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Jamie's Ministry of Food - Jamie Oliver

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Author: Jamie Oliver / Format: Hardback / Genre: Celebrity Chef Cookbooks /Title: Jamie's Ministry of Food / ISBN 13: 9780718148621 / ISBN 10: 0718148621 / 360 Pages / Book is published 2008-10-03 by Michael Joseph / Alternative title: Jamie's Ministry of Food: Anyone Can Learn to Cook in 24 Hours / Alternative ISBN 10: 0718148622

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      24.04.2013 13:37
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      Perfect for the keen but unconfident cook who wants to expand on what they already know

      Jamie's Ministry of Food subtitled "Anyone can learn to cook in 24 hours" was released to coincide with his series of the same name As we all know, Jamie likes a crusade when it comes to food and the aim of this was to encourage less reliance on takeaways and readymade meals and to get people producing more food from scratch at home. The eventual benefits behind this would be to improve basic health, increase cooking skills for even the beginner and also to show that home cooked food does not have to be expensive or overly complicated.

      The book itself is paperback but with a good quality cover and pages, which are slightly glossy and should therefore be a little more resilient to the inevitable splashes that come with cooking.

      There are a few pages of introduction in which he explains the concept behind his 'pass it on' philosophy. That is, once a reader has mastered a recipe, they then teach it to two or more people close to them who do the same in term. I am not sure whether this was a concept which really caught on but this does not detract from the book.

      Then there is a section on essentials which lists all of the item that Oliver feels you should have in your cupboard, pans etc. This is followed by a list of what he considers to be Essential cupboard ingredients, basic spices, and basic frozen stuff. I will be the first to admit, that I believe that to someone who does not even know how to start with cooking, this is a long list and can seem a bit daunting. However, on closer inspection of the list - there is nothing particularly fancy or excessively expensive and difficult to source. And as he states, a number of the items will keep for ages so do not necessarily need frequent replacement.

      Now onto the recipes. Each section has a page long introduction about the ideas behind it. Each recipe is displayed over a two page spread. One page has the recipe with a short into and additional tips/ideas/serving suggestions as appropriate. The facing page has a number of images, one of the finished dishes and a number of smaller ones visually detailing the method.

      To give you a better idea of the scope of the book, I will now give examples of recipes from each chapter.

      Twenty minute meals: Butterflied steak sarnie, spicy Moroccan stewed fish with couscous, Asian chicken noodle broth, Chicken fajitas

      Quick pasta: classic tomato spaghetti, baked camembert pasta, macaroni cauliflower cheese bake, mini shell pasta with a creamy smoked bacon and pea sauce, cherry tomato sauce with cheat's fresh pasta.

      Tasty stir fries: chicken chow mein, sweet and sour pork, super quick salmon stir-fry,

      Easy curries: chicken korma, vegetable jalfrezi, leftover curry biryani, chicken tikka masala, aloo gobhi, light and fluffy rice with flavoured variations, a variety of ways to make different curry pastes at home.

      Lovin salads: Dressed green salad, a variety of dressing recipes. He also introduces a concept called 'evolution' for potato, green, cucumber and tomato salads - where he starts with a basic idea and then adds a little more flavour and ingredients to each one therefore making a potential 4 recipes out of one. There is a section on how to make a great salad from any variety of leaves, veg, cheese, toppings and herbs. There are a variety of chopped salads and rice salad.

      Simple soups: Spring vegetable and bean soup, sweet potato and chorizo soup, tomato soup, lentil and spinach soup. At the end there is a section called 'Pimp Up Your Soup' where he gives some examples of how you can experiment a bit further.

      Homely mince: 'a cracking burger', meatballs and pasta, minced beef wellington, pot roast meatloaf, lasagne, classic mince and onion pie,

      Comforting stews: basic stew recipe (with beef and ale, chicken and white wine, pork and cider and lamb and red wine variations) and options for puff pastry lid and dumplings, hot pot and cottage pie

      Family roasts: beef, pork, chicken, lamb, roast potatoes, parsnips and carrots, gravy, sage and onion stuffing, sauces including mint and bread sauce.

      Delish veg: baked carrots in a bag, buttered spinach, best new potatoes, baked creamy leeks, cauliflower cheese,

      Quick cooking meat and fish: pan-fried glazed pork chops, Spanish style griddled steak, crunchy garlic chicken, Moroccan lamb with couscous, Asian style steamed salmon, pan-fried curried cod. Sauces include cheesy mustard, tomato, olive basil and chilli, very simple curry, bacon and mushroom cream. Then there are a number of salsas which include tomato and pesto. The section is rounded up with a series of oils - basil and lemon, chopped herb etc.

      Classic fish - salmon fishcakes, fish pie, paella, prawn and sweetcorn chowder

      Kick -start breakfasts - 'a healthier full monty', a variety of porridge recipes, frozen fruit smoothies, different ways of preparing eggs, a variety of omelette recipes, granola,

      Sweet things: vanilla cheesecake with a raspberry topping, ice cream sauces, fruit scones, cookies, mega chocolate fudge cake


      The book is interspersed with pictures and testimonials from some of the individuals that he met and influenced during the project.

