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The Return of the Naked Chef - Jamie Oliver

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      24.10.2012 22:54
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      The Return of the Naked Chef is a book providing easy recipes to try at home

      It is nice to be able to walk over to the book shelves and pick up a book by a young Jamie Oliver in which he is sat on a moped with a cheeky grin.... and knowing that in fact he's now 37!

      The Return of the Naked Chef was written in 2000 by Jamie Oliver and published by the Penguin Group to accompany a tv series he had on the BBC. From recollection this was actually before Jamie had fully trained and some of the pictures in the book show him while he was still training.

      As you may or may not know the "Naked" implied in the title relates to the fact that in his recipes Jamie strips the recipes back to basics to give you what he refers to as home-cooked food. Mr Oliver is also responsible for my first understanding of the word pukka and not as I now know, as being a brand of rather tasty meat pies! His way of cooking was at times rather rustic and was more about the quality of ingredients and not about measuring out exact quantities.

      This book is some 288 pages with some 7 pages of index. Contents and few of the listed recipes are:
      Introduction - in which Jamie describes his year since writing his first book "The Naked Chef"
      Make life easy - what he keeps in his cupboard (oils, flour, pasta, anchovies, chocolate etc) and fresh ingredients / spices
      Potty about herbs - detailing growing and harvesting using window boxes
      Morning glory - bacon sarnie my style which is a recipe written in the form of a story as is the following midnight pan-cooked breakfast
      Tapas, munchies and snacks - blackened sweet aubergine, blackened marinated peppers, salted and spiced prawns
      Simple salads and dressings - crunchy Thai salad, salad of boiled potatoes, avocado and cress, and a range of dressings
      Soups and broths - Mary's Saturday soup and dumplings, fragrant Thai broth
      Pasta and risotto - includes how to make pasta, pappardelle, spicy sausage meat and mixed wild mushrooms, making ravioli
      Fish and shellfish - fantastic fish pie, salmon fillet wrapped in prosciutto with herby lentils, spinach and yoghurt
      Meat, poultry and game - seared encrusted carpaccio of beef, braised five hour lamb with wine, veg and all that, marinades an rubs
      Vegetables - good old mashed veg, baked carrots with cumin, thyme, butter and Chardonnay
      Bread - basic bread, chocolate twister bread, fruit loaf
      Desserts - orange and polenta biscuits, chocolate pots, crème brulee, maltesers and ice-cream
      Bevvies - Bellini, Tom Collins, caipirinha, smoothies
      Stocks, sauces, bits, bobs, this that and the other - chicken stock, tomato salsa, salsa verde

      There are certainly many recipes in this book that even the novice cook can make and the majority have very few steps, and unlike some cookery books contains many recipes that even the modest of budgets will be able to manage. My wife's hobby is in reading cookery books and not necessarily ever cooking from them.

      The Return of the Naked Chef is quite a good read and although never used as such has many dishes that I would be more than happy to try and pretty easy to cook. With Christmas coming although a relatively old book it would certainly be worth considering. It is currently on sale through Amazon from as little as 1p (plus £2.80 shipping) through Amazon in used condition from various sellers or new for £19.75 (plus shipping) in hardback and can also be bought as part of a set of 6 paperbacks for around £60. It's original selling price is marked as £20.

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      31.12.2010 15:38
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      highly recommend to everyone. Buy it!

