From the introduction:-
'....I had been cooking good food in a restaurant for some time, but found it difficult to re-create many of the recipes at home for lack of time, space, equipment or, sometimes, the availability to the average shopper of good-quality produce at reasonable prices.
So, in an effort to re-create some exciting restaurant recipes in a limited kitchen, I found myself stripping down those recipes to something quite basic. I then adapted them, using what I did have in the cupboard, larder, fridge or garden.
Using this principle I have built up a foolproof repertoire of simple, delicious and feisty recipes. At the same time I have tried to avoid culinary jargon and any complicated, time-consuming process that isn't justified by the end result........'
Paperback covers open to 250 high quality, shiny pages split over 11 chapters:-
Salads & Dressings
Fish & Shellfish
Meat, Poultry and Game
Risotto & Couscous
Stocks, Sauces, Bits, Bobs,
This, That and the Other
With reference sections entitled 'First Move' (includes a basic 'larder' suggestion list), and 'Herbs & Spices', sandwiched between an introduction and a concise index, which highlights 'illustrated' recipes and 'vegetarian' dishes.
Jamie's usual charming 'thanks' pages complete the book.
Each main chapter opens with a relevant full page colour illustration and an introduction page.
Each recipe is clearly laid out with the title, any opening tips, the number of servings, list of ingredients and the method. Recipes can span more than one page.
My only criticism is that there are some very faint pale blue headers in places which are quite difficult to read.
Super full colour photography throughout but limited in that of the finished dishes which may be a slight negative for those of us who like to see what we are aiming for on the plate.
However, .....having said that it is a useful first book, if new to 'The Naked Chef'.
Typical JO banter is present throughout the book, e.g.:-
'Good soups are really only about good ingredients. A good soup can be made, finished and in a bowl in minutes and still be as tasty as one that you have spent an hour or so preparing..............'
'Most people can't get any enthusiasm for a limp and uninteresting salad so chuck out your tasteless iceberg lettuce and you water-based dressings and .........'
Ravioli with Prosciutto, Sun-dried Tomatoes, Basil and Mozzarella:-
'I am afraid that this is a clichéd and obvious combination but it is quick and bloody good, so try it........'
'If I asked most people if they made risotto at home I reckon most would say 'no', and would think it was just some poncy restaurant food..........but risottos are really meant to be cooked at home. The real secret of a good risotto, I'm afraid, is that you have to stand over it and give it your loving and undivided attention for about 17 minutes, but it's worth it. Anyway what I am going to do now is give you a really solid, decent risotto base method and then give you five of my favourite variations.........'
Basic recipes and reference guides are littered throughout, e.g.:-
Everyday Quick Pasta Recipe
Short-crust Sweet Pastry
Basic Bread recipe
Perfectly Cooked Live Lobster
Basic Steamed Pudding Recipe
Globe Artichokes - What to Buy and How to Prepare
Feeling your Pulses and How to Cook Them
Basic Risotto Recipe
A taste of the other recipes included within:-
My Minestrone Soup
John Dory Baked in a Bag with Marinated Cherry Tomatoes, Black Olives and Basil
Pork Chops with Thyme, Lemon and Pesto
My Perfect Roast Chicken
Fragrant Green Chicken Curry
The Most Perfect Steamed & Roasted Duck with Honey & Oyster Sauce
Grilled Asparagus with Olive Oil & Sea Salt
Spicy Roasted Squash
Pot-roasted Rabbit with Rosemary, Thyme, Sage & Lemon
Baked Fruit with Mascarpone Cream
Lemon & Lime Cream Tart
Simple Chocolate Tart
'A Spottier Dick Pudding' - 'This is proper 'bloke's' pudding - loads of custard, a little warmed syrup over the top and some cream.
My favourite, to date, is:-
'Spiced Slow-Cooked Lamb Shanks', serving 4, from pages 116/117.
A super recipe with an extra, unusual ingredient and really does live up to the JO claim:-
'This is one of the cheapest and tastiest cuts of lamb. Cooked this way, the sauce is very tasty and the meat will just fall off the bone. Served with potato mash, polenta, couscous or rice, it is a wonderful dish.'