      As you can tell by just a brief synopsis of the recipes, this is a book which is just huge in scope. I have great admiration for just how much work has gone into this book - and is not just a cynical, rapidly put together tie-in.

      Jamie's enthusiastic personality comes through throughout the book and is never patronising even when explaining the more basic recipes. He is definitely someone who believes wholeheartedly that anyone can and should cook and that time or finance should not be an issue. I really like the way that he makes a lot of references to the recipes being suitable for kids/family life.

      All in all, I believe it is an excellent book that belongs in most cookbook collections and is one of my most used. I am a keen but sometimes not that confident cook and I ALWAYS need to follow recipes so it is perfect for me. I am largely self-taught so it is a really good book to pick up on all of the basic techniques that I have missed out on. Also, I have no real interest in making anything outrageously fancy but still want to be able to impress when needed and this book fits into this perfectly. I like the fact that there are a few more interesting ideas that you do not usually see in 'beginner's cookbooks.' Of particular worth for me, are the subsections where he takes a basic recipe and provides a number of different variations on it - I think that this gives rise for a not particularly confident cook to feel a bit more at ease with experimenting and even come up with their own ideas as their confidence grows.

      Now, I must admit that I am a little undecided as to whether it is suitable for an out-and-out beginner. The 'essentials' list may be a bit daunting and I do think that a fair proportion of the recipes would be perhaps a little out of reach - ingredients like capers and anchovies, a staple in a lot of Jamie Oliver cookery are an acquired test at the best of times. However, that said there are definitely a number that I think would work for this audience - eg the egg recipes and the pasta section in particular. I think that perhaps the most important way to come to this book is with keenness rather than experience because the recipes are so well explained both in writing and via the images that there really is a significantly reduced chance that you will completely mess it up.

      I have a LOT of cookbooks and it is definitely one of my most prolific go-to books. I have a memory like a sieve for methods so event the most basic ones I often need prompting on. Most of the time, even if my cupboards are particularly bare, I can find something satisfying to cook from it. I think that any home cook even with a decent level of experience would be able to find something here that they can take forward. I think there is also scope beyond the book to get kids involved with some of the recipes here, with a high level of adult supervision of course.

      That said, I would perhaps not necessarily follow everything that Jamie says blindly. I have not used the lasagne recipe that he details here because I have my own tried and tested method that I use from elsewhere. However, I have a friend who is a novice cook but keen to learn. She has this book and attempted the lasagne recipe which was a massive disaster for her and knocked her confidence somewhat, with the meat being clumpy and unappetising. I had a look at the method after she said it and I also thought it was quite bizarre as it didn't recommend browning the meat first. I'm not claiming that I am an expert by any means; however I am not surprised it went wrong so just a note to err to the side of caution and to not take it as gospel.

      In conclusion, I highly recommend this book - it is almost endlessly useful and I think would make a welcome addition to even the smallest cookbook collection. The ideas are well executed and presented and wrapped up in an accessible and non-snobby way.

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        05.07.2011 03:23
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        Another reliable book from J.O

        This is the book that accompanies the TV series of the same name. I vaguely remember watching some of it when it was aired in a few years ago but I can't say that I was that fussed back then. I have since become interested in cooking and that is when I came across this book.
        Basically Jamie is doing what he does best and is once again striving to get people excited about something that he believes in. This time he is mirroring the work of Britain's Second World War ministry of food. The ministry aimed to teach cookery by way of 'passing it on' in order for people to make the most of war time rations. Jamie is proposing that this method of teaching widespread cookery should once again be employed in order to teach Britain how to cook.

        Consequently this book is aimed at the beginner/unconfident cook who would like to improve their skills and be told how to make something better than they would usually settle for. This may be so, but it would be wrong to jump to the conclusion that if you can make some of the simpler things, (such as scrambled eggs, minted peas, baked apples) then this book won't be for you. It also contains some great recipes including chicken tikka masala, chicken and leek stroganoff, paella, and Moroccan lamb with couscous. As can be expected, a lot of the recipes in this book are classics such as cauliflower cheese and lasagne which aim to give a grounding in some of the nation's favourite meals.

        As with all Jamie Oliver books I have used, everything is clearly laid out and organised. There are pages at the start giving a run down of essential equipment and store cupboard ingredients, followed by chapters on differing types of dishes, for example, quick pasta, simple soups, easy curries, family roasts, etc. Each recipe is accompanied by at least one illustration, several with many that show the different steps involved in making it. There are also double page spreads that each have a person/family from the TV series and a bit of narration that tells their story.

        For me, a lot of the information in this book is old news; I know how to boil rice, make an omelette and roast a potato. I'm keener on the parts that focus on whole meals rather than the individual steps. Having said this, it is still a very useful book which would be ideal for anyone starting out or trying to master a selection of meals, in particular I think it would make a good student cook book.

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        09.03.2011 17:12
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        A great tradition food book from Jamie Oliver

        Although I enjoy cooking and trying new recipes (that are straightforward), a few years ago, I realised that I didn't actually know how to make a lot of basic traditional dishes such as roast beef or stew. I think this was partly because I felt that I didn't know enough about cooking time and temperatures, particularly in regards to red meat, and we are a family that only eats meat well done - none of the pink stuff for us!!

