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It's not the best
The Naked Chef - Jamie Oliver
Member Name: hlb2009
The Naked Chef - Jamie Oliver
Advantages: Nice pictures
Disadvantages: too much about Jamie
Over the past few years since I've lived away from my parents I seem to get a new recipe book every Christmas and this Jamie Oliver book is one of the ones which I use the least. I enjoy watching Jamie's shows on the television where he tries to encourage people to cook their family meals from fresh instead of using processed foods, I like how he has family values at heart and like to see how this is reflected in his books as well as just the shows, however, sometimes I think that this book is just too focussed on the man himself and not actually on his food.
This book is hard back and just a little smaller than A4 so it's a managable size. It also isn't overly thick with having just 250 pages which sounds a lot but isn't in comparrison to some of the huge dense books i have on my recipe book shelf!
Within this book you will find:
Herbs and Spices
Salads and Dressings
Fish and shellfish
Meat, poultry and game
Risotto and Couscous
Stocks, sauces, bits and bobs, this that and the other
Now when you first open this book you will be treated to a very contemporary photograph of the chef himself inside his kitchen, looking as though he's in the middle of explaining a recipe with a big smile on his face. It's in black and white making it stand out and is very 'Jamie oliver'. By this I mean in other cook books you don't expect to see pictures of the chef throughout the book but the whole point of this is that it is a Jamie Oliver book and not only is he selling his recipes but also himself too.
Modern cookery books by well known chefs seem to have different photographs now, before they were focussed on the step by step instructions or the finished product now the photographs include the chef showing off what he is doing too. Perhaps this is distracting or maybe it makes it more personal, it's up to you what you think.
In the introduction Jamie doesn't tell you about food and what ingredients you should work with and which ones you should try to limit in your diet, instead it's all bout him! There is information about his inspiration for the book, about his childhood and his love for food. If you are just wanting a cookery book without any personality then this probably isn't for you or you should just skip this section! I quite like it though, it's nice to get a feel for the inspiration behind the recipes and to have this personal section.
Recipes that you can find in this book vary a lot and include:
Fast-roasted cod with parsley, oregano, chilli and lime
North African lamb with chilli, ginger, chickpeas and couscous
Pan-cooked artichokes with lemon, thyme and garlic.
Lemon and lime cream tart
As you can tell just by looking at the above recipes they are rather long-winded in title. If you are looking for traditional food such as lasagne or shepherd's pie you can be sure that you won't find it in here! This cook book is more for sensational foods, something a bit different with a long-winded title to go with it!
The way the recipes are laid out kind of lets the book down which is a shame. I do think that maybe the emphasis of a cookery book should be on the actual recipes and not on the person behind them but this book is more about Jamie Oliver.
At the beginning of each section there are some notes of reference which is useful. At the beginning of most recipes is Jamie talking in first person about what he thought about the dish for example when talking about the lemon and lime cream tart "This tart's one of my favourite combinations- lemon and lime to me is so much more refreshing than just plain old lemon." I'm unsure as to whether this is actually necessary but again does carry on the informal theme of this book.
The recipes are set out like this- the introduction about it from Jamie, the list of ingredients which are in blue text and then the recipe set out in paragraphs of black text.
I find that the recipe is a bit daunting, these are quite complex dishes with several ingredients and so you would like instructions that are easy to follow so that if you glance away to do your preparation you can look back again and know exactly where you are on the page and this book just doesn't do that. You look back and you have no idea where you last read. The instructions are not in a step by step way, yes it's broken down but only in words and not in actual text as there are no bullet points or numbers which would be useful and clearer.
There are not pictures of each dish but of around a third of them and these take up an entire page and always look very sensational with lots of oil dripping off the dish and carefully placed cheese shavings and things.
I am disappointed with this book because it just isn't all about food like I expect from a recipe book. I am aware that Jamie Oliver is a big TV personality now but I didn't want to buy his autobiography, instead I wanted to have a recipe book. This book is just too focussed around Jamie's opinions on everything and has some very potencious sounding dishes which can be intimidating.
When I flick through this I am often not inspired to start cooking one of the dishes and usually it's because the title of it is just so long winded that it makes it sound more complicated than it actually is! I would prefer to see something which sounds simple!
The way that the recipes are set out isn't very clear, I prefer step by step instructions that are laid out so that you can see with ease what you need to do and that when you look away to carry out the step you can pick up where you left off immediately. This, however, is set out so that the instructions are in long-winded paragraphs that isn't really cooking friendly for me.
I think that if you are quite an accomplished cook then this would be a good book for you as it offers some different and interesting ideas for you in a way which isn't patronising. For me, however, I need patronising! I do like step by step instructions and clear diagrams when it comes to cooking and so this book just doesn't do it for me.
The photographs are all very sensational and mouthwatering, they're very well done and do sell the recipes it's just a shame that the rest of the book doesn't have this effect.
I don't use this book very often as I find that the majority of dishes take a lot of effort and there is no information to tell you how much effort is actually involved so sometimes I begin a dish which sounds straight forward and then it ends up taking much longer than I thought it would.
I do like Jamie Oliver but I prefer to watch him on the television, this book just isn't up to the mark and there are some far better cookery books on the market than this.
Summary: not the best