      I have so many cook books, most of which i shouldn't of bothered buying because normally the recipes turn out nothing like they are meant to. UNTIL ............ I brought Jamie Oliver in to the kitchen. All i can say is WOW - He has actually changed me because now i am a more confident cook which in turn has made me enjoy cooking and has made me taste new things. Thank you Mr Oliver!
      After the introduction, which is Jamie introducing the book, you will find a chapter on making life easy. Basically it tells you what you should always have to hand in your cupboards in order to cook various recipes.(spices, herbs, tinned tomatoes, sugar, flour etc etc)
      There is also a chapter on herbs before you get to the recipes. The book includes some really idiot proof things to cook and because of this, more experienced cooks may feel a little cheated eg - maltesers and ice cream! a fry up but it's called midnight pan cooked breakfast! This is my only negative to this book. I would prefer 'proper recipes' on every page.
      The book includes little snack recipes like stuffed chilli peppers, spiced chick peas. I think this is a good idea because if you having friends round for dinner you can you use these snack ideas as starters. There is also a section for salads, dressings, soups and broths. Then you get to the hearty main meals including pasta dishes, fish, shellfish, meat, poultry and game. There is a seperate chapter for vegetable side dishes, home made bread, desserts and drinks.
      The recipes i have tried have all turned out successful (so far) These include the fantastic roasted chicken, the fillet of beef wrapped in prosciutto, Peter's lamb curry, and some of the marinades and rubs.
      My absolute favourite without any doubt is Peter's lamb curry. I have also made this with chicken which is equally as nice. It's making me hungry just thinking about it!
      Overall, i would 100% recommend this book and other Jamie Oliver cook books. I am very impressed with the two books i have.
      One piece of advice - if you are planning on buying this book - it is available with different front covers so don't make the mistake of buying the same book twice!
      PUKKA.

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        11.06.2009 20:25
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        All in all a good recipe book which I consult every now and again

        I am not a huge fan of Jamie Oliver the trail blazing pioneer who needs to tell us not to feed our kids kebabs and chips every day but I have tried a few of his recipes before and enjoyed them so was very pleased when my mum gave me this. The Jamie who is photographed in this book looks about eleven but was twenty six (this was published back in 2000). You can tell by the little bits he has written about his life that he was very new to (and excited about) his fame.

        The book begins with a list of basics to keep in your cupboard all the time and would be useful for someone who is just starting to cook their own meals from scratch. Then there is how to grow and dry herbs which is a useful little bonus for a cookery book.

        Next a chapter on breakfast begins. I found this a bit pointless. We hear lots about Jamie and what he thinks but I don't really want that in a recipe book - I want clearly laid out, easy to follow recipes for stuff I don't know how to make. I know how to make a bacon sarnie thanks, Jamie!

        Thankfully as the book continues there is less naval gazing and I found the recipes easier to follow. It was also a relief to find that there were recipes for more unusual things like tapas. There is more useful stuff like how to make your own bread and pasta and a great section on marinades and rubs too.

        My favourite recipe is Fantastic Fish Pie - it's very simple to make and great comfort food.

        In conclusion, a Jamie Oliver fan would absolutely LOVE this book. I thought it was pretty good!

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          23.08.2005 12:44
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          A clear, consise cookbook for those who aren't afraid to experiement.

          Love him or hate him, you can't dispute that Jamie Oliver has changed the way cooking is viewed nowadays. He has made cooking more accessible and has brought into the public eye the benefits of healthy eating and using fresh produce.

          His 'Return of the Naked Chef' is my favourite cook book, so I thought I'd share its delights with you. This book was published in 2000 to accompany Jamie's second TV series, so it is a bit old now but definitely worth adding to your kitchen shelf, due to its diverse array of recipes. As it is a few years old now it can normally be found on special offer - its £9 now on Amazon.

          Jamie was originally named the 'Naked Chef' due to his beliefs in cooking - using the bare essentials in your cupboard and stripping down restaurant methods to the reality of home. He takes the recipes from his restaurants and then re-works them so that the likes of me can recreate them!

          The cook book is 285 pages long and features over 140 recipes split into 14 sections which I'll run through below in a minute. The pages are also quite glossy - very handy if you're a messy cook like me, as you can wipe them clean!

