on 28 November 2006
I have a confession to make: I am Italian, born and raised in Milan, and Jaime's is one of my favorite cookbooks ever. It sits in my kitchen right next to the big "authentic" Italian tomes on regional cooking, but it gets used much more often. The recipes are great, fresh and traditional with a few personal twists, plenty of flavor, and are all quite easy to make. Some of us love books with beautiful pictures, and he provides plenty. The book is a pleasure to look at. It may not contain a huge number of recipes, but I find that I never use those crowded, unappealing books anyway. Everything I have tried so far has come out beautifully, and I am not at all an experienced cook (even though I am *very* picky when it comes to food quality). Jamie got the seal of approval from a number of friends from all over Italy. Amazing!
on 11 October 2006
I'm not usually the chef in our household, but using this book I created some wonderful meals. Recipes are easy to follow and his enthusiasm for Italy and Italian food is on every page. Makes cooking fun and mealtimes a proper Italian family affair.
on 11 November 2005
Jamie Oliver has earned a reputation trying to revitalise school dinners and popularise cuisine (sorry, cooking) as an appropriate activity for young males. "Jamie's Italy" is a beautifully packaged volume - thick, robust, beautifully illustrated, and packed with a wide range of Italian recipes. It's the sort of book which should sell to a young audience and which might just lift student cooking out of the Bolognaise fixation.
The recipes aren't obscure or too difficult for even a novice. The quality of a cookbook can't be judged simply on the novelty value of its recipes - a good cookbook should encourage you to experiment, and this book will do just that. What seems to have been happening with a number of television chefs is an attempt to promote interest in food, not just blind obedience to recipes. Oliver has skills in popularising food and motivating the inexperienced to try their hand. This title confirms this.
"Jamie's Italy" is an effective volume. He runs through a wide range of starters, main courses, salads, soups, and sweets. The essence of the book is about getting a feel for Italian cookery, but at its core is encouragement to get a feel for cookery in the broadest sense. Given Britain's dependence on the monopoly of the supermarket, Oliver is making a statement about a European cooking tradition which has vast regional variety and which still supports local markets and local producers.
In Britain, a lot of the ingredients for these recipes will inevitably be bought from a supermarket, but it might just encourage you to make greater use of local butchers, fishmongers, and greengrocers. The success of supermarkets is in packaging food, making it easy to buy. A butcher's shop can be intimidating if you don't know which joint of meat you want. Oliver makes it clear that part of the joy of cooking is talking to your local butcher, asking advice - Oliver encourages you to think about and talk about and learn about food … and that really is where he's at his best.
It's an encouraging, optimistic volume which has a youthful, dynamic feel to it. It's the sort of book which should find a place on many a student shelf, but it's not simply to be monopolised by the young. Here is a wide range of well-illustrated and lucidly explained recipes and ideas for meals which should stimulate both your gastric juices and your brain cells. Excellent value.
on 5 October 2006
This is an excellent book, the recipes are dead easy to follow but give very impressive results. It also has some interesting anecdotes about the origins of the recipes and how Jamie came across them, written in everyday language dripping with enthusiasm. Nicely illustrated too. Easily the most used recipe book in my collection.
I didn't see the TV series, so I can't say how it compares to that, but I would recommend this for anyone with a passing interest in Italian cookery - you will see improvement fast.
on 7 April 2007
I never really had much time for Jamie Oliver before this book. Like one of the other reviewers here, I am an Italian, I was raised in the south, in Campania and I was bought this book for Christmas. It's beautiful, the feel of the book is rustic and the pages heavy. The photo's brought tears to my eyes, just pictures of everyday people and things. As the other review said, not many recipies, but the quality of the ones that are there will leave you speechless. My only wish is that there was a DVD accompanying this book. It's wonderful, just simply wonderful
on 6 October 2005
I was lucky enough to be one of the first people to get my hands on this book, and having the week off work, I have put it to use in the kitchen since I received it a couple of days ago. It's attractively presented and written, and it looks as though it's been written to accompany a TV series. As with most of Jamie's books, the recipes are easy to follow and ingredients are easy to get hold of (though some suggestions are a little bit dear).
Something great about this book is that you get the feel that Jamie Oliver loves the food he is cooking, and that he is sharing a secret with you..... A secret recipe, or a most loved dish, which would otherwise run out, and you oddly feel intimately drawn in and almost as though you share a special bond with him through the recipes.