        So, a few Christmases ago, I was keen to get Jamie's Ministry of Food book, which currently costs around £13 on amazon for this hard back edition. THankfully someone took a hint and I was given it as part of a Christmas gift. Since that time I have found myself diving over and over again into this book, and in fact there are still many pages which I have leafed down to make at some point in the future.

        The front of the book is pretty plain, with a picture of Jamie Oliver with a plate of food and knife and fork ready to eat. Underneath the picture is the slogan 'Anyone can learn to cook in 24 hours'. This refers to the fact that this book is aimed at reaching a large audience with Jamie's desire being to see the recipes within this book being passed on, particularly to those who have never cooked in their lives before. On the blurb on the back of the book, Jamie emphasises the fact that cooking from scratch is not only healthier but can often save you a lot of money, in comparison to costly ready meals.

        THis book is divided into different foodie areas:
        Twenty - minute meals
        Quick pasta
        Tasty stir fries
        Easy curries
        Lovin's salads
        Simple soups
        Homely mince
        Comforting stews
        Family roasts
        Delish veg
        Quick cooking meat and fish
        Classic fish
        Kick start breakfasts
        Sweet things

        THe book does commence with the very basic elements of cooking, such as what utensils you need and essential store cupboard items, however if you can cook, you'll probably not spend any time on this area, but I think it was a sensible addition to the book, given that there will be those to whom cooking has never been a part of their lives.

        Alongside each recipe, there is firstly a little introduction from Jamie teling you how easy or simple this is, and possibly how long it takes. This is then followed by a list of ingredients and then step by step, extremely easy to follow instructions talking you through exactly how to make the dish in question. Each recipe in the book comes with colour photographs. THe larger recipes usually have a full colour photograph spread of step by step pictures for consulting whilst you make. I have to say I find photographs in a cook book a real essential, as I love to see that my finished results are what they should be, or if it is something more challenging, I like to make sure I am following the instruction right, from the very beginning. Usually prior to each section there is a photograph of someone who has been passed on a particular recipe and now will exalt the joys of cooking.

        Rather than take you through each section, I will just highlight some of the recipes that I have tried (and continue to make) from the book, which have been so straightforward to make, but also totally delicious.

        One of my all time favourites from this book is Jamie's Chicken Korma. Neither my husband nor me like a lot of spicy food, but this is such a mild Korma that even my husband loves it. The step by step instructions again make something that you may just buy from a jar, an easy alternative to make yourself. Coriander and lime rice has been another great success alongside many of the meals, and a great way of getting some tasty rice quick. I have actually passed on this next recipe to several friends and family ' Leek and Potato Soup' which when blended is some warm and filling - I make big batches and freeze and it is a great filling dinner on the nights we are in a hurry out or I jsut can't be bothered to spend long in the kitchen. Baked cod wrapped in bacon with rosemary is actually a dish I made a lot before and I have jsut reminded myself about it, as it is a really deliciuos way of adding some flavour to cod, which can be rather bland on its own. One of the latest things I have tried from the book has been omelettes. Now, you may think that is a simple thing to make, but I really didn't know how to make them before, and I one night I really just fancies an omelette - so I followed Jamie's recipe for bacon omelette and they turned out perfectly, just like my mum used to make. My husband raved about them. As I said there are still so many recipes that I have yet to try, including the basic stew recipe and mince and onion pie, but I know this will be a book that I refer to for years ahead.

        All in all, Jamie writes this book in his usual down to earth, everyday language way, making it accessible to those who are not classic chefs. If you are want to learn the basics of traditional cooking, then this is a great place to start, as you will not only find the recipes easy to follow but you will end up with delicious food as well.

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        07.09.2010 21:20
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        Good but could have been further simplified.

        My boyfriend bought the Jamie's ministry of food book after watching the tv series of the same name. The book claims that anyone can learn to cook in 24 hours and goes by the premise that if Jamie taught a group of people how to cook some basic recipes then they could teach some of their friends who in turn could teach their friends and so on and so on.
        Whilst this all sounds like a good idea, in actual fact - as shown on the tv show - many of the people that Jamie taught the recipes to did not pass them on to anyone else.

        The book is split into 14 sections:
        1. Twenty-minute meals
        2. Quick pasta
        3. Tasty stir-fries
        4. Easy curries
        5. Lovin' salads
        6. Simple soups
        7. Homely mince
        8. Comforting stews
        9. Family roasts
        10. Delish veg
        11. Quick-cooking meat and fish
        12. Classic fish
        13. Kick-start breakfasts
        14. Sweet things

        Twenty minute meals is exactly as the title would suggest - meals that can be made within twenty minutes. This section is for people who do not have time each night to make big complicated meals. Jamie even claims that complete beginners can make these recipes in 20 minutes or less.
        When you see the pictures of some of the recipes, in my opinion some dont look like meals, more like starters. The prawns and avocado being an example of this.

        The next section is quick pasta. The first recipe in this section is classic tomato spaghetti, I felt that this recipe was definitely lacking in something, it felt like it could have done with something extra to give it a bit more flavour.
        The macaroni cauliflower cheese back is my favourite recipe from this section, this dish definitely isnt lacking in flavour.