          Each section begins with a page or 2 from Jamie explaining his love of the particular type of food covered in the section and the types of occasions they might be suitable for. This is an interesting read if you like Jamie, but if you're not a fan these parts might annoy you a bit as they are written in the same style that Jamie talks in, and often feature little stories or anecdotes which aren't always relevant to cooking! Each recipe also features a short paragraph at the beginning where Jamie explains where he got the inspiration for the recipe from, or any famous people he has cooked the recipe for. Following this there is the ingredients list and a note to say how many people the recipe serves. The instructions are written in a long paragraph which isn't quite as easy to read as bullet points. It is written as if Jamie is explaining it to you in your own kitchen which I like but I often find that when I look away from the book I sometimes have to read through the whole thing again to see which point I was up to! Each recipe is also supported by a beautiful colour photograph, which I really like as it makes the recipe easier to follow when you know what the end result is supposed to look like! Each section is also interspersed with full page colour photos, which feature scenes of Jamie cooking, out shopping at the market or eating with friends.

          **Introduction**
          Jamie starts by talking about the success he has gained from his first TV show and book - little did he know how successful he would be 5 years later!! He explains how the book is aimed at normal people who want to make simple day-to-day meals different or who want to try something a bit more indulgent.

          **Make life easy**
          This is a useful section as Jamie lists all the basic items you should have in your cupboards which will enable you to cook his recipes. He splits them into cupboard stuff, fresh stuff and spices. The cupboard stuff includes items such as salt, sugar, flour, pasta, rice, tinned tomatoes etc, the fresh stuff includes garlic, onions, herbs etc and then lastly the spices includes chillies, nutmeg, cloves etc. There is nothing out of the ordinary in these lists and I'd imagine if you enjoy coking enough to buy this book, then you probably have most of these items already.

          **Potty about herbs**
          This is a short section where Jamie talks about his love of herbs and how easy they are to grow, even if you only have a window ledge. From following his advice I now have a window box full of mint, basil, rosemary and parsley which I have grown both from seeds and cuttings and all I have to do is water them! Easy!

          **Morning glory**
          This is a section full of breakfast recipes, which range from the healthy 'Pukolla' (Jamie's own version of muesli) and homemade yoghurt, to the not so healthy bacon sarnie. My personal favourite is 'Midnight pan fried breakfast' where you cook all the usual English breakfast goodies together in a frying pan and then stick them together with a few fried eggs, so that it makes a large pancake of sausages, bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms and eggs! Mmmm!

          **Tapas, munchies and snacks**
          This section features recipes for food which is perfect for parties or just for snacking on in front of the TV. My favourites include pan toasted almonds and smashed spiced chickpeas, both of which have been made over and over whenever we have friends round for a few drinks.

          **Simple salads and dressings**
          Here Jamie recommends buying a few big salad bowls and experimenting with your own salad recipes, but to get you started he has included a few of his own favourites which include mozzarella and grilled chilli, couscous with grilled summer vegetables and Thai salad. The section finishes with a list of salad dressings you could make, which really help to make a plain green salad a bit more exciting.

          **Soups and broths**
          I've used this section least out of the whole book as it seems to include some slightly obscure recipes, for example, Jerusalem artichoke soup, seafood broth and squash and barley broth, which don't really appeal to me. I think a good old vegetable or chicken noodle soup recipe would be better placed here.

          **Pasta and risotto**
          Reading this section inspired me to buy a pasta maker and I have since made fresh tagliatelle, ravioli and tortellini. Each of the techniques to make these types of pasta is clearly illustrated with step by step photos. This section includes recipes for both fresh and dried pasta ranging from seafood tagliatelle to spag bol. There is also a foolproof risotto recipe and suggestions for different things to add to a risotto; myfavourite being prawns, peas, mint and basil (the mint and basil coming from my herby window box!)

          **Fish and shellfish**
          For those with no access to a good fishmongers recipes such as monkfish wrapped in banana leaves and whole baked sea bass, might be hard to achieve, but there are plenty of other 'normal' recipes, which include a delicious fish pie and tray baked cod and runner beans.