As with most of his recipes....drizzle the olive oil, through in handfulls of herbs, serve generous portions......he makes it easy, tasty, and after reading a recipe, your mouth will be watering and you'll be itching to cook the food. Recipes are not really that "new" and you will find them all in any serious comprehensive Italian cook book, but without Jamie's flair, will it be fun? You know the answer! And lastly, the recipes are amazingly authentic. Will Jamie try his hand at other world cuisines? If he makes it this easy, I hope so.
on 25 September 2006
This is the 1st Jamie Oliver book I have bought so far, and it certainly won't be the last!
While I really feel for the reviewer who couldn't find "pancetta" or "linguine" in their local supermarket, maybe Italian cooking isn't for you?!
It is a pleasure to learn from someone who obviously has such a passion for cooking! Although I have only tried a handful of these recipes, they have been brilliant , I am currently ploughing my way through them!!
on 6 May 2011
I was given this book for Christmas and put it to one side, it looked nice but I am not one to follow recipes, I like to bodge my food together, and play around.
I went to italy with my wife and was blown away at how nice the pizza was there. I remember sitting outside the relic of a roman arena in a cafe and eating a diablo pizza. It was light and thin with a yummy tomato sauce, a light sprinkling of some fire breathing peperoni and and just enough cheese to cover it with out getting greasy.
I have never ever managed to coble together a nice pizza, and then one day I spied this book sitting, collecting dust. I read through and found a pizza recipe and gave it a go.
And another go, and another go after that. I kept having another go at making it due to it being so nice! This pizza recipe makes me think of that afternoon in sunny Italy, Jamie, you are a star.
I made some for my sister in law and my mum. They loved it and went back home. After a while, I went on a long journey to visit my family and visited my sister, we had a chat and I told her about my pizza recipe, and was put out to find she already was making the same pizza. It turns out my sister in law had brought this book and made pizza for my sister, who in turn brought the book!
My eldest daughter is a fussy so and so, and if I make this pizza she wolfs it down. If we buy a pizza from the shops or order one in, she is not so keen. Says it all really.
I have just spent a whole review raving about one recipe and would like to say a big thanks to Mr Oliver for making me put weight on!
I am sure the book has other recipes in, I even make some from time to time, but 5 stars just for the pizza.
on 14 May 2010
This book was bought for me as a present and I would not have chosen it for myself. It is a lovely book where Jamie presents provincial Italian cooking to his readership. It's a great read but I haven't tried many of the recipes yet. Why is this? I don't know, maybe for me they seem too much like hard work. I have tried the artichoke and cannelini bruschettas (lovely) but otherwise there's a recipe with chickpeas that interests me but I haven't taken the plunge yet.
I haven't slung this book in the charity shop sack because I think that, while this book doesn't captivate me at present, it may prove to be a slow burner. The research and execution of this book are first rate (the photographs create a lovely backdrop to the provincial recipes) so it would seem criminal to disguard something with such potential.
If you are looking for an 'Italian'cookbook that shows you how to make bog standard pizzas and pasta, you will not like this (Jamie informs us that Italians don't make pizza: they go to the pizzeria). However, if you want to transport yourself to 'real' Italy then Jamie shows you a snapshot of this varied and regionally inspired cuisine.
After watching Jamie Oliver many times on the 'Naked Chef' I like many others was impressed by the way he cooked and how he seemed to make it that bit more easy for novice cooks like me to make good food at home than the more conventional shows and books I had seen in the past.
After buying and thoroughly enjoying 'Jamie’s Dinners' the natural progression for me was to buy this book. Being a big fan of Italian food I have not been disappointed by Jamie’s latest offering.
This book begins with a brief outline of how Jamie had spent some time going around Italy and sampling various regional recipes and techniques. The result of his efforts is a wonderfully imaginative book that should be of benefit to both the beginner and more advanced cook.
The book follows a similar pattern to 'Jamie’s Dinners' but if you haven't had a chance to see that then in this book you can expect to find; starters, street food and pizza including how to make your own bases from scratch, soups, pasta, risotto, salads, main courses of fish and meat, side dishes and desserts.
I found this book interesting and inspiring. It actually made me want to cook. It is laid out in an easy to follow style and written in simple language. I love Italian food and with the help of this book I've been able to move on from stir in pasta sauces and make a great carbonara of my own (pg. 90)!
Go get this book and enjoy!!