        The next section is stir-fries which disappointed me, for me the stir fries were too complicated and this section could have done with just a regular stir fry, as a result I don't really cook anything from this section at all.

        The next section, easy curries, would be my favourite section from this book. I have made a number of curries from this book numerous times and would highly recommend them, the vegetable jalfrezi and the chicken tikka masala are particular favourites. All the curries are very flavourful and at the same time are very easy to make, even for beginners. For Jamies recipes he says that you can use a ready made curry paste, whilst also providing you the recipes for home made curry paste, I like this fact as if you want to challenge yourself or be a bit more ambitious you can try and make your own paste.

        Lovin salads is the next section, Im not really a big fan of salads so cant comment on any of these recipes and how they taste. Although that said, if you enjoy salads then Jamie provides a wide selection of salads and also homemade dressings which you can use for them.

        Simple soups - Jamie maintains that its really important for everyone to know how to make soups, from this section I have made a couple of soups omitting certain ingredients to suit my own tastes, this wasnt to the soups detriment at all.

        Homely mince - There are quite a few good recipes in this section, simple as well. The burger and meatballs are very tasty as is the lasagne, although some recipes do require quite a large amount of ingredients.

        The next section is comforting stews, I personally wouldnt recommend this section as I followed the recipe to the letter and when i made this it was a complete disaster.

        Family roasts is the next section, providing a number of different roasts e.g. beef, pork, chicken and lamb. I would recommend this section as it helps to make a good roast and trimmings which I find quite difficult. However in my eyes Jamies food was aimed at people who cant afford to splash out on expensive ingredients and roasts can be very expensive for the cut of meat and the sides. Overall though, this section does provide some very tasty meals.

        Delish veg is basically just vegetables with some sort of seasoning on them, this does nothing for me, its still veg and for me doesnt alter the flavour at all really. From this section, my favourite recipe is the baked french potatoes as they are really delicious.

        Quick cooking meat and fish does exactly what it says. None of the recipes in this section appeal to me at all, it seems like they all try to be too complicated, adding loads of flavours to dishes where only maybe 1 or 2 flavours are needed.

        Classic fish provides even more fish recipes, for me the recipes in this section are more appealing than in the previous section. The recipes are a lot more simple and enjoyable while still providing flavourful meals.

        The next section is kick-start breakfasts, I like this section as it provides a healthy alternative to a fry up, it also shows you how to make every type of egg which is useful.

        The last section is Sweet things which is the dessert section. All the recipes in this section are particularly enjoyable, especially the mega chocolate fudge cake which is very indulgent.

        Overall I would recommend this book as it does provide quite a good few recipes that I would cook over and over again, which is the sign of a good cook book. However I do feel that Jamie could have further simplified the ingredients for each recipe as some do have quite a lot of ingredients listed.
        Another negative for me is that the recipes are written out in one big paragraph and I felt that a bullet point style could have been easier to follow.

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        16.08.2010 20:56
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        Buy a copy for the kitchen!

        I bought Jamie Oliver "Ministry of Food" cook book after I'd read a number of good reviews on Dooyoo. I had watched the television show "Ministry of Food" where Jamie tried to get people who virtually lived on takeaways to make simple, homemade meals, but I wasn't convinced that the cook book would be much cop. However my fellow Dooyooers convinced me to invest in this book...

        I have always enjoyed cooking, but I have never actually used a formal cook book before, because I usually find that they list obscure ingredients and that each recipe usually has a method which are difficult to follow, however the "Ministry of Food" couldn't be more different.

        At the beginning of the book Jamie explains the concept of the "Ministry of Food" - how you should pass on the recipes to others so that Britain can become a nation of cooks. There is also a section listing essential ingredients that you will need to cook the recipes within the book - such as corn flour, marmite, Worchester sauce, bay leaves, oregano and coriander - all stuff that will last and last in the cupboards and will add substance to your food.

        The book is then split into fourteen different sections including 'twenty minute meals,' 'quick pasta,' 'tasty stir fries,' 'easy curries,' 'simple soups,' 'loving salads,' 'comforting stews,' 'family roads' 'classic fish' and 'kick start breakfasts' - so there is a real range. There are approximately eight recipes in each section.

        Each recipe lists the ingredients you'll need, tells you how many it serves and provides you with a simple, easy to follow method. There are also photographs showing you what the meal should look like at different stages of the cooking process.

        Jamie also explains how you can take the easy option with a recipe or go the extra mile... For example, in the curry section there are recipes that show you how to make a tasty, homemade curry and as well as giving you a recipe that shows you how to make curry paste from scratch, Jamie also acknowledges that Pataks does the job (it really does - Jamie's method for a Rogan Josh resulted was divine meal when I made it).

        The other aspect of the book that I like is that Jamie often shows you a basic recipe and then tells you how you can make a number of different meals from it. For example, in the stew section he tells you what the basic ingredients are for stew and then explains that you can add beef and ale; chicken and white whine; pork and cider; or lamb and red wine to that basic stew recipe to create four very different but equally tasty meals. He then shows you that you can put a pastry lid on it to make a pie, lay slices of creamy potato on top or make homemade dumplings. In my house beef and ale stew with dumplings has become something of a favourite and it's unbelievable easy to prepare!