          **Meat, poultry and game**
          This is probably the section of the book I have used the most, and recipes from these pages have fed our friends on more than one occasion! The recipes I have used from this section include 5 hour lamb (put a leg of lamb and all the vegetable in a baking tray, add a bottle of white wine, cover with foil and leave to cook for 5 hours!), roast chicken with Parma ham and lemon, lamb curry and a gorgeous homemade burger, which is great on the BBQ. The more obscure recipes include braised pigeon breast and Indian cheese made from boiling milk and wine!

          **Vegetables**
          Lots of useful vegetable recipes here to add to the meat dishes from the previous section. My favourites include mashed veg, carrots with cumin and thyme, and sweet peas and spinach.

          **Bread**
          This section begins with Jamie's basic bread recipe and then runs though different styles of making bread. These range from the savoury (herby bread, pizza bases, chickpea flatbread) to the sweet (chocolate twister bread).

          **Desserts**
          Another favourite section of mine and it features all things sickly and bad for you! There is a fantastic recipe for two nuts chocolate torte and crème brulee, along with some yummy ice-cream recipes and suggested topping! Just try refusing these!

          **Bevvies**
          Jamie begins by saying that a lot of the recipes in this section are 'borrowed' from his friend Dick Bransell who is a cocktail waiter and they include the classics such as dry Martini, Bellini and Tom Collins, along with the slightly different vodka watermelon (basically a watermelon you gradually fill up with vodka and then serve in slices!). It also covers some delicious non-alcoholic smoothie recipes.

          **Stock, sauces, bits, bobs, this, that and other**
          The last section covers the basics such as chicken stock, vegetable stock, salsa, bread sauce etc and other useful things you can add to Jamie's recipes, or things he has referred to earlier in the book.

          **Vegetarian recipes**
          Each of the vegetarian recipes are marked with a V in the index, making them easy to find. About two thirds of the recipes are suitable for vegetarians and a lot of the other meat dishes could easily be adapted to not include meat.

          **Overall**
          I refer back to this cook book over and over again, and really like the clear photos and Jamie's style of explaining things. I think this book is aimed at people who have some experience of cooking and aren't afraid to experiment with something a bit different. It covers the basics such as spag bol, fish pie and roast chicken, along with lots of recipes which push the boat out a little bit more, and doesn't contain too many obscure 'what is that?' type of recipes. It was bought for me by by Mum when I moved into my first flat after university, and I'd definitely recommend it others who have cooked cheaply while at university and are now looking for something a bit more advanced cooking wise, but not too technical. The book is full of good hearty meals, which focus on fresh produce and the fun that can be gained through cooking. On the whole Jamie uses 'normal' ingredients and I have not had to scout around the supermarket looking for anything strange. This probably isn't a book for those of you who either don't like Jamie as it is written very much in the same style as his TV programme, otherwise it come highly recommended!

          Thanks for reading! I'm off to concoct something to eat now as writing this has made me very hungry!! Helen

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            07.12.2001 03:38
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            • "You have to buy new equipment!"

