who directly or indirectly helps you to be a better person, someone who challenges you to go further.
It was exactly during this time, – when photography and gastronomy were only entertainment for me –I chose Jamie Oliver to be my mentor. Unfortunately we have never met for talking about my work, neither to listen to some advice or to some recommendation. However, he has become my internal hero, someone who I respected and looked up.
Since Jamie’s programs starred on the Brazilian cable TV I have been amazed by his simple and slightly clumsy way of cooking. His passion, his sparkling eyes, his dyslexia, his concern about where the ingredients come from and that devotion to Italy – I had no doubt, I was facing my master.
Then books came up and the magazine. Ah, the magazine! Even with the cost of US$ 23 here in Brazil (help me!) I always bought it – for me, it was an investment. With every single page I touched on that opaque paper, rough in texture; then even with no real understanding, I could see I wanted to do that.
I got fascinated by that precise mess, with those so real photos that felt like biting the pages, to detach and hang them on the wall. Edition after edition, I was always surprised with that beauty, with the aesthetic of imperfection: mismatched dishes which could show their time marks, crumbles over the table cloth, people eating in the garden, colourful and peeled pieces of wood. Everything was so real.
And that’s the way it was, far away and silently Jamie Oliver stimulated me to go after my dreams; he challenged me to go further and not to give up on the first balks. I started to photograph food wishing my pictures could be published in his magazine, like the ones by David Loftus, Jamie’s friend and ‘official’ photographer. I didn’t want to be the same, but as good as. Then I looked at my photografies, looked at the ones in the magazine and knew there was a long way through. This made me carry on, insist. Perhaps I will never photograph for Jamie’s magazine, it doesn’t really matter. Today I just want to thank him. And to celebrate this mentoring, I prepared a very simple recipe of roasted fruits, which comes from one of his programs. Thank you very much, Jamie Oliver!
Baked fruit to serve with cream ice-cream
Several plums, peaches and nectarines
1 tablespoon of sugar (check if the plums are not too sour, otherwise add one more spoon)
1 teaspoon of vanilla (paste or concentrate, you’ll find them in the supermarket)
5 or 6 tablespoons of cognac, whisky or Port wine
A cinnamom stick
One orange peel (when you peel it off, leave the white inner layer out)
Orange juice (one orange)
Remove the cores from the peaches, nectarines and plums and cut them into halves. Place them in a roasting pan. Sprinkle sugar and vanilla over the fruit. Break the cinnamom stick in the middle and put it in the roasting pan. Peel off your orange very finely and use the skin (without the white part because it is bitter) and let them fall over the fruit pieces. Squeeze this orange and add the juice to it. Sprinkle cognac, port wine and licqueur if you have. Mix them all. Take them to a pre-heated oven and let them bake for about 15 minuts. Serve them with ice-cream.