"Well me old mates, we're a nation that loves to eat but we've got no time to cook". So begins Jamie Oliver's latest assault on the nation's taste buds and his recipe for putting the "pukka" back into "tukka", with a blend of common sense and imagination. Pukka here means discarding those pre-prepared meals cluttering your fridge in favour of fresh ingredients, supplemented by a "first-aid" supply of staple essentials, including oils, pulses and spices. The resulting "tukka" ranges from spaghettini with baby tomatoes, garlic and basil to a warm salad of chargrilled salmon, courgette and asparagus with a thyme and lemon dressing. After Oliver has trounced the packaged meals for time, price and taste, he takes off on his silver scooter to help three very different people inject a little class into their cooking. A student friend, a fireman and a city trader are all cajoled into wielding the pestle and mortar on the contents of their shopping bag, whacking it in the oven and serving up finished treats including roast pork, celeriac and potato gratin, and sea bass with fried fennel and black olive sauce. Desserts of semi-fredo, sticky chocolate sponge pudding and apricot and pistachio tarte tatin (see Amazon.co.uk's recipe feature
) are equally impressive.
If his mockney banter may occasionally have you reaching for the rolling pin there's no doubting Oliver's enthusiasm for preparing and enjoying food, or his overriding message that well-prepared, simple fare beats mass-produce every time. There is also a certain voyeuristic fascination in deducing the social mores of the various kitchens on display; from students with their parents' old pans to gleaming stainless steel designer surfaces the extremes of culinary chic are on display. If you're a devotee of the hugely successful Naked Chef series (also available on video and DVD) then Pukka Tukka certainly won't disappoint. One note of caution: if you're not quick on the rewind button at the programmes end, you'll end up watching a tacked-on video for Jamie's indie-dance-style band--you have been warned! --Steve Napleton
Cheeky urchin Jamie Oliver demonstrates what's what in the kitchen in this guide to the basics of good cooking. The emphasis is on simple, tasty food and having a laugh. Recipe cards for all the dinners are included. As is the video for the latest single from Jamie's band.