            Soooooo maybe he's done one Sainsbury's advert too many - but I love the one's with his gran in. Sooooo maybe the cheeky chappy is winding my partner up - 'OOh Pukka this and Pukka that'. Back in the good old days when I could talk about Jamie at work without a thunder of male voices complaining about him, I watched every episode and wanted to jot down what he did. It became impossible. I liked the way he could cater for a load of his mates and I loved his big plate collection. This was who I wanted to be! I love having people round and wanted good ingredients in everything I served up. Before I had chance to buy the book I recieved it and the video for Crimbo from my Mum. IT'S A LOVELY BOOK TO OWN It looks groovy wherever you put it - livens up the coffee table, the last stair in the hallway, shoved next to the bread in the kitchen, propping up the computer trolley and of course on an IKEA bookcase. JAMIE SMILING AT ME FROM HIS SCOOTER If you like the look of tasy ole' Jamie (yes I do go for the scruffy types!) there are lots of piccies of Jamie cavorting about toen doing odd things and also of him at work - burning his hands on grillpans and carefully pouring puddings into little tins - (chefs do that a lot don't they?!!). There are also photos of Jules. My favourite one is where she is sporting a T-shirt saying Tuck In - and would you fellas fancy that?!! Buy it for your girlfriend and you'll be able to sample this delight as a bonus for being so good! There are some absolutely amazing pictures to accompany the recipes. The use of colour in setting the dished and also the clever angles the shots are taken from make every page deliciously attractive. The best ones for this are the salad sections and these are the greatest encouragement I've ever had to eat healthy posh food! A WORD FROM JAMIE Jamie had left a message for us towards the start in big funky typeface telling us how
            dazzled he is at everything that's happened since he started the show etc. It reminds me of the ramble you often get when Lee Evans arrives on stage but it's very cute! CHECKLISTS Jamie provides essentials checklists for those of us wishing to subscribe to the Oliverian diet plan. Lots of lovely stuff in there - I've bought most of it just in case and I'm always prepared for any recipe I stumble upon in his or any one else's books - it was really useful to get this little lot in. THE WINDOW BOX How cool was it when he grabbed handfuls of fresh herbs from his window box?! I've had a little tub of herbs grwoing in my back yard ever since. He details in the book the sorta of herbs to buy/grow in a fashion that would win him a crown at dooyoo - throwing his own experiences in and preferences. BREAKFAST WITH JAMIE One of the things that I love about this book is the large section on having proper breakfast His way! An smashing brekkies they are! For him its about getting 'breakfast in bed for the missus' which he haighly recommends! Here here cry the entire female membership! Not sure if I could make them all as part of my mad scramble out of the house in the morning but....Beef Tomatoes, basil, ham and mild cheese on thick toast is possible and easy I've tried it! It really is an energy boost and a wonderful taste. MUCHO MUNCHIES Jamie devotes a section to munchies. They're damn classy and expensive in some cases - If your friends are muchy monsters like mine then stick to Pringles, they're cheaper. My favourite is pan-toasted almonds with a touch of chilli and sea salt. Sounds nuts doesn't it? Sorry about the pun. It does sound odd but there really is a superb flavour to be enjoyed in toasted almonds. the chilli kicks you by surprise and the see Maldon sea salt used is so much more pleasant than regular salts. BROTHS? Not a very trendy thought but as usual
            Jamie brings the cheeky chirpiness out in this dish. Far from the brown stuff I've seen in Mum's 70's cookbooks, this stuff is as colourful as the salads. Try out the Squash,Parma Ham Hock, Sage, Onion and Barley Broth! Should warm you up! PASTA ON THE RADIATORS? Far from letting us buy it in a bag, Jamie steers us towards making our own! There are pictures in the book of it haning up to dry like socks on a towel rail. Very exciting - and interesting to know how it's done, but I haven't yet been bothered to try it! The recipes are again loaded with posh lovely quality flavours. It's worth ditching the can of red sauce and making Saturday night posh pasta night. Splash out in a deli on these top ingredients. I'M NOT MUCH INTO FISH BUT.. Jamie's fish recipes look stunning. I'm a bit of a wimp and don't eat a lot of fish but I have tried the Fantastic Fish Pie which still tastes great when you exchange some of it's more fatty ingredients for Benecol and skimmed milk for example to keep your waistline in control! FOR ALL YOU CARNIVORES Amongst the glamourous meats section are various dishes using carpaccio of beef. I love rarish steak and also the accompaniments he uses - roasted baby beets, watercress and parmesan. I have to admit to omitting the horseradish as I hate it! He also includes his roasted chicken recipe which I love where he puts the spud in the tray too and ... it's just delicious! Simple and tastier than any sunday lunch I've ever tried before. I had to buy a nice big pan. i have no room in my cupboards since Jamie entered my life! VEGGIES ON THE ROCKS! Who else but Jamie Oliver could serve Baked carrots with herbs butter and Chardonnay - class in a glass. It is a great idea and I often use wine for other parts of a meal. Carrots are great when they're boozed up! He really has chosen to focus on the fogotten fruit here - I mean veg. Things like beet
            root (not the nasty pickled stuff)and celeriac - they're really good for you if you ignore Jamie's butter measurements! NONE OF YOUR DOMINOS! As with the pasta we are not allowed to rest. We have to make our own bread for pizzas. We could make up for the effort by sitting back and eating the sublime chocolate twister bread! It was a dangerous thing to make - I scoffed the lopt I made in one evening. Watch Out! JAMIE AND ICE-CREAM Although the above is my idea of heaven, my idea of as near to that as I'm going to get is 'a kinda Portuguese custard pie'. They magicly turn from little circles of puff pastry into pie cases and then you fill 'em with gooey custard honey and cream. The devil's own diet buster! CAN'T COOK WON'T COOK? Try making some of Jamie's bevvies instead. The famous Watermelon Vodka is explained in it's great complexity - Joke! You can also play James Bond as the rest are very hip cocktails and mixes including a dry Martini in 3 different styles. Must try the Water Melon for my next do. I'd have plan ahead for topping it up! Bits and Bobs Jamie rounds up with some useful basics with a twist like Minted Bread Sauce. It's a very useful section which also covers his take on stocks - yes you can make it yourself and it's often well worth doing! He says fairwell in his usual fashion at the back. THE DETAILS Although Jamie gets the main credit, Michael Joseph is also credited for the book. It's often hard to tell just how involved these ghost writers are! Published in Penguin it sells for £20 or in some shops you can get it a lot cheaper now! ISBN 0-718-14439-2 Enjoy!

