The Barnes & Noble Review
According to the author, this sequel to the bestselling The Naked Chef is not the typical “Famous Chef Book.” Explains Jamie Oliver: "This book isn't about cheffy food, it's for normal people who want shortcuts and tips. At the end of the day, it's for everyone who is interested in cooking tasty, gutsy, simple, commonsense food and having a right good laugh at the same time." And any fan of his television show, The Naked Chef, will want to get it in a hurry.
Let's face it: Jamie Oliver is pretty irresistible. He's young, cute, a little bit scruffy, and talks that funny British talk -- Pukka! Wicked! Blimey! -- as he prepares food on the show for his mates before they go off on adventures.
Paring down recipes to the bare essentials and simplifying restaurant methods for home use (the approach that earned him the adjective "naked"), Jamie delivers plenty of tasty, simple dishes. You'll find many good things for breakfast, from bacon sandwiches (Bacon Sarnie My Stylie) to composed muesli (Pukkolla), plus a good section of appetizers, tapas, munchies, and salads, as well as main dishes and a handful of desserts. There's even a small section of bevvies (drinks), including Caipirinha and Watermelon Vodka.
The book is filled with gorgeous photos of both the food and the chef (Jamie on a motorcycle, Jamie in the kitchen). The only caveat is that lovers of ultra-precise recipes will be thrown by the occasional casual measurement (two glugs of oil, three handfuls of herbs). But I bet they're not watching the TV show, either.
. . . charm shines even brighter than the glossy pictures . . . recipes for dishes like paparadelle with mixed wild mushrooms are clearly written.
Jamie Oliver is down-to-earth and contagiously passionate about food. In this competitive world of celebrity chefs, I truly believe he is the Next Big Thing.
Who's the hardest-working man in show business this year? We nominate 25-year-old British cook Jamie Oliver.
The young, hip Londoner (The Naked Chef) again brings his big personality to bear on cuisine that isn't "cheffy food, it's for normal people who want shortcuts and tips...." However, normal people may be put off by instructions as vague as the "2 good handfuls of arugula, 1 small handful of capers and 1 handful of anchovies" specified in the Slow-Cooked and Stuffed Baby Cherry Chilli Peppers. Also, simple recipes such as Crunchy Thai Salad are presented in descriptive text alone; ingredient quantities are left unspecified. Yet Oliver wields an adventurous hand in combining flavors, as with Monkfish Wrapped in Banana Leaves with Ginger, Cilantro, Chilli and Coconut Milk. Playful ideas also abound, such as Squashed Cherry Tomato and Smashed Olive Salad, in which the tomatoes are squashed by hand. On a more sophisticated note, there's Seared Scallops and Crispy Prosciutto with Roasted Tomatoes and Smashed White Beans. Oliver's Basic Bread recipe is adaptable enough for Chocolate Twister Bread, Pizzas and Chickpea Moroccan Flatbread. Desserts include Two-Nuts Chocolate Torte with almonds and walnuts and Cr?me Br?l?e The Way I Like It, which is only an inch thick with a thin layer of crisp caramel. Venting his youthful spirits, he even tells how to spike a watermelon with vodka to intoxicate your "mates." Agent, Borra Garson. (Sept.) Forecast: Already a popular Food Network host, Oliver airs new episodes this year in conjunction with the book. Naked Chef has 100,000 copies in print, and for its sequel, Hyperion plans a $100,000 marketing campaign, including a five-city tour and confirmed appearances on Rosie O'Donnell, Late Night with David Letterman and Entertainment Tonight. Last year, theauthor made People's "Sexiest Man Alive" list. Sales should be brisk. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
The title of Oliver's second book is apt indeed less than a year ago, the talented young British cook was unknown in this country. Now, however, with his own Food Network TV series and more than 100,000 copies of The Naked Chef in print, he's practically become a household name. ("Naked" refers to his style of cooking, "using the bare essentials of your larder and stripping down restaurant methods to the reality of home.") His new cookbook is, if anything, even more engaging than the first. It's not about "cheffy" food but simple but inspired recipes, presented with such charming enthusiasm that they are likely to lure even noncooks into the kitchen: Squashed Cherry Tomato and Smashed Olive Salad, Roasted Slashed Fillet of Sea Bass Stuffed with Herbs, and Chocolate Pots. Color photographs and a lively design further add to the book's appeal. Essential. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Read an Excerpt
Monkfish Wrapped in Banana Leaves with Ginger, Cilantro, Chili, and Coconut Milk
You just can't go wrong with this combination of flavors. It's open to all white fish, especially swordfish, cod, haddock, and monkfish. Banana leaves are very easy to buy from Asian stores. Get nice big ones to wrap your fish up in. Failing banana leaves, you can use grapevine leaves which you can get in the supermarket somewhat smaller, but no less tasty for that. If you really can't get hold of any leaves then aluminum foil will do.
4 large banana leaves or grapevine leaves
a little olive oil
2 fresh chilies, red, green or both
2 stalks of lemongrass, outer leaves removed, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
2 good handfuls of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped juice and zest of 2 limes
2 tablespoons sesame seed oil
2 heaped tablespoons finely sliced fresh ginger
6-8 oz monkfish per person
14 oz can of coconut milk
4 rosemary sprigs or bay leaf stalks, to secure
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Lay out your banana leaves and rub them with olive oil. Leaving aside your fish, coconut milk, and herbs, sprinkle a little bit of everything else on one end of each leaf. Place your fish on top and then sprinkle what's left over them, except the rosemary or bay leaf sprigs. Pour 5-6 tablespoons of coconut milk into each parcel before folding the leaf over the fish, bringing the sides in and spiking it with a rosemary sprig or bay leaf stalk to secure it. This will look lovely and it's natural, but I have been knownto use a clothes pin or string to hold it all together. It won't be a perfect seal but this allows it to breathe and steam, letting the flavors infuse. So gutsy and tasty. Put your parcels on a tray and bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
I serve the individual parcels on plates at the table and let my friends dissect them. When opened, the fragrant steam wafts up and smells fantastic. Serve with plain boiled rice to mop up the juices that's all it has to be. End of story, done, lovely.
Excerpted from The Naked Chef Takes Off by Jamie Oliver. Copyright © 2001 by Jamie Oliver. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.