For people who care about their food

Olive Magazine (Part 2)

Front cover of the BBC's Olive MagazineWe looked at an overview of Olive magazine in Part 1, now we’ll look at the magazine’s sections in some more depth.

Eat In

OK, Gordon Ramsay is good, but this magazine seems to be obsessed with him. I admit I’ve tried some of his stuff and it can be fairly challenging, although invariably worth the effort. But it’s starting to feel like Ramsay has become ubiquitous.

It reminds me of trekking through the jungle in Northern Thailand (almost twenty years ago) when we stopped for an overnight stay in a tiny village. One of the group asked, “Where’s the toilet?” And the tour guide – a lovely guy who was excellent at his job – looked totally bemused by the question and replied, “Toiret is evelywhere.”




Whatever, we’ve got Gordon showing us how to make pasta in this issue. It looks pretty good. But I haven’t got a pasta machine. Probably one of the very few kitchen gadgets in the known universe that I don’t have – maybe I should get one. But for now I think I’ll stick with Jamie’s hand-made version. Still, it’s an interesting article about making an “open ravioli” with wild mushrooms. I’ve never heard of an open ravioli before – it’s just bits of pasta in a sort of unstructured way. Whatever floats your boat, I suppose.

There’s another section on “Ready in 30”, and despite my disparaging comments about other quick and easy stuff elsewhere, this is usually helpful. You don’t want to spend all day every day in the kitchen.

There are several other features in this section, such as a recipe from a top chef, a recipe index for the issue, entertaining, etc. But, hey, I’m not writing a book here.

Eat Out

Here we have restaurant news and views, critic’s choice, pro versus punter restaurant review, and a travel offer. It’s not going to be relevant to a lot of readers, depending on where you live, but it’s an interesting read anyway. I feel happy enough with this.

Eat Away

Barcelona is featured this month with a where to eat, shop, and stay guide. Or there’s 48 hours in Hong Kong. Or truffle hunting in Tuscany. Plus a competition to win a gourmet break in Japan.

OK, so how many of us are likely to be able to follow their advice? But I enjoy a bit of armchair travelling so I think it’s a good read.

Need To Know

This section includes readers’ letters, foodie news, classic martinis and boozy milkshakes, and various other useful and interesting articles and snippets. Overall, I like it. Great stuff! …BUT…

Oh no, don’t tell me that Olive is dumbing down in the same way as BBC Good Food did.

There is a feature on CHEFS’ WIVES. This kinda stuns me. I want to read about food, cooking, kitchen equipment and stuff like that. I DO NOT buy a food magazine to endure a four-page spread of stuff like this – most of it full or half-page photos of chefs’ wives trying to look like models. There’s a full-page glossy photo of Amber Nuttall showing her cleavage. Who she? Does anyone care? I’ve no idea whether it’s a good article or not because I haven’t read it. And won’t. I just don’t give a stuffed mushroom. Grrrr. Any more of this and there’ll be a letter to the editor soon…

Expert Advice

I’ve skimmed over the surface of some of the content as I was aware that this review was already rather long. All in all, I look forward to the magazine every month. I enjoy the contents. I get ideas from it. I sometimes make the things it suggests (the Scandinavian fish soup a few months back was pretty good). I take it down to our local beer shack and sit in the sun reading the articles. I like it – and if you read my reviews, you’ll know how fussy I am – so that’s not a bad recommendation. I just don’t want any more stuff about chefs’ wives.

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