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              11.06.2001 23:18
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              I have been a great fan of cooking for a long time, and often enjoy following recipes in my spare time but I can safely say that I have never up until now actually enjoyed reading as well as looking at a cookery book. Up until now I looked on recipe books as being fairly bland, uninviting instruction manuals but that is until I discovered Jamie! This book is truly a masterpiece not only are the recipes delicious and extremely easy to follow even for beginners, but furthermore it is funny. Jamie’s funny little phrases and names for his various recipes makes this book amusing due to the use of casual language and interesting as well as informative. It captures the cheeky chefs personality excellently making you laugh as you cook. Furthermore the photography in this book is to an extremely high standard. So there you have it what more can I say than it is funny, easy to follow and finally features great photography not only of delicious food but also the gorgeous man himself. More please!

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                26.12.2000 19:19
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                What a joy to read! As a rule, when I get new cook books, I sit down and read them through from cover to cover. Sometimes it can get a little tiresome. Not with this. Jamie Oliver has a style all of his own on paper as well as on screen. His enthusiasm for real, simple food with fresh, no-frills ingredients is totally infectious. This is a book written from the heart. Not simply lists of ingredients, photos which usually bear no resemblance to the finished dish, and methods that are hard to follow. This includes plenty of dialogue from the man himself, explaining methods he likes to use himself rather than just telling you how you must do it. He provides information for growing and drying herbs, and takes the time to explain about some of the lesser known ingredients, and manages to do this in a non-condescending manner (unlike some cooks I could mention, but won't!). This is simple, good food for everyone, and it's written by an obviously enthusiastic, down-to-earth man. What more could you ask for? Okay, I'm off to try the 'Frothy Malteser Milk'. Happy reading!