        This book also shows you how to make a roast and tasty, thick, homemade gravy... I have always had problems mastering a roast dinner but Jamie shows you how to do everything step by step - including the veg!

        Throughout the book there are also pictures of ordinary people that have created food from the recipes in this book - they explain how easy they are to follow. These pictures break the book up nicely and in a way they give you extra confidence to try this stuff out!

        This book is currently on offer for £12.50 from Amazon (the RRP is £25.00 so it's half price). I think £12.50 is an absolute bargain price and if you want to learn how to make a few more meals, or if you have issues with the typical cook book listing obscure ingredients then I recommend that you give the Jamie Oliver "Ministry of Food" cook book a go. It shows you how to make good, home cooked fare - the simple way.

        Five out of five stars!

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          07.08.2010 20:48
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          good value book

          Oh bless Jamie Oliver, that cheeky chappy you wouldn't mind taking home to meet the parents. Aside from being the best looking male chef on television (excluding Antony Worrall Thompson) Jamie also has the unnerving knack for coming up with rather good spontaneous meal suggestions. I am no fancy cook and have a handful of cook books. More often than not I like to read them and never get around to doing anything with the recipes!

          This is a great book for starters and also for families looking for staple meal ideas. Jamie has laid out the recipes in an easy to digest fashion, so that you can absorb the recipe bit by bit and follow step by step instructions. Family faves like lasagne, stews and roasts are all in there and there is also a very useful section on 'dishes that take under twenty minutes to cook.' This was my favourite section, because I hate wasting time standing in the kitchen chopping and dicing and watching water boil. If you know the meal is ready in twenty minutes, so much the better.

          The book is rife with alternative takes on conventional meals, so you can take your basic ingredients and then revamp the dish for another night. This helps keep mealtimes fresh and exciting and could be handy for entertaining too, when you want to try something new with a familiar dish.

          Plenty of photos brighten up the read and the text is big enough to read while you are standing over a stove, making it ideal kitchen reading. The presentation of the book is spot on, the recipe choices cater for all tastes from pastas through to curries and the concepts are presented in a straight forward fashion. You can pick it up online for just over the ten pound mark, a snip I reckon for a bible of foody ideas.

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            23.07.2010 00:05
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            Worth buying, worth having

            I started university last year and desperately wanted to learn how to cook. I did not just for the sake of needing to be able to feed myself, but also because it seemed like one of the last thing I should know in order to be fully independent. My boyfriend at the time then went out of his way to show be the basis of many recipes, and slight things which are easy to change with them with changed ingredients or just wanting a different taste. He did all this using Jamie Oliver's books and looking at the way most of his recipes for various things go. And so my love for this chef was born, and I haven't needed to look back since.

            This book is one of the latest recipe books by Jamie Oliver and is in conjunction with his TV series which specialised in teaching those who can't cook to cook, and for them to then pass along these recipes and teach others.


            As a book which doesn't presume much prior cooking or recipe knowledge, the recipes in this book range from basic family favourites such as the Sunday roast with all the trimmings, to some more exciting curry dishes and Italian food from scratch. It doesn't contain loads of recipes for gourmet food or complicated dishes that more experienced cooks may want to try. It has a great range for the average cook and is definitely perfect for beginners.

            The language used for these instructions is very comprehensive and incredibly easy to understand and follow. They go from start to finish giving you specific instructions along with the ingredients from how to chop your veg to advice on how to prepare it on the table and what to put with it. The instructions for the recipes could be laid out better though. I personally prefer the instructions to be numbered so it's easier to return to the book and pick up on the next part. The recipes are actually set up in paragraphs which is a nice presentation aesthetically, but could definitely be better.

            The pictures are one of the most useful things in this book which I've not really found in a lot of others. Instead of just one random picture of the finished product or just the ingredients, there are generally a lot on the corresponding page which follows a step-by-step sequence. This adds to the recipe instructions and make it a lot easier to follow, and is a nice reference along side the instructions for making anything within the book.

            I've heard it said quite a lot about Jamie Oliver's recipes, in particular with 'Jamie's America' that some of the vital ingredients needed are hard to come by. There certainly isn't a problem like that with the recipes in this cookbook. Someone that isn't the typical cook may need to initially stock up on some ingredients but these are used frequently throughout the book and will certainly not end up being used once and then left alone.

            The cost of £15 I paid for the book is initially expensive for me as cookbook or for anything I don't immediately need, but I have definitely come to the conclusion that it's more than worth it and was worth what I paid. If you look at other cookbooks of the same size on the market you will find about the same price too, so I definitely think sticking with Jamie and paying £15 for the book was a better alternative to all others. I've had it for nearly a year now and it's not really worn at all. It's going strong providing me with all my usual and favourite recipes, and there's still a few I've got left to try if I'm feeling more adventurous.

