I was a real sceptic to cookbooks a few months ago. 'It's alright for these celebrity chefs', I would say, 'It's their job to cook up gastronomic epics. We just don't have the time or money for it.'
However, I've admired Jamie Oliver ever since the infamous school dinners campaign, and I thought that I'd give this book and a few recipes a try, if only to confirm my cynical attitude.
Well, I'm converted. Contrary to my previous belief, it's all about proper, honest home cooking with foodstuffs that are readily accessible (from supermarkets and farmers markets), and the recipes are realistic and well explainedin Jamie's endearing matey, lad-round-the-corner tone. Hardly pretentious like I first thought.
And, the incredible thing is; they work! Honestly, you'd think that it'd be of a 'maybe I'll get it right next time' affair, but it isn't. If you follow the instructions, you'll end up surprisingly close to the glossy photos you see in the books. And, of course, the end result is delicious.
As I said, I'm converted, and I feel genuinely enthusiastic about what I eat now. It really doesn't take up as much time or money as you think (perhaps even less when you get into the swing of things), and this will be a New Year resolution that I will eagerly stick to. And I have Jamie and this book to thank for it. Fantastic.
Oh, and I will never have my tomatoes any other way again.