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                  02.11.2000 23:29
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                  Jamie Oliver is a star. I’ve never had such a good time reading a cookbook! Last night I made the “Fantastic Roast Chicken” and it was amazing and knocked the socks off my guests. His skills comes from a true passion for cooking and good food. This book is fun and easy to follow and full of interesting tips and hints. He has a way with words and is laid back and casual in his Essex Boy way! At the beginning of the book he shares all of his favorite tips and gives expert advice. He includes a list of “Cupboard Stuff” to help you put together a kitchen that is ready for anything with all the basics. He explains the difference between fresh and dried spices and there is a whole section on planting a little potted herb garden. It seems that he has been exposed to Italian food quite a lot and it shows in his recipes and ingredients. All of the recipes are easy and “do-able” for even the most useless of cooks and you can even get adventurous with homemade bread or pasta! Fear not! He is a believer that dried pasta has its rightful place in the kitchen and offers loads of recipes for both fresh and dried. This boy’s love for food and enthusiastic attitude will have you as excited as he is about your next meal. My boyfriend is French and a certified “food snob” and he was suitably impressed with the recipes and now questions the real nationality of the Naked Chef!! Having a party? He'll tell you how to inject vodka into a watermelon! That'll really impress your friends. This book is a must for your kitchen!

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                    04.09.2000 23:45

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                    This bloke seriously deserves a medal - prior to this arrival my boyfriend, my parents, my brother and friends had me thinking and believing that my best attempt at cooking was going to be Pasta and Tomato sauce or Spaghetti Bolognaise...not any more - for those like me without confidence - this book is just whats needed - its like he's giving you a personal talkthrough - no scales or measuring jugs needed and no cordon bleu courses!!! ANYONE can cook - just read this book and be inspired - you really will start to believe in yourself and your cooking abilities!! AND you must try the alcoholic watermelon.....its unmissable and impresses every time! Hurrah for the simplest easiest and trendiest cook book ever.....and don't forget the 1st one! So go out - get it and start teaching those who didn't believe in you that you CAN cook!!

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                    18.08.2000 19:49
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                    The best think about Jamie is that he just seems like a nice, normal guy who thinks cooking should be a laugh, and this is reflected in the recipes featured in the books. The dishes are all really simple and non-time consuming, encouraging you to cook more at home and be confident about doing so; but exciting and delicious never the less. All the dishes are completely original and very imaginative. The book is very cleverly made up. As well as all the normal recipes written in clear, easy to follow instructions it features the basic recipes for bread, pasta, ricotta, etc with very few variations on it so you have the opportunity to make up your own variations to suit your own personal taste. It also includes information about herbs and spices, stocks and sauces, marinades and rubs and so on, as well as notes about recipes and what occasions they’d be suitable for.

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                    01.08.2000 02:24
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                    Okay, I am absolutely pants in the kitchen, but having to fend for myself in self-catering halls of residence, I've found Jamie Oliver's stuff highly useful. This is a great book, with some warm, geezer-speak from Jamie most of the way through, and loads of easy-to-use recipes. These are the sort of dishes great for when you're getting a few mates together for a night in, or for sophisticated dinner parties (but they don't come round often in my flat!). The layout is great, as are the pictures, so it's really easy to follow. Jamie's words make you really confident that you'll have success in the kitchen - and my cooking's improved loads. This is a book that anyone who eats should own. At £20 it may be too dear for some, but look on the net for bargains. Pukka!

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                      23.07.2000 07:12
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                      Now I am the first to admit - I am no masterchef... Okay, I can do a mean sunday Roast with all the trimmings, my Full English goes down a treat and my bacon butties are to die for... But, when it comes to anything a bit more adventurous, you wouldn't see me for dust... That is until I started watching Jamie Oliver on TV. I missed the first series because it didn't seem interesting. Then when the second series started I was channel-hopping and came across it by accident. I was hooked. Here was a young man with lovely flowing hair, a boyish cheeky grin and the gift of the gab - who could turn a pile of odds and ends from the fridge or freezer into a mouth-watering banquet without so much as a bead of sweat on his brow. I found his personality quite refreshing after the "normal cooks" like Delia Smith... I was so hooked that I just had to get Jamie's second book. I love the layout. There are the usual lovely colour photos of what the finished dishes look like, but no tiresome lists of ingredients measured to the exact gram. Take a cup of this, a handful of that, wack it around a bit (reminds me of modelling dough when I was in school), then bung it in the oven and Jamie's-your-uncle, if you excuse the pun... Wow - the pan-fried breakie is a yummy treat, and that Pukola really is something else. I tend to vary my dried fruit form batch to batch, depending what mood I'm in. One of the best things about the recipes is that they can be adapted to differing tastes. If a seafood recipe calls for scallops I just chuck in shrimps or prawns instead. Easy... Nothing complicated, just good chuck-together ingredients. This fella has certainly opened my eyes to cooking. Now I must go out and buy his first book!!!