            As an alternative to recipe books there is a wealth of knowledge and recipes online, and Jamie Oliver has his own website too, with lots of recipes, amongst other things. So obviously there is a free alternative to buying his books, and a free alternative to buying any recipe books. But I definitely think you should invest in a book (and in this book), regardless of the price. I think you should because cooking is an experience in itself which comes along with using a cookbook purely in a kitchen setting. It's also easier to wipe off a cookbook that's covered in kitchen mess, spilling something on the laptop during the process could seriously break it.

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            22.07.2010 21:38
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            Highly recommended!

            I was bought 'Jamies Ministry of Food: Anyone can learn to cook in 24 hours' two years ago for Christmas and it hasnt been put down for long since!

            The book is written by Jamie Oliver, an essex geezer who is now a popular household name. Jamie Oliver a famous chef, who brought the state of our childrens eating habits to the nations attention, who has had many a TV cooking programme including Jamies Kitchen, who has written many cookery books and who is an all round nice guy. He is married to a beautiful lady called Jules and together they have three beautiful children.

            The book in my opinion is great. It is based on the Second World War goverment cook school, otherwise known as the Ministry of Food. During the Second World War and for a few years afterwards there were great food shortages and therefore rationing was brought in. As food was so scarce it had to last and from nutrious and filling meals. The government got women who could cook and sent them all around the country teaching everyone else all about food, nutrion and how to cook. The idea of the book is to teach everyone how to cook and then pass it onto someone else who cannot cook. It is dedicated to Margueritte Patten who was a leading force in the Ministry and who went onto write other books such as 'We will eat again'.

            My book is a hardback book and I am unsure if a softback was published. It is a nice size and the pages stay open when you are reading a recipe. The book has many fabulous colourful photographs and is laid out in an easy to read manner.

            The book includes chapters on twenty minute meals, quick pasta, Family roasts and kick-start breakfasts. It even includes five different ways to do eggs! The recipes are simple and easy to follow. They are not full of foods that you would have to buy especially for that one recipe and some can be converted into something else. For example a stew can be made into a pie afterwards, or a hot pot. There is a tasty dessert section too! The back of the book contains an index which makes any recipe easy to find.

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            20.07.2010 21:58
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            you probably need some cooking experience to get the jist of the book

            I received this book from my parents on account of the fact that I'm heading to university this year and I am a horrendous cook. On the plus side, this book has helped me boil an egg (although I find the instructions a little obscure - I didn't know whether to turn down the heat or to leave to water still boiling, I did have to consult my mother), although I find that many of the dishes in there are ones that I don't particularly want to eat.
            In addition, the book offers helpful information on cooking a roast dinner, eggs, breakfasts and so on, covering the basic essentials that everyone needs.
            However, the book seems to ask for rather a lot: the range of ingredients is very wide indeed, meaning that when I'm at university and I want to cook something proper, I'll have to spend a small fortune on ingredients just for one meal, as each recipe seems to want something new. In my own opinion, a cookbook which requires the basics and only a few extras would be much more useful, rather than having to go to the shops to buy an array exotic cheeses.
            Another unfortunate point is that each meal seems to take rather a long time to cook. I experimented with meatballs one night, expecting it to take the time suggested, and instead I found myself eating dinner about an hour and a half later than I wanted to.
            Despite all this, the book is rather inspiring and the pictures make to food look delicious, which somewhat redeems it. This probably isn't the best book for people who are just learning to cook, but nevertheless, there are some good meals in there.

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            13.07.2010 11:47

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            A good tool for beginners, but a bit disappointing for the health-conscious

            I have mixed feelings about this book: on the one hand I think it's probably a great tool for people who are just starting out as cooks. I like the format of some of the recipes, like the salads laid out in different steps, and I think for beginning cooks this method is useful for learning how different meals get built. The curry recipes that I've tried are also really good. On the other hand, if the point of this book is to get people making an deating homemade, HEALTHY food, I think many of his recipes are a little questionable. The inhabitants of the UK do not need to eat more pie crust and red meat, whether homemade or not. I think it's good to know how to make more indulgent, less healthy food as well, but considering how confused a lot of people seem to be about what qualifies as healthy, I think some of the contents of this book are only going to convolute matters.

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            15.04.2010 17:27
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            Brilliant

            This is the follow on book from the popular Channel 4 program.

            Anyone can learn to cook in 24 hours is a bold statement to make but with this book providing you follow what you're being told youll be knocking out quality meals in no time at all.

            I have been cooking for about 5 years now and was given this book as a present. I had absolutely no problem in cooking any of the recipes as I already had most of the ingredients in my cupboard and the recipes are written very well so that anyone can understand them even if they had never cooked before in their life.

            The book is mainly aimed at people who don't cook so if you're thinking of starting to make your own meals you cant go wrong with this.
            Although the meals are simple enough to make, the results are very satisfying and some are very impressive especially when given to friends who know you don't cook.

            The book is broken up into 16 chapters. (Beware Huge list follows, don't feel the need to read it all unless you want to know exactly what's in it.

            Introduction.

            Essentials: a main list of ingredients to have at all times in your cupboard and basic kitchen equipment.

