Typically Jamie; simply encouraging, as always
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 21 August 2020
Be warned, tho’...the ‘neon pink’ on the cover is the accent colour throughout, including the inside cover pages, front & back!
Published to coincide with the new TV series, 'Jamie's Keep Cooking Show' (Channel 4), at the time of writing, this new book is sincerely dedicated to ‘Sir Paul Smith’.
Having followed JO, including on TV since the beginning of time (well 1999 anyway!) i.e. his days as ‘The Naked Chef’ & that famous spiral staircase greeting, he was just as passionate & down to earth then as he was during the early days of lockdown with his ‘selfie’ broadcasts with the family, and the various archive clips that showed thereafter.
So, is there much more he can offer in yet another book?
Well, yes, IMO.
It is a concise and simply well laid out publication across double page spreads that includes a photographic shot (Levon Biss) of every single dish, so you know what you are aiming for on the plate.
It also aims, as always, to make cooking look like something you want to do rather than a chore and the casual, easy confidence JO exudes in said TV programmes is here and evident from the start in part of the INTRODUCTION:
📝‘I’ve set out to give you solutions’…
…there then follows how he covers off all the excuses one might have for not cooking tonight, e.g.
~ ‘I don’t have time’
~ ‘I don’t know what to cook’
~ ‘I can’t find fancy ingredients’
~ ‘I hate washing up’
~ ‘I want a takeaway’
~ ‘I don’t know how to cook: Whether you’re a total beginner or a kitchen ninja, these recipes will serve you well…’
From the back cover (capitalised):
📝 ‘Easy ideas for every day of the week
Looking for new inspiration!
Jamie’s got you covered.
Celebrating 18 much-loved ingredients with more than 120 exciting recipes, these are delicious big hitters with maximum flavour, minimum effort.’
I think it is important to note, at this point, that other store cupboard ingredients are required in addition to the mains quoted in the recipes, and this is explained in the INTRODUCTION, including:
📝‘...Cooking is simply impossible without these items at your fingertips and I believe every household should have them in stock.
…olive oil for cooking, extra-virgin olive oil for dressing and finishing dishes, red wine vinegar as a good all-rounder when it comes to acidity and balancing marinades, sauces or dressing and, of course, sea salt and black pepper for seasoning.
...Herbs are a gift to any cook…Herbs allow you to add single-minded flavour to a dish, without the need to over-season, which is good for everyone.
They’re also packed with incredible nutrition ~ we like that.
...I use a lot of condiments in this book, like mango chutney, curry pastes, black bean and teriyaki sauces, miso and pesto.
These are items you can find in all supermarkets, and of an extraordinary quality. They guarantee flavour and save hours of time in preparation. Most are non-perishable, which means you’re not under pressure to use them too quickly…
…Over the years, the press have taken the p*** out of me for using these so-called ‘cheat’ ingredients, but I think cheat ingredients are great! They help keep food exciting.’
Measuring around 19.25 cm x 25 cm x 3 cm, the thick hardback cover opens to 320 numbered, matte finish pages, split over the CONTENTS, as listed at the front, which is a collage of snapshots of the finished dishes alongside the list of the 18 main CHAPTERS, aka ‘HERO INGREDIENTS’, namely:
~ CHICKEN BREAST
~ SALMON FILLET
~ SWEET POTATO
~ WHITE FISH FILLET
~ WHOLE CHICKEN
…all sandwiched between an 8-page INTRODUCTION at the front and NOTES ON NUTRITION, the usual sincere THANK YOU, a full alphabetical INDEX + the full list of JAMIE OLIVER books, of which this is NUMBER 24, at the back!
Pages 10 & 11 are a handy cross-reference to the recipes included under typically sounding JO titles:
~ ONE-PAN WONDERS
~ SIMPLE PASTAS
~ BEAUTIFUL SALADS
~ SOUPS & SARNIES
Easy to navigate, each CHAPTER opens with a double page spread with, white on neon pink, the list of 7 recipes capitalised on the left-hand page and the section title on the right.
Without further ado, it is straight into the first recipe.
Each recipe has snapshot pictures of the KEY INGREDIENTS down the left-hand side of the left-hand page of each double page spread. The recipes are in black coloured text with the TITLE at the top, the NUMBER OF SERVINGS & TOTAL TIME, followed by the LIST OF INGREDIENTS required & the METHOD.
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION is at the foot of the page.
The right-hand page is a full-page, colour illustration of the finished dish.
The chunky tome can be a bit reluctant to stay open at the chosen pages, depending on where you are in the book, but is easily solved with a book stand as shown in the images below, as I struggle to find my next favourite recipe to try from the enticing 126 on offer!
p.s. There are NO puds in the book, even in the EGG section!
[22 images attached ©Jamie Oliver, Levon Biss & Penguin Michael Joseph/2020]
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