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                        01.07.2000 00:37
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                        He's back and has done it again! This isn't just a cookbook - you won't just find a list of ingredients, instructions and a colour picture here! His warmth and love of food really is infectious - it is this that makes the book so good. You just want to have a go yourself! If you're sick of seeing him on TV - don't let that put you off. The recipes are nearly all very easy to make and, most importantly, his love of simple but effective food comes through strongly. They taste GOOD! If you're looking for some tasty ones to start with then my recommendation include: o Spaghetti with anchovies, dried chilli and pangritata o Tagliatelle with saffron, seafood and cream o Thai fried tortellini of chicken, ginger, water chestnut and lemon grass with dipping sauce As with the first book and TV series, Jamie uses a lot of raw ingredients - and he gives snippets of background information and tips on how to choose the best ingredients. This is what makes the book so unique - the cook actually cares about you doing it as well as he does! Definitely worth the money - it should sit in everyone's kitchen for when they need culinary inspiration but don't have the expertise to cook up fancy food!

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                        27.06.2000 15:19
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                        The great thing about Jamie Oliver is his sheer enthusiasm for preparing food for friends. It's easy to mock his laddish catchphrases on TV, but what counts is that his love of cooking is genuine, and that's what carries us along with him. He doesn't just give recipes, he explains what's so good about each recipe. He describes the ingredients, why they're used, how to prepare them etc, and with the excellent photographs in the book, it's always clear what the finished product is supposed to look like. I've been following TV chefs, and buying shelfloads of cookbooks for years, but I can honestly say that J.O. is the first chef in a long while to have a dramatic effect on my own cooking habits: he always gives a feel for which ingredients have to be accurately measured, and which can be adjusted up or down (or indeed replaced by another ingredient altogether!) to suit your personal tastes. I must also thank him for re-enthusing me for the noble art of breadmaking - his love of pummelling dough was infectious! Finally, as a vegetarian, I found the index very useful, since he'd clearly marked all the (many!) vegetarian recipes. So: buy the book, read it, ogle the photos (the food photos! Behave at the back, there!), then get into the kitchen for some pukka cooking! And be careful with that Vodka Watermelon!

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                        26.06.2000 19:33
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                        yes I know that Jamie Oliver can get a bit of a pain in the arse from time to time. But that's only because you're jealous of his wonderful batchelor pad (guess he'll be moving now that he is married! and he also needs a good haircut!! But boy, can this guy cook or what. He manages to combine some of the most unlikely ingredients into some of the most scrumptious food I have ever made. And what is even better is that he doesn't use stupid, rare ingredients which require a special trip to the supermarket to find - just nomrla everyday stuff you probably have lying around. Also, there's no measuring or scales, it's just a dollop of this and splash of that. But somehow, it all seems to work. The book is well written and fun to read even if you're not cooking. He has a certain style of writing which is very much like his on-screen persona - laid back and fun. And that is how his food comes across. There are plenty of great pictures to inspire you (and check to see what the mess you've ended up with should have looked like!!). Get this book now (try www.amazon.co.uk) and you won't regret it. I mean who else would have a whole page for his special dessert - Vanilla Icecream and smashed Maltesers!! So simple, so obvious, yet so delicious...!

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