            Twenty minute meals: These are all quick meals for two people including,
            Butterflied steak sarnie
            Spicy Morrocan stewed fish with couscous
            Quick salmon tikka with cucumber yoghurt
            Prawns and avocado with marie rose sauce
            Chicken and leek stroganoff
            Asian chicken noodle broth
            Chicken fajitas

            Quick Pasta:
            Classic tomato spaghetti
            Baked camembert pasta
            Broccoli and pesto tagliatelle
            Macaroni cauliflower cheese bake
            Pasta al pangrattato
            Pasta with a creamy bacon and pea sauce
            Cherry tomato sauce with cheats fresh pasta

            Tasty stir fries:
            Chicken chow mein
            Sweet and sour pork
            Prawn stir fry
            Beef with spring onions and black bean sauce
            Salmon stir fry

            Easy Curries: most of these are made using Pataks spice pastes but he also tells you how to make the pastes yourself if you want to, I have made these pastes myself and they are almost identical to the jars that you can buy.
            Chicken Korma
            Vegetable Jalfrezi
            Leftover curry Biriani
            Lamb Rogan Josh
            Chicken Tikka Masala
            Vindaloo
            Aloo ghobi
            Thai green curry
            Vegetable bhajis
            Light and fluffy rice
            Spiced variations of rice

            Lovin Salads
            Dressed Green salad
            Jam jar dressings, (French, yoghurt, lemon and balsamic.)
            Poato salad
            Tomato salad
            Cucumber salad
            Carrot salad
            Green chopped salad
            Rice salad

            Simple soups:
            Spring veg and bean soup
            Leek and potato
            Sweet potato and chorizo
            Pea and mint
            tomato
            Cauliflower cheese
            Lentil and spinach
            Parsnip and Ginger

            Homely Mince:
            A Cracking burger
            Meatballs and pasta
            Minced beef wellington
            Pot roast meatloaf
            Bolognese sauce
            Lasagne
            Chilli con carne
            Mince and onion pie

            Comforting stews:
            Basic stew
            Beef and ale
            Chicken and white wine
            Pork and cider
            Lamb and Red Wine

            Family Roasts
            Perfect roast Beef
            Perfect Roast pork
            Perfect roast chicken
            Perfect roast lamb
            Roast poatoes, parsnips and carrots
            Consistently good gravy
            Sage and onion stuffing
            yorkshire puddings
            Roast dinner sauces: Apple, bread, horseradish, Mint

            Delish Veg
            Baked carrots
            Dressed Asparagus
            Best new potatoes
            Buttered spinach
            Broccoli with asian dressing
            minted peas
            Best ever French beans
            Baked creamy Leeks
            French potatoes
            Cauliflower cheese
            Braised bacon cabbage
            Mexican style corn

            Quick cooking meat and fish:
            Pan fried glazed pork chops
            Griddled Beef fillet with horseradish sauce
            Spanish style griddled steak
            Pork kebabs
            Crunchy garlic chicken
            Parmesan chicken with crispy posh ham
            Lamb chops with chunky salsa
            Morroccan lamb with couscous
            Salmon baked in foil with green beans and pesto
            Asian style steamed salmon
            Grilled trout with mustard and oats
            Pan fried trout
            Baked Cod wrapped in bacon with rosemary
            Pan fried curried cod
            Griddled tuna and asparagus
            Italian pan seared Tuna

            Classic Fish:
            Salmon fish cakes
            Smoked mackerel Pate
            Fish Pie
            Kedgeree
            Salmon en croute
            Paella
            Prawn and sweetcorn Chowder

            Kick start Breakfasts:
            Healthier Full Monty
            Porridge
            Pancakes with yoghurt and mango
            Frozen fruit smoothies
            Boiled Eggs
            Fried Eggs
            Scrambled eggs
            Poaches Eggs
            Omelettes
            Granola
            Stewed fruit
            Fruit Platter

            Sweet Things:
            Vanilla Cheesecake with Raspberry topping
            Ice cream with topping suggestions
            Fruit Scones
            Steamed microwave puddings
            Banana Tarte Tatin
            Cookies
            Chocolate fudge cake
            Cheats sponge cake with summer berries and ice cream
            Baked Apples
            Chocolate fruit and nut tart
            Sweet shortcrust Pastry

            As you can see there are a lot of recipes in this book, many of which I have tried and found them all to be delicious, especially the roasts and the stews.

            A good thing about the family Roasts section is that even though the meat recipes and the veg recipes are on completely different pages,the book will tell you when to turn the page and give the page numbers for the vegetables or the gravy which makes the timing of your meals so much easier.

            If you've never cooked before but are looking to give it a try this is definitely a book that I would recommend as there are a hell of a lot of recipes and many different styles of cooking to choose from

            There really is something for everyone in here, even the people who think that they don't have time to cook anything.

            All the recipes are well laid out and easy to navigate, the photography is excellent with many full colour photos, and the writing style is great which makes even the more demanding recipes easy to follow.

            359 Pages
            £15 at Amazon

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              12.04.2010 14:56
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              Great cookbook for everyday use

              Despite Jamies popularity this was the first jamie oliver cook book i had bought. I decided to buy this book when it was on offer in the supermarket. I have recently got into cooking a bit more since having my daughter a year ago as when i worked full time is was easier to have something quick like pasta in sauce than cook something from scratch.

              The book has the usual bit pointless chat as it's introduction which is common in most celebrity. The book is divided up into sections including curries, mince, pasta, stews, quick meals, sunday lunches, deserts and sweet things and many more.

              They recipes are easy to follow and the ingredients are readily avalible in most supermarkets. Jamie always says to use organic chicken etc in the recipes but in one of the notes is does say to use the best you can afford. He does seem to use a lot of oil in the recipes but some of this can be left out. It is good book to read for inspiration of what to cook for dinner so you don't fall in to a rut of having the same thing every week.

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              13.01.2010 19:12
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              Easy, nutritious & healthy recipes.

              I bought this book as a present for my boyfriend after seeing the program on TV but we have both used it to prepare many culinary delights in the kitchen. The book covers a wide range of recipies from around the world with easy to follow instructions using ingredients that you can buy from your local supermarket. It not only gives you recipes but also a kitchen equipment and store cupboard essential list too. What I didn't realise was that since a lot of people suffered from malnutrition during World War I, Ministry of Food was an actual organisation set up by the government during World War II to try to make sure that there was enough food to go round and also to educate people about food & nutrition. Seems like Jamie is trying to keep the movement going. There is also several statements from people who beforehand never knew how to cook a proper and nutritious meal. The book is a hardback and price on the inside of the book states £25 but I paid £14 for it from my local supermarket.

              Index of recipes.

              Twenty Minute Meals
              Quick Pasta
              Tasty Stir-Fries
              Easy Curries
              Lovin Salads
              Simple Soups
              Homely Mince
              Comforting Stews
              Family Roasts
              Delish Veg
              Quick-Cooking Meat & Fish
              Classic Fish
              Kick-Start Breakfasts
              Sweet Things

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                10.01.2010 14:24
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                Great book especially for novices

                I am useless at cooking and over the years have bought so many cook books that just sit on the shelf gathering dust. The problem I normally find is that a lot of cook books have recipes in them that are not really everyday food.A lot of these recipes look great in the book but they are not the sort of thing you would cook for your family or if you lived by yourself. Jamie's Ministry of food is different. It is full of easy to cook, everyday recipes.I have cooked a number of recipes from this book and everyone of them has turned out tasting great.
                The book shows you how to cook roast dinners, fish, curries, stews, dishes with mince, stir-fries, pasta, vegetables, soups and basic things like gravy and yorkshire puddings.It also has a section for salads and dressings. Examples of recipes are minced beef and onion pie, sweet and sour pork, chicken tikka masala and baked cod wrapped in bacon. The desert section only consists of a few recipes which is a shame as desert is my favourite course.
                The recipes are easy to follow and they are not full of ingredients that you have never heard of or are unlikely to have in the cupboard. The RRP is £15 but I know it can be bought for less than that. I got mine from sainsburys for £12.99. Whether you are a good cook or a beans on toast cook like me this book is a must have.

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                  05.01.2010 23:55
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                  A great book for beginners

                  This cookbook has been on our bookcase for about a year but until recently I hadn't bothered to look at it. The bookcase is full of various cookbooks by various chefs and to be honest Jamie Oliver has never really appealed to me. I've had a flick through several of his earlier books but many of his recipes seem to involve lots of difficult to find ingredients thrown together to make a salad. I'm not a particularly amazing cook but if I spend ages buying all of the ingredients and following a recipe then I want something more impressive to show for it...not just a salad!

                  I had followed the Ministry of Food series on television and the recipes all seemed easy enough. The series followed a mixed group of people who couldn't cook learning different recipes and then passing them on to friends. Also it did not seem as though lots of complicated ingredients were needed which is always a plus.

                  The book is divided into several different sections including:
                  *Twenty minute meals
                  *Quick pasta
                  *Tasty stir-fries
                  *Easy curries
                  *Lovin' salads
                  *Simple soups
                  *Homely mince
                  *Comforting stews
                  *Family roasts
                  *Delish Veg
                  *Quick-cooking meat and fish
                  *Classic fish
                  *Kick-start breakfasts
                  *Sweet things

                  The book covers a huge range of different meals. The recipes themselves are laid out clearly with things explained in very simple terms. There are lots of colour pictures which not only show the finished meal but many of the different steps. This is very useful as you can see if it looks the way that it is supposed to. The only criticism I have is that the instructions are given in a huge block of writing, something which I have found is typical of Jamie Oliver, breaking them up into steps would make it easier to follow. Lots of the meals look very tasty and seem simple enough to make. The first section Twenty minute meals is especially full of easy things to try that are a bit different. After the name of each dish it is written in brackets how long the meal will take to prepare (sometimes as little as 15 minutes)

                  The first thing I made was the Chicken Tikka Masala. This was really simple to make and tasted much nicer than a jar of curry. The ingredients were not too expensive either so it would be possible to have this for tea on an ordinary weekday. Since then I have made Beef and ale stew, Lasagne, Chicken and leek stroganoff and Spicy Moroccan stewed fish with cous cous. All have been delicious (in particular the lasagne) and easy to cook. None of the meals have taken long to prepare. Many of the recipes are basic, typical dinners so this book is really good for people who want to learn the basics and learn to cook simple food.

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